The Power in Affirming

The Power in Affirming

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Mental health recovery all begins with a decision.  A decision to begin taking care of your mental health and peace of mind.  It can however take a long while to get to the decision to want to start on this journey.  This is by no means an easy task and you are not “healed” overnight.  This is a process that takes time and will require work and maintenance as time goes on.

When I decided to take my mental health seriously, I really did not know what I was in for.  I knew that I was tired of being a mess, I knew that I was tired of the up and down mood swings and feeling like I was out of control all the time.  I knew that I needed to be in control of myself, my body and that was the first step for me.  Knowing that I wanted something different. 

For Years, I was so used to being unstable…….

For years, I was so used to being unstable, that when I finally got into a routine in the early moths of my journey, I felt “funny”.  I had never been stable before and it made me feel strange, I felt like I was a different person.  I wasn’t a different person, it was still me, but I was experiencing a sense of calm and stability that I had never ever really know before.  That was a huge adjustment.  Eventually I began to like it.

As I became more, and more comfortable with my newfound person, and this stable frame of mind, I was able to think more clearly, and rationally and not fly off the handle in 0.2 seconds.  This was amazing, and whatever I needed to keep this feeling, I was going to make sure that I maintained. 

Once I reached a place of stability, I was then able to deal with all the negative things that I and my anxiety had told myself over the years.  Anxiety is a big ass liar.  Oh, it made me second guess my intelligence, my abilities, and it wreaked havoc on my self-image and self-esteem.  Enough was enough. 

I wanted to pull myself out of the pattern of negative thinking………

I wanted to pull myself out of the pattern of negative thinking, and that was one of the many things that I worked on with my therapists help.  What helped me, and is still helping me to this day, is my affirmations.  I speak to myself on a regular basis, but I try to use the kindest words that I can.  I even use my affirmations when I am taking about myself to other people, that’s how much I think they help.  I do have different affirmations for different situations, but my two favorites are “All will be well” which I borrowed from Aunty O, and “I am fucking awesome”, and that’s because well, I am LOL! 

These are the affirmations that I have chosen that are working for me right now, they may change and that is okay.  I think that the moral of the story here is to affirm how powerful, smart, and awesome you are.  You can be all those things despite your diagnosis. 

I created a special workbook called the Affirm and Reflect workbook. This is a free downloadable workbook that includes 5 affirmations, and 5 reflections.  This workbook is designed to get you into the habit of using affirmations and getting more in tune with yourself. To get your free copy, click on the link below.

 bit.ly/affirmreflect

I hope you enjoy!

That’s all for now !

Letter to Little Lady A

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My Dearest Little Lady A,

I love you.  I really, really love you. I cannot help but love you when I look at your beautiful face and your bright eyes.  I see your light.  You are filled with such promise, creativity and sweetness.  I see that thing that so many other people saw, that you did not even see. When I look at the picture of you, I feel sad.  Sad because of all of the times I allowed other people to hurt and disappoint you and accept it as if it was okay.  I feel sad for all of the times that I did things to you and did not act as your advocate; when I was more concerned with the opinions and thoughts of others over your feelings.   I apologize for all of the times when our gut tried to show us the way, but instead I chose the opposite.  For all of these things I truly apologize. I’m here now.  I am here, ready to be all of those things that I failed to be over the years for you, for us.  We deserve so much more, and I will see to it that we have all of the things that we truly want, need, and desire.

 

With All of My Love,

Lady A

Let Michelle Williams Be a Lesson to All

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When I learned that singer Michelle Williams had voluntarily checked herself into a mental health facility. I was happy for her for two reasons.  First, in recent weeks we have been hearing stories of celebrities who have lost their battle with mental illness. Her story was the opposite of what we have been seeing in recent weeks.   Second, in my opinion she is so in tune with herself and her needs that she knows when to stop and ask for help.  This was a commendable and courageous act on her part.  This really got me thinking.  I see a lot of posts on social media that promote self-care, and self-love.  But what do those things really look like?  My idea of self-care and self-love will vary greatly from the person next to me. 

Michelle’s story was a reminder to me that the ultimate form of self-love and self-care is getting to know yourself, and your illness so intimately to the point that you know when you must stop, acknowledge that you are not well and get help.  I have said this before and I will say it again, dealing with a mental health disorder is no walk in the park.  However, mental illnesses can be managed with the correct tools and support systems in place.  Let this story be a lesson.  Get to know yourself and your illness so that you can make the best choices for your care.

5 Amazing Reasons to Attend A Support Group

Ever since being diagnosed, I have done a lot of research on things that would help me manage my mental health.  Support groups are a great way to manage your mental health in a positive way.  I have attended many support groups and I love all that support groups stand for.  Below are 5 great reasons to attend a support group.

