Mental Health Awareness Month.

Hello friends and strangers, long time no blog post. My bad.. May has been one hell of a month, to say the least.

I thought about this post approximately 3 days into the month of May. The past few months have taken their toll on me. I hit an all-time low point in my struggle with alcohol. Work has been difficult and things are constantly changing, I’ve been really pushing myself to pursue additional opportunities related to my passions (like photography, painting, traveling), and as always, trying to be the best possible fiance, sister, daughter, and friend I possibly can.

I admit, I tend to get stressed out easily… but I was putting excessively high expectations on myself in all of those categories. I needed to take a step back and put things into perspective: “Will this really matter in 2 years? 5 years?”. This mentality helps me approach my anxieties in a more realistic manner. The latter half of this month has been vastly better. I’ve been able to go out and drink socially without overdoing it, which is a significant step for me. I’ve been seeing a therapist, and talking about my mental health with a professional rather than just keeping it bottled up. Overall, I’m really happy with the progress I’ve made in such a short time.

But how I’ve been feeling is not the point of this post. This month of May is polar opposite from how last May was. Last May, I was binge drinking multiple days a week, blacking out almost every time. I was crawling into bed at 6 a.m. after regrettable nights making questionable decisions. I was handling the overwhelming stress of my upcoming cross-country move with substances. I was going out and doing whatever the hell I wanted, regardless of the consequences it had for others and for myself.

This May, I am actively working on myself. I am starting to realign after a couple of confusing and unpredictable years. I am moving past my mistakes, making amends with others and with my soul. I am learning to be gentler with myself, to prioritize life’s most precious gifts such as friends and experiences, and find what makes me happy. It feels so damn amazing. But I didn’t get to this point overnight.

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This May (which, regrettably is now over… I’m still working on the ‘consistently blogging thing’, ok?!), and in general, I urge and encourage you to pay attention to your mental health. Figure out what situations are toxic to your well-being. Hone in on what triggers your stress, sadness, and fear- and try to determine ways to alleviate these feelings, as well as cope with them. Make peace with your past, as it has guided you to your present and shaped you, for better or for worse.

Xoxo,

Lauren

PS: here’s a plug to my favorite mental health awareness organization, TWLOHA. Check them out.

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