mental health, Photography, Uncategorized

In My Mind


Life with ADD/ADHD is a difficult one to process. Most of the information out there is for children with ADD. But those children, they do not grow out of it, ADD follows them into adulthood. So, what does that look like?


It looks like yourself, attacking your own mind. It looks like a perfectionist hovering over you, giving you ideas of what to do. One after another. 


It looks like taking a moment to go crazy. If only you could get the thoughts to stop. 


It’s taking a moment to close your eyes and breathe, to remind yourself you are okay. 


It’s going to do something you want to do. 


And then having another thought distract you entirely. Leaving you to wonder what to do next. 


It’s holding yourself together to not break down. 


It’s contemplating giving up. 


You grab whatever is your current vice to help ease the pain. 


You think twice, but do it anyway. 


Anything to make the thoughts and the pain go away. 


See, the thing about ADD is that you have all these crazy wonderful ideas. Creative projects, business ideas, you constantly think outside of the box. But, because you can’t focus on just one thought long enough, none of it, or only part of it gets accomplished. 


If I had all my thoughts I have, but were able to focus on each one and give it the correct amount of time, I’d be on top of my dream world. I’d be a paid writer, I would be inspiring as many people as possible, and I could enjoy down time when it is given to me. But, I have ADD and my medication doesn’t cure it, but makes it bareable. 

-Liz

Lifestyle, Photography

Growing into Someone New.

It takes away your identity. It strips you of everything you once were and leaves you clinging onto anything. It exposes every weakness. It turns you into emptiness. It takes your mind and forces yourself against you. It becomes your worst enemy. It makes you lonely. It makes you terrified. It makes you helpless.

It is depression.


Depression effects many people in many different ways. For some, there’s a logical life event to create it. For others, it’s simply a chemical imbalance (which hilariously enough, always seems illogical). And for people like me, it’s a combination of the two. I have Major Depressive Disorder  (MDD). This means that even when life is perfect, I can still get depressed. This means I have a chemical imbalance. However, I’ve also suffered through my fair share of heartache. 

I’ve been depressed since I was about 10. This was the time my grandpa, Papa Leon, or as I called him, papa Elvis, had passed away. We were traveling to California a lot, my grades suffered. I was a student who made straight A’s. Not anymore. I had changed friend groups, and became friends with two girls who would prove themselves to be bullies. My anxiety attacks had just started and I was convinced I was mentally insane. And I had just suffered from severe dehydration, which left me in the hospital for many days. To top it all off, I was suffering from undiagnosed ADD. 

Back then, my parents still cared. They still supported me, they helped me try to help myself. They took me out of school in 6th grade. I haven’t had a decent education since that day. But, it was better than spending every day hiding with the nurse or locked up in the counselor’s office. I lost all of my friends except for one, but she still had her own life to live. She cared and always will, yet she couldn’t understand at that age just how badly I needed her. I became close friends with my stuffed animals, I became an avid Days of Our lives fan, and I ate ice cream for almost every meal. I was truly living the dream for anyone my age. Yet, I still suffered.

Every night I would have a panic attack. I couldn’t sleep alone, I couldn’t stop feeling sick. I was keeping my parents up at all hours of the night, every night. Some days my dad went to work without a minute of sleep. My mom would have to entertain me as she laid on the sofa half awake. I felt so guilty, so ashamed, I began to hate myself.

As years went on, I eventually moved and got new friends. Myspace and Facebook became a thing. And all of my friends were like older brothers to me, or so I felt like. As things worsened at home between my teenage acting up, the undiagnosed ADD, and the anxiety, my depression grew worse. I would post to my social media sites in hopes to find peace. To find a helping hand, a friend to comfort me. I didn’t find that, I found hate and anger. Bullies once again appeared, only this time they were anonymous and online. I couldn’t escape them.

I became friends with this sweet girl, she was going through depression as well. We became best friends and confided in each other. She shared how she would self harm, how she drank and smoked. I hadn’t even thought to do any of these things. My one vice I had will remain a personal one. Cutting yourself was getting popular and was everywhere online. I was so surrounded by it, I decided to try it.

