*This is a longer post than usual, you will need to read this with an open mind*
2017! I can’t believe we are moments away from the year being over and jumping into a new year! I don’t know about you but my 2017 started off a little shxtty but progressively got better and then turned amazing. I have learned, grown, and accomplished so much this year that I am very much so looking forward to what next year has to bring! We are another step closer to accomplishing three more of our goals, which will be game changers. I do not believe in disclosing aspirations and such before they manifest because you never know who may be rooting against you. I prefer to announce things at the right time and not immediately when they happen.
Each year, I believe that there is a theme. 2016 the theme seemed to be death. So many people died, including one of the people who meant the world to me….my grandfather. He passed away on March 24, 2016 and ever since then I have struggled to overcome it so to speak. The theme for 2017 has been growth. I have high functioning depression and anxiety (surprise!) , so my grandfather passing away brought on a nice little episode of depression (mixed with episodes of anxiety), to which I was worried about losing more people and things.
Misconceptions about Depression and Anxiety
- It is more common than you think it is. 1 in 13 people will be diagnosed with depression and anxiety at some point in their life.
- Depression and anxiety is not simply someone is having a bad day or being overly sensitive. There are a lot of people who will look at someone who seemingly has their shxt together and say you have every reason in the world to be happy. Depression and anxiety has nothing to do with material things etc. It can be triggered by traumatic events, genetic predispositions, and chemical imbalances that causes the person to not be able to control their feelings. Looking at the chemical aspects of depression, there is a deficiency of the amount of serotonin present, with anxiety, it is aggravated by the overproduction of adrenaline or stress hormones. It can be random where you are fine and then you could wake up the next day and everything seems very pointless. Symptoms vary for each person.
- Just because someone has depression and anxiety, it does not mean they are “crazy” so stop sharing that asinine perception. When you say things like that it clearly shows you do not understand the condition. Our society has painted a picture to where if anything that is related to the brain and a disorder is mentioned, they assume it is a form of mental illness that involves being committed to a mental institution. Depression and anxiety is not a life sentence and does not change you in essence. However, your approach and the way you treat someone who has depression and anxiety can change that. No one should feel ashamed of their issues. We all have them. Some more severe than others. There are many options for treatment and recovery available. People who have depression and anxiety can live normal lives with and without medication. Do you judge people who are diabetic and need to take insulin? The answer is, no right? So, don’t judge people who have depression and anxiety that take medication or go to therapy for treatment.
- Depression and anxiety doesn’t always impact the quality of a person’s life. It is common that some people who have depression and anxiety worry about a lot of things, and for the average person, they think people who have the condition cannot live a normal life and be successful. Well I am proof of that. Yes, there are different levels of it and the severity depends on a lot of different things. There are many people who are successful who have the condition. Abraham Lincoln, Vincent van Gogh, and Whoopi Goldberg, even Buzz Aldrin (first man on the moon) just to name a few. Anyone who has depression and anxiety can live a very fulfilling and happy life as long as they allow themselves to find the right treatment and stay on the road to recovery.
- If you have depression and anxiety you are on medication. Yes, at one point I was on medication in combination with therapy. But for the past several years I have not been on any type of medication and the condition is well managed. Medication can be very effective. But it is not always needed. It depends a lot on the person and their individual situation and needs. Not all anxiety medications work for each person. It is not one size fits all. When I was taking medication, I changed doses and brands three times before we found one that worked the best. The people who I know who have depression and anxiety are not on the same medications as I was. Some of them are on things I have never heard of.
- Depression is a lot more than feeling sorry for yourself and others. It sometimes happens for no reason. It is not always about someone trying to kill themselves. Newsflash, not all depressed people are suicidal. Sorry I hate to break that to you. Depression can involve disengagement from normal activities, doing absolutely nothing, isolating yourself, crying for no reason etc. It just varies person to person. IF depression was something that could be easily controlled, there wouldn’t be depressed people in the world.
