how i'm learning to defeat mental illness.

8:36 AM

Hola readers!
I talk a lot on here about me defeating depression and anxiety, but never the actual "how." Everyone has a different path towards healing but I wanted to give hope and maybe the next step if you've been struggling like I have.
Healing takes courage.
It's easier to sit on your bed and stare at the wall then to actually stand up and do something, to try something, to attempt to be better. The fear can be crippling. The lies tell you you're never going to get better; they tell you to stay where you are because that's the only place you'll ever be.
But there's hope.
There's healing.

I've learned...

Be honest

Be honest with yourself and others about what you are going through. Sometimes the hardest person to admit to that you're struggling, is yourself. It was for me.
I knew I had a problem but I didn't want to admit that I needed help. I could get through it myself, I was strong enough, I didn't want to be weak.
I spent so much time counseling other girls and friends who struggled with depression and anxiety and suicidal-thoughts, I didn't find time to admit to myself that I was going through the same exact thing. I pushed it away, pretended to be okay, pretended to myself that I was getting better, when really I was trapped in a vicious cycle.

Don't pretend you are okay

\\ Everybody's got a Cheshire smile

Yeah, they'll never know you're hurting with a face like that
Such a lovely denial
When you're dying but you tell 'em that it's not that bad
Everybody's got a Cheshire smile \\ Cheshire Smile from Veridia 

It's okay to not be okay. It's okay to be broken, it's okay to ugly cry, to be mad, to be's okay to feel.

Know that you can't heal alone and that you are NOT alone

You. Are. Not. Alone.
Do not hide yourself away, do not feel as if you are the only one drowning. You are not alone.

Confess to an actual human that you are struggling

The biggest step towards healing for me, was confession. I remember the night so clearly that the confession began. I just ugly cried with my mom as I told her everything I was going through. She didn't understand why I felt the way I did about some things and neither did I. We didn't have all the answers, we still don't, but I remember laying in bed thinking, "this is where the healing begins."
And it was.
And it has.
Have I backslid? So many times. And the confession and talks begin all over again. I've talked to older adults, peers, siblings, many people at so many different times and it has helped me in ways I can't even begin to describe.
And that's what I've also learned.

Talk through your emotions 

Oh yes the past can hurt. But you can either run from it or learn from it. The Lion King

Don't bottle it inside. When I did, the toxins couldn't get loose. I was stuck with sewage and grossness inside and it only festered and continued to grow. I have an ugly temper and when I refuse to let go, when I refuse to be honest about my emotions, it doesn't get better...ignoring the problem only sets it aside and prolongs the pain. I have found people with whom I can trust my problems and who will give me honest yet sound wisdom. I have learned to go to people and not be afraid to be me. 
For some this means counseling, sometimes it means sitting down with a pastor or...really anyone. That person is up to you, but that person (or persons) is vital. 

Find your outlet

Find an outlet for your emotions. For me that was blogging. WOW. I honestly don't know what I would do without this blog. Writing, blogging, became my outlet at a young age. I used it to get out my emotions, to understand what I was going through, to get through what I was going through.

Find your triggers

My triggers was depressing rock music, dark moves or TV shows, YA books where the main character was depressed, and even wearing black. I remember struggling when certain songs came on that talked about dark emotions and I had a hard time with angry book characters. I would find myself slipping back into the old mindset, struggling with old emotions. Finding your triggers and let them go.

People help me

I'm an extrovert. I love humans, I love people interaction, long conversations, ramblings, and loud laughs. I love warm hugs and a room full of humans. I just love it.
When I'm around people I can feel the healing, feel the weight lift off, feel...better. This isn't the case for everyone, but THIS right here is the case for everyone: Sitting on your bed and staring at the wall and listening to depressing music, only makes it worse. I promise.
People help you.
Make people your jam, find your people. And don't just find any people: Find the people who will help you, who will attempt to understand you. Don't surround yourself with people who are in the lifestyle you are trying to leave.

Please don't wait for people to seek you out. 

Please don't. Don't wait for people to come to you. If they aren't asking why you've gone emo, or aren't talking, why you're locked in your room, or why you suddenly don't care. If they're not asking about the scars on your arms or why you have going out into the public. If they're not asking, it doesn't mean they don't care...sometimes it just means they don't know.

If I don't have Jesus, I don't have anything or anyone...Jesus is the only reason I made it this far

My blog is called Beautifully Broken for a reason. I am broken, I am scarred, I am hurting, and in pain...and yet Jesus calls all my scars beautiful. They're beautiful because that's where the light get's in. Through my pain I have learned to love, to let go. I have learned who I am in Christ...that He says we are to die for. He loves me despite my messiness, He overlooks my awkwardness, and He tells me life is worth living. He tells me that depression doesn't define me, that I have nothing to be ashamed of, and that He has a plan for my life.
And He tells that not just to me, but to you, and you and you and you. He tells that to everyone.

