“You Don’t Look Sick” – Why You Should Stop Saying This

A few weeks ago, I went to the doctor to discuss an extension on medical leave that I had. I had a conversation with him about what I was experiencing in relation to my depression and anxiety. During the conversation, he made a statement to me that sort of bothered me. He said “you don’t look like the typical person to have anxiety. You look pretty put together to me.”

My response, which was a bit laced with sarcasm and irritation, was, “well, I’ve learned to live with it; and that’s not been the best solution to the problem.”

Now, I understand that this was 1. Not a psychiatrist or psychologist, and he probably didn’t mean it in a way that would have been condescending to me, and 2. He hasn’t been the one seeing me for the past five months, so he’s gauging his interaction of me off one visit; however, it did bother just a bit, because this is a statement heard all the time in a community of people suffering with mental illness, or an illness that doesn’t mean you “look sick” all the time.

I rarely did speak about the anxiety and depression I have gone through for this very reason. Because it was something that was not apparent, or something that was physical in nature, I continued to minimize it; even saying to myself, “well you’re not really sick, you’re just having a bad day.” I allowed myself to do that, all while putting myself through mental and emotional hell for not addressing it properly. Today, that is something I’m not very proud of, and wished I would have addressed these things sooner. I would possibly be in a better place on how to address it. For a long time, I refused to talk about what bothered me; most of the time I could not even develop a “valid” reason for my emotional mood swings or anxiety. Before I could allow anyone else in the help support me, I first had to choose myself and begin to find the healing in myself to accept that what I was going through was real, it was valid and it does require support, encouragement and daily motivation to get past.

I don’t really hold any ill will towards my doctor, but I honestly do wish that people would understand that anxiety and depression are very silent mental illnesses. A lot of people internalize their pain and symptoms. If they are like me, then they continue to move through life daily, doing what they have to do, sacrificing everything they have for others before helping themselves. I’ve always been like this, and only recently did I gain enough courage to admit to myself that I’m not ok sometimes, and that is something I shouldn’t be ashamed of. I’m proud to say that I have spoken up more about my anxiety, I’ve let friends and family know when I’m not having a good day emotionally, and I’ve received respect and understanding of that.

I know there are many people in this world who may suffer; some reading this post, and others who may know someone who suffers in silence. All I ask is that for those who know someone, please support them. Don’t push them too hard, but just be there for them. They need support more than anything because these illnesses are not easy to accept, nor are they easy to talk about.

Also, please, don’t tell someone who may be suffering that they don’t look like what your traditional ill person would appear to be. Just because an illness isn’t blatantly present, doesn’t make it any less real and serious.

Taking it one day at a time. 🖤

🖤🖤

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Don’t Let Comparison Steal Your Joy

I’m sure we have all heard the quote “comparison is the thief of all joy.”

We as humans live in a world where comparison happens without knowledge. You see a person with a better job, better car, better house, etc. and sometimes we cannot help but compare our lives to others.

What we don’t realize is, when we do this, we take small bits and pieces of our joy away from us. Constant comparisons to other people’s lives does nothing but put you in a position to be pessimistic about your life; or on the flip side, it can cause you to look at others’ lives as inferior to yours (if you are comparing what you have that is better than someone else), and that is a negative trait that no one should want to inherit.

Count your blessings more than counting what you lack: it’s all about your mindset. If you focus on what you have, you will spend less time talking about what you lack. What you have in your life at the time in your life is tailor made for your success. Comparing your life to someone’s else’s doesn’t bring about any positive feelings, because no one’s life is the same, and the timeline for what you want and need in life is not the same as another person’s.

Focus on your goals and how to achieve them: instead of comparing yourself to what others have, try focusing your energy on achieving the goals you have for yourself to project

Happy Birthday.

My child,

Please forgive me, for I may not always do my best by you, but I would give my life for yours at a moments notice.

I may not always know the rhythm of your existence, but I will dance beside you anyway.