- Depressed is not another word for sad, and one cannot simply do something that makes them feel happy. Often you lose interest in the things that once made you happy. Telling someone to cheer up etc isn’t very encouraging or helpful. It actually makes the person feel worse because it causes guilt. Telling someone they don’t have anything to worry about makes you feel like your feelings are stupid or not justified and that you should keep them to yourself. Bottling up how you feel and your emotions is not a good idea. It makes things worse and can lead to explosive episodes. Saying you should “calm down” is another bad thing to say. It comes across as being very insensitive and condescending. A person who has depression and anxiety shouldn’t feel like anyone they have shared their feelings with doesn’t believe them or should not feel like they are less of a person because they have a mental condition.
I am not ashamed to share my story with anybody or ashamed that I have the condition. It does not define who I am as a person. Now that you know (if you didn’t already), do you like/love me any less? If you do, then it is best that you remove yourself from my life. It is not hard at all to relate to someone who has depression and anxiety. Just save your judgement because chances are you truly don’t understand. I know this will give off some negative perceptions but I don’t care. This isn’t something that I had hidden from anyone ever. Once I got my depression back under control, things definitely got a lot better. I made some changes to my routine this year that include reading a positive affirmation each morning before I start my day. This has helped tremendously with setting the tone for the day. If you are having issues staying motivated I encourage you to incorporate positive affirmations into your routine. A lot of people who know me, know that I am very open about my depression and anxiety if it comes up. There is a lot of stigma that surrounds depression and anxiety and I wanted to clear a few things up, especially since I am an aspiring mental healthcare professional.
I don’t want anyone to get the misconception that I am an unhappy person behind closed doors or anything stupid like that because that isn’t true. I love my life and I have a great one. I am happy most of the time and have a positive outlook on life, just some days, it takes a little more effort to get and stay motivated. Just know I am doing well and managing things in the most effective and best way for me. I have a HUGE support system. Please don’t feel sorry for me or anything like that because that is uncalled for. There is nothing to feel sorry about because it’s not really a bad thing or anything to be ashamed about. I have depression and anxiety, no big deal. I function well, my family is well taken care of and so am I! You wouldn’t even know if I didn’t tell you.
I know so many people who are struggling with the condition that I personally reach out to them frequently. Even those who may not have the condition, when I sense something may be wrong or if I think they can use a few words of encouragement, I reach out to them. It is okay to offer someone a little encouragement even when you think they don’t need it. You never know, it could be that one thing they need to hear that day to be uplifted. I love positive vibes and I like to see everyone winning. I don’t like humble bragging and I do not believe in helping others for kuddos/likes. Help people because you genuinely want to help them and keep it moving. It does not always have to be shared. Trust me, feeding the homeless is still just as satisfying even when you don’t post it on social media.
Another thing I have learned in 2017 was yet again who my real friends were. I think lessons in friendship will never stop even when your circle is full. Can you believe I lost friends and associates over material things, lost trust in a few people I thought I could trust, found out there are people who have a lot of negative things to say about me and the decisions I have made in my life but yet they have “supported” my business for years, and the list goes on and on.
My husband surprised me with building a new home and once we were all done with it and in the process of closing, I shared the big happy news. Well some people who I would have thought would be happy for me weren’t. The jealousy and bad vibes all appeared. One person went so far as to being rude and basically stopped being my “friend” because of it and then said, “by the way this isn’t because you bought a house”. Now I am not the brightest crayon in the box, but me and this person were straight for the most part no issues up until I shared we bought a home. After that, they began posting a lot of salty things and then the shxt hit the fan and they shared their true feelings. Personally, I found humor in the situation and also thought it was a bit sad. I didn’t say much to the person but I did wish them the best of luck in life. They did however made an effort to reach out to talk about things but at this point I was over the whole thing and in a nice but firm way, told them to leave me tf alone. I have had people share my business with other people before I have wanted it to be shared a few times this year, so apart of this growth, I have learned to be quiet a little more and be more selective with who I share things with. Just because you have known a person a very long or short amount of time does not always mean they have the best intentions for you. When a person shows you their true self the first time believe it and remove them from your life immediately.
