Bridging the Gap | #WordPrompt #MonthlyWordPrompt 2022

Taken from the monthly word prompt March 2022 WordPress newsletter I got a few weeks ago. Not my image. Just using it as a jumping off point. ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜Š

From partner, to ex.

From friend, to enemy.

From hating my job, to loving my next one.

From active, to inactive.

From free, to held tight. Closed off. Separate. In search of perfection. (Perfection doesn’t exist.) Perfection, the chase of it–the fall, the hurdle, the jump, it all leads back to that: a world growing smaller. And smaller. And smaller. Until you snap or there’s nothing left. And still, still it’ll take. Take. Take. No matter how much you give it back. It just takes.

From present, to absent.

From well, to unwell, to well again.

The world rightens itself. The job takes time. But it does straighten. It does fix itself. There’s work that goes into it, of course, yes, and still, this life, these circumstances, they are imperfect. They are temporary. They do not last forever.

Mortality. An uncomfortable subject among most. Feared of, given power to. Comes with an expiration date. Life is terminal. Got that from a quote I saw the other day. Mortality… this existential awareness, that life will be and life will cease. We just don’t know when or why or how. It’s scary. Justifiably so. And yet, it shall come. One way or another. It shall come. So maybe being aware of our fear, of being aware of our circumstances and for taking this day, this moment, in the sea of trillions of moments we will experience, maybe that is all that matters. Maybe that is all that cares at the end of the day. At the start of the day. Maybe it’s that. Always, always that.

From unintentional, to intentional.

From loss, to growth.

From wondering, to wandering.

From writing less, to writing.

There exist gaps here. Gaps in life, gaps in wonder, gaps in the street, in the pitfalls from one foot to the next. In the way the breeze carries through the air. In the way that a seed forms a true plant. In the way a dog barks, half a bark, before fully committing to another breath of air. Hackles raised, shackles upon their wrists. In the way the train tracks are uneasy. The way thunder claps following lightning. The way the rain patters upon spiderwebs, just trying to make it, trying to exist, trying to live.

Aren’t we all just trying to live?

There are gaps here. From writing much and writing long and writing enough, to silence.

Quiet, quiet silence.

…The Void, if you will.

But maybe where there was once space, then emptiness, maybe there can be space again.

It begins with this moment. One moment. One choice. One change. To pick up the pen, to scatter words onto a keyboard, fingers steady, music blaring, the mood set in, fitting even.

To update. To share. To encourage. To love. To bring hope. To provide light. To explore. To connect. To be not alone. To be whole.

Maybe… maybe not always in all the right places.

But I think I’m finding it… This gap. This bridge.

How do I get from here to there? I’ve often wondered. How do I change the story that I’m writing? Because I enjoyed it once. I loved it once. I was it once. And now… over the years, when I got stable, it vanished.

And I’d like it back. I want it back. I want that for myself, and I want that for my Readers. My friends. My chosen ones.

So I write. I plug in the headphones, I play the song, I count the words as they scrawl past. And I begin.

I begin.

I choose to begin.

Because only with experience, with action, with consideration, with doing does the gap grow smaller. Or, if not fully smaller, than the perception of it grows smaller. And that, that I can tolerate.

That I can live with.

So I begin.

I try.

I move forwards.

From ex, to being enough just for me. For growing into who I can become. For planting my seeds and nurturing my own recovery.

From enemy, to just not in contact with right now. Yet hopeful that in the future, this, too, can change. If I want it, if they want it, it can change.

From loving my job, to excelling at my job. Growing, putting in time and dedication and making a steady and uplifting paycheck.

From inactive, to I’m here again. I’m back. It’s me. Welcome aboard.

From tightly held, to loosening the grip. Because maybe not everything has to be held onto so tightly. Maybe freedom is also in the letting go.

From absent, to welcome back. To showing up. To rebuilding. To regrowth. To reshaping the path ahead.

From well, to well, to well. And some sprinkles of unwell here and there. Because only with the darkest of nights can be truly appreciate and be grateful for the brightest of days.

So I write.

And I write.

And I commit to writing. Because I commit to life and the dreams I have yet to make happen and the accomplishments I have yet (and presently can celebrate) to swim in. I commit. Because it’s my life. And I have that choice. I have that responsibility for what I do with it.

And I want to make something big.

I hope, I do, that maybe one day you can too.

Until then, my Readers.

Welcome back to RecoverytoWellness.

And truly: Where survivors radiate badassery.

— ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š Raquel


Written: 3.30.2022

Music: “Dynasty” by MIIA

Estimated time length to write, edit and publish: <45 mins.


Information regarding my socials:

I’m most active now on Instagram (recoverytowellness), Youtube (I go live on there 2-3 times a month now; RecoverytoWellness), Discord (still super new to this but email me or comment if you’d like to join me there or eventually hop on the RecoverytoWellness server I’ll make there!! A hub for in between Youtube videos, lives, fun stuff and books related things (like book clubs and book content on my socials)), WordPress here of course, if you’d like to see some of my designs on Canva annnnnd I think that’s it. OH! My fan fiction stories can be found on FFN (Unmasked Potential) and AO3 (UnmaskedPotential) in case you’re looking for some creative writing Loki centered Avengers fanfic stories!!!

I’m getting closer and closer to deciding to just delete my Twitter account. More on that in the future and the reasoning and settling upon that, I think.

But yes, check me out wherever you feel the most comfortable!! Much more to come on here soon. Wishing you all a blessed week and good rest of your day. Sending light and love. xxx Thank youuuu

Watching Episodes and Filming Videos (& Missing You)

Hi again.

It’s me.

Hello from the outside.

Today’s post is going to be pretty brief, just an update of sorts and then me diving into some of my feelings regarding my statuses across multiple website accounts. So, basically some woe is me, complaining time type of shit.

So, hi, hello, how are you?

I’ve used the above thumb again here because it’s been dawning on me more and more as I babble aloud to the world of the Internet that maybe there’s not many people, or any people, out there reading it. At the same time, I KNOW that there is, based on the likes I get or interactions I get sometimes. It’s just a habit of my all or nothing thinking kicking in again, for sure. It’s just hard though because especially because of the pandemic I’m craving more social interaction and I’m looking for that online (good or bad) for someone to talk to and even when I DO get messages if they’re too long or too frequent it freaks me out and I’m not sure how to handle it. Sigh.

So yeah, I know there are some people out there who are reading or seeing or digesting my words.

But without the communication back and forth it feels like nothing. No one.

And it’s hard to struggle and grapple with this.

It wasn’t always like this. When I first began there were so many new friends and great bloggers. But 2017 took a hit. Then 2018 very much did. Then I was at a day program three times a week for over 2.5 years and that was enough mental health stuff to hold me over that I didn’t need to seek it online or through this blog. So my posts diminished and I faded away for a bit.

And now that I’m so much better and so much stronger and stable and good…. and wanting to come back, it’s just different. There’s not all the same people and the people who were there have moved on or lost their logins or something, who knows. It just sucks. I miss them. And it’s hard to miss them because all these feelings come up and I don’t like to feel my feelings, so it’s hard. It’s just hard.

So again on yet another website I feel…. abandoned. Lost in the grain of the wheat. Lost in the sea. Alone.

And family stuff is rocky right now too.

And my dating friend is in the hospital. And work was a helluva 10 hour day yesterday. And while Grey’s Anatomy episodes make the pain fade a bit, it IS still there, like my therapist said, when it comes back again. I guess, I guess I just have to feel it for a moment. I’ll listen to my favorite song “this is what self-destruction feels like” by Marina Lin. It’s a fabulously moving (emotionally) song and really helps to clarify the feels.

I filmed a video-two actually today. A haul video with a small rant and then a very, very short and odd life update. I basically ran out of things to say, surprisingly enough. I did a good spit-fire of it in the last 5 mins so that was interesting. I was a bit more goofy in my haul video actually ahaha. That’s what happens when I don’t film videos for a long while. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I was having some physical pains today. Stomach aches and headaches (the headache is back, ugh). I managed through it all right. I did have therapy today and my COVID test. My Mom and I went out after and it was interesting to say the least. The most action and adrenaline I’ll get in my life (like the 5 min countdowns in movies before the world explodes) will be traveling with my gas light on and seeing if I’ll make it to a gas station before I run out of fuel. Not exactly the BEST of options but it’s kinda funny. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜…

It was nice to film a little today though. I was really surprised that I didn’t have much more direction or things to say in the life update video because I had plenty to say in the haul. It was quite odd. I basically didn’t want to get into everything else, I guess. I also knew I would and could have this space later on to do so though too.

My plan, as I touched on in my video, is that to combat this Void, I’ll keep networking, reading others’ posts and commenting on them. Some of it is self-serving of course but I know that I genuinely want to and getting myself out there more and networking is the best way to overcome the adversity of lacking in interaction. Also, practicing gratitude for what I DO have will also be key. So I’m going to work on that. Maybe I can brainstorm some ideas how to accomplish this tomorrow and also do research on types of phones I can upgrade to because mine is crapping out on me. I really have to do that, actually.

I also would LOVE to actually read a book because it’s been a solid week and I STILL haven’t done so, and I really, really need to. Oooof, there’s so much to do, honestly. Maybe I’ll square out a couple of minutes tonight, even just to dip my toes back in. I have to put away my meal.

I am listening to other music now and I got a pretty good friction burn on the bottom of my palm from an intense game of capture the flag last night (my legs are killing me for doing it too). But that’s a story for another day.

Well, I think this is all I’m going to say for now. I do want to celebrate soon (this week) my milestone of reaching 500 posts!! That’s AWESOME. I will also be celebrating a late Twitter birthday (Apr. 27th if I remember right) and my blog’s birthday this month as well! Yay! Maybe I’ll do a fun tag tomorrow. Ooo, I know a couple of people I could talk to about that, actually.

So yeah, if you’re like me and you feel like the Internet can be part of The Void for you, what have you done to help yourself out of that rut? Do you have any tips or suggestions? Ideas of improvement? I think part of the issue is I have to reclaim what my blog is about and what niche it falls into and accept (and even write about this honestly) that where my blog was back in 2016 isn’t where it is today and being okay with that and then moving on forwards from there. I think that would be really great. I’ve already brainstormed this a little bit. Yeah, I like that idea.

But yes, what has worked for you and what would help you for me to focus on certain things on this blog? Would anyone be interested in guest posting here? Or do you have business ideas or networking opportunities that you’re aware of or that you hold? And what keeps you going in the blogosphere?

I’ll see you all tomorrow.

Best of luck and many wishes we find each other soon in this big, big world and can communicate and become friends.

PS I plan to try crochet tomorrow, wish me luck!!

๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ€๐ŸŒน๐Ÿต๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿค๐Ÿ’š

“The Art of Confident Living” (2009) | BES: Nov.2020; Jan & Feb. 2021


Chosen Book:

“The Art of Confident Living” (2009) by Bryan Robinson, Ph.D.

((Nonfiction.))


TRIGGER WARNINGS:

Brief insensitivities towards mental health conditions (“no one worries 24/7”; “[describing] depression as how everyone gets sad sometimes”; “crazy” equaling bewildered etc.)


THEMES:

Self-improvement, self-help, psychology, behavior, thoughts, cognitions, challenges, emotions, patterns, truth, perception, ten practices, user-friendly, self-love, self-compassion, kindness, quotes, insight, hope, change, learning, help, aid, confidence, exercises, empowerment, optimism, choices.


