Behind the Blog: Why I Blog

My sweet friend, Kate, recently sent me a message asking me how I got to where I’m at: how I put myself out there, how I overcome insecurity, and how I don’t worry about what others think. Truth be told, I did all of those things for a long time when I first pressed “Activate” on my own website. There’s still days where it overcomes me. Even if it doesn’t seem like it everyday, there’s a lot that goes on behind the blog. 

Why I Started

As you know, I’ve been writing for a while. I’m a huge advocate for journaling because it’s been one of the only ways I can express my chaotic emotions in a healthy way. Blogging, though, is different. Different in a way that when I finally finished…it was out there. It was on the internet. In a way, sending those words off into cyberspace has almost released the tension from inside my brain.

Along with that release, comes a wave of anxiety about what people will think about what you just wrote. Will they like it? Will it resonate with anyone? Is anyone even going to read this? Truth be told, when you initially post you don’t have any of those answers. If you’re looking for outward gratification in comments, likes, and messages, you’re not going to get it every time. If you’re piece changed one person, though, it was worth it. That includes you. 

When I say that, I don’t mean that every Facebook status is worth posting. In fact, I would like you Baby Boomers to take just one more second before you send that aggressive novel of a status. Instead, I mean that sharing, posting, and relating to others through our own experiences can be hugely beneficial. We can literally make a community behind our blog that makes every post easier. 

Out with the Old

These days, I’ve started to care less and less what old acquaintances think of my blog or what Timmy from church has to say about my way of life. One, because they aren’t paying my bills or contributing to my serotonin levels. Two, because it makes me feel good. So back off, Timmy. 

The motivation behind the blog comes from moments like this… where I’m reminded how beautiful, amazing, and genuine my everyday life is!

Even if this blog had zero views, (which I will brag that it does in fact have more than zero) the fact that I feel more and more comfortable talking about things like addiction, body image, and mental health is worth the price of a website even if no one was reading. It’s worth the time it takes to write. 

In With the New

When you’re on Pinterest, you seem to think there’s two camps of bloggers. There’s the Tumblr blogger that you would only come across in a rabbit hole.Or, there’s the blogger that makes millions of dollars, has all the deals, and has definitely published a book or two. Absolutely not

I was surprised to see just how big the blogging community was. It’s full of people who exclusively post on Instagram in photo blogs. There’s people making a ton of money from their words and definitely will have that book deal we were talking about. There’s also mid-sized bloggers (like EmyD!), specific niche bloggers, and so many others. The coolest thing is that they all support each other. It’s not cut throat and weird like other businesses you could get into.

I was okay with letting go of the hope that everyone from my small Wisconsin hometown was going to read my blog when I saw how many people actually understood me across the world. There were so many people that, like me, just wanted to write, create, and make money while doing it. Suddenly, the dreams that seemed too big for my little town felt too small for the groups I was encountering!

Behind the Blog Today

Thank you Evan MacDougall at E.Mac Photography for this amazing pic!

Everyday there is something different going on behind the blog. One day, I can’t even get a cohesive sentence out. There’s no way a blog is going up. There’s other days were scrolling through Instagram is mentalling exhausting. Yes, I’m fully aware of how unbelievably ridiculous that sounds, but when you work and hustle online you’d want to throw you’re computer out the window somedays too. There’s other days where I literally cannot tell enough people about how cool my job is. 

I consider myself a blogger, an influencer, and a PR strategist. Taking my own life into my hands, I decided that writing and social media was going to be the way that I was going to make my living because it made my heart feel good. 

Are there days where I’m scared? Yes. Do I push the boundaries of my own self confidence to post some things? YES. I mean, for God’s sake I said how much I weigh! But, at the end of the day, would I change a thing? Nope.

Are you thinking of starting a blog? What’s stopping you? Connect with you on any of my social media platforms to learn how YOU can start your own brand and make money online!

I Got Laid Off Due to COVID-19

I’m doing my absolute best to remain calm. We’ve seen before that I’m not good at dealing with A) change, B) financial insecurity, or C) anxiety. So, this is a trying time for me. I’m trying to remind myself that I’m with my family and, if I do get sick, I have them. I’m trying to remind myself that my parents have already offered to help me out with my bills through the end of my lease; if it came to that, of course.

