CW: Throughout the month of October The Writing Wall Blog will be discussing mental health and mental health issues that affect millions of people around the globe. This week our guest Writer of the Week is Elizabeth Holland of Twitter.
Be advised that this post contains information on depression, suicide, anxiety, and her own mental health experiences and journey. Please contact the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 if you or a loved one are in a crisis situation. There is help, there is hope.
Hey guys, my name is Derra Sabo. I am a Cali girl born and raised. A writer by day and by night, lol. Gotta jot down the thoughts when they ignite. I am an introvert who secretly is working on being an extrovert. When I'm not writing I am creating adventures with family and friends. I love weekends filled with movie marathons and cooking up delicious food. Summer = beach and bonfires, Winter = snow, and hoodies. Am I addicted to coffee? Yes, yes I am.
I was born with a rare disorder, EB and I have Anxiety. Add on being a little insomniac night owl and you've got one adorable freckled human.
Writing and music give me a sense of understanding and calm in a world that doesn't.
If you need me, just go to the beach and look for the girl wearing a hoodie sitting next to a bonfire, who's looking up at the endless night sky getting lost in the inspiration of the moon and stars.
Photo of Writer & Blogger Derra Sabo
Physical health, the one level of health that we are so focused towards. From eating healthy to having an exercise regimen to making sure that we get the proper amount of sleep. All of these necessary steps to ensure that we live long, healthy lives.
And, in my case, the physical well being of my body has been extremely important as I was born with a very rare disorder, Epidermolysis Bullosa, EB to keep from the tongue getting twisted.
See, I live my life the way I want, however, this means getting bumps..bruises, and blisters along the way that I need to tend to on the daily. Eating healthy heals my body from the inside out, exercising keeps my body limber and mobile, which is very important for someone who lives with EB. Sleep, well, I have been a little insomniac night owl since I was a kid, so I'll just catch those zzzz's when I'm in the afterlife.
Now while our physical health is important, our mental health is even more important. See, out of all the life lessons I've learned, making sure that my mental status is healthy has been the key to, well, the reason I'm still living. I know that may sound a bit crazy, however, one big factor that a lot of us tend to put on the back burner is that our physical and mental health are connected to one another. If one sector is down, then the entire system is compromised.
Think about it, when you've had a crappy day and all you want is a giant cheese pizza to soothe those stresses away...by the time you've polished off all of the cheesy goodness, not only do you still feel mental stressed and exhausted but now you feel physically sluggish from that beautiful pizza pie. I mean, it really is a sorry not sorry situation, but you still feel crappy 360*.
Living life with EB constantly tests my physical and mental health, but I feel that my mental status is tested the most. It's like the physical part is a daily quiz, but the mental part is a daily final that's worth 50% of my grade.
Kids get bullied in school for a number of reasons, my EB was the glowing target painted on my forehead that drew in the teasing and bullying. From a young age, my Mom taught me that kids were going to pick on me because of my EB, but try not to take it to heart. She told me that some kids will tease me because they don't understand what EB is and some kids will tease me just because they are bullies.
I was and am the nerd who loves school. Every day I make it a point to learn something new, it's just who I am. Being a target for bullies at school though made my HS experience hell. The days of Elementary and Jr. High were pretty good, but then it just went downhill.
To be a 13-year-old who lies in bed at night wondering why she just can't live her life, why she can't just be who she is and why she gets picked on for being "different" when we are all different...these thoughts then leading to not wanting to live anymore and thinking of ways she could end her life. Can you imagine this storm thundering in your head at 13? Can you imagine the thoughts growing more monstrous every day until one day at the age of 17 you finally attempt in trying to take your life?
As though EB, Anxiety, Insomnia, and OCD isn't enough to manage...the world decided to add on depression and suicide ideation.
I put my mental health on the back burner constantly, hell, I completely ignored it. It wasn't until it was nearly too late that I learned how important a happy, healthy mind is.
Not wanting to be the kid who wanted to go to school, wanting to just stay in bed under the covers, hidden away from the outside suffocates the mind and starts to slowly kill the body. Eating junk food to stuff down the pain only creates more pain.
Even as an adult, you've got to maintain that beautiful mind of yours because the bullies never actually go away which means that the mental monsters don't either. To live in a world that has jammed this thought that you don't belong because you're too different eats at your self-confidence.
Living with a rare disorder where professionals tell you that you'll live a lonely life, that the chance of finding love, having a family, and living an all-around happy life is pretty much nonexistent. Hell, to know that you weren't supposed to live past the age of 14 is absolutely crazy.
All of this takes one hell of a toll on one's mental health.
I've had the surgeries...I've had the endless doctor appointments...I've continued to maintain my physical health. I'm still here.
I've dealt with the self-doubt...I've dealt with the nay-sayers and bullies...I've beat the depression (I know that sounds weird)...I've beaten the suicide monster that once owned my mind...I've dealt with the toxic relationships...I continue to learn how to maintain my anxiety...I continue to push myself to go outside and enjoy life...I work like hell to keep my faith in hope and love alive, to see the beauty in the darkness...I continue to smile and laugh because life is too damn short...I allow myself to be sad, to feel broken when those feelings sneak in, knowing that tomorrow is a fresh beginning...I continue to maintain my mental health and because of that, I am still here.
My name is Derra...I am a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, a niece. I am your best-freckled friend, I am always there when needed and will always have your back. I am a writer who is constantly inspired by the weird world and strange people that live in it. I am a movie and music maniac, I am a total foodie and yes, I will post my food on social media. The only perfection in life is puppies, Reese's, and the beach. I am a Jack of all Trades, an adorable witty smartass. My family and friends are my everything and I will always protect them. I am fierce, I am broken. I speak loud with my laptop and louder with my eyes. I've been told that I have a big heart and an intriguing mind (no arguments here). I am who I am and I am proud of who I am. (That read like a line from Dr. Suess, lol).
This stigma that is still very much attached to mental health is the same reason why it is important that we continue to take care of our mental status and why it is so very important that we share our stories, experiences. We need to have the deep, sometimes uncomfortable conversations because the moment we stop talking and taking action is the moment that the stigma wins.
There is only one You...You only have one body, mind, and heart...remember to take care of all three.
P.S. We are all different, which is what connects us. We all have something we're dealing with; be it physical, mental, or emotional. No one is flawlessly perfect. Never be ashamed of who you are or your story. Don't let a cold world kill your kind heart.
Be bold...Be brave.
Live hard...Love harder.
A special thank you to Derra Sabo, our first Mental Health awareness month guest blogger for sharing her story with all of us. To learn more about Derra Sabo, read her blog, or follow her on social media please visit the handles and links below:
A new Writer of the Week will be featured every Monday. Be sure to also follow The Writing Wall on Twitter @TheWritingWall, or on Instagram @writingsonthewall85 for the latest. You can also listen to the podcast every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month. Just search for The Writing Wall on Spotify, Google Cast, Breaker, and more.