Don’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover
Those who first meet me, or friends of mine will say it seems I have it all together. That I am always happy, that I seem to have my confidence in check. Friends say I’m awesome because I am an international best-selling author, and international speaker. What if I were to tell you that I don’t. That I don’t always have it all together, that my confidence even today as you are reading this is sometimes low. Let me take you on a journey of where I’ve been, and who I am today.
I should not be here today writing this article for you all. I was born in 1976, at 26 weeks gestation and was given 24 hrs to live. My birth weight was 1 pound 12 ounces. I walked late and talked late as I was growing up. After surviving that I grew up a happy child until about grade 3. The education system in elementary school diagnosed me with grey areas of learning disabilities, I was told I would never write well, have poor grades in all core subjects including math. On top of the learning struggles I had I was also severely bullied between grades 3 and 8. I was called every name in the book you can imagine and then some. I was teased for being in ballet, being a Girl Guide, for being stupid, for the way I looked and for the way I developed into a woman faster than the other girls in my grade. I did graduate and won the most improvement student award in grade 8.
High school was better, I joined the swim team, was in band, and other clubs. I had fun, met new friends, and the bully’s all left me alone. However, I still struggled with all my academic classes. The only class I really excelled in was music, and also physical education. I graduated and was accepted into the first choice of the universities I applied to.
Experiencing abuse, PTSD and anxiety
University was emotional. I lived 16hrs away from home on campus. I got into a relationship with a boy and I thought I was in love, that I thought he was the one. Boy was I wrong. He was emotionally and mentally abusive, and also choked me once. After I ended our relationship he stalked me for the remaining years of my university life. I was scared to walk alone anywhere.
Because of all of what I went through in my growing up years, and in university it was only recently that I was diagnosed with high functioning anxiety and PTSD. I do not show the ‘typical’ signs of anxiety. It is hidden very well unless you know what to look for.
Recognizing high functioning anxiety and PTSD
A few of the signs to watch for in yourself and in others is that they are over achievers, have a very busy schedule (even as a woman being single, I have a very busy schedule), need for reassurance, nervous actions (I fidget with my hands a lot), and nervous laughter. For more information on high functioning anxiety please look here: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-high-functioning-anxiety-4140198
People automatically think that when they hear of someone having PTSD that they must have been in a war. Well I wasn’t. What does trigger my PTSD are times when I’ll see someone who looks like my ex boyfriend in university even if only slightly. I was on the train a couple months ago and I looked up and the man across the seats from me had the same sort of face shape as my boyfriend. Also there was an event I was at where the speaker was sharing her story. It was word for word of my story from university. Except for the one piece that unfortunately she was raped by her boyfriend. One of the girls sitting at the table with me looked over at me and she said my face was drained of all colour. My heart was in my throat, my breathing became very quick, I started to get very fidgety and I wanted to run from the room.
When I feel my PTSD anxiety start to spike I do have my own coping skills that are simple yet work for me. One of them is that I look for 3 things in the room I can see, 3 things in the room I can feel, and 3 comforting thoughts to self I can think of. Example I can see a clock, I can see a chair, and I can see the table. I can feel my hands on the table, I can feel the back of the chair I am sitting on, and I can feel my feet on the floor. I am safe, I am in Calgary not Thunder Bay, and I have ‘x’ friend who I can call. For more information on PTSD please click here: http://www.ptsdassociation.com/
I still have my good days and my not so good days. I have done a lot of work on myself, and developed my own coping skills, as well as surrounded myself with a great support system of friends, and my doctor, as well as a counselor. Surround yourself with people who will lift you up. Find a counselor, or therapist if you feel you need too. Do what works for you. I am sharing my story to help you, I am not a medical doctor so please seek out medical advice always with mental health concerns.
Aime Hutton is a true miracle survivor. Being born 3 months early was just the start of the challenges Aime has overcome in her life time. Hailing from Calgary, Alberta Canada, as a Girls Empowerment Leader, Aime empowers tween and teen girls to live their happiest self, and over come the bullies in their lives. As a 5-time international best-selling author/compiler Aime shares hope, healing, and inspiration through her writing. She was a finalist for the International Femtor Awards 2015 for eWomenNetwork in the category of Business Matchmaker from Dallas, Texas, USA. Being 1 of 6 in North America, and the only Canadian. In 2017 Aime was awarded the Peace & Friendship Award by Diversity Magazine in Alberta for being one who celebrates, accepts, and learns from the Indigenous people of Canada.
To have Aime come and speak to your organization and do some training around these two mental health areas please reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Read more about other amazing women as part of my Guest Blog Series – The Empowered Woman:
Robyn Ostlund’s Story – How My Widowhood Journey at 28 Helped Me To Become A Successful Entrepreneur: https://www.leannejuliette.com/widowhood-journey-entrepreneur-guest-blog