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Majestic and A Mess

Updated: Jun 13

Do you hate yourself? This is a fair question, given the way we eat and the amount of sleep we do not ensure ourselves. There are also the boundless roads to our triggers we grant others access to, and our non-existent self-care. Then there are the toxic thoughts we allow to run rampant in our minds, coupled with the words we speak over ourselves. How could anyone be optimistic with such defeatist practices and attitudes? Self-hatred is a harsh reality that no one wants to face. After all, no one sets out to hate themselves, right? Yet, we owe ourselves this examination for the betterment of ourselves, those around us and whatever we see for our futures. Google defines self-hatred as extreme criticism of oneself. Further, it may feel as though nothing you do is good enough or that you are unworthy or undeserving of good things. So…again? Do you hate yourself? Fair question…indeed.

In my own journey to better mental health, I have most recently had to face this big (subjective, I know) giant myself. First of all, I was perplexed to even conclude that this was what I was dealing with. Listen, I pride myself on “calling a thing, a thing” so I had to dive in head first and address the matter. I was, in fact, being horribly critical of myself. I mean, more than usual. To the point of immense anxiety and depression. But why? Before I knew its name I knew how I felt. For many of us we stop at the unknown. I knew for my sanity I had to dig deeper. But have you ever felt like…hell on the inside but everything around you was going amazingly? I was in the midst of experiencing beautiful life changes happening in my world. On one hand I was experiencing much joy. On the other hand, I wasn’t present enough to en-joy it. Trippy, right? My wife had just given birth to our adorable son, I started a new position with a great company, my art career was presenting new opportunities and my little family had just moved into a bigger home. I mean, what was there not to be joyous about? This fact alone leads to more guilt for seemingly not being grateful. Hopelessness sunk in. Needless to say an unbearable depression took over.

“Human beings are healthiest in community…connectedness has the power to counterbalance adversity… connectedness allows people to heal.”

Bruce D. Perry, What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing

What I realized at that point was that I had fallen off my mental health regime of preventative practices and was not connected to my community in the way I needed to be. Depression quietly isolates you from your circle of friends and family, your “safe people.” I have learned that in low moments, fellowship is best. After all, as Maya Angelou famously noted, “nobody but nobody makes it out here alone.(Alone, 1975)” This prompted a much needed check in with my therapist. As expected, there was a cause for this sunken place I was in. I was experiencing what is known as Paternal Postnatal Depression(PPND;) also known as Postpartum Depression(PPD) in women. According to the American Medical Association, 1 in 10 men experience PPND. PPND is also more prevalent in men with preexisting mental health conditions. Yup, a double whammy for me. Symptoms could include detachment from mom and baby, irritability and becoming easily stressed. Ding, ding ,ding…this was all too familiar for me. Having so many sudden changes at once triggered all these symptoms within myself. What was I to do? My therapist reminded me of something they said during one of our early sessions that still sends chills down my spine.``Ty, you can be both a mess and majestic, successful and in process.” I took one deep breath and slowly exhaled and sighed in relief. I remember saying in my head, “I can be both and it’s okay or at least I don't have to be crazy for both to be true. However, why was I a mess and what was my process?”

The answer was resounding. I was a mess because I had a pessimistic view of myself. I steadily rehearsed the “shoulda, woulda, coulda’s” in my head like a 90’s R&B song on repeat. “I should have finished my degree, I could have been traveling the world if only____ my life would be different if ____.” I’m sure anyone reading this could fill in the blanks. I also had a negative self image of myself. Being an artist/performer and what Instagram calls “public figure” it is all about beauty and image. In the course of all these “new beginnings” I had put on a lot of weight and was the heaviest I have ever been. I was disappointed in myself for not keeping up with my fitness plan. I felt weak for allowing depression to get the better of me and emotionally ate my way right into insecurity. Needless to say, the mirror and I were not friends. Cue in more depression, slothfulness and self-pity. The cycle seemed endless. I had also stopped all preventative measures due to not prioritizing my mental health over my hectic schedule. It was evident that I could not rely on self-determination to get me out of this “mess” I was in. I thought, perhaps the conviction of being accountable to a process may be the answer. I needed to jump back into my process to better mental health.

"Mental health is not a destination, but a process. It's about how you drive, not where you're going." ~Noam Sphancer. PhD

I needed to learn how to drive.With this understanding I was determined to change my perspective. There was no destination of wellness I was to arrive at. Moreover, a process I must embrace and sustain. Like my therapist said, “We are allowed to be both successful and in process, a mess and majestic.” Our responsibility is to identify our mess, call a thing a thing and keep moving forward via our process. Everyone’s process is different. Doing the work is learning your specific measures of wellness., I do not hate myself. But I am grateful to know what self-hatred looks like so that I can ensure to never dwell there again. I do not believe we intentionally set out to hate ourselves. I believe some of us simply do not know how to love ourselves. We can not continue to fear the unknown and expect to build resilience toward life’s promised adversity. Do the work and love yourself at every stage. This won’t always be easy as some things (ie; PPND) will be out of your control. However, it is possible if you have an educated perspective of self and a great support system.

What is important is that you do not remain stagnant. Falling out of my regime and not staying active in community literally caused my “mess.” Martin Luther King Jr. once stated, “If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” If I am honest, I am not out of the woods yet in terms of my illness. However, everyday gets better because I have kept a steady pace. My perspective has changed. When I look in the mirror, I value my bravery to face the unknown and am optimistic about what the future holds. What I knew as self-hate is now self-love. I am declaring I am both healed and successful. Like most of us, I may be crawling for now...but I am determined to fly.


Editor: Sherri Lewis, The Write One, LLC

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