Crazy isn’t always “crazy”

Alright, so now that we have all established that I am at least slightly crazy I’ll continue on. Actually side note, I’d like to take a moment to address the word “crazy”. I HATED the word crazy for the longest time and I think because it is always used in such a negative and demeaning way but crazy can also be good. I think that’s why I decided to use the word crazy more casually about myself is because for me that helped to destigmatize the word. I used to cringe every time I hear, “You’re acting crazy” or “You sound crazy being so jealous”. Crazy was a gross word. Like moist. Actually moist is just disgusting. Don’t get me started on moist. But rant avoided, crazy doesn’t have to be a bad word. Embrace your crazy and decide that a certain word won’t hurt you.

Today what I really want to touch on is insecurity. This is something I struggle so much with and something that I think most people and especially most women struggle with on a very regular basis. There are a lot of different areas where you can feel insecurities and they can present themselves in a lot of different ways. For example, I have a very irrational fear of voicemails. Now let me say, there is ZERO reason for this. I have never had a traumatic voicemail but for some unknown reason I am always terrified of voicemails and that someone is going to be angry with me over a voicemail. Hence irrational fear of voicemails. So heads up, if you need to get a hold of me and you call and I don’t answer, send me a text. Actually no, leave me a voicemail. Maybe exposure therapy will help here.

I am also extremely insecure when it comes to appearance and physical fitness. This causes me to go through cycles of all in where I’ll work out twice a day and obsess about missing a workout and when I miss a workout I get very in my head and end up missing the next week because I just kind of give up on the whole thing. What I am trying to do now is just do things because I like it and I like the way it feels not because I want to look a certain way. I mean if it happened to make my arms toned and thinner looking I wouldn’t complain but I am really trying to just accept my body for the good parts and the not so great. Before I ever realized that I struggled with these kinds of things I went through a phase where I worked out like a crazy person for a year, barely drank (and we all know I love wine) and was very restrictive on my eating. I LOVED the way I looked and I was also a solid 25 pounds lighter than what I am right now but I am fine with the way I am now. I eat what I want, I work out when I want, and I have a glass of wine when I want. No, it’s not perfect and I absolutely still think, “ahh should I really eat this” and then I think, WHY NOT?! One chocolate bar is not going to make my butt the size of Saturn’s rings.

Relationships are another very large source of insecurity for me. As much as I wish that I was that cool, go with the flow, I’m confident and nothing bothers me person, that is just not who I am. I constantly worry that there’s someone better out there or someone that would be a better fit. Someone who wouldn’t have meltdowns from time to time or someone prettier, a better cook, likes to clean more, the list goes on and on. These insecurities don’t just apply to romantic relationships either. They can completely apply to friend relationships too. I continue to struggle a lot with these types of insecurities and Andrew and I have talked about that they have been a huge source of the starts of our fights in our relationship. It’s tough from both sides – being the one who feels insecure and like you’re not good enough but it’s also tough from the side of the person who feels they need to provide constant reassurance. It’s a balancing act for sure.

I wish I had some miracle self help here’s how to cure your insecurities type of advice for you, but the truth is there isn’t one. There is no cookie cutter way to deal with insecurity and sometimes it’s just something you need to have an ongoing rationalized dialogue with yourself in your mind. And trust me, in my experience at least, sometimes there’s just no way to rationalize with that bitch in your head and sometimes you need to just accept that too. Beating ourselves up is getting us nowhere. The other thing to remember is insecurity doesn’t necessarily mean anxiety. Insecurity is a totally normal part of every day life. Sometimes it’s getting over those insecurities that can make things just a little more exciting too.

 

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Only crazy people need counsellors

Thank you for the love and support opening up about my story. It’s truly amazing when you finally open up how many people so close to you struggle with the same issues and we all walk through each day with a silent struggle.

But I’m sure no one came to hear me gush about my friends and family so let me tell you about my step 2. Real rock hard solid bottom.

