The Christine Project

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Back in October I wrote a blog titled “‪#‎TheChristineProject‬” where I discussed my frustration with the taboo surrounding outwardly acknowledging that you exist with a mental illness.

This is a very personal subject for me because while friends and loved ones vaguely knew I struggled with anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder, absolutely no one but my parents knew that I was also grappling with schizophrenia and depression. And, in spite of them knowing, it was still asubject we just didn’t discuss out loud. My conditions were shameful and I was constantly reminded I should tell no one or risk being ostracized and mocked endlessly for being “crazy”. Every day of my life I strived to keep up appearances, until the weight of all I’d been harboring in secret eventually pulled me under. I knew if I didn’t finally speak to someone about my mental illnesses and the abuse I was secretly suffering, my depression would win and I would kill myself.

Throughout my body positive journey I’ve learned to love everything from my thighs, to my tummy, to my tush; proudly shouting to the world, “I will not be ashamed of these things you’ve convinced me I should hate! This is me and I’m fantastic from head to toe!” But one day, after reflecting on a bad mental health experience, I realized there was this huge elephant in the room I wasn’t owning up to and accepting vocally the way I had my physical “flaws” because I was still buying into the notion that was instilled into me as a child: we just don’t talk about THAT.

THAT will isolate you. THAT will make people look at you differently. Your life will be easier if you don’t talk about THAT.

Well I’m here to say THAT way of thinking is nonsense.

A conversation about the state of my mental health is what helped save my life, and I want others to feel comfortable enough to have one of their own as well. Through The Christine Project I hope to give a face to conditions that are frequently stigmatized, and encourage people to embrace not only body positivity but mind positivity. I seek to have people proudly say “In my life I have struggled with _____, but that doesn’t define me because I(‘m) also _____.” because WE ARE NOT DEFINED BY OUR DIAGNOSIS. I want to show those that don’t have a mental illness how important it can be to even one person’s life when you make yourself available as a support system or shoulder to lean on.

But most of all I want to open up the lines of communication that are often buried when it comes to mental illness, so people don’t feel desperate and alone like I once did.

It’s okay. There is hope. You are not alone.

Below are some of the courageous people who wanted to share their personal stories as a part of #TheChristineProject. If you wish to also get involved I will update this blog with your submissions as they come through.

Thank you for your help! xx
-Christine

(Comments or questions: thechristinecho@gmail.com or @thechristinecho)

Megan, who was the first submission to the project and made the beautiful flower illustration above:image

Lindsay, @mslindsaym:
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Nasha, @nashalama:image

Aarti, @curvesbecomeher:image

Lindsay, @buckleyourboots:image

Lily, @lilykaybodylove:image

Anastasia, @anastasiaamour:image

Lauren, @cupcakethighs:image

Blair, @bodypositiveeverydamday:image

Marina, @thelaundrylady:image

Fran, @franhayden:image

Bonnie, @bonniebonniebangbang:image

Shannon, @shannie.bananie:image

Gina, @nourishandeat:image

I Am “The Girl On The Right”

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With all the notoriety my friend Megan, aka @bodyposipanda, has received lately it was inevitable I would receive some backlash as certain articles written about her have featured our pictures together or her post about #thechristineproject which leads viewers to my personal account. She graciously offered to untag me to get some of the heat off as I’m not used to such frequent rude comments, but I declined because I’m not ashamed of myself.

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When you look at her you see a beautiful young woman who’s been through unimaginable hardships in the road to loving herself. She almost died before she made the decision she wanted to live. But when you look at me you see a “morbidly obese” person who “lacks self respect”. And yet my and Megan’s journey both involve us nearly dying before we got to the points that we’re at today. The only thing is depression and suicide attempts don’t have the before pictures that anorexia does. I can’t show you pictures of my lowest points days before I tried to end my own life as an example of how far that “ugly fat bitch on the right” has come in changing her life and becoming mentally healthy.

I’m not writing this to argue my health. I’m not going to waste my time discussing this with people who aren’t my doctor. I’m here to tell you that what you see on the outside isn’t a fair assessment of what that person has had to overcome inside to get to the point where they’re finally happy with themselves.

Two years ago, I wanted my life to end. I had left the apartment I was living in after being bullied by my roommates who watched way too much Bad Girls Club. They isolated me, lied, manipulated, destroyed my things, and ganged up on me daily. It was only on the day I moved out that 1/4 apologized for the way they treated me when “you’ve never done anything. I don’t know why we acted like that.” I had been broken up with by a coward who stopped replying to my texts two weeks after I lost my virginity to him. My life was falling apart. I was broke sleeping on couches not knowing where I was going to live or how I was going to sustain myself.

