The Sun Is Going To Rise Again

My heart breaks.

Mental health is not a joke, and we should not look down on it. We need less judgment and more compassion. More check in’s and fewer shares of one meme “suicide hotline.” I urge you to check in on all of your friends, correctly.

In a week, we lost two celebrities to suicide, but there are many others that we’ll never hear about who did the same. Trying to place yourself in both Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain shoes are hard. They both genuinely believed that their children would be better off without them – Can you imagine how much pain they were in to think that?

We lose, roughly, 2160 people a day to suicide and it’s heartbreaking to keep seeing these rates go up. When we want to reach out to someone we need to stop looking down on them. From your wealthiest to your poorest friends, we all struggle with life. Instead of judging each other on which platform they stand – why don’t we encourage and lift others up? Where have we failed as a society to lack such empathy?

While undoubtedly chemical antidepressants have some value and should remain on the table, we need to radically expand the menu of options for people who are depressed and anxious to deal with the grave, underlying reasons why we feel this way.

For those that are struggling with depression – I urge you to hold on. If you’re depressed, if you’re anxious, you’re not crazy. You matter. You’re loved. This is not your fault. You won’t be able to cure this on your own, but, there is hope. Your presence on this earth makes a difference whether you see it or not.

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Basement Remodels, Anxiety Hell

I’m at the ratty end of a basement remodel, and I am feeling so depleted from it all.
Everyone usually warns you of how you and your partner will be whenever a renovation happens, and even though I fully expected it to happen, I still wasn’t prepared for the emotional drain that it has put on me.

I am quite opinionated whenever it comes to big projects like this, but I decided to take a step back and let my Husband be the project manager. I’ve done the ordinary tasks with no shame. Cleaned up all the debris, knocked out all of the nails of baseboards (in record time, I might add!) and tried to come to a solution on colors and organization. I know I could do more, but I’m trying to respect his decision and stay out of his hair. Saturday morning we got into a fight of how he feels that he’s doing the majority of the work and I just wanted to rip my hair out!

Even though he has taken the brunt end of most of it, he hasn’t asked for much help on my part. I kept offering my help many times, but I stopped at a certain point since he never accepted it. I have a lot of experience when it comes to hands-on work, and I never shy away from a hammer so it’s tough for me to accept that I’m not as involved as I’d like to be.

After our little spat, I started to shake uncontrollably. As my eyes darted back and forth, I began to question a lot of the decisions that we made and looked inward on our relationship. I immediately knew that I was over thinking, but I couldn’t shake off my anxious feeling and started to cry because I wasn’t in control. My husband caught on quite quickly and jumped over the newly grouted tiles so he could swoop me into his arms to calm me down. We stood motionless in our basement as he caressed my back gently to help regulate my breathing.

I hate my anxiety.

I hate that something like this can come out of nowhere and make me so incredibly doubtful of everything.

I hate when arguments lead me to question my relationship with said person.

Do you know what I don’t hate, though? My husband makes me feel like a ‘normal’ person when I can’t see it in myself.

After this, we went to pick up our paint colors and finally agreed not only on the hues but the placement of them. Instead of going home immediately, we went to a local burger joint and took a well deserve and needed break from our mess of a house. It’s always crucial to make sure that you don’t forget who you are as a person and who you are as a couple, knowing that we both needed that space away from our project was our blessing in disguise.

We spent the next day painting the majority of our basement, and I’m happy to say that we’re both feeling relieved that we’re in the home stretch!

Release and Vent

Venting
when you have so much bottled up inside you that you’re at a point where you can’t stand it and need to word vomit it out.

I’ve been there!

It’s not healthy to bottle up your emotions, and the immediate feeling of relief of doing so is understated. When someone genuinely seems to want to listen and care about you, your frustrations feel more legitimate, and the feeling of annoyance subsides.

I enjoy it when people vent to me. Although most of us think that said person is annoyed when we do it, I can honestly say that I would push whatever it is out of the way to listen to you vent.

I am too well versed in how it feels to bottle up everything your thinking and feeling. It clouds your judgment when you get tangled in your emotions. It has taken me a lot to open up to people over the years, but I do have many friends who I can run to with no shame in judgment. It’s always vital to vent to someone who you trust: if you’re in a toxic relationship, a simple vent can turn into a catastrophic event. If you choose to do so, you can increase your level of distress tenfold.

Choose who you vent to wisely but make sure you can do it whenever the feeling comes to mind. Ask your confidant if they can make the time for you before you get into your rant and spill it all out. Their positivity will outshine your negative state, and they might even come up with suggestions that you couldn’t think of in your frame of mind.

