Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone, But How?

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How Many Times have you heard someone say that?  

Just step outside of your comfort zone, and you thought to yourself, that sounds great and all but how do I do that? I can tell you that I have been one of those people who had that very same response.  Gurus and coaches all tell you that stepping outside of your comfort zone is a step in the direction towards “living your best life” ! Another term that sounds great but actually confused the hell out of me when I first heard it.  


As you may or may not know, I have been on my mental health journey, for 2 years now.  

This journey for me has doubled as a self-awareness and self-discovery journey. It has been filled with ups, downs, highs, and lows.  I have learned so much about myself, and this is literally one journey that I would never want to change. It has been life changing. I had to go through a journey of self-awareness to discover what my hopes, dreams and desires.  This allowed me to discover my comfort zone and the area just beyond that region. That area is where all of the magical things would happen, That is what I had heard so many times before and now it was time to start testing this theory out.


I was, for so many years accustomed to doing with friends or family.  

If I wanted to go to an event or restaurant, I would see who I could get to go along with me to make my experience more enjoyable (so I thought) and definitely more comfortable.  It was almost unheard of to go anywhere alone. It was just something that I had never really done. I mean, I would of course go to work alone, but that was about it. I truly let others dictate my flow and my enjoyment.  If I didn’t have a buddy to roll with, I guess I was not going.


About a month ago I heard about a Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibit that was taking place in NYC that I really wanted to see.

 I asked my friends if they wanted to go and of course they agreed. Here was the problem, the show was sold out until the end of the exhibit.  But, I decided on a whim that I was going to get on the waitlist to see if I could get a ticket to the show. I figured that it was a long shot and that it probably was not going to happen.  Well, guess what, it happened! I got a wait list ticket email at 11pm last Thursday night for Friday afternoon. I didn’t realize this until Friday morning but I was in! I was excited and anxious and this was totally out of my comfort zone.  


Needless to say, I had a really great time.  

Once I got to the gallery, the anxiety had subsided.  I learned something about comfort zones on this trip to the city.  When you allow yourself to stay within comfort zones, people can unintentionally control you and your destiny.  So it is so important to be mindful of what it is that you want at all times. It is okay if your wants and dreams change, but the most important thing is that you are in control.  You are in control.


I've been away for a while, but I'm back!

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I have been away from the blog for a couple of weeks but now I am back.  

Over the last couple of weeks, I was not in the best place mentally. I was not well.  I could feel myself, falling into a downward spiral of instability and dysfunction. To be quite honest I did something that as I look back on was so detrimental to myself and my health.   I am just glad that I was able to take control of the situation and get back on track. About a month or so ago I made the wise decision to stop taking my medication. I use the word wise in the most sarcastic way possible.  At the time, I thought that this was the right thing to do. I thought that I would be good. I thought that I would be fine, and still feel happy, content, and stable without the medication. I was wrong.

What I did not realize in the moment that I made that decision, was that the medication was doing what it was supposed to do for me.  It was supposed to make me feel content, stable, and leveled out. As soon as the medication, started to leave my body I could feel the level of tension rise, my patience run paper thin, and my irritation go from 0 to 60 in 10 seconds flat. I slowly fell into a pit that was filled with anger, shame, and thea flurry of symptoms that my bipolar disorder would quickly remind me of.  


I’m glad that this happened.  This needed to happen.

I had to see for myself, how important my medication is for me and how it helps me so very much.  I had to see the contrast in my behavior when I am on medication, and when I am not on medication. I needed to know that I can recognize when I am in a mental health crisis and when I need to reach out for help.  This was a necessary detour on my mental health recovery journey so that I could gain just a bit more information about myself and how my condition affects me.


For weeks, I was conflicted on whether or not I would mention this happening.  But I decided to speak about it for several reasons: 1) I needed to be honest with myself and my mental health care providers, 2) I had  accept the fact that I do take medication, and it has helped achieve many of my goals and move towards the life that I want and deserve, and 3) I know that I am not alone in this situation.  


I try to take away something from every situation that I find myself in and this one is no different.  

Here is the bottom line for me: There is nothing wrong with taking medication. My brain is an organ that needs help and my medication does exactly that.  I have also learned that I cannot be so hard on myself when I make a mistake. I am in control, and I can also prevent myself from making a downward spiral.  


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: Stephanie Mitchell Hughes

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There is no secret that I am passionate about talking about mental health.  

My journey started back in 2014 when I was diagnosed. For years I thought that I was the only one in the world who suffered from a mental health disorder.  I had gone through a range of emotions trying to figure out where I “fit in” as I navigated my way through life while dealing with a mental illness. I am always amazed and intrigued when I meet and talk to other strong, brave men and women who are thriving and surviving despite their mental health disorders.

This brings me to the reason of this post.  

I met a woman named Stephanie Mitchell Hughes on Instagram a few months ago. She is amazing!  She is a mother, attorney, speaker, and she also lives with a mental illness.  She is very passionate about helping others and spreading the word about mental health and mental illness.  I want share a podcast from the American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP) in which the talks about her mental illness and how she was able to find recovery and stability.  

The link to her story is below.

https://soundcloud.com/aba-colap/aba-colap-voices-of-recovery-podcast-series-episode-7-featuring-stephanie-mitchell-hughes

Please take some time to listen to this enlightening, and inspirational account.  

There are so many pearls of wisdom, and I know that you will find her story powerful.   


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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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