You-phoric (or phobic)?

This week I wanted to write about something a bit different than usual. A week or so ago I finished binging HBO’s Euphoria. This how describes itself as “An American adaptation of the Israeli show of the same name, “Euphoria” follows the troubled life of 17-year-old Rue, a drug addict fresh from rehab with no plans to stay clean.” The primary character deals with addiction, depression, and manic episodes. I will start this off by shouting in all caps THIS SHOW CAN BE VERY TRIGGERING, so proceed with caution if you are planning to watch.

What I was surprised to find is how much I related to on several layers with this character. While I am not addicted to drugs, I use different variables to control when I am feeling less in control of what is around me. This has bubbled up as anorexia and bulimia historically (which I am incredibly thankful to be 6+ years into remission for), drinking (in the past), and more presently list-making and organization. I still find myself attempting to unplug my brain in a multitude of ways when I get into depressive states. I also experience a wave of high highs and low lows regularly.

What this show also triggered for me is a glamorization at times of these mental health issues. This has been something I have seen for some time from Girl Interrupted when I was in high school to 13 Reasons Why today. It can be confusing to try to find the answer to what is the right balance here. As my readers know, I am a big believer in normalizing the conversation about mental health issues in general. I believe this extends to all ages, genders, and humans in general. However, I also feel uncomfortable with trying to make any of these issues “sexy.” As someone that actively struggles with depression and anxiety, I can confirm it is not sexy or cool at all. It is hard, exhausting and often downright ugly. I also find that it is easy to be “seduced” into old habits when viewing particular material if I am not careful. I don’t have the answers here, and I am not suggesting these shows should not be made by any means (I am a high key huge fan of Euphoria and think it is a beautifully made and essential in many ways to shine a light on addiction and mental illness). I do believe we need to be cautious and aware of a ripple effect content can have in general.

I am curious if any of you find shows that touch on mental health or triggering subjects more helpful or harmful? What do you think the right balance is?

As a side note, lots of interesting changing variables are coming up in life, and I am nervous but hopeful. I am looking forward to chatting about this in the upcoming weeks. Thanks for checking in, and I will talk with you next Thursday ❤

Two-Faced

I wanted to talk about what I like to call “game face” with you all this week. To be absolutely honest, I have been struggling with both anxiety and depression for the past couple of weeks.

I have been in hiding under the covers mode almost 24/7, but I still needed to get shit done (work, appointments, etc.). A game face can so many things: it can mean smiling in a public-facing situation when you are really in a full-blown panic mode internally, putting on a brave face in front of people who need you to be strong for, or really any other flavor of having to act in a way that is entirely the opposite of what you are feeling.

Game face is something that is not easy for me to achieve at all times. At times it can be downright impossible. I have spent mornings crying for a few hours, and I have to ice down my face to look like a “normal” functioning human for an event or to-do task. It is not only not intuitive, but it can be confusing and lead to dissociation and mood fluctuations.

Smiling depression, defined by Healthline as , “a term for someone living with depression on the inside while appearing perfectly happy or content on the outside. Their public life is usually one that’s “put together,” maybe even what some would call normal or perfect.”, is not uncommon, and can be a characteristic of many people struggling with intense depression.

I wanted to discuss this for a few reasons. The first reason being that if you are suffering from this, I want you to know YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Secondly, I think it is important to remind ourselves that it is ok to feel what we are feeling and be where we are every day. I do believe it is essential to try to break out of pre-loading our daily outlook as unfavorable. It’s not always easy to wake up in a cheery mindset, I wake up in full-blown panic more frequently than I care to admit, but we should try to practice gratitude and mindfulness each morning to start on the right foot whenever possible.

I would love to hear any advice about best handling having to show up to required/unavoidable events when you are in an emotional shitstorm (for lack of a better word). I would also like to know if any of you are regularly experiencing smiling depression, and what triggers you to have to go into game face mode.

