I’m not a bad person for cutting out a friend who chose addiction

I know I’m not a bad friend.

Still sometimes my heart and my mind collide.

It had been months of no contact when my daughter’s picture appeared on my ex best friend’s profile picture (read to the friend that isn’t a friend anymore).

My jaw hit the ground.

I had boldly and clearly expressed my wishes in this relationship… what did she want from me?!

A tone that sounds so cold but saying goodbye to that friendship was never easy for me either.

I made one of the bravest protests in my life by saying I wasn’t going to do this one way friendship anymore.

Then I just shut off the feelings completely so that I could learn to live with that choice.

It’s just as hard as choosing to leave the one who keeps cheating on you- not because you want to but because you need to.

I want the friendship back so badly but she isn’t in a stage where she’s going to chose to grow up any time soon.

We all have our limits.

This isn’t my rollercoaster.

But that wasn’t always the case.

You see, part of the freaking problem is that same annoying voice in the back of my head that keeps whispering, “you gave up on your friend… those are not your values.”

This voice sits and interrogates me until I’m blue in the face in conflict with myself.

A voice that’s so beyond false I can’t even believe it yet the power it still holds over me is so much more than I like to admit- even to myself.

This process has been constant battles of reminding myself of who I really am and the lengths I went to trying to save the friendship.

I wanted you back so badly and you still picked the drugs- again and again.

It was TWO YEARS of desperately searching for a way to fix this addiction.

I never compromised my values by refusing to enable her.

She mainly kept her distance and disappeared for long periods of time, leaving my mind to fester.

Boy did I make myself crazy in those two years…

I spent more time trying to fix her self-inflicted situation than I gave to my own family.

As a wife and mom to two young children, I feel like that in itself is why I did all that I possibly could have until it just wasn’t enough.

Instead of comforting my husband after a long day at work, I would obsessively google her name to make sure she hadn’t died yet.

While she was shooting up to numb the chaos she’d created, I was living all of it in full strength and it was freaking terrifying.

I did it because that is the type of friend that I am.

After two years of begging, pleading, making myself crazy, I just couldn’t do it anymore.

I never wanted to lose her as a friend, but our lives have taken two very different paths.

How many friends from grade school have you grown apart from?

More than you can count probably.

As we grow and change the people that mesh well in our lives change also.

It is completely appropriate to grow apart from people- that’s life.

Putting needles in my arm and nodding out in a motel isn’t really my thing and I think that it’s fair for me to acknowledge that.

I would have helped her get clean but she didn’t want the help to do it properly because she doesn’t want to be clean.

Being fed by a household that enables her every need.

Call me insensitive but as a former addict myself, addiction is NOT a disease that makes you incapable of asking for help.

You have to want help and be ready to put in some insanely hard work… you have to OWN everything and everyone you ever wronged while using.

This requires a great deal of not so comfortable self reflecting.

There is nothing easy about looking in the mirror and doing some serious, heavy self reflection.

It’s not an easy process, and yes I would know because I’VE BEEN THERE.

I came to that dead end where I’d had enough of what I’d made of myself and so I changed.

Until an addict makes it to that road, they will keep hiding behind their “disease”- another reason “they’ve been done wrong in this world”.

This ball is in her court and her court only.

I’m genuinely sad that our story had to end this way.

When she stood next to me as a bridesmaid at my wedding, I never could have imagined this is where we’d be in four years.

I hate that I just wasn’t enough to make you want to get clean.

It kills me that I couldn’t be that friend who helped you get through this dark time.

I’m sorry that I couldn’t help you get back to the sweet person I first became friends with.

I genuinely pray that someday this will all make sense to you.

Saying goodbye was insanely hard for me but it was a choice that I stand behind.

No matter how twisted the story gets through the telephone line, I know who I am.

I’m not the person who just dropped their friend when they started using heroin.

I am a die hard believer in a person who is hiding behind drugs and I refuse to put myself through their negligent choices anymore.

I am a girl who loves her friends SO much that I will NOT bite my lip and settle for anything less than what’s best for them.

I will fight for what’s best for her, with or without her, until the day I die. ❣️

Check out my Project Identity for more empowering content! ❣️❣️❣️

The process of finding yourself

Is there a part of you that feels like you don’t really know who you are?

As I read through old journal entries dated from childhood to adolescence, there is a common theme to them.

“Who am I?”

“What is my identity?”

This confusing sense of identity has been a constant in my life.

I know myself but I just feel like I’m missing something… who am I really?

The moment I “lost myself” is not an incredibly clear one.

My best guess would be the transition into teenage years.

When you are struggling to fit in, you keep trying on different masks until you find one that people like.

I never found that mask but I did find alcohol, which always took the edge off of the excruciating feeling of living in my own skin.

Tired of failing at being accepted for who I was, I stopped trying completely and pursued the next best option- numbing.

When I was 13, I achieved the feeling of being completely numb for the first time.

Alcohol became my best friend.

When I was drinking, I just didn’t care.

