Tag Archives: mental health

me, my mental health & i.

With it being mental health awareness month I contemplated openly discussing my love hate relationship with my own mental health and share my stories and tips on how to deal with it if you’re struggling. 

So buckle up buttercup. This is a judgement free zone and may come as a shock to some.

I was diagnosed with anxiety, depression and PTSD at a very very young age. Like, started seeing a counselor at like age 11 and saw one until I was about 16/17. Let me be hopefully not the first to tell you that seeing a counselor does NOT make you weak. You are just working through your shit and sometimes it helps having a paid professional who has no personal ties to you to talk to.

Without going into the heavy details my childhood compared to most was a little rocky. Overall it shaped me into the person I am today so I can’t pity myself for it. Shit happens. As my grandma likes to say “you were the one who had a bad situation and instead of dwelling on it you used it to better yourself”, cue water works right before my college graduation.

I learned at a very young age how to cope with my thoughts and how to process things in a different way when something bad happens or just thoughts in general. At age 25, sometimes I still struggle with how to handle things in a healthy way. Guess what though? That’s okay. There is no age limit.

I did my time trying out different medications. It’s not for me. I know some people who swear by it and love it but for me personally it left me foggy and sometimes made the awful things running through my head much much worse. Sadly, it also is like a trial and error when it comes to medication because not all works for everyone the same. Plus the withdrawals…oh my gosh the withdrawals can be a bitch. I’ve heard weed helps for some people as well. That’s a negative ghost rider for me as well. When I was younger whenever I did smoke I’d have anxiety attacks. I did not like not being in control. I never have and most likely never will.

Ways I have combated my own head:

  1. This website for starters. I found an outlet to get things out in hopes of not just helping myself and having something to look back on and reflect but also possibly help others if needed. Writing is therapeutic 100%.
  2. I’ve taken personal days where I will just go somewhere and just walk around and be with myself and just as corny as it sounds…be alive. The most recent one was Earth Day in April. April is a hard month for me given Bri’s death anniversary and her birthday. I went to Middleton Place Plantation and walked for hours. I sat by ponds and just was “there”. I don’t know how else to describe it but it helps. 
  3. I cut back on my drinking. I would go on binges where it would be days of just drinking. If I couldn’t sleep I’d have a drink. If I was stressed, I’d have a drink. I’ll still go out or have wine occasionally but I had to have a sit down with myself a couple times when life got tough and be like “Hunter….don’t use that as a crutch.”
  4. Art. Pick your poison. Be it photography or painting etc. 
  5. Video games help with frustration and concentration. Your mind goes from concentrating on the vile things in your head to blowing up stuff on your TV or computer.
  6. Music. When I am feeling down driving and blasting music has been my go to for years. Again, I think it is due to you have to concentrate on driving so it takes your mind off the negative. Blasting your favorite songs and just dancing it out is so therapeutic as well.  

One topic I wanted to talk more about is post traumatic stress disorder. Guess what…it’s not only a war thing. When I was younger I had a pretty mild case of it due to some situations that I couldn’t process and over time the thoughts went away. A lot of therapy helped. About two months ago I was diagnosed again with PTSD only this time it was a lot…heavier than I expected. The ironic thing was I made jokes like “I bet that shit gave me PTSD”….welp.

The thing with PTSD that I’ve learned recently is that your triggers don’t have to be a direct link to the thing that caused it. As my lovely counselor says it can be literally a feeling and then BAM there you are. Another scary thing, one second you can be fine and another you can have an extremely visual nightmare or I call them “daymares” (because you can be wide awake) and boy can it mess with your head. They can be flashbacks to the event itself or just horrible visuals. I remember back in October/November I kept having daymares for like a week straight. I could be sitting in my office at work or shooting a concert and randomly I would picture someone close to me dying right in front of me. Different ways sometimes but overall it was the same result. Then the uncontrollable urge to start crying happens. Imagine being in a public as fuck place and randomly start to cry. lol I laugh because I just remember myself working the Allen Stone show and standing on the stairs taking photos and realizing I was crying. There was ZERO reason for me to be sad at that moment.

That’s PTSD. It’s like a hidden bomb within your head and one second you are fine and the other it’s like “time to cry bitch” or “Oh, life is going perfect and you’re happy? Here is a nightmare of this person blowing their brains out at your front door one night and another night let’s have them OD.”

I warned you to buckle up.

