Running Away

Something, this evening, triggered a memory for me, and it was not a memory that felt good. When I was little, I remember planning to run away on many occasions. Sitting in my bed, crying, making a list of what I needed to take with me and I think all I could think of was a couple of clothes, and trying to get like $10 in cash and I would be set. I was probably around 7 or 8 years old when it started.

I never did run away though. I stayed. And of course now that I am grown I know that my not running away was the right thing to do. I may not be here today had I run away all those years ago. All that aside, though, I started questioning why I didn’t. I mean, I was absolutely miserable and I’m pretty good at making poor decisions so what kept me there?

Fear of the unknown. All the bad things that were in my life, were all familiar. Even though at times I experienced fear, I was familiar with that fear. I knew how to survive it and so I always chose to stay and not risk that I may end up in a worse situation than the one I was currently in at any given time. Then I realized that this theme of staying due to fear of the unknown, was present throughout my entire life even up until this very day.

For example, I am currently working full-time for a company that I really have come to dislike. I have been miserable with this company for a few years now, but I stay. And it is purely because I can’t risk that I would leave and end up in something worse. As much as I hate it, I have already adapted to it. Now in all honesty I have done some work on myself in this area recently so the situation isn’t affecting me mentally the way it previously was. I feel that makes the situation a little different, but before I was a total mental case because of the toxicity in my workplace and I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. I felt I was near going inpatient again and everything.

So I guess I’m just trying to figure out why the fear of the unknown is just so scary for me? I’ve made plenty of risky decisions and have accomplished so much as a result. Why would I choose, for example, to stay in an unhealthy relationship because the prospect of being alone was WORSE?! I mean, that just goes to show how much hatred I had for myself. That my own company was worse than being with an abusive partner. How sad.

I am thankfully healed enough that I love my own company now and would never allow someone to treat me poorly like that ever again, but fear is unfortunately still a major variable in my life and I just have to keep working on changing that.

I Hope I Have A Great Day vs How Can I Make Today Great

I had a realization yesterday that I’ve been thinking about quite a bit since then. I don’t know if I am on to anything or not, but I feel like I might be.

I realized, as I was on my way somewhere, that my feelings were shifting back and forth between confident and radiant, to what I later came to realize was a self-protective mode which, as you can imagine, are two very different and opposite states. I wondered to myself what was behind each one and I actually saw it right away.

When I was feeling confident and radiant, it was because I was approaching each moment from a place of wondering how I can contribute positively to the world today. How can I appreciate what’s around me and how can I positively impact anyone I may come into contact with to make sure I don’t spread negativity. I want to make others feels good. I want my energy to be healing. There just isn’t enough of that these days and I know what’s it’s like to hurt. I don’t want that for anyone else, especially not because of me.

When I was feeling self-protective, it’s when I had a lot of anxiety, and feelings of fear and worry. Rather than projecting outward to cultivate the good energy I wanted to be and to share, I was looking from the outside in. I was thinking of all the bad things that could come my way; like someone being rude or disrespectful to me, and l was ready for war. I was going to stick up for myself, damn it, and my guard was way up.

Then I thought, wow. If I could get myself to be in the first mindset more often rather than the protective side running in overdrive majority of the time, I could get rid of a lot of my anxiety. My anxiety really is and always has been, fear-based. I mean, so the fuck what if someone is “mean” to me. Be positive. Be radiant. Fucking GLOW. #bethechangeyouwanttosee Amiright!?

The Effectiveness of Breathing Exercises for PTSD

I used to get so angry when people would suggest that I “just breathe” when I was in the midst of a panic attack and the like. It wasn’t until someone explained to me the physiological aspect of intentional breathing that I began to see just how effective and logical breathing exercises actually are. Breathing exercises are like reverse psychology on your own mind. Once the trigger happens and our mind senses danger, our body follows suit. We start shallow, rapid breathing, our hearts start racing, we may get sweaty palms or even feel light-headed at the rush of the fight-or-flight adrenaline. To then force calm, deep, slow breaths of air, you are essentially tricking your mind by initiating body responses that go against the fight-or-flight.

There’s more to this though. Along with your intentional, calm breathing, you must practice positive self-talk. Your mind senses danger and reacts as a means to protect you because it loves you and cares about you and wants you to be safe. It is your job to tell your brain in these moments that everything is ok. You appreciate how much your mind wants to look out for and protect you, but there is no real danger right now and you are safe. Don’t stop this until you have calmed down. This will take practice but it is effective, I promise you, and it gets easier in time. The key is to not fight it, but rather to acknowledge it as a show of love from your mind and body, and to gently bring it back to reality where it is, in fact, safe.

What about you?

