mental health

stand by me. ft. T-Kea and Liz

As someone who is living with a severe mental illness, I have had to make those closest to me are aware of what that looks like for me in order to receive the support I need during my recovery. I am lucky enough to have a supportive husband who has been my rock during my recovery and a few friends who have offered their support in numerous ways.

T-Kea of Fireflies Unite Podcast, a mental health awareness podcast that is "Normalizing The Mental Health Conversation In Communities of Color", shared a story on her IG story about one of her close friends, Liz, who has been integral during her recovery. I was so moved by their story that I had to reach out and ask them to do a piece for the theme this month. It is the last day of Mental Health Awareness Month but the conversation doesn't stop here. It's important to ask how you can be of support to a friend battling a mental illness. It means a lot. Check out their story.

Their Story:

I can remember the day like it was yesterday. I sent a text message to my friend and said, “It would be better if I wasn’t here.” Translation, I want to die! But at that moment my friend, Liz, did not know that I took a countless number of pills and drank a bottle of wine. I was hoping that I would not wake up. Before I knew it, two policemen were breaking into my window and asking me questions. They asked me a few questions that I cannot recall, but I remember them asking if I wanted to hurt myself. I responded and said I don’t know, even though I knew I wanted to. As a result, they stated that I did not look well and was a threat to myself. They gave me two options, I could wait for the ambulance to arrive to be transported to the hospital or they would handcuff me and taken by force. I agreed to get dressed and go with the paramedics. By the time I arrived at the hospital, I was told to remove my clothing, turn in my phone, and evaluated by the psychiatrist. They told me that I could not go back home and I would be admitted to the hospital for suicide prevention.

I often think about that day and believe that if it was not for Liz making the decision of calling the police, I would not be alive today. Initially, I did not realize that Liz called the police until a week later when I was at her house sharing my experience and she looked me in my eyes and told me it was her.

Over the last three years, Liz and I have become extremely close. She is a big sister, at times a mother figure, and an amazing friend. I know that pivotal day was scary, stressful, confusing, and frustrating for her. She’s expressed how it was a lot for her to process and decide what to do. Liz said it was not an easy choice to make. Through this journey, I know that it takes a special person to do all the things she has done. Liz and her husband opened their home to me so that I could focus on my recovery and I am beyond grateful. Liz has said that she couldn’t support me if her husband didn’t support her. There are truly no words that can express my gratitude and love for them.

Shortly after moving in, Liz took the initiative to come to therapy with me and it has made our relationship stronger. We’ve gained a better understanding of one another. Through therapy, we were provided a safe space to express our concerns, thoughts, and feelings. Liz learned about my triggers and we learned ways to better communicate with each other. For Liz, she was able to share her challenges regarding our living arrangements, as it isn’t easy to adjust to each other’s lifestyles. You see Liz has a family, a husband, and 3 beautiful girls, and I’m single. Therefore, we needed to be able to discuss expectations, set boundaries, and rules.  More importantly, with the help of my therapist, Liz continues to help me develop an exit plan for my transition. She desires to see me healthy when I leave her home. She supports my dreams, is patient, and loving.

In writing this piece, Liz and I thought of a few tips to help caregivers who support those living with mental illness. These tips can also encourage a stronger relationship with each other.

Educate yourself on your loved one’s mental illness.

It is imperative that you educate yourself! Do not make assumptions and develop conclusions about a person’s mental illness based on any stigmas. Learn how their mental illness impacts them as it shows up differently for each person. Learn signs of an episode and crisis so that you can best assist them.

Learn their triggers.

Understanding a person’s triggers is one of the most important things you can do. Triggers can reignite memories of trauma and cause flashbacks to that traumatic moment. These memories and flashbacks can negatively impact a person's mood, render a person unable to interact appropriately with the environment around them, or cause them to relapse into harmful habits, according to the America Psychiatric Association.

If you are living with someone with a mental illness, identifying your expectations or “pet peeves” and being able to convey them to your loved one will aid in managing your relationship and living arrangements to avoid bitterness or negative energy.  

Communication is imperative.