When I would self harm, it started out as a pair of scissors and just barely scratching my leg. Then, I found a craft knife. I used it to cut my leg, then I began carving words into my thigh. “Bitch,” “Whore,” “Slut,” these were some of the words I remember. The funny thing is, I wasn’t a bitch. I just was angry at the world for not helping me. I wasn’t a slut or a whore either, I had only kissed one boy. He was my boyfriend when I kissed him. Eventually, I tried cutting on my wrist. I did it on the top of my arm because I didn’t want to accidentally die, I just wanted to feel something.  My parents knew, my friends knew, my church knew, and my therapist knew. I was 15/16 and to this day, I have still never gotten help for self harm. The only help I’ve gotten was from myself and God.


By the time I was 18 I had refused multiple different medication offers. Taken and quit Xanex. Started smoking cigarettes. Started binge drinking. And had begun to start using sex as a new way to self harm. 

I partied with my friends every possible chance I got. For the most part, it was all innocent for me. I only drank, the kids that did drugs were respectful and hid to do them, and the worst state I woke up in was cuddled up with two of my best guy friends. Nothing had happened between us.

Eventually, I got a boyfriend. He moved to Arizona to be with me, that’s what he told me. I found out he was planning on cheating on me, he had been talking to other girls. Even after knowing this, I stayed. I gave him a second chance, my heart stayed with him for 4 years. In between our many on-agains I fell into deep depression. 

When we broke up the second time, I lost it. I lost myself completely. I had just been kicked out of my parents’ house, this time for something more legit than laundry, and I was in my own apartment. I worked 2 jobs to support myself, I was never home. I began to wonder why not just sleep in my damn car? I broke down the day my dad helped me put my bed frame together. He and my mom had brought me Chipotle and I took one bite and threw it up. I was so upset. I even kicked my mother out of my apartment just to spite her. As if moving out on mother’s day wasn’t bad enough.

I wasn’t me, this time, I was a bitch. I was hurt and broken. The man I gave all of myself to, he didn’t want me. My mother had kicked me out, she didn’t want me. Thank God for my father. He’s always wanted me. 

Shortly after moving into my apartment in the shittiest part of town I could afford, I began going up to the college town up north. I was there every weekend, then every other day. I’d sometimes drive up there and call out of work, yet again, with food poisoning. I was so ashamed of myself, yet I kept on doing it. It came to a point where I quit both my jobs, ended my lease, and moved up north to party constantly. I made it sound okay by telling myself and others that I would get a job, live with a friend, and start community college. I did get a job, a delivery driver for a sandwich shop themed around smoking pot. I did live with a friend, who seemed to constantly lock me out of his dorm room. And I did not go to school. Instead, I partied. And I partied hard. I fell for the first guy to give me attention after my ex had left me. Then, I fell for another guy, who was in a relationship with someone else. I was put in a position to do drugs, to drink constantly, and to ruin my life for the next 5 years.

Depression, in this moment in time, was from a life event. From outwardly feeling unloved and unwanted. But, two things saved my life. First, was God when he planned the night I was to be arrested. Secondly, was the best person I had ever met in my life. 

After I was arrested, I spent a couple more nights drinking until I had to pack my things and move back in with my parents. My best friend, Traci helped me get through this tough time and many since then. My depression was far from gone, but it was becoming manageable as I was no longer drinking.


Fast forward to 2015 and you’ll find my next greatest depressive episode. I had moved out to Tennessee to live with th same man that had taken my heart a couple years before. Again, I told myself it was the right thing because I was going to get a job and go to school. This time, I did actually do those things. They weren’t enough.

While I loved that man with all my heart, things began to fall apart after the 2014 holidays. He was working the most, and I had a little part time job. My nights were spent waiting for him to come home from work at 1-4 in the morning. I tried to work on this very blog, nothing came of it. I tried to clean, but I was terrified of being home alone. I spent my nights binge watching the same season of Gilmore Girls over and over. I spent my days having panic attacks after fighting with him because I didn’t keep the house clean. 

While I truly believe this wasn’t his intention, I found myself in an emotionally destructive relationship. It fed my anxiety, it secured my depression. What I mean by that is, this relationship told me everything negative that my brain was telling me. It was confirming all of my depression’s lies.

A year ago this month, I made the decision to end my relationship and, yet again, move back home. This time, I wasn’t allowed back at my parents’ house until my friend had decided to kick me out of her family’s house. Just a short week after living with my parents and I was being kicked out again. I had started using drinking as a way to escape the pain again. I lived in two different hotel rooms for two weeks all while going to school. I kept my head above water, and I survived with the help of one of my now best friends. He was there when literally no one else was to be found, I’ll always be grateful for that.


