My Semicolon Story

I recently came across a social media post sharing that this week is National Suicide Prevention Week, hence the semicolon (;) reference to represent mental health and suicide prevention. While I have gone back and forth with sharing my experience along with people in my life who I have lost to or survived suicide, I thought maybe my bravery could help one person feel less alone in a silent battle they may be fighting, have fought or are witnessing a close family member or friend struggle with as a result of mental health. I think speaking about mental health should be as normal as one sharing about their physical health, but unfortunately we are all not there yet. That is okay, but we can do better.

My hope in sharing my personal story is in no way for you on the other side to feel pity, but to have an open heart and mind to those you interact with on a daily basis. Anyway, let’s get into the trenches of my journey. From a young age, which I did not realize until going through therapy recently, I have dealt with suicidal ideation. I used to think it was something I should keep to myself, suffering in silence but using humor as a mask to show I am fine. But what I’ve learned is that it helps to share when you are experiencing these unexplainable, hard, and dark moments in life. Throughout my therapy journey, I have realized the more you talk about stigmatized topics, like mental health, the less alone you feel in these experiences and thoughts, despite how isolating they can feel in the moment.

Seeing that this week is Suicide Prevention Week, I look back at a friend who I worked with years ago who I felt I missed the signs with. I felt this person was just doing certain actions for attention, but what they were doing was seeking help and guidance in what was one of their darkest moments. Unfortunately people did not see those actions as such and ostracized this person, instead of reaching out a hand to help and to offer an ear to listen to and truly see what was going on underneath the armor this person was wearing and the weight they were carrying around. Another experience I think of is someone close to me who I found out after the fact; it broke my heart. Fortunately this person is still with us, and will continue to change lives through their work in the mental health field.

I guess what I am saying in sharing these lived experiences of those close with me, is that there are no clear signs. At times you may be caught off guard or not understand why: they seemed so happy, they seemed so successful, they seemed like they had it altogether? On the other side of the coin, they may seem so depressed, so moody, so defiant and so who any number of things.

Mental health is not black and white, there is a lot of grey. Much of it we as a society still really do not understand, even after years of research and funding into various projects and non-profits tasked with addressing and understanding mental health and suicide. I think the reason we do not understand is because mental health tends to not be seen or spoken about as if it could be physically seen like someone breaking their arm and needing to wear a sling or cast for their arm to fully heal. I like to say mental health can be visibly invisible, since it can be hidden and shown very well depending on the person. My hope through sharing this is to shine a light on how complex mental health, specifically suicide, is. Addressing mental health is not a one size fits all approach, it is meeting someone where they are at and truly listening to what they are saying and sharing how you feel they could be best helped. At the end of the day, it comes to them, not you. You can do all in your power to help someone, but they first have to want to help themselves, that’s where it all gets complicated.

If you are in need of help, I suggest looking up mental health services in your area, reaching out to someone you trust to share what you are going through, or calling 988.

Let’s break the stigma around mental health, share our stories (struggles included) proudly, and take a moment out of our busy lives to stop, smile and talk with a stranger. Offer them a compliment, someone to small talk with, or a kind act such as a hug. I know kindness and humility hasn’t been lost on us as a society, so show understanding in all those who’s paths you have and will cross. Life’s not a zero sum game, it is about reaching out when you need help and getting up, no matter how many times you get knocked down. Your story has meaning, you have a purpose in this life, share your’s with this world, yet do not lose reading a page or two out of someone else’s story too.

PS we show the world mild versions of ourselves, toned up and down for certain people and situations. When will we share fully who we all are in our successes and struggles, all making up who we are in this life? Keeping being you, letting your light shine through in the darkest and brightest of moments!

Let’s Be Real

The will sunset, and rise again, so can we. Choosing to see and share the beauty of time between moments, living with true intent.

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Letting go…

A week from today I will turn 27. It is crazy to think how a year can fly by, and all the changes you can experience. From experiencing so much loss to gaining so much within a moment’s time. I do feel all moments in life have intent. You are meant to go wherever it may be, feeling the amazing highs and the insurmountable lows.

You never know what this life will bring, but at the end of it all you known damn well you truly only have your life. Through all of the changes of this past year, I have learned it is better to hold on to the things that bring light, and to let go of what is dimming your light. We, each of us have so much to give this world, but unfortunately I feel many of us fall into the trap that we are not this enough to become what we are truly meant to in this life. I have witnessed so many people fall into grinding their life away, instead of living life to the fullest. I never want to look back on my life, knowing I stayed too long in a toxic environment, letting people and things get me down, I do, nor do you deserve to carry their baggage, they have to wait to pick up their own luggage. I will never be a carry on of someone’s expectations, but rather a damn trip of all of what is worth in this life to explore. I adore all this life has given me, really great and honestly horrible, because it all led me to where I am now. I know who the true people are in my life, and yeah I may get let down, every so often. But we have to keep in mind, nothing in life is definite. Everything eventually has an expiration date. Letting go may mean moving on, letting go may seem contrary to what those around you think, and letting go is a lot more than letting down but getting up to know you can always start again.

