"Time to put my hand up"

Over the past few weeks and months, I've noticed that I kept feeling like something was chasing me. I didn't know for sure. This last week I realised I had been trying to run from myself. My depression and anxiety catching up to me. The more I avoided, the worse it would become. In times of silence. Times when I am alone. Night time. Before I knew it almost all of the time. To say this week has been tough would be an understatement.

I felt like I've been fighting the biggest internal battle, than I had in a very long time. People close to me suggesting maybe it's time to go back on medication. I was proud of myself for being able to come of my medication for 9 months. The first time ever in my adult life. To go back on medication felt like I was failing myself, my family, and my psychologist. Like I was letting everyone down again. Then my negative thoughts began being played on repeat in my head. Maybe you really are crazy. You are such a failure. How weak are you? You really are un-loveable. Are you even worth the fight. I've always battled suicidal thoughts but adding the extras into the mix, definitely spices things up.

I had become increasingly concerned about what was going on in my head. I made the decision to put my hand up for help and speak about what was going on. I have learnt from surviving my suicide attempt, that if I didn't speak up or hold onto the belief I was worth the fight, I would've ended up in a very dark place again. I am going back onto my medication. I will continue to practice my mindfulness, stay active, stay connected and stay social. Even on the days when I really don't want to move.

The main thing I have learnt out of this, is how strong my inner ninja is. I am proud of myself for reaching out for help. Putting up my hands and being honest my closest friends and family about what is going on. 3 years ago, things would've been really different. This has shown me how far I have come. This has shown me that the self-stigma I thought I had dealt with, was still within me. This is why it is so important for me to continue to share my story. It is by talking and sharing these experiences we learn that we are not alone and break down the stigma that so often prevents us from seeking help or treatment.

A very special thank you to the amazing human beings who support me and inspire me everyday. Knowing that I have an incredible bunch of people in my corner, propping me up when I cant stand, holding my hand when I am ready to walk and sitting with me when I need someone to listen.

Live, Breathe, Embrace.

Stef

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Tenille Westerhout