I’ve come to a realization. So many people these days are out here looking for love, but what they’re really looking for is healing. What most don’t seem to understand though, is that healing is an inside job. There is no special person to be found who is going to take all the hurt and sadness away; that is your responsibility. It is much like the concept of being on a falling plane and putting your own oxygen mask on before helping others put on theirs. How can you expect to give proper love to someone else if you can’t even give it to yourself? But quite possibly the saddest realization in all of this, is that people are seeking external sources because they simply don’t know how to love themselves.

Positivity Post: I am learning…

I am learning how to live without the chaos. I am learning that emotions can exist at a 3 on a scale of 1-10. I am learning that the scale does also in fact end at 10 and not the constant 1,000 I had it running at all of the time. I am learning that this does not mean that my passion is any less. I am learning that there are completely healthy ways of meeting my inner child’s needs without putting myself in harm’s way. I am learning that I have a truth, and that I can live according to my personal truth in some really beautiful ways. I am learning that just because I am a survivor, doesn’t mean I have to continue to live like one; in constant survival-mode. I am learning that I am acceptable. I guess that all means that I am learning to love myself.

a. boas

Photo Blog: Perspective is Everything

I still remember the day I took these pictures. I was having a terrible mental health day and decided to go to the park. Nature always makes me feel better.

I was in a relationship at the time and told this person that I was going to the park to have some alone time. After I took these pictures I sent them to my significant other and I remember he didn’t reply. Ever. It tore me apart. I thought, “How could you ignore me at a time like this? Shouldn’t you be happy that I am turning my pain into something beautiful and that I am managing to heal myself even though when I left the house, all I wanted to do was die?”

Looking back, it didn’t matter what he said or if he said anything at all. Yes, it probably would have been more polite and supportive if he replied but regardless of whether he did or didn’t, I still won my battle that day and I have these beautiful pictures to remind me of that win.

You know, many of us rely on others for validation of what we do with our own lives. As if the acceptance of others is some sort of unwritten requirement as proof that we are living our lives “the right way”. There is no right way. Our lives are all different and if I lived within the confines that others have given to me over the years, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I didn’t need any response from my significant other that day. Yes, it feels good to be supported and to feel like you aren’t alone, but that’s exactly why self-love, self-acceptance, etc. is SO important. Others won’t always be there and they surely won’t always approve of the way you choose to live your life but that’s ok because it’s not their life to live; it’s yours. The only approval and acceptance you need, is your own, and when it feels like there’s nothing but ugliness all around you, you just have to switch lenses. Perspective truly is everything.

POEM – Scarred Lovers

He wanted to get to know her

But he didn’t understand

The pain it would cause for the both of them

If she chose to let him in

She doesn’t really let it show

But she carries a lot of pain

And any amount of closeness she feels

Opens the wound again

But he was relentless in his chase of her

He knew he had to try

And as they slowly opened up

They both began to understand why

He also wasn’t like the rest

He was broken just the same

Filled with eternal darkness, too

And carrying the same type of pain

He didn’t mind her poison

Because it flowed through his veins too

He didn’t mind her sadness

Because it’s what made her eyes so blue

She didn’t mind his walls

Because for her he took them down

She didn’t mind his silence

Because his mere existence is her favorite sound

There’s no love like the love from another

Who is just as broken inside 

So she loves him like he’s never been loved

And he protects her with his life.

a. boas

Stop Trying to Cheer People Up

Recently someone asked, “My mom’s cat died and she’s very upset. How do I cheer her up?”

Why are people so inclined to try and change someone’s emotions when they are feeling sad or angry, or anything unpleasant? I think we do it because it’s unpleasant for us to see people that way and so we just want to change it. Unfortunately, trying to “cheer up” someone who may be depressed or in this case, grieving, is to completely invalidate and dismiss their emotions at all.

Don’t try to cheer people up when they are not feeling well. Instead, embrace them in the state they are in. Provide a safe place for them to feel exactly what they are feeling. Help them with their self-care and just be in their emotions with them until they have processed and heal and improve on their own; and they will.

Mental Illness is NOT Invisible

They say mental illness is invisible, but that’s a lie. You can see it in the tears, the scars, the unexplained bruises; in the way someone’s eyes lay heavily above their cheeks, like two small shoulders carrying the weight of buckets of tears that have yet to be shed. The way someone apologizes repeatedly over nothing. You can even see it in the way they are always helping others, with a smile, just trying to make sure no one else feels as alone or unloved as they do. Mental illness isn’t invisible. In fact, it shows itself in countless ways. But just because it doesn’t show on a thermometer, or a blood test, doesn’t mean it’s invisible. It just means we are being blind.

a. boas