Hi friends, thanks for stopping by!
Let’s talk about our feelings today! Men- I know this may be something you pass on by but you will benefit from surrounding yourself with strong women. This week’s blog post will be a very personal topic for me and something I have been a strong advocate of. Mental health issues and integrating a positive self-love platform somehow go hand in hand for me. I hope to share an introspective insight as to what my depression, anxiety and low self-worth has looked like throughout time and I hope inspires anyone in anyway to keep showing yourself the love you deserve and continue to take on the world ~ one breakdown at a time.
FEELS. I have all the feels.
I assume because I have been told on many occasions that I have always been considered a happy girl. In middle school my nickname was “Sunshine” when I worked in the front office. I’ve considered myself a positive person for the most part while growing up. Then you turn 12 and these little nuggets of hormones start to flood your body and your mind. Strangers like depression and anxiety become neighbors, then friends over time. I denied these things to myself for a very long time because I plain just didn’t know what was wrong with me or I just didn’t want to admit it. It started for me when I was about 15 and it continues to be eternally confusing. As a young girl struggling with depression all the feels feel intensified. You inevitably go through heartbreak then add in depression + teenage hormones = literally feeling like the end of the world. At 17 it looked like not wanting to get out of your bed, don’t want to go out with friends and you think 3-4 hour naps are normal when really you’re just trying to escape reality for some reason. My mental health isn’t something to be ashamed about, but it is something that has affected me and I want to be open with you about it. I want you to know that life isn’t rainbows and filters for your perfect selfies. It isn’t pretty and unless you can be honest with yourself about your struggles, you’ll continue to struggle. I’ve learned that if we all share our insecurities they can become powerful qualities that can empower others to take the steps they need to.
For many of you, your depression can look and feel very different from mine and for some it can even be very scary at times. Depression can be small and momentary. It can also look like cutting your skin to relieve the invisible pressure building and committing suicide to escape your demons eternally. There was a point this last year where I considered suicide and the only person I told was Denis. Up to this point, I had been depressed but either ignored it (and tried to “be normal”) or it consumed me. It was especially difficult for me since people have certain expectations to stay bubbly and happy, but there was so much more going on underneath. Most days I felt fake, like I had to wear a mask throughout the day and come home and it would be overwhelming. It was a very brief moment and it was the first time my intrusive thoughts had seriously taken that option into consideration. This moment was when he was the most supportive of me and we decided for my own health’s best interest it was best to start trying meds again and seeing a therapist. I had tried meds before that hadn’t worked and it felt hopeless at one point. The special thing about depression is the inner dialogue that silently slips into your head when things are quiet. Below are a list of things I’ve told myself this past year for you to see an example..
“You’re not good enough for him”
“He’s not good enough for you”
“Your body looks so lumpy, you should take some scissors to it”
“You need to eat all of this food because maybe it will make you feel better”
“You don’t need to eat that, you’re getting gross again”
“They haven’t talked to you because they think you’re annoying”
“Why do you even keep trying?”
You may think to yourself “wow, I never would have thought Alyssa was like that“, well SURPRISE because that’s exactly what I have wanted you all to think for so long. It has worked for a very long time, but those closest to me have seen me at my worst. I want you all to know that this is what a snippet of severe depression looks like and it is quiet and sneaky and dangerous. Depression is a guilt-ridden disease. It makes you feel like you’re not doing enough, like you’re taking up too much space. Especially if you feel blessed in your life, it’s hard to understand why you feel so upset and unsatisfied with yourself and your accomplishments. It’s an battle you struggle with constantly and you have good days and bad days. It can affect those around you, I know Denis has felt helpless on many occasions. He asks how to help and my response is always “I don’t know”. That “I don’t know” is linked to so much more. I don’t know why I feel like I’m being punished. I don’t know why I’m not feeling gratitude and grateful for the sacrifices of others made for me and the ones I’ve made for myself. I don’t know why I just don’t feel like I’m enough. I don’t know why these chemicals in my brain seem to make me feel so internally imbalanced but they do. well World, I’m happy to say I’ve found the cure. It’s love.
What does a journey to from depression to self-love look like?
This journey to complete self-love is a self-indulgent one. If it makes you feel uncomfortable, then you have probably been putting others before yourself all too often. A lot of the time I find myself serving and thinking about others when my mental health is in the pooper. While serving others is very admirable, it serves no one to pour from an empty cup.
To love someone else, you should first learn how to love yourself. Some of us learn this lesson out of order or not at all but it is still an important one. To be honest with you all, I wouldn’t be here today without the incredible women who have paved the way for the conversations to be made. It seems like there are all of these sub-sections when it comes to self-love. Different ingredients needed to bake the self-love cake if you will.
Recipe for Self-Love
2 cups of new-found confidence
3 tablespoons of body acceptance (For yourself and others around you)
2 cups of positive inner dialogue
5 tablespoons of self-pampering
4 cups of divine femininity
1 white and green pill (in some cases)
Endless support system from within
Mix all ingredients together until you have found the perfect mix that makes you your most illuminous and divine self. Bake at 350 for however long it takes. Learn to love yourself through your failures. Once you love yourself, spread that love to others and teach them how to bake the cake of self-love and self-worth. Practice makes perfect.
I continue to not have together 100% of the time and THAT IS OKAY.
Failures are something to be relished in the moment and then let go of forever. You cant move forward with the extra luggage overflowed with negativity as much as we like to hoard these things. Let me say this part loud and clear: You deserve to be loved by yourself. There are some things we can’t change, like our genetics for example. But you can honor yourself be celebrating you when you need it the most.
I’m so thankful for the network of women I have been following over the past year that have brought this concept to light. They make me feel like I’m not the only one, that my husband isn’t the only one that struggles to stay positive while trying to support me. They make me feel like we all need support and to support each other. And I hope to keep building a female driven network of my own throughout this blog. If you’re interested in joining a support group led by me, please reach out. In the end, we are here to support each other and to learn from one another regardless of sex, dress size, social status and conventional beauty. I’ll post some insta handles to inspirational women below so you can see what this honesty and testimony sounds like coming from so many other women. They may not realize it, but this new generation of empowered women is going to be nothing like we’ve seen before. Thank you all for reading this post! Let me know if you learned something new or planning on baking that cake. I’d love to hear how your recipes turn out!!!
All my gratitude,
Instagram handles to follow! *just a few I follow, but some of my favs*
Bodyposipanda- Just finished her first book on body positivity and acceptance
NolaTrees- Badass woman warrior, yoga instructor and is CONSISTENTLY breaking the glass ceiling on so many constructs of what women “should be”
TheAshleyGraham- First plus-sized SUPER MODEL, Author, Body Activist
DaisyNatives- Austin based woman owned clothing company known for it’s original “Girls Support Girls” design that I’m sporting in my profile
BethennyFrankel- Instrumental in providing relief to Puerto Rico, Real Housewife, providing direct relief to women in crisis. You can also donate to her cause HERE
ScarredNotScared- Body activist, Michelle shares her stories about multiple surgeries and what cherishing out bodies looks like
Francis_cannon- One of my favorite artists right now! Her art is honest and beautiful!