When the hero falls

I haven’t written a personal blog post in a while. I actually haven’t blogged much in general in a while…or posted on social media…or been very great at managing life if we’re completely honest. That’s exactly what we’re going to be here, though – honest. So many of you trust me with your stories, bodies, and secrets that I feel like I owe it to you (and myself) to reveal a part of my journey as well.

I have never kept it a secret that I have dealt with anxiety and depression for years. Along with that would cycle to severe stomach issues which came to a head this past year. I ran myself into the ground working, stressing, stressing more, stress eating, and not taking care of myself. Did I mention stressing? After many many tests, poking and prodding everywhere doctors could, scans and labwork – everything came back clear. This made me even more stressed. WHY was I so sick? Why was my stomach always in knots, always upset after eating, always hurting? Was I going mad and imagining it? Did this make me look like a liar to everyone around me? I have been to the doctor more times than I can count in the past year looking for answers and trying new medication after new medication all to come out that I was clear and healthy (except for the toll the various medications would take on my body).

Those results can only mean one thing – I am making myself sick. Being someone that looks to resolve any issue that arrives (you know, so I can move on and WORK MORE), I began thinking about it all. I began thinking about how I treated my body – both physically and mentally. What was I putting into my body? Was I giving my brain time to rest and rejuvenate? Was I giving my body what it needed to work hard at the ripe young age of 32 with no obvious health concerns? The big answer was NO. In fact, I broke down crying one night not too long ago when I made the biggest realization about myself that I have in a LONG time.

I don’t know that I have ever loved my body.

I’m not talking about how I look…I’m talking about my BODY. The one thing that every single person gets. Think about that last statement. We only get one body – It’s up to us to decide how to treat it.

I had test results and while frustrated I was beyond thankful that there were no underlying issues. I took that information and surmised that since I obviously have a clean, healthy base to start from I need to start treating it better. For as long as I remember I have beat my body up, inside and out. I have never been careful with it, taken it for granted more times than I can count, purposely hurt and poisoned it yet here it stood, still healthy for me. Let’s face it – 32 isn’t a spring chicken and I have two choices to make at this point – what road do I want to take?

After more thinking and looking at the signs it became obvious that I have been floating along these past few years. I like to think of myself as strong, independent, and driven. The honest fact of that is that I was only those things because of medication and even then I was barely able to keep it up. I was a shell of anxiety medications and little sleep. Mind you, I only took the recommended dosage but anyone who has ever been on an benzo’s can tell you the effects it has on the brain. While some people are amazing with it some are not so well. When I started looking at the facts as well that all of my stomach issues were probably caused by ME, my inability to destress, feed my body and brain what it needed, and relax – maybe my brain was under the same attack. Am I saying that my anxiety wasn’t real? Not by a long shot – it’s the worst thing I’ve ever experienced in my life and it is still a sneaky little bastard that waits in the shadows…but what if it can be reversed or helped by helping to nourish my body instead of covering it up to deal?

Being a boudoir photographer is a lot of work…a lot of selfless work but I cannot forget about myself in the process. 

So…that’s where I’m at. I’m healing and nourishing and trying to clean my system of toxins – be it medication, bad food and lifestyle choices (let’s be honest, you all know how much I love whiskey), stress inducers (read: social media and the internet), and even people.

When my job is helping others see their worth and feel empowered and I am but a shell of myself it all becomes a facade. I don’t want my story to be a facade. 

We all need a hero but we have to be our own hero first…and when the hero falls you have to restructure and learn to get back up. You have to not be afraid to ask for help and not be afraid to be really honest with yourself. Are you really happy? Are the things in your life really benefiting or hurting you? Are you causing joy for those around you? Even if these questions mean lots of nights crying in the tub as you feel helpless…you have to do it. And you have to get back up. When the hero falls she doesn’t always lose her crown…but sometimes it’s just her footing. Sometimes she needs a helping hand and then she gets back up again. It’s hard to be the hero to everyone else when the crown weighs you down and you’re too sick to be a hero to yourself. Sometimes…you need to be able to take the crown off, hang it up for the day, let your hair down and breathe. That is exactly what I am learning to do for myself so I can continue to help those whom I work with.

Fall is in the air – my favorite time of year. I’ve had an amazing work year and with only a few dates left in 2017 we’re wrapping it up and I’m heading into 2018 with my head high and with ambition and health…which is denied to so many. For my health and keeping it up, I am grateful. I am trying to detox my mind, body, and life and am so grateful for those who have stood by me these past few years. It’s never easy to be raw and honest when it means big change has to happen, but I’m ready and willing to accept it with open arms.

Footnote: I in no way see myself as a hero but use that word and description as a metaphor. While arrogance has never been my strong suit I like to thing that wit is.