18902420_10155206156561145_33180834_nWith yesterday ending Mental Health Week, I thought I would share my story and struggles with my own mental health. I have struggled in this area for quite some time, upward of 15 years. The last six years have been extremely difficult; I put on a strong face every day and do not let my disability stop me from doing what I love.

Having to accept the fact that I would never move a muscle in my body again was very difficult; I did not show how I was feeling on the inside but struggled with this immensely in the beginning. From the initial “WHY ME” to accepting that I would never move again and could not do some of the things I used to love doing.

Having a spinal cord injury was not enough, I also lost my mother two years after my accident, she was by my side every day and supported me in everything I wanted to do and encouraged me to live my life to the fullest. I looked up to her every day as she gives me so much strength. My dad, brother and family have been there for me as well throughout this hard time and I cannot thank them enough for everything that they do and have done for me.

It is the hardest for me at night when I lie in bed and my brain does not stop spinning from topic to topic and things that have caused some stress in my life. This is when I find I break down the most, it is not from anything anyone says but just lying there with my own thoughts can bring this on. I also suffer from anxiety, when you rely on a machine to do a normal bodily function like breathing it does not make it easy to keep my mind at ease.

I have my good days and I have my bad days, they usually are not a full day but last for a few hours here and there. There are days when I do not want to talk to anyone and have some well needed alone time. These internal struggles have set me back but do not stop me and I push through like anyone else would.

My younger years consisted of a lot of bullying and not really fitting in like everyone else. These years I was also trying to accept the fact that I was gay, adding to my daily struggles. During these years there were a few key people I had in my life and I thank them for everything they did. During this time there was also some contemplation of suicide but pulled myself away from that as quickly as I could. Those friends who have been there for me in any situation and have stayed by me no matter what has happened have made such a difference in my life.

I have taken control of my body and mind allowing me to continue on a positive projection in life, from completing my goals to making new friends and connections. You have helped me become a very strong person and have helped me stay positive when I need it the most.

I have had the same motto since my accident “Keep Fighting, Keep Smiling, Stay Strong” and have lived my life like that over the past 6 years.

#MentalHealthWeek #speakout #askforhelp #keepfighting #keepsmiling #staystrong #liveyourlife #family #friends #support #stigma #mentalhealth #endthestigma #PTSD

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