Most days I wake up terrified, haunted by dreams of memories past. On these days I lay under my covers and feel the weight of Jenny on me. Her deep breathing is a constant reminder that I am not alone. I take a breath, filling up my lungs to match my breathing to hers. I remind myself to stay in the here and now.
I often do what I call "reality checking" through out the day. This is a coping skill that has been in my toolbox for a couple years now, but I'm just starting to get where I remember to use it in the moment. This skill works when I challenge my core thoughts to see if they match up with reality.
I can often talk a good game and I am a pro at smiling in the face of anxiety, but deep inside my head I struggle with insecurities. Many of these are related to my mental illnesses. Most of these core thoughts can all be brought down to: I'm not good enough.
Not to sound conceited or anything, but that is simply not true. Why do I think this? Because I have enough diagnosis that I need two hands to count them all? So I have some health problems. So what? That does not mean I'm any less capable to succeed. That doesn't mean I'm any less of a daughter, sister, or granddaughter.
It is said that one in four American's has a mental health condition. Many of us live quietly. Most of the time unless you were told, you would not know that your brother, sister, neighbor, or mentor had a mental illness. An extra struggle does not take away a person's worth.
I am well aware that this is mainly a problem which lives inside my head. To sound cliche for a moment, I am my own worst critic. That is why I wake up every day, lay under my blanket, match my breathing to Jenny's, and remind myself -- I am enough.