Friday, October 9, 2015

Mindful Friday: Asking For Help Is Hard.

Hey all. I haven't posted in a while just because of lack of time and lack of inspiration. I've generally just felt like crap for the past few months. It wasn't until recently that I realized I don't necessarily have my anxiety under control. If you want to read more about anxiety, I have a post about that here. 
I don't want to go into too much detail about anxiety since I already have on a different post.

This post is about asking for help when you need it, especially when it comes to mental health. I have a degree in social work and a minor in holistic health--I know how important the mind and body connection is.

Yet, I somehow find it difficult to always take care of myself, psychologically/mentally as well as psychically. More than this, coping mechanisms I've used before to manage my anxiety aren't working as well as they used to, if they're even working at all.  I feel as though I've hit a brick wall with my mental health. Normally I would try different coping mechanisms, Google some new ones or maybe even try even harder to stick to things I know that help my anxiety calm down. This time, though, my anxiety just does not give a crap.

A month or so ago I decided to finally make a phone call to a therapist/counselor/social worker. The problem: I HAVE EFFING MEDICAID. There are only three organizations in my area that accept my particular form of Medicaid and all three, I kid you not, have a seven MONTH or more waiting list. And that's just for intake, not even an actual appointment to get down to business.

Today I decided that this just cannot go on. I'm so sick of being happy one day, feeling like myself and another day where I'm exhausted, negative, and just not myself at all. I know right now that I can't see a mental health professional...Even though I'm on all the wait and cancellation lists, it still is going to be months before anything happens in that area.  However, I can speak to a doctor, can't I? Could I?

It's a really terrifying experience for me to go and speak to a doctor about something like anxiety or depression. I've never done that before. I do want to make sure nothing physical is going on, though. Sometimes physical ailments can cause depression or anxiety and I want to rule that out. On top of never going to a doctor for this, I'm not exactly familiar with my doctor. (Cough, cough: I have Medicaid and see a different doctor every time I'm sick). I don't want to be heavily medicated, although maybe medication would help. I wouldn't know since I have never had medication for a mental health issue. I don't know, it's just scary.

 I know it's not true at all, but me admitting that I may need medication for my mental health's kind of feels like a defeat. As if my mind is telling me that I can't handle this on my own anymore and that this makes me weak in some sense. Again, I know deep down none of this is true. In fact, deep down I know this is true:

Asking for help is brave. 

I know this more than anything. Even though I'm terrified, and this is a horribly difficult thing for me to do...I'm also extremely brave. I'll toot that horn, yeah I will.

I wanted to post this so that I can look back one day and see how far I've come from this place I am at right now. I also wanted to post this to show that you are not alone. If you are considering speaking to a professional about your mental health, just do it. The more you wait to do it, the more you'll psych yourself out. The more your mental illness will tell you that you're just having a bad day and that tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow may be better, but your mental health issue will still exist on that good day. Trust me. I'm there right now. 

I plan on updating on this blog after I see the doctor and my experience. Again, more to document for myself than anything else. However, if this post helps just one person who reads it, that's fine by me too.

-Don't forget to breathe.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

How Retail Works

Hey, all. For those of you who don't know, I've been working retail for the last 7 and a half, almost eight years. I finally can say that I no longer work retail, as of yesterday! WHAT?! So I felt the need to finally post this blog! It's been a long time coming, believe me!

That coupon has expired. No, I cannot take it.

Having a bad day? Why not stay home instead of spreading your nasty vibes around a store??

"No we don't have any more of that item." Then a customer asks you to look in the stock room anyway.

 I'm just a person who happens to work here. I do not control ANYTHING within the company.

Being rude is not a way to get what you want in life...or in a store.

I'm so sorry you feel the need to throw a tantrum for waiting in line for 5 minutes or less. So sorry.

Please clean up after yourself. Don't do this. Don't be an asshat:
Actual state of a fitting room I was working filter.
I'm not your personal shopper. Bring a friend with you to shop so I don't have to dress you.

"Oh honey, you've got your work cut out for you, don't you?" Hah, yeah THANKS for REMINDING ME. Have fun having all the weekends off, random customer!

Do NOT leave fecal matter in the fitting rooms. I repeat, DO NOT. (True story)

I'm not a baby sitter, watch your children.

"This item looks cheaply made." Really? Go home.

A simple please and thank you go a long way, FYI.

Hang up your cell if you're in line. It's rude to not acknowledge people.

"I was here last year and you had this item? I need one. Find it. I NEED it."

Again, use the RESTROOM not the FITTING ROOM for fecal matter.

"This item's damaged. What do you mean you'll only take off 10%? That's a low discount. I always spend a lot of money in here."

Nawh, I didn't just spend an hour organizing that clothing rack. Feel free to destroy it in 5 seconds.

If you absolutely need to eat or have a coffee while you shop, throw your trash in the bin. It's RIGHT THERE.

"Your store's a mess. You should really clean it."

I'm just an employee. I have no control whatsoever how the store is ran. No say in it at all. Stop complaining to me about things you don't like that I cannot change.

"Do you work here?" Hah, noooo I'm just running around 3 three fitting rooms and all the registers like a nut-zo for fun. Also, the name tag? Nawh, just for fun, too.

"Oh, I'm sorry." Customer then proceeds to hang their millions of clothing items on your rack. The limit of items is 5 but psssh. Who reads signs?

