Happy Friday friends! I’m super excited to be posting this today, and starting this new series on my blog. This has something I have been wanting to do for a while: giving others a platform to use their voice. I am so fortunate to have this space on my blog and Instagram to use my voice, and I want to give other humans a chance to do the same. So, I’m starting this series on my blog: Freedom Friday. Whether this freedom encompasses letting go of your eating disorder, removing yourself from a toxic relationship, freeing yourself of depression or anxiety, breaking away from orthorexia or exercise addiction… I want to hear your story. And I want to share it. Your story is precious and deserves to be heard. If you want to be featured, email me, DM me on Instagram, contact me in some way, and let’s chat. I have a set of ears that’s willing to listen and a blog that I want to use to share your journey to freedom.
Freedom Friday #1 is actually a story from my good friend Leah who I have the pleasure of going to college with. This girl rocks and has a lot of knowledge and wisdom to spread to the world. Thank you friend for being so vulnerable and using your voice.
Freedom. The dictionary defines it as “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.” It is also defined as the “absence of subjection to foreign domination”; “the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.”
For a very long time, I believed my illnesses enslaved me. That my brain’s natural fixation to overanalyze defined my quality of life. That my heightened responses to normal situations meant my wiring was done so wrong that I somehow failed the basic test of human functioning.
Beliefs control us. Whether you find this to be relative or not, it is universally seen through our actions as a species. We fight wars over beliefs, vote against the rights of poor people over beliefs, and we continue to fight battles to win the freedoms that we believe we deserve. Our beliefs have control over our actions, their own state of input, however, paradoxically, we get to choose the beliefs we follow.
I believed I was subject to my anxiety disorder. I believed that I would have to sacrifice important aspects of my life to something I thought I could not control. I believed I had to part with my potential for happiness because of the genetic cards I had been dealt.
Sometimes our beliefs are wrong.
We never really expect them to be, it would go against the principle of believing them in the first place. But there come times in our lives where, with a clear mind and an open heart, we realize that sometimes we’re wrong. And that is okay. It is okay to be wrong. It is okay to change your mind about things that maybe you used to believe with your whole heart because it shows your capacity for growth and that ability to grow is what has adapted civilizations. Willingness to change, to try new things, is what started movements like the Renaissance, the industrial revolution, and so much more.
Above it all, this is something that we all have the ability to harness and practice. And it was in my ability to do so, that I found my freedom. I didn’t just decide one day that I was going to be happy, or that I wouldn’t feel anxious, or that I didn’t have a mental illness- no, that wasn’t it. I decided one day that I was open to change. I believe we get so trapped in our diagnoses and the effects of illness that we don’t leave enough room to let the light in. I started looking at small changes as big victories. I began working on accepting my panic attacks rather than despising them and fighting them. Fighting a panic attack is like swimming against the tide, the more you struggle, the farther you get swept out into the ocean, but if you allow the waves to take you, the storm passes with time. I’m going to share with you one out of two of my favorite quotes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” A lot of my friends laugh when I say this, I often say it when I go to the gym and decide I only really want to work out for about 10 minutes. And that’s fine. It’s 10 more minutes than I did yesterday. Self-care is the same way. 10 minutes of meditation, one yoga class that week, a healthy meal once a day, or just taking time to slow down- these are all steps to a bigger picture. Rome was the capital of the world for thousands of years, masterpieces take time to build and so do you.
So if I can give any advice to those struggling right now, I would sum it up in three points. The first one being something close to my heart. When I was at my lowest point in my mental health journey, I told myself to give it three years. My reasoning being that things change a little bit in a year, still recognizable after a second, and by a third you’re living a completely different life than you were three years ago. It may seem like a long time, but I promise you each year goes faster than it seems. Three years ago I was a senior in high school, I thought the truck I drove was the coolest thing (it wasn’t), I thought I would never do well living away at college (I have), and I thought I would never be able to travel anywhere due to my anxiety (I did.) Today, I drive a Chevy Cobalt (still not that cool), I loved living away at college, and in the past year I have traveled overseas to both Italy and Ireland (once by myself). My second advice is, that if you make little changes towards acceptance of yourself and your disorder, you will find that little by little a little becomes a lot. I am not perfectly “cured” by any means, but I have learned to accept the bad days. The beautiful thing about goals setting and progress is that progress is often a snowball effect, once it takes off, it builds. Laying a sturdy foundation of acceptance with the thing you cannot change is a platform to build up towards goals you may have never thought you could have achieved. Lastly, I’m going to share my second favorite quote, “With our thoughts, we make the world.” This is a Buddhist quote that I found my freshman year of college that really resonated with me. Our attitudes are important; they build our beliefs. In our beliefs, we find our potential for freedom- I sincerely hope you find yours.
Happy weekend friends! I hope you enjoy it and can relax a bit 🙂 xoxo
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