Life’s little St. Patrick’s Day gift to me and my coworkers was the restaurant most of us have called home for 30+ hours a week to-go food only. No dine-in guests means no servers and no tips. . Plainly put, the restaurant doesn’t need us right now. As of March 17th, I have been laid off from my job. I’ll have one more paycheck before I no longer have an income.

For all intents and purposes, I’m fine. I’m okay. I’m trying to remind myself that I’m with my family and, if I do get sick, I have them. I’m trying to remind myself that my parents have already offered to help me out with my bills through the end of my lease; if it comes to that, of course. Sure, I’ll be in a financially uncomfy spot for a while. I also might go a little loco inside my childhood home for the foreseeable future. However, I don’t have a family to support. I don’t have a mortgage. I don’t have to provide food for anyone. I don’t have crazy loans… well, hold up, I do actually. But, they’re from school,  which means they can be postponed in situations like this.

Am I scared? Fuck yes. Am I nervous about what my life is going to look like in a month? Absolutely. Am I getting more and more anxious about this as information is released? For sure. I have not, however, had an anxiety attack. Every time I feel it coming on, I remind myself that I’m blessed for the position that I’m in. Though I’m absolutely allowed to feel nervous and validated in my fear, there are others who have less resources and less support.

I work with people whose entire livelihood is dependent on the business of the restaurant. They work at 3 jobs, all of which have been closed due to the spread of this terrible virus. Missing even one paycheck is going to be detrimental to their entire family. I have the option to apply for unemployment. For one reason or another, not everyone does. I have two parents who have a lot of job security right now that can offer me my old room back. They want me to temporarily move in and depend on them until all of this passes. They have the ability to help me with bills as I start to chip away at the money I’ve saved. Moral of the story: I’m okay. Others are not. Others need as much help and resources as they possibly can get.

COVID-19 is truly scaring the shit out of me. In the last 36 hours, our cases have doubled in Wisconsin. No, I’m not scared of getting sick because as the media says, I would probably be fine as a young, decently-healthy person. I have had a gnarly cough for about a month that feels exactly like the bronchitis I had at this time last year, so I know my lungs are feeling a little tired. Even after that, I’m still not scared of getting the virus. I’m scared for my mom, who has been working tirelessly to keep an assisted living facility on lockdown. I’m scared for my grandma and uncle who are extremely immunocompromised. I’m scared for my friends that take medications every day, which might make them an easier target for all of this.

As it has with the majority of victims, the infection will pass. The thing that keeps me up at night is life just grinding to a halt because no one really knows what to do. The panic that everyone is exhibiting is what goes on inside an anxious person’s mind at a majority of times. Usually, though, we can watch normal life occurring around us and use coping mechanisms to calm ourselves down. In this space, there’s no reassurance from the outside. Everyone is just as scared as you are. No one knows what to do just like you don’t really know what to do. It makes me nervous that American’s panic is not being met with secure plans of action or support for those out of a job. American’s don’t even have the privilege of believing their executive branch because it’s stance goes from “not a real threat” to “always knew it was going to be dangerous” in just a matter of days.

Panic comes from fear. There’s not a lot of things that are strong enough to fight that force besides kindness, patience, and empathy. This is not the time to point fingers at people across the world who are experiencing loss and uncertainty at rates even higher than we are. This is not the time to stimulate the bank accounts of people with millions of dollars, but the time to ensure that working class Americans don’t lose their homes or starve to death. This is not the time for a “every man for himself” mentality, but for us to help those in our community with any resources we might have a surplus of – even if that surplus is just positivity in the face of so much chaos.

So, yes. I was one of the thousands of Americans that was laid off from their job as coronavirus rages through each state. I’m one of the thousands that’s looking to our leaders for support, whether it be financial, information, or physical.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. My absolute favorite line in The Lion King is “I know that the clouds will clear and that the sun will shine.” This will pass. It may not seem like it now. It might get much, much worse before it gets any better. Until then, reach out to your loved ones, read a book, do a puzzle, listen to my podcast, learn a new language, play a video game. If the government urging you to do so isn’t enough, stay home because it keeps people that are at larger risk of dying from this disease safe from transmission that you may or may not be feeling. If that’s not enough, stay home because it sets an example for those around you that you give a fuck about this. And if that’s not enough…. Stay home because it might allow people like me and my coworkers to get back to work faster.

