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04 December 2017

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12/4/17 #SameHere Hero: Ariona

Today #SameHere Hero: Ariona  (She proves that being an immigrant at any age can come with stress & trauma, & most importantly for this community, that it’s ok to open up & be vulnerable WHILE you are still fighting to get back to a comfortable baseline. Big props for sharing & asking for help. Sharing your story no matter where you are at in your journey makes you a Hero!)

 

“I was only 16 years old when my family decided to relocate from Albania – & move to the land of opportunity – in pursuit of the American Dream. Not realizing it as it happened, & quite fortunate because I had my family with me for support (which is not the case for many other immigrants) – looking back I can see how traumatic of an experience this was. I have lived more than half my life in an entirely different world. Moreover, being in a foreign place but maintaining the same morals & values from my old “home” related to the importance of education & so forth – my parents did not think about giving us even a few months to adapt gradually (they now realize & regret this) but they rushed us into schools, speaking very little English & with the struggle of figuring out public transportation as we also discovered how mean High School kids could be. As if that pressure was not enough, we needed to run between the court & the health department building – in order to get all of our documents & health insurance in order – waiting on day-long lines, & surrounded by hundreds of strangers; constantly anxiety-ridden, & experiencing one of the coldest winters of our lives. At the time, I did not exactly know how to put it all into words; they were just feelings I lived with – deep in the pit of my stomach, every day.

 

After crying myself to sleep for the first two years, I then built a shield & suppressed all of my ‘beautiful’ memories that were tormenting me. I started getting anxiety attacks, very soon after college graduation & became a ‘regular’ functional anxiety-ridden New Yorker. I then relocated to Miami for 4 years, in the hopes of leading a calmer & less hectic life…but I missed NY’s energy.

 

Back in NY now, I am quite lost, & cannot seem to find my next purpose. I am very fearful about everything that is still unknown for my future, & have never before felt this way . Uncertainty has taken over, & it often accompanies anxiety & slight depression.

 

Although I never sought out professional help, I am thankfully very open, & not afraid to speak my mind – I think that has helped let things out of me, & not let feelings of emotional pain fester much. I’m thankful to all my friends & family for being the incredible listeners they are & allowing me that outlet has kept me afloat.

 

I’m you’re typical ppl pleaser & I run to all those who need help. But I recognize this allows me to hide from the need & painful process of helping myself. I am the first to be at any friend or family’s side when needed. It’s been a way of coping. Helping others helps me. Writing has been another escape, although I am not very consistent with my journal. Very recently I have taken on breathing practices, yoga & meditation – but not consistently enough. Between the lack of purpose, the lack of putting myself first, & the inconsistencies with the practices that help, I am still very much a work in progress.

 

I think the “Crazy” Movement is doing an absolutely beautiful thing, providing heroic humans with a platform to express themselves (ask for help or help others) regardless of where they are at in their journey. I have always thought that my reasons for feeling the way I have, being an immigrant but at the same time fortunate enough to have been given this opportunity from my courageous parents, shouldn’t be justified just by the stresses from my move across the world. #weareallalittlecrazy has proven me wrong, & validated the way I’ve felt & thought. It has stemmed from real trauma from the move and discomfort I felt. #SameHere  and THANK YOU all for listening. I hope my story & the work in progress state I’m in, helps others realize they’re not alone.”

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