SUMMARY:

This book is comprised, as generically as possible: a contents, introduction, 10 chapters on the 10 Practices towards leading a Confident-Led life, end of chapter exercises for the Reader, a conclusion, a resources list, a bibliography, and an index. The 10 Practices include: The Practice of Separation, The Practice of Perception, The Practice of Choice, The Practice of Optimism, The Practice of Empowerment, The Practice of Harmony, The Practice of the Unmade Mind, The Practice of the Vacuum, The Practice of Magnetism and The Practice of the Boomerang. Some of the exercises that I completed include (these will be outlined via text and photos in the relevant sections below. If you would like an exploratory Youtube video on the matter as well, let me know in a comment so I can publish one to my channel. This will take me a bit of time, if you are curious for me to make one. Since I’ve written this post over the course of a few days, I’ve gotten very deep in the muddiness of this review and I no longer feel as much of a necessity to film a video on the matter, however I can use this post as a backbone/guidance towards it if there’s enough interest in that. Thanks!!) p. 38 Presence of the Eight C’s in my life [curiosity, clarity, calm, confidence, compassion, courage, creativity, connectedness]; p. 58 My Parts Detector, Challenging the Parts; p. 78 Reclaiming the Power in My Life/Conscious Choices: the problem, I can accept, I can choose….; p. 98 Mapping the Parts of my interpersonal effectiveness avoidances in therapy; p. 172 – 173 The Goodbye Exercise; p. 84 Thought Challenges and Belief Scores; p. 111 Group Activities and Ideas for work; p. 134 The Letting Go Exercise; p. 174 Removing Roadblocks Art Map; p. 188 My Magnetogram; p. 208 The Boomerang Activity; p. 207 The Looking Glass.

BONUS content that helped me get to this point of both reading the book, finishing the book, writing this review and posting it online as well as making a lot of GAINS and fulfilling activities in my life that I’ve been using thoroughly and happily: My Fanfics Story stats (AO3; FFN); My Expectations, My Fears and My Thought Challenges for Writing and Uploading Fanfic Again (2 pages); What I need to get back into writing fanfic; Master List of Videos I have to edit; Skills and reminders within the video editing process; Processing when things go wrong in video editing; after uploading self-care plan (videos); repairing my relationships with MCU movies, movies and TV; repairing my relationships with books; thought challenges regarding movies and MCU movies; thought challenges regarding books; thought challenges regarding blogging (2 pages); (IN THE WORKS: thought challenges regarding avoiding chores) and finally, the backbone behind these new BES posts.

I feel like that was a lot of listing and jargon that may seem unmanageable or overwhelming for right this moment. So, let’s just take a deep breath and find comfort in the fractions within this review and what we’ll be seeing in the time ahead of us and the words upon the screen. Let’s return to that now….

I’d say, overall, this is a great book for beginning the process of self-exploration, self-love, self-care and self awareness. It’s also great for quantifying and qualifying information that’s locked behind your mind and the functions and processes occurring in your brain that you want to gain some insight into and uncover old habits or challenge yourself in ways that maybe you haven’t dared to before or haven’t considered needing to in the past but find yourself hesitant to not look towards altering now. It’s a book for self-improvement and a lot of growth, depending on how well the Reader is open to that notion and moving forwards with more confidence, as the title would suggest, and also just being welcoming to a fresh perspective. It’s user friendly and I’d say not doing the exercises and just reading page to page would definitely lessen the experience and the help and guidance that can come from it if the Reader properly tackles the information and makes it their own. There has to be a willingness there to see what is and how, with time and patience and compassion to yourself, that you can unlock some improvements and big gains that maybe otherwise wouldn’t have happened. Don’t worry, I’ll walk you through my experiences and my fulfillments by doing this and the process I took through reading this book, playing in the sand and writing this review. So, welcome aboard! And let the Lewis Capaldi background music (a playlist) guide you through with as much ease and brightness as it did for me writing this intimidating but worthwhile post. ๐Ÿ™‚ โค xxx Also, “What Other People Say” by Sam Fischer and Demi Lovato was a wonderful addition to the background noise.


BOOK LENGTH:

214 pages


MY RECOMMENDATION SCORE:

5/5 thought challenges lists


OUTSTANDING QUOTES ALONGSIDE MY COMMENTARY/SHARING EXERCISES:

So, this book talks a lot about “parts” and how as people we are NOT our thoughts. We are instead vessels that have thoughts and think and feel and behave in certain ways. These parts wish to be acknowledged and understood and are inevitably trying to help us rather than hurt us like why they were created in the first place in the past. They are looking out for us even if their expression of this isn’t always healthy or helpful right off the bat. It’s our job to acknowledge them, let them in and breathe and be nonjudgmental and then say that we’ve taken their input into consideration and move forwards with our own Confident Led selves. So, you’ll see that mentioned, these parts, in the future. The parts are originated from the Ego, just to clarify, as well.

There is a SUPER excellent and powerful guided meditation explanation on pages 36 – 37 of this book that I would highly, highly recommend perusing as it’s so wonderful. If I can work on finding a similar already established guided meditation online on Youtube or something similar, I will try and make a future post referring to them. For now, it’s SO good. It basically talks about imagining you’re giving a speech on a stage and in the audience is each of your parts and your Confident Self is in the lead. You take the time to get to know each part, how individual they are, their characteristics, their mannerisms, what they have to say. You give them your attention and you recognize that they are not you and you are not them. You welcome ALL parts and let them take their seats again after they speak to you. Notice if your Confident Self is in the lead on stage and where you are if you’re separate from them. Then thank each part for existing and sharing and bring your awareness back to the present moment. That’s a super abridged version that doesn’t do the original text justice, but hopefully you get my drift!!! (Robinson, 2009).

EXERCISE 1: Me and My Eight C’s p. 38 [[Dated: Jan 7th 2021]]

For this exercise, the prompt was to record and rate on a 1 – 10 low to high scale the presence of each of the 8 C’s in my life: curiosity, clarity, calm, confidence, compassion, courage, creativity and connectedness. I color coded them for easier understanding and visual acuity. As you can see, the areas I need more improvement on include curiosity, clarity, connectedness and calm. ๐Ÿ™‚

EXERCISE 2: My Parts Detector, p. 58 (multiple journaling pages for me): [[Dated: Jan. 15th 2021]]

DESCRIPTION OF DEPICTION::

PART A: My Parts Detector. 1. “I’m better than other people. I have more advantages.” — Judgment. Better than others like in recovery or superiority? I will need to better explore and allow a presence of this. This makes me self-conscious and is something hard to admit to while I was being open to the thoughts and what was coming to me at that given moment. Thought challenges to arrive in PART B.

2. “I’m better equipped to handle tough situations” — Judgment. Core belief. Integral ((I’m thinking of situations arising criticism, hate, bullying, etc. Online stuff primarily))

3. “Nobody cares about me” — Dismissing, emotional

4. “I’m all alone” — Emotional, despair, abandoned

5. “No one is there for me. When I need someone, no one notices and/or is there” — Emotion Mind, all or nothing, mixed signals

6. “I can’t relate to other people’s perspectives” — Noticing differences not similarities

7. “I push away from uncomfortable situations because I’m afraid to reignite old neural pathways and behavioral patterns” — Yuuuuuup.

PART B: CHALLENGING THE PARTS:

  1. “I’m on a different plane and state of being, a different place in my recovery and journey. It’s not about who is first or behind rather supporting one another as we go along.”
  2. “I’m a better me than I once was. This strength has prepared me for the worst. It’s time now to put my skills to the test and I am ready.”
  3. “Sometimes I don’t get attention, praise or recognition that I am looking for from other people. I need to learn how to validate my own experiences and rely less on others. It is still okay for me to get outside support when I need it. I can also improve the way I’m asking for my needs to be met. People aren’t mind readers so I have to be upfront. I may not always get what I want and I won’t know or receive it if I never voice it. It’s a work in progress.”
  4. “Sometimes I feel alone in my experiences and in my struggles. I know that I am not. I know I need to reach out more than I do. People are within reach–I need to let out my call for them and only I can do that.”
  5. “I’ve struggled in the past with thinking that no one would notice if something bad happened to me. I know this isn’t true and is my brain playing tricks on me because my absence and presence of things matters, people count on me and people ask about me. I need help reminding myself of this and recognizing not everyone can be there every time however I can and will be there for me. I can choose to be my own hero or villain. That is my choice.”
  6. “Because I don’t hear back people with the same journey as mine I tend to dismiss other people’s perspectives. I tend to maximize the differences between us instead of looking, noticing and describing our similarities. I struggle with controlling that part of me that wishes to be fed attention and be the center of attention. This is something I have to work on by being more in the present moment. I may now always understand where someone is coming from. I can work on being more open, curious and fair and patient with myself and others.”
  7. “Flooding myself is as problematic as avoidance for me. I won’t always agree with someone and that is okay. I can take time to gather my thoughts and feelings and come at a situation in my own time. I am aware of the slippery slope however that doesn’t mean my awareness of it will definitely lead me down the wrong path. I can know that it exists, accept uncertainty and still move forwards. I don’t have to let the past be repeated.”

“You can always find the granule of good in the bad if you look for it: more beauty than flaws, more hope than despair, more blessings than disappointment… This idea of holding on to the belief that something good will come out of adversity…”

Robinson, 2009, p. 89

I personally just LOVED this quote and the situational lead up towards it and even the illustration of it after this part. Again, my favorite chapters were: Empowerment, Optimism and Choice. More on these to come. I additionally thought it was perfect for how I set myself about in my life, how I categorize random acts of kindness (and setting forth ideas on how to do groups like this at work when we get older kids) and helping and finding support in other characters that I’ll be using and welcoming into my fanfics and stories. ๐Ÿคฉ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿ˜… xxx

EXERCISE 3: RECLAIMING THE POWER IN MY LIFE/”CONSCIOUS CHOICES” (p. 78):

Written 1.15.21

DESCRIPTION OF DEPICTION:

The Problem Column. > The I can accept Column. > The I can choose Column.

Example 1 (in book): My colleague is a negative person. > I cannot change her. > I can be a positive person regardless of how she thinks.

Example 2 (ME): My procrastination is getting in the way of achieving all that I can in a day to day basis. > I can accept that it’s a pattern of behavior I’ve become comfortable with. > I can choose to build up my resiliency, challenge myself against it and make more thoughtful choices instead of blindly reacting only.

Example 3 (ME): My desire for attention on Youtube* is leading me to emotional brick walls that cause a small spiral after uploading videos. > I can accept it’s my current relationship to Youtube and content creating. It may not always be this way if I work on it. I can accept that I won’t compromise my values and who I am for views and numbers online, which is helpful and healthy. > I can choose to challenge this with a routine for after I upload videos. I can look at other ways to network or get attention. I can notice when it’s happening more and choose to address it and not run from it. Try to understand it.