So yeah, year 26 included a lot of letting go, we’ve all had moments when we just had to let go of all we’ve been holding onto. If you haven’t already, simply let go, your life will be a whole lot lighter and brighter because of it. A week from now, yes I will be a year older, we all grow up, time never seeming to slow down and that’s when we know nothing is ever permanent. People, things and moments are all fleeting. I am so glad to let go of all that has brought me down in the last 26 years of my life. Do know damn well, I am holding onto all the things and people who bring light, they are worth the dark, treacherous times I know will lie ahead. I know what is behind me, 26 years of so many words that could not encapsulate those moments. I am coming for you, 27, knowing life will continue to define me, but continuing to hold onto and let go of all this life will bring.

PS Letting go does not mean you held on too tight for too long, it means you are choosing to open your heart, your mind and your body to feel all what is light and bright in your life.

Someday, sometime, and someone will see letting go of everyday, every time, and everyone as all and nothing they ever needed in this life.

Alive, Existing and Lived

I feel many of us are alive, but are we really living or we simply existing? I feel we walk a fine line between being alive and existing. Many of the days we spend, we are simply just trying to exist and make it through, that’s okay. We play the part in life where we would rather be alive and existing, then to say we lived. At the end of the day, aren’t we just all alive and existing?! I guess what I am getting at is many of us follow the paved path in front of us that many have and had ventured down. What if the path in front of you is not where you feel alive, yet just feel you are simply existing among the many people wandering down that path. I would say pave your own damn path, the one that makes you feel most alive and that you can look back to say you lived, and didn’t simply just exist. Time moves fast, before you know it years have already passed you by.

As you age, you will start to wonder where it all went and hoping the finishing line wasn’t near. Keeping in mind that you do not want to keep placing finish lines in the race of life, because you will never cross them, if you do, you may keep thinking and feeling what’s next. We all wonder what’s next in life, where do we go from here, and how do we reach the mountain top if it seems so far off in the distance. We may all climb our own personal mountains of achievements and soak in the shallowest meadows of struggles. Between the mountains of triumphs and meadows of lows, we are each on our own path. A path we along with many venture on, or maybe we are paving our own path.

No matter what pathway you take in life, take the one where you feel most alive, do not simply exist within society’s standards and look back saying I wish I would have lived. I wish I would have loved. I wish I would have failed. I wish I would have chased that dream. I wish I would told this person or done this thing. I think many of us including myself live in a world of “I wish I would have” because we fear rejection. Let me tell rejection is redirection. Rejection redirects you to big and better things, trust me, you may not see it now but eventually you will down the way. Trust that life always works out for the best. And that the worst regret you can have is simply existing within the constraints of what society or even those close to tells you who to be. Because in the end and this moment; being alive, chasing after what and who fuels you will bring you some of your biggest blessings, experiences and lessons. So simply be alive, experience life’s greatest gifts and hardships and be that person who one day looks back and says I lived.

Moving On & Forward

Throughout my entire existence, I have like many of you had to leave people and things in the past that are no longer serving me. While I do not like to let people down or cut off communication, at times it is (has been) the best for me and those involved. On the flip side, I have been blindsided when it comes to those moving on and forward from me, like what did I do wrong, is who I am just not good enough or why did they just suddenly disappear from my life??? I know I am not the only one who has these questions swirling around in the head. I know so many go through life feeling like I am not okay or good enough, that is completely normal to feel the way you do. I am right there with you, and over the past quarter of century I have learned you have control over how you react, who and what you surround yourself with. While you may feel it is all out of your control, just know you have the power always to move on and forward from people, situations and things no longer serving you.

I wish I had someone told me this sooner, well there was a few, but me being stubborn I kept holding out hope and seeing the best in people and situations, when clearly that was not the reality. In reality, people most of the time are not thinking about you, they are thinking about themselves, so do not take it personally if it doesn’t workout how you thought it would. I feel everything eventually works out for the best for all involved.

If you feel just like you have yet to move on and forward. Take some time to think about how people and things are serving you in your life; are they bringing more negativity than positivity, bringing more doubt than inspiration or bringing more to themselves than to you?! Thinking about what it is all bringing you, and go from there in making your decisions. You can both be selfish and selfless without being self-sacrificing.