There's many steps towards healing, but recognizing, yes I'm a sinner, yes I'm broken, yes I'm dirty... but I am loved and not defined by that, and clinging to Jesus, choosing Him above everything else...that is when the healing really and truly began.
Healing is long and painful.
Healing takes courage.
But healing is possible when you have the ultimate Healer on your side.

Farewell to all of my resentment, all my discontentment

You've forgiven and I let it go
Farewell to darkness and to silence
Anger from the violence is forgiven and I let it go
Farewell to all of my resentment, all my discontentment
You've forgiven and I let it go
|You Found Me from Switchfoot|

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16 of your thoughts

  1. <3 <3. thank you for this post, Kara. <3 <3

  2. My problem i've had in the past has i've been way too open to people about my mental illneess, so i've had the opposite problem. The problem that can stem with that is somebody can be open, but not have anybody to truly talk to. I have my family, God, and one very close friend. The irony is despite me being very social, I am when with other Christians, specifically Christians my age, i'm not able to get myself to let them get to know me because i'm too shy to bother people. That has always been the way I have been, I reckon. I am more than willing/would love to reach out to others for help, but outside my family, there is truly nobody I can get to know well enough.

  3. On i sidenote though, I do have another disorder. One that is dark and I don't like to talk about. All the things you said, the final one is the biggest one and pretty much to sum things up, without Jesus, well, he helps you, and me, and man others I reckon that follow Him, to help get by. Keep fighting mental lillness, with God's help, ( and ideally as you stated, the help of others.) You can do this! Romans 8:18 .

    1. Thank you for being so open Evan -- and for the encouragement. Keep fighting as well!

    2. keep fighting, the war ain't over year. Ok?

  4. Kara. I hope you know, genuenly, that you are one of these most amazing, caring and beautiful souls I have known. Even if it is just through blogging I know that you are there for so many. That you are honest, and that you love. THANK YOU. <3 so much love to you. There is a reply on my last post to your comment you should check out.

    Glad you shared these tips. I needed to hear a few. It's been rough. IDK what to do, what I am doing. MAN, IDK. but this has helped me figure out what to do a little bit.

    1. Oh my heart!!! Vanessa, thank you so so much for your beautiful, beautiful comment. <3 I went through a rough evening yesterday and your comment this morning. My heart is just melting.
      You are loved, girl. Thanks so much! Keeping fighting -- I know you are strong. XOXO

  5. Wow, this is so beautiful. <33 Praying for you!

    1. I'm praying for you too, beautiful Gray. Thank you. *Hugs*

  6. What's wrong with you? - Kara, nothing's wrong with you. I know you, and Vanessa, are hurting. But you're not "defective". You're not ill in the proper sense of the word because the pain you feel is shared by the vast majority of human beings. What you're experiencing is a potent combination of adolescence and life. Feeling pain isn't a bad thing. In a very real sense it's how we know we're alive. So, whether they'll admit it or not, virtually every person you see every day hurts too.

    None of the above helps, right. OK, let me repeat some suggestions.
    PLAN - Vanessa is good about this. Make plans, try to follow them but give yourself some slack. Plans are intended to make you feel BETTER, not worse. SO keep them reasonable and don't get too upset if you can't follow through. Just make a new plan.
    LOOK FORWARD TO THINGS - Include in your plans things that make you happy.
    OBSESS ON THE POSITIVE - Find something positive and dwell on it until it's replaced by a new positive. Yes, this amounts to "think happy thoughts". It's not a joke. It's important and it works.

  7. Wow Kara, I so deeply appreciate your wise words!
    thank you thank you thank you.

    Keep talking girl! God is using your honesty in big ways <3
    elissa //

    1. THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!! Elissa, you are too sweet. <3

  8. this was beautiful and honest. thank you for that. I really agreed with everything you said. being honest, with yourself and especially other people, has been huge for me. you need to be honest about where you are.

    another thing I'll add is that Ive become such a sucker for cheesy self care slogans? literally I just love them. I dont care how niche that is. lol. I write encouraging notes for myself, write myself love letters, and give myself pep talks in the morning when I stare at myself in the mirror. give yourself advice as if you were talking to a dear friend. be kind to yourself. you deserve it

    1. I like that last piece of advice -- self-love can be a bad thing if it get's in the way, but if you have NO self love then that is a VERY bad thing. Love your advice and your comment!


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