*This list spun off a few other lists like the video I filmed all about attention and validation seeking online (I haven’t edited or uploaded it yet but when I do I will LINK IT HERE) via lists like sites I get the least and most amount of attention, how easy it is to get noticed on those sites, how long I’ve been on those sites, what it’s like having attention and not having attention and what are possible solutions; the various thought challenges lists, the fanfic stats list and lists all about my videos which you can find further laid out on the table in the BONUS section of my summary (above) for this nonfiction book. (And again when those videos are edited and uploaded to my Youtube channel here) ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜™

EXERCISE 4: MAPPING MY PARTS (p. 98):

Written here: 2.15.2021

DESCRIPTION OF DEPICTION:

Mapping the parts avoiding doing interpersonal effectiveness DBT skills for review in this week’s therapy session:

  • Perfectionism (a book and writing utensil)
  • Procrastination (moon and stop sign)
  • Anxiety (a sun/black and blue coloration feeling and or star shaped item)
  • High expectations (skyscrapers and some tumble weeds) Feelings include uncomfortableness and nervousness. Beliefs include: “I should know these skills by now”, “I should be able to review my old materials”, “This is going to take a while”, “There’s my own expectations that I should be further along and not need as much of a refresher as I do need now”
  • Forgetfulness (thought bubble)

In red marker I’ve stated that with “The Confident Self of Me is located between high expectations and perfectionism. I still feel uncomfortable after completing this exercise. And I am not super confident but if I adjust my high expectations this should help and I can regroup and break down these expectations to smaller and simpler pieces.”

EXERCISE 5: Technically NOT an actual exercise but I’m tired and I mentioned it in the summary portion of this review so I’ll just dedicate some time to this here which is a list of ideas I thought of that I could do activities and groups on at work with some of the topics covered in this book: ๐Ÿ™‚

Written on 2/16/21

DESCRIPTION OF DEPICTION:

Random acts of kindness (positive messages, examples, giving away art, coloring pages, ideas, why, coping strategies, self/others, compliment writing; empowerment; choices; survivor vs victim; growth (art therapy ideas); coping strategies (focus on one each week); affirmations (3 examples, scrapbooking/collages); transformation coloring or drawing activity (what’s one way you’ve transformed in the last day, month, year).

EXERCISE 6: THOUGHT CHALLENGES AND BELIEF SCORES (p. 84):

I apologize in advance, because this review is getting pretty muddy and broken up but I see that I missed an exercise from before, on p. 84 so I’m going to address it here and down below now. Sorry about that!! I didn’t exactly write them down in this review on paper or in order of appearance so things are just kinda jumbled up. But I’ll address them now and get on with things.

Written: 2/15/21

MY THOUGHT CHALLENGES:

  • Life is full of problems.
  • REFRAME: Life is an inherent balance between solutions and problems. It’s all a matter of perspective.
  • I usually assume people will take advantage of me.
  • REFRAME: I believe the best in people on the outset. If I am wronged, I take issue with that one person.
  • Things never turn out the way I want.
  • REFRAME: Things don’t always go according to plan and that’s okay.
  • Nothing I do is enough.
  • RF: I am enough as I am. I can always learn more and improve.
  • Whatever can go wrong will go wrong.
  • RF: Life is comprised of so many variables and possibilities that cannot be predicted in one sitting.
  • I’m a born loser.
  • RF: I am fabulous.
  • Trouble follows me wherever I go.
  • RF: If this were true, maybe I have to look at the common denominators (me).
  • I’m not a worthy person.
  • RF: I was born with worth. I live with worth. My life is worth living.
  • I can’t change the way things are.
  • RF: I can only change and control how I react to it.
  • I don’t have what it takes to meet most challenges I face.
  • RF: Simply not having learned yet doesn’t mean I never will. Give it time. ๐Ÿ’š

EXERCISE 7: THE LETTING GO EXERCISE (p. 134)

2.17.21
  1. I am forcing… (offensive reaction) – my issues on others (identity, coping, resources), – not being open to others struggles and not making them mine. > I can accept and surrender open-mindedness to this part of my life.
  2. I am resisting….. (defensive reaction) – letting go, – moving on, – exploring new areas or things I’ve never done before > I can accept and surrender sacrificing my level of comfort(ability) to this part of my life.
  3. I am clinging to… (avoidance reaction) – familiar habits, – familiar routines, – rigidity, – perfectionism, – not learning and implementing life skills (at home and at work), procrastination. > I can accept and surrender moving towards experiencing that which I avoid, one step at a time to this part of my life.

EXERCISE 8: THE GOODBYE EXERCISE (p. 172 – 173)

DESCRIPTION OF DEPICTION:

What was it like being in a relationship with (person, place, thing)?

๐Ÿš‘ Avoidance: my relationship with avoidance has been long lasting and lifelong. I’ve not gotten done as much or as many as I could have without it or less of it. It was a lot of unhappiness and lack of fulfillment.

Name each negative experience you had and after each say “I say goodbye to that”.

๐Ÿš’ Avoidance has robbed me of my time — and I say goodbye to that. Avoidance has robbed me of my ambition and excelling to my full potential — and I say goodbye to that.

Name the resentments you carry for all of this and after each say “I say goodbye to that.”

I resent avoidance for not allowing me to grow and excel sooner and I say goodbye to that. I resent avoidance for swallowing my world and collapsing my perspective and making my existence small– and I say goodbye to that.

Name each positive experience you had and after each say “I say goodbye to that”.

My avoidance has kept me safe from perceived threats and I say goodbye to that. My avoidance got me to where I am now and I say goodbye to that. My acceptance of realizing I no longer need to be protected by my avoidance has cleared ahead a path for me. I can begin to avoid avoiding. And I say goodbye to that avoidance.

Name the fondness you carry for all of this and after each say “I say goodbye to that.”

I have fondness for avoidance protecting me and I say goodbye to that because I am strong enough now to protect myself. I have fondness for avoidance serving its purpose and now I say goodbye to that.

Name each dream you held for this relationship and after each say “I say goodbye to that.”

I dreamed of avoidance continuing into my future and I say goodbye to that. I dreamed of avoidance giving me more than it reasonably can today and so I say goodbye to that.

Finally say I am releasing myself from my past with you and I am getting ready to enter my future.

I am releasing myself from my past with avoidance and I am getting ready to enter my future.

And I say HELLO to:

I say hello to… better time management, I say hello to being more “on” and taking breaks to recharge, I say hello to less procrastination and more measured activities, I say hello to new beginnings, I say hello to ore motivation and perseverance, I say hello to new as much as I can and as patiently as possible.

EXERCISE 9: REMOVING ROADBLOCKS ART (p. 174)

DESCRIPTION OF DEPICTION:

BLOCK 1: Draw the Problem you’d like to change or move out of life. How does it feel inside you? Jot down any words, thoughts, emotions or beliefs with it.

For me: I focused on avoidance as the problem. I used signs like a STOP sign, a Turn Back sign and a Don’t Go sign. I also wrote down fear, lots of effort, anxiety, nervousness, inconvenient, needing to be “on”, procrastination, blockage, ineptitude, too much time, uncomfortable.

BLOCK 2: Draw the Resolution if it were to resolve and how you want it, how would you feel inside you, and jot down any words, thoughts, feelings or beliefs.

For me: I drew a shining sun with yellow and orange and wrote in the middle of it, POTENTIAL. I would have so much more potential and so much productivity, fulfillment, growth, facing challenges, living the reality of my dreams, love, light, hope, empowerment, improvement, happiness.

BLOCK 3: Draw the Block and what’s inside of you that blocks you from going to the Resolution. Words, beliefs, thoughts, and feels.

For me: I drew a barren, dead tree with FEAR written across it and some grass and growing flowers. I wrote that I have fear to bloom, fear to rise, fear to excel or fail, fear to burnout, fear to fear, fear to live, fear to drive (both driving a car and driving my life forwards), fear to let go, fear to realize.

BLOCK 4: Draw the Release. What needs to happen inside you to release the Block?

For me: I drew an egg breaking open (which “Soldiers” by Rachel Platten was a perfect song to be listening to as I was doing this page) with light and color streaming out of it. I wrote down that I need OPENNESS. Openness to try, just try. It may not always go well but be willing to try. Give it my all. Do something new and different. Be open to the risk because it could all go uphill and be so wonderful. Accept and cope with the risk and grow, grow, grow. Breaking open doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Similar lyric “We might [break] but we won’t [fall]” ๐Ÿ˜›๐Ÿ˜จ

EXERCISE 10: MY MAGNETOGRAM (p. 188)

So this exercise served the purpose of identifying the types of relationships you have in your life with 8 main people. I wrote about my Mom and Dad, myself, my coworkers, my friends David, Madeline and Vanessa and online friendships overall as well. I wrote that most of my relationships encourage my confidence. I am hesitant in some relationships due to past trauma and codependency so I don’t always reach out when I need to. My ego parts need to be heard and seen by me over fears to revert back to old unhealthy behaviors, even if they haven’t happened in years. My ego parts on fear of old behaviors need to be recognized and allowed, fears of abandonment and previous/ongoing jellyfish clinging. My exploring these parts with compassion may be the perfect key.

EXERCISE 11: THE LOOKING GLASS (p. 207)

The exercise of the Looking Glass is to see how conditions or flaws we perceive in others is actually more so a reflection of our own flaws and mistakes. So for part A the instruction is to write 5 negative traits to someone you dislike. Notice how many apply to you and this may say more about you and your ego parts and areas needing work in your confidence than how much of it is about them.

I did not just one person but traits in a few people I dislike. Those traits were: too many jump cuts in Youtube videos, popularity, threatening by being themselves (usually in work relations), using filler words (uh, um), me feeling left behind. For what actually applied to me in this category: I don’t do enough jump cuts in my videos, I get lost in my judgment about me, my place and them, I have the fear someone will grow more than me, I say uh and um a lot and feeling I should be in a different place myself and the uncertainty that comes with that.

In part B it’s now to list positive traits in someone you admire. I wrote openness, fairness, confidence (speaking their mind in a polite and sustaining way), lifting up others and staying away from attacking or purposefully harming someone. To be honest, I have no idea what the second blurb is below this because I don’t think it’s about me, I think it’s about someone else that I admire so maybe I accidentally did this twice? Honestly, I have no idea and I’m burning out pretty quickly but as for that I just wrote that they were very open and honest, fair to individuality and experiences, radiates positive energy and is easy to trust and talk to, does so much to help peers and themselves and has good accountability and responsibility.

EXERCISE 12: THE BOOMERANG ACTIVITY (p. 208)

In terms of this actual, FINAL, exercise here is how it went…. I will introduce confident thoughts to ego parts that need my attention today. State them each.

Parts: Jealousy/envy over coworker’s presence and my fears of losing my job. Feeling left behind by my friend’s moving on and upwards in ways I haven’t yet.

Confidence: I can bring more awareness right now to my parts and thoughts. Awareness is the first step and then I can problem solve appropriately.

I will introduce confident feelings to ego parts that need them today.

I will be open to my parts and compassionate towards them. I will let them have space in me and not be overpowered by them. I will be kind and patient to them and myself. They are there to protect me.

I will speak confidently for ego parts that need to be spoken for today. State them, the person you need to speak them to and the confident words you’ll use.

I need to speak them to myself. I have many ideas and ambitions and noticing these more and being attuned to my body will help me achieve my goals. I will allow them acknowledgment and the freedom to let them go.

I will project confident thoughts, feelings and actions to someone today. State them:

I will finish these exercises and repeat them back in the BES process and a video (potentially) on Youtube in the days ahead.