Keep up with my social distancing on all forms of social media (@EmyDBlog on Insta, Twitter, and Facebook). If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of this, please don’t hesitate to reach out! If you want to chat with me via email, you can do so at

Pain Meds and an Addictive Personality

I think I’ve kind of eluded to this on here and the podcast, but I have a really addictive personality. Not in a way that I have ever gotten caught up in serious substance abuse problems, thank god. But, I have seen my addictive personality come out in other ways as I’ve grown up.

I first started to feel a little bit of an addictive personality when it came to show choir – I know, I’m a nerd. Guys, I fucking loved that shit. I was actually really really good at it too.

I loved the rush of performing and putting a huge smile on my face, even when everything felt wrong in the world. It was like a high. My Junior year, I was named a dance captain and I felt this surge of energy go through my veins in getting validation that I was good at something other than school and swim. I’ve always been REALLY competitive. I get that endearing (and sometimes highly annoying) trait from my father. But, I was felt a little addicted to having a hand in the success of the group… and learning how to be a good leader through that overwhelming and obsessive feeling.

Now, I hold a manager position at my job and I’m not really like that. I’ve always considered myself a leader, but my addictive personality has found something else to kind of focus on throughout the years. I’ve gone through: boyfriends, food, and mental illness. It’s so important to be able to see those addictive personality traits in yourself so that when you are using something that could really be a trainwreck, like pain medication, you’re really careful.

So, I didn’t really realize the show choir thing was obsessive until I was more analytical about my mental illness recently. I just thought I was competitive and very possibly, I was just a combination of the two. One way I know I was addictive in a toxic way was with my last long term relationship.

Again, broken record over here, but you know some of the details of that relationship. Very bad. Abusive. Yadda yadda yadda. One of these days, I will take the time to write something out start to finish, but that require remembering everything and dealing with those emotions again in a new, healthy way…. so, for the purpose for this story, it was NOT a good situation. We were not together anymore, but we were very seriously talking. I was under the impression that we were working towards a relationship. He obviously was not considering he was talking to both his most recent ex and the ONE girl he promised was just his friend (who he’s now dating) but that’s irrelevant. Despite how shitty that relationship made me feel, how much I cried, and how much I lost myself in that process of trying to be with him, I was genuinely addicted to trying to get him to love me.

I would say and do just about anything for him to spend time with me or give me attention. Again, he didn’t make me feel good and the relationship wasn’t good. No one approved of us even spending time together after all the bridges he’d already burned, so why? I was just addicted. I was addicted to the idea of someone wanting me. I was addicted to the chase. I was addicted to the idea that I could get him back. Most of all, I was addicted to blaming myself, so I was always trying to right those wrongs… even if there really wasn’t any solutions to be had there.

I wasn’t addicted to our relationship. Truthfully, I don’t even think I really wanted it in the capacity that I once had it. I was addicted to filling the void. For example, people with nicotine addictions don’t like love that they are addicted to nicotine or want to constantly want a cig. What they want is that high, that feeling, that fills the void – even if it’s just until you light up the next one.

Like I said, I used food to fill that void too. Sometimes, I still do. But, there was a time that I was addicted to eating food – way too much food. Honestly, I’m typing this after a night of binging on Reese’s peanut butter cups… so I don’t know if I’m totally over that addiction. I know that it’s been much worse – where I would turn to it out of boredom, stress, happiness, and even just because. Now, its just a remaining issue with a poor relationship with food.

These days, I would say that I most struggle with an addiction to my mental illness. I know that that’s a little confusing when you’re just reading it, but let me explain. For so long, I’ve not been okay. I genuinely don’t remember a point in my life where I didn’t hate myself, my body, or my mind. I’m NOT saying that as an invitation to my pity party – just the opposite actually. Because I haven’t been okay for so long, I started to get a little addicted to my mental illness in a number of ways. I started to get addicted to stress because I was scared of depression and sleeping my days away again. Maybe it’s not always a bad thing in this chosen path, because it can help me fixate on one thought, feeling, or emotion until I’m able to blog or podcast about it. But, it’s always hard to then leave that in the past.