Now, in the present moment, my depression still lingers. While I consider myself to be on the path to recovery from my previous depressive episode, it shows up every once in a while.

I still have my vices, they’re a bit more healthy. I drink half caf and decaf coffee, I write about my personal life, and I have an Instagram about mental health (living.positivelywild). There are still some bad vices, I smoke too much, I occasionally drink, and I procrastinate my ass off! I’m getting better, though.


Depression looks like a living room full of boxes from when I moved in. It looks like a giant pile of laundry and two unpacked suitcases. It’s a sofa I hardly ever sit on. 


Depression is a table full of decor and clutter. It’s a shelf full of unread books. A stack of movies to cheer me up. It’s a positive sign that I spent $70 on because I was depressed when I bought it. Depression is hope buried under a mess.


Depression is cigarette butts and empty packs covering my patio floor. It’s a blanket of ash that gets my bare feet dirty when I step outside. It’s a lonely dog looking through the window wishing his mommy could take better care of him. It’s wondering why I can’t move from this spot even though that poor dog’s face makes me cry.

(For the record, Warren gets fed daily, spoiled with toys and treats, and cuddles every night. He is not poorly taken care of. I’m just unable to play and walk with him as much as he’d like.)


Depression steals your face. It takes away every ounce of who you are. You can’t enjoy a damn thing. You can’t even enjoy taking a nap. Sometimes depression leaves you feeling absolutely nothing at all. It can also leave you feeling like you’re drowning in saddness. Depression makes you desperate. I get desperate for someone to love me, for someone to show they care. I post to social media for encouragement, I beg my friend to come stay the night. Recently, I’ve contemplated going to a hospital, I did my research. My depression likes to sneak up on me in the middle of my days. It likes to steal all joy from my soul.

I keep going. I’m stronger each day. I fight harder each time. My mornings start out happy, my afternoons a little down, and my evenings are left up to fate. I pray each day for God to continue working in my life. I’m determined to not let this illness I have go to waste. I long to inspire and be happy. I want the people in the world to know they aren’t alone. I want the little kids struggling to grow up to know there is help. I want the strong men to know it’s okay to cry. I want the perfect women to know it’s okay to be broken.

There is help for us all, but we can only fully receive it when we are willing to let go of who we’ve been to grow into someone completely new.

-Liz.

Lifestyle, Photography

When Mental Health Makes You a Hot Mess

I’ve lived with depression, anxiety, and ADD since I can remember. Well, I had no idea about the ADD until I was 22 years old. It’s strange growing up with something so apart of you, yet you’re so unaware of its existence. 

For me, I always knew something else was wrong. Throughout my constant anxiety attacks and beginning depression, I could feel something else. I could only explain it, at 10 years old, as feeling mentally insane. I felt like I should have been locked away and the key lost forever. It’s scary being a child, feeling like there’s something mentally wrong with you and not knowing what to do about it. 

My parents, as difficult as they may be, tried their best. My dad was always willing to pray for me and my mother willing to send some… um… tough love my way. I was unable to tell them throughout my teenage and early adult years why I acted the way I did. I kept getting kicked out for not doing my laundry, I started acting out and partying, I began being hateful. I’m not a disrespectful person, I’m actually quite caring and sensitive. Yet, I was so angry that no one could see the little girl inside me dying. I was so angry because I could see that little girl, there was nothing I could do to save her myself.

So, this piece is about my current struggle with ADD as a 22 year old woman trying to get her shit together. Please be respectful and considerate of my stories and photographs. These photos are sensitive because of the subject of this piece. It is meant to get people thinking about just how raw and emotional things can get for those of us with ADD/ADHD. These are stories from my own personal experience and does not reflect the experiences that others have.


My days start out in this spot. On my patio of my apartment is where I have my most precious moments of my day. I take my cup of coffee outside and sit and wait for my first ADD medication to kick in. I chain smoke, I post to my Instagram accounts, and I call my grandma. This is the moment I need to get my day started correctly. It gives me time to be with myself and process my thoughts one at a time until my medicine begins to work and I can think clearly without effort.


