Growing up, I was pretty much a nerd. I loved to read, play games, read some more, color, draw, read even more and watch cartoons. I played with legos and Dolls and I liked the power rangers and to do stuff like my big brother cause that’s what the annoying little sister always does. Somewhere along the way I became a fan of superheroes. This all sounds like a normal child hood and I guess in a way it was. I bring this up because I loved superheroes, I loved the thought of having someone who could swoop in and save me when the evil bad guy was destroying everything you love. I liked the thought that someone small could have this secret life and save the day. I don’t remember if I wanted to be the super hero but as my life is going I realize I have found my super hero and that I have slowly become the side kick or maybe even the damsel in distress. But what makes this even stranger than a 25-year-old being the sorta sidekick, is that the lead super hero is my Service dog Bella. If the hero is a dog you might be asking yourself, but who is the big bad villain? As if this story wasn’t already tricky, the villain is invisible. An invisible illness, a mental illness to be exact, and this blog is going to be filled with the many stories of Bella Lou and Valerie Rose Vs Mental illness. Because lets face it, if you are going to write about the world of mental illnesses, hospitals, service dogs and the overall life of a 25-year-old, you might as well have superheroes and villains are involved. Plus the best part is she even has a cape. sort of.
I am not sure where to start with this and starting at the beginning is a long ways away and well it doesn’t always make sense. So I think I’m going to start with a short summary. My name is Valerie and I am a 25-year-old who lives in South Dakota. While I was born and raised here, I have had the lucky opportunity to travel a lot. I have traveled all over the United States with my family and even had the chance to study abroad in Australia for a semester. I went to college in SD at the University of South Dakota. I graduated in May 2013 with a degree in journalism, a minor in photography, and a love for graphic design and marketing. On the surface, I look like I have a pretty good life. But that’s only part of the story. That is why I am starting this blog , to tell and explain the part of the story that is not as easily seen.
See among all of this hard work and success lies a struggle, a struggle with depression and anxiety and eventually a more serious diagnosis of other Mental Illnesses. This struggle is something that has always been kept a secret because in today’s world no body wants to hear about that, mainly because people are afraid of things they don’t understand. And mental illness is one of the hardest things to understand. It’s just as hard to explain. It’s hard to look at someone and tell them that even when everything is going right in your life, your brain is telling you it’s not. It’s hard to explain that there are times that for no reason at all you have the over whelming fear of walking out side, it’s not even one thing but many that keeps you paralyzed with fear in the door way of your apartment. And it’s hard to explain that you can go from 0 to 80 in 30 seconds. Because really that’s all it takes to go from 1 mood to another. BUT this story isn’t meant to be sad, it’s about the opportunities this path has taken me too. One of which is to share my story with all of you, and the other is the opportunity to have Bella brought into my life.
So with this long explanation I hope you are ready for randomness, crazy stories and information. Enjoy the ride.