Hola, Buen Día, my name is Jess.

The Feeling of being lost is a feeling that constantly sits with me. From the moment I can remember my anxiety and depression was fueled by feeling lost. Anxiety has always been with me, the utter thought of even being called on in school or having to hold a proper conversation with some one I didn’t know definitely sent me into a whirl wind of anxiousness. I had begun my path to rock bottom panic attacks and not feeling like I had my shit together in my mid to late twenties. Heck I’ll be 32 and I still feel that way. Every event that has happened in my life has caused this tornado of thoughts and feelings to why am I like this? Why does this make me shut off the world? What did I do to be cursed with Anxiety, Depression, Akathisia, OCD and major Arthritis? To be cursed with not biologically being able to have children. What could I have possibly done? These are the thoughts that send me into that deep dark hole. I can’t step into a room with strangers… or anyone really because my nerves short circuit and the room gets foggy and I get sweaty, my focus is gone, and I feel like I’m going to faint. I need to escape, to leave, catch my breath. But then I am hard on myself because I can’t keep an amazing tribe of friends because of it. Lost and alone.

Wanting nothing more then to be a mother, but thinking that I don’t deserve to be in a relationship, because how could I do that to someone? Is that why my ex cheated on me? How do I drop that bomb on someone? I can’t tell someone on the first or second date that I can’t have children because that’s too heavy, but I also can’t wait because you catch feelings and again that’s heavy. So there I am again, stuck between these two statements, lost.

When I got diagnosed with an Auto Immune Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Ankylosing Spondylitis I lost myself in my sickness. I lost all the things I loved to do, the things I loved to eat, I lost my creative side. All I did was spend time in a hospital bed and if not there in my own bed. 90% of my time was spent in bed because I couldn’t bring myself to leave.

I couldn’t bring myself to face the world or find myself again because at this point, I was to far gone. So, lost I couldn’t find my way out. I turned to dreaming of living in other places and living a whole other life. It even got to the point of me dreaming I was a completely different person. I didn’t know who I was anymore and honestly, I didn’t care who I was. All I wanted was to be else where. To be somewhere that wasn’t Calgary. I thought living anywhere but here would take away the darkness and pain. That maybe I wouldn’t be sick or maybe I wouldn’t be in a relationship that wasn’t good for me, one that didn’t completely drown who I was. Maybe if I lived somewhere else, I would be happy, I would be found. I felt like maybe I’d be able to swim instead of feeling like I was constantly drowning.

That’s when the depression took over, was I even worth being found? Has anyone even noticed I had been lost? Was I worth helping? Maybe If I just let myself fade away the world would be better off.

I don’t remember exactly when this happened, but this was rock bottom, this was my lowest point. The point where I had a nervous breakdown, I couldn’t sit in my own skin, I couldn’t be present. I remember losing my mind just repeating I want to rip my skin off, I need to! I need to escape me! I couldn’t sit still I had to leave my desk and go outside. I was pacing back and forth trying to catch my breath. I called my mom balling asking her to please come get me, she needed to take me to the doctor. She immediately took me to a doctor I had been recommended to, with no doubt about it he said I was having a major panic attack he prescribed me some medication and referred me to the Foothills Hospital Psychiatric department. I couldn’t take the medication until I got home so I continued to have that panic attack on the way home. In the middle of our drive home I yelled for my mom to pull over, I needed to get out, I couldn’t be present. I jumped out of the truck and paced on the sidewalk back and forth. I remember feeling like It was just me in this black little hole, pacing, breathing heavy. Not knowing where I was, Lost again. I began to take the medication I was given and felt like a zombie, tired and foggy almost transparent. It just like that it hit me, I can’t live my life like this, I have to be aware of my surroundings, be aware of myself.

I am worth of being Found.

I started going to Therapy and continue to see my therapist every second week. This is singly the best thing I have ever done for myself. The thing that I needed to clear my path. I never ever thought that I was even half the person that I know I am today. With every curse there is a blessing and I honestly could say that my state of Mental Health made me who am I am at this moment. I have the darkness to thank for encouraging me to find the light. Being so lost is what I have to thank for making me aware that I need to be found. Without that nervous break down I most likely would have continued on that path. Probably in an even worse place then I was at my rock bottom. Therapy has helped me find out who I am and find the things I love.

Along with Therapy, YYC has also helped me find my love for living. I am obsessed with “Living Local”, all the beautiful local businesses, events and coffee shops have brought me so much joy and so much love, that I am able to fuel the fire that I now hold. It gives me the courage to speak proudly of my Mental Health. It gives me the faith that there is Light in all Darkness. It gave me that push I needed to become ¼ of Hot Mess Anxiety Club.  It gave me the voice I was missing to be able to stand up and be an advocate for Mental Health. I am right where I need to be.

I have been found and continue to find myself.