Being able to communicate openly, honestly, and in a non-judgmental environment is essential. Both parties must be comfortable with sharing their likes, dislikes, concerns, and achievements. Your caregiver may appear to be strong, confident, and have it together, but don’t assume that’s true. Your loved one may have good days and bad days. We’re all human. We all have our strengths, faults, and baggage. Help each other unpack!

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! For caregivers that are choosing to support their loved one, asking questions about their triggers, needs, thoughts, and feelings will help you have a better understanding of what they are going through or how they process things.

Don’t be afraid to say you don’t understand! What they may be going through, their symptoms, or how they are impacted by their illness can be confusing for others. You don’t necessarily have to understand. The important thing is that you listen, accept them, and respect their situation just as you would expect them to do for you.

Don’t be afraid to express your needs! As a caregiver, you are still an individual going through your journey of life. You can have your own ups and downs. Don’t discredit or lose focus of your voyage. Sharing yourself is essential for your own balance and for your loved one to understand your position.  

Having a better understanding and mutual respect will allow you to better care for your loved one and have a stronger relationship.

Take initiative.

Often for those individuals that are undiagnosed or newly diagnosed, they are going through a learning process themselves. They may not know what they need or what to disclose and reveal or may still be struggling with opening up and asking for help. Don’t wait for he/she to ask for help or say what they need.

When your loved one is in an episode, they are often confused and cannot think clearly. It may require you to make decisions for them using your best judgment. Go the extra mile and attend a therapy session, pick up his/her medication, invite them to eat, a movie, or for a walk, show up at their house unannounced if you’ve noticed that they’ve been distant. It could be the very thing that saves their life!

Remember, taking initiative is not one-sided. It is just as important for the individual living with a mental illness to be proactive with their caregiver. The desire to build a healthy and cohesive relationship should be valuable to each party.

Make sure you take care of yourself.

Being a caregiver for a loved one can be stressful. It is extremely important that you practice self-care and do not overextend yourself. Mental illness is not one size fits all nor does it only affect or impact those that are diagnosed.

Don’t be afraid to attend therapy for yourself, especially if you are supporting a loved one. The additional efforts can be rewarding but can be hard work to manage. Talking with a therapist can provide some extra support and assist you with navigating your role in your loved one’s life.

You’re friends/family first! Being sensitive towards your loved one’s illness is desired, but don’t be scared to be yourself. If you refrain from saying or doing things that come naturally this can cause unnecessary stress and pressure on yourself. While we expect people to exercise their filters with their words or restraint with their actions, we also believe that we are accepted and loved for who we are. There is a reason why your loved one is turning to you for support, so be yourself!

Your mental health is just as vital as your loved one living with a mental illness.

Come shine with me!

anxiety is... ft. Bennie Niles

This week I wanted to get a perspective from a man I admire. Bennie is a is a third-year PhD student at Northwestern University, where he is studying African American Studies. He created Just Tryna' Graduate to help Black students get to & through graduate school. You can find him on Linkedin and Twitter. Many times students whether in graduate school, high school, or even just students of life find themselves battling anxiety to be twice as good and have to work twice as hard -- especially if you are Black. His story and his desire to help the community cannot go unnoticed. 

Bennie's Story: 

In my experience, stress and grad school go hand in hand. There's always something new to read or write. There's always a conference to apply to, or a grant to apply for. And that's not even accounting for the stress that comes with having to navigate academia's bureaucracy and/or different relationships with professors.

A few months ago, I was pretty stressed about an impending deadline. But for some reason (read: my anxiety), I couldn't even bring myself to start the assignment. And even though I still had time before it was due, days even, I just knew that my professor had sent me an email asking for the assignment (again, anxiety). I started getting pains in my chest, and I began to feel overwhelmed. So much so that I had to take a nap.

When I woke up, I was a lil groggy, but I felt better. I actually forgot all about the deadline...until I didn't. Because, you see, that's how this anxiety thing works. You're good...until you're not. Suddenly, the sharp pains returned, and I found myself grabbing at my chest all over again. I figured that in order to feel better I just needed to check my email and deal with the consequences, whatever they may be. But no email. Was I stressing for nothing? I needed affirmation, someone to let me know that I wasn't crazy. So I tweeted about the experience.

