Self-Esteem Challenge

I’m not sure about anyone else but between my fear of being stigmatized and my overall comfort with my boyfriend I have a hard time doing stuff on my own. And that includes everything from watching certain shows to going to get coffee with a friend. If there’s not someone with me who I consider a strong support ( so basically my boyfriend or my mom) I just don’t do it. And well I’ve come to the hard realization that it’s not fair to them or myself. They don’t expect to do things they enjoy that I wouldn’t and I imagine it has to be tiring to consistently be that support for a person. So one of my goals to work on throughout the year is to do more stuff on my own. Even the silly stuff like having a movie marathon complete with snacks. I figured one of the best ways to hold myself accountable would be to post about it here on the blog. Maybe you guys can even find some inspiration and ideas for stuff you would like to do as well. I will jot a short little post about each task as I complete them so I have something to look back on when I’m feeling down on myself and I can say ‘hey no you’re awesome remember how you did this.’ (oh I should note I am a stay-at-home mom so a lot of these will probably be done with my ladybug but she’s a baby so she kinda has to come with me hehehe).

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Unafraid to be Alone List:

  • Take a course in a subject you’re interested in (I have signed up for a course on Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales starting April 2, so excited for this!)
  • Have a picnic at Nay Aug park (apparently there’s a waterfall here and I think if I can get there during a weekday before school lets out it shouldn’t be too crowded)
  • Go to a crystal shop and pick one out that speaks to me
  • Create a sacred space somewhere in my apartment
  • Make a vision board
  • Go to a museum
  • Create a Morning Routine
  • Write a book
  • Try out a new restaurant
  • Make soap
  • Figure out a mantra
  • Disney/Pixar movie marathon
  • Go to the movies alone
  • Tackle a Rubik’s Cube
  • Complete a jigsaw puzzle
  • Cook through a cookbook (if anyone has a cookbook suggestion let me know)
  • 100% completion on Breath of the Wild
  • Get my fortune told
  • Get hair and nails done
  • Make a windowsill herb garden

I think 20 is a good number to start out with; not too overwhelming, but not too easy that I’ll fly through it either. And maybe as I progress through I’ll add new ones. Let me know what stuff you guys want to do or have done on your own.

Sunshine Blogger Award

A huge thank you and shout out to Anita over at Discovering Your Happiness.

I am still so new to blogging and still so nervous about making posts that it came as quite a shock to be nominated for this. I am so appreciative of Anita for nominating me and for everyone who reads this blog and has shared their stories with me so without further ado The Sunshine Blogger Award:

Sunshine Blogger Award Rules:
-Thank the blogger who nominated you.
-Answer the 11 questions asked.
-Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
-List the rules and include the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post.

My Answers:

  • Do you have any holidays plans for 2018? Not at the moment but my boyfriend and I would really like to visit The Andy Griffith museum, he his a huge fan and I just think it would be a lot of fun to travel somewhere new.
  • Where is one place in the world you would love to visit? Hmm there are so many but I’m going to go with Russia. I love Russian literature and am just fascinated by their culture I would especially have loved to visit during the Olympics. 
  • Tropical getaway OR Village getaway? Village for sure, I’m not really a fan of sand hahaha
  • Do you celebrate Easter? If so, how do you celebrate? My family does celebrate but not in a religious sense more in just a it’s a good way to reconnect with extended family for a day of relaxation. 
  • What is your favourite colour? It’s forever changing but currently it’s green like a dark forest green.
  • What is a long term goal you are heading towards? Paying down my debt!
  • Have you ever conquered any fears? I would say just starting this blog has been conquering a fear of acknowledging my mental illness and not just wishing to be an advocate but actually getting out there and speaking up. 
  • What is your all time favourite hobby? Coloring books! But not the adult ones I like kid ones with fun characters like Lisa Frank
  • Are you a writer or a drawer? More writer I would say but I enjoy both.
  • Do you keep a journal? If so, does this help you? I love journaling but I am not as consistent as I would like to be, I’m working on it though. 
  • Sunny days OR rainy cold days? What about sunny with a bit of a chill in the air? 

My Questions:

  1. What is your favorite book?
  2. Do you have a pet, what do you have?
  3. What is your ideal vacation spot?
  4. What’s your favorite meal?
  5. Which TV character do you identify with the most?
  6. What did you want to be when you were a child?
  7. Who would you love to see in concert?
  8. How long have you been blogging?
  9. Which time period would you love to live in?
  10. Which movie can you watch over and over again?
  11. What do you do for self-care?

