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Month: July 2017

Take Action and Use Distraction

When I was a child and upset about something or other, my mom used to distract me. Rather than ruminate on the issue or try to fix the un-fixable, she would be like “look at that rainbow! Isn’t that awesome?” As a kid, I didn’t know what she was doing, but now that I have my own children I totally get it. Redirection helps kids to leave an issue alone.

Lately, I have realized the power of distraction as an adult.  My mind tends to abscess about things that I cannot control.  No matter how much I talk to my brain and tell it to shut up, it doesn’t always listen.  I’ve been utilizing another technique to help myself and it works. I distract myself from the repetitive thoughts.  These tapes in my head go over and over again if I do not take action.  The action I am referring to you today is called “distraction.”  I don’t know if that is a coincidence that rhymes but hey, let’s go with it.

There are so many things in our lives that we cannot control or change.  There may not be an immediate solution to something that you’re coping with.  One thing is certain, obsessing about a problem is not going to change it or make it go away.  So what can you do? Let’s say you are with a friend and all you can think about is your recent breakup.  You want to focus on having a great time with your friend but the negative thoughts keep swooping in.  You can distract yourself by doing a few things:

1.  Ask your friend what she’s been up to lately.   This distracts you from ruminating about the pain associated with your recent heartbreak.

2.  Take a look at your surroundings.  Too often in this world, we are either on our phones or in our heads.  I remember a time before technology took over this land. During that. period (the olden days)  I lived in my head quite a bit more than I do now. And that says a lot because currently, I spend a lot of time obsessing about stuff.  I make a concerted effort to look around me and noticed the things that I’m seeing; whether that means something beautiful, strange, or unexpected.  This takes me away from the repetitious nature of the thoughts in my brain.

3.  Go do something; anything at all.  I literally mean go do something that takes you away from your head. You can go for a walk, bike ride, go to the park, or even go to the grocery store.  Taking that concrete action of leaving your house and experiencing the world will help you exponentially.

Distraction is a powerful tool to give your brain a rest from overthinking.  These are things that we can do to help ourselves.  However, I always recommend seeking outside help when you were having trouble managing emotions that you’re experiencing in life.  There are therapists from your area that can assist you in this process.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

What about you? Have you ever used a distraction to help you cope with your intense feelings?  Tell me about what works in your life when you have trouble getting out of your head.

I resent my sensitivity but now…

We can’t change who we are. We are born, we develop our personalities as we grow up from children to adults. I’m not an early childhood development specialist, but I do know that. I was once a child, grew into a teenager and I’ve become something like an adult. Throughout this journey, I’ve identified as a sensitive human being. It’s been a rocky road (not like the ice cream by the way). I did not choose the brain I have, but I can learn to work with it. I’ve often wished that wasn’t so sensitive. Part of the reason is that people have “sensitive shamed” me. What that means is that they’ve said things like “you’re so sensitive!” And guess what? I am fucking sensitive and I’m embracing that. It enriches my life and even strangers understand that. Speaking of strangers understanding shit, check out this BetterHelp article. People I don’t know well have seen me cry on the subway and they’ve either ignored it or they’ve been strangely supportive. I have vague memories of both women and men asking if I was okay. And though I wasn’t objectively “okay,” sadness is a part of life. Crying is cathartic and I believe we can collectively agree that shedding tears helps us to get our emotions out.

My sensitivity makes me a better writer, my sensitive nature allows me to help other people by empathizing with them. My sensitivity is a gift from God or whatever universal force is out there that put me on this earth. No one will take this quality from me and for the rest of my life, I will learn to value this attribute of my personality. I will work to be a better person and integrate my emotionality into my being. I will not be “sensitive shamed.” But I realize that it’s up to me to monitor this. I have a right to express myself the way I feel comfortable doing so. There are people who repress their emotions, there are other human beings who are more logical than emotional. These people coexist with me in the world and their experiences are just as “real” as mine.