These two tweets ended up getting over 600 likes. But what struck me most about these tweets was the widespread response. Grad students (mostly Black) from all over commented "Same." or "This is me!" Hell, even a few professors joined the conversation and said that they were dealing with similar issues. On one hand, I felt supported. I mean, it's always nice to know that you're not alone, especially when it's an issue like anxiety. But on the other hand, I was pissed off because why is it that so many Black grad students feel this way?

After pondering this question, and responding to others' reflections about my tweet, I actually remembered that this wasn't the first time that I dealt with anxiety. In fact, I've been grappling with it since I began my Ph.D. program. But it was during my second year, when I was working my Master's thesis, that I really learned what anxiety is, and how it felt in my body. Here's a snapshot:

Anxiety is...already knowing that you have to finish your Master's thesis by the end of your second year of grad school. So after your first year, you print out twelve different articles about your topic to read over the summer. But you never really read them because the mere idea of writing a Master's thesis is daunting. So you just carry the articles in your backpack all summer because you know that you're gonna read them...eventually. 

Anxiety is...starting to write your Master's thesis but then stopping repeatedly because you think that this one research paper is your entry into "the field." And you're stressed because: one, you still don't know what that "field" even looks like as a second year grad student; and two, the more you read, the more you realize that you still don't know enough about the topic to write the paper. But you keep attempting to write because you know that you have to write something before the year is over, so that you won't get kicked out of your doctoral program. But you're stressed because you keep reading and stopping, and writing and stopping because the idea of YOU writing a Master's thesis is daunting.

Anxiety is...stressing because, even though your deadline is slowly getting closer, you still don't have anything substantial written aside from your name, title, and that four-sentence epigraph that you typed up to help you meet the page count. Anxiety is...still working on the paper but purposely missing that deadline because, now, you no longer have to deal with the pressure of writing with a deadline hanging over your head. Anxiety is...eventually turning in the paper and (somehow) winning the "Best Paper Award," but feeling stressed because people are telling you to submit it for publication in an academic journal...which means that this was your entry into "the field," after all.

Anxiety is...feeling your voice quiver as you present your work to an academic audience, because you just know that, at some point, maybe when you're mid-sentence, someone is going to come and tell you that they made a mistake, that the award actually belonged to someone else, which would be embarrassing as hell but also soothing because you already knew that you really weren't supposed to win the award in the first place because: one, you still don't know what the "field" looks like; and two, you still don't believe you know enough about your topic. But with the award still in hand, you eventually finish your presentation, promptly return your seat, and subtly try to massage away those sharp pains in your chest. (Anxiety is...painful.)

It's unfortunate but, in my experience, grad students often discuss issues of mental health in hushed tones. There's a reason for that, though. As grad students, we already know that, some days, getting out of the bed and doing this "work" is tough. So we try to offer each other support as best as we can. But we also know that, sometimes, there's a cost to not looking like you're able to handle your workload (i.e., condescension, stigma, pushback, and diminished opportunities). And for these reasons, many of us attempt to be productive even in the midst of our suffering.

Even as I write this, I can already hear some of my professors in my ear. And yeah, I get it. The job market. Publications. Tenure-track. I get it. But professors/advisors/mentors, what kind of scholars are you producing when you demand that your grad students "do the work" at all costs? That they learn to choose between their self-care and their academic obligations? Before we can even think about professionalization and the road ahead, we need to have a very long and very candid conversation about what the academy does to graduate students! Because if this is any sign of what lies ahead, I'll be damned if I stay in academia after I get this degree.

For I am so much more than what I produce in a seminar or academic journal.

Copy of Copy of Homemade (1).png

Come shine with me!

deactivate.

 

It’s Mental Health Awareness Month and I have deactivated my twitter account. Let me explain how it got to this point. Social media is a big influence on our lives. It is can really infiltrate your mind and spirit. I love social media and have dedicated my own academic research to it. I love to study how people use it and how it impacts the minds of those who look like me but I never realized how much it impacted my life until my therapist said something.

