“Here is a simple letter. This letter thanks the person who wakes up every morning barely wanting to, but does anyway. This letter is to the survivor, the warrior, and the one who keeps pushing through. This letter is for you...”
The Split Second
A week ago I sat at the edge of my bed and noticed a sensation I forgot I had the ability to feel. While coming to terms with the symptoms of my anxiety and basking in its reality for most of three years, I hadn’t felt a day that didn’t consist of nausea or worry. I haven’t felt nauseous for two weeks now. I recalled the sensations of calmness and suddenly didn’t understand what to think. Feeling okay felt strange and alien.
Being in a constant state of panic, worry, or fear became how I lived for years leaving calmness and peace strangers in a barren abyss. No thoughts resided in my head, my body felt rejuvenated from a full nights rest, and an overwhelming desire to get some work done filled me with energy. This is what it feels like to be okay, to be ready to take on the day. I didn’t think I could feel like this again.
Although this year continuously has torn me to pieces, I didn’t realize the amount of effort I put into dragging myself out of countless depressive moments. Whether it was getting out of bed, not sleeping in, giving myself a bedtime and writing/career goals, eating more fruits and less bread and sugar, or even choosing to separate myself from thinking about situations I cannot control I became unconsciously active in my desire to feel better. Physical aches and pains have plagued this years list of what nows, but learning to not overthink is my new habit of choice.
Despite finding myself in really low moments and contrary to what I expected to become of me by this point, I recall several split moments of peace like the one mentioned above. Pockets of rainbows I would call them.
Accepting and Welcoming Peace
Confused by how I could possibly see or feel pockets of peace in arguably the worst year yet, it’s only fair to give myself some credit. Fear of leaving my trauma behind brought up some old feelings following the pockets of peace, allowing me to realize the comfort I sat in when it came to my anxiety and depression.
I’m used to feeling anxious and depressed. I don’t know what it is to not feel constantly overwhelmed with everything. Living and existing in a state of uneasy chaos is how I know to survive. I learned to live like this, who am I without it?
Witnessing and realizing that I’m able to feel better has caused both panic and peace disrupting the old state of chaotic homeostasis (if that makes any sense). I found myself having nightmares almost every night filled with both obvious and hidden messages. I’ve also recently become aware of my shadow and toxic characteristics, making me aware and awake when it comes to how I interact with others.
Now, because of all that’s happened, I’m able to gain control and pull myself to a more stabilized consciousness quicker than before. Both bizarre and contradicting as it seems, I’ve always thrived in a state of turmoil, it would only make sense for the key to my healing to lie in my darkest moments.
Aware that I’m in another phase of transformation like in my college years, I’m open and accepting of something new to come. Despite the on and off nature of these pockets of peace, I know I’m able to gain control of my mental wellness more than believed before.
I’m both scared and excited to continue to take on the beast that is overcoming my trauma and will not give up knowing I can and will.
Retake your life from the thoughts that hold you hostage. It doesn’t matter anymore. Live in today. Live in right now. Whatever pain you’ve gone through has made you into the beautiful, empathetic, caring, ruthless, ambitious, untouchable, unstoppable creation that is you. You are a progressed product of what has happened and all of that is now over. You lived in the pain and now you’ve learned. Stop picking at the wounds that are healing. Don’t make your wombs bleed again. Sometimes it feels like the same things are happening again, but guess what? Now it’s time to use what you’ve learned. Don’t fall back into the cycles that amplified your depressive or anxious thoughts. You have the power. You have all the power. I will keep telling you until you believe it for yourself.
Do you ever get stuck when trying to help someone with depression? Do you find that some things you say may hurt the person who is struggling with their mental health? What are phrases to avoid when communicating with someone with depression? What are some helpful gestures and phrases?
Visit my Defying Shadows article to see some tips and helpful insight when it comes to helping someone who struggles with depression!
Some morning are particularly hard, but this morning made it to top 5. I had to write myself out of a potential downward spiral into depression. I forced myself to see my self-worth and value even in the midst of heartache and self-doubt. A love letter of sorts to keep going even when feeling emotionally weak.
The face that I look at every morning is powerful and deserves peace of mind and joy amongst other things, but most important she deserves to know that her life is worth something.
As long as her heart beats, purpose flows through every vein all the time. Standing is hard, but I can’t stay down for too long.
What did I learn after I neglected my mental health? What does neglecting my mental health look like? Why is prioritizing your mental health important? How can you improve your mental health?
In my Defying Shadows article, I navigate and discuss my difficult moments with my mental health, how I learned about what mental health is, and why it’s so important.
Simply because I’ve been in a mental turmoil, I ask to be reeled into safety where I can find peace again. Peace will fight for me. Peace can teach me to hope again. Where did my peace go? Please, peace come back to me.
Read it on The Mighty!
