I have anxiety.

Those three words will always be one of the most difficult for me to say out loud. It’s not easy to talk about your mental health struggles with others, especially people who have never experienced anything like it before. It can be dark and hazy, the whole world can all of a sudden feel like it is collapsing in on you. A crowded room can be the loneliest place all the while an empty room in a quiet home can feel so comforting. Anxiety can be so deafening.

It’s hard for me to write this, so bear with me please. The most real kind of writing and the archives I am most proud of are the ones that are raw. Mental health is one of the only subjects that I can write about for hours and not because I find it fascinating but because I live with the struggles of anxiety every day. It’s a constant balancing act for me to try to work through my emotions and anxiety attacks but I have no choice but to otherwise I would end up sitting in my bedroom 24/7 wishing I didn’t have to deal with anxiety attacks in public. It’s rare but it does happen. And in those moments there’s nothing more I want to do than scream and run away from everything going on inside. Anxiety doesn’t just go away like I wish it would.

I’ve had anxiety for about six years now, and man it was not what I had imagined for my early twenties. Not wanting to go to parties or meeting new people? That was never me. Have you ever been too anxious to go to a movie or even a mall alone? I’ve been there..way too many times. Just thinking about the idea of going to a mall completely alone would make my heart fall into my stomach and slowly it would feel as if I couldn’t breathe. I could try to deny it all that I wanted, but I had anxiety. I was officially someone I never thought I would be. And I’m not saying that because I’m ashamed to not have perfect mental health, I’m saying that because I could have never predicted all the struggles that would come with anxiety.

My anxiety started casually I guess you could say. It would creep up whenever I was in a large group and would last until I tossed back a couple drinks. I was always stuck comparing myself to others and worrying about their perception of me. Silly, I know, but at twenty one I didn’t have much self-confidence. Anxiety completely took over. Some days I felt almost numb. It was exhausting to constantly have worries and fears running through my mind.

Slowly, a couple drinks weren’t enough to mask the anxiety. It was almost as if my anxieties had their own anxieties. It doubled overnight.  In reality, it didn’t grow overnight; I just tried so hard to hide it. And eventually, I couldn’t. I was left trying to navigate a truth that I didn’t want to accept.

If it weren’t for my faith I’m not sure how I would ever push through on the days where there is nothing more I want than to lay in bed all day. And as much as my anxiety would love that, I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t thrive. I wouldn’t grow and I wouldn’t learn the coping mechanisms needed to navigate something as complex as anxiety.

Indifferent to what I used to think, anxiety isn’t something that is black and white. It’s not as simple as you either have it or you don’t. It’s so vastly different for each person; something I won’t attempt to explain. I have anxiety but I may not have all the symptoms someone else does or maybe I can relate to some issues but not all. It’s complex. It’s the same for mental health, it’s not an easy answer for anyone but I do believe it is something that we all need to talk about more frequently and more openly. There should never be a stigma around mental health and we should never make someone feel smaller for struggling with anxiety, depression, PTSD or many other different mental illnesses.

Mental health will always be something I am passionate about because I would not be the person I am today have I not experienced the challenges that come with anxiety. It has changed my life greatly and I can only hope that through talking about it we can start a larger conversation and feel a little less alone in a world where it is so easy to.

Beginning my journey with a naturopath

A lot has changed since the last post I made about my journey with acne. As of April, I have began seeing a Naturopath, which is always something I have always wanted to do but never thought I could. I always tried to avoid dairy but let’s just say I wasn’t making it a priority and would always eat ice cream if I was offered. I’ve noticed huge differences since cutting out dairy with my digestion and overall feeling throughout the day but it hasn’t been the miracle that cleared my skin. Which now leads me to the next step I tried which was going off birth control pill; I had been on the pill for two years and in February I had made up my mind that come March I was going to go off the pill and try to fix these hormonal imbalances/acne naturally. I went off the pill while I was in the process of changing my diet and cutting out dairy so my skin kind of went in to a panic and I experienced some bad breakouts all around my mouth and chin again.

After about a month after going off the pill my skin was the worst it has ever been and I couldn’t think of anything else I can do myself to help clear it up which is when I decided that I should try a naturopath. I mean I had wanted to go for years and just always talked myself out of it, mostly for financial reasons but I knew I would be upset with myself if I never tried. So I scheduled an appointment for end of April and I had the absolute best experience with the doctor. She spent an hour and a half with me and we discussed everything from my skin to my energy levels and stresses. It was the most in depth meeting with a doctor I had before. She discussed a game plan to start balancing my hormones but she first decided that blood work would be helpful to better determine which herbs/supplements will help heal me from the inside out. I honestly have never felt so optimistic about anything before. I knew if I wanted to see results than I would have to try my best to stick to a clean diet filled with loads of healthy fats and healthy carbs like sweet potato and cut sugar out completely.

It’s only been a month and a half since starting the supplements/herbs so I can’t exactly say if it’s been the solution but I can say that I have never had so much energy in my life and I am slowly seeing some improvements. My skin is slowly clearing up but there are still days where I experience breakouts. I wish more than anything that it would clear instantly but I know that isn’t how things work. Results take time and hormones don’t change overnight.

I’ve always loved watching youtubers’ post their skin journey and seeing the before, during and afters and I always thought that if I ever cleared my skin I would do the same but I’m so uncomfortable about the idea of sitting in front of a camera and being vulnerable. It’s so much easier for me to be vulnerable in my writing. I’ve been taking progress photos and keeping a journal about my experience and what’s working and what isn’t in the hopes of one day sharing that. I don’t know if that journey will take me one year or two years or even six months but however long it takes I am willing to be patient and give it a solid try.