Have a wonderful Thursday, and I will chat with you all next week ❤

Free Falling

You know that feeling when you are dreaming, and you feel like you are suddenly falling (this is typically the moment when I knee jerk into waking up)…well these past few weeks have felt a lot like that. They have been productive, chaotic, terrifying, and unfamiliar. There have been many moments where I felt like giving up. Change and conflict have always been things that made me uncomfortable, and the near future contains possibly a healthy mix of both…which has been hard to prepare for when you are already pretty downright exhausted. However, now that I have made it through some of the high drops of my emotional rollercoaster, I see some faint rays of excitement about what things are to come.

Looking back on the past few weeks, I have the reinforced belief that there is no one way to live your life in the right direction. We spend so much time comparing ourselves to others, dreaming without action, and focusing on what makes things hard. We have no idea what happens after this life, and because life is so fleeting, it is essential to do what makes you happiest. It can be scary to make changes in your plan, and it honestly gets more frightening for me the older I get, but we need to continue to listen to our truths. Material things can come and go (and yes they can be great), but it is truly about what makes you happy and fulfilled healthily.

Do any of you have any advice for being brave in the face of change? Do you also have trouble with change? Thanks for listening, and I will chat with you all next week ❤

Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself

Mental illness can be a very taboo, uncomfortable, and complicated subject to approach. For so many people, mental health issues have been something to hide away from others, things we want to try to ignore and possibly things that have caused us shame. It was not until recently that I had started working on starting conversations about my mental health complications that I realized how many people are feeling the same things that I am, and how many people out there genuinely want to help (but may not have the toolsets that make them feel capable of helping).

With that said, as someone who has lived within my mind for sometime anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions are not something you can read a handbook to understand. Over the past years, I have heard many assumptions about what people thought my behaviors, personality quirks, and habits might mean…and this was understandably frequently wrong. Not only were assumptions others were making incorrect, but I was also finding myself misdiagnosing myself based on how I was behaving.

While everyone is different, and what I am about to say may not be accurate for everyone, I want to speak to some common misconceptions that I have experienced. I hope to possibly shed some light and provide insight for those who might have a relationship with someone with mental health conditions, or for anyone who is trying to find answers on their own mental health journey.

Number one I feel like people tend to assume (as I once did) that it is always a black and white story. I have very high levels of social anxiety, but that does not mean I don’t want to be social. How this manifests can be very different for people, but I tend to reach out and start non-verbal conversations (text, direct message, etc.). With my specific anxieties, I can become incredibly exhausted when having to have verbal communications. What I have learned is that this can be interpreted as a lack of interest, a brush off or just being rude (which is incorrect 99.9% of the time in my case). Overcoming this hurdle is still one I am very much working on, but I do recommend that the big answer on both sides is communication. If you are feeling brushed off, it is always ok to ask if there is a reason that the person you are communicating with prefers to talk in less direct ways. Starting the dialog is critical, and frequently, the truth will set you free in these cases. When assumptions are made in these situations, it can cause adverse effects with all parties involved. People can feel shunned that have no reason to, or people might isolate more with a fear that they can’t hold healthy interactions with others. The big picture here is communication is always a win. In today’s society, people tend to shy away from more subdermal conversations because of discomfort, but it is truly the only way to start a conversation that facilitates stronger and healthier relationships.

Number two you don’t have to try to fix people who have mental health conditions. As I was struggling to start talking to others about what I was feeling, I found that I had walked into a hallway of motivational poster conversation. “You have nothing to worry about!” “But you are great,” “Look on the bright side.”…etc. I think it is beneficial to think of mental health conditions as any other medical condition. If you run into a friend in a hospital who has a broken leg, it isn’t your job to fix their leg. However, you can support and help out in ways that your friend might need. Taking this example even further you do not have to avoid mentioning the leg at all, it is a real thing that is happening, and not treating it as an invisible elephant in a room can be appreciated. Similarly to a broken leg, mental illness can be treated over time, but it is a process and not something that people will be able to “snap out of.”

