Story of rediscovering my issues with speaking

I overheard a conversation that was something about a child who decided to not talk as often because other kids couldn’t understand him. A comment was made about how lonely the child must feel.

I can relate to the child because I became that person in most situations. Only my tiny circle of friends knew how much I liked to talk.

Unfortunately growing up, I couldn’t grasp the concepts my speech-language pathologist  was trying to teach me. Or it might have been that the techniques I was trying to learn wasn’t the right ones. Plus, I am very stubborn and I probably didn’t want to learn a new way of talking.

I still struggle with annunciation, opening my mouth wider when talking, and slowing down.

It has been suggested by two people that are in separate parts of my life to think about see a speech language pathologist. They’re both worried about job interviews and work environments. I don’t know if I will actually try to find one to see.

I saw the speech language pathologist during my preschool years up to around 6th grade. It didn’t look like I was improving so I decided to stop.

So I just looked up different speech disorders which is something I have never done. Not sure why I haven’t. Probably because I made peace with having a speech impediment.

I watched a youtube video of a girl who has apraxia and she sounded similar to me.

I am not claiming that I have apraxia over myself but it does help with trying to figure out I should go see a speech language pathologist.

Apraxia is a motor speech disorder. The messages from the brain to the mouth are disrupted, and the person cannot move his or her lips or tongue to the right place to say sounds correctly, even though the muscles are not weak. (http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/ApraxiaAdults/ )

Learning about apraxia has stirred up emotions such as relief because I somehow never thought of not being able to speak well could be caused by a malfunction in my brain. I used to say I had a speech impediment but as some point I stopped. Not saying I am going to starting using the term again. I blamed people not understanding me because I knew I talk really fast, quietly, and do not annunciate well.

I have known I need speak slowly and more clearly. In situations where I am nervous or excited, I have hard time making myself slow down and try to be more clear.

I remember quite a few time during my freshman year of high school (years before and after as well but freshman year is the most clearest), many times people chose to laugh instead of asking for clarification or for me slow down.

My issues with speaking has affected me seeking help for my anxiety and depression. I hadn’t realized that until today. They may not have a major affect but they were part of why I took so long to seek help.

 

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Breaking the silence

Because of other’s opinions and concerns.

Because I chose to be numb for so many years, I have been afraid of what emotions would come from letting myself process.

Because I am not the best writer.

I share my story because I know my voice matters. My story matters. I matter.

And  because I want others to be brave enough to share their story in any context they choose to do so. I want others to know they have a voice that needs to be used. They have a story that needs to be told. I want others to know they are worthy.

My story may not involve anything dramatic such as abuse, divorce, addiction, or any other thing that people find serious or worthy of being considered hardship in normal society’s eyes.

I had a normal southern childhood. Grew up in church. Grew up in a two parent household. Spent every major holiday with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I even saw my extended family that more than major holidays. I had friends in my neighborhood that I either walked or biked worry free. We left our doors unlocked for many years.

I lived the middle class white family life. None is this is wrong.

These are just some bits of my childhood.  I want to share more just not sure where to start. I am going to try to set up a schedule to write more of my story. In doing so, I hope to get better are knowing what to include and know what’s unnecessary and doesn’t need to be included.

Another reason I want to share some of my story is because I hope to write a book in the future.

 

 

 

What I need to hear and what you might need to hear

You are enough.

You are not your mistakes.

You are not defined by your mistakes or your past.

You are loved.

It is okay to not have it all together.

Talking helps.

People care about you and love you.

People will meet you in your mess.

People will celebrate your successes.

You are not a burden.

Your feelings are valid.

It is okay to fail as long as you continue to try and/or willing to try a new way or new things.

You will get there.

It is okay to walk away from unhealthy situations and relationships.

 

 

The beauty that counseling and meds have done

Here’s the quick update.
I have been seeing my therapists consistently for a month now.
I have been taking anti-psychotic medicine for two months.
I had to request a change in mg for the dosage.
I feel like I have my life back!

Okay, now on to the meaty details.

