finding stories in airports.

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I hate flying but love traveling. Flying is hard for me - its the constant, "did you pack everything" "what did you forget" "do you have your passport". I packed and repacked my bag 4 times before a 4 day trip because I am absolutely terrified of forgetting something important and yet, I make it to the airport completely unscathed. Albeit 2 hours before boarding but at least I get to enjoy an ice cold Brooklyn lager and people watch. 

I hate flying but love people watching. I love to make up stories about their lives and pretend I know exactly whats going to happen when they leave the discomfort of a stale, crowded airport. I pretend they're going home to their loving wives/husbands/partners or that when they walk into the door at home their kids or dogs are clamoring at their feet trying to get their attention, because finally the person they love is home. I people watch because for a few moments it gets me out of my own head and transports me into a world that feels a little safer than the one I'm currently in. 

I get to pretend like everything is ok for a short while. I'm ok. My head is a little clearer and my mind is open. Its easier to admit that my depression hasn't returned and that the happiness I get from shutting the world out will last longer than a few hours.

I'm a constant work in progress and maintaining/powering through those darker days are getting easier but there are moments where I am sitting in the airport praying that things get better. I'm traveling and visiting parts of the country I've never experienced before, I should be happy and carefree yet I'm not. I'm sitting alone at a bar, drinking an ice cold beer and wondering if this will always be it for me. 

The upside is know this will never be 'it' for me. I am loved, I matter, I am needed. I have a voice, a story, a reason and all of them are worthy. 

I am worthy. 

#MENTALMONDAY - my therapy journey.

Our wounds are often the openings into the best and most beautiful part of us.

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Throughout this strange and sometimes awful struggle with depression I have learned that its okay to ask for help. It's okay to allow myself to be vulnerable - more so than normal. Its okay to do something you would normally never do - reach out on twitter and ask the people who follow you to extend their hands to pray for you. I don't like to ask for things from people I don't know but sometimes you need the extra coverage, just a few people around you who are willing to send out a prayer  during your time of need. When I sent out those tweets i began to reflect on the ins and outs of my therapy journey. How picking up the phone for the first time to ask for help was the hardest call I had to make.  I had to go outside of my protective bubble to understand that I couldn't climb my way out of the darkness without help. I found a network that worked for me - a woman who allows me to have a meltdown and gives me coping mechanisms that don't involve alcohol or binge eating.

I used to believe that seeking therapy was embarrassing - admitting i had struggles wasn't something i was used to. i always assumed i could work through my issues by myself or with my partner but last year i hit a wall. I sunk so far into my dark place I couldn't figure out where real life started and make believe ended. I contemplated ending it all because I was sick and tired of hurting and not understanding why i was hurting so bad. I couldn't for the life of me figure out how my struggle would ever go away or whether i would wake up one morning and not feel like i was physically stuck in the bed because getting out felt like a hurdle i couldn't jump. 

I say all that to say, therapy saved my life. 

I will always tell people to do your research on therapists, call you insurance company and see if they cover it and if they do (or find a therapist that works with a payment plan) sit in that chair and unload - the freedom you will gain is like nothing you can explain. I leave every session lighter because I unpack my baggage and leave it all on the floor when my hour is up. To my therapist - thank you. This last year has been nothing short of amazing, you have given me a new lease on life and the coping skills i need to make it through the hard days. thank you, thank you, thank you. you changed my life and i am lucky to have sat down in your chair.  

i am here. i am whole.

i am here.

i am whole.

i am healing, and no one has the power to take that from me. -- alex elle

these last couple of weeks have been a serious roller coaster ride full of oh shit, I'm on cloud nine and Jesus, take the goddamn wheel! i have yet to find a happy medium while dealing with my depression but i'm beginning to figure out what works for me - this, being in the moment and just sitting in front of my laptop and purging all the negative energy out helps. hopping onto instagram stories and just talking as if i'm having a conversation with myself, helps. its seeing a DM pop up and having someone respond positively with zero shade to the raw honesty i provide, helps. i find that i'm not afraid in the least to be open and honest about what i'm fighting - i am an anxious, overthinking, depressed individual but most days i am THRIVING and other days i may feel low but i'm fighting against myself to make it back on top. 

i stumbled across poet/writer/gifted individual Alex Elle on instagram roughly 6 months ago and she always managed to post affirmations right when you need them - having a down day, *poof* alex elle uploads a photo on insta. she wrote, "i am here. i am whole. i am healing, and no one hast he power to take that from me". 

i am whole. 

i am here. 

yes, i battle my depression every. single. day and some days are harder than others but goddamn it if i don't try everyday to make myself better. i work hard to pick myself up by the boot straps and keep fighting because fighting is what i'm good at - i refuse to let this mental illness defeat me. 

