It is no small shock if we spend even a little time together, that you will right away know that I have spent much of my life battling severe anxiety and depression. This is much of what has driven me into the work that I do, making women learn to love themselves. I would be lying to you if I looked you in your eye and said that I do not still battle this daily. Depression and Anxiety…labels…you hear them, you think there is something wrong with you….because for some reason mental health is so deeply stigmatized and demoralized. You are made to feel that you are flawed because you can’t walk around and be happy all the time like everyone else you see….but then you reach 30, and you realize, behind every smiling face is a story. That just because someone is smiling and laughing that you might have absolutely no idea what is going on inside of them. That just because someone is the loudest person in a room that they are not quivering with fear on the inside every time they open their mouth and that the loudness is just some awkward coping mechanism to deal with the constant “do they think I am stupid”, “do they like me”, “I should just stop talking now” feelings that are racing through their mind.
I have made it a point in my life to talk about subjects that make people uncomfortable.
On the other side of discomfort is understanding and on the other side of understanding is empathy.
As a mother, one of my biggest goals in life is to raise an empathetic child. A child who can sit quietly in a room with someone and feel them without them having to say a word. This is something that can only be cultivated by speaking about this type of issue. This is something that can only happen if you are unafraid to talk about the things that make you uncomfortable. This is something that can only happen when you learn to look your own feelings dead in the face and tell them “Hey, its ok you are here, we are gonna hang out and feel for a few days but I refuse to unpack and live in this muck.” One of my favorite sayings is that “Sometimes the only way to get over something is to go through it.” However getting over it is not something that someone with depression or anxiety can easily do. So we talk about it. We address it. We let it live and breathe and pay homage to the fact that having feelings is ok. We do not get over it. We compartmentalize it, learn to pack that feeling in a box and store it in the top of our brain closet and choose to not look at it….but it is always there.
….and that is ok.
As women we need to learn to look after one and other. To empathize and know that the depth of someones issues may not be the same, but that if someone is afraid of water, standing in the shallow end may feel just as scary to them as jumping into the middle of an ocean is for us…and that it is not our place to judge their fears or anxieties…it is our job to help them through it. This doesn’t mean you walk around trying to “fix” peoples problems, or to minimalism their pain or fears. This means that you can look at someone and tell them it is ok to feel, I am going to be here for you while you do and then I am going to help you find a nice brain box to tuck that feeling away in and we are going to go out and get some ice cream after.
This means you need to talk about it.
With all of this being said, I could not be more inspired or proud of this incredible #LRPBoudieBeauty who has chosen to share some of her story with us. She has chosen to reveal some of the deepest parts of her life and remind you, if you are feeling the same way, that you are NOT alone.
I ran across Lindsay’s Facebook page by accident. I found her page at what I thought was the end to my lowest point. I loved what she believed in and I wanted to be a part of that. I emailed her and we reserved a date. Somewhere between that day and the day of the shoot I found my lowest point to date. I couldn’t exactly tell you what I felt, I don’t think I did feel honestly. I remember sitting on the toilet after a shower and just starring at the wall. Not thinking, not moving, just starring. And then I cried. I felt so incredibly sad, a sadness I have never in my entire life felt. And then that voice came over me, a voice I have heard before and I thought I would never hear it again. “ I want to die” is all I could hear. I DID want to die. The sadness I felt was too overwhelming to bare. Fast forward, I end up in the hospital where I stayed for two weeks. I came out of the hospital with a diagnosis but feeling refreshed. “Major depression/anxiety disorder” is what is on my medical records.
When I booked a date with Lindsay I did it because I wanted to apart of a beautiful thing she was helping to create within all woman. By the time the reveal day came I had a whole new reason for this experience. To celebrate life. I kicked some ass in those pictures. When I look at my photos I see looking back at me a strong beautiful woman. A woman who hasn’t and won’t give up. And that my friend’s is a truly amazing feeling. I gave you a tiny piece of a chapter in my book to show you that these pictures can mean so many different things to each woman.
If you are struggling with depression and/or anxiety know you are NOT alone. And if you are wanting to go through with this experience I urge you too. I promise you will come walking out of this with a whole new meaning about life.
You are beautiful. You are amazing. You are strong. You are enough. NEVER forget it.