This blog post is about life as a retail worker. Take away from this what you will, but please be considerate to those working retail...the job isn't as easy as you think. We're all human beings here, all trying to navigate the shit storm of life so just do us all a favor and be kind. At the very least, if you can't be kind, just shut up.

For those of you still working retail, hang in there. It's a job and yes, it does suck at times. But focus on the good and make sure you NEVER allow yourself to feel demeaned by another person. You are worthy of working in a comfortable environment!

For those of you considering a career or just a job in retail....good luck. Good luck and I hope you have an abundance of patience.

Don't forget to breathe (especially when you work retail).

Friday, August 14, 2015

Setting Intentions and Self Care

Hello, people of the interwebs! I haven't posted in a while because of life things, but I really wanted to share some things I've been doing lately to look after my health as well as my mental well-being/stress levels. Self-care is essential because if we don't take care of ourselves on the most basic of levels first, we can't be free to help others or even be in the moment with our loved ones in the ways that we want.

One thing I have been trying to do nearly every single day for about two to three weeks now is set an intention for myself for the rest of the day. I try to do this in the morning, before I get out of bed. Basiclly this means, I set up in my mind what I want to accomplish on a certain day. It could be a to-do list of tasks, but more likely than not I try to set up a positive way of thinking as my intention.

Usually, I dread getting up and going to work. Whenever I feel that dread, I try to replace it with a better, more positive way of thinking. For instance, I may be thinking, "Man I really don't want to go to work. Customers are mean." I'll then try to replace that negative thought with one such as, "Yeah, this job isn't the best right now, but I've been busting my butt applying to other jobs. There are a lot of good things coming my way and I just need to suck this up in the meantime."

Most days, my intention is, "Today is going to be a good day, no matter what others do or say around you. You're in control of your happiness and you're in control of how today is going to go."

Another way I like to set an intention for myself is either through meditation or yoga. For instance, if I have the time in the morning to do a quick yoga routine, I'll quietly thank myself for giving the time to the practice, however little time that may be. If I don't have time for either, I have found doing a simple yoga pose for at least five minutes, focusing on my breathing, and setting an intention for my day, has been super helpful. That one pose is: legs up the wall. I know it sounds way easy and pretty lame, but don't knock it until you try it. If you even google it, you'll come up with tons of health benefits for this one pose. If you want to try it, here's a helpful video!

Socially, I have been trying to make time to see friends and family, though I still don't see these people as much as I would like to. Being an adult, having adult means everyone is busy and everyone has a different schedule. However, I have found that when I make time to see these people, the ones who matter most, it really boosts my mood and overall well-being. I can't really explain it, but I just feel better, mentally. I plan on working on this more and more.

Aromatherapy is something fairly new to me. My amazing boyfriend got me an aromatherapy essential oil diffuser for my birthday and I am in love with it. I currently only have two essential oils, because they're a bit pricey for good quality ones, but I seriously have found a positive difference in my mood. I even sleep better! I add a few (2-3) drops of the essential oil to my diffuser, plug it in and just let the scent fill the room. I have lemongrass oil, which helps with depression and anxiety, lifts mood, can be used as a pain reliever, and can even boost energy. Psst, it's what I have in my diffuser now as I write this.

I also have lavender oil, because it's amazing. It calms and soothes nerves, reduces stress/anxiety, and can aid in relaxation/sleep. To help me get a deeper, more restful night sleep, I have been putting the diffuser on with the lavender oil inside while I play on my phone before bed. I know, I know. I should be meditating or contemplating my life goals or some shizz, but I really just want to watch Youtube before bed. Sue me. Anyway, I'd say within 20-30minutes I am asleep. Which is amazing considering it usually takes me about an hour to an hour and half to fall asleep normally. I sleep more soundly and feel a lot less tired throughout the day because I'm getting a fuller night's sleep. If you're interested in getting your own diffuser, here's where my boyfriend bought mine from: Aromatherapy Diffuser

Also, side note: be super careful with what you put into the diffuser. Don't, for the love of your lungs, DO NOT put potpourri oil into it. Only pure essential oils.

Getting organized is another thing I've been doing to help myself get motivated and be a more productive person. This is partly due to the fact that my sister MADE me a dang planner for a birthday gift and I'm in love with it. Anyway, just planning out my week: what I have to do, what bills are due, when am I working and off, when can I apply to jobs, when I should do this or's really helped to make my days more productive. In fact, yesterday was one of the most productive job-applying-laundry-doing-working-out-etc, day I've had in a long time. You can get nice planners for a reasonable price. Make planning things fun by using colored pens and highlighters and yes, many many stickers.

Finally, I have been trying to make time to read more. When I actually sit down with a good book and a possibly good cup of tea, I thoroughly enjoy it. I think my brain just gets so tired from all the other things I have going on sometimes that the last thing it wants to do is read a book. However, I've been making an effort to read more, despite feeling tired or wanting to play on my phone. Right now I'm reading Tina Fey's Bossy Pants and it's hysterical.

Anyway, this post was a bit of a ramble, but I hope you enjoyed it anyway. I hope this helped some of you out there who struggle to keep up with a self-care plan. You're not alone.

Don't forget to breathe.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

What it's like to have anxiety.

Hey all. I've been wanting to write a blog post about anxiety for a long time now. What stopped me was...anxiety (hah). There's still such a stigma about mental illness out there and well, I wasn't brave enough to self-disclose this part about myself over the internet in a blog. I think right now I'm just brave enough to do so.

