World Mental Health Day | My Journey to Self Love

So, this is not the blog post that was intended to go up today. But something inside of me was calling me to write. So here I am, at 9 PM at night… writing to express what’s on my heart.

Today, October 10th is World Mental Health Day.

As we move farther and deeper into a world of transparency, openness and vulnerability… There is still so much work to be done. I want to preface this post by saying that I’m by no means a professional expert. I’m just some girl on the internet, expressing what’s on her heart in the hopes that it may shed some light on someone going through a similar situation.

I think 2018 is the year that so many stigma’s get addressed – full forced, head on. Thank god.

Let’s take this story all of the way back. Reflecting on my childhood, I think that I’ve always had a little bit of social anxiety in me. I can remember going to family parties as a child and clinging to my dad’s side or refusing to go sit with the kids unless my older brother was there to talk for me + create a safe space for me to be in.

Being adopted as a baby has inherently created this protection mask for me. I always felt like I needed to blend in, not speak up or out for the fear of being judged / called out for being different. In sixth grade, a boy in my class would yell an extremely cruel and harsh slang term for Asians across the bleachers as I’d walk in every. single. day. He’d scream it, then hide behind his friends.

Anyways, I realized that this experience made me submissive in some ways as a teenager. When people would make Asian jokes or poke fun at me, I’d just laugh along. Although inside, my heart was racing and I was holding tears back (typical me, overly sensitive).

A year earlier, my parents had divorced. I was 11 years old bouncing between their two houses every week. One week I’d stay at my dads house, the next at my moms. My life was being uprooted every seven days. I basically lived out of a suitcase traveling back and forth between their houses each week for seven years. Thankfully, they lived in the same town so it wasn’t too much of an adjustment… but never really feeling “put” or “settled” had an affect on me. I mean, what 11 – 12 year old wakes up in the morning to an empty house, cooks themself breakfast and gets themselves ready for school? My mom had to work in order to put food on our table (god bless both of my parents for being such hard workers and showing me what it means to sacrifice for your children)

I won’t bore you with all of the details, but… you can see the picture. I struggled with identity (being adopted, having caucasian parents and living this weird cultural confusion / my parents divorce and feeling shocked, lost and uprooted). Fast forward all of the way to college… I’m in my senior year and it’s time for our senior project. I studied communication in college which overlaps a lot with psychology.

One of the topics that I learned was attachment style – basically, how our outlook on the world was shaped from infants all of the way up until 3 years old. I learned that I have an anxious attachment – I attribute this to the fact that I was adopted.

Basically, I fear loss. Loss of loved ones, loss of love, loss of friendships, loss of relationships with those close to me. When I sense change, I can become overly anxious and immediately thrown into a deep spiral of anxiety. I overanalyze and overthink peoples thoughts / emotions / words / actions. I can be timid to speak up for the fear that someone may “no longer love me” or “leave me” or “care about me”.

But, at sixteen, eighteen, even twenty one years old… I wasn’t aware of this. I didn’t realize the mental reactions I was having to environmental changes. My life was always in constant change. College was the first time that I had lived in the same place for more than a week at a time without having to bounce back and forth between somewhere.

I’ve done a lot of personal development work to get to where I am today. 

I’ve gone to seminars, cried to strangers about my deepest insecurities and vulnerabilities. The work is hard. The work is tough. The work is never ending. But it’s worth it.

I’m not here to tell you “look at my story” or “look at me”. I’m here to tell you that whatever your past and your prior path may have looked like – today can be the day to turn that all around.

If you know that something’s not right. If you feel like you’ve lost control of your mind or your body… You’re not alone.

My motto of 2018 is:

SILENCE = SUFFERING

My darkest times, the nights in high school when I’d stay up until 4 am (some nights getting no sleep) feeling… anxious were all warning signs from my body that something wasn’t right. Sure, I didn’t know it then… But looking back on it my body was giving me a signal that I was not yet equipped to handle.

I want you to know that there are people and resources that are willing to be an open ear. When you speak up – about how you really feel – you create a path of freedom for yourself.

So today, I’m more away of the PHYSICAL reactions that I’m having to things. The tight stomach, the butterflies flying around in my mind, the sweaty palms, the racing thoughts. It alerts me that there’s something going on within the MENTAL subconscious of my silly little brain.

When I start to feel this way, I take a deep breath (from my gut), release the tension in my body… and walk away. I get up + move. Divert my attention to something else. Unhealthy thought patterns are my constant battle.

Anyways…

In short, what I want to say to you all is that… The journey to self love, mental health, self care, self talk, however you want to define it and whichever wording you’re comfortable with is a beautiful one. Along the way, you confront your deepest demons and find your highest light. I want you to feel empowered to ask for help, to speak up, to express.

I love you all + I’m ALWAYShere to listen. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

XO,

Emily