My Nominees:

Haley @ Hale on Wheels
Ashley @ Mental Health at Home
Jen @ Bipolar Uninvited
Jess @ Geek With Social Anxiety
Lauren @ Girl with Issues
Binita @ Educated Unemployed Indian
Kourntey @ Defining Yellow
Melody @ Melody Holland
Sara @ Undeniably Sara
James Edgar Skye @ The Bipolar Writer

 

 

 

Letter Writing as Therapy Series

As I mentioned in a previous post (Adult Coloring Isn’t Cutting ItI talked briefly about letter writing. I’ve found that it’s not only therapeutic (when used for this purpose it is called Transactional Writing) it is also a lot of fun. I mean when is the last time you received a hand written letter from a friend or family member? I’m going to assume in this tech-driven society it’s been a while, but take a moment to imagine getting your mail and in the midst of junk mail, bills and flyers to find a letter from a friend. Doesn’t that just put a smile on your face (please tell me it’s not just me who would love that).

My interest in letter writing was (re)sparked by my boyfriend. He writes to his parents pretty consistently and I thought that was just the sweetest thing. And seeing the letters his parents write him in return is wonderful as well. It’s always very exciting when we see a letter from one of them in the mail.

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I found myself wanting to write letters. I love to journal and am a huge stationary hoarder. I actually thought letter writing might prove to be therapeutic and educational. thus far I have been right. I enjoy writing letters to myself as well as ones to friends and family (some of those I don’t send out but I’ll get to that).  For this first post I am going to focus on a Compassionate Letter.

A Compassionate Letter is perfect if you or loved have gone through a traumatic or difficult event. This is a great letter to send out if writing it to a loved one as they can keep it to reread during difficult times. Here are some ideas for what you can include in this letter:

  • What can be learned from the experience. Even the worst things that happen to use offer a silver cloud lining of learning something; of gaining from what happened us.
  • Focus on how you or your loved one have grown from this experience and will continue to grow each day.
  • Was there a benefit that came out of the difficulties?
  • Remind them (or yourself) that they have support that you are there to lend a helping hand or a listening ear (if writing to yourself focus on friends, family and any other support system you have).
  • Don’t forget to include how proud you are of them for weathering through this difficult time

These can be some of the best letters to receive because they put a smile on your face and remind you that yes you are strong, you are wiser for your battles and you have support. Compassionate letters are great to write to yourself or loved ones and are very therapeutic.

As I continues this letter writing series I will include some letters I have written (obviously with name changes and such to protect identities). I would love to hear if you have written letters either for therapy or for fun and what your experience as been.

Keep Fighting

Hello fellow warriors!

Today I woke and for the first few moments felt no panic, no pain, no racing thoughts. It was amazing, it was refreshing…it was fleeting. I then started to feel anxious about not having anxiety (shaking my head). Even though it was short lived it reminded me that I can have good moments and good days.

And I want to take this time to remind everyone to keep pushing keep fighting for those fleeting moments because they can become hours, days, even weeks and months! Recovery isn’t always about moving up and up but about moving forward. We all have setbacks but the key is to keep going in the right direction.

Well my little ladybug is up so I am off to sing nursery rhymes and change diapers. And even though my mind is hostage to my own negative thinking my time with ladybug makes me smile and offers a welcome distraction.

_Even if you fall on your face, you're still moving forward._

Stay strong!

Lithium and Bipolar…Has it Worked for You?

I’ve recently come across some different reports about Lithium and how it’s proven to have the lowest rehospitalization for patients (I’ve included links to the articles I read at the bottom). Surprisingly, despite the many, many medications I have been on I’ve never been prescribed Lithium. I have been hospitalized 3 times but (knock on wood) I’m coming up to 2 years without being admitted.

rawpixel-com-550991-unsplash.jpg (if my meds were this colorful I would be a lot more excited to take them)

The studies pointed out that Seroquel is the most prescribed bipolar medication yet it does not seem as effective in preventing hospitalization. Now this is a medication I am all too familiar with and can definitely say I felt worse about 95% of the time I was on it. I always called my Zombie medication. I slept like a log when I was on it but I never felt awake or energized. I always woke up still feeling tired. It was completely miserable. Also I kept feeling nothing and even though living with intense and at times dramatic emotions feeling nothing felt worse. I didn’t feel happy when I was with my family, didn’t feel accomplished when something went well at work, I just felt like I was going through with the motions without any of the reward.