Lastly, something that I believe is so important for everyone to realize is that mental health problems are not uncommon. It is easy to feel incredibly isolated if you are experiencing mental health conditions, and I am here to tell you this is NOT true. This belief comes from a long history of skirting mental health issues under the carpet, which is something we need to work hard to prevent. We are living in a world where Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, where mental health conditions affect 1-in-4 people at some point. This is a crucial time to start having conversations with yourself, people who suffer from mental health conditions, and people who don’t to begin normalizing this global issue. While that might sound like a huge hurdle to overcome, it starts with the basics. As long as we are continuing to avoid assumptions, have honest communication, and being honest with ourselves and others about mental health struggles, we are moving in the right direction.

What are some tools you have found for communicating with people about mental health? What are some obstacles you have run into when trying to start these conversations? Are there any tools that would help you feel safer when trying to communicate about your mental health conditions?

This weeks post is being featured on Mindabout a digital community meant to help women excel in areas they find hard to and diminish the inevitable loneliness experienced. Please check them out when you get a chance.

Have a great week, and I will see you all next Thursday ❤

No Shame Game (Breaking Free From Shame & Stigma)

As someone who grew up with anxiety, depression, and social trigger based fears, I always felt like it was a secret that was not meant to be shared outside of a very tight social circle of family and friends. I have met other people through my life who have experienced the same sort of seclusion or stigmatizing.

When I was a teenager, there was a brief stint of time where I had opened up to a therapist about some of my anxieties and feelings and was directed quickly (and aggressively) to a psychiatrist who medicated me the first day of treatment. I went through several miss-diagnoses, which involved me being put on several trial medications. At the end of this period I was lucky enough to have family that strongly requested that I was taken off of medicine, and after recalibrating I was able to get back to my formerly anxious but functioning state. This experience reinforced that thought in my head that the things I feel are not things that should be shared, and that it was possibly even dangerous to do so. I want to add the disclaimer here that there are so many amazing therapists and psychotherapists out there, and that medication can be a real and productive answer for people who have several types of mental health conditions.

Another type of wall that many people who are struggling with Mental Health conditions might be familiar with (I know I am)…is the “brush off” or “easy fix” feedback from others. After hearing “just go out for a walk,” “It can’t be that bad,” ” but everything is going so well for you,” etc. it can feel like a hopeless battle reaching out for support. Mental health conditions are not necessarily intuitive to people who are not experiencing them and can be easy to dismiss. This has caused me to isolate even more in the past, and have self-defeating mindsets about being alone in my situation.

Speaking of that scary word ALONE…I finally started being more vocal about my struggles, and it took me thirty-something years to get here, but what I am seeing is that we are far from alone. We are living in a world full of difficulties and stress that can very much seem like an uphill battle, but there are so many of us that are feeling these same things. While we can’t necessarily make mental illness more intuitive to people who are less familiar with it, we can tap into a giant fricken support system across everyone who IS living in this reality. What is truly exciting about doing this, is we can work together as a group to not only create better resources for people like us, we can also develop resources for people who want to learn how to communicate with us more productively!

So how do we start???

Number one is to START TALKING TO PEOPLE: Speak with people about what you are feeling, speak to people who are trying to find people to talk to. We all need support, and starting the conversation is a crucial part of finding a solution.

Number two is to practice not reading into less constructive feedback. While being told, “it is all in your head” doesn’t feel great, and isn’t the most helpful, from my experience it comes from a positive place. I am working on developing an arsenal of responses to less feedback useful where I can be honest about the fact that the answer is appreciated, not the most helpful and what might be more useful on my end.

Bottom line is a mental illness, or a mental health struggle is nothing to be ashamed about. So many people are hiding these huge internal fights, and us being more open about our struggles will pave the way for normalizing a problem that affects so many people. Living a double life (as I had done for so many years) where you are showing a positive or “cleaner” side of yourself while bottling up intense emotional chaos is toxic, and this is unfortunately common within the mental health space. We are all human, we are all deserving of love and support, and being honest about your needs is not only an incredibly important to being a happy and healthy person, but it also is imperative for changing the tide for mental wellness stigma, and improving the climate for others now and going forward.

What are some difficulties you have run into with being open about your feelings? Have you had trouble with knowing what to say when others have reached out to you? I would also love any tips and tools for making contact with other people who have similar experiences or who can relate to what you are going through.

