Challenges in life are inevitable. How we handle those challenges is what determines our happiness.
Life is HEAVY. We are STRONG.
Life is HEAVY. We are STRONG.
As I sat there filling out the survey, to determine whether or not I deserve an emotional support animal, it became clear to me that I do. What initially felt like it might be a stretch from the truth, actually revealed my reality.
Some days I get so carried away in positivity, I forget the burdens of my mental health I deal with on a daily basis. But isn’t that the point? To create a lifestyle where my peace of mind dominates. A life where motivation to be better and feel my best distracts me from all that could drag me down. My attitude overrides negativity, therefore my life as a whole feels successful. Satisfying and enjoyable for the most part, powerful and tough for the rest. Not to say I don’t experience pain and discomfort from time to time. In the past 90 days, have I felt sad? Anxious? Unmotivated to push past my comfort zone in social situations? Yes, yes and totally. However, the boxes left for hopelessness, inability to see or even want a way out, don’t belong to me anymore.
The key difference between “Old Lindsay” and current me is my belief in overcoming anything. I trust myself. Not only to get through, but to gain something from each hardship. Strength, a lesson, inspiration to myself, or others. You see, that is the silver lining to all the shitty times I’ve gone through. I am not crippled by my anxiety or by my harder days. Nor am I defeated by trauma. However, I am unafraid to ask for help. To listen to advice from others, lean on a friend or my family when I could use the extra support, or even label my dog an “emotional support animal” because that is exactly what he is to me.
My dog, Slim Shady, (named in honor of my brother who was a devoted Eminem fan), provides purpose and meaning to each and every day I live. He reminds me what it means to take care of myself through my natural instincts taking care of him. He teaches me joy from simplicity. The smells, the snacks, the balls and squeaky toys. Running and playing, panting from exhaustion but never losing his ear-to-ear wide grin or the curiosity behind those beautiful sea green eyes. Swimming, chasing birds, cuddles and belly rubs. He not only adds to the distractions of my own burdens, but he comforts me when I don’t even realize I need it.
Anxiety has been new for me, since my transformation. A piece of life I’ve had to navigate through once I began caring. Caring about my ability to create happiness. My ability to make friends now that my introverted side has taken over. Caring about the way I’m perceived. If I’m being misunderstood. I want to represent myself the way I see myself. Trying so hard to become the person I wish to be.
There are so many situations now that are anxiety ridden to me, but when I’m with Slim, I don’t care so much. He brings me back to the present moment. Helps me appreciate the joy that already exists. Even my anger management reels in when I'm with him. I might want to scream after an awful day and then getting cut off on the 405, but I don't want to upset Slim. The instinct to remain calm for him is more immediate than for just myself. However, this ability to rein in an emotion before it gets out of control saves me from discomfort and gives me time to cool down before causing unnecesary pain. He pushes patience. Provides stability and comfort when I could easily feel unhinged. My wingman and my fan. I wish everyone saw me the way my dog does. I am better because of the way I wish for him to see me.
Slim is my companion, my comfort, my accomplished responsibility. I take pride in the way I’ve raised him. The way he loves me. We live a life of adventure together. Activity from the moment the sun comes out until we’re both exhausted from a full day. He loves exploring new places just as much as I do and to share that excitement with him makes the future seem sweeter. He gives my life more meaning and makes each moment spent together more enjoyable. I always knew I wanted to love and support a dog, but I never expected my dog to love and support me back.
It’s okay for me to accept my anxiety. To understand my grief, my sadness, my trauma. I love the person I am today while knowing all I have gone through. Knowing I continue to work through so much still. I’m strong because I accept emotional support. I strive to live my best life, whatever that may mean for me. I am not embarrassed or ashamed of the burdens my mental health may carry. When it comes to my well being, I am always open to help.
Lindsay Greenberg, providing perspective on how to live a magical life.