Disclaimer: not everyone will have the same experience as I did.
This Friday will be my "1 year" since my hospitalization for suicide ideation, and the start to my mental health recovery. This week I am focusing on the importance of self care, and suicide prevention.
There are many things we don't talk about, or put out there out of fear and judgment from others. I'm choosing to be vocal, especially starting while I'm young.
I wanted to do a post dedicated to my experience, especially for those who ask "what was it like?" This doesn't sum up my experience, which is why I titled it 'random memories-"
I sound complain-y in these, but keep in mind..I didn't want nor choose to be there and it's uncomfortable being away from your usual things, routine. It is a different living situation.
Here are some little things that come to mind. It's weird what you remember.
Again- I am just days away from acknowledging my strength this past year.
More posts to come.
Tonight's post is impulsive, unplanned, and ultimately inspired by a recent post on YogaByCandace
It had taken me a while to even begin to work on loving myself.
I never realized just how important self-love is until it was pointed out to me how I frequently put myself down.
I have amazing role models. Some of the friends I have met in high school were confident and courageous and beautifully carried their own skin with pride- and I wanted to do that too. So why couldn't I? What was I waiting for?
Those same friends inspired me to love myself inside, every challenge I overcome, and be proud to rock my "outer shell."
I was lounging about in bed feeling crummy (is that an acceptable word to use?) yes, crummy about myself. Knowing I need to exercise more, knowing I shouldn't have eaten those Insomnia Cookies when I shouldn't be eating gluten, knowing I shouldn't drink a Coke when I don't even really like soda in the first place. Knowing I need to stop picking at my face. I get so anxious and I hardly realize I'm doing it until I look in the mirror feeling ashamed. So yes, as I was feeling pretty lousy and unmotivated I scrolled through my twitter account and came across a link to a YBC blog post. Candace wrote a post about the importance of self-love. She wrote about what she loves about herself, without fear of sounding "conceited" and just to honor herself without input from another.
After reading, I felt motivated to do the same. Last week, in an interview, I answered a question by beginning my sentence with, "I don't want to sound like I'm bragging but-" First off..I tend to talk about my flaws more than my successes, and I am often worried of what people think of me. "Bragger" has never been a descriptive word for me..so why did I feel the need to clarify that? I realize, by doing so, I am also minimizing my worth. Maybe it's just who I am, and some people just don't like attention. That's okay. However, I need to give myself some curtesy. Despite my flaws, despite what anyone else thinks about me, because what I think is what matters.
I love my smile, and I love to smile. I love my eyebrows. I love my height and my curves. I love that I'm a good person. Sometimes- that doesn't feel like enough, but it is. I know that I have a big heart, and though it brings up a lot of emotions for me, I wouldn't wish to change it. I love my laugh, even when it's 'unattractive' because it makes others laugh as well! I love how I can entertain myself, even when I am alone. I love my attitude. I love my resilience. I love my honesty.
Sometimes we need little reminders from others to push us back in the right direction. In my case tonight, reading a blog post before bed. No more poo-pooing on my weight, and my occasional crappy college kid eating habits. I've gone back to yoga, I have new friends to motivate me, and I have much with myself to feel great about.
My last message to you all:
Continue to spread love everywhere you go. Start with yourself.
Those who follow my social media may know that I decided to take a break from blogging for a little while.
I got stuck, but I'm working on becoming unstuck.
With everything going on in the world, it is overwhelming.
On top of that, a family member of mine was in the hospital, and I was written down as their power of attorney.
Racing thoughts, mixed emotions, and I hadn't slept for 24 hours, still getting up to go to class..
I didn't know what to think or how to feel because I was feeling and thinking so many things at once.
I spent a few days after feeling lifeless, and sad and just crying often even when I wasn't sure why. I was watching TV with 3 close friends, and all of a sudden I just let some tears fall. I scooted back and rested my head on my friend Amanda's shoulder. In that moment it was all "Are you okay?" "What's wrong?" "Is Haley okay?" I don't like that kind of attention; those needy moments. I like being the happy, silly one. But I was overwhelmed and I just let it happen.
It's hard to talk when you don't understand things yourself. All that you know, is that you hurt.
In these times I pull out my "toolbox" of options. My self care/self help strategies.
The only one I used: Friends. I wasn't alone, I went to the movies, out for dinner, and I had continuous distractions.
Distractions only work for so long, and then you may need to face your problems to fix them.
Writing is my savior. When I'm falling out of place and can not talk much, I turn to writing. In this case, I couldn't even write. I felt lost without words and thought that was a problem. I was then told that it was okay if I couldn't write for now, and that I will feel up to it again. That helped me give myself permission to take a break from writing, instead of putting pressure on myself.
Within that time I still went to my campus counselor, and I was told I did a great job at explaining how I felt, and what was going on. I did okay without writing.
Sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to take those few steps back, and trust that we will get caught up again when we are ready to.
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How is taking a break when you feel stuck a form of self care?
A lot has happened while I have been away.
The Mighty published an article I wrote as a high school senior, and Teen Vogue republished it to their site. During a time when I wasn't writing, my writing was still being shared.
One of the comments:
Your story hit so close to home. You see I have a 14yr old and he has everyday that sounded just like yours. Just tell him he's not alone that there are so many more students that deal w these same things. Thank you for your story, gone to have him read it. It will help him alot to see that what I been saying isn't just MOM saying those words!
It's why I keep doing this. My story, can help others feel less alone.
That same week I went to an information session at the Samaritans in Boston. I have been interested in volunteering at a mental health agency/organization in the area and came across Samaritans.
From the site:
Samaritans has been providing compassionate suicide prevention programs for over 40 years. We have provided caring, non-judgmental support on over 2.5 million calls from our community’s most vulnerable individuals. We have trained over 4,500 volunteers with befriending skills that benefit them, not only in their service on our 24/7 Crisis Services, but also in their ongoing relationships and within their communities. We have provided workshops and trainings on suicide prevention to more than 100,000 individuals in human service organizations, churches and community groups. And we have supported over 10,000 individuals who have lost a loved one to suicide.
After the session, I became interested, and that same night I had an interview where I was told I would do very well there. If all is good with my schedule, I can begin training either September or next February.
I want as much experience as I can so I can be a successful and knowledgable social worker, as well as a better human being in a world where mental health is so prominent.
veryhaleycom I have discovered that every time I throw my hands in the air and smile really really big it creates an extra amount of #happiness 😁🌬☕️ I'm serious, try it, it's fun!
It feels good to be back to blogging. When asked what I did that helped me gain my energy back I really had one true answer. I just needed time. I needed time to take in all that I was feeling, and process it.
This is a speedy world we live in. My message to you is to care for yourselves by slowing down when you need to. It's not quitting, or being lazy. It is a self care act of taking a break to recharge, so you can get back to conquering the world again soon.
As always Ask Haley is available for questions for submission. Questions can be taken anonymously as well.
Thanks for your support!
A Boston social work student, using writing for healing. Sharing the peaks and valleys of an empath's mental health journey.