9.08.2011

the first step is the hardest.



Today I have scary butterflies in my stomach. 
Today I will tell a stranger all the ways in which I am not okay.
Today I will be raw. 
And, today I will be brave.

While I've written about my struggles with mental health, today is the first I've sought ongoing professional help in my battle with depression, anxiety and body image. I should have done this years ago, because I deserve to be happy and healthy. Because I am worthy of being whole. But, anxiety can't be seen on an x-ray and no one can run your bloodwork to prove that you're low on Happy Juice, so it's easy to push away signs that you need help.

But, in ten months, I will no longer be a "me"...I'll become a "we". A team. Even among the excitment of engagement and wedding-planning, the past few months have been harder than I've faced in a while. In my heart, I long to be the best wife for Gabriel, to be his sunshine. A wife who is comfortable in her own body, and doesn't cry if she gains half a pound. A wife who can set aside social anxieties and not plan her day around panic attacks. And someday, a mother who will raise little girls to be soft, yet strong. To live without fear. To love themselves just as they are, and to see that life is so, so very good.

They say the first step is the hardest...this step was rock hard and humbling. But for myself, for Gabriel and for our someday-family I am admitting that I cannot do it alone. At least for a little while, I need someone to walk with me.

37 comments:

  1. Love you and praying for you! The first step is hard, but I pray you find nothing but comfort, peace, and relief!

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  2. Bethany you are an amazing woman. You have so much strength and joy inside you that you share with people you have never even meet around the globe. I know you have taken my days and turned them around to see the positive. Want to know something else? You're beautiful. I've literally pulled Noah beside before and said "Look how beautiful she is" while looking at your blog because you have the most beautiful ivory skin tones with that luscious black hair and your perfect smile. On top of it all you are beautiful as a person. Gabe is a lucky man! Bethany, thank you for sharing your journey with us. I'm sad that there's no switch you can flip to turn to "happy" or I'd throw it but I hope you can find what you need. We're all with you. Hope today goes well!

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  3. hello lovely new friend! im so pleased i took the time out to look at your blog today. 1) we must be blog friends, i have very similar experiences and have just got over a horrible bout of social anxiety. blogging actually helped rebuild my confidence and got me to divert my mind away from my panicking. 2) i also suffer with depression which thank g-d is controlled.... but i understand. i wish you love and peace and light :) you will be ok!! seek help it 100 percent is the 1st step. i also recommend the linden method. it was such a helpful method to help me beat my panic!
    hope youll come and see my blog, am a new follower of yours.
    lots of love, eleanor. x

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  4. ps if you ever want to email me to discuss the linden method, anxiety from someone also going through it whos now almost cured (thank god!), email me to my blog address: mirrorofmyworld@hotmail.co.uk

    take care!
    x

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  5. You definitely are brave.. I hope everything will work out well for you.. I am first time on your blog, but I've been reading some old posts, watching some old photos and I have to tell you that you are beautiful, really are, and extremely talented!

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  6. As another woman and mother who has battled with anxiety and panic attacks, I completely understand your feelings, and want to give you a big hug for being brave enough to get the help you need and deserve. It is so hard going through life with these things holding you back. Best wishes for health, healing, and a new outlook on life! :)

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  7. I am newish to reading your blog (and adore it, btw) but had to comment on this. For the past several years I have been battling anxiety and panic attacks. I think the most terrible thing about panic attacks is how "crazy" and lonely you feel- how do you explain to other people what it feels like? Getting help, going to see a cognitive therapist was the best thing I have ever done.

    So, feel incredibly proud of yourself for reaching out and getting help. Future you will be thanking yourself later:) Best of luck.