I didn’t care that I was ugly.

I didn’t care that nobody liked me.

I didn’t care that life was racing in a blur around me when I was supposed to be growing into a decent young adult.

The negative choices I made in my adolescence are what robbed me of my identity.

I freaking gave up on myself, gave up on finding my mask.

I chose to hide behind the emptiness of covering up my pain with substance.

Now in my adult years feeling a void in establishing my personal foundation.

I missed all of that and so now, that I’m mature enough to go and try on masks again, I’m figuring it out one mistake at a time.

Life is crazy you guys.

I took a risk when I chose to find myself.

Self reflection isn’t the easiest when you have a battered past.

“I want to go back and relive my worst traumas!” Said no one ever.

But those traumas are literal chains that will keep us bound until we face them.

In the process of finding myself, parts of the old me had to die.

The haunting shadows of the scariest memories of my life felt like a reality again for quite some time as I sorted through it all.

I got a lot crazier before I got better.

I’ll never forget my very first session with my anxiety therapist.

I was two months pregnant with my second child and had already gained 20 pounds.

It was the first time I had eaten like a normal person after an Exercise anorexia 8 month spiral.

I had stopped taking 4mg of prescribed Xanax a day cold turkey because I didn’t want to hurt my baby.

Every day was one big panic attack.

She asked me to say aloud,

“I am beautiful.”

And I couldn’t.

Instead anger and tears erupted in defense of my self deprecation.

We spent three years poking and prying, in which time I became completely nuts.

The first phase of finding myself was filled with anger and blame on others.

In that time I irrationally pointed the finger and blew up on my mom multiple times.

I would call her and be freaking out, sometimes even yelling, about something that I was understanding for the first time.

These memories stemmed from my grieving mind fiercely and emotionally believing that I had been done wrong.

It was a long going, deep seeded outburst of emotions I was just coming to terms with for the first time.

I found out that my Mom has Borderline Personality Disorder.

Her symptoms of the mental illness distorted my perception of myself.

I wasn’t actually “the ugliest kid in the entire world”, and if we are being real, I can’t blame her for the fact that I never found myself.

The first part of finding myself required facing some heavy shit so that I could live a better life.

The second part of finding myself was a beautiful blossoming into who I was always supposed to be.

Like a butterfly spreading its wings for the very first time, I broke free from the hell that had been consuming me.

The process of finding yourself is a journey of understanding that you are the only one who can change your situation.

The moment you decide to own responsibility for everything in your life, is the moment you become a butterfly. 🦋

It’s worth the process.

Check out Project Identity for more inspirational content and resources. ❣️

Changing the mental health system

There is a major issue in our world that we are all very aware of yet nobody wants to talk about it.

What am I speaking on?

Mental illness.

Our society is built on the idea of “being perfect”.

Every day we wake up and put on our best faces for the world.

Our social media’s are filled with smiling faces and while I’m not disagreeing that our lives have picture perfect moments, I’m calling bluff on this “perfection” front.

We are human and we are flawed.

Though our reality is a planet full of people who are desperately chasing after perfection.

We are not Jesus.

Instead we have Jesus, to teach us the most raw lessons of forgiveness as we inevitably mess up, time and time again.

And then there’s this thing called life.

Life is not peaches and cream people.

Life is a journey full of ups and downs, heart beats and heart breaks, setbacks and stand ups.

As our broken souls chase this fantasy idea of being “perfect”, it’s understandable that we internalize every failure as a flaw.

Life gets hard and we are trained to pretend that everything is fine, that we are fine.

Mental health isn’t discussed in the way physical health is.

And why?

They are in fact, one in the same.

People are so accepting of any body part breaking down, except our minds.

When our minds are broken, nobody wants to talk about it.

Instead our society is still running on this stigma that views the mentally ill as monsters.

People who are mentally ill are weird, unpredictable, dangerous.

It’s the 21st century and the advancements being made decade by decade are monumental.

Advancements in the mental health system on the other hand have been minimal.

If you are genuinely unaware of how bad this situation is, check out An “insiders” opinion on the mental health system.

This is not an isolated incident.

Our mental health system is a freaking joke you guys.

It’s unacceptable.

For anyone who has never experienced mental illness, I hear you.

It has got to be confusing as hell when somebody “can’t just be happy”.

I get that you don’t understand.

Similar to the everyday battles someone with a physical ailment faces, yet also very different.

Our eyes can see why the man with one arm struggles in climbing the rope, our eyes validate this understanding.

When someone’s mind is under attack there is nothing to validate their behavior- nothing that screams “wow, I can’t imagine how hard it must be getting out of bed every morning”.

In turn this equals stigma and grave misunderstanding of the mentally ill.

When our brains are under attack we are left with a world of broken resources.

Mental illness is a tax on the poor.

If you can’t meet the price tag, genuine help is literally non-existent.

There isn’t a logical plan in place to actually help these people.

What needs to be done to change this?

Who are the mentally ill?

