Choose. Yourself. Every. Time.

So, a lot has happened in the last 12 weeks or so, things that have made my begin a transition into a new chapter in my life that I am so excited for. It also taught me a valuable lesson about myself.

So, in April, due to my own personal mental health, I took a leave of absence from my job. There were several things (most importantly the environment and that’s all I’ll say) that we’re getting to me professionally and personally and I needed a break. Well I took a very healthy break from that place. 10 weeks. In that 10 weeks, I realized that I had to start choosing myself, my family, my life, my health first. So I made the decision to finally cut ties with the job I’d known for almost 5 years.

May 28, I said goodbye to my old job; no second job lined up, no real plan. But i knew that I needed to cleanly break away. So I told them that after my leave was completed, I won’t be returning. I’m sure there were whispers, rumors, discussion about me; but I don’t care. This decision was made because of that kind of behavior and I was not about to walk back into that.

May 30, I had an interview with another state agency, same position but better pay. I went and interviewed, and that day I received a call that they wanted to move forward with me; only 2 DAYS after I quit.

Yesterday, after all the formalities, I got my official job offer from the state of North Carolina. I start in a week and a half. All it took was 12 days to secure my new plan. I’ll be in the same field, but in a different state and I’m thoroughly excited.

When I quit my job, I asked God to put what is for me in front of me. He wasted NO time. I thought I’d be sitting around with no job for months, but He knew all I wanted was to be in a positive environment doing what I love.

What I learned from all this was this: in life, sometimes you have to take a leap; a leap into the unknown and it’s very scary. It took months for my family to convince me that this was the best option for me. It took even longer for me to convince myself. I’ve wanted to quit my job for over 6 months, and i finally gathered the strength in May 2019. You have to trust that whatever is meant for you, is waiting on the other side of you to release whatever is toxic and negative in your life. Toxic energy and new beginnings cannot both fit into your life comfortably. And I’ve made the choice that toxicity has no place in my life. Plus, the people who want worse for you always end up LOSING in the end.

Please, don’t hold on to negativity. Release that crap and get what’s yours out of life. I wasted too much time holding on to negative things; fear, doubt, worry, that I have let life pass me by and it only led to mental health issues. Not anymore.🖤

I can’t wait to start this new chapter of my life. I also need new work clothes…lol.

If I took anything from this experience in my life, and all the emotions tied to it, it is this; CHOOSE YOURSELF EVERY TIME. I’m done doing things out of the approval of others. I have started a life where I choose myself and I’m very happy with it. Now, onto the next chapter in life.

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Letting Go and Letting the Universe Handle it

How many times do we hold on to the stress and weight of others’ burdens?

Why are the individuals labeled “strong” not allowed to be human?

Sometimes, letting go is a means of survival. It is a stress reliever, it diminishes levels of anxiety, etc. The simple art of letting situations go and allowing them to be what they are going to manifest into is like very good for the soul. I found even in myself that some situations I have to let go in order to maintain a level of sanity and peace.

When I was younger, I would NEVER open up and let things go. I would usually hold everything in; I would become very silent and completely bottle up all my emotions and never really express them. Now that I have grown up, I’ve experienced a lot of things that have effected me mental,y, physically and emotionally. Because of that, I’ve learned that certain things you have to let go in order to be at peace with yourself. If not, you will continue to fall down a negative path.

So, I think we owe it to ourselves and our mental stability to learn to let go of certain things, and let the universe take ahold of our negativity and handle it. Let peace come into your life and be free of negativity. 🖤

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!

Remember to Breathe

Let’s get real for a moment.

I don’t believe that mental health is something that is discussed to the fullest degree. There are so many misconceptions and assumptions about depression, how to deal with it, who should and shouldn’t be faced with depression, etc.; the fact of the matter is, anyone can be riddled with depression, and the greater portion of the world suffers in complete silence.

I recently made the decision to speak with my doctor about my anxiety and depression. It was a very difficult thing to come to grips with, because I felt like I shouldn’t have been depressed. If you looked at my life, you would not see a reason for me to experience bouts of depression. I am employed, I have a home, a child and a spouse. I live a fairly average life and try hard to live positively. With someone with such a positive presentation, why would I wake up some mornings and not want to get out of bed? Why would I have moments where I break down in tears dealing with sadness? Why would I feel completely unmotivated and unmoved to do things I thoroughly enjoy? Yes; I’ve experienced all these things at one point or at the same time in my life. I don’t have a rhyme or reason for it, I just know that the feelings exist. Just the fact that I had no answer to these questions led me to seek out help about why and how I was feeling. I felt so many different emotions; ones that were surrounded by insecurity and uncertainty.