And all of this treatment I allowed stemmed from huge insecurities both on the inside and outside of myself that I didn’t deserve better. I hated myself so I refused to stand up and say “I deserve better than this. You’re not going to treat me like this anymore.” Instead I let myself fall deeper and deeper into my hole of self loathing until killing myself seemed like the only option that would bring me peace.

I called my father, whom I had a very strained relationship with, as I sat on the bathroom floor and told him this was it for me. I didn’t want to keep suffering. I tried for the second time in my life to kill myself, unsuccessfully. And two weeks after, I sat on a bench staring out onto a lake alone realizing I needed to make a change. I couldn’t keep living this way or eventually the next time I tried to kill myself I would succeed and I wouldn’t be living at all.

I transferred to a new location of my old job after taking two months off to get myself mentally more stable. Everyone was extremely welcoming and excited for me to be there which made my transition back into the workplace much smoother. On my breaks I would scroll through Instagram which I had been so resistant to use for the longest time as I just didn’t get the hype. I started posting outfit selfies, not because I felt good, but because I work in a clothing store and at the time when I lacked real responsibility it was just something fun to do to pass the time.

One day, a girl commented “Ur so fat 😭😭😭” on one of my pictures. Just to be a smart ass I made a collage of her comment above a picture of me with the caption “‘I don’t know what you’re talking about’ she thought as she ate another chicken nugget.” A woman named Lily, who some of you might remember if you’ve been with @pizzasisters4lyfe since the beginning as she was one of the creators of it, commented on it, “You go girl! #pizzasisters4lyfe”

I didn’t know what that meant. I wasn’t even eating pizza in my picture so I was confused what her hashtag meant. Upon clicking it I saw a few hundred pictures of plus size women OWNING their lives. Some were larger than me and I could see their confidence radiating on my phone screen. Was it possible that they could be this size and be…happy? Yes, it was entirely possible I realized. Could I ever be this beautiful and confident? I hoped so, as I was still fragile and could relapse mentally back to where I was not too long before.

I started following Lily and other users I saw in the hashtag and looked everyday for their updates so I could get my daily dose of body positivity. I started posting more pictures of myself and reflecting on the girl I saw in the pictures and over the months I started seeing more things I liked thanks to my Pizza Sisters. After my experience with the awful girls I had lived with contributed to me wanting to end my life, an online community of women praising each other for just being themselves helped save it.

I began genuinely loving myself. I wasn’t a terrible person. The things that happened to me were an outward reflection of how the people who hurt me felt about themselves, which is something I keep in mind every time I get nasty, mean comments trying to bring me down. But it won’t work because I’ve already been at my worst and I won’t let another person have the power over me to get me to that level again.

A little more than two weeks ago I was sitting on a bench looking out onto the sea, but this time I wasn’t alone thinking about what I needed to change in order to want to live again. I was sitting with my boyfriend, Jack, on my left and Megan on my right eating fish and chips thinking about how far I’ve come and how happy I am to be alive. I fought depression harder than I hope any of you ever have to in order to remain here. I fought a battle with my mind to love myself so my life wouldn’t seem pointless.

I know this won’t change anything and people will forever be cruel, but please don’t think just because one person visibly fought back from near death doesn’t mean another person hasn’t fought invisibly.

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Please get involved with #thechristineproject to bring awareness to invisible diseases (See previous blog post for more information.) and break the stigma of discussing mental illness.

My First Breakdown

Now this is a story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down. And I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there. I’ll tell you about how I became hospitalized after admitting to a teacher I had attempted suicide.

Wait, that’s not how that goes…

Ahem, well I’ll tell you anyway.

It was May of 2005 and I was a mere 13 years young in my last weeks of my middle school career. All of my teachers knew I was more mentally advanced than the other students thanks to standardized testing (could do it in my sleep) and my acceptance into the Rollins College Talent Search Program. I never applied to be in it, I just got called to the office one day in 6th grade and they just told me they wanted me and inferred this was the type of opportunity you don’t say no to. It was like the mafia or something, I don’t know. They were going to “groom [me] for greatness”. All I knew is it got me out of a class once a week (super, mega bonus points if it was math) and they would take us on free college field trips all over Florida so I was on board even though I was young and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. (Still don’t. Thanks, Talent Search Program! 👏🏼 👍🏼) I had taken the SATs the previous year with actual stressed out, college hopeful seniors and I scored a healthy 1142 (impressive for a 12 year old I was told).

