A comment I’ve seen twice, in the past two days, on my Instagram photos. And every time I see those two little words, I cringe. And then my stomach starts to turn a little bit. And then I get this overwhelming sensation where I feel like I need to give the sweet commenter every little reason as to why I’m NOT perfect. But then I take a deep breath, set my phone down, and try to forget about it. Because it’s a trigger. And I’m learning to avoid my triggers like the mf plague.
Trigger — A word I normally associated with guns. Until my therapist informed me otherwise.
Those who suffer from an anxiety disorder, know the definition of “trigger” all too well. And those who don’t, well here you go…
A trigger is an object or situation that can cause anxiety symptoms to appear.
Two weeks ago, as I sat across from my therapist, I listened to her talk about my progress. I listened while she referenced back to instances in my mental health journey. Instances, that at the time, seemed monumentally devastating; like gigantic brick walls I could never climb over. Instances that made me feel like my world was caving in. I sat there, and I listened. Calm, and collected.
I thought about all of the times I sat in my therapist’s office, on that same couch, crying, wondering why in the hell I felt so out of control. I sat there feeling so damn grateful for triggers. Triggers that lead me to discover my severe anxiety disorder. A disorder I’ve struggled with since I was a little girl. A disorder that ran my life; and for 27 years, I had no idea wtf it was.
If I could go back and give the Mattie-from-five-months-ago a hug, I would. I would sit with her, and I would tell her, “Everything WILL be ok.” I would tell her that her world was not ending; it was just beginning. I’d let her know she’d have her days, and the journey was going to be hard as hell. But in five months, she’d be calm. Calm and collected, and listening to her therapist tell her she’s a walking miracle. I would assure her she’d beat the statistics, overcome the odds, and learn what it really means to be fit. Mentally fit.
And then I heard my therapist say,
Have you ever considered blogging about all of this? I mean, you tell your readers it’s ok to not be perfect. So why not share this with them?
My first instinct was to tuck my tail and hide. I couldn’t imagine sharing this intimate detail about my life with the rest of the world. But here I am today, sharing it with all of you. It’s scary as shit, but it’s only fair…
You all read this blog; you know my weaknesses, and you know my physical struggles. But up until this very moment, you had no clue about my mental struggles. So I’m here to tell you, the struggle is very, very real.
Ok, now you’re probably wondering,
“You’ve been blogging your life for three years, and you’re just now telling us this?!??!”
Fair question. And here’s the answer — I didn’t know I was dealing with an anxiety disorder until the very end of April. And since then, my life, my attitude, my personality, and my demeanor have all completely changed. But unless you’re a close friend, or family member, you probably haven’t even noticed a difference. And that’s ok. 🙂
There are so many things about this I want to share; but if I were to share it all in one blog post, it would take you HOURS to read. So to keep it interesting, I’ll be sharing little bits of my mental health journey with you every week in this Mental Fitness Series. <3
An anxiety disorder is a common mental illness defined by feelings of uneasiness, worry and fear. While anxiety occurs for everyone sometimes, a person with an anxiety disorder feels an inappropriate amount of anxiety more often than is reasonable.
My whole purpose in sharing this with all of you is to show you how easily we forget that EVERYBODY struggles with something…even if you can’t see it. I want to share with you how I’ve learned to manage my fear, my anger, and my feelings of helplessness and doom. I want to help and encourage anyone who is struggling. (You are not alone! And it does get better; you just have to be patient.)
Because just like physical fitness, mental fitness takes time. And A LOT of effort. Therapy isn’t magic; I have to mentally put in the work every single day. It’s a conscious choice I make, and will continue to make for the rest of my life. So for those of you sweet people who tell me I’m perfect — I promise you, I’m not. I’m far from it. And I’m learning to be ok with that. (Another point I’ll touch on soon.)
Sports Bra | Leggings
Photography: Kimberly West | Alo Yoga activewear provided by Daisy Dukes
I can’t wait to expand on this Mental Fitness Series. If you have any questions, or have a specific symptom of anxiety you’d like me to touch on, please let me know!
2 Thessalonians 3:16
Stay fit, sweet friends. Xo