Honestly, I was going to film a video for this blog post as well but having gone through all the information and sharing the photos and sharing text based descriptions of each image, I don’t feel AS much of a need to film a video on it as well. So for now, unless there’s more interest in it, I think for now I will NOT be filming a video for this review. But, you let me know if you’d like me to talk about it via one if anything here was confusing. Keep reading or take a small break because this post is BIG and I hope that you can enjoy it and learn something from my experiences or perspective as well as gleam some understanding about the book just from my POV. PS Subscribe to my Youtube channel here: RecoverytoWellness


THOUGHTS OR IDEAS I HAD WHILE READING:

  1. On page 2, the author discusses the concept of how our brains and inevitably our behaviors, thoughts and emotions are things we carry with us wherever we go and how it doesn’t necessarily matter where we live geographically because (even like with new year’s) we cannot run away from what insecurities or struggles lie deep in our minds, souls and hearts. This reminded me especially of when I struggled with my mental health in university and I was always against leaving UMass Boston and attending a different school because I realized that the problem wasn’t necessarily the environment but how I was interacting and viewing it. And I was stubborn, as well. And I was also codependent in a few ways which didn’t help. But it was true, I knew that my brain would always automatically find self-destructive pathways because that’s what it was used to and that’s what it did. With time, recovery and a lot of healthier coping strategies and a lot of hard work with DBT, I’ve graduated from uni and I don’t have my first thoughts about harm or death, rather they’re either seventh or eighth thoughts, and that’s from all the work I’ve done on myself over the years. So, that’s something wonderful and something I can celebrate!!! I had to change the relationship I was having with myself before I could change the way I was looking at the world around me, so to speak.
  2. By p. 26, where Robinson is exploring how the parts of us that are angry or selfish don’t eclipse us as people or eclipse our Confident Selves because we are not each of our parts or individual thoughts or experiences (our identities are much larger than that) I felt that I could relate in terms of my avoidance behaviors and procrastination and found this to be a very interesting concept to explore and manage as I read this book.
  3. Being kind and compassionate to our parts when they arrive and we notice them reminds me of a group/therapy activity I was given before where the goal is to imagine your hurt part and giving yourself a hug to that part and that part to you. ๐Ÿ™‚
  4. p. 33 had me pondering what my parts were saying to me and what it was that I was not hearing from them. Also, the author used a stage/CEO corporate metaphor that really works and was super helpful. He also mentions quotes from other authors and people’s experiences and writings so that was a cool inclusion at times. ๐Ÿ™‚
  5. p. 35 talks about a great meditation metaphor about letting the parts speak in the corporate office and asks the Reader to lend compassion and mindfulness and nonjudgmental stances towards each part and allowing them the space to exist and not have to either fix them or shut them down etc. It’s a curious look into why they are there and what they’re trying to accomplish and then moving forwards yourself with your Confident Self. โค
  6. p. 42 discusses those feelings of inadequacy, never being enough and worthlessness for not striving to do better that can sometimes happen in people’s childhoods and how that pain can carry over into their long, enduring adult life. I thought this was particularly poignant to draw from with Loki in my fanfics and other characters I use here and there in my writing life. (But especially with Loki in D&D etc.)
  7. p. 44 Reminded me of the perceptual illusions I carry in my life mainly regarding work experiences (fear that people will find out how little life skills I have (cleaning, cooking, etc.)), and with social media (no one is watching my content, I’m not as good as X at this, Y doesn’t struggle with Z, etc.)). This helped me to start being more aware of my own parts while I was still early on in reading this book
  8. This is more of an observation than anything else but it took place on p. 53 where I could partially relate to the issue of connectivity with people and how certain people can behave in ways that remind you of other people who have hurt you before so like some transference type of stuff and it made me think I struggled with that especially in support group settings where I’m still working on whether or not it’s more helpful or damaging for me. I think I walk in with such a closed mind that even when I DO relate to someone, I’m so quick to judge it and push it away and point out all of our differences than being open to the experience. Also, I don’t like when people bring up my past which can happen in a way to show how much I’ve grown but I don’t interpret it like that. Instead it makes me long for different times, even if those times sucked. And it glorifies it too. And then it reignites old pathways that I make it a point to ignore or avoid today. ๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค
  9. I really liked the concept on page 54 where current everyday problems trigger off old hurts or parts and how working to notice these changes and not react to them today as you would have in the past was very telling for me. Like, it’s important to practice recognizing when the current situation isn’t exactly the problem but rather what it’s reminding you of or where it brings you back and how those parts are just trying to help to protect you from pain. This reminded me of things like my friends bringing up my past for support groups as well as my friend Griffin on Twitter and things to that effect. So, it had real world applications for me and I can continue to see where I would benefit a lot from working on interpersonal effectiveness/DBT skills again.
  10. p. 63: I can choose to look at circumstances that are proving to be difficult as efforts for which my self-efficiency will be preparing me for easier times ahead so in the context of engagement on Youtube, if I can be there for myself than over time others can be able to step up the helm and we can all be happy. Also, putting myself more out there by commenting and networking is super, super important and critical!! As long as I’m there for me, anyone else is bonus. (And still needed and wanted, don’t get me wrong!!) I must in some part be doing it for me so that’s what has to matter at the end of the day, did I make something I love and am proud of given my skills in the present moment? Then that can be enough. XXX
  11. End of p. 75 reminds me of the describe and observe DBT skills. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿค—
  12. p. 85: So there’s a really awesome concept introduced in this chapter on the Practice of Optimism that the author calls the “zoom lens” which is about focusing in on pessimism of the things you lack, don’t have and how you’ll never have them. It’s a black and white thinking or all or nothing type of deal. By hyper-focusing on what you don’t have, you dismiss and lessen all the things you DO have. It’s a faulty comparison, seeing what everyone ELSE has and then not seeing clearly what you DO have yourself. I can really relate to this with work at Amaryllis. I always catch myself comparing how my co-workers down the hall are “having more fun”, “more needed/necessary” down there without me rather than me recognizing we are ALL doing our best work and we are all valuable members of the same team with a common goal. I have to tweak the way I’m looking at it and thinking about it, which, is of course, another work in progress for me as well. I can also see how one of my close friends does much the same too, and I’m going to make it a point to recommend them this book. ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™ PS The way to combat the zoom lens is to engage with the wide angle lens of your Confident Self.
:iloveyouplz:

13. p. 87 speaks about the concept of yes, knowing our limitations is important, and that also recognizing all of our “tallcomings” is just as important to get a clearer picture of who we are: to others and to ourselves. Finding ways to love ourselves and respect ourselves as much as we show and respect others is so crucial. I think I still seek a lot of praise, attention and validation from other people so I could really relate to this bit and I want to return and enhance my experiences of providing myself my own validation, care and praise and doing this in the fashion of: “by me, for me, from me.” ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š๐ŸŒˆโ˜€ The way I’ll do this is by writing lists, cards and journal entries to myself along with scripts (for scripts: I really want to do a lot more writing exercises regarding roleplays for work issues I have as well as just practicing visualizations and fanfic based stuff).

14. “[this] shows us that we can transform our lives into meaningful life experiences, no matter how horrendous the circumstances” — Robinson, 2009, p. 108

For me, on 2/16/21 I wrote down on my page flag that I had an art idea for watercoloring/drawing of this concept regarding transformation and meaning-making and purpose. I’m thinking a butterfly with a rainbow/rainbows in the background of it. Something I can do in my sketchbook, or at worst a watercolor based paper that I got before from Target. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ™‚

15. p. 126 There’s talk about how avoidant and perfectionistic ego parts were getting in the way of someone’s experiences because they were inevitably trying to protect her from a fear of failure that she had carried with her from childhood and I thought it was SO relatable to me. Way back when, in college, I had fears of failure and fears of success and I think this might be an insight into how they are still acting in my life today in more shielded and masked ways. So yeah, I definitely struggle with those two issues of avoidance spawning from perfectionism and finding that key could prove super vital for me going forwards in time as well. This book gave me a LOT of insight into myself and that was partially because I took the initiative to look into these matters myself and that I didn’t just stay complacent and bored with where the matters circled old thoughts, patterns and my awareness levels or even levels of my subconscious. So, if that’s not clear, I don’t know what ever will be. It’s taken a LOT of work just to write this post but hopefully it was worth it all, all the hours and the listening to music and the flow and the information and the pictures and descriptions. It was a lot. But I got a lot out of it, too. If you can tackle this book yourself in some of the same ways I’m sure you’ll get a lot out of it yourself, too.

16. I really appreciated, in the Harmony chapter (p. 127), this idea that tackling something I haven’t worked on in even the smallest of ways or challenging myself in a small way each day was particularly impactful. It suggests things like even taking a different route home from work. For me, that’s going to prove to be cooking at work and at home with the proper amount of support and feedback and handling more meds/MAP based principles, too. It reminded me that not everyone has everything figured out and we can always find more ways to improve ourselves and it’s okay to ask for help and get support in these matters because we’re not alone!! โฃโฃโฃ

17. I also liked the reframe on page 161 (The Practice of the Vacuum) that an example person forgave her husband and her best friend for having an affair and running off together leaving her behind as not an act of forgiveness for them but for her own peace of mind and her own self. It was a compassionate act for her to give herself, rather than to absolve them of what they did to her (they were no longer in the picture in her life but she was still holding onto resentments). So I think that was an important thing to note here as well.

18. “I release, one by one, all the upsetting thoughts and feelings that I have carried and that have weighed heavily on my mind and heart. I wish you no harm. I bury the hatchet once and for all and set myself free. As these burdens lift, I am open to receiving life’s blessings in this empty space”

Robinson, 2009, p. 170

What I really liked about this quote above is that it is a great exercise in accepting forgiveness’s and letting go once and for all in an effort not unlike radical acceptance in DBT. It’s just this really nice, kind and compassionate/caring act for one’s self and a nice reframe to otherwise difficult situations. Not returning to the hatchet in any way and finding more creative or artistic ways to identify and explore these parts is also critical and poignant.

19. Art Idea #1 from Feb. 18th 2021 on p. 187 regarding radiating positivity, a person in a triumphant position with light and sparkles surrounding them as a nice homage to my slogan “[survivors] radiating badassery”

20. The conclusion of this book ends with that 5 part poem about falling in a hole and I can’t recall if it was this poem or a similar one about falling in a hole and someone coming by to fall in too and help the narrator out, but it was super awesome to see it or similar things again and I really loved that it was included in this book!!! I can relate to being in Chapter 3 with the trich right now. It’s the “Autobiography” poem by Portia Nelson.


THINGS THAT I DISAGREED WITH OR DIDN’T SIT RIGHT WITH ME:

In terms of the trigger warning I placed for this book, there were a small handful of instances where more severe mental health conditions were painted as things that they’re not, in the sense that depression is something EVERYONE experiences which just isn’t true as a condition (if we’re talking sadness or low mood, then yes that’s different) but that’s not how it was worded initially. On top of that, things like “no one worries 100% of the time”, eh, maybe, but what about people with a severe anxiety disorder? Is that still the same then? I’m not sure. Additionally, there’s this “making friends” notion between the parts inside of the Reader on p. 27 which I think the INTENTION was to accept the difficulties of the parts (for instance, anger or it even mentions depression specifically) and allow them space for a while and then move on forwards with a more informed and cognitively aware Confident Self, however, it came across to me as more like “make friends” with the conditions which could be really dangerous because sometimes, in my experiences, when I made friends with OCD and depression, things like treatment, treatment teams, medications, behavioral changes etc. felt threatened and I felt like it had been Us Against the World and it’s not like those conditions really had my best interests at heart (read: harm and death). Like, they would have done everything and anything to make me go down with them so I just think this has to be worded more carefully. No one’s fault really. Just… it’s tricky.