My timing may be skewed; when you need me I may be distant and when you seek independence I may hover,

But know it is because the beat of my heart changed to match yours on that sunny afternoon in April.

You may find it odd that I stare at you for countless minutes while you sleep.

Or want to hold you even when you don’t want to be held,

But I know that you will live on past me so I need to take any opportunity as a chance to make memories with you.

So when I’m gone, you can always have our moments to put on repeat in your mind.

I knew you would always be a part of the reason I lived, so I tried to make better efforts in your name.

I hope one day you can look back and say you were proud of me, that you were honored that God made us soul mates.

When I watch you, you know, those times when you don’t notice me watching you,

I wonder if God made a mistake.

Did He really believe I was able to handle the amount of love I have for you in this lifetime?

Because my one fear in this world is that I won’t have enough time..

I won’t have enough time to give you every ounce of the love I have for you in this lifetime.

I only pray that I tell you I love you enough.

I hope that I hug you enough,

That I give you enough kisses,

That I make you laugh enough.

And even if I gave you enough of all of these things to last 5 lifetimes, I would still feel like I need to do it all just one more time for good measure.

I don’t know if there’s enough love to go around after you’ve stolen my heart.

As I watch you, even when you don’t notice me watching you.

Praying that you know that I’ll always love more than my soul could possibly take.

My child,

Always remember that our love is the happy place that I’ve longed for,

And I pray one day you will know this love all your own.

K.N.C

10 Years Ago..

I made a choice to embark on a journey of lifetime sisterhood with some of the most beautiful souls I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.

In 10 years, babies have been born, relationships have evolved, we’ve been apart of weddings, we’ve been there for each other no matter the distance or the time apart. We have become true FINER women; far from the girls we were when we started this path, and continuing to evolve into better women with each passing day.

We’ve evolved so much as individuals, it has done nothing but continue to complement our growth as sisters. We’ve got a little bit of everything between us, and I feel like that is what keeps us together. We truly embody our name, and there is no way to deny that we are truly distinct and unique in every way. Our bond is unbreakable, and our loyalty is unmatched. There’s never a dull moment whenever we’re together.

If there is one thing I always want you all to know; y’all will always hold a piece of my heart. My most memorable and one of my most greatest moments in life was finding out that you all would be the group of ladies I’d hold near and dear. No matter where life throws us, no matter the distance or the time; when you call, I will always answer. If you need me I’ll always be there. “Sister” is a word that carries heavy weight to me, and know you all were an integral part of me becoming me.

Thank y’all, and I love each and every one of you.

#5

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RIP Nipsey Hussle..

Today was the day the nation was privileged to witness the homegoing celebration of Nipsey Hussle. I watched the majority of it, and it was very emotional to watch.

I will admit that I was not a Nipsey Hussle fan, per se. I didn’t listen to all of his music, but this is not about me speaking on him as an artist; I am speaking on behalf of the person that has been described and represented.

Since 3/31, there has been an outpouring of love and admiration for Nipsey that has made those who weren’t avid fans become fans. It’s not often that someone is praised to this magnitude; to see someone who actually rapped and talked about truth, followed up on his actions and several other things. You can tell that this man was and still is highly respected in his community.

To see so many people come together to honor him as a person, someone who was just more than a rapper or gang member, was beautiful to see. His family spoke of him with the utmost respect and dignity. Lauren was a strong and fearless woman, who honored her true love the only way she knew how. One of my favorite things she said, is when Nipsey told her that you “experience” people. And so many people were privileged enough to experience him in this lifetime.

It is truly a painful loss to have someone taken from you so soon; especially someone who was so integral to their community and neighborhood. A senseless act took this man’s life for no reason, and the world along with his family is devastated by the loss.

Fan or not, it has shown that Nipsey’s impact or just the knowledge of his contribution to this world will have a lasting effect in people. I hope it brings about more positivity and shows those younger than him the positive results that can come from being a product of your environment if you work hard and stay humble to your beliefs and values. No matter what your upbringing or your exposure to the world may be, you can always come out on the other side the right way if you choose to.