My patio has become a bit of a mess. I’m ashamed of it. I clean it, and within a week it’s a disaster again. Due to my excessive smoking habit. Why do I smoke so much? Because I need something to constantly do with my hands. My brain is working in over drive all of the time and if I stop moving my hands, I shut down. The cigarettes keep away the anxiety. They keep away the panic that I can’t control my own mind. My medicine hasn’t been working too well this past week. Between the couple drinks I’ve had and too low of a dose, it’s been difficult. I’ve spent all day, every day on my patio. With the exception of sleep and a couple outings, I stay put right where I am. It’s safe there. There’s no dirty dishes to look at, no to-do lists, and no dog to take care of when I’m outside. There’s no pressure except of what I make myself.


Yeah, I sit there and look at the garbage bag that holds the outcome of the last time I cleaned my patio. ADD is full of unfinished tasks. We start out with great enthusiasm and motivation until it quickly fades and we’re left with a half completed project and sleepy eyes. Then, sometimes depression likes to sneak up and ask us, “Why f*cking bother?”


This is the most honest, painful, raw, and emotional project I have ever attempted to complete. Before I continue, I’d like to share what’s behind the images. The reason for the editing. I chose black and white, not for those colors but for the gray. ADD is like living in a gray area of super productive and astonishingly “lazy.” God, I hate that word. To the world, we look lazy, messy, like a hot mess. When, in reality, we know all the productive things we could do, and want to do, but can’t. We’re stuck in the gray.

I chose to keep some photos dark as to show pieces of depression that can easily coincide with ADD. And the blurry focus is there on purpose, as well. It’s to show that life is such a blur with this illness that you can’t just comprehend that one thing to focus on. And, I kept the highlights in these photos bright, because it’s not all darkness in our souls.


Our bodies are important to us. While we may not be able to take the best care of them, it is the part we can control. I love my body because it tells me when I’m tired. It let’s me know when I’m nervous. My body is beautiful, and not just in a sexual way. It carries me, it keeps me going, and it holds my heart. Being a woman in general, we get a lot of attention solely based on our looks. And in the past year, it’s gotten increasingly more common for me. While I don’t mind if someone tells me I look pretty, I’m waiting for the person who compliments my hot mess of a mind. That’s the person I’m keeping around.


Living with ADD is one thing. But opening up about it as I am, is a whole other story. I’ve had people leave the deepest cuts when using my mental illnesses against me. Having a mental illness makes you vulnerable. I’ve heard this from others, ADD/ADHD increases our emotions. We have the ability to feel so incredibly deep. My happy moments all feel like the happiest ever, I get extremely easily excited at the slightest thing, and I love with every ounce of my soul. However, that being said, I feel saddness like no other, disappointments come as easily as the excitment, and heart break is something that makes me feel dead inside. I’ve been told I’m overly emotional, as if I’m supposed to be ashamed and change that about myself. Well, no. While it’s smart to not let emotions control your choices, emotions tell us very important things we cannot ignore.


ADD can leave you feeling vulnerable, scared, and alone. Much like anxiety and depression. I get easily overwhelmed. I can’t do the things I usually do daily anymore. I can’t focus on conversations with friends, and I sure as hell can’t live in the moment. I can get so overwhelmed that I shut down. You can see it in my face. It looks much like the one in the photo above, only more empty. In reality, I’d be staring at an object, trying to focus on it. While my thoughts race around without a break, I look like I don’t have a thought in the world. This is because my physical body can’t keep up with my brain. It just can’t, and it knows it. My body will shut down, and once that point hits it’s hard to do anything for the rest of the day.


I took this photo because of how I was physically feeling at that moment. My heart was racing, it felt as if it’d just beat right out of my chest. Yes, taking these photos made me nervous, (even more nervous to post them) surprisingly the cause was much simpler. I took my second ADD medication and while I waited on that to begin working, I drank some coffee. Bad idea. It didn’t give me energy, or a boost. It did help my mood a bit, though. I freaking love coffee! It just happens to be one of the many things I’ve had to change about my lifestyle, though. No more or very little caffiene. Most likely you’ll catch me drinking decaf. I sneak a few half caf coffees in. Don’t tell my doctor! 


