This is your sign to keep living.

Trigger warning: suicide.

This is your sign to keep living. ♥️

A few Sundays ago, I laid in bed sobbing & prayed to God for a sign to show me to keep living.

The next morning, I woke up to see a text from my brother saying “I love you Mariah”.

I started sobbing. Again.

He was my “sign”.

It was such a simple text, but it meant so, so much.

I repeat: This is your sign to keep living. ♥️

I love you all.

Instagram vs Reality: Depression Edition

Instagram vs Reality: Depression edition.

The first photo is me, being “happy”. The second photo is me, after sitting on my bedroom floor sobbing.

I named my blog “removing this mask” for a reason. I sometimes wear a mask of happiness.

I want to help in removing the stigma around mental illness.

It can be so incredibly exhausting going about, day after day, putting on an act that you’re happy.

I hope that my page can be a safe place for people suffering with mental illness.

I love you all. Sweet dreams. Please, please keep going. ♥️

empathy & mirror neurons

“It makes you feel more than most people. Which is why you also hurt more than most people.” – My sister, Katy.

My mind is sooo jumbled & racing right now. But I have been wanting to do a post about this for a few months now, so I’m going to do my best.

I feel my feelings. Deeply.

I see an elderly person and sometimes literally cry – I just feeeel all the feels. I feel worried for them – are they happy? Do they have people to help them in life? Etc, etc, etc.

I can’t really read or watch the news because of all the sad things that happen around the world – it feels crippling to try to carry the weight of the world.

I wish I could take it from them. The pain, hunger, sadness, fear, the suffering – all of it.

Sometimes I will ask a family member or a close friend to reassure me that people are okay & happy. Complete strangers – I just need to hear that they are okay.

I feel everything sooo, so deeply.

Part of me is sooo grateful for this. I love having empathy in the sense that I can feel so deeply for others & I’m very caring and loving.

I’ve been this way my entire life – probably a lot of it because of my depression, anxiety, etc. I was always incredibly shy & kept to myself in school. But I did my best to look out for those whom I thought were silently suffering.

During my high school years, I would spend my lunch hour in the hallways, sitting with kids that were new, or ones that didn’t “fit in” with everyone else, etc.

However, empathy does make living difficult.

Sometimes I feel…paralyzed. Yes, paralyzed is a perfect word for it.

Sometimes things are so precious, or tragic, that it literally makes me want to die. Like, I feel like I CANNOT live. It feels too much to bear.

It’s sooo hard to explain, and I really don’t know how to put it into words exactly.

But, moving on….

Have you ever heard of “mirror neurons?”

I hadn’t until my sister, Katy, told me about them.

Our text conversation went as follows:

“Mariah, you are SO sweet. You have such powerful mirroring neurons…it amazes me!” — Katy.

*googles mirroring neurons* “So, like…empathy, basically?” — Me.

“Yeah! But it means that the empathy is physically built into your brain. That’s why it’s so hard for you to not absorb the suffering of others. Because of your mirroring neurons.” — Katy.

“So, I was born that way? Or learned it?” — Me.

“Born that way. But the more you use them, the stronger they are reinforced. It makes you feel more than most people. Which is why you also hurt more than most people.”

HOW FREAKING COOL/INTERESTING?!

I just feel blessed. Whether I was born this way, or learned it, or both, I don’t like to imagine the type of person I would be otherwise.

As always, I love you all dearly.

I pray for you all & am so proud of each of you. ❤

Much love,
Mariah

P.s. Here is an interesting article on Mirror Neurons:
https://mdprogram.mcmaster.ca/docs/default-source/MUMJ-Library/v6_16-20.pdf

“hello, brave soul”

Due to my BDD, I hate being seen by people.

This is tricky because, due to the nature of my work, I’m seen all day, every day.

I’m a receptionist at a large car dealership and it’s basically my job to be seen – greet and direct guests, take payments, etc.

My coworker and I joke that we work in a “fish bowl”.

There are always people around – whether it be coworkers, or guests sitting at tables working on purchasing a vehicle – People. Are. Everywhere.

My dear mother knows that I struggle with this greatly and dread work every day.

The other night, I expressed my concern for the work day and asked that she please pray for me.

The next morning, I received a text from her saying, “Hello, brave soul <3”.

Safe to say, I teared up. :’ )

I love all you brave souls. ❤

Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Step-By-Step Instructions. Courtesy of: Your Brain.

Trigger warning: Suicide and self-harm.

My sister, Jessica, chose to write about Body Dysmorphic Disorder for one of her college assignments. She interviewed me & this is her final product.

I tear up every time I read this. But that just goes to show how accurately she put into words what I feel on a daily basis.

Love you, Jess. ♥️

 

(We made the pictures bigger below so you can read more easily).

