Written By: Danielle Clayton

I am passionate about my work. I believe I am able to put every ounce of myself into what I do. I do have a small tendency to become angry with myself when something I create isn’t my best. I know I can do better. Though I am working on it I will start to self-sabotage by putting myself down, which in turn makes my depression and anxiety worst.

I am becoming much more self-aware. I say this in terms of recognizing when my mood or focus starts to shift. I’ve spent a lot of time in my past verbally expressing my state of mind with other people. I was around 22 years old that I started internally verbalizing my state of mind. Because I was drinking and using recreational drugs as a way to cope with my negative emotions, obviously speaking with other people about what I feel and how I should deal with it wasn’t enough. I started to realize this. Soon after, I began noticing my state of mind when intoxicated or under the influence. Then made a choice on my own to give up these toxins. I didn’t seek counseling or outward help. I could see this was something I had to do on my own.

At first it was super challenging. My environment was filled with the things I wanted to let go of. I frequently found myself running back. I felt alone in this journey. I wanted to fit in. Standing out was not something I was used to. I continued to feel myself being pulled back and at time I gave in, but I fought harder. I had to learn to say NO. It wasn’t easy and sometimes it’s still a challenge not to go back, especially when my stress threatens to destroy me. I have however gotten a lot better at saying NO and standing by it.

I am an introvert. A lot of situations have made me pull back from the excitement. Even though I’ve always been a quiet person and preferred to stay to myself. I consider myself to be a pretty honest and responsible person, although I have days and moments where I can be dishonest and irresponsible. One example of my dishonesty that I need to improve on is I don’t always say how I’m feeling when someone ask. For a long time, I didn’t feel like I was being listened to when I would want someone to listen or know how I was feeling. There were times I really needed someone to listen, not just to my words but my actions and my behaviors and I was ignored. So stopped sharing, and when I did it wasn’t the whole truth. Only these last couple of years I started telling the things that people didn’t know. I didn’t expect anyone to react or even listen, but I had to do it for myself. Being able to openly verbalize what I’ve wanted to say for so long was an eye opener for me. It allowed me to taken accountability for my bad choices, my mistakes and stop blaming myself for the actions of others. I think the worst part about being honest and open when someone ask how your feeling, is not everyone is open to listening or discussing it. When it is discussed the stereotypical responses “It’s going to be OK”, “Don’t stress yourself”, “Stressing and crying about it isn’t going to change anything”, “Don’t feel that way”, “Think positive” makes some people, myself included regret not saying anything at all.

My irresponsibility and procrastination go hand in hand. There are times when I have to look at it as a mental break. There are a lot of things we do daily that are mental, emotionally, physically and spiritually draining. Some days I need to be irresponsible and procrastinate. Some people see that as laziness, but working myself to exhaustion isn’t helping anyone else or me.

I’m not a perfect human being. I do my best to give as much of myself as I can to others but now giving to myself is my top priority. I’m not the type of person who thinks she knows everything because I don’t. I have opinions and information about things I’ve learned from other people. I might not be able to relay back every single word in detail, but I have a lot to learn. I’m not giving up and refuse to let anybody or anything bring me back to the places I prayed my way out of.

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