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Always the Moon : Joined Journeys

Always the Moon : Joined Journeys

I am Madison Stiltner (Maddy) I am from a small coal town in SWVA, a cat lover, future professor and avid lover of the divine. I may look like a southern belle but I have a sickness you see, I have something that one day I woke up and it was just not there anymore.

I suffer from something that turned me in to a Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde type deal. Like the moon and sun, only I was always the moon. You see I suffer from depression & anxiety and I began I began my long and VERY hard struggle with anxiety in elementary school.

I could not get up and turn a test in that I knew I had aced because it made my stomach drop standing in front of my peers. I soon got out of that because I pushed myself in to extracurricular activities. I was a part of the marching band and I was a flag girl and let me tell y’all... Having anxiety and waving a 6ft pole around really made me spiral somedays. Because despite how good I was my anxiety always made me feel like I was constantly a mess.

I went on in to college at the beautiful Emory & Henry and sadly that’s when I really had some dark days. I felt like I was drowning even though I was doing so well. I found myself pushing through the anxiety daily, but I have always been a worry wart and even an hour away my stress life from home found me.

I soon began to feed in to my anxieties more and more until it swallowed me whole in my junior year. I found a way out through love even if that love did not have that sturdy foundation that I wanted. This love came with a lot of hardship and a lot of suffering behind closed doors. I do not blame my partner but the powers outside of us.

I soon developed depression because it seemed like I was the worst type of person in the world for pursuing what I wanted and whom I wanted. I questioned myself and my life to a point almost daily. This depression and anxiety combo was like a Molotov cocktail and I was just waiting for someone to always light my cotton fuse. I lashed out at my S.O. I said mean things and did mean things I did not mean to do or say. It was like living in the twilight zone or a nightmare you never wake up from.

I also tend to take the worries and pain from others on my own small narrow shoulders thinking I can be a God and hold it on my shoulders while collecting my own worries in my pocket. This all became a vicious cycle and it ruined some really good parts of my life. It hurt people in my life and took me away from those I loved because I could not find the strength in me to get up off the couch and go outside because I always felt I was messing up in some way.

I suffered in silence because when I told my S.O. I felt he would judge me or look at me like I was crazy because I mean hey, was I not crazy for real? I pushed it all down inside of me until one day I snapped what felt like in half like it all came to the surface and for the last time I lashed out. For the last time I hurt someone for the last time I was able to see through the fog of my nightmare that I saw the wicked witch this disease has made me become.

I coped in bad ways and would not emote in the proper ways so it was like stacking old fireworks with the rubbish on a hot day while granny chain smokes nearby. Explosive!! It really effected my life in the worst of ways it would make me not get out of bed because I would tell myself “what’s the point?” I would cancel plans because I could not stomach the thought of going out and looking how I did.

My illnesses made me want to eat and eat till I would fill the void in my chest. Instead of leaning on the one I loved I withheld and took away from him at the same time. It tore my once perfect sunset relationship apart. It turned my life upside down when I really needed to get myself together and control myself better and seek help. It got to the point I was crying daily then laughing about being this crazy girl who cries over everything!

I was literally going all kinds of nuts being trapped in my head! I learned to tune out the Negative Nancy that likes to think she runs the show. I learned to calm down and have patience because to blow up will not fix it! You must step back square your shoulder and ask questions and know when to hold your tongue! I also went to my doctor and got put on some medication for my weak mind because listen, WE ARE ALL NOT PERFECT! I had and have a lot going on in my life and my poor brain could not make enough of the happy juice and taking two pills make me feel better than when I do not. I also know that I have to have the want and the drive to get better and I know that doing just yoga or just meditating will not make it all better.

I know that not everyone will agree with taking a happy pill believe me I am not a medicine type person, but they have helped me when nothing else would help. Most importantly do some yoga or (yoda as I call it) I know, it sounds wild, but when I do the most simplest of movements and release all the pressure I feel it melt away all the troubles I had that day. I also take that time to meditate either in the morning or before bed I take the time to sort through the things that upset me or made me feel that day. It really helps to ease your mind and not be some crumbled up!

My illness is still there I know she is, she finds her way out of the cage and come barking at the control center rude and heinous things. I learned that I am stronger than she thinks I am. I reach for the impossible like she said I never would and I make sure that I try and go as far and as high as I can. I like to do karaoke and I like to stand in front of rooms full of people and teach them or tell them about a project I am reporting on. I overcome my timid ways every day because I know that I am stronger than what I think I am.

I am better than my mental illness leads me to believe. I have had to forgive myself for all the times that I made myself feel like I was less of a person or less deserving because of what my sick mind told me. Today I am getting better and better and I love nothing more than to help others who have been in the dark like me.

Please know you are not alone and that you are not a 1 in a million that suffers from anxiety and depression. Never feel you are less and never assume the happiest people are happy. Please find what works for you and if I spoke to you on any level just know YOU are worth living, breathing and thriving. In case they haven’t told you I love you and you are doing SO GREAT! Do not let the darkness in your head pull you under any longer. Do not loose people you love or miss out on things because it tells you to stay home. Live, beautiful human, live. Reach out and get that help because you never know who’s life you may save by being here one more day! Stay kind out there friends!

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