Why I want to write about this:
  1. A lot of people out there may be fighting their own up-hill battle with anxiety or another mental illness. 
  2. Writing helps me process things.
  3. Some people around me don't understand what anxiety is and how it affects the way I function.
  4. I wanted to reduce stigma around mental illness. It's okay to talk about.
  5. I also wanted to educate some of you out there who may not know about certain mental illnesses such as anxiety disorder.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a normal human emotion. Individuals feel anxiety when they feel nervous or uneasy about certain things. For example, going to the dentist is a common cause for some people to become anxious. When it becomes a disorder is when this feeling of fear/nervousness/unease becomes an every day, nearly constant and uncontrollable thing. Having  an anxiety disorder is a mental illness and should be treated the same as any physical illness. With concern, love, and compassion.

What are some of the types of anxiety disorders?

  • Panic disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Post traumatic stress disorder
  • Phobias
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
In all cases, anxiety can be caused by many factors, thoughts, and circumstances--depending on the person. In most cases, the fear or worry is irrational or unrealistic. This statement is not meant to trivialize what anxiety-ridden-thoughts are about, whatsoever. In other words, you don't and shouldn't be worrying about something--but you worry anyway because anxiety makes you do that. Some symptoms of anxiety disorders, no matter the type, can include: feelings/thoughts of panic-uneasiness-worry, insomnia, not being able to catch your breath, heart palpitations or a racing heartbeat, numbness or tingling in extremities, muscle tension, dizziness, and so on.

Remember in health class when you learned about the fight or flight response? That response in your brain that revs you up for battle, so to speak? It happens when humans feel threatened or scared or need to protect themselves; and it can even happen in times of high stress. With individuals who have an anxiety disorder, this fight or flight response is almost never allowed to turn off. This extended fight or flight mode means your mind and body are in a constant state of stress. It can lead to other mental health issues as well as a slue of physical health issues such as: high blood pressure, increases your risk for heart disease, headaches, as well as an accelerated aging process.

Anxiety can happen to anyone, no one is immune to it. It can come out of no where or be something you struggle with from an early age on. It can happen for a reason, some type of trauma or multiple traumas in a person's life. But it can also occur, seemingly, for no reason at other words: genetics can play a role. 
 What is the difference between anxiety and depression?

Anxiety is again, feeling intense and uncontrollable uneasiness or worry or fear. Some people, especially (but not necessarily only) if they have panic disorder, can experience panic or anxiety attacks. This is truly when you are out of control, have a racing heartbeat, can't breathe, and so on. I have only had a handful of anxiety attacks and can most of the time talk myself out of one before I actually spiral into one. The few times in my life where I have experienced severe anxiety attacks, it literally feels as though you are dying. This is one reason why some people call 911 when someone is experiencing an anxiety attack. It can sometimes mimic the symptoms of a heart attack.

Depression, however, is uncontrollable, often debilitating, sadness, loneliness, depressed mood,  or lack of motivation to do daily activities--even those that you enjoy. Although anxiety can cause you to feel sad or that you are alone, not everyone with depression has anxiety and not everyone with anxiety has depression. That being said, the two can go hand in hand with one another in some individuals. In fact, it's almost common for the two to co-occur.

How do I know I may have an anxiety disorder?
If you have been feeling as though you are excessively and uncontrollably worrying about things that you may not necessarily need to worry about, you may have an anxiety disorder. If you have irrational fear that is also uncontrollable and sometimes leads to panic attacks, you may have an not qualified to diagnose a mental health disorder.
anxiety disorder. If you just do not feel like you function as normally as you could be due to your thoughts or anxiety, you may have an anxiety disorder. There are also other factors that can have an impact on whether or not a person has an anxiety disorder. I have a degree in social work, but I am

When in doubt, call your doctor and seek professional assistance. I know it's a difficult thing to do and it's extremely terrifying, but there are people out there, people like me, who have been through it and are there to support you! You got this!

How anxiety effects my life:

  1. Socially
  2. Mentally
  3. Physically
  4. And countless other ways
Anxiety effects my life in every way possible. It effects how I see other people and the world around me. It has an influence on whether or not I do something. For example, hanging out with a friend or acquaintance. It can change the way my day goes, depending on how severe it hits me or what else is going on in my life at that moment. It makes me not want to do anything, sometimes. Basically, anxiety is horrible. 

What my anxiety feels like: 
Again, anxiety can manifest itself in varying ways depending on the person. Personally, I experience:
 thoughts of worry-fear-panic-etc., it keeps me from being present in the moment because of worry or unease, high levels of stress even when there is nothing to be stressed out about, my heart rate increases, my breathing increases, my thoughts and worrying are usually irrational, I have had a few panic attacks, fidgeting, my anxiety or thoughts surrounding my anxiety last for an extended amount of time, when I'm experiencing anxiety my mind goes to the worst case scenario.

I also describe something I call, "spiraling." This is when my anxiety becomes so intense that my thoughts, breathing, and heart race and I can't contain it.  I can't think straight and I can't focus on one specific thing. When I "spiral," the potential to have a full-blown anxiety attack is very real. Again, most of the time I can talk myself out of having a panic attack. I'll go into what helps me and other techniques later.