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

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this is what depression looks like

this is what depression looks like

Fairly often I’ll have people say I’m “faking” my depression; that I’m seeking attention, etc.

What I’m trying to do is spread awareness about mental illness. To let others know they’re not alone. To be a friend. A confidant. A listening ear.

With mental illness, because people cannot physically see it, they have a difficult time understanding it.

A line from one of my writings years ago: “I may be smiling, but inside I’m dying & crying out for help”.

Even though I smile & post selfies, etc., the depression is still always there. Always haunting, always hurting.

Depression is very, very real.

Please be kind. You never know what someone is going through.

 

As always, I love you all.

xo,

Mariah

Yesterday.

Yesterday was a good day. My OCD & BDD thoughts were still there – ever haunting me. But, guess what.

I work with phenomenal people.

I get to see cute lil kiddos & dogs at my job almost every day.

It rained & it was magical.

I have THE most amazing & loving family.

I have a body.

A living, breathing body.

& I’m working hard to love it.

 

Love you all!! ❤

 

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Real .

I was happy to rediscover this writing that I did back in the day, because I think it shows how my heart and soul have always ached to help people.

I remember thinking that, even if I couldn’t be happy, I wanted so badly to help others be happy. I wanted to help not only people with mental illness, but anyone and everyone — my heart yearns to help others be happy.

I know what it’s like to feel sad, hopeless, not want to live, and I know what it’s like to have terrible thoughts about yourself. And I don’t want anyone to feel the way I do.

There have been times when I’m driving along, in a grocery store, or just out and about, when I see an elderly person walking on the sidewalk, or out shopping. It will sometimes literally make me cry (I feel embarrassed even saying this). Maybe not like gushing tears, but I sometimes tear up, as I worry about them and hope so badly that they are happy.

When I’ve been with my mom, siblings, or friends and this has happened, I will sadly ask, “Are they happy?” They smile, and reassure me that, they don’t know for certain, but that that individual is probably happy. Maybe they enjoy walking along by themselves; perhaps they like the exercise and the warmth of the sun on their face. Maybe they love going to the store, shopping, and being out and about.

Now, this doesn’t only happen when I see elderly people. Basically every day, wherever I am, I see people and I worry about them. I hope they are happy. I hope they have friends and family that love them, etc., etc… I want so, so badly to know that they are happy. It’s so hard to explain. But, this actually plays a big role in how bad my anxiety is every day. It can be all-consuming to be so worried about everyone you see each day.

There have been times where I’ve been out on a date or just out and about, a person will walk by, and the guy will make a rude remark about their weight, their physical features, the way they are dressed, etc. I’m sure they are trying to be funny, but the moment a person makes any sort of comment like that, I am immediately turned-off & my heart hurts. 😦

There are many people who have a sense of humor that consists of bringing others down in different ways. And , even if that person is not present — a complete stranger, or someone that they know would never know what they said — that is the furthest thing from funny. I do not find bringing others down for your own entertainment as “humor”.

Anywayyyy, haha…

My senior year of high school I was basically a loner, which I was actually mostly fine with. My best friend wasn’t there anymore, and I have social anxiety up the wazoo, so during lunch I would try to “serve” others; I would try to look outside myself and help others who are having their own daily battles. This was beyond out of my comfort zone. I felt shy and embarrassed of the way I looked; I’ve always felt very ugly, fat, been self-conscious of my nose, and other specific things. (P.s. This is a huge contributor to my hardcore social anxiety).

But, I basically forced myself to approach kids that looked shy, were sitting alone at lunch or in class, etc. I don’t know how to explain it, but I would literally just force myself to start walking toward them. It was seriously like I felt a physical pull toward them. After I took those first few steps, I just made myself follow through. I forced myself to smile, forced myself to pretend I was happy. Being kind came effortlessly, naturally, and made me feel good.

That’s honestly one of the few things I have always loved about myself. I think I am a very kind person. (Ughhh, I am so sorry. I feel arrogant for even saying things like that about myself).

Perhaps what no one knew is how stinking hard it was for me to approach them, and how shy and out of my comfort zone that was. But I made some good friends that way and I hope I made a difference.

I promise I’m not saying all this to try to prove to you all that I’m some incredible person or something. It’s just interesting to me; the whole psychological part of it and whatnot. I think that, perhaps because of the way I have felt about myself for literally as long as I can remember, I am almost overly-aware of other people and their emotions.

It’s as if this is a blessing and a curse. Sometimes it’s almost as if my compassion for people becomes a fault. It gets to the point of me spending an immense amount of time concerned about others, feeling extremely anxious about it, and making it hard for me to cope.

However, I’m honestly terrified when I think of the kind of person I would be without going through what I have. I worry that if I wasn’t born with the mental illnesses & sadness that I have, that I would be a cruel person (at least on some level).

