Welcome to another week here at #GoDoFly. We are proud to present Iira Vilkko. She is an avid Ellen DeGeneres lover, passionate writer as she knew that is what she wanted to do since she was 10 years old, a world traveler as she spends her extra cash on that amazing hobby and overall a person who is just like you and me. How so? She loves her family and friends and with the help of them and most of her self, she overcame depression and other hard times.
We have chatted with her quite a few times, she is energetic and ready to share her story. We recommend you check her “chaotic” blog out and step into her world. We also hope to be hearing more from her in the future. Since she is such an inspiring soul!
Remember, anything is possible! 🙂
Let’s do this!
1. How do you define yourself?
I would define myself as kind, fun-loving, and somewhat of a loner. I’m a big dreamer and sometimes can be very impulsive.
2- What is your #GoDoFly story?
A few years ago I was struggling with school, friendships, and had absolutely no idea what would happen after graduation. I had no prospect of a job, nor any certainty of getting a spot at another school in the fall. It takes less to drive me crazy; I stress over little things, but these were all huge shadows over my head.
I don’t share my feelings easily with others. This is something I know my friends find frustrating sometimes. Even I find it frustrating. I just can’t get the words out, and sometimes it’s just so much easier to say I’m fine, even though I’m not, and hope there won’t be any follow-up questions. Telling this story isn’t easy, either, but I’m thinking if it’ll help even one person, it’s totally worth every effort.
As the spring progressed, so did my stress-levels. Our class was dysfunctional and we didn’t get along with each other. I only had two friends at school, and thinking back, I feel very fortunate to have had them. School came to an end soon, but about a week before that I managed to land a job for the summer. It wasn’t what I had hoped for, and the pay wasn’t great, either, but it was a job and I could pay the bills. So I took it. My boss was even kind enough to give me two weeks off for our family vacation that had already been organized way before. That trip turned out to be the only good thing about that summer.
The job wasn’t easy, but I made it to the end of my contract. I also paid the price for that. My days were from 6.30am until 5pm, leaving me exhausted when I finally got home, often too tired to make any plans with anyone. Sometimes a friend would call me and ask me to join her, but with an hour’s notice I didn’t want to do anything, nor was I really up for it. Eventually my friends stopped asking, and so did I. I was tired all the time, I was stressed, and I was everything but happy. A small thing, like too hot a weather or forgetting to tape a TV show, was enough to make me cry. I wasn’t sleeping well, and it felt like there was a monster inside of me all the time, making it hard for me to even try and be happier, causing endless anxiety and suffocating me.
Not seeing much of my friends that summer, they had no idea what I was going through. Remember, what I told you about not being good at sharing? I didn’t see the point in telling them, or anyone else. But, fortunately, my mother noticed I wasn’t fine. She called me one day, and said she’d like to stop by on her way to work. It was a Saturday, and I was at home alone, having bawled my eyes out because a few of my friends had gone to a theme park and it hadn’t even occurred to them to ask me. I told my mom she didn’t have to come, but she insisted, and said she would bring some food, too, even though I couldn’t even think about eating when I was feeling so miserable. Half an hour later she was behind my door with two Big Macs, and she sat me down on my couch, and we talked. Well, she talked, and I cried. I knew I wasn’t fine, of course. So did she. It was clear that I was going through some form of depression and we talked about my options.
What I really remember from that day is that after my mom left, a huge weight left with her. All I had really needed was someone to talk to, to have someone understand and care. That day I hit my very bottom and it was uphill from there. Of course, I wasn’t miraculously healed. It took a lot of time and patience, and eventually I even told a couple of friends what had been going on. And I did it without them asking, which was a big step for me. I’m known as the quiet one among my friends, I really don’t talk too much. After all of that, I sort of forced myself to start, and I’m glad I did. After my mom left my apartment that day, I inhaled that Big Mac. It tasted pretty darn good.