Triggers are things that amp-up my anxiety or cause my anxiety to begin to spiral. My triggers include: being alone for extended time periods, being sick (especially sick and alone), car things (i.e. breaking down), bees (a phobia of mine), feeling trapped or stuck (mentally or physically), not being in control or having a perception of not being in control, certain social situations, stress or being overwhelmed will increase my anxiety intensity, sometimes excessive amounts of caffeine can cause me to have anxiety. Probably the largest trigger for me is having too much time to think about, just things. When I don't busy my mind or my body, my mind starts to wander and anxiety creeps itself into my thoughts. My thoughts then begin to turn negative and race. Boom--anxiety.

When I realized I have anxiety:
Only within the last two years...and only very recently, about the last 6-8 months, have I really been aware of when my anxiety becomes too much. I guess, if I'm being honest with myself, I always
knew I had anxiety from a very young age. Growing up with parents who fought, before they ultimately divorced, I think is how it all began for me. Even to this day, I don't like fighting or very loud arguments; especially between a man and a woman. There are a million triggers for me, I only listed a few.

Anxiety happens every single day, it just varies in severity. For example, today's anxiety has told me that I needed to change my outfit 4-5 different times.I don't know why. Other days, my anxiety will tell me that I need to worry and panic about literally every single thing that day. Some days I don't have any motivation to do anything social or fun because I know I'm going to get anxious or just the mere thought of doing something makes me anxious.

To my credit, I think I've gotten a lot better than I used to be when it comes to dealing with and processing anxiety. I think a lot of that has to do with actually acknowledging that I have an anxiety disorder.  Once you acknowledge something is wrong or off, it's easier to heal from it/deal with it in a much healthier way.
What I did about my anxiety:
I researched it. A lot. On my own, with little help; at first. I didn't want to believe that I had this thing inside of me that made me freak out, for lack of a better term. To put it in a nutshell: I was in denial. Not complete denial, but denial nonetheless.

When I couldn't research it anymore, I spoke with my doctor. At the time, I think I was about 17 or 18...when I had suffered with anxiety and bouts of depression from a much earlier age.  Again, I was in denial which is what I attribute to waiting so long to seek assistance. My doctor really didn't do much apart from asking me a few questions such as: "Are you thinking of harming yourself, how many days a week do you not feel like yourself, have you ever been on medication for this?" After the questions, she wanted to prescribe me a pill. I had to admit, it was tempting. A pill to cure it all. I'd be normal. Looking back at it now, she was prescribing me a pill for depression and not anxiety. At the time, I wasn't feeling depressed at all...just dealing with anxiety mainly.
I didn't even fill the prescription. Instead, I did other things like research some more about breathing techniques, anxiety relieving techniques, and so on. When I was finally 24 years old...again I was still partly in denial, I sought out help from a professional. This isn't to say that medication can't work, especially with depression because that's a chemical imbalance in the brain, but again I wasn't depressed at the time. I also did not and still do not have panic-disorder so I didn't want any drug meant for that either. I, personally, just didn't feel medication would help me in my case.

I was in college, studying social work, and it made me realize that I couldn't assist any clients if I didn't take care of my own mental health first. It was the hardest thing I have ever done: make a
phone call to my college's wellness center to make an appointment with a social worker. I had only briefly gone to counseling before, mainly after my parents got divorced, but nothing long-term and nothing significantly helpful. Mainly it had been guidance counselors telling me to 'snap out of' whatever was going on. Guidance counselors are NOT social workers or psychologists...just FYI if you're looking for someone to talk to.

Anyway, once the phone call was done, I almost canceled the appointment about 3 times. I didn't though, and I went. The first time was the scariest, really. I didn't know this person, if they were nice, if they were credible, if they would know what I was talking about, if they would judge me, etc. Needless to say, that day was a bad day for anxiety and me. After a few minutes, though, I realized that I had done the right thing. When my social worker asked me why I had come to her office, I told her about what was going on in my life and how I think I may have anxiety. She didn't judge me and she didn't look at me like I was a nut-job. She just listened, unbiased, and attentively. Bottom line: She got it. Finally.

After a few months of seeing her about twice a week for 45 minute sessions, she offered to refer me to the college's psychiatrist in order to be diagnosed with anxiety disorder. However, she said that he would likely prescribe me medication. It turned me off to the idea. Besides, just talking to her and processing things I had allow to build up was helping tremendously. Since she was a social worker, she could not properly diagnose me with generalized anxiety disorder. She did say it was most likely what it sounded like I had. Again, I didn't go to the psychiatrist, but I've always classified myself as having that specific type of anxiety disorder.

What helps:
Over the years, I have come up with certain things that have helped me with my anxiety. Most of the time, one or multiple of these techniques help...but there are those few times where nothing helps and I have to just allow to anxiety to run its course for the moment.

