Mental health · Self love · Uncategorized

Life Loves You

All is well, whole and complete.

I am exactly where I need to be.

Life loves me for exactly who I am.

Who I am is good. Who I am is who I’m supposed to be.

Life loves me unconditionally.

Life will be what I need it to be.

Hi all. The above is an entry I wrote in my journal on 11/03. I’ve been reading Life Loves You by Robert Holden and Louise Hay, so I was inspired by that. The books includes 10 spiritual practices for healing. The first is to simply practice the phrase, “Life loves me”. Sounds simple but it’s not!! It’s hard to really mean it. At first I found it much easier to say “Life loves me if I…” or “Life will love me when I…”. I still struggle. Bottom line, it’s difficult to love ourselves. But like anything, it gets easier and improves with practice.

I love myself. I love me for exactly who I am. And you should love you too 🙂

Mental health · Uncategorized

The Question of Worthiness

“I am willing to release the need to be unworthy. I am worthy of the very best in life, and I now lovingly allow myself to accept it.” – From You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay

Sorry for not posting in a little while, friends. I was waiting for something to come to me that I really wanted to write about, and here we are! Learning about self worth and changing my opinion of self worth has been a critical turning point in recovery for me. I used to base all of my self worth on my actions and the things I was doing. If I was doing lots of good things such as going to work and keeping up with my self-care practices of yoga, meditation, reading, and journaling, then I would feel awesome about myself. I would feel deserving and worth something because I was doing things that I thought made me worthy. But then my depression and anxiety will creep up and I would slack off on my “worthy” activities and I would feel like utter crap about it. I would talk down to myself about being lazy and staying in bed and not doing anything except feeling sorry for myself. I would feel extremely unworthy. I would equate inactivity with unworthiness and activity with worthiness.

I thought this way for a very long time without even thinking about it. I thought this way up until about a month ago. Then I was reading a chapter from David Burn’s Feel Good Therapy that said self-worthiness is the same for everyone. It is constant. Your self worth never changes no matter what you do. This was hard for me to grasp at first, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense, and I felt a sense of relief and calm. We wouldn’t tell a child who couldn’t tie their shoes “you’re worthless!” so why would we tell ourselves that we are worthless when we are struggling with something? Every human life has the same worth.

Having this newfound knowledge is a real source of power for me. I feel stronger knowing that I am worthy no matter what I do. It has helped me overcome potential depressive episodes. Just this past weekend I had a few too many drinks and I was feeling very out of sorts on Sunday and Monday. I felt fatigued and ill and my body was really punishing me for the liquor I had consumed. Normally I would have felt awful about myself for having drank too much and spent a lot of time in bed feeling sorry for myself. Instead, I accepted that I had made a mistake and decided I would focus on feeling better rather than feeling sorry and worthless. My mistake didn’t change my worth. I said out loud to myself, “I love me” and it felt true.

I know the whole self worth concept might seem simple and maybe even a little cheesy, but for someone like me who has struggled my whole life with self worth, this was an extremely important learning experience. I hope some of you will be able to relate and maybe even let go of some feelings of unworthiness.

Thanks for listening ❤️

– Jill

meditation · Mental health · Uncategorized

My Meditation Practice!

“The inspiration you seek is already within you. Be silent and listen.” – Rumi

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I have a confession: I’m a bit of a self-care addict. When I’m feeling good, I throw myself into self care like I’m going to be tested on it. I loved school and learning so I think not being a student (for now!) means I need to get my “school” fix elsewhere. I LOVE self-help books and learning and practicing ways to be healthier both physically and mentally/emotionally. So, of course, I love meditation! I started a regular meditation practice about a year ago and the benefits are pretty amazing. At first I thought it was a silly thing that only “hippies” did and it probably wouldn’t help me feel better. I quickly learned that there’s something special about totally disconnecting and just focusing on your breath for a short amount of time. I rarely meditate for longer than 15 minutes at a time, but the difference in how I feel from before to after is usually pretty intense. This is not always the case, I’ve had a few nights with such high anxiety that meditation couldn’t help. But for the most part, meditation is a quick and effective way to reduce anxiety and over time lead to a healthier well-being. The best part? Anyone can do it, anywhere. I subscribe to the Calm app, which does have a yearly subscription cost, but there are tons of free apps/trials and YouTube videos that are amazing.