As I said before, I’ve never really had a substance abuse problem. I have had little benders when I would get way to drunk literally every single time I drank, but part of that was just being young, stupid, and depressed. I didn’t HAVE to have a drink in the morning to function or to spill my emotions to the first person that would listen. That doesn’t change the fact that I have to understand that my addictive personality COULD make that a very easily habit to pick up.

I recently got my wisdom teeth out. Yes, it is as bad as they say. No, I didn’t get dry sockets. But, it hurt like a bitch to put it lightly & they gave me hydrocodone to deal with the pain. In my defense, they gave me 8 pills and I could take them every six hours…. so I was supposed to be not writhing in pain after 48 hours? I call bullshit. They said the swelling wouldn’t even start until after then!! So, I wanted more hydrocodone that I could take before a super long shift…. and it got me worried… was I developing an addiction? Was I dependent on these drugs to feel normal? I mean, I had tried to go just to ibuprofen and I couldn’t get through my day…

It didn’t help that my dad kind of joked about the same thing when I came home to get some stronger pain medicine. “It can happen to anyone,” he had said. It was clear that he was kind of kidding, but also a little worried about pain management while being stressed, taking other prescription medications, and living alone.

If I would have sent this to my oral surgeon, do you think he would have refilled my prescription?

Listen, to say that I struggled with pain medication would be a lie. I didn’t. But, it really got me thinking about how having an addictive personality can be both tangible and intangible. You can see the side effects of withdrawal from medication that’s no longer pumping through your system or you can feel a withdrawal from not having a toxic relationship constantly in your life. You can take a pill or puff to get your fix, or you can stalk an Instagram or maybe even eat 10 portions over what’s recommended.

I wouldn’t even call myself an addict, but I would absolutely say that I have a very addictive personality that can absolutely bite me in the ass sometimes. Like always, knowing my mind and body is so powerful in this ongoing journey toward better health. If sharing in this realization can get your little brain motors moving, well I just might have done my job today.

What do you want to hear about next? Hit me up on any of my socials to suggest a blog that might better relate to YOU and YOUR LIFE! Follow, like, and comment for constant

Must Be Funny, In a Rich Man’s World

I don’t have a relationship with money. Even when I have plenty to pay all my bills, save some, and do fun stuff, it never really feels like enough. I read a book once that said that you have stress about things that were surrounded by stress in your formative years.

I knew that I always had food, a warm bed, clothes, and my own bed every single night. I was able to do a lot of things that children around me couldn’t. Being hyperaware, though, has always been a curse as well as a blessing. My parents never talked about money with me. Never told me if they were struggling – on the contrary, my dad always said “you can always make more money” or “we will make it work”. That being said, I don’t come from a long line of royalty or business moguls either. I don’t have a trust fund & the value of a dollar became very apparent very early on.

Literally the cutest family ever. Sullivan did make it cuter I will admit.

My parents worked their asses off to get where they are. Like many in their generation, they don’t have these Masters degrees in their field, but were able work their way up. I spent my childhood watching my parents move up into jobs that valued you them more, paid them better, and that they loved doing. At 14, I wanted to be able to *kind of* provide for myself. I got a job in childcare at our church. My first paycheck I became obsessed with the idea of saving, not having enough, and having more.

Some of my friends never had to, and still don’t really have to, worry about a job. They have a credit card linked to their dad’s personal checking account for when times get too tough… and if that’s you, God bless you, dude. Good for your parents. Good for whoever made the fortune for the family – you and I just live very different lives.

At 14, I started to get worried about saving for college. 14 years old. I mean, I had to go to school and I could only work X amount of hours in a week. The thought of my parents paying my way made me sick to my stomach. Again, if your parents had that ability or that was your family’s plan, more fucking power to you. It just makes me REALLY uncomfortable. In my head, my parents are supposed to make sure I have food, shelter, and love. Even that, is more than some people have. I didn’t want or need them to pay for school… I could do that myself.