  1.  Scents/aromatherapy: The main scent that always works to calm me is lavender. I spray it on my pillow every night before bed. I inhale the bottle of lavender room spray I have when I start to feel overwhelmed. I even have lavender scented bath-bubbles and Epsom salts. Another scent that helps is that of eucalyptus, but I've run out of the essential oil. Again, I would dilute it with water and spray it in my room or take a few whiffs straight from the bottle. 
  2. Mediation:  I've been meditating for about two years now. I don't do it every single day or even every single time I feel anxious. However, in moments in life where I have high stress levels or a lot going on, I will take the time for myself to practice meditation. I know it sounds a little hippy-dippy, but don't knock it until you try it. I either use Youtube and type in, "Loving Kindness Meditation," or I use the "Calm" (free) app on my phone. You can even journal about your anxiety, draw, or write blog posts!
  3. Talking about it to another anxiety-sufferer: I think speaking to a professional helps me the most just because it is a person who is unbiased and don't know me, won't just tell me what I want to hear. However, sometimes speaking to someone, perhaps a friend. who know how you're feeling or what you're experiencing can help a lot as well.
  4. Body scan/focusing on moment: A body scan can be a type of mediation. It's basically closing your eyes and either sitting or laying in a comfortable position. You focus on your breathing, deep breathing, and then draw your attention to your body. Starting from the tips of your toes, focus on the sensations your body is experiencing. Focus on the couch or ground beneath you, the way your lungs expand, and so forth. Do this until you get to the top of your head. It really helps me to focus on the here and now, quite literally.
  5. Yoga/ any form of exercise: It's a proven fact that exercise can reduce stress or help you to better cope with stressors. When it comes to anxiety, it still rings true. I happen to love yoga because it focuses on breathing as well as the body's movements while still getting a challenging work out in.  When I don't feel like doing yoga, I'll go for a walk or do some Pilates, something more physically demanding. It allows me to get out any aggression I may have and really reduces the intensity of my anxiety. 
  6.  Simple self-care: Even though this seems like the most common-sense solution, it is difficult for most to stick to. Things such as getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, spending time with loved ones or friends, or even taking some time to relax and do nothing. These simple things can cut down on stress and, in turn, anxiety, because you're taking care of yourself in the most basic of ways. Once you have that sorted out, you can then take care of yourself in more ways. Ways such as meditating or learning a new skill, for instance. 
  7. Seeking professional assistance: If you're unsure about whether or not you have an anxiety disorder, if you think you have an anxiety disorder but don't know what to do, or if you just want to process somethings in your life: seek out professional help. If you're in school or in college, there are often wellness or counseling centers right on campus/school grounds. There's also group therapy if you don't like the idea of one-on-one counseling. If you aren't in school or college, there are infinite resources out there as well. All one needs to do is Google, really. I chose to see a social worker, but you can speak with a: behaviorist, psychologist, psychiatrist, or even your physician. 
What others can do to help:
A lot of people think that anxiety is this made-up-over-dramatic-thing some individuals 'do.' It's not. For those of us who struggle and suffer, we would give anything for it to be some kind of made-up game of make believe. Personally, I can't remember a time in my life where I was anxiety-free. This isn't to say that my life isn't full of fun, love, and happiness; it is. Anxiety is just something that goes along with the package of Dana. It's something I will most likely have the rest of my life, and I'm okay with that because, for the most part, I know how to manage my anxiety in a healthy way.

Don't treat people with anxiety any different that someone without anxiety. I can only speak for myself, but I would hate to think that others perceive me differently or think less of me just because of this "thing." Listen to me when I need to vent or cry because it helps, it really does. More that this, let me know you're available for me to talk to you. Don't tell me to "get over it." If it were that simple, anxiety disorders wouldn't even exist.  The thing that helps the most is nonjudgmental, unconditional, and understanding love and support.  There is always hope. Always.

(The main resources for this blog post: own personal/professional experiences as well as WebMD/Mayoclinic)

I hoped this helped someone out there.
Don't forget to breathe,

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Mindful Friday (on Thursday): Life is strange and also frogs

Sunday was the beginning of  a lot of new HBO series starting. True Detective, Ballers, and Brink; to be specific. My boyfriend, myself, and a group of our friends have been looking forward to watching for a while now. Since my boyfriend and I don't have HBO, we go to friends' houses to watch certain shows. Anyway, Sunday night one of our friends picked the two of us up from our house to go and watch these shows at another friend's house. I was leaving the house when my boyfriend said, "Frog."

I almost didn't hear him, but I looked down to my feet anyway. There it was, a little green and speckled frog staring up at me. "Oh no! I almost crushed him!" I squealed. I would have felt so horrible if that had happened. Horrible, I tell you. I bent down towards it and gently ushered it into
the bushes by the house so no one else would nearly crush or actually crush the little creature.

Frog murder avoided, we all set off to our friend's house. On the way, and we had only been driving maybe three minutes, BAM. A car accident. It wasn't us, thankfully, but it was someone else. It must have just happened because people all over the place started racing to the shoulder and pulling over, running out of their cars to assist. The car was white and completely turned over on it's roof. All I saw was white and wheels in a mess of trees and bushes. It had gone over the guard rail and was sitting there. I couldn't see anyone inside.

I still can't find any information on if the person or people inside are okay or not. I haven't stopped thinking about it since Sunday and I probably won't for a long time.

More than anything, I can't get out of my head that the accident could have very well involved the car we all were riding it. If I hadn't stopped to nearly smoosh and then save a frog, maybe we could have been the ones in that upside down car, I know this is probably me just reading too much into the accident I saw, but I feel like sometimes things happen for a reason. Thankfully, I was meant to save a frog that day.

Want to know something? I googled what 'frog symbolism' means and was completely freaked by what multiple websites told me. Frogs are a symbol of change and transition. They can also mean a link between the living and the dead, though I'm still hopeful every single person made it out of that wreck alive.

This got me to remember that life is full of constant change, nothing is permanent. Life is all about births, marriages, love, buying houses, graduating, and even death and grieving. This constant change that life takes us through sometimes comes when we least expect or least want it to happen. Sunday reminded me of how instantaneous and abruptly a life can change. It's reminded me to be thankful for not only the people in my life, but also the time I get to spend with them as well.

