Picture Perfect

With the explosion of social media in the past few years, there is a rampant trend that public figures are creating an appearance of a picture perfect life and their fans/followers are left with a false sense of what reality should be. This leads to feelings of constant disappointment, anxiety, depression, etc. It is easy to “fake” perfection in photos but impossible to know what an individual may be struggling with emotionally and/or mentally. Now more than ever, we all need to be talking about mental health and how it is a much bigger problem than society realizes.

I have been struggling a lot mentally feeling completely overwhelmed; with work, life, and everything in between. The effects of a harsh cold winter are really getting me down and filling me with constant anxiety. It wasn’t until my husband said to me one day, “you are depressed” and immediately I retorted “I am not!”. In my mind he was way off base because none of my tell tale signs of depression were present. But in all honesty, it slowly crept up on me over the past few months as the depression manifested in ways I never experienced before. I found myself often angry, irritable, short, annoyed, ill-tempered, etc. which is definitely not me in the slightest. Before I met my husband 7.5 years ago, I suffered from bouts of severe depression for most of my life and I knew those obvious cues (becoming severely recluse, crying, loss of appetite, social anxiety, etc). Since 2010, those bouts disappeared and I thought maybe I had finally beat it. Then in 2015, I got really sick as some of you know and the feelings of depression returned. Obviously it never truly went away but it lay dormant until life took some unexpected turns.

It is hard to put into words, but it is a daily struggle trying to do normal every day things. From getting dressed for work or always reaching for loose fitting yoga clothes, to not tidying up after myself at home…I do not feel like putting any effort into myself or do much of anything these days. Doing the simplest of tasks feels like being asked to climb the tallest mountain…utterly impossible. On my days off, I often wake up already feeling defeated and have zero motivation to do anything. If my husband asks me one more time to go downstairs to work out together, I think the overwhelming feeling of anxiety will eat me alive. My biggest struggle is keeping all these emotions inside and not letting it show on the outside to those around me. I too am guilty of “faking it”; a shield used to not let people in and a double edged sword. The one thing that keeps me going is knowing in time it will pass but I have to push through each day no matter how futile it may seem to do so.

The only way to overcome the overwhelming sense of darkness is to keep pushing through and leaning on those who love us the most. We have to look after ourselves and focus on the little things which result in small victories. Recently as you all know, I signed up for weekly sewing classes, something I have wanted to do forever but I always let anxiety and stress hold me back. It is hard to find the motivation to go to class each week but once I am there, I find myself in very a happy place. Hopefully once I learn more about sewing, it will become a bigger pass time to keep me busy doing another endeavor that I really enjoy.

In an effort to alleviate some of these paralyzing emotions, I focused on performing a massive closet clean out in hopes of re-homing lots of vintage pretties that simply do not get enough love these days. It was an eye opening exercise to say the least. I had quickly amassed a huge pile of clothes to list, realizing many of them had been a part of my collection for several years already. It felt so amazing to find new homes for the vast majority right away and I do intend to continue pulling items in the weeks to come. It is a truly rewarding form of therapy to declutter our lives and find peace with letting go of the things that we no longer need.

I am sharing my story in hopes to end the stigma surrounding mental health and bring awareness to those who find themselves wishing they had a picture perfect life like they see on social media. Instead of just stepping in front of the camera to “fake it”, now you can see the real person and the conflicts she is battling on the inside as well. Each step forward is one in the right direction to winning the battle of depression.

PS. I am sorry if this post was a bit all over the place, I tried my best to collect my thoughts in an organized manner but felt it was rather difficult to write while controlling all the mixed emotions.

 

 

 

 

Life Behind the Mask

Everyone knows Pin Up Persuasion is centered around fabulous vintage inspired fashion and the “pinup” lifestyle but occasionally we switch gears to talk about the hard stuff as well. It is no secret that 2016 was one of the toughest years of my life battling severe health issues, making major life changes and I struggled…I struggled HARD! This is not easy to admit as I am a very proud person but we must acknowledge when we need help and support of those around us. A few months ago, I honestly had no idea if Pin Up Persuasion would see its 5th Anniversary. I was in a dark place, not able to find the spirit in me to continue on with the one thing that has brought me so much joy over the years. It pained me terribly but I just could not bring myself to write, let alone genuinely smile in front of the camera. The blog was quieter than it has ever been but I made it a personal mission to not abandon my readers as this was not something I was prepared to do.