So, I’m just curious to hear your stories with Lithium or Seroquel or any meds in fact. Have you found them helpful or not. I’m considering speaking to my psychiatrist about Lithium because I wonder if it could help in the long run (it would most likely kick in after I’ve had my little peanut later this year).

And as promised links to some of the articles I’ve come across:

ABC News

Science Daily

Book Review: Finding Audrey

Yup you read that right, I’m doing a book review. I am an avid reader and I thought I would share some book reviews from time to time if they deal with mental illness. The first book I’ll be reviewing is Finding Audrey by Sophia Kinsella. I will try to make it as spoiler-free as possible in case anyone would like to pick up this awesome read for themselves.

“An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.”

Now I know it looks like it’s a simple love story that cures Audrey of her anxiety but it’s way more than that. Her recovery actually comes in the form of filming her life and all those who are part of it. And believe me we have quite the cast of characters in this story. Audrey’s family is loud, intense and hilarious. Audrey comes to find that she has a strong support system and she can work through her anxiety and inability to leave her house. Kinsella really balanced light-hearted humor and hard realism perfectly.

I would recommend this book for anyone who struggles with anxiety or knows someone close to them who struggles and wants a better idea of what the person is going through. I find Audrey to be a really relateble character and someone you root for. She’s far from perfect but that just made her even more lovable.  I hope if you have a chance you definitely pick this book up and on that note I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the story:

“Life is all about climbing up, slipping down, and picking yourself up again. And it doesn’t matter if you slip down. As long as you’re kind of heading more or less upwards. That’s all you can hope for. More or les.png

5 Things to do When Adult Coloring Won’t Cut It

I don’t know about you guys but as helpful as I know adult coloring is it just doesn’t work for me. It’s actually super stressful for me trying to make sure I’ve chosen the right colors and everything remains in the lines. If I’m going to color I actually prefer the standard children’s coloring books with fun characters and pulling out a big box of Crayolas. So I thought I would work on an alternative anxiety coping list that doesn’t include adult coloring.

  1. Fluid Art:  I said I wouldn’t include adult coloring that didn’t mean I wouldn’t include something artsy. Have you guys seen this stuff it is so cool. The best part is that you don’t need a ton of supplies. Here’s a link to a tutorial: Fluid Painting             fluid art
  2. Video Gaming:  I have never been a big gamer but since meeting my boyfriend that has changed. He’s an avid gamer I mean we have an xbox, ps 4, Wii, Super Nintendo, etc. For a long while I would watch him play while reading or surfing the web. That changed with the release of The Legend of Zelda:  Breath of the Wild, that game is my jam. Since beating Zelda I’ve been playing Stardew ValleyTomb Raider, and a bunch of other stuff. Basically video games offer a really nice distraction to stressful stuff and I love seeing improvement in myself (even with something silly like games). Also so many games have really in-depth stories and character development that it’s almost like playing through a novel.
  3. Letter Writing:  I find letter writing to not only be relaxing but therapeutic as well. I have a post coming up where I will go into greater detail about writing a letter to yourself or others (you don’t have to send). I find sitting at my desk and using really bright white paper relaxing and it makes me happy. There are all sorts of different letters you can write and like I said I’ll be going into greater detail in a later post.                           Photo Background Typographic Camera Day Social Media
  4. Cleaning:  Alright I know, I know there’s nothing “fun” about cleaning but hear me out on this. Messy spaces can really add to feelings of anxiety and depression. Having the added stress of not being able to find items in your home, car or workspace is really unnecessary to those of us suffering from mental illness. So if I’m feeling overwhelmed I’ll set up a timer on my phone for 15 minutes and do some cleaning be it dishes, vacuuming or just decluttering a space. More times than not I’ll end up ignoring the timer because I’m “in the zone”. Plus I can put on some fun dance music and sing and make my daughter laugh while cleaning. And at the end of the day it’s great to have a nice clean home to relax in.
  5. Baking:  I think I saved the best for last. Well at least the yummiest for last. Baking is so much fun and not only can you reap the benefits of it you can also share with your loved ones. I always try to make sure my pantry is prepared with general baking items for whenever the mood strikes me (would you guys like me to share what I keep on hand?) I really enjoy watching Nerdy Nummies on YouTube she’s so sweet and I love all the unique cakes and cookies she makes. What are you favorite baked treats?

I hope you all have found this list helpful and perhaps it’s sparked some new interests. What sort of activities do you all like to engage in when feeling down or overwhelmed?