We all know by now that what we ingest becomes a part of us. We are not removed from absorbing the energies of others – good or bad. Everyone is inherently good and inherently bad. That’s just the reality of it all.  This applies to our social media accounts too.

For the last 3 weeks or so I have been finding myself using Twitter less and less. I have always found myself feeling anxious when certain topics are brought up. I have also felt anger, sadness, and even jealousy in the past. On the flipside, I love networking and talking to people online who have the same interests as me. What has pulled me away from Twitter is the noise. The opinions, commentary, and bickering that comes with having many different types of people on one platform and I am not equipped to handle that – at least not right now.

My friend Ashley had some posts on her IG story where she talked about curating your timeline to align with who you are at that moment. It resonated with me because I have found myself attempting to silence the noise of a timeline I created based on past interests and ties to people I’ve met.  At first, I was muting, blocking, and unfollowing people but then that became overwhelming. My therapist has worked very hard with me to stop oversharing online and to also not use social media as a diary. LIFE CHANGING, okay?! Learning to disconnect and keep my personal business – personal, has been helpful – especially when I am dealing with my own mental health. The good days can turn into bad days if I see something that is triggering or if someone is just being negative online. The way we speak about protecting our energy is so beautiful and I think that it applies to your mind and also your social media accounts.

It’s sometimes frustrating to constantly have to filter my social media accounts to make sure it aligns but the work has to be done. In order to grow and continue on my own journey, I have to be realistic about my attachment to social media and the relationship I have with it. There is NOTHING wrong with using social media but I do believe, for myself, it can be a battle of the noise vs. my own inner thoughts and ideas. I have to work on separating the two.

When manic or depressive, social media usually doesn’t help. That is when I over share the most and that is when I can put myself in situations I don’t want to be in. When I am feeling low I don’t want to see certain things but I have always had trouble REALLY disconnecting without finding myself back online.  I also have this fear that if I disconnect from Twitter that my blog will go unnoticed or I will not get some of the opportunities I have gotten in the past. My blog has it’s own Twitter but it doesn’t have as big of a following as I do on my personal account. But really, why do I care? SEE, this is why I need to take a break. I need to find out why these things matter in this way. I know what is for me is for me but I still attach that success to my online presence.

It is a big part of our lives and my life but in order to heal, I have to really set some boundaries for my damn self. So, as a Black woman who battles with her own mental health, I have found that disconnecting has helped me work on my own shit. I love the support I get online but I also don’t like the feeling of needing validation from others in order to feel good about myself. This may not be you but it has been a trend in my life at times.  For now, I am deactivating my account, in 3 weeks I may reactivate it, or I may wait the full 30 days and allow my account to be irretrievable forever.  I don’t know.

My mental health is more important to me than being on certain websites that can stunt my own growth. It is okay to say “this is becoming too much” and dip. There is nothing wrong with doing that. There is also nothing wrong with going away and coming back. Your mental health is important and in order to really grow you have to be realistic with yourself about your weaknesses and lack of self-control when it comes to certain websites that may be filling you with a lot of negativity. The noise can really alter how you grow. It can really test you and your foundation. The noise can make you revert.  In order to preserve myself, I have to remove myself from things that can make me revert or at least try my hardest to do so.

 

 

The shit just isn’t fun anymore and I am mentally exhausted. How do you disconnect when it all becomes too much? Do you disconnect at all? Comment below with your thoughts!

 

Come shine with me!

roots.

Poetry month is coming to an end and I honestly have enjoyed every moment of sharing my work with you all. I have a small following of readers and it's a blessing to know that someone is interested in my work and actually finds it helpful in some way. 

With everything that has been happening this year in my life unexpectedly, I have found that being outside and planting my feet into the grass is one of the most therapeutic things for me. I have noticed that I am more concise with my words and I am starting to find myself not interested in the things that used to occupy my mind and time. With every moment outside amongst the flowers, birds, trees, and sounds of the wind I find myself becoming more open to the possibility of putting my phone down and allowing myself to become one with the outside -- even if just for a moment. 