The bus driver, your next door neighbor, your best friends brother, your mom.

It’s not just the horrific individuals who commit mass shootings; the “crazy people” being tied down and shipped to an insane asylum in the movies.

Nobody is exempt from getting a mental illness.

Why are people in crisis being treated like animals?

Why are our publicly available crisis centers releasing people crazier than when they were admitted?

There is obvious room for improvement in the system and we need to do this to help our people.

Being suicidal in today’s world is like needing an emergency appendectomy in a world without doctors.

In my mind there are so many things that we could do differently.

Safe havens shouldn’t feel so cold.

I am coming up on one year of doing this blog.

It has been an insane process of self reflection and growth.

I’ve decided that I am extremely passionate about advocating for the mentally ill- people like myself.

It’s a cause that we are all too familiar with but refuse to constructively change.

It sucks being mentally ill in a world that views mental illness as abnormal.

And I’m ready to start pushing for changes.

Share this post if you want change in the mental health system.

If this post hits 5,000 shares, I will personally draft up a game plan and do everything in my power to get it to Colorado legislature.

Who better to brainstorm a solution than the people who know this battle all too well?

Together we can change the way the world views and treats mental illness.

Change starts here.

Check out my blog Project Identity for more empowering content. 💕💕💕

Meet Heather, my anxiety therapist

Define “therapy” in a single, brief statement.

Was your definition associated with a positive or negative perspective?

We are all individuals who think, feel, perceive things differently.

For me, therapy is a lifeline.

I never imagined myself as someone who would be so “dysfunctional” that I’d need therapy for the rest of my life.

And I’m not that crazy.

I’ve simply found a therapist whom I trust and whose opinion I value.

The first time I sought anxiety therapy my assigned therapist was a man.

He was nice but we never really established that bond needed to make progress in my trauma saturated background.

Round two I was placed with Heather.

Instantly I felt right at home.

My personality needs a therapist who isn’t tiptoeing around political correctness.

I need someone who is real, raw and genuine.

Someone that I know I can trust with my deepest darkest secrets.

Heather has been that person for me.

As my therapist for a little over two years now, most weeks I couldn’t imagine my life without her.

Therapy is me time.

It’s the only time all week that I get to converse with another adult without a million kids hanging off of me.

I get to sit and unload all of my crap to someone that I don’t have to worry about offending… someone who has nothing but love and good advice to throw back at me.

Therapy is the place where I can navigate my troubled past while taking the necessary steps to improve myself.

A therapist is like that friend who has never done you dirty in the most one-sided relationship ever.

When I feel like bitching about stuff that’s stupid… there she is.

And the stuff that’s not stupid?

There again.

Heather is there to talk about everything.

She’s there and she cares.

Yes, I’d be lying if I said that therapy isn’t hard work at times.

While we’d all like to just pretend that our worst moments never happened…. they did.

If you never deal with your “junk” then it will haunt you in the form of panic attacks eventually.

We can’t run from trauma.

We must be courageous and face it head on- with those badass little friends called therapists in our back pocket.

And even when you’re feeling good, GO TO THERAPY.

Our mental health requires just as much conditioning and maintenance as our physical health.

If you quit your diet and started eating cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner then it wouldn’t be long before your health took a plunge.

All of the crap you put up with on a daily basis?

That is the “cake” of your mental health.

So one last time, define “therapy” in a single, brief statement.

Did your opinion evolve after reading this…?

For me, therapy is simply choosing to not eat cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

If you are struggling with trauma, mental health, or even nothing at all (psh…ha!), I encourage you to find a therapist who is a perfect match for you.

Find your Heather.

Take control of your mental health and reap the rewards of doing so. ❤️

Check out my blog Project Identity for more!

Revisiting the memories I would rather have forgotten

“Maybe you should just stop doing the blog if you aren’t able to make any income from it. It’s just so negative….ha. You are always talking about about weird stuff. People must think that you’re nuts!”

This blog has been an absolute rollercoaster.

Some days I ride the high of feeling like I’m helping people while in turn freeing myself of my “baggage”.

Other days I feel like an idiot and wonder why I’m wasting all this time for nothing, until it spirals so far out of control that I about quit.

“Should I really post that?”

“How are people going to react to this?”

Will anyone react to this…?”

The truth is that it would be SO much easier to just go about my life and pretend like all the years of chaos never even happened.

Easier to pretend that I’ve been this “normal” person my whole life…

Easier to bury my skeletons than to go searching for them in attempt to resolve the trauma that they’ve branded me with.

My blog is called Project Identity because I hope to uncover what I feel are “missing pieces” of my identity through the process of this project.

In terms of adversity, I’ve had a very wide range of it.

Mental health, eating disorders, sexual abuse, dysfunctional families…. YOU NAME IT!

By revisiting these traumas, my goal is to sort through my life and figure out who I really am.

This is NOT in any way an attempt to glorify or normalize the things that I’ve done.

Im not sharing my deepest, darkest secrets with YOU to win sympathy or to place blame on others for things that have happened in my life.