Let’s not get it twisted; my parents did put their credit on the line to co-sign on a lot of bullshit for me. Especially these student loans, so again, couldn’t have done it without them. After 4.5 years, I was happy to receive my diploma on my own merit, payments that I had made, and debt I had taken on myself.

My parent’s graduation gift to me was paying off a couple private loans. That gift cuts one of my monthly payments in half and takes care of thousands of dollars of school debt. I didn’t feel like I could accept it, even if it was a gift. It was their money – money that they could use to take trips, buy something lavish, or just save.

As I’m writing this, I’m thinking about rent, utilities, my car payment, loans, credit card, and just the price of being alive. There are huge steps I need to take in learning better ways to save money. I need to take better advantage of my monthly budget. God knows, I need to cool it on eating out so much. BUT, the first step of making money and having a good relationship with it has been instilled in me since I was a kid – work your ass off.

Spending someone else’s money is fun and exciting, but earning your own and supporting yourself is soooo empowering. So, if you find yourself spending a lot of money on things that seem temporary, I would challenge you with the question: Do I value one dollar? Do I value my time as a means of making money? Am I spending money to cope with something else? Odds are, one or more of those questions will lead you to some pretty vulnerable realizations about your relationship with money.

I actually really like current my job. I work with my best friends and I’m good at what I do. PLUS, sometimes we get to meet sweet baby angels like these puppies. But, I don’t see myself doing this forever.

I still struggle with moments of stress when it comes to money. I question the path of content creation I’ve chosen and whether it will be as fruitful and successful as I imagine my later life to be. And sure, I could join a corporate office that draws on my majors and make a salary and have a lot less unknown. I made a decision, though, that I would rather be happy, doing what I love, and living a somewhat more restrictive life in terms of finances than working in an office, feeling stale and unhappy, but having extra money in my bank account.

I’m recently listening to the RISE podcast with Rachel Hollis who is a multimillion dollar business owner with just a high school degree. She’s the author of books like “Girl, Wash Your Face” that have become all the rage in today’s younger success-hungry demographic. I listen and actually TAKE NOTES on her words, because her path is something I’m striving for. She always says “there are a LOT of ways to make money and pay your bills.” Which is so true! Money is circling around every industry, every career, and is waiting to be given to driven, motivated people. So, even if the moments now are stressful, I have to remember the end goal is getting paid for doing what you LOVE rather than settling for what you like.

Money is stressful. It’s a huge part of everyone’s mental health. But, you can always make it.. you WILL figure it out, and regardless of what your bank account looks like, you’re worthy of happiness, relaxation, and serenity. This is just as much a reminder for me as it is for all of you.

Sad with SAD? Huh?

I’ve been trying to write this one for a while. I’m not kidding, I have about 6 drafts of this thing half written that I’ve like kind of scrapped but that I like some parts of… which is honestly kind of on brand for the topic, I guess.

Let me first start off by saying that I’m a hypochondriac. If any of you bitches start using that against me though, I’ll never say it again. I get a sore throat & I instantly think I have strep kinda thing. You get it. But there’s a difference between swearing on all things holy that your foot when you stubbed your toe and feeling like your hitting rock bottom again… for the millionth time… every year around the same time.

When I was first diagnosed with major clinical depression, my psychiatrist called it “Stage 3”. (Listen, I still don’t have any sort of degree yet, nor have I ever studied an ounce of medicine… so a Google search might make more sense out of this, BUT) how I understand it is Stage 1 your normal behavior starts to change aka isolation, more sleeping, appetite, etc. People around may or may not notice it. Stage 2 you might feel physical symptoms like aches and pains, exhaustion, headaches, upset stomachs, physical illness as a result of the lack of regular behavior your body has been used to. Stage 3, your body is kind of like “Ok, I can’t do this anymore so I’m going to sleep 18 hours a day” or you’re having a lot of depressive episodes, suicidal thoughts, etc. Again, this was explained to me at like 16 years old & I’m not a doctor so if anything at all these are the hypothetical stages that I went through. Okay? Don’t cite me as a scholarly source.

I struggled for a long time with episodes and the rollercoaster of depression. I’d have little increments where I didn’t need any thing from anyone – which included my meds and my therapist. Foreshadowing: it was a bad idea. I had really bad moments where I wondered why I was even taking medicine in the first place if I was still feeling shitty enough to cry myself to sleep in my college dorm every night.