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  8. I totally get it & I hope you find some relief. Taking this step will be hard but it will be one of the best things you've done. I know I could say this a gazillion times and it still wouldn't sink in but you are amazing - gorgeous, and strong, and a true inspiration! Good luck today :-)

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  9. I've been to counseling when I was in High School and I remember feeling so scared I would be judged for getting help. I also remember my psychologist telling me at our first meeting that everyone could use help from a professional sometimes. I held onto that through the process. No one is perfect. EVERYONE needs help. I think it's the smart ones that finally get it.
    My thoughts will be with you and you are SO beautiful. (I'm also kind of new to blogs and blogging and love love love yours)

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  10. Beth,
    When times get tough and you feel awkward sharing your struggles with a "stranger"...know this, it is such a strength to make an appointment and even more of a strength to show up for that appointment. (let alone to share it on the blogword...you are helping so many others this way too!)
    If you believe in the therapy it WILL make a difference. I will keep you on my prayer list! Jesus keep you =)

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  11. Sweet friend, I am so proud of you. You're already strong; I've known this for awhile. This step in your life will help you to learn about yourself so much-- I am extremely proud of you, Bethany.

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  12. You are incredibly brave - and you are right that first step is the hardest.

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  13. Having been through this, I know how scary it is to go the first time. It was scary the second time too. But you keep going and then one day you realize that it's not only not scary but you're not in that place that you hate to be in any more and that's way better. That's the accomplishment you're working for even if it's so far off. You'll get there. We'll all help you.

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  14. i admire your strength. sending healing your way.

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  15. I am so happy for you. Some people think that sharing with a "stranger" is too difficult, but I have found that can be the easiest place to just let go because that stranger has no expectations of you and your anxiety/fears/depression have no bearing on them. Family and friends are great and usually have the best of intentions but its that vested interest that they have in your happiness that sometimes hinders you from wanting to share your deepest fears and hurts! I have struggled with anxiety, depression, and poor body image for as long as I can remember and so I applaud you for taking such a big step!

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  16. Brave girl! You will be so thankful and proud of yourself for this step! I made the same decision over a year ago and i can not tell you how good it was for me. It is still a long way to go but it´s so worth it!

    All the best!

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  17. Good for you! Going to therapy/counselling/whatever you call it is never easy (I know, I've been there more times than I care to admit, for depression and panic attacks as well), but it does help. And you've tackled the most difficult part of all: admitting you need that help, and seeking it out.

    Best of luck on your journey...and know that we readers (and, of course, your real-life friends and family) will be supporting you every step of the way :)

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  18. I also suffer from depression and anxiety and low self esteem. I've blogged about my depression before, but not about the other two. I took the first step and went into therapy a year and a half ago, and let me tell you, it's the best thing I've ever done ever. For the first year I went either every week or every two weeks. Now I go every three or four weeks, just as a kind of "check-in". And when I move to Australia, we're going to continue our sessions over skype. It's scary to open up and be that raw. And it's emotionally tiring. But it's so so good. It took me a while to take that first step because I was scared about the social stigma surrounding mental health and therapy and everything. I'd learned how to put up a good front, and I was embarrassed that it was just a front. But I'm so glad I started. Good for you for being brave and loving yourself enough to take that first step. HUGS.

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  19. Good luck! My husband has suffered from anxiety and severe panic attacks and it's a hard road, but there is hope. I wish all the best! Sometimes just talking to someone who isn't connected to any part of your life makes a world of difference!

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  20. Beth~ I know exactly how you feel! I have struggled for years with anxiety and depression and feel I have finally been able to feel good about myself and my life! I know the everyday struggles it takes to get through the day or even the week. I'll be thinking of you much today, praying you'll find comfort in talking to someone professionally--I personally did that years ago. It does help alot! Good luck! Love ya dear!

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  21. You are so brave indeed, Bethany, for doing this for yourself and for your future family. I really hope that it will help you to love yourself for the beautiful, talented & caring woman that you are. Best of luck!

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  22. Good for you and being brave, Bethany. I have a feeling that this post is going to bless at least one other person and maybe even inspire them to be brave in an area they are struggling with.

    Love and hugs,
    Sarah

    P.S. I'm praying for you, lovely.

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  23. I know that this first step is really hard, but it will help if you let it. Good luck with this first day!
    <3 Kiersten

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  24. Counseling is one of the best things I have done. Good for you for taking care of yourself. May you find someone who helps you become a stronger you.