MY EXPERIENCE: WHAT KEPT ME READING; THE BOOK’S IMPACT ON ME….

Even when I started reading this book, it was hard hitting with spitting facts and making me existentially aware of myself, my surroundings and what I’d be expecting to get out of this read (which I could never have properly expected, I realize now). It was emotional but necessary. And it made me realize I was in it for the long haul–through the ups and the downs and the procrastinating, avoiding and eventual returning to it to finish it off. Man, it was a journey. It was an experience.

There was an awareness by the author in the very beginning of the book where he realized that what the Reader would take away from his book could have so many endless possibilities and existences because we’re working from our own unique Perspective and what we already think, believe and interact/act/react with the world around us. So, I found that to be pretty refreshing and an interesting point of view to state from the get-go.

I did appreciate the push towards proactive/active practitioner in this book versus being a passive life experiencer. Meaning, taking charge of your experiences in life and choosing to plow forwards by identifying the limiting thoughts, beliefs, emotions and behaviors that are holding you back in life and preventing you from living the way you want to live (Confident-Led). That, I found, was refreshing. My favorite all time chapter was the one on Empowerment (with Optimism as a close second!!). I LOVED and LIVED for that chapter, (Empowerment) ahaha. More on that soon.

So, there was also a really meaningful and profound moment that I had on p. 82 (and it’s now a new day that I’m writing so I’ve been flickering between which section to place this thought but….) it talks about this concept that sometimes we, as people, get caught up in looking ahead to future experiences that we forget or dismiss what it is happening RIGHT NOW. So, in this example the author talks about a colleague he had that loved long, summer days and on the longest day of summer, he asked her how she must be so happy and she said that she was so sad thinking of the fact that all the days ahead were going to be so short (Robinson, 2009). That was SUPER relatable for me because I’ve been doing a LOT of that lately in my life. I keep putting down milestones in the days ahead of me: so like, yesterday (Friday) I had a doctor’s appointment and it’s what I wanted to get done and rush through it each day before then I looked towards that appointment and then when it was there I was busy thinking about how I was feeling physically, mentally and looking towards the next thing I had upcoming. So like, even with work tomorrow (Sunday), I’m thinking of wanting to rush to get through that experience so that the next thing I have to do on Monday, hopefully, will be going up to the library to return this book and another one ((it’s now Monday so I’ll actually be doing this on Wednesday instead)) and then once that experience is there and happening, I’ll be too busy focusing on the next thing. I’m just NOT being mindful and patient with the experiences in my life and I’d really, really like to work on that and just get back to the present moment. So, there’s that. I think I got really good at distracting myself which can be great but also a slippery slope into avoidance and over-distraction, if that makes sense.

Like, I can learn how to enjoy this moment or take just a second to ground myself and be okay with what is happening or at least accepting of it. Something that I did when I filmed a video about my book thought challenges list was encountering the absurdity and unfathomable notion that I’d read a book just to read it (not to review it here) or stop reading a book if I don’t like it (not finishing it) and I was SO animated about that process that I was actually able to let go a little bit and start reading a book I’ve had for YEARS on mindfulness and challenge myself in that way to just be in the moment, listen to ambient noise and read through it little by little. It was REALLY great and I gave myself time for just me for like 15 mins and it was SO refreshing and I’ve been able to consult it a couple times since so yeah, it was a really great milestone and achievement. So basically I have to work on enjoyment of the moment and being in it as much as possible. A stroke of progress for sure.

Another thing that really struck me was from the chapter on Empowerment on page 108 where Robinson, 2009 talks about how everyone in life is faced with challenges, some small ones and some seismic ones and how we choose to respond to them was up to us and it was very much possible to turn obstacles into opportunities and it reminded me a lot of my fiction novel and the other ideas, dreams and aspirations I have in my life so that was really wonderful and cool and something I wanted to share with you guys. โคโคโค

Personally, I found a lot of inspiration and guidance in the Empowerment chapter, where Robinson details how it’s the work of a survivor that transforms their suffering and hardships into meaningful experiences via shifting their views of life’s challenges into lessons from which they can grow and learn about their Confident Selves (Robinson, 2009, p. 109). This in particular also reminded me of my fanfics and that was really refreshing at the time. :] As another example from this chapter:

“When life’s adversities come your way–as they surely will from time to time–perhaps you can be reminded to look for meaning, strength and growth in how you face and cope with hardships. Cosmic slaps are not choices; how you handle them is a choice. You can take the ‘cosmic taps’–those everyday challenges that are much smaller in scale than devastation–and rework them to your advantage. Finding the gains in your losses will help you lead your life with confidence”

— Robinson, 2009, p. 111

The above quote gave me another wonderful round of ideas for groups at work and I just love the way it was written and how that perspective of optimism and seeing the greatness in all the shittiness of life was just so relatable and inspiring. It also highlights the choices the Reader can regard and recall for themselves and I think that is so, so powerful.

There is also a cool visualization exercise for meditation and imagining positive experiences coming out of p. 155 that is noteworthy to mention. It’s a meditation to envision some good fortune happening and noticing any parts that come up and then moving forward as though all the endless possibilities did physically occur and repeating to yourself that I am experiencing X thing etc. Just thought I’d mention it. โ˜€โ˜€

Something I really want to end with as a highlight from this book is this extraordinary instance that I’ve had to manhandle into my life recently as well….

“[Claire’s envy] was eclipsing her Confident Self because the good fortunes of others were reminders of Claire’s own inner unhappiness and lack of confidence. Until she could celebrate the good fortunes of others, Claire was blind to her own gifts…Envying what others have can keep you from seeing your own blessings and prevent you from realizing that you have other gifts that they don’t”

Robinson, 2009, p. 196

The reason I want to highlight this is because it’s relevant to some experience I’ve currently have with work relationships at Amaryllis and with a friend of mine moving out on their own. I can get threatened by other people improving and doing really well at work and it’s something I have to keep an eye out for more. With my friend, I was super jealous at first that they were moving out because I thought I should be the one doing that and I’m not even at that stage yet. However, I’ve challenged this like it describes here that participating in other people’s joys helps you to feel and experience those joys as well, and like the above quote, I do have other achievements I’ve made since being friends with this person that maybe they haven’t managed just yet on their own (and that that’s okay and we can each celebrate our differences and where we’re going in life!). There’s also this secondary quote in the next paragraph that says “Confidence comes from being grateful for what you have–not from wanting what others have”. So, yeah, this really stuck out for me and I wound up deciding I could give my friend some house warming gifts so I’ve compiled together objects regarding that all from TJ Maxx and it was very exciting and I can’t wait to give it to them and share that with them. Things are definitely a work in progress; and I’m proud of me!!! ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—๐Ÿคฉ

Something else I’d like to put together more is writing out roleplay scenes for work and creating writing exercises and listening to meditations and doing those visualization exercises so that is something else I am carrying with me from having read this book and done so much dabbling in it and everything. (And I’m challenging my all or nothing tonight by setting aside the Editing Process of this post for the next day (sorta) to give myself a break and maintain my own sanity ahaha).


TRACKING DATES I READ THE BOOK:

11.16.2020; 1.7.2021; 1.13; 1.15; 2.15; 2.16; 2.17; 2.18.21

TRACKING DATES I WROTE THIS POST:

2.18.2021, 2.19, 2.20, (took a break completely on 2/21), returned 2/22 to edit and post. :))

GOSH, THAT WAS SOOOOOO MUCH.

Thank you ENDLESSLY for anyone who made it THIS far into the post. You’re so AWESOME and you deserve all the good things in the world. I am definitely gong to leave the editing process up to myself for Sunday evening Monday evening because I gave myself an even larger break from Sunday rather than trying to squish it all in on Saturday because honestly I’m tired of looking at this screen and fumbling with my spellings repeatedly. I need a break ahaha. Just some time to myself, which I’ll be taking very shortly. Maybe I can try and download two or three new songs because I’m gonna NEED them tomorrow.

Welp, that’s all I got. Thank you so much and I hope that this post was interesting for you and at the end of the day…. FAREWELL. I will see you guys VERY soon. I’ll be doing a few other reviews and then most likely scheduling some posts. ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™

PS Books referred to in this main text that I do want to check out some time…

  • Pema Chodron, 1997 “When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
  • Viktor Frankl, 2006, “Man’s Search for Meaning”
  • Shakti Gawain, 2002, “Creative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Life”
  • Eckhart Tolle, 2004, “The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment”
  • Eckhart Tolle, 2005, “A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose”

Farewell To the Old Me; Finding My Way Through, Free.



Post Written: October 26.2020

Sometimes when we reach new places we’ve never been to before, we are able to notice how we would have reacted in the past had it happened to us then. Sometimes we’re able to see that how we’re reacting now is different to then. Sometimes we’re able to understand we want to go backwards, to regress, rather than progress further forwards.

Sometimes the battle we are fighting is within our own worlds. Our perceptions, our interpretations, our urges.

Sometimes I get stuck like that, too. Sometimes I see things happening that aren’t the greatest but that my brain interprets as being desirable. Sometimes my Ill Mind wants things for me that I would never want for me again.

It’s all a part of life and the cost of living in this life. Sometimes we want things that aren’t good for us–unhealthy ways of getting attention, junk food, drug substances, disordered behaviors, and more. Sometimes even when we can rationalize how much they aren’t good for us, we still find ourselves wanting it regardless.

That’s surely happened to me before and I’m almost certain it’s happened to you too.

So for now, in this space, I’d like to talk about my own experiences with that lately in as open and candid as a place of any. This is my safe space. It’s also a very public place–and it’s also where I feel most comfortable. I’d like to discuss some struggles I’ve been facing lately and how I’ve handled them well along with the times where I’ve deeply struggled.

Because I believe the story matters. I believe that my voice is worth sharing and I believe that living in my truth holds more power over my experiences and the narrative I wish to convey to the world, to my friends, to my family and to my peeps that is necessary and dare I say, vital, in situations such as these, in perspectives such as mine, even when there’s an intense and detrimental pandemic occurring in the world and a political system within America that’s horrid and unimaginable and makes it feel like we’ve been living in a reality TV show for the last four years. Regardless of ALL of this, my situation still exists and I am still valid in my feelings. The World of 2020 has been falling apart and it’s been very close to The End of Days and right now is as important and crucial as a time to discuss the topics of mental health, mental health conditions and recovery processes. So, here’s a part of my story and what I’ve been dealing with lately and at the end, I hope you’ll have taken something away from my rambles. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll reflect on some of your own struggles. And maybe you’ll leave this post with a newfound sense of how you can pave over your problems going forwards. And if the cards lie just right, maybe you’ll even add a word or two of your own thoughts down below. Whatever you’re comfortable sharing, of course. So… let’s begin…

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“We must bring our own light to the darkness…”

(Nobody is going to do it for us.) — Charles Bukowski

I got caught up in trying to find a quote for the above section but what I’d like to talk about here involves the concept narrated above:

How do we become our own light within the shadows of darkness that surrounds each of us at night? How do we choose to be brighter and better than our previous selves the day before? How do we choose to not compare against each other and instead focus on shining our brightest, appreciating our differences and head into the battle ahead with as clear a mind as possible, knowing we’re worth it and we’re able to overcome this fight? How do we get to rely on ourselves instead of looking for attention and validation from others?

