Mental Health

If You’re Sad and Feeling Blue

So if you’ve read my blog, you know I struggle with depression. This month it’s been coming on ever so slowly. I hate it. I can use my tools as much as I want, but eventually, the crash will come and I hate it because I know I can’t fully stop it. The worst thing about depression, is watching it arrive, only to fight it, and still pick yourself up… again…only to know that it absolutely WILL come to visit again.

An unfortunate constant. Especially when I literally have nothing to be sad about. I’ve been writing more, been getting outside more, I have lost over 60 pounds, and I feel beautiful. Confident even. I should be celebrating.

The weekend I went to the cabin I thought maybe I had beaten this round. Yet, I may have found myself driving to work, wishing something apocalyptic had happened so Life could be canceled…or I could just not exist anymore. Folks, I wish I were kidding.

I don’t mean to alarm anyone. If things like that are creeping in, I reach out to someone. And I did and I ALWAYS do. This is part of depression. Everything is going great, but there are those tapes we’ve been playing in our thick skulls since as far back as we can remember. A negative thought sits on the outskirts of our brains. Soft at first, insisting you don’t deserve to be happy. You keep pushing along, because you know there are reasons to celebrate; reasons to thrive.

I’m so grateful I have learned to utilize the tools I’ve learned that help me pull myself out of the meanest sets of the doldrums. Find time to create✅ Reach out to a few of my MANY solid friends✅ (again, guys!! Grateful🙌❤️) self-care✅ Spend time with some of my cherished Little’s ✅

I started out the day on the verge of tears, and tonight my heart is full. I am so loved. I am so blessed in like, every single way. There is hope and picking yourself up again is always worth it.

Tonight’s post written to:

With the game muted in the background. Go Warriors!

Humor

To Be a Spy or To Not Be a Spy

When the fair young maiden was in high school, she wanted to travel the world and be a spy. There was something incredibly enticing about something so dangerous and let’s admit, a tiny bit sexy. Some of her favorite movies outside of the Rom-Com genre were The Saint, Mission Impossible, and The Bourne Identity. This could be because her fine father raised her on action movies with heroes played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, and Mel Gibson. Her exposure to this obviously taught her that the coolest and bravest men were spies, police officers, CIA agents, FBI  agents, and hard core military men. They were in fact, the BEST kind of men. They led the most thrilling lives, with danger, and oftentimes, romance. It didn’t hurt that the leads in these kind of films were all incredibly attractive. So obviously if she wanted to be a spy, she was more likely to find a handsome spy husband. The maiden was a hopeless romantic and has even been accused of being optimistic from time to time.. Not to mention spies knew several languages, and the girl wanted to learn at least five.

 

Mandalicious was 17 and in the counseling office staring at the overwhelming bulletin board. There were flyers from local schools, schools in far away lands, and schools she had never heard of. Where was she even to begin? And there it was, staring her right in the face. It was a tiny green piece of paper that said something along these lines: “Want to learn multiple languages and work for the CIA? Call this number for more information.” Now, she doesn’t recall the exact wording, but it truly did reference the CIA and learning all sorts of languages. She excitedly jotted down the digits. Her heart leapt while she thought, “Oh my gosh! This is it! I am going to try and get into the CIA!” She hurriedly raced home. With bated breath and trembling fingers she dialed the numbers and waited. She thought she was going to get some pretty exciting information about how to work towards this amazing lifestyle she had convinced herself she had truly wanted.

 

Alas, it wasn’t to be so. Instead of a receptionist, she got a recording. It didn’t tell her she reached a number that had been disconnected. It said she reached a number that DID NOT EXIST. It was trickery! She double, triple and probably quadruple checked the numbers she had written down and called again. Same thing. The maiden even went as far as to check what she wrote down with the flyer in the counseling office. They matched. Mandalicious called the line a few more times, hoping it was some kind of screening process that she was failing for some reason and maybe with some persistence they would let her talk to someone. Eventually the disappointed lass gave up. Ands she is certain that it was two things: either it was a cruel guidance counselor’s idea of a great joke or the CIA somehow knew she would never do well as a spy.

 

Well, practice at anything can make anything perfect right? While this is true, some flaws and traits are so ingrained in people that they can’t ever really shake them. For our heroine, she happened to be a terrible liar. In fact, she could barely handle keeping a gift or birthday surprise from someone.  Let alone some terrible state secret. If she had to assassinate people for a living, the girl would currently be in a padded cell.  Mandalicious has had people ask her to keep secrets and can keep them, but if the pressure is on and someone is asking about something she is not supposed to say, they always knew by the expression on her face that she was not telling them the truth. Eventually, she was able to keep her cool whenever someone tempted her to tell a secret. But honesty was her virtue to a fault. It was as if keeping someone else’s confidence was a crime and she was terrified when someone caught her keeping another person’s secret from them.