The Mighty Mic was an amazing experience. I’m extremely grateful that I was able to collaborate with The Mighty to help my community as they find strength in their mental health struggles. Here are some highlights from my event and a message that I learned. I will be planning and hosting more events so stay tuned!
My Open Mic Poem: A Messy Masterpiece
The rain that just passed has drenched me with growing pains as the flowers sprout from my insides out.
A messy masterpiece they called me.
Sometimes my bed arrest me
I’m in trouble from the thoughts that told on me, I broke the law
Sooner than later because I deserve to be free
Because ears that need to listen will be drawn to the sounds of their voices in the distance
My Story and Advice
After some mighty poets and speakers shared I was compelled to share my story to them as well. I noticed a pattern in the themes that recurred in the poems and pieces everyone shared and thought I would give some advice based on what I learned.
Late Night Talks With Nina: Final Thoughts
Purpose, worth, self-talk, and identity were themes that recurred while I sat and soaked in the message of each story. While we are faced with difficulties with our mental health, it’s often due to mental conversations about those themes. As we continue on in our journey and our battle we must let go of the notion of a single purpose or single mission conforming to the standards of the society we live. Instead, we must continuously walk in our own self-fulfillment-whatever that looks like-while also navigating our peace through the opportunities we are able to take up. We live our life through how much we are filled with happiness and satisfaction with what we are doing. Let’s not waste ourselves with expecting purpose to manifest without manifesting ourselves in the process. We manifest purpose by being alive and continue fulfilling our own talents. Learn yourself, love yourself, and find peace through appreciating your life and the opportunity to live it.
Mental Illness and Religion
I struggled with depression for a lot of my teenage years unknowingly; falling into silent spells or isolation cycles were “normal” ways I would deal with how I felt. Because of this, depression remained regular. The pain was me.
When I thought about depression or sadness my mind would drift off to what my former pastors would suggest— praying, fasting, and going to church healed all wombs. I often heard, “mental illness was a weakness, ‘the devil’ is consuming your thoughts to keep you from what God has for you. The only way I could be better was to do what God wants me to do. If you’re continuously doing bad, then it’s your fault. You are not trying hard enough. Do not ever claim depression on your life. Don’t say that out loud! If you say it you are manifesting that demon on yourself.” Frightening, right?
Because of those words, I grew up scared of myself, my thoughts, and God punishing me. I felt relief in my good days but tormented on my bad. Maybe if I tried to be “as holy” as I could then maybe I would feel better. The day never came where just praying and fasting relieved my depressive thoughts though.
Here Comes Anxiety…
When first faced with crippling anxiety, I felt ashamed, embarrassed, and discouraged. I isolated myself and talked to no one about my struggles. It wasn’t real. I tried to push harder even when I felt exhausted. Self-care, mental health, or anxiety weren’t words or phrases I knew much about anyway. I just had to pray, right? My relationship with God is not strong enough. I kept pushing myself well past my physical and mental limits until I couldn’t anymore. The more I dismissed my symptoms and repressed my feelings, the more I felt powerless, hopeless, and weak.
In order to feel better, I challenged myself to think deeper. What do I do to move forward? As I constantly struggled to find peace in my mental turmoil, I looked to my writing and voice for refuge. The day I felt most empowered, most liberated, and most peace fell on one day, the day I uttered the words “I have depression and struggle with anxiety.”
While I long left the church because I wanted to find myself aside from religious indoctrination, I started writing, and the words I typed and wrote freed me from my thoughts. Thoughts became tangible. Words became ideas I could look at. I manipulated those words to something positive and uplifting. I began reflecting on and discussing what mental health meant for me, asking critical questions combining my pain with creativity. Excitement filled me again.
My projects now bring me to life, they are my medicine. The words I utter, the words I write are my power. I am new, I feel refreshed. I wage war on my mental health struggles, expectations, and stereotypes that bind me and my progress (hence why my writing space/blog is SparklyWarTanks).
Even though I still struggle, I continue to write and think of new and creative ways to express myself. I’m currently planning and hosting events too! There is power in words, whether it’s saying them, writing them, or thinking them.
Claiming my anxiety and depression was not a downfall manifesting struggle and doom to my life, claiming anxiety and depression gave me the power that helped me to liberate my perspective, relieve my mind, and continue on in the progression of becoming myself.
Im so excited to announce that I will be hosting The Mighty Mic, an open mic creative event where we all are mighty together. In this event, we will express ourselves in our strength as we discuss our anxiety and depression. The mic is open to those who want to share their stories, poems, songs, articles, speeches; whatever 5-minute piece they would want others to hear. This is a safe space where we will be ourselves, share, and build community!
If you would like to come, please refer to this Facebook Event link and click the “going” option if you would be joining me or even “interested” if you just need to readjust your schedule!
We will have so much fun as we share our stories and build confidence in our journey as we learn we are not alone!
Details are on the flyer above!