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These are a lot of questions and I think the important thing to be reminded about life is that…. we don’t have all the answers. Look towards science and modern medicine, we’ve barely scratched the surface of the brain and what it does and how it does what it does. We barely know about the universe that surrounds our tiny little planet, the solar system that exists, how the world began to begin with and if there are or aren’t any other creatures out there for us to interact with (which would be pretty scary!). Hell, we don’t know how to even live amongst ourselves peacefully.

So, it’s okay to not know. Life is a giant puzzle and its purpose lies in being uncomfortable and living DESPITE–no, WITH–that which is uncomfortable. A lot of stuff that life throws at us, wasn’t something that we asked for. We usually don’t get a say in what thing it is we struggle with.

Yet how we react to things life throws our way… that, that is within our control.

We can’t control much but ourselves. We learn, particularly those facing illnesses either mental or physical, that self-care isn’t selfish. Self-care is crucial and critical for existing in life. Having balanced meals, getting enough sleep, taking care of physical (and mental) illnesses, spending socialization time with other individuals (and pets!) as well as having a few other things like hobbies, roles in society, a career, an education, and more. We live, we grow, we age, we die.

We procreate, we find love, we make friends, we make enemies. People like us. People don’t. Some people can’t stand us. Most people project their issues onto other people. We fight, we argue, we struggle, we survive. We are warriors. Some in quite a literal fashion.

We are human.

And being human isn’t something to be ashamed of.

We all have emotions–mostly. We all have preferences and habits and crave interaction with one another. We all need attention. We all need love and care and nice things. We all depend on one another, we are inter-connected. We are human. We will face adversity, sometimes a lot, sometimes not as much, but we will all lose something some day and we will all perish just the same.

But what does this have to do with anything?

You’re right, I got a little sidetracked (such is my attention span for today). What I mean to say, what the point of me saying all these things to begin with, is that life is an uncomfortable phase. Life throws things our way that we weren’t expecting or anticipating or were prepared to deal with.

And still, if we want to get the most out of life, we have to find a way to alight our own flame. While it is absolutely imperative to ask for help when you need it, you also need to learn how to be there for yourself.

You’re the only you there’s ever going to be.

You’re the only you always with you.

No one can live your life for you. They can try, they can help, they can enable you but your life is ultimately your choice. Whether you choose to go down into the dark chasms or instead hike up the next hill and the next and the one after that–that’s your choice. That’s within your control. You didn’t choose to have to go up or down, but the up or down IS your choice. You didn’t prepare the map but what you do with it is your own.

Emotion regulation, your ability to soothe yourself, handle yourself, handle your problems and knowing when and where to get help when you need it, those are all critical and necessary tools for surviving. A friend and a loved one can point you in the right direction. They can be there to hold signs and vigils in your honor. Whether you choose to follow or flee is up to you. No one else can make that decision for you.

We all need to learn how to be there for ourselves. ‘Cause we can be there for others but others won’t always be there for us.

But we are.

We are always with ourselves. It’s the one vessel that will withstand all the hell and all the light. It’s important, as humans that evolve and change and grow, to find healthy avenues and know the differences between unhealthy avenues. It’s important, as healthy humans to control and withstand ourselves. When we feel things, we need to have plans on how to handle them. When we are stuck in the darkness, instead of looking for everyone else’s lights, we need to learn how to ignite our own.

Because this light, this life within us now, is the only light and life we’re given. And it will burn out. One day. Somehow. It will. And what we got to do with it, that’s the only thing truly up to us.

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“I am enough.”

Let me move away from the “you”‘s and the “we’s” because I’ve done a lot of that so far. Let me start with where I am at. And that’s in this moment.

I am enough.

It’s such a complex yet simple notion.

I am enough.

I am enough to handle my own circumstances, my own life. Just like with the light, my own light is enough to wash over the road ahead of me. I don’t rely on other people’s lights to guide me home because I know, deep down, that all I need is my own.

Yeah, that’s a pretty lonely road if I only look at it from that angle, but who makes the rules in my reality?

Me!

So if I don’t like what I see, then I can change it. Why not, right?

The big thing I want to talk about here is being able to validate myself. Because a lot of the time I get this idea in my head that I need other people’s validation or praise or attention rather than my own. And yes, that’s nice and it’s needed sometimes too. But I need to learn, in this next new phase of my life, how to be there FOR me, BY me. If I’m going to be the only one in it from start to finish, I better start liking myself, ahaha. Excluding when I need outsider’s influences–like their input, their support, their conversation–I can learn how to validate myself by validating others.

If my friend were struggling with my struggles, what would I say to them? How would I put myself in their shoes? What would I say? Act? Show? Now what if it were me, what would I say, act or show to myself? Maybe once I start to see the rules I make for myself, the cognitive distortions I fall into, the old traps and cycles that my brain easily confines for me, maybe after all of that, I’ll find a way to be there for me–I’ll find a way to be ENOUGH for ME.

That brings me back around to the main topic of this post. I know, I know, it’s been scattered through this and I thank you immensely for continuing to read if you HAVE read this far. I’m sure the Editing Version of Me will have some fun with this post ahaha. But I want to talk about that validation piece again–I want to paint a picture to what started this moment for me in general and that involves the dreaded word:

ATTENTION.

Remember at the start I was talking about the fork in the road between regression and progression? Yes, well, attention has a big play to do with my experiences thus far.

When I was at my worst, I often sought attention online (as well as in person, I think is fair to say). But it was unhealthy, every time I did it, it was unhealthy. Because:

the Internet is not an appropriate crisis space.

This, of course, is excluding the actual places online that ARE designed as crisis spaces. But the reason I say this is twofold:

  1. It truly isn’t a good idea to place intimate, vulnerable thoughts into a space where it can be taken advantage of, manipulated, tossed into a void or come back to bite you later (the Internet is forever of course, and yes, I see the immense irony or hypocrisy for this notion to exist within this own post, however, I’ve accepted my position far in the past for this type of situation.)
  2. Not everyone is going to know what to do, what to say or how to properly and healthily identify what to do in that given situation. Not everyone is going to respond well, not everyone is going to respond at all, not everyone will be kind, some people may instigate further, some people will just have different opinions, some people will speak their mind or some people won’t have anything to say, to add, to note, to express.

And that, when used in crisis, the Internet that is, can be deadly. It’s certainly dangerous.

And it’s not ultimately, entirely, other people’s responsibilities. It’s asking too much from the Internet, in many ways. Yes, the Internet is changing somewhat and there are definitely amazing, great and compassionate individuals and places on the Internet, however it is also dangerous, unsafe and crippling in other places (or within other people).

So wanting more views, wanting more comments, wanting more of that attention, more of that vocalization, more of that validation, more of that pick me up, more and more and more–it’s all a culmination to a potentially very bad outcome.

This is where balance comes into play. This is where being enough for myself comes into play. This is where I recognize I need to take an Internet break. Because as always:

“No thing and no one is worth being suicidal over.”

— Me, from an article speaking on my codependency to luna, ~fall 2018.

And that’s where regression can happen. Or, recovery progression.

So what happened was I saw or found out about someone online who confessed they were in a difficult spot and wanted a certain type of reaction out of the Internet. In response, their story, their life, kinda blew up in a very positive fashion.

And it made me SO envious. Like I was legit pissed off.

Because that hasn’t been my type of experiences.

But WHY do I want it to be? And hasn’t it? In some ways, by some friends, hasn’t it been?

So I wondered for a moment or two in that sea of anger and envy, I wondered why they had such pleasant experiences when in the past when I’ve done the same, I’ve gotten a small handful of responses or (more often) an echo of long, long silence.

And this ultimately means to me that I’ve been searching for attention and praise where it’s not the healthiest place for it. So I learn that I need to validate myself more. I need to check in with myself more than I am. I need to recognize what is cognitive distortions and when it is that I’m not practicing as much gratitude as I could be and then re-evaluate the way I’m interacting with the world around me–online and off.

Because validation is very easy to become unhealthy with. And I really don’t necessarily need it from other people or at least not in the same way that I once sought for it.

This means, to me, that I need to find ways to boost my projects, my life and my endeavors in a healthy manner that doesn’t rely on how many views it gets or how many people interact with it or even just analyzing what it is I’m hoping to get out of things that I put out on blast. And then maybe, maybe one day I’ll get picked up and maybe I’ll have a few other people to interact with more than I do now, but gratitude will be a good thing for me to practice more too as well as checking the facts and providing my own light for no one else but myself (and then by extension in living my truth and my authentic life, it will burn brightly for other people, too).

Because I have to ask myself: do I want attention for the hell I’ve been through or the growth I’ve made because of it? Do I want attention for who I am rather than what I’ve been through? And which direction is most sustainable?

I know I have a lot left to learn and to experience. I know I have a voice worth sharing and a story left to be told. I know there is so much more I want to do with my life and it doesn’t all have to be about mental health. I know that my identity extends beyond this plane of field and that I can work on getting there each and every day, every moment, and that sometimes I will succeed and sometimes I will fail and it’s in making mistakes that I will learn and grow. It’s within the darkness that I will find my light. It is within the night that I will find my day. The world is a presence of constant dualities and constant instances to try and do better, be better and improve.

I know I’m so much more mature than I was just a few years ago and I know that my happiness and my love for life and light these days is so immeasurably wonderful and not ever something I’d want to trade for a little bit of attention that’s not going to affect my life more than anything else. I, of course, like praise just as the next person, but it’s not my lifeline or my blood or my air. It’s … a bonus.

I have to understand why I create and for what purpose I am sharing it. With time, everything else will follow.

But for now, it’s time to Edit. It’s been a good hour and a half of full-on writing and I’d like to take a break and do something else for a bit. So, thank you for reading and for sticking with me. I really, really appreciate that.

It’s somewhere in the process of breathing and living for myself that I find the most freedom. The ability to be as gracious and thankful as I am able to be now isn’t something I could have ever positively imagined for myself two to three years ago. My stability is amazing and my ability to self-regulate has improved immensely. There are things in my life that I’ve excelled at recently that I’ll lightly touch on here: things like doing ERPs from support groups on OCD; getting certifications for work that seemed daunting and unavoidable (MAP); working more at my job Amaryllis; facing safety issues from youth and exceeding at not getting triggered (and yeah, so I got triggered from a support group but I’m gonna handle it and I’m gonna be okay again, I just need a little bit more time) and other moments that would have crippled me years before are now mere blips in the timeline.

I know that I can use this triggered moment to take a deep breath, then two, then five. I can mindfully listen to music that’s playing on my iPod and work on grounding myself. I can eat some cold ice cream with some yummy pound cake and treat myself WELL and doing the opposite of what’s in my brain because fuck OCD!! So yes, I can manage this, I can use this moment to self-regulate and deal with it with maybe a couple rant-y tweets online ahaha. I’ll even watch some “Kitchen Nightmares” episodes, that would be nice (I’ve been off Youtube ALL day!!!). So yes, I have plans: they include tweeting some more, coughing a bit (I’m getting over a cold), maybe re-reading some fanfic, tracking what I need to track, reading a book, playing Animal Crossing on my Switch, etc. I’ve got this. And I know now that I can believe in that answer, even with all the emotions that FEEL, only feel, otherwise. I am my own hero. I am my own savior. โค

Thank you so much for reading. If you have the time, you can leave me your thoughts down below. Or don’t, because after all, at the start of the day and at the end of the night, as always, I am (and you are) enough.

โค โค โค


Background Music to this post: Shuffled playlist; “People Like Us” by Kelly Clarkson and “I am Enough” by Cimorelli; “Wolves” by Emma Blackery.