Here are some tips and things that I do for my meditation practice 🙂

  • Find a quiet, peaceful space: this can be as simple as finding an empty room or actually having a special area set up for your meditation practice. I meditate either on my couch in the basement or on the floor in my bedroom!
  • Focus on your breath: just breathe and let it be. Don’t try to control your breath, just focus on the in and out. If I’m feeling distracted I find it helpful to think “1” on the inhale and “2” on the exhale, and repeat that over and over.
  • Switch it up!: I don’t think I’ve ever listened to the same meditation twice in a row. The Calm app has so many different ones to listen to, and Youtube has an endless amount. That way you never get bored 🙂 And if you don’t feel like listening to anyone speak and just want silence, do that! Calm has a timed silent meditation that I use when I just want to listen to my own thoughts.
  • Keep it regular: the key thing about a meditation practice is that you have to practice to experience the benefits! I aim to meditate at least a few times a week, preferably daily (even if just for 5 minutes!). Time of day really doesn’t matter but the morning and nighttime are good times because meditation is a good way to get focus ahead of your day or wind down before bed. I also use meditation is acute situations where I’m feeling really anxious or overwhelmed and just need to take a time out.
  • Don’t take it too seriously: I meditate because I truly enjoy it, so if I viewed it as a chore and like something I should do to feel better, I probably wouldn’t enjoy it and I wouldn’t practice it. I try to make my practice my own and really appreciate the benefits it gives me ❤️
  • Tools: the beauty of meditation is that all you really need is yourself and your breath! But for some added enjoyment, you can use a meditation mat (I found mine second hand at a foreclosure) and burn candles, sage, or incense. I also have a scented “eye pillow” that I use sometimes for sleep meditations. Another cool thing I received was a stone at a meditation workshop. I keep this at my desk and hold it when anxious as a reminder to take deep breaths and slow down.

 

That will be all for today! Things have been going well for me the last two weeks, my anxiety has been low and acupuncture and therapy have been effective. I feel more balanced than I have in a really long time. I know low moods can creep up at any time, so something I discussed with my therapist today was making a couple lists; one to list triggers that send me into a down period, and another to list things I can do to help me feel better when I’m anxious or depressed. Perhaps I’ll share some of that next time. Thanks for listening 🙂

– Jill

Abuse · Mental health · Uncategorized

Time heals old wounds

Happy Sunday all. I had a great day that included sleeping in, puppy snuggles, a walk through a haunted house, and pizza ❤️

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For today’s post I wanted to share a piece that I wrote about two years back. I was just getting over the end of an abusive relationship with my first boyfriend, and writing and sharing this piece was a huge moment in moving on. I still think about this relationship probably every day, but no longer with the feelings of sadness and pain that it used to cause. It’s now just a part of my past, something I went through and learned from. It also makes me feel so grateful that I am now with an amazing person who loves and respects me for who I am.

Why My First Cut will Likely be the Deepest 

It’s hard for me to put into words what you were to me. First real boyfriend, first love, first person I felt like I could be my complete self with. The beginning was beautiful. You arrived at just the right time. You were exactly what I was looking for. I was vulnerable and I latched on to you because you made everything feel safer. We both fell hard, felt too much too fast. What I was too naive to realize at the time was that by putting so much faith in you, I lost myself.

My world revolved around you. And you crushed me.

I remember one morning waking up with your arms around me, you breathing one word into my neck: “happy.” I remember how you’d look at me, how good it felt to be wanted. I remember how excited you were to introduce me to your mom, how nice it felt to be someone you were proud to bring home.

I remember starting to feel like something was wrong. I remember wondering why you acted like you didn’t want me around your friends.

I remember the first time I thought I had to break up with you. How we laughed and held hands at a concert, in my head happier than ever, but how afterwards, walking to a bar, you yelled at me so much in front of your friends that I cried and turned around to walk home alone.

I remember how you didn’t come after me. I remember the next day, how you didn’t immediately apologize. How when I brought it up you told me, “You must have done something to piss me off,” when what I remembered thinking that night is that I had done everything right for you to accept me.

I remember staying with you anyway. Because I was afraid to lose what I thought I had.

I remember moving in with you.

I remember how things got worse after that. You yelling at me in the car, me with silent tears wondering what I did wrong.

I remember you coming home multiple nights, blacked out drunk, making it to the door of our building but me having to try to support all 6 feet of you into our apartment and into bed.