So if you are reading this and feel like there is someone or something that fits what I am saying, please take some time to think about what type of life you want, who do you want in it and where you want to be in sometime from now. I think if we sit back and reflect, we can see many patterns of people and things not serving us, but it is not my place to point that out to you, you have to figure that out for yourself, those close to you can only help so much. I will tell you this from experience, sometimes we just do not see it since we are so invested in that person or situation. My advice clear the air and see it all for what it is, if you cannot, eventually in time it will all workout.

I know that was a lot to unload on you, yet I feel many of us feel this way where we hold on to people that we should just let go of and move on from. I feel it is human nature to want people to like us and for things to go according to plan, but life is never a clear path, it is bunch of pathways coming together and diverging as you walk forward. Moving forward and on is never easy, yet you can learn so much about yourself and life from go through the most toughest of times. Because some of the most hardest of times are leading you to some of the best times in your life, just keep having hope and trusting that the process of life will always workout for the best, even if you do not see it now or some time ahead, keep going, you go this!

Moving forward and on, is not simply leaving your past behind but letting go of those and things that no longer fulfill you, so fill your cup with what matters to you and those who love you, and that will bring you the best fulfillment. Sending love, hugs and hope to all of you going through a time of moving on and forward!

Why Did You Go?

The past week of life has been like riding a rollercoaster to say the least, I ended an unhealthy, detrimental relationship, and for me not being further harassed that is what I will leave it at. I just want you to know, the person reading this, if you do not feel loved, accepted, or harassed, you have the power to leave and close the door on that person or even people in this case. I want you to know that is family is what you make out of it, that your friends can step in to be just that. And if you do not have many family or friends to lean on, know you will make it through whatever you may be facing. I know each of us are fighting a battle we do not share, or have struggled to make it through, so I award you for your strength for staying after being continuously hurt, broken down to pieces, you are now collecting like shattered glass beneath your feet. With each step you take, know deep down, trust in yourself that you are headed in the right direction, even if you feel you are not.

And while people may ask, why did you go? You can decide whether or not that deserves an answer. You have the power to stay or go. You have the strength to overcome what or whoever may have brought or is bringing you down, know you can always rise up from the deepest of depths. I commend each of you for chasing after what your sets your soul on fire, and if you do not know what that is, keep going, you will find it. I believe each of us have a reason to be here, yet have a reason to choose who we surround ourself with. I know leaving can be so hard, especially when there is a lengthy and close relationship you are attached to. I know cutting ties is not easy when so many knots have been tied, making it hard to cut through all that has left you tied to a person or a situation. I hope you know that you have the courage to speak up, express your true self and walk away from people who continue to judge and bring you down, time after time, simply let go and move on.

I hope you know letting go can be a form of forgiveness, yet not forgetting. You can always learn from what went wrong in your past, and choose what feels right for your future. You know yourself best. Those who truly care for you, will not hold you back but rather love you unconditionally and want the best for you. So whatever or whoever is holding you back, let them go, move forward. If you feel you are not making progress, or a change, those small steps and choices will lead you to the greatest moments and accomplishments in your life. So if they ask you, why did you go? You can just say life is too short to not stay true to who you are, what you want out of life and how you build the legacy you will one day leave behind?

So, why did you go? Well I would say that I stopped running back to and started stepping towards, and venturing the path that has always been in front of me, we all take different pathways in life, but we choose the paths we continue to venture on or pave the path we know walk on. Life is a truly a journey, find the little moments of joy when you can, cherish and enjoy it, since it all eventually ends just as it has begun, so run towards the moments, places and people who make you feel at home, no matter where you go, what you do, who and how you become as a human being.

PS you do not need to provide an answer to every question, you can simply allow your actions to speak the words you or others choose to say about you. Life your life unapologetically by being you, being kind and and always being one of a kind, that’s the MILDLY ME within you to be whoever you damn please while being still sweet as honey with the sting of the bee, never once again, forgetting to BE KIND!

Getting Through

Somedays like today felt like I was simply trying to get through. I know many of you reading this feel this way at times, when you are just trying to get to the next day. I know each day brings its’ own set of triumphs, struggles or mediocrities. Knowing we do not have to be perfect but to be just who we are is sometimes we all need to hear. I feel many of us are trying to live up to standards (from society, media, loved ones and ourself) that are simply unattainable. That is okay.