Like father, like daughter

This past weekend by birthfather and stepmother came to spend some quality time with my husband and I. I’m very close with the both of them, so I was quite excited to see them after two years finally. When my father and I had some alone time, he tried to pry me open as is tradition. He thinks that I don’t open up to him as much as I should when in reality he’s one of the few that I run to when I need help. He takes my lack of conversation to heart, so I am very blunt whenever we have these talks to show him that I’m never afraid to open up to him.

 

Back in November, we had a minor spat over an issue, and my solution was to back off to cool down for a few days. I’m lucky that he understands that I need this, but I also have to be sensitive to the fact that he does not appreciate it. He would rather open the wound fully to bleed out than patch it. I don’t blame him but whenever I get overwhelmed it seems like the most viable solution for me. He asked me if I was OK at this moment, and I was happy to state that I was. However, the tears started to flow as I put myself back in my situation in November: how overly stressed I was at work, how my husband’s schedule didn’t align with mine and the financial hiccups that I had to endure.

I apologized to him as the tears continued, I reminded him that I couldn’t stop them sometimes and to know that I am happy at this moment.

“I know – I suffer from the same thing, too.”

Those words have been echoing in my head. I’ve gotten nothing but encouragement from them since I’ve started this blog but hearing that validation almost turned those tears into a full-on waterslide. There have been tiny moments since our reunion that truly made me feel as if I were a part of this family and I can add another one to this list. I had a family member that UNDERSTOOD why I was crying. I got up from my chair and buried my head into the neck of my dad’s – I continued to gently cry as he whispered in my ear “It’s OK, it’s all OK.”

He has no idea how long I’ve waited for a father to say this to me

I pulled away and wiped my tears, thanked him for bringing me down and continued our conversation. No more tears fell, and my anxious flashback seemed like it happened hours ago. Even though it was a short visit, we had much other heart-to-heart’s and of course some sneaking father advice. It’s reassuring to know that the way I feel comes from my father and it makes me calm knowing that I’m not alone.Happy Personality with Heavy Soul

Where do I put my hands?

A little over a year ago, a friend of the family came to me with some advice knowing that I was struggling. Automatically, my guard went up. I started to become defensive about the situation and chose to ignore what she was saying. I politely asked her to leave my house, and without hesitation, she agreed. When she left, I went straight to my husband asking what her intentions were and all he said was “Andrea, she was just trying to help, can’t you see that?” When I looked back on the exact words that she said, her demeanor and how she approached me with caution I felt sick to my stomach. She was utterly genuine, and I was an ass by choosing to deflect as I’ve grown accustomed to over the years.

no idea how to respond

I apologized the next day profusely to her and thanked her for being concerned. I couldn’t believe that after years of therapy that I was still struggling to put my guard down. One of the techniques used in CBT Therapy is to catch yourself in an automatic thought before you react to it. I was upset at myself up over not being able to do it in this instance. I know that it’s only normal and it will most likely happen again, so, I try not to let it affect me as much as usual (easier said than done!)

Do you ever find yourself confused over a compliment, too? I do when it comes to something personal. Take for example this blog, one of my aunts came up to me recently and told me that my mother would have been proud of me for starting this. I stood there in a daze. With a little whisper I managed to say “Thank You” and my cheeks flustered. When you always talk yourself down as I do, it’s hard to know how to respond to positivity.

Akward when someone compliments me

When I thought about it more that night, I wish I could have said more to my aunt; to thank her for thinking of my mother, the kind words and how I too think she would have been proud. (Seriously, thank you, Susan)

My anxiety will never entirely go away, and I’ve come to accept that over the years. I do wish that I was a little better at receiving help or getting a compliment, though. I can only hope that over time it will get better, but in the meantime, I feel like Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights.

 

I’m Tired

Whenever someone asks how I am my usual response is “I’m tired.”

This tiredness isn’t because of a long day at work, or not getting enough sleep at night (although sometimes it does add to it). It’s usually from the constant battle of anxiety that pulsates through my head telling me not to speak up because I will annoy those surrounding me.

Some days I can fight that voice, but often than not it’s hard to find the strength to ignore it. I want to word vomit how I am feeling

I’m burnt out; life is overwhelming right now, I’m mentally exhausted.

But my anxiety will send my mind spinning telling me that no one will understand, so I resort to the short version of “I’m tired.” I can be in the same room as people that I’ve known for years, whom I trust dearly, but I won’t over divulge.

It’s exhausting having that voice in the back of my head telling me that I’m weak, that I shouldn’t expect much and nitpick away at everything that I do. It makes me feel less of a person, and I think everyone can see it. It makes it easy for me to cancel my plans because the thought of being around people would be too much to handle on top of this.