I tried to kill myself, with a kitchen knife, with my boyfriend in the same room. This was my rock bottom. Up to this point I had screaming panic attacks where I couldn’t breath laying on the floor, I cut my wrists but always superficially because I truly was scared to die as much as I thought that’s what I wanted but then one day my rock bottom snuck right up on me and boom there I was. Holding the knife and ready to use it.. I was also hurting one of the people that I cared most about.

By this point my depression and anxiety were no longer just affecting me but having a significant toll on the people closest to me. My mom took weeks off work prior to this to be by my side every waking minute and I appreciate her so much for it. When my mom couldn’t be there one of my many best friends were always there, making sure I was okay. And for the most part I could put on a brave face if not to soothe myself but at least to soothe my loved ones. I genuinely got to the point of thinking it was easier for everyone if I wasn’t around which in hindsight is ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS. The thought now of putting those people through the hell of losing a daughter, a best friend, a partner, it’s what makes me hold on when I have a bad day.

Before the kitchen knife incident I had written my suicide notes, one to my mom, one to Andrew, and one to my friends. I hoped in some way they would understand and forgive me for not being stronger. What I also realize now was that I did not want to die. I just wanted the pain to stop. There is a huge difference between these things now which I realize that at the time they seemed like one in the same. The only solution. If there is one thing I wish would have gotten through to me sooner it would be that there are so many solutions out there and I was the one making myself alone but I most definitely wasn’t alone.

At this point I adamantly refused to go to a hospital after Andrew stopped me from doing something horrible to myself and the only reason I refused was because I was embarrassed. What if someone found out, what would work think, will everyone look at me as the crazy girl?! I should have gone to the hospital. I’m sure I could have gotten on the correct med dosage a lot quicker if I had but one thing that never changes is what a stubborn dumby I can be. What that incident did do though is pushed away someone who was only trying to help me but didn’t know how, Andrew. He was scared and I don’t blame him but at the time I most definitely did and I felt like he was abandoning me when I needed him most.

What this horrifying experience led me to was this:

STEP 2: start counselling. Well this was probably the most mortifying thing to think about at the time. Literally my thought process – “only crazy people see counsellors/psychiatrists”. Well in my mind only crazy people try to stab themselves with a kitchen knife so maybe I was in the right place. In reality, some of the most mentally healthy and stable people see them on a very regular basis. Surprise, right?! And don’t think this was an easy step either. I cancelled appointments, no showed and made excuses not to go but when I did finally grow some balls and get myself there and trust me that first bit talking is PAINFULLY AWKWARD. Like hello, let’s small talk when we both know I’m here because I’m a basket case. Or at least that’s how I felt. I went to my first counsellor for a few months and she helped a lot and although we didn’t click I definitely recommend seeking out a counsellor. I’m still on my journey of finding the right fit for me and I’ll certainly let you know once I do find that magic connection but in the mean time I’m going to keep talking and realizing that it’s not embarrassing to get help.

How in the heck did I get myself here..

I think it’s safe to say that some people are just genetically predispositioned to suffer from anxiety and/or depression at some point in their lives and I would 100% say that I am one of those people. Ask anyone who knows me, yes I have had some very tough things happen in my life that most people wouldn’t have to deal with, but I have also had one heck of a great life (humble brag there)! I have the most fantastic, granted very small now, family who would go to the ends of the earth for me and I have some of the best friends that words can’t even describe, yet I still managed to find myself at a point of anxiety and depression last year where I was not coping and absolutely ready to kill myself to put it lightly. Guess what, THIS IS NORMAL! People with seemingly great lives, great friends, family, and jobs feel this way too!

Now, you may ask how I got from the point of spending most of my day obsessing about how anxious I was and how my life was falling apart and how I went from spending each and every day wanting to end my life to where I am at now. Guess what, I still have absolutely horrid days where I sit there and think, you know what it would be a lot easier to just not be here, the thing is I’ve learned a few coping strategies that I want to share that got me through and continue to get me through and functioning.

Let me explain my thought process on coming to realize I was having a problem to being diagnosed with anxiety and depression and to really getting help.

