A Testament to How Much Better My Mental Health Has become
You all don't hear a lot about my Coffee Me personalities anymore. There's a reason for that.
They were a fun and light-hearted way for me to deal with the mental health load I was struggling under; pandemic, toxic home environment, years of destructive political attacks, money worries, increasing anxiety over "everything", and just the general stress of working and owning a business. I was exhausted by the effort to navigate these and yet could not afford to slow down, take a break, or escape. So I leaned into to an old coping mechanism, caffeine.
For the majority of my life, through early 2016, it wasn't unusual for me consume nearly 1000mg of caffeine daily. To put that into perspective, that's 10 cups of coffee, 6 cans of Monster Energy, 9 cans of Redbull, or 4 2-liter bottles of Dr. Pepper.
Between 2106 and 2020 I had reached a point where, most of the time, I was only drinking 2 cups of coffee daily. But when the pandemic hit, my stressors and triggers went through the roof. There was no place for me to go to get space from them. My healthier outlets were all suddenly off limits and my caffeine intake rose as I forced myself to push through.
Today, Secondcup Me is able to handle 99% of my days. My stress and anxiety is much lower and I'm not having to power through them. I'm able to engage in healthy ways when they climb.
There are reasons why this has been possible.
I'm vaccinated and, while still very cautious due to underlying health conditions, am able to get together with friends and family.
I've moved into a space that is physically and emotionally healthier for me.
The politics (as bad as they remain) are also improved.
My business survived the early losses of the pandemic and I was able to successfully adapt my it to a virtual model that has actually improved my ability to deliver for my clients in person as well. The stress of running and growing it still remain. . . just ask the close friends I've shared my anxiety over the new growth step with. Just wait till you see what I have planned for 2022. But this stress is manageable and well below the threshold of harm and debilitation that pushes me into unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Why share this with you all today?
Things you may not know about me are that I was diagnosed with ADHD back in grade school and have struggled with anxiety and depression since childhood. The onset of puberty brought with it gender dysphoria that, while much lessened, still arises from the to time. This combination was a major factor in the suicidal ideation I experienced into my 20s.
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide you can find help with theses resources:
988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States.
LGBTQ+, trans, and nonbinary youth can also reach out to:
The Trevor Project
They are there for you, day or night to provide information & support to LGBTQ+ young people 24/7, all year round.
If you are thinking about harming yourself — get immediate support. Connect to a crisis counselor 24/7, 365 days a year, from anywhere in the U.S. It is 100% confidential, and 100% free.
Text ‘START’ to 678-678 from anywhere, anytime. Standard text messaging rates may apply.
Reach out to hear a live voice on the line at 1-866-488-7386
At your computer? Send them a message. https://www.thetrevorproject.org/webchat
For decades, I've also experienced panic attacks in response to something I'm not ready to disclose publicly at this point. These attacks fall somewhere between a panic disorder diagnosis and PTSD diagnosis.
Embracing my authenticity and transitioning has improved my mental health significantly and added years to my life. That I managed the extreme stress and anxiety of 2020/2021 without returning to excessive drinking, peak caffeination, or deep depression is a testament to how much better my mental health has become in the years since my transition.
Be well my friends.