 

Being unable to lie is not a bad trait, but in the spy world it would have got the poor girl killed. For one thing, torture is so not her thing; Mandalicious would have cracked, “Please no! Please, I’ll tell you anything!! Just don’t hurt that poor helpless puppy!!!” To this day she firmly believes that it is entirely possible that the CIA knew her number and that she was a terrible liar. As fortune would have it her career as a spy was never launched. She had a sensitive heart and was not cut out for the hardened life of a spy. She has never forgotten the experience, but still sometimes wonders what could have been.

Mental Health

Two Tricks to Help You Get Out of Bed EVERY Morning

I hate mornings. And when I say hate, I actually mean: I loathe, despise, and abhor them. Even when I am not in one of my down swings, I hate them. Sleep is my favorite drug always. And anyone who knows me can attest, that I am a happier lady if I can get 8-9 hours of sleep. But who has time to actually get that much sleep? I know I don’t. This might be because I am actually a night owl whose work starts promptly every weekday morning at 8am. I am a chronic snooze button hitter. It could be a loathing I developed at a young age. 
That being said, in order to eat and actually do my hair and makeup I have to get up at 6am. So this means that if I am to be as happy as the cutest early bird you have ever seen, I have to be asleep by 10 pm AT THE LATEST. I know this seems easy, but really, for me anyway, it has been almost insurmountable. When I get off work I usually have a project to do, sisters in my ward to visit teach, 2 book clubs to manage, eat, shower (my hair doesn’t blow dry anymore in the morning…takes way too long), Netflix to watch, and now finally, writing! That leaves little time to get to bed as early as 10. However, I finally feel I have a purpose, and I will get to that soon.
My first suggestion to combat hitting the snooze button is an easy one. Not even an unheard of proposal. It has been suggested to me my entire life, and I have even tried it: Put your alarm clock across the room. This never worked though, because I would turn it off and crawl back into my bed. It never felt like I truly had anything worth getting out of bed for. And over this last year, that is changing. 

Since cellphones have basically replaced alarm clocks, I slept with mine on the bed or nightstand…most often on my bed next to my pillow. This method was not useful in advancing progress in the desired ability to get out of bed. Even if I set multiple alarms, I would ALWAYS fall back to sleep. If I wanted to get to work on time I need to leave by 7:30am. Often, I would get out of bed at 7:15am. It was getting to the point where I wasn’t even trying to make my top knot look fancy. And “What makeup routine? Are you kidding me?” Don’t get me wrong, I love my job., but dag yo, it just wasn’t enough; isn’t enough. 

Last week,  I took some steps to make some real changes and I can already see them working in my life. The first step was simple; I started putting my phone across from my bed on the vanity. One adjustment changed things in two ways. Phone addiction is a real thing. Instant gratification is lurking behind a simple touch screen device and is so hard to resist. Especially when I am trying to sleep and I think of a person I forgot to text, or an idea for something important needing to be dictated into my notepad on my phone. It has replaced more than just my alarm clock; my calendar, jigsaw puzzles, phone calls with texting, and now that I am starting this blog social media is super important. So now, if I am trying to sleep and I think of something that needs me to touch my phone, it waits. Because by the time my book stops playing, I am tired enough that getting out of bed isn’t an option. So instead of planning and setting reminders, I sleep. Weird right? Sometimes it has even been as early as 10:30pm. Equally important, sitting up and hitting the snooze button after it starts playing Warm it up Chris, by Kriss Kross, gets my blood pumping. I start drawing myself out of my slumber. And I know in the depths of my heart that the biggest reason is because I am working on things I love.  

Last Thursday I joined a writing group. Some people and something has been pushing me, prompting me to start a blog. In the same vein, I don’t think I can count how many times I have started a novel, only to give up after one or two chapters. Part of it has been fear of what others think, but also the fear and belief that I would fail. I second guessed myself always and have been frightened of expressing myself, thus making myself vulnerable to other people’s criticism. Taking stances mostly terrifies me. But there is one thing I do know; I have so much to offer. My life has at times been tumultuous, but I feel that it has made me empathetic, compassionate, and loving. I have been gifted with a decent sense of humor ( I mean, I think I am hilarious). Blogging has helped me get up. Being challenged to write a chapter of a novel that has been brewing in my head for the last ten years by the writing group is fueling my creative passions. Best of all, I have faith in myself.
Let me repeat that. I HAVE FAITH IN MYSELF. Where did that come from? I can tell you that it has not been easy, and I am sure I will have to remind myself from time to time of my own worth. But what a wonderful thing to have. What an amazing feeling it is to actually focus on yourself and discover that you actually do love yourself. I realized, (not without encouragement from some amazing people) I am good at a lot of things. I love to paint, not exceptionally well, but I enjoy it. Whereas writing is something I have always had a knack for. My 6th grade English teacher, Mrs. Johnson told me so, but I never put much stock in it. Mrs. Murdoch, my 7th grade English teacher, encouraged me; yet I did not even begin to know how to believe her. I have faith in myself and I am following a dream. I don’t know where it will take me, but how can you not get up if you are living your life passionately and chasing your dreams?