This photo absolutely breaks my heart in two. I wasn’t going to post it, until I saw the meaning of it. My intention with this was to have me looking at a book like, “Why can’t I focus on reading this?” Instead, I captured a pure moment of confusion from my fur baby. To me, he just looks so sad. It’s as if he’s wondering why his mommy doesn’t take him for walks anymore, why does his mom spend all her time outside, why is the only time he gets attention is when his mommy is napping or falling asleep. I hope he can understand that I’m not well. I know he does his best to comfort me. I apologize to him daily for not being an active mom, because I know how it feels for him.


Along with ADD comes the terror of the messy bed. Laundry doesn’t make it to the hamper, other things start to pile up. And then the dreaded time comes when it’s time to go to sleep. I’m able to tell when it’s going to be a good night and I can easily look forward to escaping all of the thoughts in my mind. But, I can also tell when it is going to be a bad night. A night when I lay awake day dreaming, thinking of every random possibility. Contemplating why I even try to sleep. Last night, my medication kept me up. I laid in bed for 2 hours before getting up and eating a snack. With everything that’s going on in my life, there’s too many things to think about when I’m left alone with my thoughts.


This is where I usually spend most of my time. I’ll eat here, I’ll read here, and I’ll work here. It’s usually the place where I live my life. Yet, for the past week I have been solely sitting outside waiting for the moment I start to crave being back in my chair. Lately, every time I sit at my table I’m discouraged, sad. I have a list of things I want to work on. That’s right, I WANT to work on them yet, I CAN’T. That’s what ADD is. Wanting to do the things that will help you, and not being physically able to.


Although, it’s not all down in the darkness. There are moments when it starts getting lighter. When I can feel the self love I have. I know I deserve to have happiness. We all do. Sometimes it’s a struggle to get to that point, but we can all make it there. You just have to help yourself.


There’s still love in our lives. Even though my fur baby doesn’t get the best mommy, he’s got the best love. And I may not be the best friend, but I’ve sure as hell got some best friends. I feel emotions strongly, love being the strongest of all. 


Things get lighter. They get brighter. The thoughts can calm down and I can function again. I was able to stay focused throughout this whole thing with no breaks. That’s an amazing accomplishment for today. On a day when I can’t even begin to look at my to-do list, I’m grateful for having been able to do this project. My hope in this is to inspire those with ADD/ ADHD and to share awareness with those who don’t have it. It’s not always a hyperactive disorder. I’m definitely not hyperactive. My mind is, though. 


Please excuse the middle finger, but at the end of the day I’m left with confidence. I’m left feeling more confident that I can overcome the next day, as well. Sure, there may be some feelings of defeat and saddness, a lot of confusion but, there’s hope. At the end of the day, put your middle fingers up and tell your mental health issues to f*ck off. They’ve got no place here. And even though we both know they’re going to stick around, anyway, it feels great to stand up for yourself with some badass attitude! 

Xoxo, Liz.

Lifestyle, Photography, Uncategorized

This Isn’t What Was Planned

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If there’s one thing blogging has taught me, it’s that even the simplest things don’t always go as planned.  It’s also taught me, that it’s okay.

I read countless blog posts on how to build a successful blog, I’ve studied, and made the plans to carry out Positively Wild as close to those guidelines as possible.  I wrote out my bunch of posts to start off with, cleaned up my Instagram somewhat, and tried with all my might to take great photos for you all.  I even set a publish date and that didn’t work out either.

So, here we are.  I’m sitting at my favorite coffee shop, writing a spontaneous post on how life is, well, spontaneous.  We can only control so much about our lives.  I can control what I’m doing in the moment.  I can control that I decided to write this blog, that I decided to come here to drink my coffee, and that I’m going to wake up early tomorrow and go to school.  What I can’t control is the past and the future.  I’ve made a choice to go to cosmetology school, that’s in the moment.  What I don’t have control over, is what will happen once I graduate.

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That being said, I know that just because I can’t control the outcome of a lot of things, I can still work towards goals.  I want to work towards graduating as soon as I possibly can.  I want to work towards moving back out of Arizona.  And I want to work towards traveling.

Write your goals, post them somewhere you will see them everyday.  Even if it’s as small as making sure you’ve got a better skin care routine, continue working.  Make the small steps that being in the moment allows you to make.  Soon after enough small steps, you’ll look back and realize they all added up to a bunch of progress.

Enjoy what you have in the moment, make flexible goals for the future, and enjoy being who you are.  Don’t try and control the outcome of every situation.  Breathe, and let life happen.