Journey Spotlight: Mental Health Awareness – MyIntent Project Journey Spotlight: Mental Health Awareness – MyIntent Project
stories

Journey Spotlight: Mental Health Awareness

May is Mental Health Awareness Month! We would love to share a glimpse into the mindful journey of one woman on finding acceptance and celebration with Anxiety.  
"I have this responsibility to take care of myself, and it’s not always easy. There is an ebb and flow to my life, and I’m still accepting there is nothing linear about it."

 

 

This is Baylee A. sharing her story in her own WORDs: 

"Seven years ago, I was first diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. The most difficult part for me to accept was how quickly everything changed. It wasn’t a steady and slow progression. It didn’t warm me up first to prepare me. There was no time to hunker down and devise a plan of action. My mental illness fell unexpectedly into my lap at the most unlikely time. I was going into my senior year of college; I was a solid student and held an important position in my sorority. I was in a great relationship, and I was happy. There was a busy-ness to my life, and my awareness never extended beyond that.

 

I was living like a child with chalk: scribbling and drawing these beautiful designs with shades and hues and experiencing this colorful life I had created for myself. But there were cracks in the sidewalk that I would just fill in with color, and weeds poking their head out that I would design around. There was a lot of pain that was demanding to be felt, feelings wanting attention, a past that wanted to be seen, but I just kept on coloring because that’s all I knew. All I knew was to keep creating, to stay busy, and to work around anything that tried standing in the way of that.

 

 

Then one day it rained and, just like that, life as I knew it was wiped clean and all that was left were those cracks and weeds I had spent years ignoring. That was the beginning of a lifelong journey of sitting with my struggles and discomfort and listening to what they have to say. It’s turned out to be my most beautiful creation yet.

 

My mental illness has taught me how to be there for myself. It’s taught me the work that’s involved in moving through life happily and healthily. It has also taught me that I am still worthy, AS IS. On days I don’t feel like myself, when my thoughts are loud; when my head is foggy; when it’s difficult to even muster a laugh, I can still show up as is. I don’t have to be “on,” I just have to be me, whatever that looks like and whatever that feels like.

 

 

I have this responsibility to take care of myself, and it’s not always easy. There is an ebb and flow to my life, and I’m still accepting there is nothing linear about it. Some days I wake up glowing from the inside out, and I’m present; and I’m here and living. Then there are days when the darkness creeps in; my limbs feel heavy, and my struggles feel stronger than me. Instead of taking chalk and drawing over those days like they hold no meaning, I turn inward and let those feelings flow through and out of me. I let them run their course before they start running me and use those times as opportunities to practice self-care, self-love and acceptance.

I’m still learning that the safest place for me is in the present moment, AS IS. As myself. I don’t have to take chalk to my bad days and try and make them something they’re not, so I just let them be. It’s hard not to get angry with my brain sometimes. It’s hard not to place judgment on myself on the days I just can’t keep up and need to surrender. It’s hard not to create this expectation in my head of what I “should be” or “could be.” But I’m learning to arrive to each moment as I am- with my flaws, my quirks, my struggles, and my story. AS IS."  

 

Looking for a community of support for Anxiety? Check out Baylee's Instagram: @anxietysupport

 

 

 

 


3 comments

  • On March 5, 1985, I was diagnosed with severe chronic depression, I wasn’t surprised. I had known for many years that something wasn’t “as it should be”, I simply didn’t want to know what that “something” was – On January 17th, 1986, I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, I wasn’t surprised, I knew that “the fear” within me had been growing steadily since I was 5 years old. I was afraid of everything including being afraid of being afraid. Receiving that anxiety disorder diagnosis at age 29 was less than remarkable. What came first? The depression or the anxiety? Over time, that question became unimportant. Today, August 11th, 2018 I am still in therapy and taking medication to fight this disease. Recently someone asked me, “How have you kept going all of these years?!” No one had ever asked me that question before, not even me. I was at a loss for words. My answer sounded juvenile, perhaps uneducated, but it was the truth… I said, “because”.

    Judy

  • My daughter suffers from anxiety and depression. She is 17 and leaving for college. I thought I understood what was happening inside her…. your story, your beautiful analogy, it brought me to tears because I can now actually visualize and really empathize with her suffering. THANK YOU! Baylee, may you be an inspiration to all individuals and families that are touched by anxiety disorders. with gratitude, Stacy from New Jersey

    Stacy

  • Having suffered from anxiety since I was 17 and am now 45 I can totally relate to this! I know how to control every feeling and except what comes my way. What a positive story to read. Thank you for sharing :)

    Stefanie Abdo

Leave a Comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Where you've seen us:

seen on