My Battle Never Ends; It Just Makes Me Stronger

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For those who think a battle’s won after help is received, you’re wrong. It takes longer than that, whether you like it or not. Just use my story as an example:

If you haven’t yet seen, or heard, what I went through in 2012 I’ll give a brief run-down.

Last February was a difficult time. I had a friend notice my depression and, like most people, got scared and left me. That was the breaking point, but I’d been suffering for awhile. My parents noticed and helped me set up counseling sessions.

Entering my first session, I had no clue what to expect. I’d only told 1-2 close friends what all I’d been through. And their willingness to talk was exactly the thing I needed.

Look, battling any mental illness isn’t easy, but trying to do it alone is pretty much impossible. Having people to share good times (and even bad) with helps make the pain less.

However, it doesn’t completely go away. I’m now one year and three months removed from starting that battle and, though I’ve completed counseling, there are still bumps in the road.

In my darkest days, these would make me give up on everything. That included living my life. But now, I take a few minutes (or hours) to myself, listen to an inspirational speech or good song, and realize life is for living.

Another important thing my battle taught me is that every obstacle faced serves as motivation to keep going. Basically, depression itself isn’t easily overcome. The tough times prove worthwhile though, as you learn how to beat any kind of adversity.

It’s no secret that depression takes a toll on both yourself and others. That being said, the way you handle things is huge. Personally, I’ve learned that while this battle never truly ends, the difficult times will just make me stronger as a human being.

There’s even a possibility that my story might be an inspiration to others along the way, something I’d truly love considering raising awareness for mental health is incredibly important to me.

 

 

Reflecting Back On My Journey One Year To The Day

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Last year at this time I was a complete emotional wreck because a friend of mine had cut off all communication with me. This led to me realizing her final words, “Get help soon. You’re depressed.” were spot on.

With that being said, those words and her leaving me at the time (though we now are speaking again) allowed me to realize that I did need help.

As scary as it was, one year ago today (Feb 15th, 2011) I began the process of getting help for my depression. It wasn’t easy–not even close–and took lots of time. However, having my family (and friends) by my side the whole way made it a bit less scary.

A lot of valuable lessons were learned through my months of counseling as well, from reconnecting with my childhood dreams (which right now have me writing about the Tampa Bay Lightning for RantSports.com) to enjoying time spent with family.

It doesn’t stop there though. I also was taught that positive thinking, along with working hard, can make dreams come true. Yes, I’m still limited by not being able to drive but there’s ways around it. Special shout out to my ex-boyfriend, though still good friend, for making my dream of meeting/getting a picture with Lightning star center Steven Stamkos come true a couple months ago!!!

Yes, I still have my tough moments, but they don’t keep me down for months. I take a few minutes (or hours sometimes) to reflect before getting back on my horse, ready for a new adventure!! Honestly, my belief now is “Don’t wait for opportunities to land in your lap, but also seize every chance you get like it’s the last!” Also, “Chase your dreams like there’s no tomorrow!”

In conclusion, I think the journey that began one year ago today has made me a better person. It wasn’t easy so I won’t lie and tell you it is but the results received, at least in my particular case, are a million times better than they were. With that being said, I urge anyone going through depression (or any mental illness) to please, PLEASE seek help. It could end up saving your life, or at the very least, improve its quality!!

I’m STILL Standing!!..Reflecting Back On 2012

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As 2012 comes to a close, all I can say for sure is that it was a roller coaster full of huge highlights and seemingly devastating setbacks. Regardless, I’m still standing which means I made it through!!!

It began with meeting a friend and yes, fellow hockey fan, for the first time in person back in early February. I had an amazing time and night but alas, like most good things in life, it had to come to an end. Just about 10 days later we went our separate ways but she left me with a few words of advice that still ring in my ears today. Unfortunately, the split initially sent me spiraling downhill. However, it forced me to face, and finally conquer head-on, a past demon of mine–depression.

I won’t lie–Heading into the beginning of counseling I was scared to death with little idea of what to expect. After a few months which saw many tears shed and weights lifted off my shoulders though, I felt I was able to handle much of what life threw my way.¬†Little did I know just how much my newfound strength was going to be tested just mere months after.

It began with a trip to the doctor in June because of a never-ending, hacking cough that had been lingering for months. It turned out to be bronchitis, I got medicine and thought I was good to go. It wasn’t though as my doctor also ordered an echocardiogram, indicating she thought I might have a heart murmur. After months of worrying I got the echo done and things came back negative which was a good thing. Didn’t ease the energy I spent stressing for many, many months though.

After that, I got numerous blogging and writing opportunities. While I faced some rejection I was able to quickly bounce back, something that helped me land a bunch of other opportunities. I also had a friend move back from California– we went out a couple times– and was able to watch my two stepsisters graduate from Florida State University. I wouldn’t trade any of that for the world!

As one can see, I had my share of troubles in 2012. I refuse to focus on those though, preferring instead to look toward the future, focusing on what 2013 has in store for me as it should be even better!!!

Curveballs Thrown and I’m STILL Standing!

Well, I’ve been through some tough, even crazy, times the past few months. I’ve had my will tested over and over and over again. I guess that old saying “What Doesn’t Kill You Just Makes You Stronger” is pretty accurate!!!

For instance, in a one week period during the past month I found out my AOL account had been hacked and the NHL had made me think we might have a season after all just to find out all negotiations were halted and no deal made. To top that off, I honestly felt like I didn’t belong, or wasn’t welcome, in my own family.