My intention IS to help others by saying,

“this is where I was and look where I am now.”

An attempt to find the answers for survival after adversity– answers that I don’t necessarily believe that I have, yet somehow…. I made it.

And the story isn’t over.

People don’t just overcome something and live happily ever after.

With time, the book you just closed will start revealing itself in your next book.

Growing up in a home with a parent who has Borderline Personality Disorder left me runningself medicating with drugs and alcohol.

The consequences that I received for such behavior opened the door for a newfound battle of control with food (read Tell me to eat? I’ll starve myself).

All of the above rooting me in distorted self worth and eventually leading to rape and suicide attempts.

Recovery from both addictions simultaneously greeted me with crippling anxiety and PTSD- symptoms I now have to face head on, without a crutch.

I don’t believe that God dealt me these cards by mistake though.

Why?

Because I shouldn’t even be here right now.

The moment my life turned around was also the lowest, darkest place I’ve ever been.

My desire to live was gone, but God had other plans.

Just weeks after multiple failed suicide attempts and hospitalizations, my polar opposite walked into my life and we ended up pregnant.

I wasn’t living for me anymore.

A tiny human who would love me forever was too good of an offer to pass up.

God took the life I couldn’t handle anymore and replaced it with one that I could.

He wanted me here because He knows my heart.

My adversity is God’s opportunity.

His opportunity to change more lives.

This is why I do what I do.

I write about my rawest moments because frankly, life is raw.

The world needs more raw people, too.

Check out my blog Project Identity for more!

Rain rain go away

Rain rain go away

The rain just won’t stop pouring

Rain rain go away

You’re so freaking annoying

Rain rain what did you say

I really must be going

Rain rain go away

The forecast calls for storming

Rain rain go away

I need some help please save me

Rain rain go away

I haven’t been behaving

Rain rain go away

God are you there I’m sorry

Rain rain go away

Is this really my story

Rain rain go away

Your light is there it’s glowing

Rain rain go away

By praying, You can show it

Rain rain go away

I need you Lord I know it

Rain rain go away

Together we can beat this

Rain rain go away

You’re all I ever needed

Rain rain go away

The voice of Jesus humming

Rain rain go away

The changes they are coming

Rain rain go away

My God, He’s so forgiving

Rain rain go away

My life is so worth living

Rain rain go away

My God, He’s always near

Rain rain go away

With Him I’ll conquer fear

Rain rain gone away

The sun is finally here

Check out my blog Project Identity ❤️ for more!

I hate meds

The other day I texted my husband and dropped the bomb yet again.

My meds aren’t working.

I finally freaking admitted it… to my husband and to myself.

Aren’t working like how?!

He wrote back.

Not working as in not being able to handle dramatic confrontations… not working as in telling you I hated you like a psycho…😔

My meds haven’t been working for awhile.

Finally, I’ve reached my breaking point with them.

If you’ve ever taken medication you are likely familiar with that terrible feeling when you begin noticing the meds aren’t a good fit.

You fight with yourself on if it’s even worth all of the stress and anxiety that comes with changing.

The last time I changed my meds I ended up in a crisis center on a 72 hour hold.

Since “regaining stability” on a new antidepressant, irritability and impulsivity have been the most noticeable side effects.

However, in comparison to landing in a crazy house, these side effects seemed manageable.

At least until I found myself shouting those insanely awful words at my poor husband…

“I hate you!”

In that moment I knew I’d have to bare whatever fate was headed for me as I gear up to make yet another switch.

I love my husband more than words and the fact that those terrible words could even come out of my mouth absolutely kills me.

Who is this crazy person I’ve become on these pills that are supposed to be making me “normal”…?

I hate everything about this.

I hate that this chemical substance, that I put in my body, is powerful enough to change my values… to change who I am.

I hate that I feel trapped as this person who I don’t want to be and I hate that there is no easy way out.

I hate watching myself destroy everything that’s important to me while sitting on the sidelines in my own life.

If you read Life sentenced to medication then you are already aware that I had my identity stripped of me as a child.

I’ll never forget that very first psychiatrist visit- almost 20 years ago.

Ironically, what I have lost sight of, is who I was before being signed up for this mess.

More than anything I want to meet myself.

I want to be able to wake up in the morning and just be normal like everyone else without taking a handful of pills that don’t even work.

I want to feel completely in control of the things I do and say.

I want to know who the hell I am underneath all of these stupid pills.

There are only two things that I’m sure of.

One- if I skip my pills for a day I feel like a hungover, quivering robot who can absolutely not function.

Two- I freaking hate medication!

YES, medication is definitely required for some people.

Maybe I am one of those people…

I just wish so badly that I could have made that decision for myself.

Having done so would make this lifestyle feel much less out of control.

As I sit here watching my life play out in front of me from behind a glass window, there is one thing I wish for my readers.

While my identity may be long gone, I hope it wasn’t all for nothing.

