My Happy Face

edited-9074This is my happy face. It’s over the top because I feel in really BIG ways (and because I’m Latina – we can be pretty dramatic and over the top! 😉 ). Feeling joy is a blessing I have now through lots of prayers, practice, faith, and work.

The converse reality it that I also get really sad sometimes. But I do my best to get through those parts and find peace in life’s hardships through faith in Christ and trust in God’s plan for me. Every day I try (and try again) to live with faith that things happen for a reason and all will work together for my good if I LOVE my Heavenly Father (see Romans 8:28). Basically, I’m Eva – a homemaker, wife, mom, homeschool teacher, singer, dancer, writer, super-novice cook and housekeeper, music and movie-lover, and missionary and disciple of Christ through membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

I’m also an extremely lucky survivor of suicidal depression and anxiety.  

For nearly a decade, I regularly had weeks and months where I continuously fought thoughts of hurting myself, others or of just abandoning my family.  I was sick.  It was only my faith in my eternal existence and my sacred roles as mother, wife, and daughter of God that kept me from taking my life.  Now those constant, debilitating feelings are fading memories.  I still have low moments every day, but if I start sinking into depression, I find my footing, push off the floor and swim back up to fresh air and a clear mental place.   Sometimes I don’t get to “fresh air” mentally as fast as I would like, but if I “just keep swimming” I WILL get there.  

I choose to see ALL the good I have around me, especially in the details and unexpected blessings that are easy to overlook.  I don’t have a perfect life.  I am BRCA-1 positive so I had preventative mastectomy last year and am still dealing with recovery.  Right now there are huge holes in the plaster in my bathroom ceiling since we live in a 125-year-old home we are trying to fix up little by little.  Since we live paycheck to paycheck, it will probably be that way for a while.  I homeschool my 3 kids too, so that comes with its own challenges.  I also struggled with bulimia and food addiction when I was younger, something I’ve conquered but have to keep at bay.  I think it’s valuable to be vulnerable.  I choose to put those life’s experiences out there so others know they aren’t alone.    

But when I write about those struggles I don’t dwell on the hard stuff too long.  I can’t afford to because I feel emotions so strongly.  This is great for good feelings but really painful for negative emotions.  I know dwelling on the difficulties in life is the first step towards getting depressed again, and I SINK FAST.  For someone who is depressed, negative thoughts are an addiction.  And just like a recovering alcoholic wouldn’t walk into a bar, someone recovering from depression wouldn’t want to start pointing out all the negative in life if they wanted to stay sober.  So I do my best to SEE THE GOOD life has to offer.  

I’m real.  I’m not perfect.  But I try to be positive.

If this makes you feel worse, I’m sorry.  For a long time, I didn’t accentuate the positive in my life because I worried it would make others feel bad.  But all that did for me was continue to lead me into more depression, and eventually make me incapable of taking care of my family.  I’ve got to be there for them, so I’ve got to be there for me.  The best way I can do that is by staying in a good mental place by remembering the good in the world around me through words, photographs, music, and film.  By taking care of my body and my family.  By trusting God loves me and that it will all work out in the end. By sharing hope and connecting with others. 

“Rise Up and S.M.I.L.E.” is about uplifting both myself and anyone who journeys with me.  Please look at my books and music, as sometimes visual media or music just hits home and connects with us better!  It’s helped me SO MUCH when others have opened up about their darkest days.  It helped me see tragedies can happen to anyone and can be overcome so life is beautiful again.  It’s also helped me to hear someone else’s positive attitude.  I hope I can do both here, share heartbreak and hope through Christ.  

There is so much support out there when we learn from each other! Come back often!  Share!  Comment!  Let’s connect, laugh and even cry sometimes through this journey together…