It is okay to not feel like you are reaching new heights. It is okay to not be checking off checklist items off your daily list of tasks. It is okay to not know who you are yet. All of the things and people we struggle with are forming us into who we are and how we choose to treat those around us. So getting through isn’t just getting by. It is someone who may be have been on a never ending run where the finish line keeps getting moved up, just as they get close. It is someone who may have poured heart out to their crush to only be rejected. It someone who may be struggling to just get up in the morning and roll out of bed to live another day on the hamster wheel of life, so many of us continue to roll on and fall of of. It is not knowing what is next that can stop someone from going forward out of paralyzing anxiety, or fear they are not good enough.

Some say fake it to you’ll make it, yet I believe those who even say that are afraid too. We are all scared of what maybe the next day, month or year may hold, but we have is now, each other and ourself. So if no one has told you this, getting through will always be good enough. You are never too much or too little, you are just right for those who truly love and care about you. Getting through yet another let down means you are being set up for some of the greatest moments.

Don’t lose yourself in a sea of a doubt, and if you feel lost, I am sending and throwing out a life raft to you to remind you, you matter, your thoughts are valid and your dreams can become a reality. Just keep believing, because there are many who have faith in you and know that getting through will lead you right to them. Keep pushing, keep challenging all that constrains you and keep going, you’ll get through, I got you hun, you are right around the corner of getting through and to all that is meant for you, which is far greater than you may have ever imagined, you are magical in simply being just you, if they discount you, you are getting through to me. Getting through to all the doubters. Getting through your own self doubt. Getting through all the negativity to finally to grasp on to and see the light of getting through the darkness that once haunted you. Getting through goes beyond just beginning, middle and end of one’s life story. You have the power to rewrite your story, make memories you cherish beyond time and live each moment this life gives you with intent.

Unstable: Mental Health Struggles

After writing the first sentence then consequentially deleting it time after time, I thought about how I should talk about my own struggles with mental health. While each person’s journey is different with mental health, mine has been one I have dealt from when I was very young. I can think back to when I was a young kid and would ask the universe why am I here, it would be so easier if I was not. I felt like I was complicating the lives of those around me, that I constantly had to prove and stand up for myself when no one was. I was told by dad to not express my emotions, that how I thought was invalid and would never be enough.

After years of living in a toxic, unhealthy environment growing up I decided to stand up for myself, only to feel yet again like I was the perpetrator, not once have I felt listened to and that was hard. Unfourtunately, this parental relationship led me to feeling depressed, suicidal at points. And when one of my close friends tried to take their own life, and I expressed how I felt pain for this friend and was beyond heartbroken over this situation, I was told yet again to not express my emotions and that one taking their own life is the easy way out. While there are many experiences I can speak to with my mental health, I feel it is not my place to spew that out to you, the person reading this. I feel many of our mental health struggles come from the relationships we have with those close to us, or experiencing something traumatic. We all process trauma different, we all see the world different and at times we feel different for being simply who we are.

I know mental health is something many of us feel we are stigmatized for, rather than it being an open conversation between health professionals, or even family and friends. I do not feel our mental health struggle should be labeled yet something we should feel to either speak or not to about. I do feel by openly talking about the struggles you face with mental health you can help not only yourself, but those around you who may be going or have gone through something similar. I also feel that you should speak to someone you trust or professional about what you are going through, since there are people out there who care and want to listen. I have learned to speak with family and friends more about my struggles, and they have been there to offer a hug and be an ear to listen to. While you may feel you are alone, who you are does not matter and what you do holds no purpose, that is farther from the truth, I and so many care about you. If you are hurting, please reach out to someone you trust or even me, I am here to listen and not judge.

I feel with social media, so many societal and family pressures, we as humans can be pushed to our limits. Do know you set those boundaries, if someone decides to continuously walk over that line, you hold the power to express where you stand. Stand up for yourself and others, even if you feel you well be broken down and picked a part. Having a heart that beats, a mind that thinks and a body that moves will continue to push you forward pass the things and people who will try to hold you back.

Keep going, feel your emotions and express your truth without regret, because as Maya Angelou said, ““I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” So, keep pushing forward, take each day by day, take each step by step and before you know it, you will be at the finish lines you never thought you would cross with the people who never left your side along the way, and continued to cheer you on, no matter how many times you wanted to give up along the way. Remember, you have the spark to set a fire ablaze and float away with the ambers, embark and blaze your own path and be around even when the stars fade and the smoke blurs what might have always been there, you!

PS I hope to share more of my journey with mental health with time. Please remember mental health is a journey, and should be right up there with your physical health. Never loose faith in yourself, in others or in society, there are always hope and people out there who will catch you if you fall. You may be in a fight or a constant battle with your mental health, be defeated time after time, never give up, keep going, I got you!