I pray that some way, some how, this post can reach a parent who is on the fence with treatment options for their child.

I pray that if possible, this post can be enough to convince someone to just let their child be a child…

If you feel like medication is the only option, DISCUSS IT THOROUGHLY WITH YOUR CHILD.

Allow them to have a voice in the decision making process.

Let them know all of the risks involved and that this could potentially, be a life sentence– as it was for me.

Check out my blog Project Identity for more ❤️

Depression episodes

My life is pretty freaking close to “perfect” yet I keep having these episodes where I feel like I’d be better off dead.

All of my reasons for living get sidelined and I have the worst kind of tunnel vision.

In the middle of these depressive episodes I surrender control to complete negativity and genuinely feel that I’m not worthy of help.

Positive thoughts are rejected one after the other in an attempt to completely drown in my misery.

The problem with self help tools is they are often difficult to access when you are in crisis.

We are not our best selfs while in crisis.

We are scattered, broken, distraught.

The thoughts pulsing through your brain are so ridiculously foreign to your values yet they won’t go away.

Depression opens its big mouth and swallows us whole.

If you’ve never experienced a depressive episode then first of all… you are one lucky duck!

Depression is not an easy thing to go through.

Imagine your mind being hijacked as a dark cloud moves over you.

Suddenly the impulsive, totally not “you” thoughts take over.

“I can’t do this anymore.”

“This is too much to overcome.”

“Death is the only way out.”

At times this helplessness can feel like too much to bare.

You guys, how do we fix this?!

If you’ve read (An “insiders” opinion on the mental health system) then you already know that I won’t come within 100 feet of a crisis center… “our system”.

Never again will I submit to such insanity.

Instead I will handle these moments of crisis on my own.

Recently, I added a new “tool” to my “belt”.

In a moment when things were calm I identified my number one ABSOLUTE reason above everything for why I could not lose this battle with depression.

What was it?

I pictured my husband telling our children that “Mommy had to go to heaven because she was very sick”.

I felt the pain that they would feel as they grew up without a mother.

That experience was the most gut wrenching, terrible, unbearable feeling ever.

I could never do that to my children if there was ever an option to choose differently.

Depression freaking sucks.

While I can’t completely avoid these episodes, I can enter them prepared.

In the moments when every sense of logic is completely unavailable to me because of my depression and I’m mentally incapable of helping myself…

That image of my children broken into pieces is much more readily available than a list of things that “I’ve got going for me.”

All it takes is one moment, accessing the image tied to my reason for surviving and suddenly the pain that I feel for my children is greater than the pain I’m feeling in the current moment.

For me, it’s helpful that my image isn’t about me.

Depression makes me feel unworthy… unworthy of living…. unworthy of helping myself.

No matter how unworthy I may be, my kids are the most worthy of things in the world to me.

I would do anything to prevent the pain they feel in my foreseen scenario.

ANYTHING.

Including suffering this “hopeless low” so that their hearts never have to break like that.

It’s important to find a “reason” that fits for you and your life.

FIRST–> Tie that reason to an easily accessible image or “snapshot”.

THEN—> Tie that image to the overwhelming emotion that it brings you…

For example, don’t stop at “my kids need me.”

Instead, validate this statement by feeling what your kids would feel if you gave up on them.

Make it something that is deeply meaningful to you.

If you are struggling on coming up with something pray about it.

I’m praying for you too.❤️

I promise you that there are so many reasons for your survival even when your depression is destroying you.

Once you have your reason tuck it safely in your back pocket.

Every so often take it back out to refresh the emotions that are tied to it so they remain raw– do this as often as necessary for yourself.

The next time you are greeted with a dark cloud it may come in handy. ❤️

Love and prayers for those battling this tough illness…

YOU ARE STRONG!

Check out my blog Project Identity for more!

Loss by suicide 💔

Nate was a lot like me.

Loud, goofy, awkward.

Thoughtful.

We went to high school together but never really got to know one another until a job at Starbucks landed us together six years later.

It was nice to see a familiar face on the first day of a new job.

Nate took me under his wing and within no time our shifts were spent in tears from laughing so hard with each other.

I thank God for those memories.

I’d only been working at Starbucks for a couple months before Nate left the company to focus on Uber and his dog walking business.

Every so often one of us would reach out through Facebook and discuss meeting for pedicures.

We never got the chance to do so.

It pains me that I didn’t know how much he really needed me.

My career at Starbucks lasted another year before leaving to have baby #2 and be a stay-at-home mom.

Being a barista was getting increasingly unbearable thanks to preeclampsia!

Every shift my feet would swell painfully HUGE and I wouldn’t be able to get my shoes off when I got home.

Finally in my last week at Starbucks-miserable was an understatement.

There were not many things that made me smile at that point.

And then, in walked Nate one day with a pink gift bag in one hand and a box of diapers in the other.

The super pregnant barista was finally smiling.❤️

That’s just the person that Nate was.

He was the sunshine.

The silly friend who always went completely out of his way to make other people smile.