The mind plays games with you. Sometimes (for me personally) the visuals can mess you up so horribly that for a day or so you really have to question “did that happen or did I imagine it?”

I’m not a professional but even anxiety and stress has caused nightmares. There have been a few that shook me to my core. One being that (and if you know me personally like my mother who reads these don’t call me freaking out hahaha I’m good.) about four years ago I had a dream that it was me standing in our doorway of my bedroom. Crying and borderline psychotic laughing I guess and just outright blew my brains right out. I woke up in the middle of the night screaming and in a cold sweat. No reason to have it, but after a few days I realized it was due to stress.

It was like a visual representation of me losing my shit and mind.

This brings me to my second topic, anxiety. Over the last few years I’ve noticed many people now have “anxiety”. I don’t know when the entire planet (exaggeration) became so anxious but if you do have it I feel your pain. It’s crippling. It really is some days. Some days I wake up and have to physically make myself get up and go about my day. It makes relationships hard as well. Some days I’m happy as can be and then other’s I can fall off the planet like no one matters to me and just be a hermit. When my anxiety is bad I’ll either forget to eat or eat everything. There have been days where it will be like 10 at night and it dawns on me that I hadn’t eaten a single thing all day.

For me personally, not speaking for everyone, it can also make you question the people around you. For instance I am sometimes in a battle with thinking “do my friends even like me?” and I’m talking friends I’ve had for YEARS. Friends that if they didn’t like me they have a really funny way of showing it haha. Then, ya know relationships. I remember a few years back when I had started taking prozac and needless to say…it did not agree with me. My boyfriend at the time was working out of town and I was withdrawing because I just did not like how it made me feel and just not having a fun time with it (haha). At first he thought I was over exaggerating and then one night I vaguely remember going on a rant about being a burden. My head went to a dark spot and he realized I was not exaggerating after all and was really struggling with the coming off the medication and his mom came and checked on me because he was so worried I wasn’t okay. For the record, I wasn’t “okay” but I was “okay”. If that makes sense. After my attempt at 16 and seeing it’s toll on my family and then seeing and feeling the affects of my best friend dying….don’t worry. My ass isn’t going any where. For anyone reading this who may need to hear it… NOTHING AND NO ONE IS WORTH LEAVING THIS WORLD. There is always a light at the end of that tunnel and please for the love of whatever…remember that. There is always a sunrise. Every morning. Without fail. Make sure you see that.

But it’s moments like that…being with someone who sometimes doesn’t always love themselves is a struggle. For a while I hid my anxiety from guys I talked to or dated. I was embarrassed and also thought they’d be like “oh this bitch crazy” haha It takes a special person to handle it. Friends or partners.

There is a Halsey song that I feel like if you have any form of mental “disorders” or what ever you may relate to. Her lyrics “I’m well acquainted with villains that live in my head. They beg me to write them so they’ll never die when I’m dead. And I’ve grown familiar with villains that live in my head. They beg me to write them so I’ll never die when I’m dead.” hit home. Because if you have EVER had an anxiety or a panic attack you’ll know when I say…they’re fucking terrifying. Once you have one though you fucking remember the warning signs. One thing that I started doing was when I started to feel anxious or like an attack was coming along I would count with one hand to 4 over and over. Like thumb to pinkie, to ring finger, middle and pointer. 1, 2, 3, 4 until I could feel myself catch my breath. Now sometimes sadly that plan fails haha then your whole body (or for me my back and shoulders) tense up and you (well me) do this nervous tick of like rolling your shoulders. As a way to shake it off basically. I’ve drawn blood on my palms from my grip during an anxiety attack.

*claps hands together* “And that kids is anxiety as told by Hunter.”

As I am writing this I can feel the anxiety build. Because I’m a very open person for the most part. I used to not be and then I got to the point where I’m like “I kind of just don’t give a fuck what people think at this point I can’t change it.” I’ve openly discussed my suicide attempt at 16 (which if ya didn’t know…ha well), my best friend’s death and it’s toll on me, my personal struggles with feeling good about myself and battling your own self destruction to not push yourself further. There are some topics however I am still terrified to open up about. I have them saved in drafts and will I publish them one day? I don’t know. Should I? Maybe if I think it would help someone.

My own mental health…falls into that category. Why though? Because even though we are slowly becoming more and more open to talking about mental health…there is that fear of judgement. There are so many platforms that have the #itsokaytonotbeokay or something along those lines but not everyone shares their stories.