I have to admit one of the worst aspects of being successful and publicly being in a good place is finding people who are genuinely happy for you. At the end of the day be happy for yourself and don’t depend on others for that feeling. Isn’t it a little stupid how some people have the mindset that if they tear someone else down that it will somehow lift them up? It gets you nowhere. When you do things like that it blocks your good karma.
I have learned to love more, laugh more, and listen more. I have learned patience. This year has been so humbling. I am just so thankful I could cry. So many good things and positivity has blossomed from 2017. So much growth! I have watched several of my business ventures flourish these past few years, that I am now at a point where I can let one go with no worries at all. It is such a big relief that I am getting out of the cake business. Even though I am very good at making art with cake, it does not make me happy. I am all about self care and taking care of BREYONA. Cake art is no longer apart of my identity. I want to be known for other things now. It was fun and fulfilling seeing the smiles and memories made on my clients pictures. I have gained so many friends these past 6/7 years from baking. I am so very thankful for it all. I was never in it for the money. I was in it for the pure enjoyment of it. Now, I don’t enjoy it anymore so it is time to let it go. A lot of my clients are sad, some are mad and some want me to make compromises. I can’t and I won’t. I have to do this for me. I have to do this so that I can be well for my family. I wanted a sign to be totally done with the cake business and I received it.
This pregnancy and this blog were my signs it’s time to be done. Physically I can’t do it anymore because of the pregnancy being high risk. Emotionally I am not invested in it anymore because of the depression and anxiety. I have been blogging for years off and on but this time I actually took it on full force and the growth (that word again) has been tremendous in the short amount of time I have been back writing. Blogging is therapeutic for me. I really enjoy it! I have been gaining followers and subscribers each week and the feedback has been great. I didn’t know how many people I inspired until recently. It is very humbling. I do receive messages and emails from people telling me how I have somehow helped them, or how I inspired them to start a business etc. I have had people tell me how I have helped them feel better about their decisions to have a large family, despite the constant negative comments it generates from other people (mainly from people who do not pay your bills or have two pennies to rub together).
In 2017, I have embraced my postpartum body and owned it! I have been encouraging other moms to do the same. I am more confident than ever! I am lucky I have a husband who always tells me how beautiful I am even on my worse day, but confidence is something that comes from within. I got my makeup game on point, and finally have a haircare routine that works well for me that I can do myself. The pregnancy is making things harder for me to manage on my own, but I already reached out to two of my good friends about my haircare needs, and they both have agreed to help me out with taking care of it. I kept myself up my last few pregnancies so I plan to do the same with this being my last one.
This year I have had several sponsored posts and got to work with several big and small brands. I have learned alot about blogging! I constantly thank my followers for their support because it means a lot to me that people actually want to read what I have to say and that people truly enjoy my content. Even though I have this blog for myself, it is also for others with hopes to possibly help someone or give them something to relate to. Being a wife and mother is hard work and it has it’s good days and bad days. I share it all. I believe in being real.
I have big plans for 2018, and I think 2018 will still be about growth but love as well. I think this year is going to spill into next year because there is more to do and more lessons to be learned that feed off of what has transpired this year. 2017 I kind of winged it so to speak. I had a list of things I wanted to do and yeah some of those things didn’t happen but I am not going into the new year thinking about all of the things I didn’t get to do. I am a few months closer to giving birth for the 6th and last time, finishing another portion/step of completing my education (adding another degree to the wall), the countdown to my 30th trip around the sun, and another year closer to being Dr. Sharpnack. I will continue to do great things, be great and enjoy the hell out of life and I wish the same for you and your family as well!
Happy New Year!!!!