So, even though it is the most difficult thing ever to feel the way that I do day in and day out, I am so happy and grateful for what I have learned over my life thus far; compassion, sensitivity, love, and more.

I love you all. And please know that I am always here for you. ❤

 

Here’s one of my writings from years ago:

Real

I’m real.
Don’t abuse me.

I have feelings.
Just like you.

They have feelings.
Stop hurting them.

Let them live.
Let them be happy.

I’m real.
I will help them.

I will save them.
Make the pain stop.

I am real.

But sometimes,
I wish I was not.

“fall on me” – the incredible power of music.

A while ago, my sister and her family were watching a show that played the song “Fall On Me” by Andrea & Matteo Bocelli.  At one point, my 5-year-old nephew started sobbing. When asked what was wrong, he said, “it’s just so beautiful!”

This. Is. Everything. To Me.  :’)   ❤

With my depression, countless times I have found solace in listening to music. When I need a good cry, I put on some beautiful tunes (I have a “songs to cry to” playlist on my phone) & cry to them.

Sometimes I will just lay in bed, listening to music, and sob. There have been so many nights I’ve cried myself to sleep. (This is embarrassing to admit, but whatevs. Here’s to being vulnerable, right?)

Must affects the heckkkk out of me. I absolutely love when it moves me emotionally & gives me chills.

When I first heard the song “Fall On Me,” I immediately put it on my phone, went for a drive, & cried my little heart out while listening to it.

Please take a few moments to listen to this stunningly beautiful piece:

And here is the full English version:

Here are some interesting articles, as well:

Why Does Great Music Give You the Chills?

Why Does Music Give You Chills?

Also, if any of you care, here are some of the songs I have on my “songs to cry to” playlist:

“that home” — the cinematic orchestra

“the crisis” — ennio morricone

“with or without you” — april meservy & aaron edson

“father kolbe’s preaching” — wojciech kilar

“hallelujah” — pentatonix

“miss clare remembers” — enya

“the night we met” — lord huron

“suo gan” — james rainbird

“you could be happy” — snow patrol

“wave” — beck

“wait” — m83

“hear you me” — jimmy eat world

“life is beautiful” — vega4

“pieces” — andrew belle

“into the west” — annie lennox

“elegy” — lisa gerrard & patrick cassidy

“come what may” — london session orchestra

“may it be” — enya

“yellow lights” — harry hudson

“heartbeats” — aron wright

“bring him home” — colm wilkinson (or hugh jackman)

“chasing cars” — snow patrol

“breathe in” — japanese wallpaper

“to build a home” — the cinematic orchestra

“sweet disposition” — seawaves

“fall on me” — andrea bocelli & matteo bocelli

don’t be ashamed of your story.

Before I post things about my mental illness, I worry & debate a lot on whether or not I should post them.

Over the years, I’ve had people say some cruel things. They say I’m only posting those things for attention, that I’m full of myself, etc.

I have had depression, anxiety, and body dysmorphic disorder my entire life. I was officially diagnosed with depression & anxiety earlier on, but it wasn’t till I was about 16 that I was diagnosed with body dysmorphic disorder.

When I was diagnosed with these “mental illnesses,” part of me was incredibly ashamed. I thought a man would never love me, that people would think I was faking it, or think I was “crazy”.

I was in a Creative Writing class in high school, which ended up being an amazing outlet for me, & kept me from ending my life.

I would write anything & everything down; every thought, heartache, desire to hurt myself, wish to die to end the pain.

Sometimes we’d put our desks in a circle & share out writings in class. I remember sharing about my mental illnesses to a class full of people I barely knew.

It was difficult. I was shaking. I cried. But I never looked back.

I’ve shared my experiences, thoughts, & feelings with friends, family, in college classes, & now with all of you.

From a young age, my greatest desire, hope & dream has been to help people who are like me; people who know the pain & suffering of mental illness. I wish, with everything in me, that I could somehow reach out to everyone in the world to help them. Hear them. Hug them. Love them.

It may sound weird, but I seriously have sooo much love for everyone. I don’t know how to explain it. People I don’t know, people I see when I’m out & about, people I see in the National Geographic magazines, in new stories, people I’ll never meet, even people who I have never seen their faces — I just know they exist somewhere & I love them soooo stinking much.

Sometimes I’ll see someone at a store & wonder if they’re happy, & I’ll literally have to hold back tears because I’m so worried they aren’t happy.

I’ll read & hear news stories, see pictures of people suffering in the world, & I’ll weep. I pray to God to love them & watch over them for me.

Hopefully this doesn’t sound crazy or over-dramatic or something. My wish is to make a difference in someone’s life, not to make people pity me, or think I’m seeking attention because I share my story.

Anyway, I love you all with allllll my heart.  ❤

Together, we can fight this. We can conquer what feels absolutely impossible.

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