I initially didn’t want to share what I would call my most vulnerable moments to date, but I sincerely feel that there is someone in the world who is just as shy and apprehensive about admitting that there is something going on with their mental health. Someone who, like me, continues to put on a happy face for the world, when behind that mask I am fighting tears. I feel it is time to show the real me, and find peace in a community of people who also share the similarities as me.

So, here is the moment where i typically say, “well, it’s out now, so how the hell do I fix it?”

There are several things I do to attempt to effectively deal with depression, but I also know that works for me when I process my high and low moments will not always work for anyone else. I realized that the simplest advice i could offer someone, is to take time to focus on your breathing. I’ve noticed that if i take a moment and focus merely on my breathe, I find peace in knowing that as long as I’m able to breathe, I’m able to get through this low moment.

Anyone suffering with any type of mental health issue, I strongly urge that you find whatever you need to get through the day, that is healthy and positive. I know at times it is hard to find the positive throughout the day, but remember every breath you take is a step in the right direction. Find your level of peace, and live the best life you can.

-🖤

“But How?”: A Small Look into My Mental Health Journey

I’m somewhere between the boughs of exhaustion and extreme restlessness.

I was on another Internet binge, searching for answers for my mental health.  It had become some sort of a past time now; a hobby if you will, I sit up on Saturday nights, and instead of going out with friends, or spending time with my family, I would look mindlessly through articles aimlessly, for answers that didn’t really seem to answer the questions I would ask myself; questions I probably should be asking a professional.  I had become so familiar with the process, even my computer had now auto-populated the words.

It started off as just something I thought I could hide, something I thought was meaningless.  “Maybe it’s just a phase, I’m just in a bad mood and I will get over it.”  That is how it started.  When it didn’t go away after a month, I began to worry, but I still didn’t do anything serious about it.  After three months, and my family started to notice, I still didn’t do anything about it.  I figure I could just fix it on my own.  I would self-diagnose, research and develop a treatment plan on my own, just because I just wanted to get rid of it, so it wouldn’t be a burden to anyone.

It’s difficult going through an anxiety-ridden or very low depressive moment, especially when no one believes you in the first place.  When it seems that no one feels that your emotional instability is valid, you really just want to deal with it and get it out of the way, so you can move on with your life.  No one wants the “depressed girl” around all the time.

Avoidance and denial were the games I played, and I would like to say for a long time I played them well.  I didn’t want anyone to know because I didn’t think they would believe me; let alone, I didn’t think they would care to know it was even happening.  I mean, you can only imagine the things they would say, right?

So, when you finally hit the rock bottom of your truth, and finally admit to yourself that you have a problem or that something’s been off for a long time; something that may never be right or it “normal” again, what do you do?  Do you bottle it up and bury it deep inside you because it’s stigmatized that you just learn to “deal” with mental health, or do you find a way to breakthrough those demons and find the right help and healing that you need?  If you chose the latter, you’re right, but sometimes the tough question is not what to do, it’s how you do it…

But HOW?

Personally, it took a lot for me to finally admit to myself that there was a problem that I needed to rectify within myself; that constantly saying yes did not mean that I was a reliable person, but that I was enabling a possible ability for others to manipulate my emotional stability, and that is not ok.  I found myself struggling with finding a way out and also struggling with how to find a way through to a level of peace and mental stability.

When I finally realized there was a problem, it did not look like what your average “mental breakdown” looked like.  I did not spiral out of control and I did not need to check myself into a facility.  It looked like blank stares, sporadic bursts into tears, long periods of silence, random mood swings, angered outbursts, body aches, unexplainable pain, irregular stress patterns and inexplicable mood changes.  It looked like things that mental health breakdowns don’t commonly appear to be, because someone is not screaming or crying in front of you; however, someone with these symptoms, or look like they are exhibiting a multiple amount of these symptoms would need to seek some type of assistance with them, immediately.