So when I started pulling D’s in my favorite class (AP English), my teacher, Mrs. Hill, got concerned.

“It doesn’t seem like you care anymore. I don’t understand it. Is something wrong?” I denied and feigned disinterest in Romeo and Juliet which we were analyzing for our final projects. Luckily, she had this intuition to know that I was lying and it was something deeper.

And it was. For as long as I could remember I had been dealing with soul crushing child abuse. I had admitted it to my 7th grade guidance counselor who filed a report with the Department of Children and Families, but after a case worker reported inconclusive results thanks to a pleasant pow wow in our living room with my mother, the case was closed. And the abuse got worse.

It felt like a horror movie where you’re begging people to believe you that a certain lovely seeming person is the killer, but they tell you you’re crazy. I felt utter hopelessness. Everyday I came home with a feeling of dread and fear. I didn’t care about school at all anymore. I was just existing and I began to not even want to do that anymore.

I had begun cutting myself at 12, and I can’t really explain to you how or why. I know it gave me a certain release to be able to control one thing in my life, one type of pain. And I think maybe deep down even though I did try to hide it, maybe it was a huge cry for help. Like if someone saw my arms they would finally realize “Something is wrong in this child’s life. We have to help her.” But they never did and after my one verbal request for help was denied by DCF, I didn’t care anymore. If no one else cared about me, then why should I?

Things came to a head one night after my mother tried to choke me out. I had figured out she had been stealing money and blaming it on me and when I called her out with the evidence in front of my father she reacted violently. If it wasn’t for my dad she might have succeeded, but he broke it up and told me to go to my room and lock the door while he handled the situation. One thing we did not do in our house was call the police though I probably should have of all nights, that one particularly. My parents grew up in a rough neighborhood and were taught to deal with things within the family even when it came to domestic violence and child abuse, and after my unsuccessful attempt at getting help from authority figures I wasn’t about to try again only for them not to arrest her. Who knows what she would’ve done to me?

I remember sitting there at the foot of my bed crying while listening to my parents screaming at each other in the other room. I thought about cutting myself in hopes of a release, but I realized I didn’t want to do it anymore. I didn’t want to do any of this anymore. I didn’t want to hurt myself everyday or be hurt. I wanted peace. I went into my bathroom and picked out the first pill bottle I saw which was a half full container of Tylenol. At 12 I didn’t realize the most this would cause me is minor liver damage, so I proceeded to take every last one. I laid in my bed and waited for my heart to seize up or my body to drift asleep, but after about a half hour of my heart racing and my body breaking out into a sweat I think I realized I wasn’t going to my final destination.

I started crying thinking “I can’t even kill myself properly.” But when I really started to think about it I realized I was happy in a way. I didn’t want to die. I was content to if that was my only way of finding calm in life, but my first choice was to live. I went to sleep that night, with my parents’ screaming and door slamming acting as the worst lullaby, and knew what I had to do the next morning.

I didn’t cry at all when I got ready for school the next morning. I didn’t cry as I walked to the bus stop or when I disembarked at Neptune Middle. I ate breakfast like normal and talked to other kids who were oblivious to the night I had just had. I’m not sure if I was calm or numb, but I think after you try to kill yourself you’re just indifferent to things of a smaller scale.

The bell rang for first period and I walked across campus to my AP English class with Mrs. Hill. She was a tall, skinny woman with a Reba Macintyre haircut and a penchant for denim on denim outfits. She had thin, round frame glasses and her face vaguely reminded me of a chicken. All the other kids were practicing their lines as we were going to class read Romeo and Juliet that morning. (Not sure why they were practicing lines when we were reading out of the book. Maybe that’s just the M.O. of AP kids.) I saw three or four kids form a line to ask questions about the story so I fell in behind them and waited. When it came to my turn she cheerfully asked me “What can I do ya for, darlin’?” (I grew up in the south where they do actually say things like that.) “Can I talk to you outside for a second?” I asked quietly. “Oh, sure,” she said sounding surprised. She asked everyone to read quietly while she stepped out into the humid morning air with me. “So, what’s going on, sweetheart?” she asked me with genuine concern in her voice. I couldn’t look at her or muster more than a whisper when I said hesitantly, “I tried to…kill myself last night. But I don’t think I really want to die. I just really need help, please.” I couldn’t garner the strength to look at her expression, but I heard her breath catch in her throat in the middle of my statement. She rested her hand on my shoulder and said, almost to herself, “Poor thing,” before lowering herself to nearly my face level. “I’m going to make a phone call and we’re going to get you some help, okay?” I nodded and she told me to take a seat and wait outside of the classroom. She went inside and I stared out onto the empty P.E. field unsure if I had done the right thing or of what was going to happen next.

