Monday: Life Hits Hard

It’s been quite some time since I’ve had an issue with triggers or depression. I’ve been able to do whatever I’ve needed to do to push through. I’m grateful! But on Sunday I had a moment hit me before an event that made me have to reset a million and one times.

The reason for me speaking openly about it is because I know I’m not the only one. I have moments when something will remind me of something in my past, a frustrating moment and it’s debilitating. It stops me from being a doting mom and forget me being a wife in that moment. As supportive as my husband is the reality is that it’s a lonely experience. He’s never going to understand it. There isn’t enough love to love me out of it sometimes! It’s sounds harsh but it’s true! It’s not something that a cup of coffee or glass of wine will fix! I experience so many mixed emotions during a bad trigger and it makes me in the moment feel extremely weak. People think that if you’re a person who experiences these lows that you can just snap out of it and that’s not the case. I’ve had people see me in these moments who have sat and discussed it. I’ve had friends of my husband know more about it than I would ever have shared outside of the blog. I’ve isolated myself from my family and friends because it feels like the most horrible feeling of being someone who can see it creep up and not be able to pull back!

I’m not alone. Anxiety and depression has many people who recognizes it’s ugliness. You feel isolated because if and when you are in a trigger you can’t formulate what you feel to someone who isn’t trained. Most times it comes with ridicule and no answers. I had that moment. I know what works for me in those moments. Sometimes retreating helps. Even in those moments it’s lonely! It’s feels angry and uncomfortable and uncontrollable! I dislike it even though I’m in a better place to push myself out of it! I’ve coped with it and extremely honest these days about it!

As someone who is a creator my mind doesn’t work like most! My mind has a thousand one creative flows. It’s a blessing and a curse. This is what I do when I get in it!

I get quiet. I may even been irritable. People don’t understand that irritability is a sign of anxiety and depression! I also sometimes in an extreme flare may need to retreat. It’s uncommon for people who have a blog, 3 kids and other responsibilities to be able to retreat but without the ability to do it I can’t manage. In those quiet moments it’s probably the hardest. I feel like I should be in a better place to have to pull back! I should be able to act like I’m fine but nope it’s okay to not be okay. I find it disheartening to hear people talk about others fighting as if just because their fight is different it’s less honorable than them. We ALL got issues.

I showed up for myself regardless! It’s how I come out! I used to spend days inside of a trigger and now I can have it flare from a few minutes to a few hours. I do everything I can to come out! If music doesn’t work, podcasts might, prayer might, a good movie might, a nap might, writing why I’m grateful might! Whatever it takes reset yourself! Reset yourself even if you are feeling alone. Reset yourself even when it hurts! Reset yourself even when you don’t feel like you are going to come out because you will!

This Monday is dedicated to those who suffer in silence. It’s dedicated to those who suffer and are worried about the ones telling you to get over it and it may not be easy to do! It may hurt! It may be stressful! Whatever it is show up! Show up and do everything you can to reset! I promise you I understand and if I could would give you the biggest hug, high five, whatever it takes to let you know I don’t judge you! Take Monday and any day you have this feeling and shake it until it falls!

I’m grateful to push through!

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Sunday Message: Self Care Must Haves

I’m noticing that with all the crazy that life throws and the way this world is the only solace is making your own! You can’t get through this life without finding your own peace! If you think you can conquer bad days, depression, bad moods, crazy co workers, hectic lifestyles, or family without a self care plan something is wrong!

You need as much time to gather your thoughts as possible! As much as you would say you don’t have time or you don’t like to put in time for yourself if you don’t it will cost you! I know we live in making every second count but a few of those seconds have to be put back into your own self maintenance! How you build yourself up matters!

Here are my self care must haves! They change as my immediate needs changes. I’m the type that can enjoy an amazing dish, a magazine, a facial, flowers, whatever it takes to get in zen!

Physical activity

This is one is my go tos! Sometimes the stress is laid down on the ground as I run! I pray while I run! I sort my life out when I run! I cry when I run! Sometimes the tears or for the push of it all or often times it’s just the good cleansing tears that I need to help my soul release a few things! Sometimes running is about releasing anger or tension. Either way it’s self care! It’s therapy! It’s life!

A walk outside

Different from a run it’s just to get a little fresh air or a little sun! Being outside even for a little bit of time is refreshing. I do it often if at work to get away from coworkers or to gather my thoughts so I can go back in and perform! Either way I enjoy being outside! It’s great to people watch. I sometimes read my book. I write in my journal! I might walk and grab my favorite beverage instead of driving! Its a way to bring a few minutes of calm and breaks up my day!

Special Beverage or Dish

Having a great relationship with food has allowed me to enjoy them as self care. Sometimes a trip to my favorite coffee shop is great. Sometimes a new recipe or treat I’ve seen on social media does it too. Social media isn’t all bad! It’s a great place to see new dishes I haven’t yet tried! Once or twice a month I grab one of those dishes and it feels good. It’s warm! It’s welcoming! It’s peace and feels good to my belly!

