My daughter wrote this Facebook post :
It escapes me how people romanticize anxiety and depression. When you have them there is nothing wonderful or great about them. I can’t go to a concert I’ve been looking forward to going to for months because of my anxiety. There is nothing great or romantic or funny about anxiety or depression, or any other mental illness. It sucks.
Ally suffers from depression and anxiety due to years of bullying. She’s come so far- from a scared 13 year old who tried to take her own life because she felt there was nothing that could save her, to saving herself. It’s been a long hard road with tiny steps at a time. Many people would think of her as “cured”, but you are never CURED of depression or anxiety. You can have it under control, but it is always there. With the help of wonderful therapist, medication, and TONS of love and support, she is doing so well. But, like any illness, it can rear it’s ugly head at times when you least expect it, or want it.
Ally loves live music. She LIVES for it. Music has helped HER save her life. We traveled the East Coast this summer following Once Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer and pretty much every other concert she could talk me into taking her to. Shout out to Shawn Mendez, Fifth Harmony, Ed Sheeran and a few more where I got to know parking lots and venues. She even would bring her little brother along and help him learn to love live music!
She’s been talking about Jingle Ball since September. In October, the whole family sat around computer screens ready to try and grab on of the VERY hard to get tickets. We had success! We got ONE ticket- but she was so excited! Its’ all she’s been talking about for months. She’s been planning every second of the day of the concert, from taking the early train in to visiting Times Square to lunch and then going to the show. Ally was hoping to see Selena Gomez again- she met her at WeDay. So many of the artist that are performing also are anti-bullying activist- as Ally is- and she loves to support them. Demi Lavato, Shaw Mendes, Selena, Nick Jonas, Fifth Harmony and many more mean a lot to her.
And the, it happened. Anxiety.
Sometimes there are triggers- sometimes there are not. Even though is doesn’t make sense, the political climate right now, along with terror threats and other things have had Ally’s mind SPINNING with fear and nerves. She wants to see these groups. She wants to lose herself in the music of the people she looks up to. She wants to PROVE again that she is okay, that she can handle anything- that she is STRONG.
Except, she can’t. She is going to sell her ticket. She knows herself well enough to know that there are a million triggers there and that she will not be able to really enjoy the show because her mind will be racing about other things. Her heart rate will speed up, She won’t be able to breathe. Tears will spring to her eyes, and she will let out small sobs until they become larger sobs and them a blind search for a way out. And since she only has one ticket, she won’t be able to turn to someone else to help her. She will be alone, and she will feel like she is losing her mind. Trapped. Terrified.
So she is not going.
She sat on the couch with me last night, crying, asking me if that meant that she was weak. I cried with her, and thought for a second. Then I said to her that I thought it just proved to me more that she was STRONG.
She is STONG to know her limits.
She is STRONG to realize that depression and anxiety are chronic illness.
She is STRONG to not give in to peer pressure, but to honor what she needs to do for herself.
She is one of the STRONGEST people I know to face this battle, again and again, and to not give up.
On December 11th, I will find something special to do with Ally. I will probably take her out for dinner or something and celebrate her. I’m planning on celebrating her bravery and and her strength. She spends a lot of time teaching others to #BeBrave and stand up to bullying- and this time- she is going to #BeBrave for herself- and take care of her. That’s not weak. It’s brave. One of the bravest things you can do.