#MENTALMONDAY : DAILY AFFIRMATIONS.

"Today I affirm: to free myself from whatever is holding me back. I give myself permission to let go and move on without guilt." - alex elle. 


I stumbled across Alex Elle on instagram when I needed her soothing words the most. When I felt like the world was crashing down around me and things would never look up. Allow me to be unedited and so very honest,  lately i have been drowning in negativity. My personal, social, mental, emotional and all other aspects are just trending toward the red - its like CAUTION! CAUTION! please pay attention to this warning so you can get your life back on track..

I'm not sure what happened or when that sinking feeling started to creep back in but it has and while I've learned to feel and notice the warning signs so that I can begin correcting i sometimes need to allow myself to feel it. I need to hit this low point so that when I rise I can continue to show myself how much stronger I am. 

On days like today where it all feels too heavy. where staying at home sounds safer and a little bit easier. where shutting out the world stops me from feeling - i let it all in. i let the hurt, the despair and the crushing loneliness wash over me because i am learning how to free myself from ALL that is holding me back. As Alex Elle said, i'm learning how to give myself permission to let go and move on from these emotions.

My battle with depression will always be a constant work in progress but I can't and won't get better if i don't allow myself to recognize that its real. i won't get better if i don't allow myself to feel it all - even when it hurts : 

i am strong, because i have been weak.

i am fearless, because i have been afraid

i am wise, because i have been foolish. 

 

B. 

 

#MENTALMONDAY : DEATH IS A MYSTERY.

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Although life has not granted me scarcity in regard to the experiences of personal loss, death never becomes less of a mystery, and it is never any less cruel.

Originally I had planned on diving into today's #mentalmonday reflecting on where I've been and where I hope to get in regards to my mental health struggles but today took a pretty rough turn. 

One of the seniors I work with committed suicide yesterday it ignited multiple feelings within me. Some include: 

1. heartbreak

2. questioning

3. understanding

I have found that when we receive the news that someone we know or love has died our immediate reaction is sadness and heartbreak and occasionally we find solace in our anger. We're angry at how everything has turned out or pissed off at missing the warning signs - if there were any.

I have found that I'm not angry at her choices because while I have never gotten to the point where I could see this world without me in it, I can understand how someone can get to that point. I am sad that she thought life wasn't worth living anymore - that her presence wasn't felt every day by those around her. I can still hear her laughter and joy while playing ping pong and her Russian wit while hitting the staff with her zingers. Its heartbreaking and sad to know that I won't hear her voice anymore or see her walk through the door. She was a presence and my job feels a little quieter today, a little less alive and while I still catch myeslf looking at the door waiting for her to walk in and annouce herself I know she's at peace. 

If you or someone you know is struggling do not be afraid to reach out: 

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ 

1-800-273-8255

#MENTALMONDAY : DEPRESSION IS REAL.

I have a love/hate relationship with twitter. I love it simply because I am obsessed with black twitter and being able to share life experiences with millions of people all at once but i hate twitter because it gives unlicensed mental health "experts" a platform to make a cruel assessment on what depression is and isn't. Recently good ol' Andrew Tate wrote a series of tweets aka a thread on how depression isn't real (photos below) and I felt myself go cold - I was angry because some asshole told a group of individuals who's struggles are VERY real that they were fake, that all we had to do was buck up and life would get better and of course, once we start to work out, make better choices...BOOM! we're happy all over again. Andrew, you're wrong and here's why: 

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I am not fat, bald or lonely.

