Confessions of a Timid Rider

Let’s Talk About Mental Health, Yes Seriously.

Confession: Depression, burn out, or severe anxiety…call it what you will but I’ve been experiencing it for months and it’s not pretty.

I’ve been silently struggling lately. The demands I place on myself and by those around me have been so heavy. I’ve hidden away from friends, stopped writing, barely been to my sanctuary (the barn), and even stepped back from work.

The truth is, I think I’m doing okay but then I realize that isn’t really true. All the things I use to cope with my ADHD and my anxiety, I’ve pushed to the side. Everything gets pushed to the side because it’s too overwhelming.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been in such a dark place. I think the toll of running two businesses, always hustling to share more about my journey or bring in new clients, be a good friend, be a good wife and mother, and always feeling like I never have enough time or am never doing enough to fill everyone’s expectations is wearing deeply on me. It’s not the external pressures, it’s the internal voice that won’t let me relax.

I had so much fun attending the American Horse Publications conference in Fort Worth with my friends. It was great to get away and unwind, and more I came back inspired to start writing again and I had so many ideas…but I didn’t follow through. Instead I was home for a few days then off to Equitana USA where I moderated a panel on Social Responsibility for Influencers- something very important to me. Again, I had so much fun and was so energized. But when I returned home I retreated into my shell for a full day and didn’t move off the couch.

Panel on Social Responsibility for Influencers. From left to right: Susan Friedland, Emily and Sarah Harris, Caitlin Gooch, and me!

Then I got up, got moving and started running around again. Yesterday, my body gave out on me. I woke up at 5AM with a panic attack which then developed into an ocular migraine. I tend to internalize my tension and it’s not healthy. While I got that under control I tried to power through work and made it halfway through the day before I decided to prioritize myself and reschedule. I went home to sleep in my room and made a nest to watch Harry Potter movies, my go to when feeling ill.

Mental health is a silent thing. Most people don’t talk about the intrusive thoughts they experience, the burn out they feel trying to be “typical” or “normal”. My brain doesn’t work the same way as others. I’m not ashamed of it. I’m special in so many ways and this is just part of why.

person holding note with be kind text
Photo by Lisa on Pexels.com

So many people comment to me they don’t know how I “do it all”, and the truth is my brain won’t let me settle. It’s always going even if my body is still. It’s exhausting. Some days I just can’t stop overthinking no matter how hard I try.

So when is self-care not enough? Meditation, breathing exercises, time with my horses, reading a book, or taking a bath aren’t always enough to help me. It’s okay to ask for help.

Remember:

  • Don’t be ashamed that you can’t do it all.
  • Acknowledge how you feel.
  • Ask for help when you need it, it doesn’t make you weak- it actually makes you stronger.
  • You aren’t alone.
  • The smile your friend is wearing may hide a very unhappy soul. Be kind. You never know what someone else is going through.
  • Reach out to friends, family, or a licensed professional.

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