About two minutes later I heard tell the kids to keep reading and she would be back shortly. When she walked back outside and knelt beside me I heard her sniff like you do when you’re either sick or crying. I looked at her out of the corner of my eye and saw her eyes starting to get glassy and red. She was crying. It caught me off guard that I had illicited such a strong reaction from someone I wasn’t even that close to. Why did Mrs. Hill care about me and my well being when my own mother didn’t?

“It’s gonna be okay,” she kept repeating while rubbing my back soothingly while I stared at the ground. “I can’t believe you’d want to do that. We can’t have that. No, we can not have that.” I honestly didn’t know after a few minutes if she was comforting me or herself. Other than her back patting and reassurance it was all going to be okay, not much else was said while we waited for an unspecified person to show up. After a total of ten minutes a golf cart came around the corner and Mrs. Booth (the dean of students) and Officer Cardosa (the school resource officer who probably didn’t see much action at our tiny middle school) stopped in front of us. I didn’t have any interaction with these figures previously other than one awkward time where due to a misunderstanding in 6th grade I was sent to Mrs. Booth’s office where she explained what sex was to me (that’s a long story for another time), but we both had probably tried to push that uncomfortable moment out of our heads. As I was not a troublesome kid I never had a need to be on a first name basis with them and honestly I feared them both greatly. Which is why it was so startling when they gently asked me if I would be willing to get in the golf cart and talk to them in Mrs. Booth’s office. I’m sure I didn’t have a choice in the matter but I complied and off we drove.

We sat in her wood walled office, with Cardosa on my left and Mrs. Booth behind her desk and I began to unfold without hesitation when she asked me what would drive me to want to take my life. It felt so amazing to just unload the weights from shoulders. I almost didn’t care about any repercussions this might lead to at home for me. The officer took notes and I saw them glance at each other numerous times when I described the way my mom would choke or beat on me and when I showed them all the cuts I had along my right arm. When I finished recounting the events that led to my actions from the previous night the officer said “Well here’s what we’re going to do, we’re gonna call your parents, have them come down and see if we can work this thing out and get you some help okay?” I shook my head no vigorously. It was like the horror movie again. My mom was going to come down and the whole thing was going to get swept under the rug again. I wouldn’t go through that once more. I couldn’t believe I had thought these people were going to help me…

“I promise you nothing is going to happen to you,” he said to me. “Yeah, maybe while you’re here, but home is another story,” I thought.

He stepped out of the room with Mrs. Booth with her telling me on the way out “It’s gonna be okay. Just relax. Listen to some music if you want. But nothing angry okay? ” Looking back this was probably so they could talk about me without me hearing it, but I did as I was allowed and pulled my CD player out and began listening to Gwen Stefani (it was 2005 and she was everywhere). Ten minutes later they walked back into the room and Cardosa said “Your parents aren’t picking up, but we’re gonna get you some help okay? We’re going to take you to a hospital and you’re gonna stay they for a few days and get better alright?”

“Are they going to let me out?” I asked weirdly worried I was being taken to jail for some reason. “Of course,” he said “It’s just a few days I promise.” And before I knew it my little purple backpack and I were in the back of a cop car listening to faint pop music on the radio as the officer called his wife and discussed what they’d have for dinner.

We pulled up to a mental health rehabilitation center called Park Place about 20 minutes later. He walked with me inside and spoke to the receptionist at the intake window about me. Apparently they had been anticipating my arrival which kind of creeped me out and was enhanced by how over the top friendly they were even when they asked me to do unnatural tasks like take the laces out of my sneakers so they could hold onto them to prevent me from strangling myself. The officer didn’t stay long and didn’t even say goodbye as he left the building. I instantly felt I had made the wrong decision. I was about half way done reading all of their staple free magazines in the waiting room when a heavy set Hispanic lady came to fetch me. “Hey Christine! Want to come with me? I’ll show you your room!”

The children’s ward of this rehab center consisted of three rooms; two bedrooms side by side and a tiny TV room across the hall. I was the only kid there…for about an hour.