It took one long year of being at my weakest after a decade of struggling to do it my own while relying on God. There was a moment during the earlier years where I asked God why. There have been many moments in the year of 2015 that I had asked God if I only needed him then why couldn’t he just take me to heaven.

In those moments in when I knew my strength was dwindling and I had to seek help. I knew I couldn’t just journal, blog, talk to people, try to change my thoughts or mood, or ignore my thoughts or mood. I could no longer push the thoughts, feelings, or mood down and become numb.

I know that God is the only reason that I am still alive. God has shown me so much mercy and grace. He has given me the desire to work with individuals who have been trafficked. This passion has helped me continue to seek my degree in psychology. As of June 2016, I will completed all coursework required to get my bachelors.

Being diagnosed with anxiety and depression and now with the help of counseling and medicine, has given me freedom in knowing that things are on the road to a more balanced, happy life.

I allowed the unspoken stigma cultural of saving face is more important than happiness. That if I act, do, and look the right way then I will be happy. Culture focuses on the outward appearance with no worry on the inner workings of an individual. There seems to be a slow change the cultural atmosphere that is helping show that mental health is important.

There have some who still only belief the stigma when think of mental health. I am fighting along meaning people to break the silence and end the stigma of saying mental illness but to day mental health. We are also working raise awareness of the many areas that fall under mental health. We are working to eliminate the barriers that cause many to not seek help and loose hope.

There are still moments where my anxiety and depression take over where I feel trapped but now I am working on coping mechanisms. It is a trial and error thing and I have high hope that one day I will be able to handle those moments so that I can back control of my life.

Those moments now only last a couple of hours where there used to be days, sometimes even weeks where there seemed to be only darkness.

During those days/weeks were where I couldn’t stop myself from thinking I was not seen, worthy, or heard. I couldn’t stop myself from only thinking about what people were doing and thinking I was not thought or that no one wanted me to be around them. it was a vicious cycle.

God has given me the desire of deep community and the intimacy that a group of people has when they live life together. The desire to be a vital part of the church. The desire to reach the ones who come in hoping someone doesn’t comment on their worn shoes or asking where have they been because they don’t want to share that they barely have enough money to cover the necessities or they had to work to pay for their necessities. I want to reach the ones who are walking in hoping that someone greets them the same way they would an old friend. I want to reach the ones have felt or thought any of the feelings or thoughts that I have had when entering.

i want to do this other places than the church. I just know that God has given me a deep desire of the church being a family.

If God had meant for it to be just you and him then why create the church? Why gather at all? Why server together? Wouldn’t we just go and tell about God on own?

I would attempt to apologize to all the people I have hurt with my anxiety and depression mind but I know that there are many in the background or in the chain of communication that have been affected. I am not even sure if I need to apologize.

I do need to say a thank you though.

Thank you for your patience.
Thank you for the ones who I have been open with.
Thank you for praying for me.
Thank you for reaching out. [even if I haven’t come to you]
Thank you.

Remembering the hard moments is hard yet necessary

For a moment, I didn’t want to be reminded someone I personally knew took their life eight years ago. Every year, I wonder why it still impacts when we never really knew each other. One of the few things that connected us is the reason he is gone.

That reason is a mental illness.

I wasn’t close enough to him to know the details. The only real interaction we had was a week in the summer of 2007 at a church camp. I opened up to the group I had come with. I have no idea what I said but it must have been about feeling depressed or something along those lines. At the end of the week, he wrote me a note [my group writes a letter to each person at the end of the week each year-I’m not sure they still do.] and at the end said something along the lines of I could call me anytime if needed. He put his number on the card.

I never called.

I can recall one time we passed in the hallway at school. I can’t recall if he said anything but I know it was too quick for either of us to say much. I don’t recall saying hey or responding. I don’t why but I recall that moment every time I think of his death.

The other moment I always recall is the day of his death. I’m not sure if I had gotten a text or just had a feeling but when I walked into the living room and my sister told me the news, I said I know the I went for a run.

That is all I recall from that day. I know it was a few days before school started back.

I remember the day of the funeral. I remember leaving school with two friends. I remember seeing  a younger boys’ soccer team who he had helped coach. Every year, I think about how do you tell a child someone they knew and looked up to took his own life.

