You keep it on the inside because that is the safest place to hide.
These demons, the ones I keep locked in the darkest places in my mind, are finding their way to break free. A way to live on the surface and to overtake me. They want control over every thought and action in my life. I have to fight. I have to fight to save myself because if I don't then who will?
I labeled myself as a fighter. So much so that I have a tattoo of the word "fighter" hidden in plan sight. I see myself this way because I have overcome a lot in my still short life. Even on the darkest of days I had always found a way to push through and keep fighting. There were times where that felt almost impossible to do. Yet somehow, I would come out strong. A many of the battles I have fought have been within myself. My own feelings, irrational fears, reactions to situations, etc. I am my own worst enemy.
What I failed to realize over the years was that there was much more going on with me than what I thought. Growing up I was told I was overdramatic, that I could be an actress. Really, it was a perfectly acceptable reaction to anxiety and stress induced by years of mental, physical, and emotional abuse. Later on in my adult years, after finally going to therapy, I found out that I have severe anxiety with PTSD. Like most people, I thought that PTSD was only for those who served in the military. However, after research and asking my therapist A LOT of questions it came to light that PTSD can happen to anyone who has experienced severe trauma in their life.
As I was going to therapy and learning more about these repressed memories, feelings and resentment I had hidden, I became closer to my aunt. She started to take me in as one of her own; already having two kids as it was. But, it was like I was always meant to be part of the family. It was during this time that my baby cousin became my hero. An unfortunate traumatic situation happened, and it left her with similar struggles as my own; only more severe. Being there with her to see how she was handling and coping with what was happening, made her brave in my eyes. She was so outwardly out spoken and open about the struggles she faced. Even when she couldn't put feelings to words. I admired that. She also never let anything sway her from who she was as a person. She is so loving, compassionate, and has the best sense of humor. Witnessing her fight made me want to work on mine. Without her unknowing influence I would have not sought the help I needed. It was also with the support and unconditional love of my aunt, her mother, that I was able to see it through. I will forever be grateful for them.
My name is Brittany Sergent and I have Anxiety with PTSD from years of child abuse. My anxiety had gotten so severe and the fight inside me died that I became very depressed. My choices were reckless and there were many of days/nights where I wish it would all just end.
Somewhere along the way I lost all my favorite parts of myself. I kept searching for a reason or something to blame. The harder I looked the more I realized that I am the reason for my own unhappiness. Although there are many factors in my life that have had happened to me, everything has been my choice. The reason I was able to overcome these feelings before was because of my mentality. I was stronger than my demons, and my own personal feelings. Somewhere along the way I stopped fighting. I stopped caring about myself, what I looked like, how I felt every day etc. It has always been important to me to get up everyone morning and put my damn self together. It got to the point where those days were few and far between. I stopped caring. I knew I needed help, more than therapy. I needed something that was stronger than me. I finally swallowed my pride, and got the courage to talk to my doctor.
Although it has only been a few weeks since I have started antidepressants and anxiety medication, I have finally started to feel like myself. I used to have such strong feelings about not taking medicine and going about my healing in a more holistic manner. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough time in the day and enough Zen in the world to help put my trouble mind at easy. When I sought additional treatment I feared becoming a zombie or numb. Even with all the crazy emotions I felt when life was bad they were equally as powerful when life was good. I love with my whole heart. I am also crazy, vivacious and outgoing. I didn't want that to go away too. I truly felt like I would much rather live with all my demons than risk losing those other parts that I loved.
I took the risk, knowing everything was my decision and if I turned into this person I feared I might... I could stop the medications and be Brittany again. To finally reach out and ask for help with my mental health medically was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I don't have a cripplingly sadness or a sense of failure every minute of every day. I'm not a zombie or completely numb either. I can finally cope with the world around me and enjoy it for the first time in a really long time. Ironically enough, my coworkers have also started noticing a difference in me as well.
Although I am getting better, I am still healing. Recently, within the last month, I had to call into work. I just couldn't do it. Couldn't bring myself to leave the house to face the world. I was so sad that anything I thought about left me in tears. On the opposite end I was extremely anxious because I was worried people would be mad that I called in for a stupid reason. But my mental health is not stupid. I matter. And if I needed a day to cry, lay down and snuggle with my pets, I could do that. And I did!
I matter! And it's important that I take care of me, because there is only one.
This is what anxiety and depression looks like. Most would describe me as outgoing, fun, humorous, and determined. But what you don't know is the countless nights I have laid awake worrying, how often I fell to pieces on the floor crying, or not being able to leave the house because of the irritation fears/anxiety.