My husband asked me one day “have you lost interest in your passions?” referring to loving vintage clothing and blogging. I knew the answer was wholeheartedly HELL NO! But his outside observation made me realize I had lost a part of myself along the way. The last few months I have felt like a shell of myself just going through the motions of life, not knowing where I would end up. It felt like a black hole of a funk that was never ending; putting on a little makeup and nice clothes for work was a struggle most days. At no time would I ever be seen in public wearing jogging pants or looking like a slob but I had become that person. Maybe that sounds overly dramatic but my pride and self-confidence had clearly gone astray.

Retail therapy was not exactly helping with the true nature of my depression but it gave me a little pick-me-up to buy something nice at that moment. All my pretties sat dormant in the closet along with the new ones just got tossed in a pile, not even tried on. Still, I hadn’t loss my love of vintage clothing but I retreated from regular social media interactions on most days. I was emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted…the thought of having to get caught up on what happened that day online brought on an overwhelming feeling of anxiety. Seriously I was dumbfounded, what the hell is wrong with me…this was so trivial! This only caused me to retreat further and distance myself from even my close online friends as I didn’t want to burden them with my life problems. It took me a long while to confide in one of my closest friends as I felt this surely sounded so petty to someone else. Thankfully she listened and made me understand that after all that I had been through this past year…anyone would have reached their breaking point. I guess I had never looked at it that way, life finally caught up with me and I crashed landed hard.

Day after day, I went through the motions and kept on the best I could. In early November, I was lucky to go on a trip of a lifetime to Disneyland thanks to my friend Mae and I made sure to enjoy every moment together. We visited with a few old friends and made some new ones as well. You all know how much I love Disney, being in one of the most magical places on earth with one of my closest friends was a dream come true. This vacation came at time that I needed it the most. Being around friends helped change my frame of mind and feel “normal” again…lifting my morale tremendously. Saying goodbye was one of the hardest things though, it would be at least 6 months or more before I would see them again. Distance sucks! Once I returned home, I went back to my old routine with the mindset of pushing through and organizing the blog’s next anniversary giveaway. There was a long while that I doubted that I could muster the energy and time to do so, but I finally realized I wasn’t done with blogging.

Although I was still battling with the funk, I saw a pile of beautiful new clothes that I really wanted to feature on the blog. Ok, this was a good sign right? One Saturday evening I put in some foam rollers before bedtime and planned to do my first blog photoshoot in months the following day. While I prepped outfits, did my makeup and setup the studio downstairs, I was cautiously excited. The first ensemble I had been really looking forward to from my recent purchases and is by far the furthest thing out of my comfort zone…a jumpsuit! The cynic in me was out in full force but I didn’t let that stop me from going in front of the camera, I CAN DO THIS! My husband remarked on how much he liked this outfit and he thought it really looked nice on me (for those of you who don’t know my hubby, he doesn’t shy away in telling me when he dislikes something I wear). After that session, I felt something inside me really light up…I was feeling energized with a massive boost in self-confidence. This overwhelming feeling truly caught me by surprise and for the first time, I shared a bit about my day and struggles with all of you on social media. This was the pivotal moment where I realized I had found my “spirit” again. How cheesy it may sound, it is how I can define the black hole that I had been lost in for so long. You become a shell of yourself battling depression, not knowing when or if you’ll come out on the other side.

Some people may say that I don’t owe anyone an explanation for the last few months but I feel people need to see how life is not perfect behind mask we often wear. So many of us struggle with depression and no one should have to suffer alone. I have poured my heart in soul into Pin Up Persuasion and my readers are some of the most incredible people I tell ya! Whenever you take the time to comment on a blog post or social media, it warms my heart tremendously. It may sound silly but those are the things that helped me push through along with my hubby, friends and family. Thank you all so much for sticking by me these past 5 years and hopefully there will be many more to come! xo

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