  1. Shared Experiences – When you attend a support group, you meet up with people who share similar experiences and circumstances as you.  This allows you to feel comfortable. 
  2. Open and honest communication – You can engage in honest communication about your experiences with people who are familiar with what you are going through without the judgement you may face from those who are not in similar circumstances.
  3. Sense of community – You feel like you are a part of an exclusive club when you a part of group of peers who share a similar experience.
  4. Comparison of resources – Being in a support group is a great way to share tips, resources, and advice on your illness and treatment.
  5. Developing and understanding of your situation - When you surround yourself with people who share similar expeiences as you, you are able to look at your situation in a way that you may not have done so in the past.  This gives you a new outlook on your circumstances, and this may be for the better.  


If you are dealing with a mental health issue and are looking for a healthy way to deal with it.  Consider a support group.  It may be just what you need.  


5 Intangible acts of self-love











What is self-love?  It is defined by dictionary.com as a regard for one’s own well-being and happiness.  While this is a great definition of what self-love is, what does it really mean to engage in acts of self-love?  Self-love and self-care have become very popular topics as of late and people are becoming very involved in investing time and energy in their own happiness and well-being.  This got me to thinking.  There are many tangible things that you can give to yourself that would fall under the self-love and self-care categories, but what about the intangibles?  The intangibles are just as important when you are trying to keep your mental health in order.  As I have been on my journey to maintain optimal mental wellness, I have compiled a list of 




5 intangible acts of self-love to incorporate into your life.  I have incorporated these things into my own routine and I have noticed a great shift.

1.Forgiveness for my past mistakes, and for those who have wronged me.
2. Non-judgement of my actions and thoughts.
3. Quiet time to just be.  This allows me time with my thoughts and for my spirit to talk to me.
4. Patience with myself and others, and recognizing that things take time.
5.Celebration of even the smallest wins. 

It is important for me to mention that I while I exercise these qualities on the regular basis, they require work and do not come easily.  I find myself in some situations where it comes easier to exercise and a little bit more challenging in others.  Life has gotten better because of my new practices.  I am very grateful that I found a new way of handling myself with love and care.  I am also excited to see what these new-found actions have in store for me.



The role of gratitude during the recovery journey



As a child, I’d always heard adults and wise older people say to “Be thankful for what you have”.  When I was younger, I never really paid much attention to the jewels that the older people would drop on me.  I never took the time to actually think about what those words really meant.  As I got older, I was engulfed in a haze of anxiety and I was caught up in the symptoms that my bipolar disorder was inflicting on my life.  I was never in a mental state to do any heavy thinking.  Or in a place to really ponder the wisdom that the world offered.  I was trying to stay above water and maintain myself from the happenings of everyday life. 

When I made the conscience decision that I wanted to get serious about my recovery and become stable, I began incorporating several mindful, and wellness practices into my routine. As I began on my journey, I did a lot of reading in the self-help genre.  This helped me so much with the way I viewed myself, and the way that other treated me, and how I treated myself.  Many of the books, and articles that I consumed all shared a common thread.  Throughout many of the readings that I had come across, a large percentage of them all spoke on the power of gratitude.  This was not a new concept to me.  Surely, I knew what gratitude was, but I had not been a person that included giving thanks in my daily routine.  I thought about it and decided that I was going to do something new.  The way that I had been doing things for the last 10 + years had not really been working for me and it was time to do something new. 

When I started giving thanks for all that I had on a daily basis, things started to change for me.  It was almost like everything was coming together.  Not in a shallow, materialistic way but in a personal, happy kind of way.  I was beginning to feel better about myself.  This was something that I had not felt in so many years.  Here were just a few benefits that I noticed as a result of incorporating gratitude into my daily routine:

  •          Increased sense of awareness
  •          More compassion, for myself and others
  •          More kindness
  •          Better relationships
  •         Better self-image  
  •         Increased clarity
  •         Sense of calm



While there are several other benefits of incorporating gratitude into your routine, these are the benefits that I have personally noticed.  Practicing gratitude is a great thing and will only enhance your situation.  So, go ahead and give gratitude a try, you will not be disappointed. 

5 Possible Solutions to Combat Overthinking


What is overthinking?  Well, simply put it means to think about something too much.  I can tell you that I have spent so much time and energy thinking and overthinking about topics that would have taken other people 5 minutes to decide on.  There was one point in my life not so long ago when I had to consult 4-5 people in my inner circle to get their opinion on a situation, discuss the problem, rehash what was going on, get their feedback and then decide.  Only to maybe rethink the problem a little more before making a final decision.  I went through that for years.  It was exhausting.  It was stressful and quite honestly, it gave me a headache. 
I exhausted myself, and I am pretty sure that I exhausted my friends and family with the fact that I could never make a solid decision on my own.  I need a consultation on everything from what style I should wear my hair to more serious decisions like should I go back to school.
Since I have been in recovery, I have had the opportunity to explore several subjects and ideas with my therapist as well as self-reflect.  The root of my overthinking was attached to the fact that I was unsure and not confident.  I also did not trust myself and my instincts.  Therefore, I kept overthinking every single decision that I was faced with.  Since I have taken the time to do some excellent work in therapy and taken the time to self-reflect, I have complied a list of 5 possible solutions to combat overthinking.