It's often that a person that suffers from anxiety/depression fights in silence or in the comfort of their home. Anxiety and depression is seldom shared with friends, family, or loved ones. Most people choose not to share what they are going through because they feel like they are annoying and obnoxious. My advise if someone decides to open up about what they are going through, just listen and show love. Show them that they mean something in this world. By being willing to listen, it shows the person that their feelings are valid. Although it may sound irritation and a little off the wall, what the person is going through and feeling is very real to them.
Love, listen and support positive changes. Everyone needs that in their lives.
"One of the greatest journeys in life is overcoming insecurity and learning to truly no give a shit"
I have failed myself...
Growing up, like most kids, I was bullied. Go figure... Kid in the 90s. Who would have thought. For me, I was bullied about my weight and being a "goody-goody". I was even "bullied" at home; that is a story for another day. It was difficult for me to understand why kids were so mean to me. What about me made me a target? I so bad wanted to be liked by everyone but I still wanted to be my unique self. In the process of this, I developed an unhealthy coping mechanism. No one could make fun of me and put me down if I beat them to the punch line. There it was! A genius move by Miss. Brittany Sergent. Not only could my feelings not be hurt but I could make people like me by making them laugh. What I didn't realize was in the process I started to ruin how I saw myself. I saw myself as the DUFF. Because I accepted that as who I was, that was who I became. I never thought more of myself. This was perceived as being confident in who I was. When really, I was just being complacent and not loving myself the way I should. With that came an eating disorder, depression and anxiety.
When I had bariatric surgery to lose the necessary weight I needed to in order to be "healthy", I started to see the woman I felt on the inside. You know, that diva who is so sure of herself scratching to get out. Only few people actually walk the earth as that person. But for me, she was being born. I had promised myself that I would never talk about myself in a negative way again. Yes, I am different. But that did not make me any less wonderful. It has been years since my surgery and like most patients I have gained some of the weight back. Due to unfavorable influences from a past relationship, my unhealthy image came back... I failed myself because I broke my promise. On a daily basis I consistently put myself down in a humorous manner. And the only reason is because I am insecure again. I lost the diva I once had and I want that bitch back!
Going forward I'm going to work on building myself up instead of knocking myself down. Taking the extra time to feel beautiful just for me. Be proud of accomplishments instead of focusing on failures. I'm also going to work towards making myself fully into the woman I am on the inside.
Thankfully, I am in a loving relationship with a man that tells me how beautiful I am even when I just wake up. You know, when you have the world's worst bedhead, eyeliner down your face, and for me... missing half of an eyebrow. I want to see myself through his eyes and love myself like that.
I implore others to love themselves a little more as well and help others build themselves up. Let all insecurities die within us because they no longer have a place in this world. You have one life and one body...make the most of it. ♥
"One of the hardest things you will ever have to do, my dear, is to grieve the loss of a person who is still alive"
Growing up, I had two siblings both close in age, living in a single parent household. Naturally, because of the all the hardship we faced in our younger years my siblings and I grew rather close. Me being the middle child and the only girl I took on the mothering role and the role of the protector at a very young age. I would defend my older brother in any shenanigans that he was up to and I would protect my little brother from really knowing the truths of our childhood. Both I loved very dearly and each in their own special ways. My older brother and I were closest in age, only 15 months apart. So, just like any other annoying little sister, he was my best friend. I looked up to him and I believe he looked up to me to. Whatever one couldn't do, the other could and we always had each others backs.
It wasn't until our early teens that things really began to change. We each started becoming our own person and showing interests in separate activities. Each of us had our own coping mechanisms to deal with what was going on in our lives at the time. Not only were we dealing with the hormone changes as teens and trying to be what we thought was "adult" but we also didn't have a very stable household (to lightly put it). I was a "goody-goody" and focused on school/extra curricular activities. My older brother, he focused on trying to fit in somewhere, making not smart choices, and self medicating. It was at this point the disease took him over. It was easier to "be cool" and self medicate than to deal with real life. He also has mental illnesses, like a lot of people do, that required him to take medication. Those medications he HATED. They made him feel like a zombie and not feel at all. That is why I refer to "self medicating". Really he was just using drugs... First it started with huffing duster in middle school, then smoking weed, then taking muscle relaxers, and just kept escalating from there. Knowing what I know now, after getting to know him as an addict and talking to other addicts, there is nothing like that first high and you are always searching for it.
His addiction and our unstable household tore the family apart. It continued to escalate. I don't quite remember what low he hit for him to decide to go to rehab the first time around, but I remember the day we picked him up. My brother had to been about 20. The whole car ride home he would not stop telling stories, the things he learned, and his plans for the next steps in his recovery. He had so much hope and light to him. It had been so long since the last time I had seen him like this.