I was leaving church when I opened the message nobody wants to receive,

“Hey girl I hate to tell you this but Nate is gone. They found him face down in a parking garage with a single gunshot wound in the front of his head.”

Excuse me what did you just say?!?

So many emotions pulsing through me.

What was going on?!

Where was I?!?!

In an instant my world went black and white.

Battling with my mind while searching for answers.

A murder?!

A freaking murder?!?!

I was in such a state of shock that I literally tried convincing myself that it was all some kind of social experiment or prank.

My mind just couldn’t believe it.

Until I walked into his funeral service and instantly shattered.

This was all for real and I couldn’t deny it anymore.

I wish he could have seen how many people came to say goodbye to him…

People who loved him overflowing into every inch of the large room.

His brother’s speech would kickoff the service and offer some answers in this tragic madness.

“Nate had depression.”

Confessed his brother, speaking at the start of the service.

Wait what?!

Depression?!?!

You couldn’t be talking about my Nate?!

No way!

Absolutely not!

He was always so happy!!!

And then it hit me.

Every person has their own way of trying to keep their head above water.

Severe depression is a serious condition.

It’s a debilitating kind of loneliness.

Nate… I’m sorry.

Sorry you were hurting. 💔

Sorry that the pain was too bad to continue on suffering the blow.

I had no idea you had depression… and I’m sorry for that too.

I’m sorry that you’re gone.

And I’m sorry for the finality of all of this.

I miss you.

I love the moments when you say hello as the sun blanketing me… the snowflake landing on my nose.

I wish your story could have ended differently.

Rest In Peace my friend.❤️

In loving memory of Nathan Flanagan💐

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An “insiders” opinion on the mental health system


I was in crisis.

Suddenly the seemingly perfect life I’d been living was in total havoc and I just freaking lost it.

I needed help.

Time away where I could sit and talk with someone to work through my problems.

That is what happens at those inpatient mental health places…right?!

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This actually wouldn’t be my first experience with the mental health system.

In 2011, I was put on a 72 hour hold after firemen broke my window to rescue me following a suicide attempt.

You can read more about that experience by clicking the link below ⬇️⬇️⬇️

https://project-identity.blog/2018/04/02/my-untraditional-fairy-tale/

This story leaves you hanging however in regards to the system.

The only thing I really remember from that experience was sitting in a dark room, completely isolated, only to be released in my hospital gown three days later.

There may have been other issues in protocol based on the severity of my condition at the time.

That was also 2011.

By 2018 they surely had new measures in place to give those in crisis a safe place to go….

“Alexis. Are you a danger to yourself?”

Well knowing that my response would decipher my freedom, I finally amounted the courage to say the word.

Yes.

Life as I knew it was suddenly out of my control.

The walls melted beside me as the EMT’s laid me on a stretcher and wheeled me out of my doctors office.

You guys I’m a pretty normal human these days.

I don’t go out.

I don’t get in trouble.

I’m a mom to two beautiful little girls.

Call me basic.

Yet however “basic” I may be, I still managed to land myself in a crisis center on a 72 hour hold.

This could be anyone.

So what exactly happens to you once you get turned over to the system?

Is our mental health system enough to “fix” people?

See if my experience changes your opinion.

2018 inpatient mental health experience

After completing a gene test, it was determined that my antidepressant wasn’t a very effective choice for me.

Ready for better management of my depression I decided to make the switch.

The catch?

I’d have to ween off my current antidepressant for three weeks before starting the new one.

This is actually protocol as taking multiple SSRI’s increases your risk of developing serotonin syndrome.

Two weeks in and I was feeling just fine!

“Maybe I don’t need this antidepressant after all!”

Until on week two, day five, when “life” happened.

Laying on the bathroom floor staring into space.

Every once in awhile reminding myself that I’m a mom and I need to get my butt out there and suck it up.

Only to inevitably explode tears in front of my children and end up back on the bathroom floor in effort to shelter them from my “crazy”.

Terrified of the system after my first experience, I attempted to sleep it off.

Fast forward to the admittance of needing help at the beginning of this article.

Here is what the next 72 hours had in store for me.

10am: EMT’s come to my doctors office to take me to the hospital.

10:30am: I arrive at the hospital. A guard is placed at the door of my ER room to keep an eye on me. Sitting still, sobbing quietly, trying to not distract the nurses from tending to actual emergency care.

12pm: A urine sample and blood work are finally collected and sent to the lab. I still have yet to talk to a therapist. Regret starts sinking in.

3pm: The medical tests came back normal. I’ve now been cleared from medical and an order has been submitted for me to speak to a counselor for placement.

9:30pm: Just shy of TWELVE hours in the emergency room staring at a wall. What did I sign up for? AT LAST the counselor is here to do the assessment. Following a stack of paperwork, the decision is made to send me to a crisis center. Now more waiting while they search for an available bed. The nurse said this can take up to 24 hours.