I remember Thanksgiving. How my family invited you to dinner but you told me the night before that you weren’t going to go because you’d be “too hungover.” I remember us fighting, me not understanding why you were putting drinking ahead of our relationship. I remember that night, going to a party at your friend’s house. How I drank too much and how you left me there with people I barely knew. Not remembering anything from you leaving until I got home that night to an empty bed, feeling bad about something but not knowing what.

I remember the next day, coming up with an excuse and lying to my parents about why you weren’t with me rather than telling them the truth: you just didn’t want to be there.

I remember the first time I felt scared.

You were beyond wasted, and I had just gotten you inside when something in you snapped and you pinned me against the wall. I remember freezing, not knowing what to do. I remember being relieved when you let go a minute or two later, but telling you of this the next morning and neither of us expressing much concern. I remember letting it go.

I remember how the next time you were sober. How you were driving me home from my shift at work, yelling at me for holding you up on your lunch break, me with silent tears again. I remember not having my key, so you had to let me in the apartment door. I remember walking up the stairs crying, you behind me, and not expecting it, a hard shove that made me stumble. More crying, and you laughing and going out the door and back to work. I remember the sick feeling in my stomach.

But I remember letting that one go too.

I remember the second time I thought I had to break up with you, laying in our bed crying myself to sleep one night when you were out with your friends. And the next morning, telling you that I had thought this, but changing my mind in the same moment.

I remember Christmas. How happy I felt to be loved by you. How naive I didn’t yet know I was.

I remember a few days later, you calling me drunk in the middle of the night and breaking up with me. I remember the next 24 hours were a blur, in the end only to realize that you were breaking up with me for one mistake I didn’t remember making that night before Thanksgiving in the midst of feeling completely rejected by you.

I remember the next four months desperately trying to get you back. Trying to hold on to what made me feel so bad in the first place.

I remember the months after that until now, with the help of a social worker, finally seeing our relationship for what is was. Finally seeing that what you did to me was wrong. How I loved you more than anything and you treated me like shit in return.