I got into school that fall. I started doing better, and made new friends. I was so much happier, and realized the amazing power of positive thinking. I realized there was no point in dwelling in the past, or worry about the things that were still far ahead. I focused into everything that was good in my life. I know there are people with far more serious problems, and that maybe I even got off easy. Yeah, maybe I did. But what I also took from that experience is that one should never diminish someone else’s issues. Everyone has their ordeals and hardships, and if it’s something that makes them scared and desperate, it’s a big deal, no matter what it is. All we can do is our best.
Find what it is that you want to do with your life. Then make it happen.
For me it has always been writing, but I don’t think I really grasped that until all of this. I started blogging at the end of that year, and it has literally changed my life, even though blogging hasn’t become anything more to me than a hobby. Maybe one day it will, who knows. For now I’m just happy I can express myself through writing, and I’m also working on my first novel. My outlook on life is definitely different from what it was a few years ago, and I can look back at what I went through as something that taught me the value of my life and myself.
Thank you for reading
3. What made you realize you needed a change the most?
-Overall I wasn’t feeling good about myself or my life, and then realized something had to be done in order for me to begin recovery. Recognizing that I was dealing with depression was step one. After that it wasn’t easy, but a little easier. I didn’t want to feel so bad all the time, and I knew I couldn’t expect others to just pick me up; I would have to meet them half way.
4. Do you talk more to your friends right away now?
– Yes. Nowadays, if something is bothering me, I’m actually really bad at keeping it a secret. I still stress very easily, and having the stress building up makes me too anxious – I just have to open my mouth.
5. What can you say to those who are too shy to speak about their feelings?
-Honestly, saying something like “just talk” would be inconsiderate; there’s a reason one can’t find the words to say to another, even though the reason might not be so clear. I know it can be very hard to open up to other people, and even though I finally spoke up, it doesn’t mean I’m now good at it. Sure, I talk more, but sometimes I still find it awkward. It’s actually one of the reasons I love blogging so much; it’s my way to scream things to the Universe. So my advice would be: try to find an outlet you’re comfortable with. Maybe it’s writing a letter to someone? It can be anything you want, as long as you don’t let yourself be alone with your problems anymore. I promise, you will feel relieved and a whole lot better, when you let someone in.
6. What made you keep going and keeps you inspired?
– I could see the progress I was gradually making, and that pushed me forward. I was feeling better and finding new exciting things to focus on. What keep me inspired are new challenges, a positive attitude, and my friends and family.
7. Have you had another downfall since then or have you gradually gotten out of it?
– I haven’t reached that low point again, and I’m so happy for that. I get sad and feel down every once in a while, just like everyone else. I also feel like I have a tendency to a deeper sadness; if one thing goes wrong I easily feel like everything else is wrong too, and suddenly I remember all the bad things that have ever happened to me. That snowball effect… So I still have things to work on, but mostly I am a happy person 🙂
8. What do you want to do with your future and writing?
– I want to keep writing and be a published author one day. I get such a thrill from writing and who knows, maybe my blog will become bigger some day, too. I’m just hoping to make a living doing something I love, and maybe make even a little difference.
9. Any other advice?
– A ton. Assumed you want them, make sure to subscribe to my blog! But in all seriousness, learn to love yourself and remember that no one can make you feel inferior without your permission. And remember, there will always be people who care about you.
I was born in Finland in 1989 and was also raised here. My parents got divorced when I was very little, and so my brother and I ended up living with our mother. Our parents have always been big on traveling and took us with them from very early on, so traveling has always been a big part of our lives. Even after the divorce our parents remained friends and we took family trips together. My brother and I had a happy childhood and we always had people around who loved us.
I’ve seen and done a lot in my 24 years, even though sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. I’ve lived in the States for a short while, working and doing some volunteering. It has become my home away from home and I try to go back every chance I get.
I am an aspiring writer and hope I can turn writing from a hobby into a career one day.
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