Time length: 6p – 7:15p EST; 8:45p – 9:30p

Goodbye, Athena: My Grieving Process.

this isn’t easy, I don’t know how and what to feel. Keeping busy: it does the job but it doesn’t heal.

It’s getting harder to feel. And they all say: “You need to take care of yourself, my darling.” but they don’t know how it feels to be broken. I can’t help it, I feel numb. I’ll wait for the waves to leave and come. I think I’m breaking… I’m a mess in the making.

I’m getting tired of the same old feeling in my chest. I’m not a liar, but I’ve got secrets I can’t confess.

Don’t say you love me: ’cause I don’t understand those words.

And they all say: “You need to take care of your health, my darling.”

I’m holding on a tightrope and know I’m not coming home. Hurting, searching–you know I’m not coming home.”

lyrics from Marina Lin’s “this is what self-destruction feels like”


Dear Athena,

….but also dear any other eating disorder or mental health condition survivor Reader out there:

Hi. You don’t know me. You maybe never would. We interacted a couple of times online but I was a fan for a while. I started following your story and your YouNow’s and your Youtube videos back in 2017 when there was one of the first large pickups of your story and the speculation that you were living with an eating disorder. I even made a blog post here about you and what you might have been going through.

Over time I watched more and more of your videos. Just as every other person in the world was, I was slowly watching you kill yourself. Anorexia, eating disorders in general, are those slow, gradual killers–sometimes. I saw you waste away video by video. I cared about you deeply. …I still do.

And then there was that all time low in the beginning of 2019, where Jaclyn Glenn and her friends forced you into treatment for your disorder(s) because you were, you are, a danger to yourself. Your own hand, or maybe even multiple hands behind all the screens, smoke and mirrors, are your ultimate demise.

So you went away for a while. A month in treatment and 4-5 months off the Internet.

You returned with an improvement in your physical health in about May or so 2019, helped along by Shane Dawson’s documentary on you and your story. You didn’t get into specifics, you did admit to an eating disorder, but you didn’t want to label it yet. You said you were better. You said things were getting to be okay.

And we believed you. We always saw the best in you, we saw you for your amazing kindness, compassion, positivity and endless amounts of potential.

It seemed to help for a while. It seemed like things were looking up for you, finally.

And then, then time passed. And you started to have similar behaviors visible to the human eye: placing your fingers around your wrists in a body-checking maneuver, standing up for long periods of time, watching yourself in the image of your camera rather than in the lens, wearing more revealing clothing, streaming on Twitch for 6-8 hours at a time with no breaks, no bathroom runs, no eating and no drinking.

And as it went on like this most people were still saying praise and supportive (enabling) comments. On videos, in streams, everywhere. Except the place you sometimes lurk on, sometimes read about yourself on and definitely a place of honesty and reality that I’ve found myself on many, many times now: Reddit.

People there were more honest, more bold, more informative, more witnessing and putting out their thoughts, their feelings and their fears about the winding road you, Athena, were traveling down towards.

And as the days rolled on, the less and less life shone in your smiles, in your green eyes, in the way you carried yourself. The less Recovery Athena existed the more the hope faded from us passerby’s witnessing you slowly fade away.

And I’m so…annoyed. I wanted you to do better. I wanted you to be more. I wanted you to live.

but you didn’t.

And I have to accept the hard reality that if you stay in the environment that made you sick, if you continue with these eating disorder behaviors, if you continue to restrict or purge or all of the above, if you continue like this, Athena:

you are going to die.

you ARE already dying.

Your skin is so pale but not just from lack of light but because it’s tinged with grey. Your hands and your legs are red, sometimes at the knuckles, sometimes just the back of your hands. You’ve had rings of red around your mouth. Your chest has been red before, too. You stutter more, and maybe that’s nerves, maybe that’s from the weight of the world that you’re holding trying to present yourself as “so much better now” and “fully recovered” and “I really am okay and everything; that was a long time ago and stuff”. But you’re not. You’re not, Athena. You are struggling. You are dying. And you’re doing it in front of the entire planet. You’re doing it for reasons we’ll probably never know, not, not unless some health scare happens and you’re able to get out of your household and away from the people who are so likely hurting you–because it’s NOT normal for a mother or a father or a family to watch you waste away hour by hour and not do a THING to stop it. That’s not love. At worst it’s abuse, at least it’s neglect.

And if anything does happen to you, if you lose your fight in this that I so very much wish would never have to happen, then I hope proper justice is brought to your case. I hope that the millions of people you’ve influenced will see that you were NOT immune to the disastrous and tragic consequences of an eating disorder so severe, so crippling, that you were lying about your recovery and your journey and wanting to be better, that you were struggling and in pain and unhealthy and DYING–I hope they see that this is a real and serious disorder and issue, and I hope that if nothing else, it destroys the illusion you’ve been painting for years that “everything is fine” and you’re “really okay and everything” and that eating disorders, mental health conditions, kill. And they will kill. Anorexia is the number one leading condition that kills its participants. And you will be one too if you don’t change your behaviors, your thoughts, your emotions, your actions.

And maybe as unfortunate and not worthy of a trade it is, maybe the laws and legislation in the United States will decide another life lost–one so public, so out there in the world, so resonating and so deliberate–was enough to finally change how eating disorders are treated; how wellness checks are necessary, how to not have the law and the people in power see someone so ill and believe whatever bullshit falls from themselves because of the fact that eating disorders just aren’t seen as the real and dangerous disorders they are–they’re not seen as IMMINENT danger to the self or others and so they’re allowed, time and time again, to slip through the cracks and failed over and over again by a system that refuses to change its citizens and make their lives whole again. Something has to change in these cases, these lives, something has to be DONE on the matter, like in other countries, in other places, in other situations. There HAS to be something. There has to be.

I don’t know how many people we have to lose in life before the world takes it seriously. Before the state does. The family. The country. The psychiatric system. The educational system. The healthcare system.

I hope that when you go on to the next life, Athena, that you will find peace. And that we’ll remember you. God, I’m crying. I hope that people will remember you for how kind you were. How much life you had in you. How compassionate you were. I hope they remember you for everything that you could have been. That you had so much potential to make a positive impact in the world, and in some ways you did, and in many others you didn’t. People see you as an inspiration–whether that’s from when you started a recovery process (for healthy reasons) or because of how frail and damaged your body allowed you to become (unhealthy). You impacted so many people, whether you realize it or not. And you had a responsibility to teach others, a platform you could have used to teach others, about the dangers of these disorders, about the REALITY of these disorders, but most of all you had a responsibility for YOURSELF.

To get better. To become well. To be happy. To be YOU.

You had this responsibility and it never clicked in your head. You kept up all the old body-checks you’d done in videos and photos, you kept up controversial videos, you apologized for everything that didn’t matter and nothing at all for everything that did, you let yourself go when the world just wanted to hold you close. You denied your influence on others and turned a blind eye to predators and lurkers who meant you harm and who meant others harm.

But at the end of the day, you never took on that accountability. At the end of the day, you went on, down the shadowy path. You didn’t want help. You got comfortable in your disorder and you didn’t want to change. We can’t save everyone. And sometimes, sometimes people don’t want to be saved. And you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves.

So all of this is to say, all of these tears and words and ideas, all of it is to say that I have to say goodbye now.

I know how this story ends. That if you don’t get help, that if you don’t enter into recovery, that you die. And I… I can’t be waiting for that to happen anymore. I have to walk away. I have to get out all my thoughts and just never look back. And it won’t mean that I’ll never think of you again. Far from it, hun. But I can’t do this. I can’t consume your content when it fills the void of my hunger pains. I can’t keep seeing you shrink and shrink away and for my mind to play its own tricks on me. I can’t go on Reddit for hours to see how you’ve gotten worse, to see the comparisons, to read the truths there, to see what new way you’re using to distract yourself (usually makeup) from the reality of your situation, the way the mods in your streams try to protect you in the name of “care” but is really just veiled attempts at getting your attention and winning over your praise in the same breath that you struggle to take. I can’t do it anymore.

I’m walking away. So even when it kills me inside that I won’t know what you’re doing, HOW you’re really doing (did anyone ever anyways?), if you’re getting better, if you’re getting worse, that I won’t see you until I hear the news of your death and wonder why and how and everything… I still will stay away. Because I have to. I have to protect myself because I can’t protect you, only you can.

I won’t be checking in on you anymore. I’m not going to click on any Youtube videos about you (maybe save for Jaclynn here and there), certainly not any you make and minimize any about you, I’m not going to go to Reddit until I hear that awful, awful news one day, I’m not going to look at comments or tweets from you (I’ve muted, blocked and everything). And I’m not going to write another blog post, not, not until we hear the news. Because I’ll probably have to process then and this has helped already to process it.

If I want to read about anorexia and the dangers of it, I’ll do so by finding some blogs, some other advocates, hell even Jessie Paege or books on the matter. I’ll finish my own story about it (by that I mean a fictional fanfic) and I’ll move forwards.

With or without you, Athena, I will move forwards. Because that’s all we can ever really do.

So, I’m gonna wipe away my tears and set this into motion.

You’ll never see this, Athena but I really do wish you the best. I wish you could be whole again. I wish your life mattered as much to you as it does to so, so, so many people out there. I’m not sure if it would be a curse or a blessing for you to one day realize how severe your condition is and the legacy that you’ve tarnished and left behind because of some bullshit in your brain that you weren’t able to overcome for some reason that we’ll never ever truly know.

I wish you were stronger. I wish you had more time. I wish we could have seen you grow and evolve and become more than everything else. I wish you didn’t have to suffer. I don’t know why some people do more than others, but I’ll have to believe in the Universe and know that it works in mysterious and often unfair ways.

Most of all, I’m going to remember you like this:

Athena.

I’ll remember you smiling. I’ll remember your killer makeup looks. I’ll remember those green eyes and long hair. That hopefulness and life there within you. The idea, the promise, that things were really getting better. I’ll remember you like this. Because I can’t remember you like how you are now. I’m so sorry, Athena. I wish this wasn’t how you left.

Goodbye.


This post got a lot more emotional than I could have ever imagined. If you are struggling with an eating disorder or some other mental heath condition: know that you are NEVER alone, that you CAN get through this, that there is HOPE and HELP available and that you’re so strong, you’re so amazing and you DESERVE to be here and take up space. I wish you all the best. xxx


Thereโ€™s strength and a certain amount of courage to write so publicly about your life, to share the journey is a blessing and a beacon for others who may be struggling, because it says, โ€˜hey, Iโ€™ve been where you are and you can get to this stable place, too.โ€™ And that, above all, is what really matters.” — “My Hopes for My Legacy” by Me back in 2018 (article)


Resources: 
NEDA , National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (USA) , Healthy Place .
thank you for reading and if you have any thoughts on this matter or about Athena or want to encourage her or share your story, please feel free to do so down below. if not, that's okay too. i believe in you and i always will. i want the best for her, i do, it's just hard. it's just hard. thank you for stopping by. sending you light, love and hugs. xxx <3 <3 <3

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Treatment 101: OCD-Institute & ERP | Article F18

NEW Articles THUMB = 11.29.18


In preparing to write this article I had to do the one thing Iโ€™ve wanted to do for ages but never tried: reviewing some of my old journals and two red folders from my time three years ago in the OCD-Institute of McLean hospital. McLean offers one of the three major OCD facilities treating the disorder across the United States (and itโ€™s a world-renowned program). The OCD-I is not a locked unit so I could actually leave the campus for dinner at Friendlyโ€™s with family but was expected to be back by, Iโ€™d guess 10PM, to sleep there overnight. Besides medication the most used tool for treating OCD is called Exposure and Response Prevention or ERP of which the goal is to expose the client to their distress related to OCD and refrain from using compulsions.