I started to see this HUGE change in the winter. I mean, don’t get me wrong. Attendance has been an issue since the first diagnosis days… but this was different. I wasn’t skipping my 8:00am high school geometry class… I was skipping a class at 2:00pm. That I was paying $15,000 a semester to live and learn here… and sitting in a shitty dorm room because the thought of doing anything besides laying awake in my twin bed made my heart pound. I was awake. I was healthy. I could read. I could write. I could physically get there, but it’s like something was holding me in that bed and I didn’t really get it.

Above you’ll see an 18 year old Emily who was coming home from college every weekend to avoid interaction with literally anyone

When my therapist brought up seasonal affective disorder, I actually got pissed. As far as I knew, that was what people who didn’t really understand depression said that they had when weather started to get cold. As far as 18 year old Emily knew, that was a slap in the face for all of us that suffer all year long… summer, fall, winter, and spring. Didn’t she understand that I was depressed, I didn’t just have seasonal affective disorder? AND I had been deny the fact that anything was wrong for so long, here I was calling for help to get was I felt was a bullshit diagnosis thrown back in my face.

So, we started talking about my specific symptoms (some of which, honestly, I still struggle with today, guys):

  • I sleep 12 hours a day and I’m still exhausted
  • I don’t want to see anyone. It’s exhausting.
  • Showering seems like a lot of work.
  • Some days I don’t really eat.
  • Other days, I can’t stop eating…it makes me feel better.
  • Last night, I stayed up till 6 crying…. just crying.
  • I have increased depressive episodes
  • I’m extremely irritable in situations I wouldn’t be.
  • I lack empathy or interest in daily activities.

I was on anti-depressants. I was doing the coping mechanisms we were working on. But I felt like I was being sucked backward after huge strides forward I had made with managing my mental health. At that point, my friends, I didn’t understand seasonal affective disorder. She had to drop the bomb that I had just upped my mental illness chart another diagnoses AND another 20 mg of Fluoxetine.

Every single year, the winter months knock me on my ass. You can tell that my family has gotten used to me needing a little more love and patience this time of year, because my family group chat is much more active, despite my inability to hold a texting conversation. Guys, I mean I couldn’t even write a damn blog about seasonal affective disorder because it’s been such a bitch to me! But, my friends, that’s part of the beauty of this community. I see so many of you are going through similar situations – whether you only struggle seasonally, you have both major depression and SAD like me, or you are just in a tough place.

Sometimes, I actually run errands like this if I’m having trouble getting out of the house that day or REALLY don’t want any social interaction. I’m so outgoing. I love the people in my life. Sometimes, you just can’t, ya know? I guess do this to kind of hide, run through the store, and return to my little cave. Unhealthy, yes. Stealthy, also yes. I’m also starting to realize I look kinda fierce.

I know that mental health bloggers are supposed to provide you with this crazy list of like “99 Ways to Cure your Seasonal Depression” & I don’t have that (nor do I think it really exists in the way that we all want it to). I’ve skipped thousands of dollars worth of classes because I couldn’t get out of bed. I’ve felt the grip of depression get a little tighter on me as the days got darker and colder around me. So, I fucking believe that what you’re going through hurts. You are validated in needing help, needing space, needing time to heal, and just needing a moment to regroup. It is okay to not be okay…but, it is not okay to this you are all alone in that mindset.

Psychology Today says that 10 million Americans struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder every single year. So, the fact that once again I felt like I was weak, unworthy, or less because the winter months give me depressive episodes is a little fucked, in my opinion. There was the stigma and narrative 18 year old me was running with… and I’m not doing that bullshit anymore. So, if you or someone you know are struggling with the season (or at all) PLEASE seek help or reach out for some great resources. I might not have a list of 99 Ways to Instantly Cure SAD, but I do have a couple things that work for me: making to-do lists (and getting that shit done some how and some way), candles, baths with epsom salt, undereye treatments, rolling out your calves (even if you’re not an athlete this just feels good), naps, good podcasts, and long SAFE drives.