The more I can believe in myself, the richer my life will me. Sure, there are days that my sensitivity and emotionality frustrates me. There are times when I’m frustrated that I feel things more deeply than say a logical person. There’s another thing I need to clarify; just because I am sensitive doesn’t mean I am “crazy” or “irrational.” I have the capacity to express myself in a logical manner. Being sensitive and logical are not mutually exclusive.

What about you? Do you identify as more sensitive than logical? I want to hear how you cope with life’s challenges. Are you more logical than sensitive or the other way around? Maybe you’re a combination of both. As a good friend of mine said: life is not for the timid. We have a choice as to how we cope with things. So, how do you express yourself?


Mindfulness – I am here now

I am here now, typing these words. I don’t exactly know what to say, but I do know that I am sitting in a chair writing. It’s neither happy nor sad. I don’t feel anger nor do I feel frustration. I feel like me in this moment. I am not judging what I feel or why. I know that I have a right to be here, and so I honor those feelings. There will be moments in the future where I have feelings, but those moments are not this moment. As the words flow through me, I accept what they are. I don’t know what they WILL BE, nor do I need to know. That’s something that I struggle with as I feel panic or anxiety. I want to know the future and that isn’t possible.

I don’t own a crystal ball as much as I wish that I did. Actually, I don’t know if I would want a crystal ball or a magic 8 ball or the ability to see what is going to happen. Sure, I read tarot cards, but that’s more to understand what I am feeling and how I can help myself. I am an intuitive person and it helps my intuition to use my tarot cards for ME, not for anyone else.

Another superpower I don’t wish that I had is the ability to read people’s minds. I do have a sense when something is off with a friend or family member, but I don’t know what they are thinking on a specific level and I’m so grateful for that. People think all sorts of things, and they don’t share every single thought with us. Can you imagine if they did? That would be a fucking disaster. Personally, I have a lot of garbage thoughts that I would likely not share with others. I am an open person, but there is a limit or cap to that openness.

People who are mysterious or closed emotionally bother me. I find it hard to accept the fact that I don’t know even a little bit of what they’re thinking. I wish they would tell me because it enhances my anxiety not to know. Yes, I understand that I said I don’t want to mind read, but hearing what other people are thinking is different from reading their minds. Hearing what others are thinking is me wanting to be closer to them. Hearing what my friends feel helps me to be more comfortable being around them. I have several close friendships and those connections tend to be with people who tell me what they feel and why they’re feeling it.

I’m curious, to anyone who is reading this post: Are you emotionally open or emotionally unavailable? I should do a survey and find out how many of us are emotionally unavailable. I’m not sure of what the ratios would be, but I am fascinated by this dichotomy. Isn’t dichotomy a great word? I don’t get the chance to use it often, so when I can I seize that opportunity.

This post started out being about mindfulness and not knowing how I feel and now it’s about so many things. If you can answer any of the questions in this blog post please do so. Hope you’re having a great day.

Shit that helps me when I’m depressed

I’m depressed now, and it’s getting fucking old. I’m tired of dealing with depression because it’s a pain in the ass. I’m writing this in my pajamas and I don’t want to be. The most important thing to remember for me when I’m feeling down is that it will pass. My mom always told me that, and I believe her. Yeah, it sucks to not be able to eat. Sure, it’s annoying when I don’t want to get out of bed and do the shit that I want to do. I’m trying to listen to music that normally makes me feel happy, but I feel numb and things taste like sand. Okay, this is getting depressing. Fuck that. Let’s get to the helpful things.

Talking to friends even though I don’t want to

When I’m depressed I don’t want to talk to anyone. But I find that if I push myself to talk to my friends I actually feel a lot better. I have a great support network of understanding friends and they are empathetic about what’s going on.


I find that distracting myself with other things helps me when I feel down. Whether that means writing, going out and doing something fun like taking my kids to the movies, the cat cafe, the playground or other places, these things are helpful in lifting my mood, even if it is temporary.

Reminding myself that it will pass

Depression isn’t “forever.” Sure, it’s painful, yes it’s challenging, but it is something that I will move through. Feeling happy is fleeting, and we enjoy it when we can. The dark feelings happen as do the light. I can ride the waves whether they are rough or smooth.