I recall several moments reflecting on why I hadn’t called. On why I hadn’t given him much thought over the months between that week in the summer of 2007 and that day in January of 2008.

It was his choice no matter what other people did or said to try to help him.

Eight years is a long time.

This day being the first one where I have taken action towards my mental health in a positive way. In years past, there were many reasons why I didn’t seek help.

Pride. Shame. Fear. Stigma. Saving face mentality. Choosing to be numb. Use of substances.

These are reasons why I struggled to want to start the road to recovery.

It seems fitting to officially [social media wise] say that I did go to that counseling session in December and I did see the psychiatrist as well. I had my follow up with my psychiatrist today.

I was nervous that I wouldn’t be completely honest with her. I am being treated for moderate anxiety and moderate depression. The meds I was prescribed have seemed to make the anxiety better but I seem to lack motivation. I am going to see what increasing the mg does in hopes that I will have days where I want to do something other than binge watch shows.

I didn’t want to remember the pain that his death caused but I have realized that I need to. Remembering his death also means remembering the aftermath. Again, I wasn’t close to him or his family so I only saw tid bits of how they dealt with his death.

His death affected many. I know the many reasons people say why people choose to take their own lives instead of continuing to choose to fight their mental illness. I don’t know what his thoughts or reasons were but I do know there has to more conversations about mental health. I know there something has to change. I know there are many people and organizations who are fighting to change to conversation and fighting the stigma. I am part of the community of stigma fighters.

Here are some links if you’d like more info on mental health and how to fight the stigma:

National Alliance on Mental Illness – http://www.nami.org/

Active Minds – http://activeminds.org/

To Write Love On Her Arms – https://twloha.com/find-help/local-resources/

http://www.mentalhealth.gov/

Tiny review of the year in regards of my mental health

To say that 2015 has been the hardest yet is saying something but when talking about my mental health, it is spot on. My mind has been a jumbled mess that I’m just now trying to find a way to manage.

One of my strengths is that I adapt to situations quickly with ease. This has been a major weakness when it comes to my mental health. During my spring 2015 semester, I hit my lowest of lows. Those are the moments when I was in denial and couldn’t admit to myself that I was suffering from depression and needed help. There were many days spent in my bed and hardly ate anything. I let deadlines pass. I allowed for myself to believe that somehow I was okay and could handle it.

My symptoms got worse that semester. I remember one time when I was waiting on the JagTran [shuttle on my college campus] where I noticed a complete change in my mind. My thoughts and emotions changed to complete sadness and negative emotions. I was fighting back tears because I felt like if I started then I wouldn’t be able to stop.

Even though I was part of Active Minds which is an organization that fights that stigma surrounding mental health, I couldn’t get myself to seek counseling or actually talk to someone about what was going on. I mention something to a friend or two but I downplayed it all and said all the right things like I planned to set up an appointment to see a counselor. I finally did  in September 2015.

I did go to the counseling session but canceled my second one that was supposed to be a week later. I didn’t set up another one until the beginning of December 2015. I  also saw a psychiatrist and have been taking meds for about 3 weeks now.

I am still adjusting to the meds so some days, my mind is fuzzy and I feel numb a lot. I also lack motivation so I plan to mention this all to my psychiatrist and see if  I need to adjust the levels of what I am taking or just give it more time.

I am still trying to find the balance of how much to share with people and on social media. I want to be vulnerable but I also want to protect myself. I want to be true to myself as well give reason for people to be curious enough to ask how I am doing or want to approach me to get to know and be there for me other than being a prayer warrior on my behalf.

I’ve realized that when I am talking to people, I have hard time being completely honest. It’s a subconscious thing. I’ve come to realize that I seek the approval of others more than I realized.

In the year of 2016, I hope to find my support system and for me to take time to make sure they know that they are my support system. My family is unfortunately not. My family is there for me and love me and support me but they aren’t the ones I turn to. They are the ones who I feel don’t truly understand or get what is actually happening. I don’t think they get it.

Depression is confusing and messes with you.