11:30pm: A surprisingly short (2 hour) wait time until I found placement. But wait there’s more…. time to submit the pre authorization for insurance. I was told once again this could take up to 24 hours. Please get me out of here.

1am: Once again I’ve “lucked out” as insurance only took an hour and a half to respond. How people could be stuck helpless in the ER for DAYS possibly… I can’t even begin to fathom. Can I speak to a therapist yet?

1:30am: EMT’s arrive to transport me to my new “home”.

2:15am: I have finally arrived. However, it is the middle of the night. I guess I won’t be seeing a therapist today.

Note: This entire ridiculous day was enough to make a person crazy. I was over it. This definitely was NOT what I was expecting. There were not therapists on duty to help me through it. The panic attacks were unbearable. I had missed the window for medication distribution so I’d have to manage without the pills that help me sleep at night. I felt so trapped and out of control. Everyone was sleeping so I couldn’t even cry it out like I so badly needed to. Choking on my tears, hyperventilating, trying to be quiet.

It was the ultimate depressive low.

5am: Finally I decide to try and sleep after my attempts at escaping were unsuccessful.

7am: Time for breakfast. I was able to fall asleep for a little over an hour. 😫

8am: Medications are given. If you haven’t seen the doctor yet, no meds. Even if you brought your own medication in the original bottles with your name on them. My body is literally so used to taking my medications that if I miss a dose my skin gets all flushed and I feel like I’m dying. These symptoms adding to my already full load of problems.

9am: Group therapy. Essentially, working through coping skills. It’s incredibly hard to focus while I’m still overflowing with the problems that got me in here and the fact that I still haven’t been able to talk to ANYONE about them.

10am: Free time. Either read a book if you brought one, color if that’s your thing, or lay in the dayroom and sleep like 90% of people did.

12pm: Lunch.

1pm: Group therapy.

1:30pm: THE DOCTOR FINALLY CALLED ME! Andddd, my visit with her was a whopping 5 minutes. At least the order had FINALLY been put in for my meds. I’d have to wait until evening medication distribution to get them though.

2pm: Free time. More day sleeping…

4pm: More group therapy… still can’t focus.

5pm: Dinner.

6pm: Visitation.

7pm: Group therapy… again.

8pm: Medications. Which thankfully included me this time.

9pm: Bed.

This routine was the same schedule every day. The only difference the following day was that I FINALLY SAW A THERAPIST. For a ten minute one on one session. ONCE.

So, if I ever found myself in a mental health emergency again, would I make the same choice in asking for help?

As much as I hate admitting this, absolutely not.

The mental health system failed me.

I 110% left feeling WAY worse than I did when I got there.

You guys, how is this our system?

How is it that treatment for someone who is suicidal doesn’t involve any quality one on one time?

Why was the day filled with free time and taking naps (which is terrible for depression) while activities involving exercise (great for depression) didn’t exist?

Shouldn’t it be a priority to get severely mentally ill patients their medications in a timely matter?

Our broken system has psychiatric patients using emergency care rooms as waiting rooms… potentially for DAYS based on some of the wait times I was given. Is it really the best idea to tie up our EMERGENCY ROOM nurses with mentally ill people they can’t help?

I’m not sharing this as a salty ex-patient trying to make something out of nothing.

I’m sharing this because this could happen to anyone.

Depression doesn’t discriminate.

This is the system your children, your grandchildren, THEIR grandchildren may need to use some day…

I’m sure that there are options, for extremely wealthy people, to fly somewhere and have an actual therapeutic experience.

But what about the rest of us?

What about the suspects in these shootings that we keep saying need mental health treatment?

This is OUR mental health system and if people are leaving crazier than they came in, IT’S NOT WORKING

If you are appalled by this article SHARE IT!

Not enough people are aware of this sad reality.

Let’s expose the system for what it is.

It unacceptable.

Make your voice heard.

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Project Identity


Bullying is everywhere

Bullying consumed so many years of my life.

Beaten down by the harshness of this at times, ruthless society.

One minute I was 12, enjoying hours in the lake on a partially deflated water trampoline with my best friend.

The next I’m 13 and my best friend just woke up one day and didn’t want me anymore.

I was never given an explanation.

After that things got really bad for me.

Below are some pictures of myself in different stages of middle/high school.

Each photo is accompanied by an actual comment said to me in that time frame.

Bullying is everywhere

“You are ugly”

“You are weird”

“You are too skinny”

“You wear too much makeup”

“You should just kill yourself”

Statements cemented into me.

Cruel comments, shaping my core beliefs about myself.

Middle and high school are HARD!

If you are not “perfect”, people will go out of their way to destroy you.

Dear victims of bullying,

You are not ugly.

You are not fat.

You are beautifully, uniquely, you.

There is nothing wrong with you.

In fact,

As someone who has been in your shoes…

I promise you that this situation is temporary.

I know years of battery can seem like TOO much sometimes.

There will be days when you feel like you just can’t do it anymore.

HOLD ON.

People CARE about you.

Things may get worse before they get better

Remain strong.

