First I want to give a shoutout to Corinne from the Bachelor who made the phrase "emotional health" trend on twitter. Ok now we can get into the more serious stuff.
My breakdown forced me to make a lot of changes to become myself again, one of which was particularly challenging - I had to take some time away from my business, letting go of potential deals, leads, and major opportunities. Summer had just ended and we were gearing up for the holidays, but every time I tried to sit down and plan an event or work on a strategy, my mind would go into overdrive and I'd have to take a break. I was told my body was in constant "fight or flight" mode and these responses were out of my control. I needed to learn how to manage and respect my body's impulses. I am really lucky because one of my closest friends is also someone who has been with me through the highs and lows of the business. She's also the one responsible for the rad media on this blog. When I called Sammie and told her what was going on, without hesitation she said "I support you". She's engaged to be married soon but we have this joke that I'm actually her other fiance. We first bonded traveling to South Korea years ago over some really interesting circumstances . If I get super comfortable with this blog maybe I'll tell you that story. There is one particular day that comes to mind when I think of our friendship. We had been texting one night about getting together the next day and I told her I would call her to confirm the plans. That night I didn't sleep well and was having intense anxiety. I woke up feeling drained and not wanting to see anyone. The thought of playing pretend and smiling for the outside world was too much. I didn't want to fake it so I decided to stay home and work without being in contact with anyone. This is a common response leading people to stay in isolation - the worst thing for those who are anxious or depressed. For the next few hours I contemplated texting her but couldn't figure out what to say. When I was about to cancel, she messaged me first. "I know something is wrong but I'm still coming anyways and we can do whatever". I honestly teared up. She understood. She came over and instead of working we went to the beach and just sat there. I told her I was struggling that day and she just said it was fine and so we sat, not really speaking. This is real acceptance and I hope that whoever is struggling like I was has friends who accept them as they are, good days and bad.
So, what did these changes look like? I'd like to tell you I got really into yoga and meditation and this solved all my problems - but I would be lying. I used to love yoga especially considering I sell yoga clothes, but truth be told - I kind of can't be bothered to do it anymore. I will do it occasionally but I've become more of a spin/orangetheory person. I sit there for an hour in yoga class trying to do these poses but instead of clearing my mind I just look at everyone else. If someone says "oh no one's even paying attention to you in class, they're focused on themselves," that's a lie. I'm paying attention. I know I know, this is awful and I need help but it's the truth. I did however, find other ways to attain mental peace. It was through shows like the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and reading tweets by Chrissy Teigan. You may think I'm joking but I feel so at peace when watching these shows - they are so crazy, I realize just how normal I am. Okay but I also did other things. There is a huge field by my apartment I'd walk around and around for hours, listening to music and 'praying' except my prayers are not what you think of when you think of praying. I just talk to God. "God, I am really tired and and don't know what to do and feel like I am stuck can you please help me?" This is me praying. Whenever I would get anxious thoughts I grabbed my headphones and would go outside. I can't tell you how much this helped me. After I'd come back home, I'd write in my journal. I went through 7 journals in one month. I wrote A LOT. It was a lost love of mine that was revived through this whole thing.
I had a lot more time on my hands since taking the break from the business. Besides getting into a good workout routine, journaling, and walking outside for hours, I really didn't know what else to do. I had moved to Orange County about a year earlier and wanted to get back to my social roots - being around people used to be my favorite thing. I decided to volunteer with an organization that helps teenage girls manage self-esteem issues. It was through a church but I had no intention of actually going to church. I am a Christian but I was very jaded and thought the church was super old school and irrelevant. One Sunday, I forced myself to attend and this girl Sarah greeted me. After talking for a few minutes she told me I could sit with her...in the front. UGH, noooooo. I hate the front. Can't I just sneak in the back? I thought to myself. At the end of the service I was pleasantly surprised. I had enjoyed it. Sarah invited me to a 'life group' which is a forced social gathering of church people (sarcastic) and though I was skeptical, I took her up on the offer. The night of the life group, I ended up cancelling on her last minute. I had been crying the night before, I don't actually remember why. This is just what recovering feels like sometimes. I knew I shouldn't isolate myself so I went back to church that Sunday and Sarah was there again, smiling as usual saying how she missed me last Tuesday and hoped I would come this week. Sure, why not. I was so cynical and jaded that it took me a while to open up to the idea of going to a church social gathering - but this little group of people ended up having a huge impact on me. Besides this group, I have a very close network of friends in Socal (and San Francisco, shoutout AF) who are like my personal cheerleaders. I could literally tell them, "I'm going to Alaska to sell marijuana and live in an igloo" and they would be like "Omg Im so proud of you, lets throw you a going away party." They really love me and I know it.
I guess I should end by saying how grateful I am to all those who accept me as I am. I hope that if you are struggling you can find people to stand by your side. I can suggest a lot of books that helped me, some more methodical ways to cope, but the best therapy is friendship. Amirite?