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A PESSIMISTS RETURN TO LOVE
lisa berry

I love my life and take my happiness seriously because if I’m being honest,  happiness didn’t always come easily to me.  I had a serious problem with negativity and it was pushing me to darker and darker places.  I found myself struggling to stay positive.  Today we call it mental illness, a disorder that affects one’s mood, thinking and behaviour.  Healing myself required me taking my sobriety from negativity as seriously as an alcoholic takes theirs.

By 19 I was secretly feeding my pessimistic outlook on life more and more negativity and by 22 I had almost convinced myself that my future would be bleak.  I had mood swings all the time and could feel my light going out, the scale was tipping in favor of fear.  I never sought professional help because being pessimistic felt normal and not something I needed to be treated for.  It’s not easy to get sympathy for feeling down, when from the outside there doesn’t even seem to be anything wrong.  It would take four years and me gaining almost a hundred pounds before I finally got the help I needed.  Letting myself get so out of control taught me two precious lessons that I’ve never forgotten to this day. One: I and I alone am responsible for what got me here. Two: Only I have the power to do something about it.

There’s no shame in being sensitive, that’s just your internal guidance letting you know where you need to place your boundaries.  As any recovering alcoholic will tell you, it’s not easy to be sober.  Temptations will lurk around every corner and some days will be harder than others.   I choose to not participate in negative talk or gossiping the same way an alcoholic refuses a drink.  As a society, it’s taken us a long time to recognize mental illness as a disease.   Having lost a friend this past year to mental illness and knowing that kids –who have barely begun to live their lives– are committing suicide, makes me realize I wasn’t dramatic at 19.

I am a recovering pessimist who appreciates my wonderful life and everyone in it daily. I now have a therapist, who helps me address my fears on a spiritual level.  It’s my faith in a higher power that helps me through the most trying of times. I stay mindful of how I’m thinking and acting. I have atoned for my missteps and ask for help regularly. I recognize that addiction doesn’t only come in a bottle. I stay committed to my sobriety so that I can continue to heal.  I take it one day at a time, sometimes one moment at a time, and if all I do in a day is keep myself from falling apart, I take pride in that.

I’m sharing my story because I believe mental illness is an epidemic affecting all of us in one way or another.  As we each continue to share our stories the message that we’re not alone in our fear gives others the strength to keep going.  It is my hope that anyone who reads this will recognize that they are not alone, I know you and your disease and I have compassion for you.

People don’t die from suicide, they die from sadness, so if you need help, please seek it out. Just because there might not be a name for what you’re going through right now, know that it’s still real. Attitudes In Reverse is a great organization I’ve recently started talking with to help spread awareness of mental illness.

Thank you so much for reading and let me know your thoughts.  Can you relate to my words? Do you feel more sensitive than others? Have you had to let go of relationships that you felt weren’t good for you? How do you keep the faith in troublesome times?