I refuse to let my anxiety control my life any more than it has. Even though my mind rushes at a mile a minute the moment I wake up: I still get out of bed, I still prepare for my day, and I still go to work. All I want to do is go back under my warm blanket with my husband. (I can make a living like this, right??)

I push through the discomfort of my day so that I can turn my dark thoughts into positive ones. I ignore my thought of “everyone is judging you” and force myself to be productive. Always trying to be one step ahead is tiresome. I feel like I’m constantly trying to get out of my comfort zone and never feel truly relaxed. Yet, I try. I try so hard and put in so much effort.

The days when I do find the courage and strength to speak my mind amaze me – how can I be so brave when other days I let it consume me? These are the days that I realize people with anxiety are the strongest because we never have a minute of peace. I’ve been called “Strong” before, but I don’t feel it, I have a tattoo as a reminder.

Ani Hazika
Hebrew for “I’m Strong”

The next time someone says “I’m tired” try to understand that they might be struggling with something deeper. Maybe they need words of encouragement, a shovel to dig them out of a situation or just a simple hug saying “It’s OK to be tired.”

Loving yourself after a toxic relationship

Toxic relationships have always hit close to home for me. I grew up in a loving household, but once my adoptive mother passed away, the tune changed. For the eight years that followed afterward, I noticed my old self-starting to fade away; I was becoming a shell of a person that I once knew. I decided to take action and leave that atmosphere once I was of age. However, I felt lost. Instead of figuring out how to love myself again I jumped into a serious relationship thinking that would solve the problem.

It was a whirlwind of infatuation, and I was drunk. When the honeymoon stage started to fade, the toxicity started to creep up. I kept telling myself that no relationship is perfect, but the fighting and masking kept happening. Everyone who shared moments in our lives was none the wiser; this mostly happened between closed doors. My partner manipulated me into thinking that I was unhinged and I started to question my sanity. I was the one who was getting hurt yet he made me believe it was my fault.

I was there for him; I supported him. I was good to him.

When he brought up the conversation of parting ways (third time in over five years), I accepted. I felt drained, and I couldn’t keep apologizing for moments that were not my fault.
If this sounds familiar to you, I want you to take a step back. Are you making this person a priority when you’re not one? I didn’t realize how toxic our relationship was until after the fact.

I became depressed. I stopped eating. I didn’t know who I was anymore.

After a couple of weeks of wallowing, I knew that I had to do something about it – I couldn’t rely on someone else for my happiness. The only issue was how was I going to learn to love myself after being berated for so long?

  • Surround yourself with Love
    Support systems are different across all boards but make sure that you engage with those who are there for you in good or bad times. I surrounded myself with my closest friends whom I’m happy to call family. They kept offering their support and reminded me that things would be OK. I started to listen to them more even though I didn’t believe them at the time. I know they had my best interest at heart
  • Keep Busy
    I found that staying home under a blanket wasn’t doing me any good, so I decided to work extra hours at my retail position, and I stayed back from several classes to engage with other students. I didn’t want to do this, but I forced myself too. I was still exhausted from everything that happened, but I pushed through. (I got a promotion at work shortly afterward!)
  • Be Positive
    Yeah, OK Andrea easier said than done.
    TRUST ME, I KNOW. I’ve always struggled with being a positive person since negativity always surrounded me. It’s so easy to feel that you will never find love in yourself or others but you need to know that this is not true. Create a mantra for yourself: “Everything will be OK – You are where you need to be” I know it sounds corny but saying it to yourself every day does help.
  • Make ‘me’ time
    I’m not saying to be positive all the time here, that’s not possible. You will cry, you will hurt – and that’s NORMAL. We’re all human, and there’s no shame in having low points. If you need to stay home, eat a pint of ice cream while watching Grey’s Anatomy – DO IT. I cannot stress this enough. Making time for yourself is a major part of healing!
  • Define your self-love
    Everyone’s definition of self-love is different; mine is to be comfortable in my skin & not apologize for my personality. Yours will most likely be different, and that’s OK because it’s for yourself. You need to understand what works and what doesn’t so you can stand up for what you believe. A great way to start this process is by making a list: What are your best attributes?

Happy with yourself
None of this will work if you continue to hold onto the past. Don’t feel like you can jump into this, either. I’m still navigating on my route of self-love, but I can thank my change in atmosphere. Leaving all of that behind really did make my transition to being happier easier.

If you’re unsure about toxicity – please read my post “It’s not you; it’s them”