Rumination!  It's Exhausting

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How naive was I to think that anxiety just caused me to worry constantly.  

I really did think, )years before my recovery journey) that anxiety only caused constant worry.  Not regular worry like forgetting something off of your grocery list, but major worry. Many times about things that were highly unlikely to happen.  I would worry about romantic relationship problems, when I was not even in a relationship. Or another example would be to worry about a conflict that had not happened.  I thought about what the conversation would sound like with the other person, and then on top of all of that, I would be upset by the outcome of the imaginary conflict. I just came up with scenario after scenario and over and over I would worry so much about things that were not even a problem.  


Now, I do have quite an imagination, but these thoughts were always unpleasant and I ended up upsetting myself after having these thoughts.  There was a time when the harder I thought the more upset I would get and I would display physical symptoms because of this. I would feel nauseous, have headaches and things like that.  It was pretty out of control. Little did I know that for all of those years I was ruminating. According to Psychology Today ruminating is “simply repetitively going over a thought or problem without completion. The repetition and feelings of inadequacy raises anxiety and anxiety interferes with solving the problem.”  In other words, I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Ruminating is exhausting.  

I was caught in a loop of stress and anxiety and would focus on the negative, instead of the positive.  I say it all of the time and I am going to say it again. Maintaining a mental illness is a lifestyle change.  One of the major lifestyle changes is mindset which is so important. When we change our thoughts, we train our brains to look for the positive as well as seek out solutions.  


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Boundaries, Everybody Needs Them

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I am always looking for tips, tricks, and suggestions on how I can live a more mindful and intentional life.

For me, being mindful and intentional about my actions have helped me greatly as I have been on my mental health recovery journey.  As I have mentioned so many times before, maintaining a mental illness is a lifestyle. Taking medication and going to see a therapist is just a piece of the puzzle.  Adopting positive habits, healthy eating, and exercise are all things that I have incorporated into my routine to achieve stability.


I have learned over the last year and a half that protecting my peace of mind and my energy are crucial to achieving stability.  

What does that mean to protect your peace of mind? Well I would imagine that each person will have a different answer to this question.  For me, protecting my peace of mind means setting boundaries for myself and others. I was for years, a person that did not set any boundaries.  This allowed people who would come into my life to treat me in ways that I did not like or approve of. Here is the thing, we all are entitled to be happy and live the lives that we desire.  When we do not set boundaries, we allow others to treat us in ways that may make us feel unappreciated or uncomfortable. We are in control and we do have a say in what happens to us.

I finally came to the conclusion that I should not be shamed by anyone  because I live with anxiety and bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder and anxiety are illness, chronic ones. I must demand that I am treated with respect and dignity. My illness does not define me, but what I can define are boundaries.  I can determine how I am treated.


https://pages.convertkit.com/b4f4efbe7e/94d48bee47

Everyday Warriors: Fiona Barker

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I want to fill you in on a little secret.

 I LOVE to see people who were diagnosed with mental health disorders living the lives that they want and deserve.  We are here to live out our dreams. We are in charge of that, for ourselves. For years, I was in a closet of shame and I was afraid to come out.  I didn’t know that there were others like me who had careers, families, dreams, oh yes and mental illness. I was so brainwashed by the shame and stigma surrounding mental health and mental illness.


Whenever I come across amazing “Everyday Warriors”  I get so excited, that I have decided to share their stories with you.  The more people that come forward regarding their mental health challenges, the more normalized the conversation of mental health and mental will become.

I met Fiona Barker on social media a couple of months ago.  She is a designer based in the UK and started her own business called Fiona Barker Design.  She creates inspirational illustrations that promote positivity in the home. She also has anxiety.  The reason why I was drawn to Fiona and wanted to share her story is for several reasons: 1) She is a talented creative woman, 2) She took a chance on herself and started her own business, and 3) She is very open about her struggles with anxiety and how she copes with it.  I love this! And I love people who are examples of my motto “Living Your Best Life Despite a Diagnosis”.


Fiona created a magazine called “Being Yourself” Magazine.  

In the magazine, she talk about her anxiety and what she does personally to combat the feelings of overwhelm, and anxiety, among other things.  I invite you to take a look at the magazine. We can all learn from each other, and she shares some great advice in this issue.


Click here to see the magazine!


I also invite you to follow Fiona on Instagram where she is sharing sneak peaks of her work, her cute dog and her life.  She is a true example of not letting a diagnosis stop you!


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https://pages.convertkit.com/b4f4efbe7e/94d48bee47

Grateful

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On Saturday,

I woke up with the greatest feeling of gratitude.  I speak about being grateful very often on my social media feed, and I see this message of gratitude all over social media.  But on this particular day, I woke up feeling full and feeling happy. Happy for all of the things that I do have with no thought about the things that I did not have or the things that I want.  Those things were nowhere near my mind. My feelings of gratitude left me smiling and in a wonderful mood for the rest of the day. As I thought more and more about it, I am extremely blessed and grateful.  I am grateful that I have a healthy child, friends and family who love and care about me. I am grateful that I have a place to live and a job to go to and a home to live in.

What I am most grateful for is the relationship that I have worked on and developed with myself.

I am so happy to say that I have put in so much work to make some discoveries about myself, that were previously uncovered. This has been one of my biggest accomplishments thus far and I am looking forward what is to come. As we approach the holiday season, I urge you to think about the things that you have and are grateful for and not dwell on what you do not have or would you would like to have.  Doing so will bring you a sense of content and calm.

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Your Mindset is Important

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As I navigate through my mental health recovery journey,

I learn new things about myself every day.  Even on the days that I am not experiencing symptoms of anxiety or bipolar disorder I learn something else about myself.  When I started this journey over a year and a half ago, I knew that I wanted to make a change and I wanted mental stability.  The only way to get the mental stability that I was looking for was to be intentional about the recovery process. 

For me, therapy was so very important and useful for many reasons. 

The main reasons were to develop skills and strategies about coping with my illness, as well as investigate past traumas and occurrences in relation to my mental health and behavior. When I first started going to therapy, it did not dawn on me that my past and my mental health disorders did play a role in my behavior, and at times they went hand in hand. Realizing this made a lightbulb go off.  I wanted to explore this more. I was devoted to bettering myself and becoming a better person.

One of the things that I began to realize when I started therapy on a regular basis was that attitude and mindset are so crucial in seeking stability on the road to recovery.  Our minds are so powerful, and we truly do become what we think.  I never thought about this.  I was too concerned with acting and reacting and not really paying attention to my attitude at times.

Mindset is so very important when traveling on road to recovery and creating stability. 

I know that for years, I carried a lot of negative thoughts and didn’t see any progress.  I then began to realize that having a positive attitude would greatly impact my treatment and make getting better a little bit easier.  Every day is not going to be easy.  Having a mental disorder is no walk in the park, but once I began to change my mindset I discovered that I can have the stability that I so desperately wanted.  There was no longer room for negativity.

The shift in my mindset has been one of the greatest things that has help me maintain my mental health disorder.  Positive thoughts yield positive outcomes.

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