There is no clear, concise answer

The problem when you just take one day at time is that you don’t realize how long is been since the start of the struggle. You can plan all you want. You can set goals. None of it matters if you are not able to accomplish anything.

It’s all up to you. You choose your destiny. Whatever happens, you are responsible for your actions.

But not everyone has a choice. Some people’s brains perform differently.

I have blood taken to be tested for anemia, thyroid, and hormone levels. Waiting on results.

I am frustrated with myself that I would rather one of those issues be the root reason for whatever is going on mentally instead of whatever mental illness I have to be the root issue. I am frustrated by it because this is one of the stigmas that are associated with mental illnesses. I am part of Active Minds at South and one of our things is working to eliminate stigmas that are associated with mental illness.

Mental health is important and is in its own category as is physical health is.

I set the goal of consistently going to counseling this semester. – Fell way short.

I set the goal that every student sets which is turn in assignments, take quizzes/tests, and do well in their classes – Have met that goal in one of my classes but fell short in two of my classes.

I hoped that I would take action this semester and not get behind but I couldn’t get my mind or emotions to work with me to do anything other than survive. There were moments in the beginning that I was strong and thought I had control. Also in the beginning of the semester, there weren’t as many things that needed to get done as it always goes every semester.

I was confident and my avoidant coping mechanism was on full strength mode for the majority of this semester.

I have had the desire all semester and still do to do well in my classes. Like I have mentioned on my social media accounts, my strength has been fading. The past month has been extremely difficult. I don’t know how to explain it. No triggers. –Seasonal Affective Disorder? Maybe, I don’t know because I have had rough moments this whole year and many rough moments for many years.

I wish I could give a clear, concise answer. That would most likely help me know what steps to take. But here am I writing a jumbled blog trying to explain why I haven’t reached out or took action earlier. There is more I could say. More I probably should say.

Have I found my resting place?

My automatic response to when connections seemed to no longer be bounded is to run. I have run from church to church, group to group. Some happened suddenly and some happened slowly over time.

I am tired of changing churches when it seems like I am worthless and a burden. That has unfortunately has happened too many times. I don’t want to say specifically what happened at each church because it doesn’t matter.

I don’t even want to talk about why I have fought to stay put at the church I am at for the majority of the time I have attended. I have been there for a little over two years.

I haven’t gotten the chance to directly experience what the family that is called the church yet. Maybe my expectations of a church family is too much. Not exactly sure where they all came from.

When people talk about the church family, I hear things such as living life together, being there for each other, willingly to walk through the dark and hard times with each other among other cliches that many who have attended church have heard.

I have noticed that people are good at doing those things when it is with the people you know are have known for a while.

I get it. It can be scary to go the unknown. To be willingly to go through things with people you barely know through dark times. It is hard to try support someone who hasn’t experienced direct support.

I don’t know why I have such a desire to be active in a church but it’s there and I have been searching. If that desire wasn’t so strong, I would have left the church the long time ago and would have given up trying to finding one.

I do have an amazing community in RUF.

I know one of my major flaws is that I don’t open up to others when I am currently suffering or in a dark place.

I have tried not saying certain things because I don’t want people to make quick conclusions. I write blogs because I don’t want to be a burden to anyone by sharing what is going on. i choose to share personal things [to an extent] on this blog so that people can choose to hear about my life if they want. I don’t want to force someone to have listen to me.

I don’t want to be a burden.

I know that my mindset isn’t in the place to seek people out. So this is my plea for you to reach out. I know some might think I am seeking attention and if you gave it to me that it wouldn’t help me. [I don’t know] I’m pleading for you to reach out because I am not exactly sure who to trust. Even if you reach out, I might be hesitant to tell you anything. I ask you to keep at it. To be patient. To keep getting in contact with me.

I know that this seems to be putting pressure on people and that I might be upset if you don’t reach out then I will somehow lash out. I am trying to get better at how I handle disappointments. I know I might have accidentally or subconsciously purposely called people out on here without specifically naming the person or group; that is how I coped. Sorry to the people/groups who I have done that to.