While he was in rehab I got the serenity prayer tattoo on my shoulder for him because I was so proud of his recovery at the time. God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Now I realize, this is a prayer that everyone should live by.
In the beginning he did really well... Went to meetings, was open about what he was facing, got a job, and seemed like he really wanted to get his life together. Unfortunately, sobriety didn't last long and he started using again. I could feel him slipping away. He stole, lied, manipulated, anything possible to get a fix.
I distinctly remember after he came home from another stay in rehab he confessed to me about his heroin use. I was in shock. MY brother wouldn't use hard drugs. MY brother would never do anything so idiotic as to risk his own life for a high. That's when I started to realize... he wasn't MY brother anymore. Addiction took him from me and my family. It breaks my heart to say that I haven't talked to my brother in almost two years. There were a few times up until the point we stopped talking that he was sober, and my brother was back. That was only a glimpse of the person he once was because shortly after that addiction took back over and he was gone again. Our falling out was not dramatic and there wasn't a big scene. I simply stopped replying to his messages. There is not a day that goes by that I don't miss MY brother but I know that man rarely walks this earth anymore. I have to live with that.
It angers me when people insert their opinions about addiction without opening up themselves to understanding it. I fully admit I was closed minded and I thought everyone had a choice. My brother chose drugs over his family. I was wrong...
I will always be thankful for my first "love" for opening up the opportunities for me to gain insight on what addiction is about. He himself was an addict and when he chose to be in recovery I was there every step of the way. I went to Nara-Non meetings (for the family members off addicts) and I went to NA meetings (for the addicts). This opened up my eyes to new perception on addiction. Addiction doesn't care if you are black or white, rich or poor, gay or straight, single or married, loving household or broken house hold, it is not biased. I have seen the look in the addicts eyes when they talk about what they have done, learned and what their plan is. You can see in each one of them the haunting of the demons that plague them and the fear of their possible return. I myself am not a religious person and chose not to discuss my beliefs. However, I could see why God or a Higher Power is so important in recovery. You need support greater than yourself to overcome what was greater than yourself.
Addiction is a disease, not a choice.
Now, some may call me a hypocrite or ignorant and that is okay. Just because I understand that addiction is not a choice, does not mean I have to allow it into my life. My family is plagued with addiction; drugs and alcohol. I have made the choice to set healthy boundaries and detach from the addicts in my family. I am a co-dependent and the presence in each others' lives made no one healthier.
To my older Brother, I miss you. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about you and wish you well. I hope one day, when you are fully in recovery we can reconnect and be apart of each others lives. I love you.
The federal Center for Disease Control reported that more than 72,000 Americans died in 2017 from drug overdoses, a record number. In Michigan, The CDC estimate 2,662 Michigan residents died from drug overdoses in 2017, a 82% increase over five years and an 8% jump from 2016.
You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice. -Bob Marley
This past year has been one of hardest years I have had to experience in my adult life thus far. I had reached lows I never knew were possible for me to reach. Life at times seemed almost unbearable and there were moments I was seconds away from taking my own life. After I pulled myself out of that hell hole my mind dug me into and I really thought about the big picture I decided something. I decided that there was more to life than THIS. THIS being the hand that I was dealt, the difficult situations I had gotten myself in, traumatic experiences I needed to learn to heal from, etc. There was more to my life than what is now. I'm still not quite sure what it is exactly, but I can feel it within every fiber of my being. I am made for much more than existing. I am destined to leave a legacy. My name will mean something very important to a person or persons.
I am starting a journey towards self discovery. Almost 30 years old and I have decided it is time to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. In doing so, I am going to push myself in ways I have not pushed myself before. Forcing myself to go beyond all my comfort zones. My first step is starting this blog. I had originally planned on being a social media guru. Creating videos and inspirational posts. The more I started to think about that, the more I realized it wasn't an honest version of me. I was going to be someone people wanted to watch and wanted to interact with. Now, don't get me wrong... I still may make video and have a few inspirational posts every now and again. However, I believe through writing I can be my true, honest, and raw self. Pour my whole heart into whatever is on my mind at the time. And let me tell you... I always have a LOT on my mind. There will be no theme, no rhyme or reason. It could be anything from my struggles with depression and anxiety or my latest beauty tips and tricks, or I could just be sharing a hilarious story about my pets.
Here it is though. Honest and probably poorly written; my blog. I have dedicated myself to a full year of blogging. Who knows if anyone will read or follow. I rather try and fail than live a life of whatif.