I know I have been so inconsistent with my blogs but I want to try to write on here weekly to update the progress/setbacks with this new journey.

My experience with adult acne

My experience with adult acne

I can write for hours when it comes to acne, hormones and the constant struggle to maintain clear skin. Working to clear up my skin has been an off and on struggle for the last 3 years and let me tell you nothing has made my confidence drop quite like this. Let’s go back to where it all started for me; the mirena. I had really good skin as a teenager so I kind of thought that maybe I was one of the lucky ones and I dodged the acne stage. When I was around twenty I decided to try the mirena because I hadn’t heard too many negatives about it and let’s be real, the idea of not having to take the pill at the same time every day was all the convincing I needed! So I scheduled an appointment with my doctor and talked it all over and set a time and date to finally do it. I was a little hesitant about it but I went ahead with it anyway. I had it for three years and never had issues until the last year. I had hormonal changes like crazy, acne all around my mouth and jawline, cramping, abdominal pain and the overall discomfort near the end was all I needed to know that it wasn’t the right option for me anymore. Honestly, it’s not like that for everyone because I have heard great success stories from some friends, unfortunately for me it was nothing but a headache.

I  scheduled the appointment with my doctor to have it removed and was told most of my problems such as the acne would clear up; which it did for the first two weeks but it only got worse from there. As a young woman in my early twenties it was so hard for me to look in the mirror and see the acne especially when I was trying so many remedies to heal it. I would spend so much time on the internet researching how to get clear skin. I was so afraid to even leave the house without make up and the idea of going anywhere when I had a break out was daunting to me. It completely shattered the self image I had created in my head of myself.  Trying to feel confident when I was out in public was a constant battle that I couldn’t ever quite conquer. Some days I would forget about it but all it would take was one glance in a restaurant bathroom to remind myself that I had little bumps under my foundation. I was convinced that was all anyone would notice when they talked to me. Honestly, I couldn’t even focus on conversations with people because the acne would be consuming my every thought.

All I wanted was to be able to leave the house without make up and feel confident so I began trying anything and everything. I’ve tried vitamins that were supposed to help with hormonal acne, revamping my entire diet, apple cider vinegar shots as well as acv toners. And honestly, if I could afford the cost of a naturopath I would be there every day. I’m a big believer that we know our bodies better than anyone and I try so hard to listen to my body and figure out which foods my body doesn’t respond well to. But it’s not always the easiest especially when pasta is my favourite meal to cook at home. (definitely need to branch out and try different recipes, I’m working on it).

I know how important self confidence is especially in a world that revolves around social media and constantly seeing beautiful woman on every page of a magazine. I have to stop myself sometimes from comparisons especially when most people use instagram as their highlight reel and very rarely do they show their daily struggles. I can say that my absence on social media the last two years is related to my confidence and just wondering if I’m good enough to post the picture. I’m definitely my worst enemy when it comes to anything to do with my appearance which is something I have finally figured out recently. I hate to say it took me half of my twenties to finally be where I want to be with myself but I have learned it isn’t okay to only love my body at it’s best. I needed to learn that I need to love myself at every stage. So through the acne struggles, weight fluctuating and just every day set backs I’m going to choose to celebrate myself because my physical appearance doesn’t determine who I am as a person. The biggest lesson I had to learn during all the trials with hormonal acne was that I am enough no matter what and I am beautiful. I still find myself repeating those words in the mirror some mornings.

I want to share some tips and tricks that have helped me over the last couple years and hopefully they will also help someone else who may be going through something similar. It’s so important to know that you are not alone in anything you are dealing with in life and know that there are other people out there that are struggling with the same situations. Trust me, I don’t have all the answers as this is still something I am navigating but it’s definitely a drastic improvement from where I was two years ago. Now I’m focusing on my overall health instead of just wanting to have acne free skin. I know that acne is our bodies way of letting us know that something isn’t right inside our body.  What we’re putting into our bodies is also important; not just to avoid acne but for overall health as well. Switching my skincare is another thing that I noticed a massive improvement with. Always checking the labels and ensuring that what we are putting on our skin is non toxic and not filled full of chemicals. I can finally say I have found a skincare line that I am obsessed with and I have noticed such a difference in my skin health as well as appearance.

Self growth

I’m 23 years old and as hard as it is to admit I was barely independent a year ago.  I was still living at home with very few expenses to my name yet I couldn’t find a way to get ahead and move on to the next chapter of my life. I grew up on a farm in rural Manitoba and as cute and small as the town I went to school was in, it just wasn’t for me. I wanted nothing more than to move away from my hometown, but I wasn’t sure how to go about it. Where do I go? What do I do? How will I know if it is the right decision? Those were the common questions I would ask myself on a regular basis.

I found myself stuck in a rut and unable to find a way out. I was beyond frustrated and tired of living the same days over and over and not being happy. I remember thinking when I was little that once I turned 18 everything would be perfect; and boy was I wrong.

I am so proud of myself that I found the courage and strength to move away from home. I won’t lie  it was terrifying and there have been some incredibly challenging times but I have finally learned some of life’s best lessons. I’ve learned that when you have nobody but yourself to rely on you’ll find out just how strong you really are.

Life is all about taking risks and always being open to challenging yourself. I believe that when you step out of your comfort zone and let down whatever guards you may have built up over the years you’ll find some of the most rewarding experiences over the horizon.