Share your stories. Share your struggles. Don’t be ashamed of your demons. Blow them up so that they don’t scare you anymore. Like (total nerd mode) Boggarts in Harry Potter. Don’t let fear take over. Yell Riddikulus and turn that shit into Snape wearing lady’s clothes.

That’s all I’ve got today. More than I expected but ya know what…if it helps someone then great. Fellow writers…isn’t this a bitch? You feel this urge to share personal stories.

Much love as always,

H

If anyone reading this is struggling and needs an outlet. 

email: hunter@lifessidebar.com

Suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255

 

 

24.

It feels like it was just a month ago I graduated college and turned 24. Shit, it feels like I was just 23 blasting “What’s my age again?” over and over and…about as much as everyone (mostly everyone…) does at 23. There aren’t many songs after 23 that you can rage to about your age. T-Swift gave us 22, Blink 182 gave us 23…

ANYWAYS…

I did a previous post in August 2017 called 23 Things I’ve learned by 23 but the funny thing about this post….my outlook changed so much in like 2-3 more months about life and I look back and read that entry and think “oh sweetheart just wait..”

So, what I’ve decided to do is every year before my birthday write out things I’ve learned during that year. The “23 things” one would technically be about my life up to age 23 but….just roll with me here. There is about 2-3 more weeks until I turn 25 so…if shit hits the fan within these couple weeks that change up my thoughts…well fuck it.

  1. Do not think everything is always going to go “perfectly”. Because there are times where it’s all possibly just going to go to shit and you just have to roll with it. A major example: my 24th birthday last year, I graduated college the same day…needless to say that was the worst birthday I’ve ever had. I had it all in my head that it was going to be an awesome day. It was my birthday, I was about to walk across stage for something I had worked hard for, was going to a concert afterwards to see all my work friends and just celebrate the fuck out of life….ended up with me crying during my ceremony and going home after to an empty apartment with barely any furniture because we were moving and alone with Sylvester (my cat). One of my best friends stayed during the long ceremony because my at the time boyfriend did not show up and she didn’t want me to walk out to legitimately no one and then took me for a birthday dinner. I’m not saying go through life always half empty but I’m saying is not everything is perfect. I look back on that day and think about ways it could have been different but it was an important day that needed to be lived. It fucking SUCKED but…it was needed.
  2. Embrace change. Open your arms to a huge mass of change because you could be surprised as to how you’ll feel afterwards.
  3. Work hard. Getting promoted at 23 and then really having to step up to the plate this past year if I wanted something and then seeing the outcomes…is amazing. Just work hard if you want something because the end result usually makes you feel great.
  4. Take impromptu trips more often (even alone..) and trust yourself to be fine. Not going to elaborate but you can read Don’t leave the camera and take the blackberry cobbler for my experience with impromptu trips.
  5. Not everyone is your friend.
  6. READ THE FINE PRINT ON YOUR HEALTHCARE PLANS. Especially when your “year” is up. Fun fact: it’s not always January haha I had my lumpectomy in March 2018…found out my deductible started over…in May. So, yeah…read the details!
  7. Take moments to be proud of yourself but also take moments to celebrate your friends and their accomplishments or big life moments.
  8. Just because you live with someone does not mean you know everything about them. You could be living a foot away from them…and then find out there is an entire other side to them.
  9. Be patient. Life happens when you least expect it. (That’s the right corny saying right? I think so…) But it’s true.
  10. Work *clap emoji* on *clap emoji* your *clap emoji* mental*clap emoji* health*clap emoji* too!  Physical health is great…however, work on your mental well-being as well. There is no shame in therapy.
  11. True friendships will survive the distance and time. Just because you don’t talk every day does not mean you’re not close friends.
  12. Hug your loved ones more. I think I said this in the 23 one but just do it. Last labor day we had a scare in my family and sitting in the hospital waiting to find out what was going to happen next was the most nerve racking thing ever.
  13. Don’t be afraid of roommates but also living alone is cool too.
  14. Treat yourself sometimes to “nicer” things if you can afford it. Since my 23 post I upgraded my car (love you Stella) and even now many months later I get in my Fiat 500 L and fall in love all over again. Best last minute (kind of) choice ever.
  15. Don’t be afraid to meet new people! Within the last year holy shit…I have some of the best people in my life and I really embraced branching out and not being such a hermit.
  16. Just because everyone else is having babies and getting married and you aren’t…does not mean that’s a bad thing. Again, be patient. Did you think you’d be married by 25? Yes. Is it okay that life happens and sometimes things change? Also yes. Did you think you’d have kids by 27? Yes. Are you? Probably not hahaha like HIGH probably not. It’s okay. Spoil your friends kids instead and be there for your friends who are getting married.
  17. It’s okay to take a step back on concentrate on work rather than a significant other.
  18. Saying goodbye never gets easier.
  19. Invest in decent skin care and hair care! It’s so worth it.
  20. When you find something you love…run with it. Don’t fear about being judged or people not enjoying the work you are doing. If you love it then do it. You’re doing it for you, not them.
  21. Life can surprise you with amazing chances that you never thought you’d have. So if you feel stuck just know that one moment can break the ice for you.
  22. It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to ask for help when needed.
  23. You don’t have to be the “perfect adult” not one at our age is the “perfect adult”. Most of us are just faking it until we figure out what the fuck we are doing. There was a time where I was so stressed about cooking dinner all the time or having the dishes done all the time. Life happens. Sometimes you get busy and work a ton and just do not have the time. It’s okay that you don’t have dinner done by 7pm.
  24. Lastly, stay true to you. Over the last year I realized how much of myself changed and how many people told me that it was nice to see the “old Hunter” back. You talk about a reflection on yourself.

