Let’s Talk Mental Health

For much of my life I have battled anxiety. I was devastatingly shy, mortified of being noticed. I can remember vividly having panic attacks as a child. Laying in my bed at night with my heart racing, crying as I stared at the ceiling and thought about getting through another day. I didn’t want to tell anyone because I didn’t want people to think I was weird, dangerous or “crazy”. In moments when I would divulge my anxieties or insecurities, people would say “Just be positive” “You’re so negative” or a classic “Some people have it worse”

This carried through to my adult life.

I avoid large gatherings. I cancel plans last minute. I have full on break downs before going to the store. I stare at the ground, or search the room when I speak, only making eye contact with someone I feel safe with. I sometimes stay in bed for days. I cry when I’m alone. I have trouble sleeping, but I’m exhausted all the time. Social events result in me being reclusive for days afterward. Major changes can completely unravel me.

If you’d asked me, I would have told you I was fine when really, I was struggling. As a child, the anxiety had resulted in me feeling excluded and unable to fit in. As an adult, it has made me feel isolated and like there is something wrong with me.

This has always made me an easy target for the wrong personalities. I am easily manipulated and tend to gravitate towards people who seem to be all the things I’m not. Unfortunately it has in many instances, made my anxiety worse because I always end up getting hurt or taken advantage of. And thus, we have the pattern.

When we lost Sloan, it felt so easy to give up and not stay. But there were people and things that needed me. I spent months holding it together so that those I loved most could fall apart when needed. I wanted to be their strength, a beacon in the storm. I through myself into awareness, helping others heal, bringing forth more understanding about grief and loss. I let myself be attacked by people in the comment sections of our story. I tried so hard to show them grace instead of respond with hate. I had terrible things said about me but I kept telling myself that was worth it because there was three times more support than there was hate.

I laid out large pieces of my vulnerability for others to grasp onto, hoping to make a difference for them. But in turn, I forgot to take care of myself.

I preached to everyone in my life about facing their grief, but I stopped doing so for myself. I got lost along the way, and before I knew it I was in darkness. The triggers started becoming more frequent, the panic attacks more debilitating, the reclusiveness exacerbated. I quit therapy. I lashed out at people I barely knew. I said hurtful things. My blogs started to get fewer and farther between. My will and drive to help, was feigning. I spent far too many moments considering all the ways I could be with my son in whatever afterlife he exists in. I had even shut my own husband out, the very person I’d tried the hardest to hold it together for.

I was not okay. I had lost my child to death, and I was losing myself to life.

One day several weeks ago, I decided I was done feeling like this, living like this. I got out of bed and I made an appointment to go back to therapy. I got my Zoloft out of the drawer and I started taking it again regularly. I made the necessary steps to remove any easily amendable triggers. I admitted the lapse in mental health, and I made a promise to myself to claw my way out. I have had to distance myself from the people and situations that cause me ANY stress. I cannot afford to slip back into the bleakness I have been engulfed in. I apologized where I needed too, took responsibility of my faulty behavior and vowed to do better.

And I am. I don’t know how long it will last. I don’t know how strong I can stay. I am fragile. But I do know I am trying, and even if I lose sight of the light again, I have been here before and I know my way through the tunnel.

This is what mental health struggles look like. It is not a mask someone can put on. It is a daily battle to survive. A battle against ourselves. And it’s the most difficult one of all.

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

7 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Mental Health

  1. Thank you for this. It’s everything. I am no one that knows you personally. I can’t begin to understand or imagine the unthinkable pain you have been through. I have been an invisible viewer from afar, completely overcome by this constant reminder like a heartbeat that this unimaginable tragedy can happen to anyone. Amazed by your strength balanced with the vulnerability you have expressed to the world. I’m a mom – a mom that constantly worries about her children and that something out of my power will befall them. I just want to thank you for your honesty. I know you are struggling but for others you are a constant reminder of light that no matter the struggle life can go on. You are a beacon of strength. We are all incredibly flawed, tired, lost moms trying to find our way just hoping there are others out there that can just say dammit I get it – it’s hard- and we are in this together. And YOU are doing it after all you have been through. Thank you for you vulnerability – I see you, and you are killing it. Hugs to you.

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  2. Sending you so much love and light and an immense thank YOU for sharing your words, your heart, your soul!!! You are loved and adored beyond measure!!

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  3. I love your honesty.I was super shy growing up and can remember as far back as 5years old having anxiety.I think I slept with my mom untill I was 12 because I was afraid I would die.Yet I would wish I did so I didn’t have to feel that way my entire life.At 21 and nine months pregnant I started having horrible panic attacks.At 35 I lost my son at 20 weeks pregnant.I am now 39 and suffer from them almost daily.And even know I have had another son I beat myself up everyday for the loss of my other one.

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  4. Oh hun, reading this blog post got me all teary eyed. I’m so sorry you have to go through this. I, too, struggle with anxiety sometimes. Mainly the fear of facing this life without my children. If I read about a school shooting or a child murder, I get so upset that I cry for days, trying to envision my life without my kids. That’s the reason I stopped reading the news.
    I’m truly sorry that you are struggling with anxiety and I hope you’ll find comfort in the fact that you’re not alone.
    I can imagine, especially in your case, that life must seem overwhelming sometimes, and unfair. And in many ways it is. I can understand that part of you wants to be where Sloan is. You’re his mom. It’s natural for you to long for him and want to be where he is. I just hope you’ll stay strong and never let yourself be pulled into this deveststing darkness where you surrender to death. You are a strong woman, Jordan. Your heart has endured more pain and suffering than it was meant to sustain. The fact that you’re still here says a lot about you. You’re a fighter. Even if you may not see yourself as such. So keep fighting the fight. And never forget all the wonderful things you still have.

    You are beautiful. You are a wonderful mother. You are a very talented business woman. You are kind. You are honest, even if it means being targeted by others. You are resilient and able to sustain great suffering. You are a fighter. You are all these things and many more!!
    Always remember that!!

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  5. Just know you aren’t alone in your feelings. Many feel this way, we all have our skeletons and our own thoughts that tackle us. Your words are so carefully written, so intelligently spoken so loud, yet so silent.

    Not to sound as a me too person, but I understand the pain of a child taken so unfairly, so quickly; death stings and its so permanent. What gets me through the darkest times is thinking “miles to go before I sleep”, I even got a tattoo of this to remind me. My Faith and beliefs also help me cope on a daily basis. My thoughts, love, hugs and prayers remain with you and your sweet family.
    <3,
    Candice

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