Quote of the Month

“It doesn’t matter where you are, you are nowhere compared to where you can go.”

– Bob Proctor

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Five Things That Make Me Happy.

Mental health can be exhausting, saddening, and overwhelming. I decided to take a break from my blog and focus on my life and it has been pretty beneficial. As one of my Get To Know The Blogger posts, I’ve decided to write Five Things That Make Me Happy.

Happiness is the state of being happy. Happy is feeling or showing pleasure and contentment. (Yes, I got that from the dictionary.) To me, happiness is a state of mind where you’re not wallowing in the dark recesses of your mind.

Now, the five things that make me happy…

1. My children. I love all four of their wonderful personalities. Raelynn is artistic and silly. Charlotte is sporty and sarcastic. Maverick is just a giggle monster. And Elijah, he’s just a happy baby. I love their curiosity, their wonder, their laughter, their ideas. They brighten my day.

2. Talking to my mom. My mother is my best friend. She praises my accomplishments and brags when I’m doing good. She’ll also give me a reality check when I’m being dumb. She loves me unconditionally and she’s my rock. Talking to her makes me happy. I miss our late night conversations on the porch.

3. Sleeping in on weekends. I don’t “sleep in” by much, maybe an extra 30 minutes from my work days, but that extra 30 minutes does wonders for my overall mood. I wake up with a smile rather than being a grumpy troll.

4. Reaching small goals. Each checkmark I make on my list of goals puts a smile on my face. Maybe its remembering to take the trash to the dumpster or its finishing a chapter of my book. If I manage to cross of three things of my to-do list, I’m pretty happy with myself. My next small goal is finishing two more chapters of Ghost of You.

5. My friends. I’m not using this as a cop-out answer either. My friends are some of the best people in the world. They know how to make my worst day into my best day with a simple text or a gif. And when the days are really dark, my best friends know exactly how to pull me out of it.

There are more than 5 things that make me happy. I’m sure this list could go on for a while if I tried.

But, these five things are the important ones. My kids, my mom, my friends… they are 3/4 of my heart. Sleep and reaching small goals are basic self-care for myself. I find myself smiling more and happier these days because I hold tight to my support people, I practice self-care when I can, and I’m reaching goals I’ve made for myself.

Little by little, day by day, one step at a time, I can do this. I can keep my happy state of mind.

Happy International Self Care Day!

July 24th is International Self Care Day! I hope you all took some time for yourselves and practiced a little self love. Sometimes we forget to allow ourselves to reset and we exhaust ourselves by trying to give when we are on empty.

In case you haven’t taken any time out today to practice a little self care, do so now. Drink a glass of water. Pick a movie and pop some popcorn. Color. Take a bubble bath. Give yourself a mani-pedi. Whatever it takes.

Remember, I’m always here if you need a friend. Drop a comment below with your favorite way to relax. Happy International Self Care Day!

The Dos and Don’ts of Loving An Addict.

Something that needs to be said is that addiction is a mental illness. There are many people who would disagree with this statement, saying that “it’s a choice.” Wrong. People who are coping with addiction have brain structures that look and behave differently than people without addiction. Addiction is a mental illness and if we are to help people with addiction recover, we must stop blaming them for making “bad choices” and dismissing them as inherently bad or weak.

Statistics from 2017 say that 20 million Americans struggle with drug and alcohol abuse. 20 million people. And that’s only in the United States. Did you know that overdose is one of the top three causes of accidental deaths in the United States? 47,600 deaths in 2017.

So, what can you do if someone you love suffers from dependency?

Do:

– Speak with positivity and optimism. Try your best to be empathetic. Be understanding and patient.

– Give encouragement when your loved one achieves a goal; even if that goal is one day sober. Baby steps.

– Address the underlying reasons for the substance abuse. Understand that sometimes “I don’t know” is their reason.

– Educate yourself on the addiction of the relevant substance. Learn warning signs.

– Encourage treatment for your loved one.

Don’t:

– Punish the person for failing to maintain sobriety. It’s not easy.

– Speak negatively or accusingly. Do not trigger feelings of shame or guilt.

– Place the entire responsibility with your loved one. Understand that they do and will need help.

– Give ultimatums. They’re a catalyst for failure.

The best thing you can do is offer to be there, and actually be there. Remind them that they are loved and that they are not alone. Remember: the choice to seek treatment, to be sober, to get clean… it has to be their choice. You can not make that choice for them.

To my loved ones who have and who are struggling with dependency, know that I love you. I want you to wake up every morning and face your demons head on. I will be there to hold your hand, literally or figuratively. I may not fully understand what you’re going through but I will always be there to listen. I can give you advice to the best of my ability. I can (and do) love you without judgement.

If you are looking to seek treatment and don’t know where to start, here are some helpful resources:

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration’s (SAMHSA) national helpline: 1-800-622-HELP (1-800-622-4357) It’s confidential, free, open 24/7 365 days a year. It’s available in English and in Spanish.

You can search for a treatment facility near you.

Five Ways To End The Stigma On Mental Illness.

Mental illness is a common issue in today’s world. 1 in 5 people suffer from some sort of mental illness. As I’ve mentioned many times before, I am one of the 1 in 10 adults who live with depression. In the 16 years since I’ve been diagnosed, I’ve learned a lot of not so wonderful things. One of those things is that there is a stigma that comes along with the diagnosis. A lot of people, whom are uneducated in what mental illness is or how it affects people, will label you a “psycho” without learning anything about the illness or the person diagnosed with it.

That brings me to this post – five ways to end the stigma on mental health.