With love and appreciation

Lisa xo

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(10) Comments:
Angela
I recall being 5 years old and worrying about things so much I made myself physically ill. I am now 48 and still struggle daily BUT have made a wonderful life for myself. You are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your special journey. Much love.
Kendra
Hi! I'm 16 years old and lack A LOT of self love. Beautiful woman like yourself help me strive everyday to be a better person that I was the day before. We all have our tuff days, it happens. 2 weeks ago my father passed away. People in my family have been taking it hard. I've had to be the strong one. I've had to be my moms rock. She hasn't been taking it well and some of that leads to anger which she sometimes takes it out on me. Not physically but to where she's yelling at me for small things, I push it off because I don't blame her. We woman have to stick together. We can destroy the chain that we've built to stand together. We have tuff as women so why make it harder on ourselves. Sorry for the little rant
Lisa
There's a lot I can relate to here. I also used to be very negative and buried that under sarcasm and not taking care of myself. I've worked past a lot of that now, just in time to try and help my son who also takes a rather fatalist view of the world. Reading positive stories like yours definitely helps, especially regarding faith. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I know it will help mine and my son's.
Lisa Berry
Hi Jasmine, thank you so much for the comment, you're not alone in your feelings. When I get scared like that, I lean on my faith and go to my meditation practice. Granted I've been practicing conscious faith for a long time and feel safe relying on it. But as I said in my article, I was not that much older than you when I decided to take my spiritual practice seriously. Do you believe in a higher power greater than you? Are you meditating? After years of practicing mindfulness and being patient with myself, I awakened my inner guide. That inner guide would lead me to the people, places, and things that DID understand me, without me having to over-explain myself. For me, feeling unheard by those around me, was merely a call for me to find my tribe. Spend time focusing on how your breathing throughout the day. Remember you can always change your focus from the thoughts in your head to the feelings in your body. Life is a game of exercising your choices. So, stop listening to what your ego has to say and instead listen to what your heart is trying telling you. Basically, check in with yourself. Some days that will mean you only have to check in with yourself once throughout the day and others it's every five minutes. That's okay, it's ALL okay. Progress, not perfection. Lastly, when I'm scared, I find it helpful to remind myself that I'm NOT actually in any danger, that I'm just sitting on my couch, or out for a walk. You feel me?! Breathing always helps me change my state from fear to love, hence my meditation practice. Life is a journey, you must remember to tell yourself that with your whole heart. Focus on your heart while you're saying it if that helps. Make it a mantra. Our breath is a VERY powerful and important tool we must use for healing trauma. Here's a link to my favorite FREE meditation app Insight Timer (https://insighttimer.com) I use daily. Hope that helps or at least points you in the right direction, with love and appreciation. Namaste LBx
Lisa Berry
Thank you so much for sharing your comment, Jennifer. Your words inspire hope. LB x
Jasmine
I am a person who has struggled with this exact issue most of my life and I am only 21. :( I often feel like my future is dead and although people such as yourself help and inspire me to keep going, there are times when I get to a point where I just want to give up. In that moment, no matter how badly it hurts, I try to think of what or who to go to for help and always come up blank. What do you do when people are listening but you feel they just aren't hearing you? When the one person you thought could help you is either busy or dealing with their own struggles so you don't want to bother them with yours? When you call the suicide hotline and have to wait to be connected to someone and in that time that you're waiting you're getting closer and closer to giving up. What do you do when you try so hard to hang onto your hope just to have it thrown back in your face?
Jennifer
Lisa, thank you so much for sharing. I can so relate. Over the years I’ve tried getting help and nothing clicked. Finally late last year I found a therapist who I just clicked with. I’m not ashamed anymore of needing help. I am open with my friends, family, and coworkers about being in therapy. I’m making progress. I have ups and downs, but having people know also helps keep me focused on doing what I need to do. I have slowly but surely eliminated toxic relationships from my life. It’s been hard, but necessary. I enjoy your blog immensely and truly enjoy your posts on Instagram as well. You are such an inspiration to me. Thank you again for sharing.
Alix Kell
Awesome Lisa! Please continue to write more about this! As we all suffer from the negative mind chatter. I would love to learn more ways to keep it a bay and remain optimistic! Love you and proud of you, Alix
Pauline
And this is why I follow you. I felt a connection with you the minute I saw you on supernatural. It was confirmed when I started following you on Twitter. I struggle to stay in my zone while in a marriage to someone deep in mental illness. His addictions are overwhelming, if not him, to me. As an optimistic realist, I see the possibilities first, and the inevitable far too late. Thank you Lisa, for always reminding me of who I am when reality makes me forget.
Erika
Amazing, Lisa!!! There is such a stigma on mental illness and even more so in the African American community. I have had to remove myself from a lot of negative gossip because it was bringing me down. I've lost some friends because of it. I hope that posts like yours and organizations like Attitudes in Reverse and TWLOHA will help change that stigma. Much love, xoxoxo