Being grounded is something I have always struggled with. I often found myself trying to control things that were totally out of my control. Past trauma and pain and "the struggle" are embedded in the fabric of who I am but that didn't mean that I had to be married to those emotions, that pain, and those memories. I was operating out of a place of "I have to struggle in order for my life to mean something" and sometimes I still think that way.

To combat that I force myself outside as a reminder that I do not have control of anything -- except my reactions. I can choose what to keep and what to let go. I can choose what to divorce that is no longer serving me. Being outside is a reminder that as long as I can plant my feet into the ground and allow myself to breathe for a moment that life goes on. 

I have been using Twitter less and less daily but I posted something recently that not only resonates deeply with me but seems to resonate with others. I said, 

"I am divorcing my attachment to the idea that I have to struggle all my life. I am divorcing the idea that I have to perform to be loved. I am divorcing the idea that I cannot accept myself the way that I am right now." 

I meant that with every bone and breath in my body. I am really tired of being married to the struggle and to that struggle mentality. I am not a victim anymore. My life will have ups and downs that I cannot control. The only thing I can control is how many moments I can allow myself to go outside, plant my feet into the ground, and breathe freely. 

Next month is #MentalHealthAwareness month. I will be taking a hiatus from my personal social media accounts to focus on some inner work for a few weeks. I have some great features for next month's blog from some of my favorite people. Follow the blog's Twitter and Instagram for updates! I will be using those accounts during my hiatus from my personal accounts to keep you all updated on posts. 

Poetry month has been a blessing to me. I hope it's been a blessing to you too. 

Fin.

Come shine with me!

split.

I am an advocate for mental health because it has not only impacted the lives of those I love but also my life. I rarely talk about this in my blog or in conversation but in 2015 I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder ll and PTSD from childhood trauma. Dealing with my own mental health all of my life has been a struggle prior to treatment. I found myself in denial most times and blaming myself for the way I felt.

Having Bipolar Disorder has been a very difficult yet eye-opening experience for me. Each day I learn more about myself and I learn how to accept myself. I am thriving through my disorders and they are only a small part of the beautiful person I am.

Mania is the hardest part for me. I feel irritable, I spend money I shouldn't,  I can isolate myself, feel paranoid at night, not sleep, not eat or eat terribly, my speech becomes rapid, I have many ideas and I have even put myself in dangerous situations or have exhibited risky behavior.  I can be flaky and cancel things that I would normally love doing. I can make decisions that I will regret later -- this shows in my hair cutting. I used to self-harm 4 years ago during these episodes. I don't anymore. 

It used to be my depressive episodes that were the hardest. They would last longer than normal and make me feel empty inside. I would be depressed for months and months. I would be void of emotion almost. Barely crying, laughing and smiling as a way to seem normal, not feeling attached to anything or anyone. Drinking and smoking to socialize with the group or to be able to just hang out with people for long periods of time that were not in my core group of friends. 

Treatment saved my life and it made it so I could better cope and identify what was going on. I have never felt comfortable talking about my symptoms or writing poetry about it that I would like to share. Today, I am manic, yesterday, I was manic. I am okay with saying this. I am okay with this part of me.  I am thriving with a mental illness. I am high-achieving, I am witty, I am loving, caring, and a goofball. 

This is my first poem about having bipolar disorder. As an advocate for mental health, I am comfortable with being transparent in this moment. My therapist and my support system have helped me reach this point. 

Enjoy.

 

Come shine with me!

Perform No More

This is the time of year where everyone is figuring out what they have accomplished, going over mistakes they made, and trying to figure out what’s the big goal for next year. There will be vision board parties, new year new me posts on IG, and think-pieces about what to bring into 2018 and what to leave behind in 2017. All of these have a purpose and a place. All of these have significance to someone.

Throughout the year I have tried to find ways to better myself. I have done this through many different modes -- therapy, exercise, diet, friendships, healing, writing, dancing, reading, studying, retreating, reinventing myself..all necessary. One thing I can say I haven’t done is mastered self-preservation. I have found many ways to stay afloat and to exist but I can be honest and say that I have neglected certain things about myself that I need to preserve.