One: Educate yourself. People are ignorant. It’s wise to educate yourself on all aspects of mental illness. Seek out resources. If someone you know has been diagnosed, focus on their diagnosis. I usually request that my friends or family do a little research on depression. It’s not just “feeling sad” or “being numb to the outside world.” Sometimes it’s needing a break between menial tasks because it took all your energy to do that one little thing. Sometimes it’s lack of motivation or passion for the things that you once loved. In my particular case, it’s a chemical imbalance. I’m not a “nutcase” or “someone who needs severe psychological help.”

Two: Learn to recognize the signs. If your friend or loved one is becoming more reclusive than normal or they are just “not themselves,” maybe it’s time to reach out to them. Maybe they stopped painting. Maybe they stopped hiking. Maybe they haven’t showered in a week or haven’t called you in a while. Maybe their dishes are piling up and their laundry has been sitting in the basket for a few days. These are all signs that they might just need a friend to reach out to them.

Three: Be encouraging. Be empathetic. Let them know you understand that they’re not okay and let them know that it’s okay to not be okay. Do not belittle them. Do not say “It’s all in your head.” (I mean, duh, mental illness.) Do not call them a “psycho” or a “nutcase.” Do not use labels such as: unstable, demented, wacko, or psychotic.

[Personal moment: Do NOT use their mental illness against them in an argument. Just because someone, like myself, has been diagnosed with depression does not mean we are terrible people. It does not mean I am a bad mother. It does not mean that I am psychologically unbalanced. My blog is not a cry for help. I promise you that I am more stable now than I was at seventeen. Making my blog seem like an unsafe place for me to write was a huge jerk move. But screw you. I’m going to keep writing anyway. Those who know me and are actually not ignorant on mental health will know the truth.]

Four: Challenge misconceptions. If you hear someone speaking about mental health in a derogatory way, challenge their viewpoint. Debate the myths. Educate them on the truth. It’s not laziness. It’s being exhausted and overwhelmed. It’s not being a Harley Quinn-esque “nut job,” it’s having a chemical imbalance or a misfire in the brain. Some pain isn’t physical and some wounds aren’t visible.

Five: Accept the person. Let them know that you love them and that their mental illness is not what defines them.

And there you have it. Five ways to end the stigma that sticks to mental illness. It’s time to stand together and knock out the bad misconceptions. It’s time to stop fearing mental illness. Stop assuming the worst in people with a mental illness. Build them up, don’t tear them down. Together, we can break the stigma.

Slacking.

It’s the middle of June. J U N E. 2019 is nearly halfway over and I feel like I had a list of things I wanted to do this year and none of it has been accomplished. More specifically, my book still isn’t 100% done. I’ve been in this editing/rewriting stage for months.

I’m losing motivation.

Add in a teensy bit of writer’s block and a slightly busy reality and you’ll have a small anti-writing cocktail. I’ve been slacking, hardcore. I need to write a few more chapters. I need to write up a couple blog posts. I need to work on building up my creativity level. I need to write more – I want to write more.

Unfortunately, staring at a screen for hours is doing nothing. I need a reset. I need to immerse myself in my fictional world… somehow.

Ghost of You has been my baby. I’ve been working on it for so long, it never seems good enough. I want it perfect. I want you, my readers, to read it and feel every emotion. I want you to understand why I wrote this book. I want you to enjoy every page. Maybe it’s a lack of confidence rather than a lack of motivation. Or both.

I promise to update with a release date soon. I promise I’ll find a way to get the creative juices flowing. Be patient with me.

Eight Signs You’re Burned Out.

Once upon a time, what seems to be a long, long time ago, I used to have an overabundance of energy. I used to disappear to the coast with my best friend at three in the morning and still get to class at 7 the next day. I used to balance school, work, and a social life.

Now? It takes everything I have just to switch from my couch to my bed at night. (The last few nights, the couch won the battle.)

So, today’s post is this: Eight Signs You Are Burned Out.

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  1. You are not taking care of your basic needs. Are you remembering to eat three meals a day? Are you drinking water? Are you showering? Are you socializing in any form? Let me be honest with you. I’m down to one meal a day, two if I remember to pack a lunch for work. I don’t think I’ve drank plain old water in over a month. And I finally remembered to shower two days ago. (I need to take one tonight.)
  2. You’re snoozing your alarm way too much. I have hit snooze so often that I had to drive my kids to schooie even forgotten to set an alarm. Yeah.
  3. Your to do list is overwhelming. Clean the house, fold my laundry, feed the kids, help the kids with homework, fold the boys’ clothes, buy groceries, go to work, pay the bills, cut the grass, make a garden… my to do list is never ending. Oh, and I almost forgot, I have to plan a birthday party in the next two weeks.
  4. Your life doesn’t motivate you. I have so much I need to do and I have little to no motivation to get it done. If it wasn’t for my calendar notification, I would have probably skipped writing a post tonight.
  5. You’re not having a break. It’s non-stop. Wake up, get the girls off to school, go to work, come home, make dinner, check homework, play with the kids, kiss the kids goodnight, fit in a shower, go to sleep. Rinse, repeat. I’m tired. So, so tired.
  6. You’re getting overly irritated by other people. I really don’t need to elaborate on this one. If you’re around me lately, you know that it’s true.
  7. You’re living on autopilot. Wake up, do life stuff, sleep, repeat. Repeat again. And again. And… again.
  8. Your thoughts are negative. I can say that this one hasn’t hit me. I’ve been keeping my negative thoughts out of my head since I was 18 years old. I’m not about to let them in again now.

And there you have it. Eight signs that you’re burned out; that you need a mini vacation. Take some “me time” and practice some self-care. Let people around you know that you desperately need a break to reset your mind. Don’t keep pouring from an empty cup – practicing self-care is self-love.

Need a friend to reach out? Drop a comment below. I’ll gladly lend an ear.