Now most people I hear get worried or have like a “quarter life crisis” around 25. For me I’m like bring it on May 4th. I thought 24 was going to be awful based on how my actual 24th birthday went, and the first couple months of it were. They were just…yeah. But over all…from a personal standpoint (and if you have read my other posts etc) it was a monumental year.

25, I don’t have high hopes for you but I have moderately high hopes about life in general moving forward. The last couple month’s have been amazing and I know my age will not change anything aside that it’s just showing I’m aging.

I don’t have plans yet for the big 2.5. bday but if you want to check out what goes down you can follow @lifessidebar on instagram and see for yourself.

 

Snap back to reality…oh, there goes gravity

Have you ever read lyrics that you relate to like 100%? Yes, it is an older song that I have listened to more times than I can count. However, at this point in time it fits 10000000%.

There are moments in life where you sit there and it is literally like that meme of the dog sitting in a room that is on fire and is just like “this is fine”.
For me, this past semester I had a lot of personal stuff go on. So personal that I will not openly speak about it (and I’m very open about a lot of personal stuff but some stuff is better left unsaid) and with my blog and Instagram I was just getting in the swing of things. Getting a schedule, posting, planning etc and when life gave me a dose of reality I had to take a step back. That is the one thing I cannot stand is the fake social media because life is not always perfect and no matter how many filters you use it is not going to change that.

If you are on my Instagram you may have noticed the lack of posts lately. I took time off from work and school as well to be honest so when I say I needed to take a step back…I meant like WAY back. School took a little hit but I still passed and it is what it is. Let me also say that everyone is okay. 

There are times where you just need to not care about certain things but take the time to work on you and your mental health and overall well-being. Plus, aside from everything else I got a letter about my 6 month check up on my tumor. Which, as I write that I realize I never actually spoke about that on here…

Sidebar; I have a 2 inch benign tumor in my right breast in the deep tissue that I have to keep an eye on and at some point get it removed. We aren’t 100% certain how or why I developed one but we think it was my birth control and the hormones. So there is that, and then I have to get ultrasounds on my ovaries and see if I do indeed have endometriosis like my mom did because I’m starting to have the signs of it. Which, we have been preparing for since I was a teenager. Brandon and I have already discussed about all the “what if”s and we will cross the bridge when we get there. But, since I have had a kidney infection, issues upon issues with my lady bits with cysts and overall pain, and then my tumor within the last 5 and a half years….we basically had to have the discussion ya know.

I’ve had a love hate relationship with God over the last year (years really but it comes and goes) and I know what doesn’t kill you makes you a stronger person but fuck I’d like ya know…shit to go right.

Anywhoo, this was meant to be brief.

Happy notes, I have THREE yes THREE classes left and then I am done with my first degree. Next week I see my mom for the first time since LAST Christmas, and we are going to D.C. for two days. I got a new car, her name is Stella. Um, Sylvester is nice and big and happy. If you don’t know who that is….well you are missing out on fuzzy cuteness.

Just know that things can hit rock bottom and it is okay to need to take a breather and things can turn around over time. It is hard and you are going to want to scream until there is no more air in your lungs but you have to push through.

XOXO
-H