Flowers

I love them! I try to get them weekly! I think they are the best! I went to the sunflower patch yesterday and my whole day was made. However I just got flowers a few days before so I’m starting my weeks off right! Instead of waiting for my husband to get them (and he does sometimes) getting them for me makes me feel special! They make me feel warm! They put a smile on my face. They make me glow! They are beautiful. They smell great!

A Nap

I don’t get one often but I had the best nap last Sunday and it did my week well! I felt energized! I wasn’t sleepy for the rest of the week! I didn’t have guilt about what didn’t get done! I didn’t care about a long list of to do! I just wanted to rest. I needed to rest. My body needed to replenish! Sometimes a little rest can solve a lot. It might not pay the bills but it can help to pay the bills if you’re rested! Don’t be afraid to get some rest!

Book or Magazine

I don’t always get that sit down and read moment but every time I can I take it! I keep a book in my purse at all times! This way I can read when the moment comes! I can enjoy and get lost in another world! Books make you forget about your world even for a second! I am planning on a magazine catch up! This is when I pour me something to drink (doesn’t always mean adult drinks) and read the magazines that has piled up!

15 minute Reset

As much as I love going to a spa or a massage! I also know the way my life is set up that isn’t always achievable! Sometimes a 15 minute reset where I literally get myself together is all that I have! I hear all the time how do I do it all? And I live by my 15 minute resets! I do whatever is necessary and time it! I know that within those 15 minutes life is going to happen! However 15 minutes gathers me and I take it! 15 minute isn’t a lot of time but it is enough to help me realign! It’s like an adult time out! It works for kids and more adults need to take it too!

Fun places

I love that with blogging I get invited to some pretty amazing places. I love it! I often go to these places again on my own and sometimes on my own meaning no other adult interaction because I love solitude! Now it’s important to note that when I get to these fun places that there are others there but sometimes not taking another adult with me is necessary too! So I intentionally go back to blog places to experience them outside of a blog moment!

Self Care is necessary on all fronts! I talk about it often! That’s not going to change any time soon. Why? We all need it. It doesn’t matter what lifestyle you have you need self care! So today is the perfect excuse to practice it! It should be something you do daily! Finding your center and peace even when all Hell is breaking loose is necessary!! So what will you do today? Do it well! Happy Sunday!!

Knowing Yourself College Edition

What I know now is no where what I knew in college about myself. In college is where you begin to take the veil off of your eyes to what you learned all your life to what you want to be in life. It’s a line that crosses to merge the two and the journey is a battle!

I left high school and entered Penn State university and this was what I knew at the time: I was a straight A student since 2nd grade, I was a daughter of ministers, and I was goal oriented. That was my identity. I didn’t know I could be Toi and have my past be my identity while learning who I wanted to be. I could date if I wanted to and define what dating meant to me. I could party and still be an amazing student. I could be goal oriented and want to find joy in all things and I didn’t have to choose.

Growing up in a strict household and having everything be about church wasn’t the issue. The issue is my church in particular only preached Hell and marriage as the basis of life. Everything was Hell and being married because marriage was great was the focus. I watched couples who shouldn’t have been married run and get married just cause they wanted to date and dating wasn’t allowed unless it was for the purpose of marriage. Most of those marriages didn’t make it! Truth hurts! You wasn’t allowed to date just because two people had an interest in one another! You couldn’t see where things went. Every date doesn’t end in a proposal! It actually breeds unhealthy dating relationships in other areas!

As a college student my focus was going to college, completing a degree and finding a husband. The reality is I could form my life on my terms and college is where SOME find husbands but the reality is getting my degree was key, finding myself, and enjoying the experience should have been the focus. Now that also means learning how to incorporate my love of God into a balanced life. No one not one preacher at my church taught it. So many of us went to college and struggled. Some dropped out! Some completed and got shunned for breaking away from what we were taught! Some still have resentment for that period of their life.

I struggled without support. I should have been supported into being able to be an adult and make healthy choices instead of thinking even healthy choices were dooming me to Hell. I should have also been encouraged to just be free instead of this pressure of if you are dating and it’s not for marriage than I was doomed. Great respect to those who married young but as an 18 year old passport stamps, girl trips, and fun while maintaining my grades should have been the focus! I choose to try to please everyone and in the end I wasn’t happy!

So freshman year I meet this amazing guy. Rewind, I met amazing guys. I literally messed up relationships because the thought that I could multi date was foreign. Men do it and are applauded. Women do it and they are a hoe. You do know women can date multiple folks and not have sex with them if she doesn’t want to? It exist! Women do it all the time. I lied to my parents about my relationship with my then boyfriend who is now my husband and then covered it and that was one is the most horrible experiences I went through! Shout out to the folks around me who called me out! Grateful for getting through! Grateful for even the friends lost during that heavy transition if I’m honest!!