My assistance looked like and needed to be filled with love and understanding and support; it needed to be emphasized with positive and encouraging word choices and it needed to be enhanced with affirmations and support from family and friends.  The key to managing my mental health awareness is having a heightened sense of my self-care, which begins with meditation and prayer, and ends in meditation and prayer.  My emotional and mental stability requires positive reinforcement, calm reassurance, laughter, happiness, grounded intention and most importantly a positively influenced support system that is willing to ensure my mental health wellness is also a priority.

 

 

Dealing with Downs

Most times, I enjoy writing things that people could relate to.  I’m not like other bloggers; I don’t have a “niche” per se, I don’t have a specific thing that I want to talk about all the time on my blog.  But, if you could ball my creative side up and put it into a category, I would call it “Life.”  That’s what I enjoy writing about; sometimes my innermost thoughts, sometimes the things that you are thinking but just won’t say, but most importantly I like to write about the things that I feel the person to my left or right of me is going through also, but are too afraid to bring it to light.  I believe that everyone sometimes has similar problems or trials in life, and we all just need someone to sit down and talk to them about it.

So, with that being said, here is mine.  As I’m sure the greater 475+ of you have noticed, I haven’t written much in a period of about 2-3 months.  I haven’t been on my blog, I haven’t promoted anything, and honestly I haven’t even finished the projects that I intent to publish very soon.  Mentally, I haven’t been in the headspace to create anything that I feel people would care about, but I felt like if nothing more, someone could relate to this very post.  Emotionally, I’ve been on a roller coaster.  It’s something that I don’t want to put so much effort into disclosing, but just know that there are times when you can be at your lowest, and in a split second be on a high; eventually, you ride that high all the way back down to a low point, and that could last for a long while.  I feel just like that, like I’ve been riding an emotional wave between high and low for a while now.  Some days I’ll sit down and crank out 10,000 words for my book or have really good content to write for my blog, and another day I may not have the motivation to do anything and that could last for days.

Sometimes, I am at a complete loss on how to move past those down moments.  It’s really not a fun place to be in. I know there may be several people in the world, creatives especially, that may go through these moments of lows when it comes to doing what you’re passionate about. First and foremost, I have to say keep pushing. No low moment lasts forever, and with proper self-care and self-love, you can pull yourself out. Some of the things I enjoy doing are listening to music, meditating, working out or just basically having alone time and thinking about positive things. I re-read affirmations I have written and journal constantly to try and vent my feelings, but also bring myself out of said funk. I urge anyone going through something similar to find what hobbies and activities put you in your happy place, and build off of those.

For me, I am currently in “pull yourself out of it” mode, and with that will come more writing, more content and overall more happiness.

Stay with me, I’ll be just fine. 🖤

Self-Care Sunday: Therapy

Wait, what?

I know, I know..

The “T” word is quite intimidating, isn’t it.

Therapy has been something that even I have been hesitant about wanting to try, but I’m realizing how beneficial it would be to my life to have someone who is able to speak with me one-on-one about things that I may not be able to be fully open with with my family and friends. In contrast, i know many people who are not too fond of therapy or counseling, and don’t want to talk to a complete stranger about their innermost thoughts. Neither feeling is wrong, because we’re all different; however, I have seen and read that there are truly some benefits to speaking with a therapist.

There are so many things we deal with in our lives that we may not want to burden our friends with. We don’t want them to worry about us; however, our mental health is just as important as our physical health, so you definitely want to make sure you’re taking the steps to ensure your life is on track mentally.

There are also so many ways that therapy has advanced now in the age of social media, that if you’re not comfortable with seeing someone face to face, you can even have a therapist that you speak with virtually. It’s a pretty cool concept to me, because some people still want a bit of privacy while getting the help they need. It’s hard to sit in front of a person and be completely vulnerable.

For me, writing has always been one of my top methods of self-care, so that I would be able to get everything out that I need to when I’m feeling some type of way. It wasn’t until recently that I seriously looked into therapy, mainly based on the type of job I have. The type of traumatic things I see and go through definitely take a toll on me emotionally and mentally, and pairing that with all the other responsibilities in my life can be emotionally draining at times. I would write about it, but I realized that sometimes writing is not enough.

The most important concept behind this is that you are finding a way to take care of your mental and emotional health, because we sometimes forget about those things. When someone asks how you’re doing and you always say fine, is that really how you’re feeling? I know for me, most times it’s not. Among so many other methods, having an unbiased neutral party to talk to not only will help with processing your emotions, but they can also provide perspective and insight on some of our most complex issues.