mental health, Self Dare, Uncategorized

Powerlessness and You

Today, someone messaged me and asked how to deal with the feeling of being powerless, and the ensuing emotions that resulted from that feeling. They also said that they would feel so bad that they weren’t pursuing anything else, out of solidarity for those suffering. I answered the inquiry, and I wanted to share with you what I said to this person:

First of all, I totally understand the feeling. When things are happening on a greater, grander scale (like national or even global decisions), it’s natural to feel like there isn’t anything you can do, and that leads to feeling frustrated with yourself, getting depressed, etc. And I don’t want to say that it’s “good” that you feel that way, but it’s a better response than not caring at all.

And sometimes it’s not even on such a big scale. When we see someone in our life who is in pain, we want to make it better. We want to fix the problem. And when we can’t, it feels like a failure. We take on their suffering because we believe that somehow it balances out. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. I mean, put yourself in the other person’s shoes: if you were to find out that someone was suffering on your behalf, would that make you feel better? Probably not.

Ultimately, though, it’s about balance and finding a direction to turn your emotional response.

For me, personally, regarding the bigger scale issues, after the election and after the first few weeks of just feeling like the world was ending, I started getting more involved with activism in my area. Nothing huge, but this week we met up with some people and wrote to our local and state representatives. Next, we’re planning an event to help raise money for local organizations. That feels good. It feels like something, and it keeps me rooted in knowing that I am a part of the ‘good side.’

On a smaller, more personal level, I’ve also been getting back into the mode of creativity, because I know that people need something good to look at when things in the world seem pretty dark. This is the time people need art and words and anything to make them feel a bit better. If I can use that to bolster the spirit of someone who is suffering, I will.

And really – take care of yourself. Feeling bad in and of itself will only wear you out. Enjoy the things that you love and be grateful for them, and look for ways that you can reach out and be there for people having a rough go of it. Remember, you need to secure your own oxygen mask before you can assist others with theirs.

Once again with regard to the bigger stuff, this is a particularly good read that a friend posted on Twitter this week, and it was something I absolutely had to read.

I hope this helps. Hang in there!

Uncategorized

Holiday Affirmations: Day 11

It’s a message that’s ingrained into us throughout the holiday season: making amends. Fixing things that haven’t worked out. Trying to rebuild burnt bridges. And it’s a great idea, but don’t let anyone guilt you into doing this. If there are people you’ve distanced yourself from for the good of your well-being, you are under no obligation to seek them out. Know yourself, and do only as much as you feel you can.

Uncategorized

Holiday Affirmations: Days 6 and 7

Yesterday, our power went out very unexpectedly. And it wasn’t just the ‘oh 5 minutes weh’ kind of outage. It was hours of darkness. However, this made things all the more inspiring because it made me realize that you can’t plan for everything this time of year. All you can do is pick back up once the dust settles. Fight back against discouragement. It’s going to be okay. The light will return.


December is interesting because not only do we have the holidays but there’s the double-whammy of ‘this is the end of the year.’ There’s a feeling of finality. And that’s not always good, because it’s easy to go, “God, I didn’t get done x, y or z.” We come across that list of resolutions and realize that maybe we’re the same weight or we still don’t do our laundry before we run out of clean clothes. Don’t get lost in the past. Be present in this moment. Make it count.

Uncategorized

Holiday Affirmations: Day 5

Your mental or physical illness won’t take a break around the holidays, so you might as well make a place for it at your table and on your schedule. There will be times when you can’t even bring yourself to work on the laundry list of items that need done before the 25th or whenever you observe your special time. That’s okay. Try not to be too hard on yourself. Sometimes doing the best you can means just waking up. Stressing yourself out will only make it worse. Take care.

Physical Challenge, Uncategorized

A Weight Off My Shoulders

A couple of months ago, I joined the Nerd Fitness Academy. This was in an effort to tackle something probably at least fourteen years in the making: getting a real handle on my health. I made some headway, but then I came to a place in the mindset courses that was about ‘finding the big WHY.’ Why do you want to change. Why do I want to take charge of myself physically. And I would get stuck.

Honestly, this post has taken days to write. I always think I’m set to start and then I start writing about my body, and sadness takes over. That should be pretty telling.

There are two things that have been a constant in my life:

1. I’ve always been fat.
2. I’ve always been conflicted about that fact.

There was one point where I was at least ‘average’ and I attained it by very unhealthy means (hey there, puberty! Oh, weird body changes *and* crippling anxiety/depression? Yes please). Otherwise, I’ve always been on the larger end.

I’ve faced the ‘Aw man, you would be great if you lost weight,’ and I’ve heard the ‘He’s not into fat chicks.’ I used to hate seeing pictures of myself. I’m still squeamish. On an average day, I’m passably content, but I’ve never really loved my physical self.

And what’s worse, when I feel like I want to go out and experience the world, I’m always afraid that I’ll be stopped short on account of my weight.

I don’t want to live like that anymore. I’m tired of worrying and being unhappy.

I want to be able to do things without thinking ‘is my body capable?’ I want to be comfortable in my skin. I want to go to the doctor’s office without that pit of dread in my stomach. I want to feel like I have a handle on my body.

So that is…really why I’m here. I’m nervous. I’m excited.

And I’m about to hit ‘post’ before I lose my nerve.