This began I would say around September of 2016 where I really started having a hard time and became severely depressed and anxious. Prior to this time I absolutely struggled with mental health but never to this extent. The summer of 2016 was a game-changer for me. I had the best boyfriend in the world, Andrew, who after some ups and downs is still by my side now (that’s another story in itself) and I had(have) a fantastic job with a company that I absolutely love working with old people that I also absolutely love. You’re right, this doesn’t sound like the recipe for mental breakdown… don’t worry we’re getting there. After a few years in a long distance relationship – I’m in Winnipeg and Andrew travelling between New Brunswick and Manitoba for work – we decided it was time to really set down some roots in the same city and live together full time. We set our sites on Calgary, I got a great job offer, we found a place to live, PERFECT, RIGHT?! Nope. My dream job in Regional Management came up back in Winnipeg and I was offered a position that I didn’t think could happen. Andrew was 100% amazing and supportive but that right there started my downward spiral into over thinking and over analyzing everything.

I know, I know, you’re probably still reading this thinking, okay doesn’t add up. Let me try and break it down for you for those of you who may know someone anxious but not necessarily feel these things yourself. I was already terrified about up and moving my life to another province where I had few friends, was far away from my family, and starting a whole new job. Throw in now we had to get out of a lease in Calgary, find a place to live, I was starting a job in regional management managing people who were old enough to be my parent, terrified that my boyfriend secretly hated him for wanting to work on my career (which might I add was completely unjustified, he was super supportive and even picked the place we moved in to) well I was right on my way to breakdown-ville.

Let me skip forward a couple months to when things started to get a little more funky. Andrew and I went to Disney World that New Year’s with his family (a whole almost 12 of us I think) which for me coming from my normal holiday season of 3-4 family members was overwhelming. Before that it was also no secret that Andrew’s family and I also didn’t see eye to eye which caused a lot of fighting for us during that trip. Needless to say that trip ended up in me leaving Florida back to Winnipeg and Andrew staying another week with his friend and family and a whole heck of a lot of back and forth fighting. Enter my downward spiral of the next few months where I fell into a funk with work, relationship, avoiding my friends. For me it was my slow and steady slope to my rock bottom. I would also like to point out here that in no way I am saying that any of this had to do with my relationship but just the timing wise (holidays are a weak point for me at the best of times) it began my slippery slope.

Now let’s enter into a few months of little to no sleep, we’re talking between 2 and 4 hours per night, my first experience firing someone at work and still adjusting to my new job role. This was the point where it hit me that the way I was going I was not going to bounce back from this one as I had from what I called “funks” in the past. No, this wasn’t just a funk, this was the black hole of my life that I was certain was sucking me in never to resurface again. Ugh, okay, yes, I am a drama queen.

Let me end off this post with telling you my step one, and believe me it was a hard step one to make. I phoned my doctor’s office and made an appointment. By this point I was having multiple panic attacks a week, curling up on the floor, trying to hide behind my desk at work. I wasn’t functioning. I would also like to share that I had been debating making this phone call since my first year of university (6 and a half years prior to when my phone call actually took place) and the only thing I wish that I could go back and change is that I made that damn phone call years earlier and got working on my mental health at a point before it felt like it was too far gone to salvage. I would also like to point out that at this point I was SOOO embarrassed. I did not want to tell my friends, family, or boyfriend how I was feeling so I made the appointment unbeknownst to anyone.

BEING EMBARRASSED IS TOTALLY NORMAL but you have absolutely nothing at all to be embarrassed about. In fact, this should be a celebration that you have the courage to say “Hey, I’m not doing okay. Maybe I should talk to someone about it.” You should jump up and down screaming how freaking awesome you are. But instead, it’s embarrassing and it sucks. I get it.

Stressing out is totally freaking normal

Hi there, my name is Brandi. I’ve puttered around with the idea of starting a blog for a while now and I finally decided that since I’ve struggled a lot with mental health throughout my life and been very inspired reading other’s takes on it that I might as well share my experience and really let you know how freaking normal feeling like that is. Not everyone’s experiences are the same and I’d be the first to tell you that but I hope from reading this you can find something that will help you or maybe help you understand just a little better what someone else may be going through. Thanks for joining me!

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