This weeks post is being featured on Bettering YOU a mental wellness blog , which focuses on empowerment, wellness and helping people become a better version of themselves, please check them out when you get a chance.

Have a great week, and I will see you next Thursday!

Somewhere Out There Is…

Hello, Fellow Adults!

This week has been an exciting week, I have been looking into possible networking events, and social events to try to expand my career and social connections, and so far it is pretty freaking scary.

Trying to make friends, or other types of connections organically as an adult is one of the trickiest things for me personally. It wasn’t like the good old days of elementary school where you are planted in front of people with a juice box and forced to find connections (such as your love for goldfish crackers or drawing).

I have signed up to attend meetups, book clubs, entrepreneurial woman’s groups and beyond, and what I have found is, first of all, it is tough to motivate me to do unrequired tasks outside of my home. Most of the time, I am already tired, and it is very tempting to stay in my pajamas and watch another episode of Big Little Lies. Secondly, when I do get out, I am very much in my head and when I do talk to people at these events it is in a sort of head voice personality…overly polite…overly loud…and frequently excessively sweaty.

I am very aware that these types of interactions are healthy, and really one of the only ways to make these connections as an adult, but it is a real struggle trying to keep proactively putting myself out there.

I want to stress to myself (and others going through similar troubles) that this is not a hopeless situation, and this is not a reflection on anything wrong with us. This world can be overstimulating to anyone, let alone someone with anxiety, and it is perfectly normal to be drawn to the comforts of home.

With that said, I am going to challenge myself to find one event or gathering on a bi-monthly basis where I can start putting my networking feelers out there and test the waters. I would love if anyone reading, who is up to it, would be down to challenge themselves to this same task.

If you are going to challenge yourself to put yourself in more social situations, please let me know how it goes! And, if you have found any tips and tricks to make the process more comfortable, I would be very appreciative if you share them because lord knows I can use some help in that department.

Have a wonderful weekend, and I will chat with you next Thursday ❤

Bad Vibes Get Off Of Me

Happy Thursday All! I will start by saying today was incredibly stressful…but productive!

I started this Thursday as I do with most, very anxious and tired because Thursday tends to be a big work meeting day. This specific Thursday was even more critical than others, so it was filled with initially more dread on my end. I was thinking about how I could represent this day with a doodle and thunderstorms, tornados, and all types of chaos entered my mind. Then when the end of the day rolled around the same thing that happens most Thursdays dawned on me. Today was productive, and today was not as bad as I feared it would be, and today…I kind of kicked ass. I had this realization that I tend to associate the unknown and the challenging as fear when it can truly be an opportunity to grow.

I know that can all sound a bit stop and smell the flower-esque, and trust me…I know it is not easy to remove that instant fear trigger day to day. I had a 60-minute mini panic attack when thinking about the possibility of having a typo in my email that I knew did not have a typo…and I was terrified.

Life can be scary, life can be full of questions with answers you don’t have, and you might never have, or might not have for a while…and that’s facts, but life is also something that we can decide how to approach. I am going to be working on reprograming my fear triggers to excitement triggers (wish me luck), and I think it is worth a try for anyone struggling with daily anxiety (or anxiety in general).

I look forward to hearing about what some things that you have been scared of that might be exciting opportunities. Along with, some tips for trying to reprogram deep seeded anxieties? Also please let me know What is something you are proud of yourself for doing recently (great work ahead of time!)?

Have a beautiful weekend, and I will see you all next Thursday!

Feeling Schwifty

Happy Thursday Everybody!

We are almost to the end of the week, and while it has been crazy busy between work and personal projects, it has actually been a great week. Last weekend was the big 6th anniversary for my boyfriend and me. We decided to keep it pretty mellow and not go wild on gifts (as we had in the past). I bought some dinner (tacos obviously), and he got me Rick, and Morty themed Clue. As my photo this week might suggest I am an uber fan of all things Rick and Morty related.

Deciding not to spend money was a great call and made me want to share this in today’s post. I have found that spending has been a go-to for me when I am stressed. This “retail therapy” has done some significant damage to what I need to pay off (combined with my grad school debt), that I am working on chipping away one month at a time. It is so easy to slip into that habit, and it can be one that causes crazy anxiety and panic month over month.