The Lord won’t give you more than you can handle.

Come to Him in your times of weakness.

Remember that it can’t rain forever.

“I am free from the chains that once bound me”

Life is in color again.

The hurtful people from my past are nothing more than my past.

Senseless words will not define me.

In the times when life feels like “too much”,

Remind yourself,

“The bigger the storm, the brighter the rainbow”

Don’t miss witnessing your rainbow

I promise you it’s worth the wait ❤️

#SuicidePrevention #Truth #Encouragement #Positivity #Hope


My untraditional fairy tale

It was rock bottom.

“Please! Please!”, I begged for the seventy fifth time.

“Kill ME just please don’t hurt my dog! Pahlease!”

Shrieking. Pleading. Choking on my tears.

I was surrounded by broken furniture- Cockroaches grazing various parts of my body.

I was done.

There wasn’t a future for me.

Nobody loved me.

Nobody liked me.

People can only handle being robbed of hope for so long…

Using a large gulp of Burnette’s vodka to wash down an entire bottle of antidepressants.

Downing the liquor as reality slowly came out from under me.

The hallucinations were so clear they’ve been branded in my mind for life.

Two men sitting in the corner… completely mute.

Grazing large kitchen knives the way a man strokes his beard.

My attempts to escape from the men were comical.

So disoriented I was incapable of moving an inch without face planting into the cigarette burnt, cockroach infested carpet.

It was hours of horror…

Crying, pleading for the life of my dog, Lancer.

Laying like a rag doll on the carpet… unable to keep fighting.

This horrific experience “ended” with my neighbor calling 911 because of the loud bangs (me face diving for hours).

A flashlight peered in the window and once again I attempted to inch forward; landing on the floor like a cracked egg.

The room faded around me as men dressed in red approached through broken glass and took me away…

Life would continue moving and eventually, I would too.

It was time for a change of space.

I found a room for rent in a house in the suburbs.

About a week after moving in, I met Derrick.

It was date number million from an online dating site.

I was a hot mess.

I remember opening the door and there he was; A bottle of raspberry Smirnoff in hand, per my order. 

Intriguing, sexy blue eyes.

That night I got hammered and took a nap on my couch. 

I honestly don’t remember much.

For whatever reason though, he stayed.

He wasn’t scared of my crazy.

There would be a lot to learn about this man.

He was not overly social, quiet, mild temperament , sheltered.

The absolute contrast of myself.

Likely intrigued by the “danger” involved with me, he progressed in the relationship.

A lot of vodka.

Tons of naps.

Countless adventures for this previously “untainted” man.

About six weeks later I was greeted with a positive pregnancy test.

Suddenly the two of us were dealt loads of responsibility.

We had choices to make… choices not ideally made by individuals who can’t even take care of themselves.

I was 20 years old. He was 23.

Could we really take care of a human?!

‘This baby is the one thing in my life that will never leave me’

A void I desired so deeply that I quit drinking cold turkey.

The transition from someone who downed full bottles of vodka in a day to someone without that “crutch” was not an easy one.

I had seizures for two days on my boyfriends bathroom floor.

He said my eyes were rolling in the back of my head… it had to have been traumatic to watch.

“I think we should take a break”

So vulnerable in the moment I packed up my stuff and left.

God gave me that time to work on myself.

I was done but He still had work for me to do…

It wouldn’t be easy but this “untraditional” blessing would be my strength… The Lord in action.

Six months passed without communication with my child’s father.

I didn’t need the responsibility of a relationship while I was trying to find myself.

I was slowly getting stronger.

Sober for the first time in years.

A tiny baby in my stomach that would save me.

In a few short months I became a completely different person inside and out.

Uncertain in the future.

One day at work a coworker said,

“You need to at least open the door for him to be there during the birth… it’s something he can’t ever get back.”

A comment that would change how this story ended.

So I texted him.

Hey. I hope you’re doing well. Just wanted to let you know that it’s a girl. I have a bunch of ultrasound pictures and videos if you’d like to see them. Have a good day.

His response was positive.

An arrangement for me to drop off the photos was put into motion.

Stunned by the difference in my appearance he invited me in to view the ultrasound videos with him.

It was so refreshing having that moment together.

September 11th 2012 we welcomed our beautiful little princess into this world.

May 23rd 2015 we got married.

February 22nd 2017 our second child was born.

Our story isn’t perfect.

It’s untraditional but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

My scars are my strength.

I thank God every single day for rescuing ME when I felt like the most unworthy person on earth.

For loving ME… for giving ME this beautiful life.

It’s crazy how much can change in a couple days, a month, a year.

I’m sober by will, not choice.

The past seven years have been intense at times but oh so beautiful.

I’m making memories with a clear mind… it’s priceless.

My story continues and there is much, much more to the prologue.

Project Identity will unveil these real life stories in a series of blog posts.

I am human. I am real. I am raw. I am here. Let me lead you from the dark! ❤️

Check out Project Identity for more! ❣️❣️❣️