I am a 27 year old woman who battles with depression every.single.day. It's not pretty or poetic, its cruel and some days goddamn debilitating. It's waking up every morning hoping and praying that today will be a good day. I'll get out of bed, make my morning coffee, watch an episode on tv and go out the door with my spirits remaining high- that is a good day for me. But some days, its beginning to cry in bed because I physically can't get my legs to work to remove myself from my safe space. Its driving to work knowing I should've taken a mental health day because I can't seem to get my mind to work correctly. It's being ashamed to admit that I struggle every day even though I want to be better. It's beginning to work out with a personal training but still feeling some semblance of sadness once I leave the loudness of the gym and sitting in the car wondering if THIS will always be my life. I'm not lonely or miserable. I have an amazing family as my greatest support system who would slay dragons for me if that meant I would be happier than I have been. I have people in my corner waiting to help me fight my battles but I'm not lazy enough to allow them because I will conquer this "fake" disease on my own. {heavy sarcasm}

Since we're being candid Andrew, depression is cruel. It's this black hole you fall into that you can't put into simple terms and explain it to someone. It's living and breathing it every day but struggling to put into words what it actually means. You get to sit behind your computer and throw jokes and fake information in 140 characters or less to all of your followers that those who struggle are just unhappy with their lives and too lazy to fix it.

You are not smart, cool or informative. You are hurtful and incredibly dangerous. You are cosigning this belief that depression is fake and that those or struggle with it are liars or people who would rather use their "depression" as a crutch instead of getting their life together. Its people like you Andrew that stop those most vulnerable from wanting to come forward and talk about it. 

So I leave you with this: Be mindful of the following you have. Use it for good. Help those who are struggling but most of all, learn to be kind to those who are fighting an invisible battle inside of themselves who just want someone to care enough to let them talk. 

 

 

 

#MENTALMONDAY : DONT FORGET TO LOVE ME TOO.

You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.
— Buddha

I have to tell you, I have been told that I am incredibly difficult to love. 

The fact that it has taken me quite some time to learn how to love myself and the fact that I am still learning means that it’s hasn't  been a walk in the park for you to love me - you've told me as much..but I hope there's still a piece somewhere in there that loves me just the same. 

I have scrounged up every ounce of courage to teach myself what the essence of self-love is because I want to be loved by you. I have gathered strength along the way too. Yes, I am still fragile and maybe a little too emotional but I'm trying to figure it out. I'm trying to stand on my own two feet and not depend on you to hold me up. 

Helping me be better is a process, and you might feel like it’s taking forever but please don’t give up on me. Help me anyway - even when you look at me like you would rather be anywhere else in the world please remember I'm trying to be better than this version of Breana but all good things take time. 

When my depression or anxiety rears its ugly head please don't tell me that I'm hard to love. Remind me of all the reasons why you love me. Remind me that you love me IN SPITE of my mental illness. 

I hope you understand that in this relationship, there will be downsides, and while my downsides outweigh the good I promise you better days are ahead. 

Communicate to me the things you find difficult to handle. 

Communicate to me your feelings regardless if they’re good or bad, I need to know. 

Communicate to me your thoughts but remember your tone.

Speak to me with love not frustration. 

I can’t assure you of the time it would take for me to finally learn how to fully rid myself of the negativity and self hatred but I promise I'll continue trying. You see, self love is a life long battle. Everyday I wake up and I find reasons to love myself in spite of my shortcomings, to love myself in spite of my depression. I learn to love the little things about me. I have grown to love the spunk, the attitude and occasionally lost in my own world self. I just need you to remember why you loved her too. 

 

Amidst the uncertainties of what the future holds us, this I can assure you of—I do not believe that you can’t give what you don’t have because I may find difficulty in loving myself but never have I found it difficult to love you.

FRIDAY NIGHT THOUGHTS.

I'm sitting here sipping my Pabst trying to figure out how to translate everything thats going on in  my head onto this blank canvas. i'm struggling to find words that flow. words that make sense of the madness I've got going on. 

words don't have to be pretty, they're supposed to be ugly. that means they're real.

My depression is rearing its ugly head tonight - that inky feeling of blackness is creeping in and I feel powerless to stop it. It's in that silence while I'm sitting on the couch pretending to watch Glow but I can't get my mind to focus because all I can think about is whether or not my husband still loves me.

he loves me. he loves me not. he loves me. 

and then my mind falls further down the rabbit hole and i think back to a conversation i had with my ex co worker and i wonder if I'm truly that exhausting to be friends with - do i make it hard for people to love me because my mind doesn't work quite the same? or am i creating these thoughts in my head because i'm struggling to love myself right now? 

I'm so thankful my "dark" days are becoming few and far between but sometimes I almost forget what it's like to feel low. and while tonight is my low night i know by hitting 'save & publish' i'll feel lighter. i already feel lighter after writing these words because i'm not letting the darkness win - i'm confronting it head on and opening the conversation. 

 

I'm getting rid of the negative because i know the positives are trying to make their way back in. 

 

I'll check back in on #mentalmonday

x B