I have been wanting to write a blog on the following topic for a few weeks. Blogging and writing for me has turned into a really important exercise. It has been good for me to process, to reflect, and to work through what I am thinking and experiencing. Writing has become therapeutic. And that is why I’ve wanted to write this specific blog.
To start with, something that not very many people know about me is that I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression during my first year of school at Luther. I had struggled with both anxiety and depression since at least middle school but didn’t get help until it had completely spiraled out of control. But don’t any of you worry (especially you mom, I know you’re reading this). I got the help that I desperately wanted and now I am doing much better. I saw a quote the other day that perfectly sums up how I see my anxiety: “my weaknesses are simply my strengths out of control.” Because of my anxious brain, I love people differently, I am more sensitive to people’s emotions, I am a better student (aka perfectionist). My anxiety is a strength. Not a weakness.
With that being said, for the first time in over 2 years, this summer I really struggled with my anxiety and in turn I started feeling the depression creep back into my life. I couldn’t concentrate on school, I didn’t want to be around people, I lost my appetite, and I was scared. What was I going to do, in Norway, by myself if I ‘got bad again’?
But when I reflect on the summer, I realize that I proved to myself just how much I have healed since my freshman year of college. I have had dark moments this summer. I have been sad. I have been lonely. I have felt utterly worthless. But in spite of my thoughts I was able to force myself out of my room, into the arms of people who cared for me. Instead of wallowing in my thoughts, allowing them to take over every part of me, I fought back. And in my opinion I have won.
I could not have done it alone. To those of you who I shared my pain with this summer, thanks for listening, without judging me and loving me. To Alexa and Payton, your support from across the pond was palpable, I still can’t believe how you both knew how to say the right thing, no matter what. To Lilith and Ksenia, thanks for always bringing me food and hugs when I needed them. Jasmin and Jauza, thanks for always distracting me and making me laugh. To our “Lillehammer group” you guys are the real MVPs. Thanks for making me put on makeup and go out…even when I REALLY didn’t want to.
The best part about this story for me? Is that I have proved I can do it. I can pack up my life in small suitcase (some would argue my suitcase was not small but I would ignore them), get on a plane and go halfway across the world and still survive! And it is a good thing that I proved this to myself because I am hoping to do it again. I got a big life to live and my anxiety is not going to stop me.
I know that some people reading this blog (haha they probably won’t read until the end) are going to roll their eyes at another person talking about their struggle with mental illness. And I will just say right now, I don’t want to hear it. It has taken a lot for me to finally write this down and now that it is written (and soon to be published), I feel great. I feel strong. And I feel like I am in control. I am not ashamed of who I am and what I have experienced. So don’t be a party pooper and keep your judgements to yourself J
New blog coming soon about the Fawcett Family’s European Adventures. Get excited folks. I have got some pretty great tales of first time European travelers…and even better selfies.