It all starts when you must face a traumatic experience alone. For some reason, you keep this painful thing secret; maybe because you feel ashamed or guilty in some way, even though it wasn’t your fault. It’s horrible, and you want to cry every time you think about it, but you can’t let anyone see your tears.
So, you heal the best you can, by yourself, because you feel that you have no other choice. There’s a type of strength that you gain, from surviving things you thought could’ve killed you. It changes you from within, and you come back stronger than you ever were before. It’s a powerful feeling when you’re able to bring yourself back from the darkness, without anyone else to help lead you out.
Ready to face the world again you push onward because there are responsibilities that only you can take care of. You’re in school and must make good grades. Your job expects you to work; if you get fired, you won’t be able to pay your bills. Or perhaps you have a child or another family member who depends on you to take care of them.
Whatever drives you, you keep going because it’s what you have to do.
You never let yourself wallow in self-pity because the world doesn’t stop and stand still when you’re feeling sad. Everyone thinks you’re winning at life, your family is proud of you and new opportunities keep coming along.
Eventually, more bad things happen, and you handle it all, like the strongest girl in the world, until you get home and can be alone. That’s always when you fall apart. Day after day, you keep going and don’t let anyone see your vulnerable side. You never text all your friends for help or post about it on social media when someone or something hurts you. You just hold it all in because you are strong enough to deal with it alone. Besides, you don’t want to worry those you love by weighing them down with all your problems.
Eventually, though, your self-esteem takes a plunge. You notice every little flaw in yourself and try to fix them all but never can achieve perfection. After a while, it gets harder to deal with your negative self-image, and you discover that if you keep yourself busy enough, that inner negativity has less of an impact on you. It can’t catch up to you if you’re always moving at full speed. So, you go to the gym, school, work, shopping, hang out with friends and take up new hobbies just to keep yourself continually going.
Your insecurities always return though, and they creep up when you least expect it. At night all you want to do is sleep. You’re so tired, but you lie awake with a thousand thoughts fluttering about your mind like a flock of birds that won’t stop chirping. During the day you’re surviving on coffee, energy drinks, and protein bars because you’re exhausted but still have a million things to do.
At some point, you realize that you’re not holding it together as you good as you thought were. Your anxiety keeps getting worse and the people you love wonder why you’re snippy and abrupt with them. At work or school, you start to forget important things because there are too many other thoughts constantly flying around in your head.
One day a friend sneaks up and scares you as a joke, and you completely overreact. Your heart is pounding, you break down in tears, shaking, crying and can’t breathe. Later, they call to ask how you are and you just feel weak and embarrassed that you let yourself freak out in front of them. Now that someone has seen that you aren’t as strong as you portray, it makes you feel even more vulnerable.
You decide that it’s time to seek help because you can’t bear to have another panic attack in public. You make an appointment to see your Doctor because you read about your symptoms and found that many other girls also suffer from anxiety. Perhaps they’ve also been strong for too long, and it isn’t such a big deal to ask for a little help. But, when you’re in that chilly exam room sitting on the table, it’s so hard to talk. It’s almost impossible to explain what you’re going through when you don’t feel comfortable asking anyone for help.
It only makes it more difficult when the Doctor treats you as if you’re just another person trying to get some pills and prescribes you something very light that barely takes the edge off your worst symptoms. Apparently, they want you to come back and beg for help week after week to get anywhere. This makes you want to give up on the help it took you so long to ask for. You feel let down, like no one can help you, maybe not even your Doctor.
Then you realize that you are stronger than ever before with all you’ve been through. You’re strong enough to smile through the pain and push forward with the optimism that eventually things must get better. The bad experiences are just things that happened to you; they do not define who you are. You’re strong enough to hold onto hope, and finally, you are at a point where you are also strong enough, to ask for help when you need it.
You’re a survivor, no matter how broken you may feel inside and you will not stop until your destination to a happy life is complete.
How many of you have dealt with these kinds of issues? As women, we often take on more than we can handle but find a way to make things work. Things may get tough sometimes but hold your head high and be proud to be a strong girl.
About the Author: Bethany Vincent is a writer from La Grange Kentucky who has loved playing with words since she first learned to speak. She lives with her teenage son and adopted dog daughter in a cute, yellow house with a picket fence. During college at the University of Louisville, she could be found at the writing center most of the time and her main areas of focus were literature, creative writing, and visual arts. Bethany has contributed articles and created content for many websites and blogs during her writing career. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, juggle-dancing, yoga, photography, cooking and singing along with her favorite songs while in the car driving. In the future, she plans to finish writing her first book and hopes to travel to all the beautiful places that she’s read about.
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