Don't forget to breathe.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Reaction Wednesday.

Sooo I wasn't feeling the need to write a Reaction Wednesday blog post today...but then I did...Because sometimes I just don't understand some people. I was watching Youtube, as you do when you're bored and don't want to go to sleep yet...and I came across Freelee the Banana Girl's Youtube page. This woman She makes her money on Youtube by basically lambasting other people and how those people choose to live their lives.

A little background about her, according to her website/Youtube channel:

  • She has a degree in nutrition as well as other related studies
  • She is a fully raw, vegan
  • Passionate about helping others
  • Says she 'critiques popular bullshit diets'
  • She's also an author
  • And so on...blah blah blah

First of all, if you go to her channel, almost every single video is a 'response' to someone else's life, lifestyle choices, and so on. I don't have a problem with someone doing this in a constructive way...but she doesn't. She completely destroys them. She claims she's this educated, well rounded person...but she doesn't present herself as being so. 

She preaches about healthy lifestyles (living on a high carb, plant-based, and preferably raw-vegan diet), but she doesn't seem like the picture of health to me, at all. Being so thin that you can see your rib cage, not because of genetics but because of what your diet looks like, isn't healthy. I don't like commenting on other's body-types, but since she has no problem doing it to others in a really hateful manner, I don't see an issue. All I ever see her eat on the few videos I watched (before I got too angry) are her making these HUGE smoothies, eating HUGE portions of food, etc. I get that when you eat the way she does, one needs to consume more in order to get enough fuel for your body. However, I don't think it's a safe or sustainable way of life.

Freelee seems to think everyone should follow her chosen lifestyle in order to save the planet...or something to that effect. I don't have a degree in nutrition, but I don't think just because she does and chooses to live the way she is living, gives her the right or the superiority to TELL others how to eat and live their lives.

I know I'm rambling, but her videos make me sooooo angry

She states she's all for helping people 'be all they can be' but she has no problem tearing people down in a video if it means she'll get more Youtube video views...cough, MONEY. Ugh.  Just no. She has no limits it seems. She'll "educate" you on diabetes but completely demolish a person who has an eating disorder (whether it's anorexia or compulsive eating). 

I'm all for people living their lives the way they want to as long as it's not harmful...but she's breaking that rule. And clearly you are not truly happy with your life when you feel the need to do what she does. What she's preaching is extremely harmful, and I'm not even talking about her high carb, vegan lifestyle. She preaches about "You're fat and are going to die," or "Why are you so fat?" It scares me that individuals who may be young and/or questioning their lifestyle will actually listen and allow themselves (maybe unknowingly) to be brain washed by this woman.

You don't need to be a vegan to be a good person or even a half-way decent human being. You don't have to be stick thin to be beautiful or healthy. You don't need to die if you eat meat. What this woman is spreading is hate and I am just not down with that.

She even says "People abuse me in the comments of my videos." Really, Freelee? What would you call what you're doing and making a profit off of?

The video that really tipped me off? Here, for your viewing pleasure. It's called, "Why I'm Superior to You."--Lovely, right? 

Also, this gem (it's about killing people who eat meat and dairy):

What do you think about Freelee?

Don't forget to breathe (even when enraged).

Friday, June 19, 2015

Mindful Friday

This past week was another stressful one. My car was going all wonky and I was really worried I was going to need to shell out hundreds of dollars to get it fixed. Thankfully, my boyfriend's dad knows cars and how to fix most problems. It only ended costing around 80 bucks. Though I lucked out, it was an eye-opening experience. One that told me my car isn't going to last forever-that I have to save up for a new one in the (very) near future.

The car is...well really really old. Over ten years old. And it has a zillion miles on it. Though, now, it still runs well and all, I know I really need to seriously start saving. Two things ran through my mind when I realized this. One: I can't afford this with student loans to pay back And two: My dad gave me this car-I'm not ready to get rid of it. 

Although the reality of finances kicked in and that was difficult to deal with, more than that was the symbolism I felt around possibly getting rid of this car in the near future. I don't want to give up on this car like I gave up on my father and any relationship with him. I don't want to deal with the fact that he was super proud and happy that he could give this car to me (and at the time my sister as well) and now I may need to sell or junk it. It was really one of the few times I remember my dad being happy that he could do something for his girls.

On top of all of this, father's day is this coming Sunday. I work retail. Everyone's all about the father's day. It's hitting me harder than I thought it would, to be honest. It isn't the first father's day without my dad being here, but at the same time it doesn't feel that way. It feels like I just spoke to him when in reality, it's been a year and change since he passed away.

Even when he and I would be in areas of life where we weren't speaking to one another, I'd always call him on father's day. It was the one time a year, even more so than Christmas or any other day, that I would set aside time and call. It didn't matter if he was angry on the other end, it didn't matter if he was upset or even crying--I'd still call.

For those of you reading who don't have a clue about my relationship with my was unhealthy. I'll leave it at that for now because this post isn't about what my dad was and what he wasn't to me.

Anyway, this whole car thing this week really made me think about my dad and I've just realized that that's okay. It's okay to think about him and still be sad/mad/upset/etc. I don't think there's a time limit set on grieving. It's okay to still have moments where I am. This bad week reminded me to be kind to myself and take the time to feel what I'm feeling instead of pushing it aside or even worse--suppressing it. That only makes things like anxiety worse.