Self-preservation is often tied to extreme things like death or just staying alive.Then there is the flip-side where it can be seen as a way to protect oneself from the outside world and societal/systemic schools of thought that can break a person down. Doing just enough to not end up hurt physically but what about the mind. The mind needs preservation too.

I had a good friend tell me that my “form of self-care was making sure others were doing self-care but what about me?”. Sometimes we can get into the cycles and rhythms of helping others preserve themselves and ignoring the glaring red flags in our mind that we need to preserve ourselves first.

How does this happen? I believe it stems from the need to feel needed, the desire to be wanted, the eagerness to make sure others are doing well. Nothing is wrong with this but in order to really be of service to others, we must first be of service to ourselves.

I had to ask myself the hard-hitting questions. “Are you happy?” “How do you feel physically vs mentally vs emotionally?” “When you wake up do you feel ready for the day?” Let’s just say the answers were not all “love and light” like one would expect. I spent most of my year so concerned with my presentation that I didn’t take time to work on my preservation.

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of if we're going to heal,let it be GLORIOUS..png

Because of this, I got sick, a lot, and none of my remedies were working as well or as quickly. My lack of mental preservation impacted my physical body. So, I had to do some digging. I had to figure out what I needed to do in order to preserve myself.

I had to first realize that my lack of care for myself was going to kill me and that I really have a lot of work to do in the “attempting to live for others and be perfect” department. Shit can be so toxic and foolish. This I know.  I had to secondly realize that the more I ignored the signs of letting go of things the more difficult it would be to really be open to my blessings. And lastly….I had to quit my job.

From here I am not sure of a lot of things but the one thing I am sure of...is my decisions. I know that in order for me to continue to shine I cannot present instead of preserving. I cannot tell others to shine their light if I continue to let my own light dim when I feel weak or scared. This isn’t an empowerment piece, it’s a redirection piece. Shit, we all have moments where we forget how to take care of ourselves. This was my moment of many.

New year new me? Nope. New year, same me, better observation of self, less presenting for others, and grave preservation of self as a WHOLE.

 

How do you plan to preserve yourself moving forward?

 

Come shine with me!

Martyr

Snapseed.jpg

It took me 7 days to figure out what to write about. Usually, I have my topics pre-planned but none of them felt right. None of them felt appropriate for this week. I found myself talking a lot about boundaries, friendship, and releasing over the weekend to multiple people. It was evident to me that many of us don’t set boundaries, especially in friendships. We allow ourselves to be a martyr for the sake of friendship.

I vote no.

Boundaries are essential to our everyday life. We need them in order to protect ourselves.

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of if we're going to heal,let it be GLORIOUS. (4).png

 

Therapists, healers, “the friend that’s always there”, all need boundaries for those they interact with.

Shit, we all need to set them.

When we don’t set boundaries we find ourselves in situations that really aren’t for us. We find ourselves being used or grouped into traumas that are not our own. We don’t deserve that. We also find ourselves giving so much without receiving that we become resentful. We don’t deserve that either.  

I battled for most of my life with setting boundaries. I have found myself being put in compromising situations just for the sake of “being supportive”. I’ll be damned. It took me years of being burned out, secretly resentful, embarrassed and hurt to realize that I am not a martyr. I am not a mother to all. I am not a savior,

I realized, through therapy, that boundaries are important because without them you may become codependent on helping others….which can be manipulative in a way.

My boundaries change from person to person but the overarching "theme" (if you will) is "distance" and not being a "martyr". It hurt at first to set boundaries but I started small. I made myself more available to me than others. I made it clear when I didn’t want to or didn’t have time to do something. “No” became my favorite word. I ended friendships that no longer served me or that were attached to not-so-good people. I stopped going places I didn't want to go, this included family gatherings too. 

I still struggle sometimes with boundaries when it comes to meeting new people but I am working harder on discernment and really allowing my inner compass to guide me. If I get a weird feeling about something or someone, it’s a hard stop for me now.