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  25. Well done Bethany, you have taken a gigantic first step - far bigger than you will probably realise for a long time. I am sending you hopes and wishes that this new process will help you achieve the 'you' you want to be for the future. All the luck in the world dear girl. xx

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  26. i am so glad you've shared this. this alone shows how strong you really are - and can be in all facets of your life. i am glad you know when to accept/admit that you need someone to help - that's such a powerful thing and takes a lot of courage. and your reasons as such strong ones - the "we." i know you can do this! sending happy wishes your way.

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  27. You are so incredibly strong. Thank you for sharing this with all of us. Your strength has given me strength for I too share a battle with anxiety. It is horrible, it breaks you down... To be honest about it is a huge step on its own. You are a beautiful woman there is no doubt. From this first step you will continue to grow and I wish you all the best on your journey.

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  28. Well done! My husband suffers from depression (as do his brothers) and he was part of a campaign last year to make mental health issues less taboo and more widely accepted (without stigma) and discussed. Even though I don't know you, I'm very proud of you for blogging about it - it is a tough thing to do. I suffered from a bit of postnatal depression a few months ago and it took all my strength to tell the doctor and my family that I wasn't coping as well as I thought I should. Even now I still find it difficult to ask for help. I'm very lucky to have such a supportive family. So, you're a brave lady and your husband-to-be is lucky to be marrying someone so caring and strong....and you what? I think it takes extraordinary strength to admit that you're not feeling strong...
    Enough waffling from me.

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  29. Bethany, I was just going through my blog stats and came across a post from you. From when you and I participated in the Spring Swap.
    The milk glass that you gave me is the drinking glass of choice in my home. I have loved and used the darling kitchen towel numerous times and think of you and your sweet generosity when we use both of these items. Loved the other gifts as well, but these two are especially loved.
    I hope you find the help and guidance you are looking for. From what little I know of you, I think you possess these strengths already, you just might need help seeing and feeling them for yourself.
    Best wishes and thanks for sharing,
    Robin

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  30. Thinking of you, this is not an easy step to make. My sister went through this and it was an emotional ordeal, but she is better now, and soon you will be too.

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  31. I've been there! Seeking help for my depression was a really difficult decision, but I haven't regretted it for a moment. If I hadn't gotten help I wouldn't have finished college, and my new marriage is definitely healthier than it would've been otherwise! Thanks for being candid. You have love and support pouring in from all over the place.

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  32. Definitely thinking of you, hoping the help you seek makes a difference. I have battled depression & anxiety since middle school age and found that talking with professionals and having them walk you through is the best thing (and keeping professionals you truly trust over the years makes a huge difference), next to an amazing at home support system (of family & friends) and always making sure, you are aware, you are not alone in the battle. You are stronger than you know and I have lots of faith in you and whats to come in your future! Best of luck always, Jackie

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  33. Just catching up now, sweet girl. I commend your strength and sense of self. I have several family members with mental health issues (I hate the word issues) so I know this road well. Best of luck. We're all here to support you in your journey. And by the way, you're gorgeous and talented and amazing. Rock on.

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  34. Bethany, As i follow your blog, i fall more in love with who you are. You are a great inspiration to me, I also will be taking that first step to better myself with issues from family in my past, Trust. I wish you nothing but happiness. Although I only know you through your blog, you kindly wrote back to me in a question i had with the bridemaids boxes. You were so kind and willing to help and so interested on how it came out. I can say that you have paid more attention to my excitment than friends. I hope you become okay with everything you need to be okay with so inside you have that happy Juice flowing. Gabe is lucky to have you and by your words, I know he cares and loves you more than you may ever know. best wishes!

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  35. Just came across your blog today and am inspired to start one of my own. This post especially hit very close to my heart as I'm fighting through some painful issues as well. I hope seeking professional help has given you the strength and confidence to walk tall in your own skin. I plan on continuing to follow your story here and hopefully share with you some of my inspiration once my blog is up. One step at a time...wishing you all the best.

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