• aftergrace16

Kayla, a Fighter

Mental Health is no joke.

And I'll repeat it again.

Mental Health is no joke.

My sister is my biggest motivator. She has always been the person who I follow closely, as she tended to just do things that were commendable. Kayla is bubbly but introverted. She is selfless; always doing things for others. We have similar humors. She inspires me to go after the desires of my heart. She has picked me up and taught me lessons and helped me grow. I have always seen Kayla as strong.

Until she was quite literally forced into weakness.

I remember countless nights, as Kayla crept into my room in tears and agony. I remember random times when I didn't understand why Kayla was sad. I remember midnight phone calls in college, and me driving over to her house to make sure she was okay. The long text messages she would send me about being upset about her mental illness. I remember just laying by her as she cried for no reason. I remember just laying by her in complete silence for hours. I remember us sitting in my room, as we spoke out every single lie that was in her head, and we tried to heal her. I sat by her as she pleaded with God to take it away. She sat by me as I pleaded with God to take it away from her. I hurt with her.

My Kayla, the one who I lift so high, has been brought down and down again by a sporadic and uncontrollable illness.

Mental Health is no joke.

I wanted Kayla to talk to you guys today about her experiences. Whether this hits close to home or is something you don't know much about, I ask you to be open to what she's been through, and what many many others experience. Empathize in their hardships. And please talk about mental health. Anxiety is not shameful. Depression is nothing to hide. OCD is not a laughing matter. Eating Disorders are a real thing. So are panic attacks.Please reach out to those around you, no matter what kind of smile they put on their face. And please, please remember: you are not alone.

This is Kayla, a Fighter.

Hello all Kat followers! I am her big and short sister, Kayla, and I was beamed with delight to be asked to speak about something I am very much passionate about. MENTAL HEALTH. Specifically, my mental health and how I’ve soured, sobbed, and thrived through and alongside it. There are many (and when I say many, I mean SO many) varieties and colors of mental illness, but what I know is what I have. At first, I did not want to write about my mental health journey, because it is barely close to being content/solved. I struggle every single day as if it were my first day, but I hope through writing this, I can see what I’ve overcome. I’d like to call mine {anxiety and depression} with a side of {clinically diagnosed confusion}. If you’re wondering about the last part, I don’t even know. Throughout the past 10 or so years, I’ve had physicians, therapists, psychologists, and even my lady doctor tell me I simply have a common and “very curative” case of anxiety. And with receiving this information, the sound of the word “curative” just baffled me. I was insulted; I was hurt: I was scarred, just by the word “curative”. How dare you understand my pain and put a name to it? It made me feel small and even more anxious than I was before, just because someone with a medical license told me my diagnosis and basically a prognosis. I want you to know, I whole-heartedly respect the medical field, I even became a part of it as a Surgical Technologist. But in those moments, I wanted to call them slanderous, disrespectful, and oblivious because I felt NO ONE would listen or understand how I felt. It couldn’t have been “anxiety”. Everyone gets anxiety, it’s so common and it was an insult to be diagnosed with since I felt so terrible, right? WRONG. Like I said before, there are many different types of anxiety, some “small” and some “big”, but the small can feel so big sometimes. Some suffer daily, struggling to figure out the meaning of life and finding joy in everything they come across. And others struggle every once in a while, but it can consume their whole life within that time. I used to suffer daily, and sometimes still do, but now it’s sporadic and can be severe at times. I’ve tried many different kinds of medications, some would help take the edge off for a while, but then it would come back hitting me like a brick wall. I would struggle feeling happy and making everyone else happy. I felt the anxiety throughout my whole body and mind. I had a tingling feeling from my head to my toes and felt like I was carrying a ton of weight on my shoulders, which made me so angry. What would make me really angry was that I didn’t even have a reason for my anxiety sometimes. It would just happen out of the blue. How I would describe my anxiety would be this: unpredictable, unforgiving, and all-consuming. It’s hard to even put into words what I feel. It meddled with every relationship I had and I didn’t have any will or energy to even try to care, even though I wanted to please everyone in the meantime. I was just focussed on myself and why this was happening to me, so I pushed everyone who loved me away, trying to hide my pain all at the same time. All I knew was that I needed help, so I tried new medications until it finally took more than the edge off, I buckled up and went to a new therapist, and I finally opened up to my family to get the help that I needed. It took years and even to this day, to find peace, to feel happy without trying again. The joy I feel now, the overwhelming love I have, is unpredictable, unforgivable, and all-consuming. I still struggle, sometimes daily, but now I know that anybody’s level of anxiety is “big” and is not a simple diagnosis. I hope that if you’re going through what I go through, that you are not alone and that I, and so many others, understand and believe what you’re going through. We are in this together. Once we normalize mental illness, we can face it head on and fight this battle. It gets better, time really does heal. So keep your head up, be with the people you love, do the things that you love. Peace is right around the corner, I promise.

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