Let me tell you, that wasn’t easy to realize. Yes, it’s partially my own doing because I don’t have much in common with much of the world because I don’t know much of anything besides hockey and all of my sisters, as well as my parents, had something in common with someone in the family other than themself.

Through all that stress I realized I couldn’t hold my pain and tears in any longer. As much as I try to put on a brave face and not tell my mom how I feel most of the time I had to tell her this time. Surprisingly, she was more understanding than I’d expected and didn’t get mad when I started crying while trying to tell her. That really helped!

Also, I’ve taken to finding ways to occupy myself without the NHL. It’s not easy; it probably never will be for me; but I’m doing it. Tonight I found an old playoff hockey game from nine years ago and gave myself a history lesson because, quite honestly, I had nothing else to do and I had to see some form of hockey. I’ve also picked back up on my writing and am trying to find non lockout-related things to write about.

Finally, when I sense myself beginning to get a little depressed I find ways to busy myself or, if nothing else, I re-read my story of that long road I traveled just eight and a half months ago. Also, I recently wrote an article spotlighting mental illnesses impact on the NHL and how it affects everyone today. It’s important to realize that mental illness can strike athletes just as much as it does normal people.

Anyways, doing these things has not only made me feel useful, like I’m helping others, it’s also saved me another trip down a road I NEVER want to travel again!

Healing Powers: That’s what a Short Memory does

A few days ago at this time I was at the lowest of lows. Finding out I’d been removed from one of the hockey sites I’d been writing for because my writing wasn’t quite up to their standards was very tough to handle. In the past, that kind of rejection would have sent me into a deep depression. Not this time though!

This time, though I did get a little teary eyed at first, I was able to quickly bounce back. Within two hours I’d begun the process of applying for a different blogging gig, this time with 110sportztalk.com. Less than 24 hours later I’d been accepted and was thinking of topics for my first couple of articles.

I will say that having friends who immensely supported me during those few tough hours after being let go was important. However, I’m the one that had to search for new sites to write for while not getting too far down on myself.

The biggest key to my getting another chance was using a short memory. Basically, that meant I had to let go of my prior disappointment and look toward a new beginning. I did that and, if you click on this link, you can view the result.

I guess that old saying which goes something like “The past is the past; just forget about it and move on” is really quite accurate. It also saved me a trip down a path I’d rather not travel down again!

From Me to You: My Wake-Up Call

Hey.

This blog is where I plan to share with the world my recent struggles with depression, hoping that it will help others that might be going through something similar. It may not be easy for me to write but I feel it’s my duty regardless. Here’s part of my story.

 

Last summer, the hockey community lost numerous players. Some losses were just part of a freak accident but many could have been avoided. The loss that hit me the hardest, probably because of what I went through in high school, was the loss of Vancouver Canucks forward Rick Rypien on August 15th, 2011. Why did it hit me hard? I’d have to say that was because he battled depression, the same thing I battled while in high school, for many years.

Now, let’s fast forward six months to February 15th, 2012. A day that caused much hurt and pain for me but it ended up being the wake-up call I so badly needed. I had a friend leave me. In simpler terms, they cut off all communication with me because they saw I was depressed but I wouldn’t take their advice to talk to someone. Quite honestly, I thought I could handle it on my own. Losing her friendship though made me realize that I DID need someone.

Let me back up a tad.

I’d been depressed for a few months before that fateful February day but I was getting by. I seemed OK as I had a part-time job I liked and was going to hockey games as often as I could. When that fateful day occurred, and I got the text saying “I’m done. I’ve tried but you’re depressed and you need to get help soon”, I just started bawling my eyes out. Yes, a normal reaction to a chain of events..or so you think. Anyways, when my mom got home from work I was dry-eyed but very quiet. She immediately noticed and asked me what was wrong. I tried to shrug it off as nothing; something I normally do; but instead broke down completely. That was when we both realized something more than just losing that friend was wrong.

Anyways, after a day or two my mom came back to me. She said that she’d been noticing differences in my mood even before my friend cut me off. She told me that she was always there for me if I needed to talk but that sometimes you need to talk to someone other than family, a more neutral party. She then proceeded by asking me if I needed to talk to someone neutral. Honestly, I wasn’t sure but I was scared and I knew I needed to talk to someone. I told her that much and she helped me set up appointments with a counselor.

To be quite honest, seeing a counselor for the first time was scary in a way. I didn’t know what to expect, nor did I know the journey I was about to go on. As scared as I was, and as much as I thought I was alone for the most part, I realized quickly that I WASN’T alone! I also learned that reconnecting with things I’d enjoyed in the past was a good way to make me happier.

Finally, let’s fast forward to today. Six and a half months removed from the start of something that hurt me a lot, I now realize that it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. If I hadn’t had that friend cut me off I could still be battling depression.

My ordeal also taught me a lot of things. I learned that depression, or any mental illness, is not easy and not always something you can easily control. There are, however, ways to combat it. You have to be willing to help yourself, even in the slightest ways. The power of “positive thinking” works well but it also helps if you can find ways to occupy yourself.

Another important thing to remember is that people battling a mental illness need support, not to be judged. Many people view those battling mental illnesses, such as depression, as being weak and unmotivated. I’ll tell you right now that isn’t the case. We’re normal people trying to follow our dreams that hit a little bump in the road.

Now that you know what I went through I urge you to share your story, if indeed you have one. If not, please at least help raise awareness by viewing this website . Honestly, I feel that sharing what I went through might help others going through the same things. At the least I can truly say that going through what I did made me a better person.