lbs.Β 

173. One hundred and seventy three. 
The number flashed in front of my eyes, the nurse said it out loud, and my insides began to scream. They screamed at the nurse for daring to say the number out loud for all to hear, screamed at myself for letting myself be this number, and screamed at my body for physically being 173 pounds heavy. 

This past year has been a year of conquering mental illness, learning how to become self sufficient, and simply loving myself well. This is all code though for things like, going off depression medication, dealing with thyroid issues, coping through migraines, and yet, still LIVING. 
This past year has been SO good and yet so hard. When it comes to my physical body, I try so hard to look in the mirror and see what God sees; to see the creation he made, he loves, and he set apart. But to be honest, most days I just see that 173 pounds. I wish desperately my meds and my thyroid issues weren’t effecting my body so strongly, and sometimes I sit in front of the mirror and I just cry. 
I don’t say all this to be pathetic or to make you feel sorry for me. In fact, that’s not what I want at all. I say this because I’ve learned, in this past year, how healing it can be to be transparent and honest. 
I have days, weeks even, where it’s almost easy to love my body and to see the beauty in my curves and extra chub. And then, I have weeks that I don’t see any beauty but I cling to the truth that I STILL AM BEAUTIFUL. 
I cling to the truth of who God tells me I am. On those days that I cry in front of my mirror, I desperately cling to the arms that God encircles around me. Because the one thing I will forever know, even in the midst of my own self doubt, is that Abba does not doubt and Abba does not change. He called his creation “good” and I am his creation. Therefore, when I feel ugly beyond hope, I will listen only to his voice. Because his voice is the one voice that NEVER lies. 
Today, when I stepped off that scale and everything within me screamed “UGLY” and “FAT”, I knew it was a lie. And that was enough, enough to know His truth, even if I couldn’t quite see it myself today.  
Now I look at those three pictures from three very different times in my life and realize that I love the girl in all three of them. But it’s that girl on the right that I want to learn to cherish and adore, and to see her beauty as God sees it. 
I hope you guys know how beautiful you are. No matter what the scale says, or what you’re going through, you’re worth so much. Praying God helps us all see our worth tonight.
✌🏽
πŸ¦„πŸ¦„πŸ¦„πŸ¦„πŸ¦„

through the mud.

What does depression look like?

When people hear that I have struggled so deeply with depression and anxiety over the years, I hear many different responses. In some way though, every person asks this question.

“Well, what does that look like for you?” “Does that mean you spend a lot of time asleep?” “Oh you must need to eat better.”

There are so many ways that people try to ask about depression and they either don’t know how, or they are so ignorant that they ask harmful and hurtful questions. I used to get so offended and angry when I would hear people talk ignorantly about mental illness or when a rude question would be directed my way. (And I will forever advocate that the general population educate themselves about mental illness to help prevent ignorance on an issue that effects such a large number of people in the world!) However, I recently went through this experience of putting myself in my roommates shoes. I do not mean just my current roommate, but all former roommates as well. I tried to see myself from their perspective. I tried to remember each of the really bad days and some of the good days and instead of seeing it from my eyes, which I already know way too well, I put myself in their place. The result of this perspective shift was a heart change. Let me try to describe what I saw.

When I had only seen things in my own eyes, I saw a girl in the throes of a battle unseen; a girl deep in the mud, trudging along, barely managing to pull her feet from the mud. Step after step, she became more tired and felt more alone. And when I looked out around me, I had only ever seen cold, hard eyes. People who I perceived as choosing to be ignorant and completely cold to my struggle.

But when I switched perspectives, I saw a girl, broken and hurting. A girl who slept through her work schedule and then broke when she woke up without a job. A girl wasting away from not eating and drinking too much. A girl who had mastered the art of plastering on a smile before she opened the front door. And I, the roommate, didn’t know what to do. I saw a girl before me who, practically speaking, needed something like a “life coach”. She needed motivation and desire, the will to fight and to keep going. So I tried to give her that, only to be met with anger and hostility. Next I tried to feed her but the food was thrown in my face and I was accused of not knowing, of never understanding. I tried to love her, and tried to understand, but she shut down and would stop answering my texts, stopped responding. How do you love a person that doesn’t want to be loved?

Isn’t this the most ironic thing? All I wanted, during my really bad days, was to feel loved. But yet I would push away any real portrayal of love or of its actions. Oh how my victim mindset had me in chains!!