5 Things, Self Dare, Uncategorized

5 Reminders for Both of Us

  1. Don’t fight against fear or anxiety or depression. The children that reside in your mind will never understand what you’re saying and will just scream louder. Find things to distract them and go about your business.
  2. Ignore perfection. Complete your daily tasks even if they do not become the stuff of legends. Then get up and do it again.
  3. Saying “I don’t care” is easy. Saying that you will continue to care when it is the hardest option and smiling despite all pains is a miracle. Believe in miracles.
  4. Fight on. Fight hard. Never surrender. Life is an action movie that we think is a rom-com.
  5. When in doubt, carry a supply of sweet treats. Sometimes reinforcements will be necessary.
mental health, Self Dare, Uncategorized

30 Minute Miracles

My day job recently has been…very stressful.

Very stressful.

Sometimes, I finish the work day, and I am in a jumbled state that can only be described as “frazzled.” I cross the finish line and my legs won’t stop. I get to the end of the sentence and I can’t just put down the period and be done.

This is a very stark contrast to how I normally operate, when things are running smoothly: I’m a perfectly functioning automobile heading down life’s interstate. Oh, it’s time to change lanes? I put on my turn signal, move over and boom. Easy.

When I’m stressed out, it’s Fast and Furious, Part Katie’s-Gonna-Kill-Someone.

So I learned something very useful but surprisingly difficult to do: I take 30 minutes and only do things I want to. I close the door to my office. I cross-stitch. I listen to music. I mess around on my computer. I doodle.

I imagine you’re waiting for the ‘difficult’ part here. The activities themselves are pleasant, sure, but it’s the awareness of what is waiting on the other side of the door. There’s this tiny version of me, banging on it with both fists, saying, “Hey! Hey! There’s dinner to make! That laundry isn’t going to put itself away! You do not have time to just be hiding in your room!”

The hell I don’t.

30 minutes. Think about it. How many times have you wasted 30 minutes on an extra episode of a television show? Or hitting the snooze on the clock by your bed?

By taking the time to gather my mental marbles up and put them back in the bag where they belong, I know they aren’t getting lost. I can come at my to-do list reinvigorated.

Give it a try. You have time. I dare you.

Self Dare, Uncategorized

The Magic of 60 Minutes

Why is it that every year when daylight savings time ends, that Sunday feels like the longest day of the year? I slept in this morning after starting National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and I’m still shocked that there is usable time to today!

What is that can make a single hour so special? Ever day, we take these little chunks of time for granted. We can zone out through an entire hour with no effort, or we can feel like asking for an hour is a life-changing request.

Just think of the things you can do with an hour for yourself:

  • Journal, write or scrapbook. I especially love Project Life for this sort of thing.
  • Watch an episode of your favorite show.
  • Take a shower with your favorite soaps and shampoos.
  • Take a walk around the block. Smell the flowers and appreciate the area you live in.
  • Email a friend you haven’t talked to in a while and tell them what they mean to you.
  • Clean up a section of your house. This could be a shelf, a closet, a drawer, anything! It’s crazy how much you can get done in even 20 minutes when that is what you are focused on.
  • Meditate or pray.
  • Read a book or play a video game.

What an hour truly comes down to is being mindful of what it is. If you take the time to be present in those 60 minutes, it’s amazing how much more refreshed you feel after it’s over.

How did you spend your 25th hour today?

Poetry, Self Dare, Uncategorized

Self Dare [An Anthem]

There are a lot of days when you will wake up and say,
“I think I’m really awesome, and I’ll love myself today.”

But there are just as many nights when you’re lying on your back,
Determined you’re a waste of space and a super-duper sad sack.

These are the times when you have to make a list
Of all the things your inner critic overlooked and missed.

Like how good your hair looks when you blow it dry,
Or how easy it is to bake a cake, like you don’t even have to try.
Then there’s your awesome penmanship, the way you write your name,
Or your collection of books or trinkets – no two are the same!
How about the way your dog looks when you get home from work?
Or how when you meow at her, your cat’s ears always perk?
Don’t forget all the kudos and compliments people give you,
Refer back to them frequently — see, there are more than a few.

You are really awesome, you deserve your own love and care.
Take it out of your day right now. Come on, that’s a dare!

5 Things, Uncategorized

We’re Back!

I missed you! How are you?

So things never go quite how you imagine they will. Even in the best situations. Such was the case with moving, and it wasn’t even a dramatic move. Looking at a map, it would be, like, two fingers tips. Nothing. But we are still reeling, still struggling to get back to whatever normal is.

Here are 5 things I learned from the move that I think is relevant to you, you not-moving people, you. Unless you are moving, in which case I send you lots of good vibes.

1. There’s no way to be too organized, and if you’re not organized at all, the only thing you need is a box to get started. You know those papers are important, and you should keep track of them. If you don’t have time to put together some elaborate color-coded system, at least keep them all in one single box. Not three. Not four and a shelf. Not four, a shelf and a folder.

2. Sometimes, there won’t be help there. You may have to improvise. Take the number of people who have said they will help you with something and divide it by two. Assume that’s how many people are coming. Make sure you have a separate plan of attack so you’re not left stranded.

3. Hoard small victories. Some days, the best you can hope for is a spot of floor and a cleared off space on the couch. Nothing wrong with that. Take pride in that even if you are surrounded by a box fortress.

4. You can always get back to where you were with small steps. I have a list of things I like to at least touch on every day – crafts, writing, spirituality and reading for pleasure, to name a few. I have had neither the time nor space is start new art projects, so I’ve had to be content with doodles, photos and “easy” art. Every little bit helps.

5. Take care of yourself. It may be hard, but make sure you’re eating, drinking plenty of fluids, and taking some time for yourself to recharge. It’s easy to say, “I will do that after I finish this big task,” but if you crash and burn, you won’t get anything done at all!

What life lessons have you taken from big changes?