Mental Health

4 Things to Help Turn Negative Thoughts into Positive Ones

THE TAPES IN OUR HEAD
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” I have long loved this quote! But what a difficult concept to master. I mean it makes sense; you have control over how you react or how to feel when someone bullies you or tries to make you feel less than. That’s usually just a reflection of the bully, not you. Simple right!? Not always.
We all have tapes that have recorded over time. Life experiences that have taught us how to think, react, feel. They’ve recorded what our parents and other role models have taught us regarding our worth. Well, what if those people taught and recorded on your tapes that you were worthless? How do you rewrite that tape? How can we record over something filled with vitriol, with something that uplifts, honors, and edifies us? Things that remind us of our true worth instead of what our grownups, the media, bullies and other people who influenced our childhood have recorded onto the tapes we play in our head.
We are often lucky enough to have people who see or saw all the amazing qualities within ourselves and tried to help us see it. But for whatever reason, the bad seems to be easier to remember. In my own experience with this has been difficult to overcome. I have to fight to rewrite my tapes EVERY DAY. Sometimes it is easy; other times it is like trying to dsafasdfsd
I understand what it is like to have a tape that has no business running through anyone’s head. I know what it means to have to rewrite so many things I was taught to believe about myself. It is not easy. Those tapes will start playing in my head after stretches of days where I have managed to listen to the loving tapes I’ve created in my mind. Something can still trigger the negative stuff and sometimes it can take a while to find the strength to force myself to listen to the positive ones.
So the question is, how do we rewire our brains? How do we fight the negative recordings? I don’t know all of the answers, but I can tell you what helps me eject the negative tapes and play the positive ones.
1. Find the Right Support System
· Not everyone in your life is going to understand you. There are people who can’t or don’t want to handle your crazy. We all come with baggage and it is so important to find people that don’t mind helping you either carry it, or help you rest from carrying it everywhere. And this baggage may be too much for others. ( I am not saying you should find people to completely dump your baggage one, but you need people in your life who can be patient with you). Fortunately I have some amazing people who accept me for who I am and are patient when I need them. There are those people who stick around and love you flaws and all. No one is perfect. No one can keep it together all of the time. You need individuals who stay through the good and the bad. I am lucky enough to have several people who have seen me through every stupid decision, and every dip I have ever had and I couldn’t be more grateful. Find the people who stay and forgive the ones that can’t or won’t. Because there are people who understand. There are people who will stay. Find them and keep them. Most importantly, appreciate and love them. The ones who stay are keepers. Take care to get rid of enablers, haters, and people who demean you. For obvious reasons, this is not healthy.

2. Be kind to yourself

· Taking time to actually to do something nice for yourself can take a lot of practice. But it doesn’t always have to take a lot of time or money. It can be as sumple as just saying no to something you don’t feel like doing or even spending a day at the spa. I know I don’t have a lot of money to go to the spa regularly so here is a list of inexpensive ways you can show yourself some love

  • Take a walk “endorphins make people happy,” Elle Woods.
  • Hot bath, with or sans bubbles
  • Take time to read
  • Paint or color
  • Hike
  • Say no
  • Home pedicures, facials, etc
  • Shave your legs!
  • Invest in some candles for bath time.

3. Daily Affirmations
· This feels soooo goofy! But I promise that this is the best way to rerecord your tapes. If you are not constantly working on it and telling your brain positive things you need to hear and believe. I can attest that it works! I will also admit that I need to add this into my routine. It is more difficult to let the negative in when you are filling your head with positive vibes on the reg. I promise I have always felt my best when I have chosen to put this into practice daily.
4. Self Care: and these are sometimes the hardest for me.

  • Clean your living space
  • Get up out of bed and put on something you love. Do your makeup and hair, only because it makes you feel good!
  • Wash the dishes immediately after you eat
  • Chase a dream. Schedule it. Joined the writing group, or the book club, or the Bollywood Troupe.

Honestly, I feel so much better when I apply these things to my life! When I take time to do something I love and even chase a dream, I feel worthy of something more. Playing those negative thoughts over and over is never helpful. The best we can do is be aware and acknowledge that we are struggling. Be patient with yourself and take steps every day to try and rewrite those tapes. It takes work, but it gets easier to pull yourself out the bad when you work on making this a daily positive habit.