Why am I talking about this for college students?! Take your time to enjoy your time on campus. Even if you find an amazing person you don’t have to commit to them right off the bat. I love my husband now and then as a boyfriend but I should have allowed myself the opportunity to do whatever I wanted. Our love was intense. College years are different than normal dating time. The connection for me was intense. We were in classes together, we were in the same scholarship program, so we were together alllll the time! When we loved hard it was great and we fought hard too! Instead of being sneaky just be an adult! It’s understandable that you are going to find yourself in situations that your parents aren’t going to approve of. I would be lying if I pretended that wouldn’t happen. No matter what you get into I know you will be okay. You will find a way out! Don’t do anything you as an individual aren’t proud of. Do what you can stand on. If you can’t be proud of a decision don’t do it! Don’t do anything to make someone prouder than you feel looking in a mirror-EVER!

Make every decision on what makes you happy, safe, and fulfilled! Stay on top of your studies! You are there to learn. Don’t start the journey by going into a field that someone else has for you. The biggest lie you can tell is the one that has you lying to yourself! You can’t keep up a lifestyle that only honors those around you! Trust me the heartaches, lost friends and friendships, broken promises, and general dishonor to yourself isn’t worth it. When I think about those beginning years of how in the end I dishonored myself saving my reputation from folks I later found out was doing the same makes me parent my kids differently, live with purpose and makes me grateful I figured it out!! FYI this isn’t about my parents doing something wrong this is about a I needed to do right by me!

For every decision right or wrong I fully own! As a college student I learned how to break out and be okay being who I wanted to be. I learned that I like what I like and daily instead of packaging myself to make others happy I make sure I can live daily with myself! College is more about getting to that aha moment than what your GPA is! But don’t sleep on your studies! The best opportunities come for those who do the work. So do your work literally. Don’t skip a bunch of classes-at least not all the time. You get out what you put into it in every aspect!

If you’re returning to campus return and start the process of what makes you-you! Don’t show up on campus for your parents, your church, your community more than you show up for yourself! Not one person is getting your grades and they definitely won’t help wipe shame off your soul when you live on their terms. Not one!

To my parents who send your kids with the do as I say do cause I’m paying for it: you will get a better child, a better person; when you support your child where they are. If you want to not “waste” your money invest in your adult child where they feel like they will thrive. Support them in mistakes. If your child has to lie to you it isn’t just because they are a liar it too may mean you aren’t fostering an environment conducive to having an open engaged communication!

To my husband who at the time was my boyfriend-you stuck by my side and didn’t hold it against me when I couldn’t be authentic! You loved me during that time and hadn’t we not married now I would have still had nothing but the most upmost love and respect for you!

To my parents: the life you gave me protected me for a point of life. As much as I could easily blame you for my inauthentic ways life showed me that I would be faced with more inauthentic areas that belonged to me and only me. I would love to go back and stand up for myself. The only thing I regret was not doing it sooner. I love that you gave me a great foundation and for that I will always honor that!

To my Penn State friends who stood by my side you are amazing! I definitely know we have made each other life friends! The love we experienced life together! If it hadn’t pressed through together we wouldn’t be as close as we are now!

My parents birthed me and gave me the foundation I still have in many ways. Penn State refined me. Life polished me and now as a parent I get to redo little mes!!

Go back to college or step into college and take the journey for what it is. You will fail in many ways and you will succeed in a lot of them. As you continue the journey get grounded. Make new friends. Find ways to travel. Take that internship! Study Abroad! Go to that party! Date that guy/girl just because! Smile and take the lumps because it all will mold you into a dynamic person!

Monday Motivation: College Edition

As some of the college bound students pack up to attend various schools make sure you remain grateful, vigilant, and hopeful! It’s every walk of life represented at college. It’s super easy to get discouraged if you start to compare what you have against the next. If you’re support system isn’t strong it will take you for a loop.

The pressure to get into college is already hard. Once you are in you might have had to work your butt off to secure enough to maintain. So many students have to work not only a federal work study position but often times a regular job in addition to have their basic needs met. It’s easy to forget that college starts some students’ first hustle but it’s true! It’s where the first flight or fight can begin. Don’t underestimate the struggle or look down on others who are literally first time college students in their whole family. It can be a time of love and pain.

Not everyone comes from well rounded families built on support. People’s idea of support starts and ends at drop off. People don’t have folks in their lives that check on their well being. No care packages are being sent, money being deposited, or even care being given-just drop off. That can mess with a young person’s heart. People think college is JUST about academics but it’s more to it. It’s walking into adulthood and learning about yourself in the most raw form.

This is a great time full of excitement and some stress as well. Not knowing what to expect is sometimes the first lesson in life in how to move when things aren’t aligned. Being that you are on campus having to survive it teaches you how to boss up and take care of yourself quick. It will give you the skills to be resourceful and how to work hard. You will learn about work ethic and if you lack self care you will bump your head until you dive into it. Some students will realize for the first time that they have a mental illness. It’s important to seek help early and often. Do not suffer in silence just because someone back home thinks it’s weak to ask for help. You can’t preserve you on their mindset when it no longer fits!

I applaud all the college bound adults as you make you mark. Study hard, play hard and learn about yourself! This week is all about you! Make this year a great one!!

Toi first day at Penn State 20 years ago