I wish I could say I was strong enough for it to just be God and me but God didn’t create us to be alone on earth.

I have gotten so much support from RUF and it has helped a lot.

Unfortunately I am still struggling to go to people in the moments of anxiety and depression but working on it. Please pray for me doing this time.

I know there are others out there that have felt similar. Know that you are not alone. Seek help. Speak out.

Struggling to learn when and how to let go

When entering friendships, I tend to latch onto the ones where there is a connection. It takes a lot for me to walk away. I am usually unhappy for a good while before I choose to inflict anymore hurt onto myself by continuing to put myself in situations with friends.

I struggle with the fear that I will never be able to commit to anyone if I choose to run therefore I stay. I think that is honestly why I am okay with being single. I also fear that I enter an abusive (verbal, emotional, and/or physical) relationship and won’t be able to get myself out.

And there is how I feel about myself most of the time:
-Not worth anyone’s time
-Not worth anyone’s heart
-Not worth sharing my time
-Not worth sharing my heart
-Not worthy
-A burden
-A failure

Truth to the lies that are the cliché Christian answers with reality:
-I am adopted but still have past hurts as well a lot of issues.
-I still have a brick wall up; even between myself and all the stuff I have not dealt with because I cope by distraction and avoidance.
-No matter how much I dislike that the thought, I may need to revaluate the timeline of the next few years
-Sacrificing your possible happiness/feeling complete is not worth this pain or frustration.

I know I am not the only who struggles with these things. My stuff might be different from others but we all struggle with something. Some are more willingly to be open about their struggles while others protect with their life; so let’s be understanding of how each other decides to share. Let’s be open to differences.

I’m struggling. Repeating the cliché crap isn’t helping. It’s actually making it worse.

The worst thing is that sometimes, I’m not in control what happens in my brain or what happens to my emotions.

I apologize in advance for possible TMI

Unexpected changes throw you for a loop. Hopefully, most of them are changes for the good or bring happiness to your life.

Unfortunately, the unexpected ones do not bring good emotions. It usually means there has been some kind of tragedy. This time, this change has caused this week to be difficult.

Useful techniques of the past couldn’t touch this week.

Now that I am starting to make it sound like it is bigger deal than it actually is, let me share what I have dealing with.

It started off with me having no appetite and nausea while blaming it on the rain and slight weather change. Later that day, I started my period but didn’t connect the two. My periods are typically mild. They usually last 3 days will mild cramping. I have had a few where I experienced some terrible cramps and backaches but not every single month.

I know that you’re probably thinking “don’t say your week was ruined by your period” but actually, it might have.

I have been lucky to have easy periods. Only the past year has it been causing problems.

I have noticed negative psychological effects that have accompanied majority of the months.

Until this week, I didn’t know that nausea was associated with menstrual cycles.

During the evening of the second day, I started to experience somewhat intense cramps.

I think I now understand when some women have told me that their cramps were so bad they would miss school or work.

I plan to get my hormone levels check soon to if they are the culprit.

Side note: Not sure why I am writing this blog in a choppy manner but we shall continue…

What made all of that make me week difficult because it caused me to hardly eat which has caused my body to have the typical side effects=fatigue, concentration difficulties, irritability, and headaches. I haven’t been able to my school work. I have struggled to remember that feelings of despair is most likely the hormonal imbalance.

Writing this out it sound not like a big deal but it threw me a curve ball and I am trying to recover.

I have a feeling that I have had hormonal imbalance for years but the levels have just gotten higher with age.

In the past, I have made it sound like my family and friends don’t show that they care and are here for me. I am sorry family and friends to make it look like I put all the blame on you. That was and is not my intention. I know thinking back that it has caused other family members to go to other family members and try to put an unnecessary burden on them to keep an eye on me or check up on me. There family members on the receiving end knew me well enough to know that I was making it sound worse than it was. And that it was all in my head and emotions.

I have unintentionally played the blame game many times in subtle ways. Please forgive me family and friends as I try to find grace to trudge the past in hopes of bringing healing. To also learn to develop grace for the present as well and finding acceptance of the many things I have ignored for many years.