Friends, I used to get so angry for people not knowing, for people not understanding, and for people never “doing” the right thing. But I finally realized that I never communicated any of my needs! I never communicated what the “right thing” was! So I continued to function in this idea that no one cared about me, that I was a burden to everyone, and that I was better off alone. This mindset could not be more wrong! To be clear, there are people who choose to be ignorant and to continue to make actions based off that ignorance. I do not make excuses for these sort of people. No, I simply speak to those people who live side by side by those suffering with mental illness. Those wonderful, strong, and compassionate people who stay by our sides even though we yell, we cry, we throw things, and we accuse them of never understanding. When we trudge through our deepest mire, believing ourselves to be alone, they stand on the sidelines, cheering us on, doing their absolute best to help us live. They champion us daily, and even though it may not be exactly what we think we need, they are desperately trying.

So if you’re living with depression, anxiety, bipolar, or borderline (the list goes on) as I have, take a second to change your perspective. Look around at those who have always been there for you, even if they haven’t exactly knownΒ how or what was the best move to make, they love you SO much and they want nothing more than for you to succeed and for your smiles to be genuine and true. I can guarantee that they sometimesΒ live to see you smile a true smile! Sometimes all they need to love you right is communication. Tell them what you need, tell them what is going through your head, tell them you needΒ them.Β I bet their compassion will surprise you.

God has carried me through so many days but I would not be here without the people in my life that never left my side; the people God ordained to be in my life. Even when they didn’t understand what was going on in my head, even when I yelled at them or shut them out, they never left. So as I think back on harder days, thank you. Thank you for choosing to love me through the muddy days.

Katey

P.S. Shoutout to my sisters and my mom, to Teslan and Grace, to Megan, and to Lauren. You guys have never given up on me. Thank You.

 

boxes.

I love personality tests. Ask any of my close friends and they could easily tell you that I can talk for a good couple hours about Meyer’s Brigg personality types. They would know that I can list off all the different personality types and give you character references for each type as well. Its a bit ridiculous really. I’ve always loved people, and I’ve always loved knowing how to love people. When I was in college, this translated into me learning more about their “personality type” and loving them off some invented formula that came out of that. Not hard to guess that my friendships in college were therefore fake, dishonest, and short lived, huh? Through the years I’ve kept my fascination with the way that people can be defined by “extroverted” or “introverted”, “judge” or “perceiver”. And within this last week I’ve realized how narrow this mindset has been.

When a friend of mine acted completely outside of what, I had decided, her personality type was, I had this realization that people may be more than what I could possibly learn about them from a personality test. That, just maybe, I had been putting people in a box, expecting them to be loved and cared for in one way, giving them only what I thought they “needed” instead of ever actually listening to the human being in front of me about what they wanted. This hit home hard when another realization came to mind, that I have defined my own being by this idea of having to be “extroverted” or “introverted”, of having to fall into some definite type in order to be someone.

Earlier today, when sitting on the couch feeling shame over the fact that I was alone and had no one to hang out with, I literally caught myself thinking,

“you’re suppose to be this big ol’ extrovert Katey. You’re suppose to have friends around you all the time and look at you, alone, day after day. “

When in the world did I start believing that being extroverted is what made me, me? That being a certain number on the Meyers Brigg scale defined “Katelyn McLaughlin”? Don’t get me wrong, I love that people know me as an upbeat and friendly person, because I am that! But even the friendliest of people have lonely and sad days, and THATS OKAY. So when did I start telling myself that it wasn’t okay for me to hang out by myself? Just like I tried to define people by personality tests and zodiac signs, I defined my own self by these things. Isn’t that how it always works though? How you treat others is a direct result of how you’re treating yourself.

I know this is kind of all a rambling mess but as I look around me and see people who society would define as “social outcasts” or “extreme introverts” surrounded by more friends than any extrovert I know, I wonder if we will ever stop trying to define people by anything other than simply who God made them to be. (<–Run on sentence alert.) Generally speaking, I love to be around people, I love to love people, and I love to laugh obnoxiously loud. But also, I love taking long drives, watching and analyzing disney animated movies (and probably crying over something in it), and sleeping in really late; ALL BY MY-DANG-SELF.

I refuse to keep shaming myself for these things. For not being what society says I am sometimes, or for not being who I’ve told myself I am for so long, whilst ignoring my heart’s needs. We’re all humans who may lean towards certain generalizations, but that does not define us and our identities are not found in if we like to be around people all the time or if we run and hide when the doorbell rings. I personally am both of those things, I love people but I run and hide when the doorbell rings. It doesn’t make sense, but who cares?! Boxes may be fun to climb in, but I don’t want to live in them. Not anymore at least.

Signing Off,

Miss ranting and raving, full of passion but without a lot of wit, kind but sassy,

Katey.