Back in 2004 I was injured in high school playing soccer which resulted in chronic pain; I’ve had 17 surgeries, including multiple ankle surgeries that resulted in a failed, fused left ankle. I’ve had knee, hip, leg, and back surgery. Ive also had two spinal chord stimulators installed permanently inside of me because I have significant nerve damage that is unrepairable. All of this stemmed just from getting kicked in the foot lol. Overcompensation played a big role on the rest of my body. Chronic pain is more than just pain, it takes you over. Its constantly feeling nauseous from the pain, and not being able to sleep, sometimes for days because of the pain. Luckily I’m highly allergic to opioids. I could have had a whole other issue at hand if I wasn’t.
I’ve been depressed, anxious, angry, and sad. A few years ago I struggled with suicidal thoughts. It was a pretty dark time in my life. I couldn’t see any light, even though now I am aware it was inside of me the whole time. I looked everywhere for the answer. Everywhere that is, except inside myself. I tried medications for depression and anxiety which just made me feel less like myself. I wanted a quick fix to get me feeling normal again. I ended up discontinuing my medications by weening myself off after speaking with my primary care doctor. I’m very glad I’m no longer on the medications. They really took a lot of my personality away. I also tried therapy which is a great outlet, but I feel it’s also tough to find someone you can relate to and or feel comfortable sharing with. I personally tried three different therapists before finding one I liked.
After putting it off for quite some time, I finally did something for myself and tried meditation. Jordan had been trying to get me to do it for a while and I wish I would have listened sooner. The thought of something new and thinking constantly about if I’m doing it right really made me put off trying it. I can now safely say, Don’t wait!! It’s a journey and it’s ok if you aren’t fully focused on the meditation at every second. Just like anything else new, it takes time and practice. I didn’t just pick up a bass and start playing. It took years! I’ve been meditating religiously now for just over a year. I’ve noticed many changes in myself since I began my meditation journey. Some days I still struggle, but that’s okay. I know I’m on the path to being free, and I know I’ll get there. I’m finally appreciating the journey and not just the destination. It brings a different outlook to everything you do!
Meditation, as well as being open and speaking to others, has really helped me keep a positive mind. The headspace application in particular has been very helpful for me as well as the book, “The Power of Now,” by Eckhart Tolle. Mental health holds a very strong place in my heart. I believe talking about things always helps, and it’s always a good thing to know you are not alone!
Finding inspiration to be mentally healthy can be tough. I now try to let everyone and everything inspire me to stay mentally healthy. I want to be present, and enjoy life. I want to be positive, and a positive influence on the people around me. My fiancé, my family, my band mates, and my friends all make me want to stay mentally healthy.
I really want people to know they aren’t alone. I want you to know it’s ok to talk about mental health. It’s ok to ask for help. There are great alternatives to medications, like meditation, yoga and improv.
Everyday is a struggle, but it’s a new struggle and a beautiful one at that. Be present through the good and the bad and watch yourself slowly leave the past and future behind while being engulfed in the now. It’s never easy, but what in life that is worth it has been. If any of you need anything or anyone to talk to in a judgement free environment please don’t hesitate to contact me.