We don’t have to be everything for everybody. We never will be, so we have to stop trying. The only person we can be present for in that capacity is ourselves and even then we need boundaries. I set boundaries for myself, too. I know that I can only drink a little before I find myself drinking too much. I know I have to set boundaries for the environments I allow myself to go to. I know I have to set boundaries for the people I am around so that I don’t end up triggered. We need boundaries for ourselves too.

As the year closes out, I encourage you to reevaluate your relationships. I encourage you to see if you are a martyr and lack boundaries. Are you constantly being disrespected? Are you finding yourself in far too many compromising situations? Dead that shit. Set those boundaries.

It will not be easy but it will save your life. I know boundaries saved mine. Don’t feel guilty if others don’t get it, it’s not for them, it’s for you.

Protect and preserve your energy.

 

Come shine with me!

Losing My Balance

Anxiety can be paralyzing for some of us. It can feel as if the world is closing in on us and we cannot break free. There are so many ways to manage anxiety on a daily basis and as someone who suffers from it greatly, I have had to work super close with my own therapist to figure out what works and doesn’t work.

My anxiety looks like heart palpitations, crying, self-deprecating thoughts, and blame. If you didn’t know, I suffer from Bipolar 2 and PTSD, so when my anxiety kicks in….it can make me feel as if I am losing it.

This week hasn't been the best for me mentally so I have had to tap into all of my "tools" to manage not only a depressive episode but the anxiety that follows rapidly behind it.

For the last 2 years, I have worked so hard to stay afloat. The journey hasn’t been easy and it’s not a race so there isn’t a “finish line” for me. Sometimes I want to stay in bed, not eat, shower, or even speak to anyone. Other days I want to scream, fight, cry, or disappear. These are just a few of the things I have felt. When I feel these things, I feel like I am losing my balance. I feel like I am outside of myself looking in at someone foreign. 

Managing my anxiety is a process and a lot of trial and error. It’s not #SelfCareSunday but I promised you all way before this blog (on Twitter) that I would do a post about anxiety and with the way the world is set up right now, shit….we all need it.

Don’t feel guilty for putting your mental health first.

Here are some ways I manage my anxiety:

Therapy - Therapy has helped me immensely and my therapist has been able to give me coping tools for when shit just ain’t sweet.

Aromatherapy- There are so many scents that can be used to elevate your mood or relax you when you are feeling anxious. Candles, incense, and even essential oils can relax you. The vibrational frequency of essential oils can clear your mind at rapid speed. You can put them in a diffuser or even get a bracelet or necklace to wear the scents. Spray bottles also help. 

Top 3: Rose,Lavender, Myrrh. For a complete list look into purchasing Essential Oils Natural Remedies: The Complete A-Z Reference of Essential Oils for Health and Healing or type in your ailment + essential oil blend on Google.

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of if we're going to heal,let it be GLORIOUS. (3).png

Crystal healing - Crystals also have healing properties. You can meditate with them, wear them, or keep them around to help with your anxiety.  Here are some I use for healing my own anxiety and depression.

Rose.png

Music - Creating playlists with soothing sounds, favorite songs, or songs that can change your mood are great for anxiety. I have a few, if you all are interested, I can post them on my Twitter page. (Comment below)

Meditation & Yoga- Both of these allow you to center yourself and be as present as possible. There are so many different types of practices on Youtube or apps for your phone like Insight Timer. I created a short Youtube playlist of some that help me.

Affirmations - Affirmations can be super helpful in times of stress. If you are online as often as I am or use your phone frequently, there are a few ways to find affirmations daily. Shine Text is a great FREE tool that sends you daily inspirational texts. Their twitter page is also padded with awesome uplifting things. Another person I follow who posts daily affirmations is @forevermines, her page is such a breath of fresh air and I can always refer back to it for some affirmations. 

There are so many other ways to manage anxiety outside of the 6 listed above. What are some ways that you manage your anxiety? My therapist always tells me that anxiety is fear. I will continue to work hard to make sure that I don't let fear cause me to feel anxious. I hope you will try to do the same.

 

Come shine with me!