I was just getting adjusted to the huge open space of my own room and its accompanying camera in the corner when a girl a few years younger than me came to claim the gym mat masquerading as a bed on the other side of the cold tiled room. Her name was Natalie and she had been through this before. “It’s not so bad,” she reassured me, “You watch a lot of TV, nap, and talk about your feelings for an hour everyday. You’ll be out in a few days.” And I was, but I didn’t want to experience the revolving door this place possessed with people like Natalie.

They gave us pills without specifying what they were, wouldn’t let us go outside or open any windows, and left us with the adult rehab patients when the counselors wanted to take smoke breaks. The adult men would make sexually explicit comments towards us because they knew we were too scared to say anything back as all that separated our rooms was an easily penetrated push door. I regularly went back to my room as soon as I was able to and cried knowing I didn’t belong here and nothing about this place was helping my depression or conditions.

I didn’t even see my parents or a doctor until the last day when after seeing me for 45 minutes, writing prescriptions, and writing referrals for outpatient therapists, he cleared me to go home as my mother cried disgusting fake tears more than likely of fear as I had told on her.

My mother was on her best behavior after this knowing that I didn’t care to cover up her secrets any longer and I was wholeheartedly willing to get her in trouble for her actions. I quite liked the outpatient doctor I had begun seeing named Dr. Lisa Johnson at Turning Point. That was until the doctor called DCF herself and they reopened an investigation into my home life. My mom left for good after this, taking my insurance to continue seeing Dr. Johnson with her. I don’t know where she is, even today. I’m not sad about my mother’s absence. If anything I’m grateful because I just don’t believe my life would have been as good if she had been present. So thanks in that respect, Mom…

My brief Baker Act in the children’s crisis center did nothing for me quite honestly, and depression, suicide, and self harm would continue to be big issues in my life even into my 20s. We need better options for mentally ill children and adults. Locking them up for three days and feeding them juice boxes doesn’t do the trick and BOOM! They’re cured! We need better. Everyone should have access to FREE medical care. Mental health is still health. A therapist or psychiatrist shouldn’t be a luxury. They should be a right because so many people silently struggle like I did and still do. And kids need to know that it really, genuinely does get so much better. It’s sad that I had to realize this on my own without anyone to help me through the tough times, but it made me resilient and stronger than I ever knew I was.

I worry for the thousands of kids who won’t be as lucky or know how to be as strong when it comes to their crippling depression. My project is for them to know that you’re not defined by the bad things that happen to you in life or by the challenges you grapple with in your head or within yourself daily. You are made of much more than these things will lead you to believe and I hope that my project and I can lead you to believe that. I need you to know that I care about you. You are not alone.

#thechristineproject

I’ve reached a point lately where I don’t feel like I have a lot to offer the fat positive community. I was there when it took off, displaying my own personal journey to loving myself, and maybe changed a life or two along the way. But at the height of all this, I feel like I’ve plateaued. What is left to say that hasn’t been said?

I began contemplating how else I can help myself and others and I realized where I want to take my body positivity next:

#mindpositivity

Mental illness is still one of those things we don’t talk about because no one wants to be looked at as crazy. It’s still one of those things that’s okay to discriminate against. “You should probably avoid her. She’s bipolar. D:”

“That’s so gay” or “You retard” are phrases we have rightfully begun to cringe at or reprimand people for saying when we hear them. But “He’s a total schizo” and “I get a little OCD about things” are okay and taken lightly.

I don’t feel this is acceptable. Maybe with mental health positivity we can’t shed pieces of clothing off to show how beautiful we feel and give a big fuck you to the folks who made us feel less than our whole lives, but we can put our stories out into the world. I want to break the stigma.

I’ve gone my whole life faking “being normal”. Laughing as friends threw around the word “schizo” about others in an effort to blend in and not draw attention to my own illnesses by defending the target of the verbal attacks. It’s quite a chore to avoid letting people see you talk to yourself, do obsessive compulsive rituals until you “feel right”, and see the cuts you put on your body. It seems very trendy to throw around the word “depressed”, and yet to be dismissive or fearful when we see someone actually suffering from self harm and suicidal thoughts caused by depression.