I’m going to leave you with this quote from “Endless Night” in The Lion King, which has gotten me through some of my worst days. It’s relevant and I think that it might be my next tattoo. *don’t tell Becky* The sun does always come out, my loves. Even if we have to push really hard to get through right now.

Purpose from Pain

For a long time, I’ve felt like the victim in my own life. I’ve constantly questioned why the Universe, or God, or whatever the hell is up there calling the shots. I’m a good person, good friend, and I was a really good girlfriend. So, why was I being tested?

Honestly, this mindset is just exhausting though. Constantly questioning the energy that surrounds you and feeling like a victim is just draining. I was definitely ready to stop feeling this way, to let go of the past, and to finally move on.

I’ve always been interested in mental health advocacy and restructuring of thoughts. I’ve been in therapy since I was 16. I’ve read all the books, done all the guided meditation, and done so many journal entries my hands eternally hurt. A few weeks back, I came across an amazing podcast (Align Your Life with Namaste Jenay – seriously, check it out!) that changed a lot about my life. It was divine timing, for sure – hearing about how to approach my lasting pain and understanding how to move forward.

Faces blurred for HIS privacy. You can see that we had that cute, Insta-worthy love. No disrespect… but this one is finally about me, not him.

To understand my purpose, you’ve gotta understand the pain. My ex, let’s call him Tommy, and I started dating at the ripe age of 17. We had dated before, been friends through all those gross acne-filled years, and been through a lot. Even five years later, I can honestly say that I loved that kid with all of my heart. Every fiber of my being that could feel love, did.

I don’t want to discredit him. He worshiped the ground that I walked on, let me be the drama queen I crave to be, and never really argued with me when I got worked up.

Red flags definitely presented themselves, but I loved him too much to see them. I didn’t believe the girls that told me things that should have had me running for the hills. Three years later, our breakup had the ability to be civil, but it wasn’t. After three years, we came to the conclusion that something felt different over text. I moved all of my stuff out of our apartment in an hour… even taking the shower curtain as a middle finger to the dude I thought I would spend my life with.

It wasn’t the breakup that hurt though. Yes, it was shitty. Yes, I cried a lot and felt pain, but it was a temporary, easy to heal pain. The pain came after – days, months, and even years after. The pain came when he was promising that he was coming back, only to be consistently hooking up with girls I was told not to worry about. The pain came from crying on the bathroom floor begging him for closure, only to be ignored. The pain came from being used for attention while three girls were in his back pocket. It came from being driven to the clinic and hearing “I have class at 1, so this better be done by then” as if my mental, physical, and emotional was a chore for him. My pain was centered around trying to articulate what my tears were from, only for him to threaten to hurt himself and result in me needing to apologize. My pain came from him throwing the irrationally thoughts I had hyperventilated in my panic attacks right back in my face, as if him speaking them made them fact. My pain was from finally finding my voice only to be called every name by someone I still loved with all my heart.

I was abused. It took me a long time to come to terms with that and say it out loud. I was allowed to feel like the victim without feeling guilty. Sure, there were moments when I was toxic, let’s not glass over that. There were also things that I said that were not okay; that I wish I could take back.

Life has a funny way of rewarding you or continuing to kick based on whether you learn the lesson or not. The emotional scars he left on me will change how I approach relationships forever. At least now I know that this pain, was the Universe’s purpose. My purpose.

I was forcing myself to laugh here. I left that wedding early to cry in the shower – despite having all of my absolute favorite people around me. I had let my pain run wild – picking up food, packing on the pounds, desperately calling him on the off chance he had something positive to say, and losing all hope on life.

My purpose

When Namaste Jenay first started talking about purpose from pain, I thought “fuck that, there’s some pain that is just unfair and too bad to have a purpose”. I mean, there are still therapy sessions when all I can do is cry at how messed up I feel. There are still times when all I want to do is check up on him. There’s still times when I get jealous of the new girl that I know he’s cheating on. So, shouldn’t all of my purpose be negative? That’s the thing that changed my life… the purpose of my pain is all positive lessons from the Universe.

Your toughest obstacle is your biggest teacher.