Anyway, sadness and blegh-ness over. Onto having the rest of this Friday and Saturday OFF!

Don't forget to breathe.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Reaction Wednesday

For this Reaction Wednesday, I wanted to write about this recent trend I found out about through social media. (I realize today isn't Wednesday, but I really felt passionate about this topic and didn't want to wait until tomorrow.) It's called, "The Belly Button Challenge." At first glance, I didn't read the article attached to the picture. My initial thought was: "Here we go again, another stupid and unattainable body-image-thing." Then I read the article. My thoughts then were: "This is horrifying. Why does this exist? Why are there people who actually think this idea of "healthy" is attainable and actually healthy?"  Yes, some individuals are naturally thin and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Go you! You're beautiful! However, implying or explicitly stating that those who cannot do this challenge successfully are unhealthy?

Completely not okay.

Image found on google
I've read a few articles on it and I'll link them all at the end of this post. However, the one thing a lot of these articles have in common is that they tend to agree with my own thought process. Even with a "scientific study" emerging with confirmation that you MUST be able to do this stupid challenge other wise you're nothing or unhealthy--all the articles I read thought just about the same about this challenge as I do. First of all, what is this "Belly Button Challenge?" Well, it's taking your hand, wrapping it around your back and seeing if you can reach around to touch your belly button (as seen in image on right). Sounds as insane as it actually is, doesn't it? I do not and will probably never understand how these crazy "health" or body image "ideals" get started in the first place. I read an article that likened this "craze" to the's just not attainable and completely unrealistic for most human beings. 

Reaching your belly button in a weird position does not make you a healthy person. You know what does? Let me list, shall I?

  1. Eating clean or trying to eat a balanced/healthy-ish diet
  2. Doing light to moderate exercise a few times a week
  3. How's your cholesterol/blood pressure/vitamin and mineral levels/etc.?
  4. Taking a look at your mental health
  5. Looking at the people you choose to surround yourself with
  6. If you are truly happy/fulfilled or can find moments of this in your life
  7. NOT being able to touch your belly button in an odd position
I could not locate this "scientific" research anywhere on the internet and it is supposedly a study done in the U.S. I would like to know the parameters of this research. Who was in and/what was the sample size like? Who were the researchers? What were their credentials? I could not locate any of this anywhere. What I did find out was that a lot of celebrities, especially those in China, are posing  and posting images of themselves completing this challenge. They claim that if you are unsuccessful that you're unhealthy and/or need to lose weight. This is perhaps the most dangerous thing, I think.

Even without the celebrity factor, this thing this MONSTER has spread across social media like a wild fire. One should think about how many young (and younger than you may like to think about) individuals are viewing this and thinking they're not good enough the way they are because of this challenge. Even when I consider my initial reaction to this, I remember thinking, "Whoa, I know I can't do that. Maybe I should work out more." 
This is how powerful social media or the media in general can be. Imagine a young woman or man who already may have self-esteem or body-image issues/doubts seeing this challenge? Perhaps, even, this person doesn't have the capacity or maturity level, developmental-wise, to research it such as I have done and others. Ugh, the thought alone is terrifying. It makes me scared to have children of my own one day who will look at things like this or worse. 

Bottom line, please do not let things like this challenge define you or how you feel about yourself or your body. It's insanity and really has NO research behind it whatsoever. If there was, it would have been publicly...well published. Here's to the "Who can eat the most sushi challenge"(one I'd enter in a heartbeat), or the "Make a Green Smoothie You Like Challenge," or the "Feel Good in Your Own Skin Challenge" (again, a heartbeat).

How about a challenge that doesn't bring some people up while bringing others WAY down? Huh?
Anyway, what do you think about the belly button challenge? Let me know in the comments!

Articles read/research:
Hello Giggles
ABC News
Daily Mail

Link to my blog post about body image:
Clickity Click

Don't forget to breathe.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Mindful Friday

For this Mindful Friday I wanted to focus on something that I've been struggling with a lot lately. I'm not a very insecure person, but I do have insecurities when it comes to certain things in life; as does everyone else. I've been trying to do a lot for myself lately. More than finding a job/purpose as a 'real' adult and recent college graduate, I've been trying to work on things within myself. One of those things is getting close to others. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, one of those many insecurities I have is being around new people or becoming friends with someone else.

I fear rejection. I have issues. Sue me. 

I've mentioned this before in previous posts, but I really do love people and I love being around people as well. This doesn't mean I'm not shy around new or new-er people, though. I completely am. I get insecure about what a person who I want to be my friend, for instance, will view me if I say the wrong thing. I'm insecure about my inborn awkwardness that makes me trip and spill things very easily. I'm also insecure about what if this person lets me down in someway or rejects me? I have issues, sue me.

I've really been trying to 'ease into the discomfort' of meeting new people though. I've been trying this even with people I've known for a few months or years but don't hang out with very often because of conflicting work schedules and what not. It's not an easy thing to do: open yourself up to new social situations and either new or kind-of-new people. At least it's not for me. 

It really confuses me because, again I love being around people. And it also confuses me because I'm awesome at interacting with people in a professional/work/internship environment...even really difficult to handle individuals/situations. When it comes to asking someone I don't really hang out with to do something? Nope. My brain just shuts down and I dissolve into an awkward-nervous-mess. How have I avoided this mess? By simply not asking others to hang out (hah). 