Feel my feelings

There are moments when depression can make me feel helpless. That feeling is icky and I want it to leave. In reality, there’s no way to fast forward it or tell it to fuck off. Though I desperately feel these feelings at times, logically I know that I cannot control my emotions, but I can feel them and allow them to flow through me. Life doesn’t give you a choice sometimes, and rather than feeling helpless, understand that there are things that you have power over.

Helping others

Depression makes me feel like I’m useless, and even though I know it’s lying to me, I don’t like it. The way I combat these feelings is to do something I love to do: help other people. I am an empathetic person who is highly intuitive. When I sense that someone needs help I honor that, and I want to help them in whatever way that I feel I can. Hopefully I can help them brainstorm a solution to their dilemma.

Gratitude lists

When I was little my mom asked me to make a list of 10 things I am grateful for. This was particularly helpful when I felt sad or depressed. It reminded me that there was so much to feel good about. When I think of it, I make these lists to help me remember the great things in my life.

Are you feeling down right now? Try these techniques to help you feel a little better. I hope they help you like they help me.



Keep on Being a Person

Lately, I’ve had trouble being a person. I know that sounds weird, but it’s the truth. I wake up in the morning and I don’t want to get out of bed. Yeah, I’d say I’m depressed. Sure, I am dealing with a lot of life shit at the moment. And I am doing all right considering all the fuckery that I’m coping with. However, I still feel like things are out of my control. I’m trying to focus on this moment instead of harping on the bad stuff. Bad is a judgment, but I guess what I’m referring to is the uncomfortable feeling that I’m experiencing. I’m feeling a lot of anger underneath the depression. (By the way, if you want to actually see how fucking angry you are, you can take an anger quiz and learn about it). I want to be “okay.” But I also recognize that to feel better I have to feel my feelings. The truth is I hate my feelings because they are making me feel like I am not a functional person. I want to be a functional person. Despite feeling like I am not a person, I continue to do things and live my life like a zombie. It sucks, but life has to go on. So I’m walking through the day crying a lot and feeling angry and resentful at my current life circumstances.

So what helps?

What helps me during this time is remembering that there are (in fact) people who care about my well-being. I have friends that (despite my efforts to push them away) continue to check on me and make sure I’m doing okay. That is meaningful to me and I value those friendships. I do worry that I am going to exhaust my friends by “complaining” or they will get tired of me feeling depressed or angry. The other thing that helps me a lot is to stay in this moment. I can’t control the future as much as I would like to. That isn’t something that we can do as human beings. That would be an awesome superpower, by the way. If I could touch a book in a bookstore and all of a sudden my future was written in a way that I liked. My story was the way I wanted it to be and I could enjoy happiness. Back to what helps me: making gratitude lists, being in the moment, feeling my feelings, and continuing to move through this pain by living my life.

Another thing that helps me is acceptance. I accept that my heart is broken right now. I accept that I am angry about that. I accept that I am sad about that too. I accept that this is the place I am in and I am still a great person. People make mistakes and if we can manage to forgive them if they hurt us, that’s a huge life accomplishment.

I’m feeling lazy. I don’t want to include an image with this blog post, but I think I’m going to push myself to do that so that I can feel a little bit of hope.

Here’s the ocean; enjoy it!

Get Help When You Need It

I’m depressed right now. Things have been difficult for me and I accept that’s where I’m at. Depression can feel paralyzing. I feel like I can’t control or change things, and the reality is that I can’t. There is no fast forward button, and there isn’t a way to stop feeling my feelings. Still, it hurts like a motherfucker and I want these debilitating feelings to stop. I wish there was a way for someone to rip them out of my heart. That’s where the depression starts. And I’m not good at covering up my feelings. In fact, sometimes I get criticized online for being “too vulnerable” and sharing too many feelings. I didn’t realize it was possible to have “too many feelings.” It helps me to share my feelings and know that other people out there are commiserating with me. Feeling depressed sometimes makes me feel lonely and isolated. I don’t want to feel those feelings. I want to be out there seeing my friends, having fun, being with the people I love and who appreciate me.