1. Redirecting – When you find yourself involved in a pattern of overthinking to the point where it is becoming stressful or too much too handle return your thoughts to the present moment.  What are you currently involved in that you can focus on? 

2. Meditation – When your mind becomes to cluttered and overwhelmed with thoughts, meditation is always a good idea.  This is a great way to clear the noise from you mind and rid yourself of all the overwhelm.

3. Pros & Cons – If you find yourself faced with a decision that you need to make, and it is the reason for all the overthinking, making a list of pros and cons may be a way to help you come to a quicker decision.

4. Talking to a Friend – Do you have a trusted friend or family member that you can go to with your dilemma? Talking to someone who can give you an objective opinion is a great way to get to the bottom of your situation and alleviate your stress. 

5. Strengthening Your Intuition – This is one that takes some work but is well worth it.  When you take the time to be still with yourself, you begin to develop your inner GPS. 

I have had the opportunity to utilize all the above solutions to combat overthinking.  They all worked well for me, but as I am becoming more in tune with myself, I gravitate more towards meditation and trusting my own intuition.  All the above methods are great as overthinking can lead to unnecessary stress and worry.  Any remedy that will rid me of stress and worry are fine with me. 

Photo by Kat Smith from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/adult-alone-black-and-white-dark-551588/

Publication Alert!!!!! Publication Alert!!!!!


I am a magazine junkie!  I love physical magazines, and I even love online magazines.  What I love most about magazines is the creativity that it takes to put one together.  Many years ago, I had the opportunity to work for a children’s magazine and I also freelanced for some women’s magazines.  My fascination for magazines run deep.  I am always on the lookout for the next best thing.  For me that is something that is creative as well as informative.  These days, my passion is mental health and demystifying the stigma surrounding mental illness.   When I found Blueprint, I knew I had struck gold.  This is an online and print publication that covers all topics related to mental health.  It was started by students from Cambridge University.  The website contains great articles and stories as well as creative works and beautiful pieces of art.  They tackle subjects such as drug addiction and sexual assault.  This was a breath of fresh air to see such a beautifully produced zine that focuses on a topic that is so near and dear to my heart.  It is worth a visit to the website for a fresh perspective on the issues that face those dealing with mental illness.




Walk in Mental Health Clinics, Are they Necessary?





I read an article online from The Huffington Post about the lack of walk in mental health clinics.   The writer of the article lives in Canada.  A couple of years ago, when the article was written there was really no place for people to go if they were having a mental health crisis in Canada.  This has since changed.  A quick google search revealed there are several walk in mental health clinics in Canada.  This does not seem to be the case here in the United States.  Just thinking back to all of the times that I considered myself to be in the midst of a severe mental crisis, I never had a place that I could go to right away and seek the attention of a mental health professional.  I would have to wait to be “squeezed” in for an appointment and by the time that would happen, my feelings of rage or despair would wane, or I would have already acted on my impulsive and irrational feelings. Something about this picture is just not right. 

Photo by Erkan
When I am physically ill, and have symptoms, I can call my primary care physician for a “sick appointment” and get an appointment rather quickly.  If it is more urgent, I can go to the nearest hospital emergency room and get immediate attention.  This should be the same case when a person is experiencing a mental health emergency, and not just in the event of a person experiencing homicidal or suicidal feelings. Although these are very important situations to be in that require the utmost care and attention as well. 

I can recall several times in the past when I felt like I was at the lowest of my lows, and I reached out to my therapists for help.  I had some therapists who were able to see me the same day, and others who would not be able to see me for a couple of days.  When a person is in the middle of an emotional downward spiral and feel like they are losing total control, the last thing that they want to be told is that they need to wait a day or 2 before they can see a mental health professional.  Hearing this may exacerbate the patient’s condition.  I think that there is an immediate need for walk in mental health clinics.  These facilities need to be readily available just like walk in health clinics.  People are suffering in silence and once these types of services and facilities are readily available, this will be a step in the direction of accepting that mental illness is real and that people do need help for their mental health issues.  



Photo by Erkan  Utu from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/architecture-daylight-door-entrance-239853/

How Art Portrays Mental Illness




I am an art lover.  I get instantly excited when I see an artist tackle a subject so dear to my heart such as mental illness.  While we know that there are so many people dealing with mental health issues, many people still choose to turn a blind eye to this subject.  My love of art passion for shattering the stigma collide in this series that was created by artist Eisen Bernard Bernardo.  The series is called “Keep it Together”.  What is so interesting about this particular series is that he works with paperclips in each piece.  He depicts anxiety, depression, and several others in the series.  It is very interesting his use of the paper clip, and even the reason behind using the paper clip.  Above, is just one of the images from the series which depicts Anxiety.  The complete series can be seen by clicking on the link below.  I love how artists use different mediums to get their point across on such a serious subject matter.  I would love to know what you think about this series?


https://www.behance.net/gallery/59616873/keepittogether