Hello my friends! How was your day, yesterday? Were you able to share something about yourself that most people don’t know? Isn’t it fun to talk about your secret passions and hobbies? And most importantly, do you feel better about yourself from sharing more about you?
Today, we are doing things a little differently. I have asked my dear friend, Alexis, to write a post for us, and present us with a challenge! But first, let me give you a little backstory.
I met Alexis in fifth grade. Yes, fifth grade. We were always fooling around and getting into all sorts of crazy shenanigans. Alexis was one of the first people that I really started delving into my purpose with. I can remember us recording and discussing our dreams, then looking them up and interpreting them, in like, seventh grade.
She also bought me one of my very first tarot decks, in…I think tenth grade? We were always talking about past lives, and discussing prophecies. We went to different schools starting high school, and she would test my intuition by telling me her new friend’s, or romantic interests’ names, and asking me what feeling I got from them. I will never forget how good it would feel when she would say, “That’s exactly how they are! I can’t believe you knew that!”
Alexis has always been a great friend, and since I started my blog she has been an amazing support. She is always the first to support new projects that I start within my business, and for that I am eternally grateful.
When we were sophomores, Alexis and I started writing a romantic comedy movie script. We finished it, and I still have it saved on my old laptop – I am kind of scared to read it, honestly.
About a year ago, I felt the need to reach out to Alexis, and ask her to write a post for me about mental health awareness. Alexis has had an incredible life. She is one of the strongest people I know, and her story is truly inspiring.
I did not reach out to her, until January of this year, when I was planning my 28 Days to Self-Love Challenge. Let me tell you, I am SO glad I invited Alexis to write a post for me, and I am even happier that she agreed to doing it.
So, let’s hear from Alexis, now:
Hello everyone! I’ll start this post by introducing myself, my name is Alexis. I am a 22 year old Arizona native, currently living in Peoria. Some “fun facts” about me: I am extremely passionate about film and literature, I have a pupper named Scout (named after the main character in To Kill a Mockingbird), and I am an advocate for many different causes. I’ve long been involved in the mental health conversation, and would like to continue that conversation today!
All my life, I have struggled with depression and anxiety, as early as the age of 5. I found unhealthy ways to cope with it very early on in my life, and not until I reached the age of 17 did I realize how I had been self-harming and self-sabotaging my life for well over 12 years. I will not go into details, because this post isn’t to talk about my unhealthy coping mechanisms, but I will share that I did end up needing to go to the hospital at one point, and was in intense therapy for quite some time once I finally told someone I was hurting myself on a regular basis.
Therapy literally changed my life completely around. I found an incredible therapist, who introduced me to the idea that maybe I should actually realize how wonderful I was, and love myself for who I am (crazy concept, right!?). I was like YEAH RIGHT DINA but I went along with it, because I trusted her, despite my depression telling me she was feeding me lies. At times it would literally feel like hope and depression were having a great war in my mind, and I struggled (and still do, to this day) with which side to listen to.
Dina introduced me to many ways to cope with my anxiety and depression, when it all seemed to bubble up and become too overwhelming. She often had me do art therapy, which is short means
“a form of psychotherapy involving the encouragement of free self-expression through painting, drawing, or modeling, used as a remedial activity or an aid to diagnosis.” Art therapy saved me, but I only stuck with it for a few years. What happens when one way of coping doesn’t work for you anymore? You must invest the time to find it. It is of the utmost importance to put your mental health first, and figure out how you can best take care of yourself. For me, I have found that writing has become my new coping mechanism.
I love documenting my life, in many different forms. I am currently on my 1st of 5 years of my Q&A a Day- 5 Year Journal and I am currently using an app on my phone which will edit together a 1 second clip from each day, and put it all together so I will have a video of my 2018, 365 clips of what I have done with my year. I also write in a journal, and absolutely LOVE taking photographs of different things around me.
I will say, those are great distractions, but not solutions to curing depression or anxiety. My mental illnesses are not ones that will go away, but ones that I will struggle with and have to adapt with the rest of my life. Investing the time to seek help, find healthy coping mechanisms, and ASKING FOR HELP is major in the mental health battle. I, myself, have been self-harm free for nearly 5 years now, but it is something I struggle with on a daily basis. The reason I bring this up is because the way I have gotten to this point is because I have documented my life. I have drawn out, written out, photographed and recorded so many parts of that recovery journey for myself, and for my future family.
I want my legacy to be one of struggle, and overcoming the demons that tell me to destroy myself. I want to be known as a fighter, and someone who was brave enough to ask for help. Geez, even as I am writing this I’m like “psh, stop, you’re bragging” but like, no, I am celebrating!
In recovery, and when you struggle with depression and anxiety, it is essential to celebrate all of the tiny, seemingly insignificant victories. I love going back, and studying my art from the darkest points in my life, and seeing how the art transformed as I became more and more hopeful, and learned to love myself more. I love reading my journal, and reading how my outlook changed as I became more and more healthy. I love sharing my story, and I always hope that it reaches someone who is struggling who may be looking for a sign to get help.
This is your sign.
You are not alone.
We are not alone.
If you are struggling with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, or know someone who is, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. It will be a hard journey, but one that is worthwhile. The hardest part for me in all of it was coming to terms with the fact that I AM WORTH RECOVERY. I AM WORTH THE TIME AND ENERGY THIS WILL TAKE. Every day I am grateful I did, and I hope that someday we all will truly know our worth, and how much we are worthy of love.
With all my love,
I asked Alexis to share some links with me that she would like to share with all of you. She chose To Write Love on Her Arms, and 1-800-Suicide site. So, today, we are presenting you with the challenge of choosing how you would like to help yourself.
If you need help, and are ready to talk about what you are going through, please visit one of the sites Alexis recommends. If you need to find a way to deal with your anxiety or depression, please consider using art therapy. If you are on the road to recovery, and need something a little extra to keep pushing you forward, take Alexis’s advice, and document all your accomplishments, and victories, no matter how small they may seem.
We are challenging you to take the next step in loving yourself. Find something that speaks to you, and resonates with you. Honor yourself, and your spirit. You are worth the fight.
Thank you for reading our post. Thank you for making the commitment to love yourself, as you continue on your journey. You are doing incredible work!
With love and light,
P.S. Don’t forget to…
-Use your 28 Days to Self-Love Checklist
-Keep up with your Mirror Work
-Practice your affirmation & visit your goal
-Be gentle with yourself
-Keep in mind I am available for life coaching and card reading services – just in case you want to talk with someone 🙂