Depression wants to win. It wants to tell me to give up, stay in bed, cry all day, punch the wall in frustration, eat shitty food, and stop reaching out to my friends. I am determined not to let it win. I don’t want to hear those voices that tell me I am a terrible person. They are wrong, and one day I will learn to not to believe them. Underneath all the bullshit in my brain, I don’t actually think I am a bad person. I am someone who feels things on a deep level and people often misunderstand that. They try to diagnose me, put me in a box. You know what happens when you try to put me in a box I will bust out of that so fast, you won’t even know what hit you. I am “un-box-able.” I cannot be put in a category and won’t allow you to do that to me.

On the flip side of feeling depressed for me in unrelenting strong feelings of anger. I resent the fact that I feel down, I want it to stop, I need it to stop. But like I said earlier, you can’t “make feelings stop.” You have control over how you respond to them, but you can’t press a button and make them go away. As much as I want to leave depression behind at the depression amusement park looking for spare change in the depression arcade, I can’t do that. So the answer is that I live with it, I live through it, I experience my feelings, and I don’t judge myself. Well, I try not to judge myself. I have intrusive thoughts that try to make me judge myself harshly and I attempt to ignore them.

If you’re coping with depression right now, whether it’s situational or clinical depression, you can get help. Whether that means talking to your support system or seeking out a mental health professional. It might be worth paying for therapy because there is only so much your friends and family can help. They can support you and listen but ultimately finding a good therapist is invaluable.

How about you? Are you coping with depression? What helps you?

Keeping a Secret Could Hurt You

What would you say if you could say anything? Nobody knows who you are. You are uninhibited and you can confess any secret you want to. I think about this all the time. There are things that I don’t tell anyone because I am ashamed. There are dark thoughts that I worry about having but I do not reveal them because I am embarrassed. As human beings we all have secrets. It’s a part of life. Sometimes keeping secrets is unhealthy. You need to express your feelings in some kind of modality. It’s human to want to share your feelings and sometimes you just don’t have the courage to say what you want to say.

I grew up having a lot of shame and fear because of the stigma of mental illness. I have become braver and saying the things that I need to say. Stigma Fighters has taught me that I can be more open about how I feel.

I came out of the closet and admitted into 2014 that I had panic disorder. It was liberating and terrifying at the same time. I understand that not everybody has the bravery to admit that they have a mental illness. It’s difficult because we fear that our friends and family members which address. They won’t understand or know how to respond.

That is why I except anonymous submissions unstable fighters. Because it’s better to share something then hide. It also is a testament to how pervasive stigma is. We need to fight against this and we need to work up the bravery to speak our truth and own our identities. Mental illness isn’t WHO you are, but rather something you learn to manage as a part of your daily life.

If you don’t feel comfortable revealing your identity and you still want to tell people about what you’re dealing with it is OK to remain anonymous for now. It might take a few years to be able to work up the Kerge to speak your truth and I own the fact that you deal with depression, anxiety, or any other mental health issue. I support you in whatever way you need to share these feelings.

Anonymity is actually a powerful thing. You may feel liberated by the fact that nobody knows that this is you writing those words. Do the best that you can and speak your truth. I’m listening and so are many others.


What to Look For When Choosing an Online Therapist

I have had several therapists in my lifetime. At the moment I am 37 years old and I’ve been in therapy since I was 15. At first, when I went to see a therapist I had no idea what to look for because I was a teenager. It was my first experience with therapy. Now that I’m older and savvier, I know what to look for in a mental health professional. Online therapy is becoming increasingly popular and I’ve been doing a lot of research about it. I’m considering it for myself, in fact. There are multiple companies that offer online counseling. BetterHelp online counseling is one of them and Talkspace is another for example. I’ve written about how I believe it could help my social anxiety. Just like with a face-to-face therapist, it’s important to look for a therapist who works well with you.