I came to embrace the realization finally that you can have just as much fun on a budget (I mean excluding weekend trips to Disneyland…my favorite place). I have been exploring all things budget from Reddit, Pinterest, and beyond!

I know similarly to dealing with other challenging areas of life, it will take time to pay off the debt that I have accrued…but as I work towards that keeping it simple is going to be my daily mantra. Simple is fun, simple can be inexpensive and simple can help make a smoother future path for our future selves.

What are some ways you have found you deal with stress that might be counterproductive? What are some ways you have counteracted those habits? What budgeting /frugal tips do you all have?

I am looking forward to hearing some tips and tricks from all of you! Have a wonderful weekend! C’ya on Thursday (and keep it schwifty) ❤

Enough IS Enough

This week has been so crazy busy, and I have had moments where I noticed I had some toxic thoughts. These “toxic” thoughts can come out of nowhere…for example, I had to wash out my blow out and deal with my curls again, and I was feeling down on myself and my looks. At that moment, I had to remind myself not to compare myself to others when it comes to looks, lifestyle, and journey/timeline. It is so easy to get caught up in the prescriptive standards of society, but as I gently reminded myself, I am enough (and so are each of you).

I might have mentioned this in prior posts, but every one of us has days where we have limitations for whatever reason on what is possible to achieve. I am someone who has trouble with those limits in these moments (what will happen if I don’t do this…what will they think…just push through it), but listening to yourself and doing what you can IS ENOUGH!

That being said, you have to be honest with yourself. It is easy to hide behind certain comfort excuses when we are scared or apprehensive of approaching something on the to-do list. It is always important to grow and face your fears, and move forward when you are capable of doing so. I know I had had panic attacks when I was scared to go to a meeting or scared to address a big issue, and a flood of words came out of my mouth…I can’t…I’m not good enough…I need to escape this. Often I have not had the choice of not facing some of these things and found even though I was terrified once I got through it, I had amplified it in my mind to something much scarier than it was.

I have also had days where I just needed to stay in bed and would have made myself sick mentally (and perhaps physically) if I had not done so, and on those days staying in bed was enough.

We are all on our own journey, and we are all our own beautiful selves. If you need that reminder today, here it is! You are awesome, you are unique, and you are ENOUGH!

Let me know if you are someone who can listen to what your mind and body are telling you with ease, or if you sometimes struggle with it (like me)? Do you have any tips for being more in tune or at peace with going at your own pace?

See you next week ❤

Saying YES to NO

As a wise woman Meghan Trainor once said: “Nah to the ah to the, no, no, no.” I have found that it can be tricky to use this scary big (little) NO word when it comes to work, social engagements and beyond. There are a lot of responses that it can be easy to dread when you say no…

AM I GOING TO DISAPPOINT SOMEONE…WILL THEY HATE ME…THIS IS GOING TO BE SO AWKWARD…I SAID NO LAST TIME…

Trust me I get it, and it is something I struggle with daily, but that being said, I have realized that a lot of what I am scared of is in my head. While it is good to put yourself into new situations and don’t let fear prevent you from growing, you also need to take care of your sanity. It is good practice, to be honest, if you don’t want to do something, or if you don’t feel capable of taking something on.

Even though no can be a scary word, it is short and getting it out there is like ripping off a bandaid in most cases (at least it has been for me). With social engagements, it is much less awkward to say no in the beginning than to cancel last minute, and you can always brainstorm or think of alternatives you might be open to trying. At school or work when you might not have as much control, if someone is asking if you can do something be honest, but even if it is not a question let someone know how you feel before it becomes a landslide. I know I have been in a place where things continue to accumulate until I have some mental explosion, and that is something I am actively working to avoid.

This is something I expect will take some time for me to get comfortable with as well, but I know that it is possible…one baby no step at a time.

For those of you reading do you have trouble with being honest about when you don’t want to or don’t feel like you can do something? Have you found any tips and tricks for making this easier?

Have an amazing rest of the week, and I will chat with you all next Thursday! ❤