I Can’t Handle it All

I Can’t Handle it All

Just ask my counselor...
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If you’re like me, then you want to do everything by yourself.

No asking for help.

No favors.

You got this.

Anything and everything - you can handle it.

But I recently hit a spot where I realized that I can’t do all of this on my own. I needed some help.

And that realization was a little scary.

I was going through some terrifying, weird health problems and struggling with severe anxiety over it all. I was eventually diagnosed with something called POTS Syndrome and am doing much better now. Health problems, severe anxiety - all of this was new territory for me. I didn’t know how to healthfully handle it all. So, I decided to go to a counselor. Counseling was also new territory for me, and I didn’t know quite what to expect. I soon found out, though, that it is intensely and genuinely life-changing.

We see counselors and psychiatrists portrayed all the time on TV and I think it’s easy to brush it off as: “That’ll never be me. Counseling and talking about emotional and mental health is for people with actual disorders or for people who have lived through extremely traumatic things.” If I’m honest, that perspective probably used to be mine. I saw the value in counseling, but I never pictured myself going through it. I didn’t want to be in a place where I needed counseling, you know? Because I thought I could handle it all, and if there was something that came up that I couldn’t handle, then... well... who was I?

I’m learning that my identity is not in my ability to handle things. It’s okay to ask for help, and the world still goes on. I’m still myself, even while I’m being helped. I think we all go through vulnerable, scary times and that what adds to the scariness of those events, diagnoses, insecurities, worries, etc. is just the fact that we don’t feel in control. We don’t feel like we’re handling things the way we should be able to.

But we all need a break and we all need help sometimes. Honestly, I think counseling could serve a purpose in everyone’s life-whether there’s crisis or not. I have been able to work through different areas in my life during my counseling sessions that weren’t at all what I originally sought out help for. The help and peace I’ve received has changed me in so many incredible ways, and it’s also changed how I view myself and my God. God made me with flaws and weaknesses. He made me with the need for help and the need for dependency on him. (I thought I was just learning to ask for help from human sources... well, psych! I’m learning to depend on Him, too!) Yet He saw that, even in my inability to handle everything, me as His creation was good.

So please, if you are considering counseling, I know there are financial and other obstacles at times, but please do not let one of those obstacles be that you want to handle everything yourself. There are wonderful people out there who want nothing more than to empower you - not ridicule or judge you - and remind you of the tremendous creation you are. It’s not an embarrassment. It takes a lot of strength, really. We have our limits. I found mine even though I was fighting like crazy not to. And it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.




Cover Image Credit: rawpixel

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An Open Letter From The Plus-Size Girl

It's OK not to be perfect. Life is more fun that way.

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To whoever is reading this,

My entire life has been a juggling match between my weight and the world. Since I was a young girl every single doctor my family took me to, told me I needed to lose weight. The searing pain of those words still stabs me in the side to this day. I have walked past stores like Hollister and American Eagle since I was 13.

Being plus-size means watching girls the same age as you or older walk into a store that sells the cutest, in style clothing and you having to walk into a store that sells clothes that are very out of style for a young girl. Being plus-size means being picked last in gym class, even if you love sports.

Being plus-size means feeling like you have to suck it in in pictures so you don't look as big next to your friends. Being plus-size means constantly thinking people are staring at you, even if they aren't.

The number on the scale haunts me. Every single time I think about the number I cringe.

Can I just say how going shopping is an absolute nightmare? If you haven't noticed, in almost every store (that even has plus sizes to begin with) plus-size clothing is closed off and secluded from the rest of the store. For example, Forever 21, There are walls around every side of the plus "department."

Macy's plus department is in the basement, all the way in the back corner. We get it that we are not what society wants us to look like but throwing us in a corner isn't going to change the statistics in America today. That being that 67% of American women are plus-size.

My life is a double-digit number being carved into my jiggly arms and thunder thighs. It is me constantly wanting to dress cute but turning to running shorts and a gigantic sweatshirt instead so that people don't judge me on my size.

It is time that the American society stops making plus size look like a curse. It will never be a curse. If every person was the same size, what would be the point of uniqueness? I will never despise who I am because while I was growing up multiple people told me that I needed to be a size 6 in order for a guy to fall in love with me. I will never hate myself for getting dressed up and being confident.

