It's OK to admit your struggle..

Listen, I get it. Everyone has demons they are fighting they don't want to talk about, myself included. If you saw me on the outside -- you see a woman that loves her husband more than life, her super photogenic fur babies, a beautiful house we've made into a home (and I am constantly redecorating with my new treasures I find), a photography business with the best clients, a wonderful group of friends, and a huge smile from ear to ear anytime we see each other..

BUT did you know I struggle with depression? like, hardcore. When I was 18 I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression.. and I felt so totally normal? like, what? I honestly don't even remember what I was at the Drs office for - routine check up maybe? But they said that my lack of sleep was due to anxiety and was causing depression. Interesting how quickly they diagnose that to people who may not really need it huh? Because THEN I did not! The Drs. tried a shit ton of meds to get me "regulated." But, those medicines that were supposed to make me feel good had me clawing my arms in my sleep - waking up with scratches, sores, and bruises. One time I even woke up with a black eye. I would sleep for 18 hours and wake up just to readjust myself and go back to sleep. I felt completely fine before I had gotten to this point.. so why were the Drs so sure I was depressed?

After trying FOUR different prescriptions in about an 18 week period I just quit going to the Dr. I had given up hope that whatever they were trying to fix was making me worse. I was in far better shape before all of this nonsense! I was going to just live life like I was before and figure it out myself.


Fast forward to October 2011.. I got a phone call at 2 am from my step mom..

"Ashley, a cop just came to the house. Nicole was killed tonight."

WHAT ... I sat straight up in the bed. Stunned. My sister was killed? How in the hell am I hearing these words? Where are my niece and nephew? I have to drive to my moms and tell her in person! My brain was going haywire at the thought of everything that needed done right then.. while of course crying so damn hard I couldn't even see my hands sitting in my lap as I tried to get myself out of bed. Screaming for my sister. Wondering how in the hell I just heard the words " Nicole was killed."

Nicole with my niece Kaydee! They were going to see Miranda Lambert.

Nicole and Kaydee on Easter.

Nicole ( she would kill me for posting this one with her crooked smile she always made when she was squeezing or pinching you) with Kaydee and Colton!

The next few days were filled with so much shock and disbelief. I honestly don't remember anything.. I was so numb and devastated. I had cried more in those few days then I probably had if you added it together in my ENTIRE life.

I just lost my best friend - forever. I cried myself to sleep for months holding a wooden carved statue I had gotten her from Georgia - that was if I got any sleep. I would wake up screaming in the middle of the night, most nights. Grinding my teeth so bad through the day my mouth would bleed. I stopped eating and lived off whiskey for a couple months. I dropped 25ish lbs in 6 weeks. I wasn't coping at all. And watching my mom, who is the strongest woman I know, fall apart-- KILLED me.

Mom and Me on my wedding night (dancing right before we embarrassed Grandma to come up and do the chicken dance !)

How in the hell would I ever smile again? Enjoy life? What is there to enjoy when our family literally got ripped in half?

Six months later I found myself in the Drs office.. scared to have another go with depression meds because of my past experience. However, I couldn't live life like this anymore. My Dr. prescribed me Zoloft. Do you know how hard it is to admit you NEED help? That you NEED medicine just to cope with everyday life? Let me tell you, I fought it myself for months before I admitted it. Obviously just losing someone so suddenly is going to affect you. But I wasn't getting any better. I wasn't trying to even deal with my pain , I was drinking it away. That is no way to live! Sometimes you have to just confront your issue and face it. If you don't do that it will always be there. Mine in this case being grief and guilt.

EVERYONE needs help in some form or fashion. EVERYONE. I don't care how fancy and happy they portray themselves. Social media has a way to trick you into thinking you should look or act a certain way in order to find happiness. That there are people out there not having issues at all, making you feel even more like a failure. Trust me I know, but don't fall victim to that.

There are all kinds of people struggling.. Maybe it isn't depression - maybe they struggle with insecurities. Family issues. Can't find constant employment. Drug addictions. Infertility. Their own sexuality.

Should this person be made to feel any different because of these things?NO

Because they are struggling? NO!

Should this person feel that they can't talk about their issues ? NO!

Should we judge someone for how they feel? NO!

Just know this - Everyone is fighting a battle(s) you know nothing about. Be kind. Always!



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