But what causes these reactions in people? Like with any form of discrimination: lack of knowledge, generalizations, and fear of that which we do not understand. The media and pop culture almost never portray mental illnesses in a positive light so of course people who don’t exist with one become afraid of people who do. (I say almost because the one time I can recall that they showed the accomplishments of a schizophrenic person was in the biopic “A Beautiful Mind” about the Nobel Prize winner, John Forbes Nash.) If you hear a story about a mentally ill person it’s probably about an assault or murder they committed, so the public freaks out and thinks all people with the same condition should be quarantined for the safety of society. We’re not taught through any medium (or maybe not smart enough to realize) that the same way one person of a certain ethnicity committing a crime doesn’t mean ALL members of that ethnicity are predispositioned to commit the same crime, the actions of one person who has a certain mental illness isn’t the prime example of how ALL people with that illness will act. Like all diseases there are degrees, and different people handle things different ways. It’s a revolutionary concept, I know.

The same bravery people have shown in loving, accepting, and owning the imperfections of their bodies, I’d like to see them have with their minds. I know firsthand how hard it is to live with secrets you can’t unload because you’re afraid of the judgment, and I want to play a part in lessening that fear for others. I want to showcase the good people with mental illnesses can accomplish and to end the scary stigma associated with the names of these conditions. #thechristineproject to share your stories.

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Those pictures up there are really hard for me to post. It’s like when I first got into body positivity: you get really worried everyone’s going to judge you and everything is going to backfire, but just like with that sometimes you have to face your fears and jump into the deep end before it gets better. Here I go…

Confessions Of An Anxious Mind

In less than ten days I will be in London meeting the love of my life…and his family and friends.

As I’ve publicly spoken about before, I’ve lived with depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) for the past 12 years. No pill or psychologist has ever had any type of impact on my mental state. Instead I’ve learned to cope and exist to the best of my ability, ever mindful of the fact that these are things I’ll have to manage for the rest of my life.

Unfortunately, GAD doesn’t take days off and certainly isn’t on it’s best behavior when you’ve got big life events on the horizon. And this isn’t to say I’m not immensely excited for the week I get to spend with him and the things I’ll get to see. But unfortunately there is a great deal of stress this brings me also:

    • Is he going to love me as much in person? Duh, but there’s always a chance he finds my puffy morning panda eyes scary or my snoring unbearable.

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    • Are his parents going to like me? This is my first real relationship. My experience meeting a significant other’s parents is ZERO. Do I shake their hands? High five? Wave awkwardly? Fist bump? THERE’S SO MANY OPTIONS! And it makes me cringe having to talk about myself since I’m not that interesting. All in all, I feel like they’re just going to walk away feeling like I’m not good enough for their son.

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  • Are his friends going to like me? Not only do I have to impress the parents, but the best friends. Luckily I’ve spoken to them here and there online so that lessens the nerves, but all in all as we all know a computer or phone screen is a safe place to hide behind. It’s when I’m presented with real life social situations things can go south. What if they take my silence caused by my heart beat and mind racing like a hamster on a wheel trying to power the perfect things to say and coming up short, for being a lame bitch. And more so, not only for his friends but also for my friends that I’ll meet while I’m there, what if I don’t live up to any expectations they’ve created in their heads? What if I’m not as “cool” or “inspiring” as they’ve imagined me in their heads?

Is the plane even going to make it there and back? I have a really terrible fear of flying. From here to New York? Yeah, I can bear it. From here to London…over the Atlantic Ocean…with no places to make emergency landings? That’s got me thinking about my own mortality A LOT lately and I don’t appreciate it.

And there’s maaaaany other things, but as you can see my mind is a scary, complicated, frazzled place to be at the moment…and pretty much every other moment of every day. Dating is hard, but it’s especially trying when you’re trying to manage a long distance relationship and mental illness and not let them negatively affect one another.

It’s difficult, but it’s not impossible, and I think in spite of my fears it’s going to be so worth it.

Mental Breaker

It is 2:23 in the morning and I’m finally putting my fingers to the keys and not looking back.

I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember. I never did excel in other subjects the way I stood out in English class. My ability to breeze through standardized testing with almost perfect marks helped me skip a grade and my penchant for strong essay writing caught the attention of universities and colleges. But ultimately, I stood in the way of my own success with self doubt, self loathing, and a lack of belief that the only thing I loved to do would get me anywhere in life.

Sure, I’ll write stories or blogs in the comfort of my queen sized bed for my eyes only, but taking my skills mainstream for everyone to read and critique and potentially hate? Never.

Until now.

I can do this. I will stop sabotaging myself out of fear. I can write the book I’ve always envisioned holding in my hands. I can write my thoughts out and help or entertain people (and as an over thinker I have MANY thoughts). I can give myself the outlet my mind is begging for. I have the power.

And maybe people will will read this. And maybe they won’t. You never know until you try.