#RIHNipseyHussle

Image: @nipseyhussle on Instagram

The Power in a Silent Presence

Sometimes, silence is truly golden. It is a lost art form in some; however, what many don’t realize is sometimes silence is all someone needs to obtain peace.

There are times when words cannot be expressed. Sometimes it’s just not the right time, or the right words do no form.

Sometimes, you just need presence. No judgement, no advice, not even deep-level understanding. Sometimes you just need silent presence.

Silent presence to someone who needs it most still shows that you care. It shows that even if you’re not sure of the right words, you’re willing to be there in case you’re needed.

And being needed could mean lending your shoulder to cry on, your hand to hold, even your ear to listen, your eyes to read something someone couldn’t verbalize. Sometimes, you’re just needed, and it’s just as important as anything else.

Just wanted to send this out to anyone who needs a presence, and to anyone who feels lost in how to help a friend in need; sometimes we just need you to be there. It’s a lot simpler than you think 🙂.

🖤

Compassion, the Underworked Muscle

As I was reading my current book, Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection, I came across a quote that held a wealth lot of meaning to me and decided felt compelled to talk about it, because it speaks so much necessary truth to those who suffer with self-compassion. The book has a section that speaks about the “compassion muscle”. Within he text of this section, I found this quote that was resonating:

“Self-compassion is like a muscle. The more we practice flexing it, especially when life doesn’t go exactly according to plan, the stronger and more resilient your compassion muscle becomes.”

When you show compassion, you are basically giving off positive and supportive vibes for yourself.  Far too often, people are way too critical of themselves.   I can definitely relate to this.  The saying “you are your own worst critic” has never been so true to someone as much as it is to me.  I constantly beat myself up about things when I should show myself more love and compassion about those things.  I find that it takes more from someone to show compassion to themselves, than to show compassion to someone else.  People are perceived to have such a great handle on their emotional wellness when sometimes, a lack of self-compassion (or an underworked muscle, per se’) is a big part of why people suffer the way they do.

What is compassion?

In order to grasp a better understanding of the concept from a more personal perspective, I took to the dictionary to find the exact definition of compassion. I found that “compassion” is defined as “sympathetic pity and concern for sufferings and misfortunes.”

Reading the definition provided a lot of clarity on why compassion is an often overlooked or underused level of emotion with other people.  Why is it so hard for us to show compassion to ourselves especially, let alone others?  I believe it is due to the negative perception of the words in the definition itself. No one wants to admit to the “pity”, “sufferings”and “misfortunes” part of the definition, when in actualiy, this is the part that humans should embrace!  Why is it so frowned upon to show this side of compassion to yourselves?  Living in the year of 2019 is no easy feat for anyone, and now more than ever, compassion is needed and support in every sense of the word.   I believe that in certain respects, a person has to show what is perceived to be the weaknesses in order to embrace being compassionate. It is very difficult for people to admit that those things are something that you are allowed to be vulnerable about.  So, I ask myself a personal question; how the hell am I going to start showing myself more compassion??

Show Yourself More Love

What is self love without compassion?  The first step to showing yourself more compassion, is to believe that in order to truly exemplify the definition of compassion, you need to understand the flaws and perfections of the definition; and also, embrace your love for yourself.  If you cannot have any love for yourself, then you will not have any ability to show compassion for yourself (and that’s real spit).  I don’t know how you can truly have a conversation about compassion without mentioning the self-love that is needed to even come close to allowing yourself that level of vulnerability.  You will not always have happy things about yourself that you can show love or compassion for.  Sometimes, when you are at your lowest, that is when these things need to show up the most.  

In closing, I wanted to highlight a few tips on how to show yourself more compassion and love when times are hard:

  • Don’t be such a hard self-critic!
  • Take time to learn from mistakes!
  • Know that making mistakes are a part of growth!