It’s been almost a year since you called that night and broke my heart into a million pieces that I’ve been picking up ever since. I’ve learned three important things: (1) No one should be made to feel like they are less in a relationship, (2) You shouldn’t base your entire self worth off of one person, because it gives them the power to take all of that self worth away and (3) It is possible to deeply miss someone but never, ever, want them back.

~~~

Thanks for reading. Sharing this piece two years ago released a huge weight off of my shoulders and validated my experience. I blamed myself for a long time over this relationship. I was a psychology student at the time and I had learned all about abusive patterns and warning signs, but being in it myself I was blind. It wasn’t until I was out of the relationship and talked with a therapist that I saw the relationship for what it was. I don’t regret the relationship because I’m stronger today for all the pain I went through then.

Peace and love,

Jill

 

 

 

 

 

Uncategorized

Personal goals and recovery plan

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“Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?” – Rumi

Hello! I’m liking this idea of starting each post with a quote that speaks to me and my headspace. I love the above quote because it speaks to something that causes me fear and anxiety…. change. Any kind, bad or good. I am happiest with routine. Any life changes that alter my routine tend to create stress and anxiety for me, but I’m working on it!

This week started out rough, to say the least. I was super anxious on Sunday evening and had a couple panic attacks that night… then felt a bit better the next morning but then had a stressful talk with my mom about my issues that threw me into a pretty bad breakdown, the worst I’ve had in years. I was feeling so overwhelmed I had to sit on the floor of the bathroom twice with the overhead fan on just to try to calm down and quiet my mind. So yeah, SHITTY morning. But, I felt like I let a LOT of negative energy go. I had an appointment with my doctor that afternoon that went well, and that evening I felt a lot calmer (and emotionally exhausted). I think I was trying to resist the changes that are going to happen with my treatment and recovery, but now I’m feeling more open to what’s to come.

Personal Goals

  • Happiness and stability: obviously I cannot expect myself to be constantly happy, but I do want to achieve a more general happiness where I am able to cope with my symptoms. I want to feel stable and in control.
  • Health and well-being: I want to feel and look healthy. This goal and my previous one intertwine quite a bit. I plan to focus on eating a healthy, mostly plant-based diet (I’m a pescetarian, also attempting to cut out most dairy) and continue with a good exercise routine.
  • Success and achievement: being successful in my recovery will be a great achievement alone, but also getting back to work (or maybe school) and contributing to the community again will feel nice too. The important thing is that I focus on my recovery now and put my energy into getting well, so that I can have success later on.

Recovery Plan

  • Morning routine: as I mentioned, I do well with routine. I started this routine yesterday… alarm at 6am, get up, light a candle, read and journal for 30ish minutes, then do a 10-15 minute meditation. After that I’ll have breakfast and then head to yoga class or do a workout at home. I’ve only done two mornings so far but I already feel more in control of my days.
  • Yoga 4-5 times per week: I joined my moksha yoga studio about a year ago to deal with my ongoing anxiety. Since then it has been a safe haven, one place where I know I’ll leave feeling better than when I walked in. I took a little hiatus for a few months this summer but I started up again this week.
  • Exercise at home 3 times per week: along with my regular yoga practice, I’ll be working out at home for 30 mins 3 times a week. I love Kayla Itsine’s bikini body guide, I did the full 12-week program two years ago with great results, and started again this summer. I’ve definitely missed some weeks but I plan to start with week 6 on Monday. The workouts are HIIT circuit training (high intensity interval training).
  • Counselling once a week: I meet with a new counsellor tomorrow afternoon, and if all goes well I’ll hopefully be seeing her every week
  •  Medication: I switched my meds over in July/august from Cyprolex to Cymbalta, and I’ve noticed significant improvement with the stability of my moods and a decrease in the frequency on my anxiety. Of course I can’t expect a pill to completely eliminate my symptoms, and I’m happy to treat my remaining symptoms with therapy and self-help.
  • Acupuncture?: this one wasn’t really my idea, my mom suggested it, but I’ve always been curious so it will be cool to try out. Acupuncture can help with anxiety and depression, and it’s covered under my health insurance, so I booked an appointment for Monday. We will see how it goes!
  • Blog twice a week!: I’ll posting here on Sundays and Wednesdays. I’m also on instagram as @lotusflowerlife9, where I’m posting more frequently.

So there are my goals and my plan for recovery 🙂 I hope posting this will hold me more accountable to really stick to my recovery plan. I feel confident just having typed it out.

The rest of my day includes baking black beans brownies (second batch since yesterday, testing recipes and you can never have too much chocolate to go around..) and a moksha/yin class this evening.

Thanks for listening!

-Jill

Uncategorized

What’s this all about?

“Healing is the end of conflict with yourself” – Stephanie Gailing, Astrologer

Hi! I’m new. I guess this blog is about healing. My healing, in particular. Hence the lotus flower… it’s a symbol that started to mean a lot to me in the last year or so. It symbolizes rising out of suffering. Lotus flowers grow and blossom beautifully from shallow, murky waters. Without that muddy environment to grow from, they would not be the beautiful flowers that they are. I guess I liked the idea of this representing my struggle… I’ve dealt with mental illness since my pre-teen days, so probably for the last 10 years. I wouldn’t be who I am without the “murkiness” of my past (and present). Of course, my mental health has not always been a constant issue, but right now it’s at the forefront of my life.

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I’ve been off work the last few months. On the outset, my life was pretty well perfect. I should be happy (should is a very bad word but I’ll get to that another time). Anyway, I said to this myself over and over…. I should be happy, but I’m not. And truthfully, I am happy with my life. I have a great intact family, an amazing boyfriend, a university degree, a well-paying job and financial stability… I have a really good life. But after getting this amazing job and feeling like everything was set… I started to flounder. I started to not be able to cope. I missed a lot of work because I was too depressed to get of bed. Flash forward to a year a half later and it’s gotten so bad that I had to take time off and go on sick leave. So that’s where I am now.

I’ve dealt with depression before but this one is different. It’s not long-lasting, a few days at most, but frequent enough that it affects my daily life. The depression is pretty paralyzing when it’s present, usually I can’t get out of bed and my anxiety is high. After some discussion with a therapist I tentatively self-diagnosed myself with cyclothymic disorder. It’s a verrry mild form of bipolar disorder (which my grandmother has so the genetics are there) but the highs and low are neither severe enough or last long enough to be considered depression or mania. It’s nice to put a name on what ails me, if cyclothymia is truly what I have. It’s just comforting to call it something, it lets me blame myself less.

So what do I hope to do with this blog? Well, I love to write and my best friend suggested blogging could be helpful because it would make my struggle feel a little more meaningful. If people read this, maybe it can help others who are struggling. But even if no one reads this, I don’t really care and at least it’s still helping me heal.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Next post I’m going to write about my goals for recovery I think. Thanks for listening 🙂