— Namaste Jenay

Let’s get one thing straight. You’re body is MADE to fight pain. All types of pain. When you roll an ankle, the other muscles step up to overcompensate. When you have strep throat, cells in your body are made just to kick all those nasty virus asses. Same thing for emotional pain. All your brain and heart want to do is heal, but you won’t do that until you accept the pain and find it’s purpose.

In sending me Tommy, the Universe was trying to teach me a lesson about life and love. A lesson that I clearly wasn’t ready to listen to as I took him back for the millionth time. Today, I can finally say that I’m ready for the lessons that the Universe intended for me to learn in this pain. Also today, the Universe can finally say that it believes me!

Thanks Evan MacDougall with e.mac Photography for these pictures that genuinely show the healing. I’ve lost the weight, turned to family, and found the healthiest coping mechanisms for the bad days.

I’ve bare minimum standards for myself. For so long, I let him come back in no matter what he did. The standards that I thought I had got lost in a desperation of getting him to stay. Now, I can say with 100% certainty that I will never stay with someone when trust doesn’t exist. I will never beg someone to hear me, listen to me, or care. No, it’s not healthy to project my issues onto the next man that enters my life. But, I’m never going to be a “You cheated, let’s work it out” girlfriend again. Never. I will never believe that someone who says they love me can continue to hurt me.

I have the power to help other women. With all the bullshit I went through, I was under the assertion that no one could ever go through what I did. That was my own ego getting in the way. It was a lesson that I refused to learn. Not only are there other women who went through similar pain at the hands of Tommy, but there are millions of people who are in emotionally manipulative relationships. There are millions of people whose standards have been blinded by the intense love for one person. So, if the Universe needed me to feel pain and learn lessons so that I can shed light for someone else, it was worth it. If I can be an advocate for one’s voice, even when it’s been silenced, THAT is my purpose.

Even in the absolute best part of my relationship, Tommy didn’t make me as happy as I’m making myself right now.

I needed to find my own strength. Sure, in 2017 I thought I was the baddest bitch on the street. I was in a relationship with a cute boy and for all intents and purposes, I was really strong. But, I wasn’t strong enough for LIFE. Going through my first breakup, I genuinely thought that death would have been easier. (Yes, I’m aware how dramatic that sounds.) But, I had let a guy complete me for so long, I didn’t really know how to be strong. Now, I see girls going through what I did. All their friends want to do is shake them and tell them to step away, but babe, it’s okay if you don’t see that strength there. It exists. It’s there, it just takes time to tap into. The Universe needed me to learn strength. It needed me to learn that the strength I had wasn’t gone forever as a result of him, it was just hidden until I was ready to find it. And now, let me tell you. I feel so strong. Taking the lesson, running with it, and acting upon it has made me so so so strong – physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Life challenged me. For years, I wasn’t ready to find the purpose, see the red flags, or learn the lesson. So, every time he came back in, I welcomed him with open arms; signalling to the Universe that I hadn’t learned last time. My body wanted to heal. My coping mechanisms were in place to guide me to purpose, but I had to let them. I know it’s much easier said than done. But everyday, I had to get up and say “I’m going to heal a little bit more today. I deserve to let my body find the peace that it deserves.” I promise that it will feel like speaking to a brick wall at first. Someday, though, you’ll start to believe an itty bitty part of it. It’s time, my love. Right now. Today.

Today, I struggle with an ability to connect and trust. It’s been easy to blame that on him. But, for the first time, it’s NOT FUCKING ABOUT HIM. This is about growth in me. Fears that I personally have that will hold me back until I face them. But the lessons, they’re there. On bad days when I seem to be reverting to whatever form allowed so much pain in my life, the purpose is ingrained enough to stop me. To save me.

Tommy is dating a new girl now. For a long time, I found it my duty to let these girls know my story to warn them about him. Now, I know, that my purpose is to share my strength, empowerment, and support as living and breathing proof that you CAN get through it. It’s not my job to air his grievances or make sure he doesn’t hurt people. It’s my job to leave him in the past, leave that abuse and pain in the past, and show that though the journey is long, it’s so so so worth it.

There I am, in all my glory. So, this one’s for you, EmyD! Are YOU ready to let your body, mind, and soul heal with me?

Connect with me on any social media platforms below! I want to hear YOUR mental health story!