Braver Than You Believe | My Mental Health

The following post is very personal and quiet frankly terrifying for me to share. As someone who is a perfectionist, it's hard to share my feelings on things that are far from perfect. This post might be triggering for some. This post is straight from the heart, might be rambling, and isn't all I want to say on the topic. I look forward to sharing more once I get the courage to. 

  All Photography Provided By  Rachel Branham

All Photography Provided By Rachel Branham

 

"You aren't perfect."

"You can't do this."

"You aren't good enough."

"You are a burden."

"Nobody wants to hear your problems."

Your problems don't matter. There are worse things happening in the world."

"You should just give up..."

I've said these things along with much more unkind things to myself a lot. More than I would like to admit. I've been increasingly unkind to myself mentally because I let anxiety and depression rule my life. It's a quiet battle that rages inside of me and one I've always felt I had to fight alone. I don't ever want to be a burden to other people. I always strive to be a light to other people. I love sharing the slices of happiness in my life through my Instagram. It makes it even more gratifying when people tell me how happy the things I post make them. It's also made me scared to say when I'm not feeling so magical myself. I want to be that strong, happy, positive force in people's lives. More than anything, that's what makes doing what I do on social media worth-while. I never want my instagram to be an unhappy place, but I do want to keep it real and authentic, which is why I feel compelled and ready to start speaking on this topic of mental illness. I've touched on it a couple times over the past 2 years, but the tragedy of mental illness leading to suicide is something that always deeply bothers me-- mainly because I've felt those feelings. It breaks me to think that I've been able to pull through such dark thoughts and others didn't. It's also made me want to be more vocal about my feelings on it. I've shared several times that you are not alone and you can get through this. I want the people who come in contact with me to know that I care about them. Whether you're a follower, friend, or even a stranger I meet in the line at Starbucks, you never know what someone is going through so kindness or the reassurance that you are not alone and loved can sometimes go a long way.

The fact that I had people like Dylan and other friends reassure me is why and how I was able to be here today.

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I've always been scared to share how I feel on the inside because how I sometimes feel on the inside is scary. Anxiety is something I've struggled with since my early teen years. I carry burdens, worry, and stress very heavily on my shoulders and I very seldom let people know about it. If you have struggled with anxiety or know someone who does, you probably know that anxiety and depression can go hand in hand. My depression came to a head right before I started Styled by Magic. I was living in New Hampshire at the time with my husband. We had moved there for his job after getting married just weeks before. I was just 20 at the time and living away from all my family and friends. I had just taken a break from college and realized the 2 years I had put into being a teacher wasn't the right career choice for me. I was feeling like a failure who was sitting idly and doing nothing with their life. I wasn't one to sit idly and not know what I wanted to do so this was a breaking point for me. I went from the girl who was valedictorian in high school, to keeping a 4.0 in college, to the girl who wasn't sleeping, was hardly eating, and didn't leave the house. Dark thoughts invaded my mind all day long. It definitely put a strain on mine and Dylan's recent marriage.

I started to think about how much better things would be without me.

I'm ashamed to say how bad it had gotten.

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Instagram came into my life at just the right time. I know that isn't a coincidence. I am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason and I think God intervened in my life when he knew I needed it. Instagram certainly isn't a cure for anxiety and depression, but it gave me a purpose and creative outlet to express myself and immerse myself in things that made me happy-- like Disney and fashion. It helped me see more clearly that I do have purpose, I am loved, and I have so much to share with the world. My presence online has turned into a job. It's one I'm passionate about and love doing. I'm starting to realize yet again that everything happens for a reason. I didn't need a college degree to validate my worthiness or intelligence. Through my blog and Instagram I've become my own boss who works for herself and while it's not always easy and magical, I still love it. I definitely want to talk more on how I got here and explain that what I do isn't just fun days at the Disney parks (though somedays it is) but it is actually hard work that does't always look as easy as it may seem.

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However, even after 2 years of hitting that low point, I am still struggling with anxiety and depression.  Even though I love what I do now, there are just some days that I can't bring myself to be productive. I sometimes have weeks on end where I can’t sleep, all I do is feel numb or cry. It comes in bouts and makes me consider just quitting all of this and sinking back into the hole I was once in. I'd be lying if I said I haven't thought about just deleting everything and shutting myself off from the world again. The only thing worse than having anxiety and depression is having a tender heart on top of it. My family would always joke that I feel things more than most people. I'm incredibly sensitive and take everything to heart. I'm lucky to say that for the most part my experience on social media has been a positive one. But, I have had a few instances where people weren't very kind. Being a people pleaser has made it hard for me to accept that not everyone is going to like you and in my mind that's riddled with anxiety, it just amplifies the feelings of not being good enough. I'm trying to teach myself that those two things have no correlation. Someone not liking me doesn't translate into me not being able to like myself.

The immense pressure I put on myself mixed with the untrue things my mind tries to convince me of makes it hard sometimes. You can be your own worst enemy when it comes to these things, but I'm slowly learning that I don't have to do this alone. 

I want to continue sharing the magic of the world in life's simple little pleasures not just for you guys, but myself. 

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When I mentioned that sharing my love for Disney has made me happier, it's not an overstatement. Disney has always been that source of inspiration and creativity in my life. Their movies and characters have impacted me in such a way that quotes from them have become sources of strength and daily reminders that life is beautiful and worth living. 

I recently started taking small steps in life to work towards better mental health and peace. After 3 years of not seeing a doctor once, I've started taking steps to seeing doctors. It's been terrifying and it took my friends making the appointments for me to start doing what I needed to do. I'm very thankful they stepped in and took charge for me when I was too scared to. I'm taking baby steps with the whole doctor situation. I'm now going to a dentist, dermatologist, and gynecologist regularly. I know the next step needs to be seeing someone who can help me understand and treat my anxiety and depression appropriately. This is the probably the scariest thing for me to do because I feel shame and guilt for feeling the way I do. Somehow, somewhere along the way, I conditioned myself into thinking that feeling this way is wrong. I've been so scared to open up about any of this. I don't want people to look at me differently. I don’t want pity. At the same time, I know it takes courage to speak up and I know it’s important that I do. 

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Since I started this journey of working on my mental health in a meaningful way, I've found strength and encouragement in those Disney quotes. For every time I've pushed myself to take care of myself and do what scared me, I've been able to look down at my wrists wrapped in mixed metal bangles and see the reassurance of some of my favorite lines in Disney classics.

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"You're Braver Than You Believe."

"Have Courage and Be Kind."

"Don't Just Fly, Soar."

"There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow."

"This is me."

These words of encouragement wrap my wrist as a daily reminder that life is worth living and I'm worthy of living it.

I’m in no way saying that you should buy these products. They aren’t a cure for mental illness. But what I can say is that they genuinely gave me strength-words of affirmation- when I was sitting in Dr’s office trying not to cry. I would just focus on those words and take a deep breath and it has helped so much.

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I've still got a long road ahead of me when it comes to dealing with my mental health and I plan to share it with you guys. 

There's so much to say about this and I know I didn't fully cover it in this post. It's hard to organize all my thoughts on this, but I am so happy to see and open up about where I was and where I am now. I mainly just wanted to let you in and know that I'm not always feeling my magical self. Not even close. But I always want my happy, magical self to be with winning side in my mind and heart. I also want to thank you guys for supporting me and giving me the kindness you probably didn't know I needed. You've also helped me be brave.

Thank you so much for letting me open up about my struggles. I am always here for you guys and I hope my posts make you happy. 

Until next time...

xoxo,

Chelsea

p.s. Remember to "have faith in your dreams and someday your rainbow will come smiling through..."

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