I really want to change this, though. I want friends. Because that's what normal humans want. I'm not saying I'm going to go out to parties and drink and everything; that never was and never will be me. I AM saying that I'm going to make a conscious effort to text, call, Facebook, and more to ask acquaintances or even newer friends/people in my life to hang out more.

The worst that can happen is that the person will say no, right? I'm also going to challenge those of you out there who have the same making-friends-issue to do the same. Lean into the comfort zone limit and try it! You won't be alone and if you have any questions/advice/concerns...comment down below and we can get a dialogue going!

Don't forget to breathe.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Reaction Wednesday

I think every Wednesday I really want to try to react to something in a blog post. I'm not sure if I'll have time to do it every Wednesday, but's to trying something new!

What I want to react to today is Ingrid Nilsen and her recent Youtube video about her being gay. 

I have always loved watching Ingrid on Youtube and she seems like such a sweet person. I love watching her healthy recipe videos, especially, but her entire Youtube channel just seems genuine. You can tell she's someone who is not just in it for the money, in other words. I saw that she had a new video post yesterday, I actually found it through John Green's facebook page, and I immediately needed to watch it. The video is titled, "Something I Want You to Know (Coming Out)."

I have only ever watched her beauty-life-cooking-related videos before (I'm not sure if she 'vlogs' or not), but somehow just reading the title of this video made me like her even more. And that was just reading the title. I wanted to watch it based off of the title because, to me, this makes Ingrid so much more than just a 'Youtuber.' It makes her a human being, someone who has gone through ups and downs in life, as we all do, but she just happens to share some of her life with the internet.

I clicked and watched her video and immediately started crying when she started to cry. I felt so proud and happy for this other person that I have never met in real life, someone I really don't know at all. I'm not gay, for those of you wondering, but I really could feel her struggle through the way she told her story. It must be incredibly difficult to live inside this 'prison' of wanting to be happy but not knowing how to do so because those around you won't accept you for who you truly are. 

I watched her video at maybe 8 o'clock last night...It had about 12 thousand or 20 thousand views. This morning? Over 2 million. It just makes me think of how many other young adults are in a position now or were in a position similar to many people she's potentially helping with this video. I think she's an incredibly courageous person to go onto Youtube and 'come out' as gay to literally millions of viewers. I don't think I could do something so brave. 

If you haven't yet, watch the video and tell me what you think! I'd love to get a discussion going in the comments. However, please be respectful. 

Also, just saying, Beyonce commented on her video. B-freakin-yonce. 

Go, Ingrid, you're amazing, beautiful, and so extraordinarily brave.

Don't forget to breathe.


Friday, June 5, 2015

Mindful Friday

My boyfriend and I have been together for three and a half years. I can't speak for him, but he is literally my rock. He makes me happy, helps me when I'm feeling anxious or doubtful, and he's just an amazing person. The last few days, he was pretty sick. He's had symptoms like this before, but this time around they were a lot more serious. A lot more scary too see, too. I have never felt so helpless in any situation before this. Here's this person I love more than anything in this world, and he's feeling so crummy and miserable...and I can't do a damn thing about it.

He ended up going to the hospital for tests and everything, which all turned out negative or normal (thank goodness).  I can't even put into words how grateful I am that he seems to be doing better and that there's nothing major or serious happening to him.

The whole experience was completely eye-opening, though.  It reminded me of how crazy and just effed life can be--and out of no where. You never know when something like sickness is going to happen and how something so simple can disrupt your every day routine. One minute I was texting him about watching Buffy, the next minute I found out he was being admitted over night to the hospital (scary shit). I also learned that hospitals (at least the one we had) suck, that you have to advocate for yourself and your loved one if you want to get anywhere.  I found out that my boyfriend and I both have some amazing friends and family out there who called, texted, face-booked, etc. good wishes and wanted to know how he was.

You all are amazing.

More than anything, this whole experience is a true reminder of how much I care and love this other human being. How much I needed to be there for him, even if it just meant waiting around with him while he slept in an uncomfortable hospital bed.  Even if it meant just going out and buying him Swedish fish or some chicken nuggets, getting him an ice pack to help him feel just slightly better. It reminds me that I care so so soooo much about him and I know he cares just as much about me as well.

Everything's okay right now and I'm feeling very thankful for him and for the rest of his family, friends, and I that he's okay. I also have a feeling that this entire ordeal has strengthened the already strong bond Ryan and I have together. I really feel like we can overcome anything, right now ; )

Don't forget to breathe.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Timeline Thursday.

Here's some things I did in this very (thankfully) uneventful day! Let the GIFS begin!

Woke up, played on my phone. Then, I watched some cute animal videos to get the day rolling.

Made some coffee.

Made my love bug and I some breakfast, checked how he was feeling (much better, if you're wondering!).

Filled out a job application, fought with the printer to print my resume.

Drove to drop off the application.

I did NOT get lost on the way to and from the agency!

Called my love bug. He wanted nuggs (chicken nuggs). Got some. Ate 'em.
This GIF, though.
Did some laundry, other chores too.

Took the best 2 hour nap evar.

Folded laundry, watched Judge Judy.

Wrote a Mindful Friday post for tomorrow (Proud of that one, I am. You'll see tomorrow!).

Ate dinner, and watched Jeopardy.

Did some yoga.

Read some more of Animal by Nikki Rae (Jeebus, what a book).

Caught up on Youtube subscriptions.

Went to bed.
Don't forget to breathe.