To all the girls reading this who may be plus-size,

It's OK! You're beautiful and lovable. If you want to buy that crop top, buy it. Life is too short to hide behind a baggy T-shirt. We are just as gorgeous as the girls that we envy. Be the one to change the opinion of the world. Fat rolls don't need to be embarrassing. Your stretch marks are beautiful. Don't ever let the world tell you not to eat that cheeseburger either.

In the end, this earthly life is temporary. We are on this earth for a blink of an eye. Don't let anything stand in your way. Wear the bikini, the crop top, and the short shorts. Post the sassy selfie you've had on your phone for 6 months and you won't post because you have a double chin or your head looks "too big." Who cares. BE YOU and love yourself while you're at it.

I'll start.

Cover Image Credit: Victoria Hockmeyer

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Buying New Clothes Every Month Has Been The Key To Helping Me Become Happy With My Body Again

Loving my body in new outfits has boosted my self image so much.

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Being body-positive has been really hard for me to do throughout 2019, despite there being an overwhelming surge in body-positivity around me, whether through my friends and family or YouTube. I look in the mirror and what I see is someone I want to make a jean size or two smaller like in the past. That being said, I've slowly been coming around to accepting the body I have now, instead of bashing it constantly. A key way I've come to accept the body I'm in now is through buying myself something new every month, like a new T-shirt or a pair of jeans or sneakers that help me see myself in a positive light. When I'm in a new outfit, I feel invincible. I don't think about how pudgy my stomach is, or about the hair I have growing in random places, like my neck or on my nose (yes, not just in, but ON too).

My bank account tends to suffer as of recently because of this, but it's worth it when I can genuinely feel good in what I am wearing every day. I like to wake up and think about how many outfits I can put together, ready to post my #OOTD for Snapchat without caring what anyone thinks. I've let social media dictate how I feel about myself more than I care to admit. I see how perfect all the models are in everything they're wearing from brands I know and love, yet when I try the same thing on, it's a whole different ugly story.

I don't enjoy trying things on to avoid the shame I feel when things don't fit me right, or if something that I thought would flatter me actually makes me look like a sack of potatoes. Instagram has really hurt my body image a lot — enough to make me delete it for a week after one post sent me spiraling. Going through those bumps made me finally realize it's not my fault if something doesn't fit. Sizes range depending on the item, it's the clothing items fault, not mine. Now that I see that, it's easier to brush off something not fitting me as it should. I know my size very well in the stores I frequent the most, so it's easier for me to pick out things I know will look good and not have to worry about the sizing issue.

Buying yourself something new is not something you should limit to every few months or longer. You shouldn't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone price wise every once and a while either. Coupons exist, stories always offer you them when you first sign up to receive emails and even texts. You can be crafty and still get a high price item for less. If you treat yourself to cheap things, you won't feel half as good as you want to. Granted, sticking to a limit is important but there's no shame in going over the limit every once and a while.

I love shopping as much as I love country music and writing short stories — a lot. Yes, I get yelled at almost every time I get something new. I need to save my money for important things, like for my sorority or for medical issues that could suddenly arise, or for utilities at my house next year off campus.

However, my mental well-being is not something I can ignore.

I can't push the good feelings aside to save 30 or 40 bucks a month. I don't want to feel as low as I've felt about myself anymore. I'm tired of feeling sad or angry at who I am, and I want to learn how to accept myself as I am. Buying myself something new, like clothes, is what offers a positive light to view myself under.

Whether you treat yourself to dinner at your favorite restaurant, or to face masks, or to a new movie when it comes out — don't be afraid to do it. Put yourself first and you'll realize your worth and how much you've been ignoring it in the face of poor confidence.

My confidence isn't back up to where it used to be, but it's getting there.

It may not be the most cash efficient method of self-love, but my body positivity is better than it was a few months ago. Aerie and American Eagle have really helped me become happier with my body, and I can't thank them enough for being more inclusive for people like me who are learning to love themselves again in a new body.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel for all of us hoping to promote our own body positivity, and it could all start with a simple purchase from your favorite store after you read this.

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