Communication is Key

When I speak with a potential therapist (because you don’t have to use the first person you meet) I interview them about what it is they do. The first thing I ask that person is “what kind of therapy do you practice?” If the person responds with “I’m eclectic,” I run for the hills. The word “eclectic” to me means that this person doesn’t have a coherent sense of what their style is. I’m not interested in working with someone like that. If they tell me “I practice CBT” or “psychodynamic” then I’m more likely to want more information from this person. After I find out what sort of therapy they practice, then I start speaking to this person like anyone I want to get to know. I ask them their astrological sign, I ask them where they went to school, I inquire if they have children or pets. Personally, I find that if you have children it’s helpful to see a therapist who also has children so that they understand who you are and what your life is like. In life, people who don’t have children don’t seem to understand how hard it is to raise children. If you see a therapist who has children, you automatically share a common ground.

What’s important to YOU in a therapist/patient relationship?

Ask yourself what is it that you want from a therapist. When you speak to a potential therapist, voice those concerns to that person. It’s almost easier to do that with an online counselor because you’ll mainly be communicating with that person through messages, which means a lot of words. If you articulate best through writing, then online therapy is a great modality for you. You can be clear and concise about what it is you need from you mental health professional. You matter, and what you want matters too. You have a right to ask for the things that you want out of a therapist.

Did the Potential Therapist Listen?

This might be intuitive, but ask yourself an important question: when you expressed your concerns about therapy, did the potential therapist actually listen to you? This is one of the most important things to know. A therapist must be a good listener in order to do his/her job well. If you feel heard by this person, then this is a good sign that they may be a good fit for you as a therapist.

I wish you the best of luck finding a mental health professional that you feel comfortable with. You got this!

The Day I Curbed My Impulsivity

The Day I Curbed My Impulsivity

I legitimately have a social media addiction. It began when I had my children and they were small. I was consistently up at 3am, 4am and whatever am nursing babies. It was exhausting and I didn’t know what to do with myself. I needed an outlet to vent my overwhelmed thoughts. I began blogging to share the thoughts I had with other parents. It was rewarding to commiserate with other parents about their challenges. I felt less alone and it was gratifying to feel that sense of community. Then I began to use Facebook and Twitter to share some of my inner most thoughts and feelings. To this day I use Facebook and Twitter differently than other people. I use them both as a vomitorium to share my excess thoughts.

Over the years I began to notice how frequently I checked social media and how much I posted on it. At first I rationalized it. Now, I am becoming increasingly concerned with how much time it is taking out of my day. I started thinking about why I post so much online and there are a variety of factors. One is that because I have young children I am often at the mercy of their schedules which means I am at school events, play dates, or stuck in the house. This doesn’t leave a lot of time for me to hang with friends or do my own thing.

So, I started sharing my thoughts online as a form of therapeutic release. I do have an actual therapist and friends that I talk to and hang out with, however I value my online friendships as well. They are real and fulfilling. Some of those digital connections have developed into real life friendships.

I thought more about the impetus for posting a lot on social media and the biggest factor was my impulsivity. I have ADHD which pushes me to act in an impulsive manner. Some of that behavior comes out when I spontaneously call a friend, say something without thinking and posting random shit on the internet in a high frequency manner.

I took a look at myself in the proverbial mirror, and asked: self, do you want to keep doing this? Does this truly make you happy? And the answer I came to was: I don’t know. I decided to conduct a sociological experiment. Every time I wanted to post something online, instead I wrote in the “notes” section of my phone:

“The time- 10:18am- I want to go on social media”

The results were not surprising, but I wasn’t pleased with them either.

Every few minutes I had the impulse to check my social media platforms. After I wrote that note to myself I distracted myself with another activity like walking in the woods, singing, making a lanyard bracelet or playing with my daughter. I don’t particularly like my impulsive nature, but today I am working on curbing my impulses.

Another way I am doing this is with text messages. If I have the urge to text someone, I stop and think three things:

1. Is this time sensitive?
2. What do I hope to accomplish here?
3. What am I feeing and why?

These three questions help me take a beat before sending a text.

This day has taught me to be more mindful in this digitally based age. Personally, I prefer hanging out with people in person or talking on the phone to texting/emailing them, but I am a minority in that it seems.

What about you? Do you find yourself compulsively checking your phone and social media platforms?