 

Because this took place three years ago, I can only describe what my experiences were like given my particular circumstance. I was first told about the OCD-I from the Counseling Center on campus as a potential treatment option for myself (at the time experiencing mostly OCD behaviors). Over the spring 2015 semester I transitioned to an OCD specialist therapist whom I saw twice a week for a year. I remember before I landed in my third hospitalization of 2015 I learned that the OCD-I had a three month wait list. The helplessness and hopelessness I felt at that moment was unbearable and led me to accruing more suicidal thoughts that I wanted to act on at the time. However, during my hospitalization I did begin to fill out the application and eventually sent it over to the OCD-I.

 

In fall 2015, I took a leave of absence from school as I got accepted into the OCD-I around October and stayed there for five weeks. Because it wasnโ€™t a locked unit, we could have laptops and iPods and things to that effect (strings!). People who were dealing with OCD around cleaning or cooking were often the ones serving food and experiencing their ERPs firsthand. We had about four hours of ERPs each day and two hours of them on the weekends. We would often go out on the weekends into the Boston area to practice the skills we were learning at program to apply into the real world. The average stay for an individual was up to three months, but insurance often bottomed out before then. We would follow a set schedule–a goals oriented group in the morning while sitting in a circle, two hours of ERP and track A or track B specific groups, which for me, meant a mindfulness group on some days, intrusive thoughts group, expressive therapy, emotion regulation, and a motivation group.

 

I find it quite funny that Iโ€™ve found some DBT related worksheets from within these red folders that I didnโ€™t realize would play such an important role in my treatment and recovery three years later.

 

My ERPs had involved exposing myself to methods that I had used in the past to harm myself, saying that I was going to use it to harm myself (which would produce distress) that I then had to shift gears completely from and โ€œlive my life. While living my life, I would have to practice mindfulness skills of defusion and practice staying in the moment. Living my life could include just about anything except sleeping and talking about suicide.โ€

 

If it sounds slightly warped and unethical, I did have to return the methods after the ERPs were over as they were keeping it behind the nurseโ€™s station.

 

A few of my notable memories from this time period were some of the friendships that I made and rolling down a big hill out on the campus, โ€œFight Songโ€ by Rachel Platten and โ€œStitchesโ€ by Shawn Mendes being songs that I danced to, practicing grounding techniques with one of the other clients, a client getting kicked out for stealing and a suicidal crisis that emerged from this consequence, my getting the chance to be my authentic self and make positive messages for the other clients, attending the OCD support group and a few notable lectures.

 

One of those lectures involved a client focusing on the whiteboard of their values while other clients played their intrusive thoughts. It was a harrowing and emotional experience and even though they cried, they kept their attention forwards and didnโ€™t interact with the โ€˜thoughtsโ€™. Another involved what you would say if you had to give a last speech before you died and another was the memorable speech Alan Rabinowitz gave featured on The Moth titled: โ€œMan and Beastโ€ and the book โ€œThe Happiness Trapโ€ which is about ACT.

 

And finally, there was a set of questions from the OCD-Iโ€™s surveys that always stuck with me:

 

โ€œWhen I want to feel *more* positive emotions, I change the way Iโ€™m thinkingโ€ and โ€œwhen I want to feel *less* negative emotions, I change the way Iโ€™m thinking.โ€

 

At the time, these two questions were the resounding hum of my treatment after I got released. And from there, well, the rest is history.


This article was written: 11.21.2018

PD A/N:

Hey guys! So it’s been a few days since my last post. I’m hoping to update you guys more at length soon! For now, I’m trying to just upload some of my last articles here to my blog and also shove them all onto my deviantART account lol. I have like 7 or so left that I just kept putting off and off to upload but last week marked my final 2 being officially sent in! Hooray! I’ll try to update you guys soon. I think I can finally start writing more of my fanfics this week; I made a bunch of new (7) get well soon cards today and I really, really need to eat dinner ASAP so I’m off to do that!

Thanks for reading!! โค โค โค

A Tribute to Passages | One Year

Congrats 1 Yr at Passages - 2.5.19!


On February 5th.2018 I began my time at Passages, a day program offered 25 minutes from my house, in what can only be described as an irrevocably, gradual and utterly amazing change to my life, my identity, my symptoms and my story. In this post, I’d like to give gratitude and thanks for my time there thus far, as well as what changes I’ve strongly implemented into my life; the friends I’ve made there; the new memories I have; as well as a look into a few journal pieces and a send off to my next one year hallmark happening Feb. 14th (a year out of the hospital; my longest duration). With that said, let’s jump in!ย 


In the year of 2018 I wrote in 4 journals. 3 were completely filled while one was only half filled as I had 2017’s posts within the first half of the journal. Here is a picture of each one below:

IMG_2468

From the far left: my silver rainbow journal which went from Jan. 17.2018 every other day to about daily Feb. 5th.2018 to April 14th; I didn’t realize it until this moment but the next one is actually the furry purple one that says “My Journal” in which it goes from April 15th – Aug 13th; my pink rainbow journal that says “Shine Bright” goes from Aug. 14th – Sept. 5th; and the clouds with a forest saying “Leave your fears behind” goes from Sept. 6th – Feb. 4th/5th.2019

During this past year, I’ve gone through two planners as well, as shown below:

Initially, I began to take up journaling again back in January 2018 because I was shoulder deep in Dark Days and was collecting my thoughts and drafts of my suicide notes for friends and family I’d be leaving behind.

At the last week of January, when school began again, my parents held an intervention after having spoken to a suicide prevention hotline the day or so before. They gave me an ultimatum:

I could either go willingly to the hospital or they would call 911, emergency services in the US, and have me forcibly taken.

This was the first time in my entire recovery journey (I was diagnosed with Harm OCD (self focused) in fall 2014, and began recovery in March 2015) that I had not invited a hospitalization into my life myself.

I decided to go willingly to the hospital on the condition that I could shower first and my eleventh hospitalization began soon after.

On February 5th. 2018, after having been released from the hospital, I began the partial program at Passages which ranged from 10a-3p every day for one week:

“[Journaling] is like my only freedom from home–everywhere else is unsafe. I’ve decided my final texts sent to the masses will be “One more light” lyrics–maybe it will evoke concern and panic… I don’t know what’s wrong with me ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I’m torn between lies and truths. I think I’ll just admit to a mix of them… I feel like the Maximoff twins when they get in cahoots with Ultron except wavering loyalty to Ulton after they find out his plan is mass extinction…. I’ve entered the first time in my life where I don’t want help. I feel like my hands are tied. I just wish for the end.”

The week after, I began the day program which ranged from 9a-3p MWF. I returned to school to take my one class on the TuTh schedule.

During this time I was still jotting down different art ideas, mostly lyrics based ones. I had also been writing articles (the raw unpublished ones you can still find on my blog) and one of them–“Recovery Raquel is Under Construction” ignited this particular journal entry:

“Sun. Feb. 11.2018: (explicit details of suicide plans) You know, whatever is most convenient. You missed the news–there was a ruckus I caused at school on Friday–most ironically from my article called RRiUC. It had a couple of concerningly questionable paragraphs and people missed the entire upward positive incline so they panicked and Luna got called in and there was a meeting and as Luna so eloquently said: ‘You fucked up real bad.’

So, there’s that. That’s when/why I got scheduled to contacting X this weekend for support. X called me around noon at partial and asked if I was safe and also called home and asked my parents the same thing.

Sigh. It cued a mild crisis and the utmost panic as well as well I don’t know what–oh, flashbacks to my wellness check, yup. I was going to call X yesterday as I was starting to slide into crisis but X wasn’t available. I would have called a hotline but I still don’t trust them since last September.

Now? For that article I am mourning the loss of no longer being able to send out a final cry for help via Linkin Park’s lyrics. I was looking forward to that. Now I really have to just die alone without anyone knowing.

Sigh.”

I forgot to mention this before, but I believe back in January 2018 I had also changed my “Recovery Raquel” Twitter name to ‘The End’. I bring this up now because I just found this entry:

“Feb. 13th, 2018: This is the moment I will look back on and wonder what could have been different. I can’t tell the truth anymore. It’s nearly physically impossible. I don’t think I go back into recovery again. I can’t begin to imagine the conversation to getting help.

Maybe it’s not worth it. Maybe I’m not worth it. Maybe things could have been different. I feel more conflicted with the lies. But not enough to tell the truth. I am a burden to those around me. They can’t help me. And neither can I, anymore.

This really, really sucks. I’m in too deep. I’ve learned the behaviors to go against recovery. I am destined to continue following through on them. Nobody can save me. This is it. The End.”

On Feb 14th 2018 I was entirely focused inwards on myself and my plans and my pain that when a therapist at program made an offhand comment accidentally, it really drove me further into myself. Myself and a few others were triggered and we were placed incorrectly into the DBT-Intensive room where more people got upset. I guess, I don’t particularly recall this myself, but my friend Vanessa said that my treatment coordinator had asked if I was safe from where I was sitting in group and I said no, and they were going to talk to me afterwards.

At this point I was considering leaving for the day and walking to the nearest CVS to purchase a newly added edition to my suicide plans. I was also carrying around my method (the first part) with me during this time too.

I spoke at length to my coordinator and it was determined that I needed to be hospitalized. This is the entry I wrote in my journal among other hospital belonging ones:

“Thinking about what my T/C told me about recovery: finding a purpose through your experiences to empower you to live and see beyond the immediate now. I may not know how yet–and what steps can I take today to live a more purposeful life?

Maybe it’s taking it moment by moment. Maybe it’s planning for the future. Maybe it’s working daily on goals. Maybe it’s about freedom and stabilization and going against Ultron and choosing to live.

It all starts here and now. And about writing when things are going well. Make: a novel, #RecoveryHome, Recovery Restoration, Recovery Raquel a thing. Because this is RecoverytoWellness and here all survivors radiate badassery.”

Within the new hospital I got sent to for my 12th hospitalization I found a bunch of books (which I later took with me) that revived my explorations of book reviews, content and ideas.

Feb. 16th marks the first day I began to write daily accomplishments. I’ve now been doing this every day for a year.

Around this time I was also recording my SotD of the day, too, another thing I continue to track daily in my journal and planner.

Around early March 2018 I began to see a family therapist, June, with my Mom. I still continue to see June with my Mom even to this day (although now we pay out of pocket). There are notes from all those sessions that I’d love to incorporate into a video one day soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

Also around this time I was having issues with Luna and I can see now how the unhealthy attachment/relationship was beginning to sprout and appear.


I’d like to move now towards my general thoughts and things I remember that struck me in particular this past year.

  • I was able to return to writing articles for the rest of the year and just have to finish my final two to be sent out hopefully this week, hopefully.
  • I pulled away from my unhealthy relationship to Luna in fall 2018 so that I made little to absolutely no contact with them personally.
  • I continued to have many different art ideas, drawing and creative writing ones
  • I watched Black Panther with my Mom and witnessed other movies, too (some of which I still want to film review)
  • I added a list I kept for a few months that was called What Could Have Been Better? as a way to structure if I was unhappy about the day’s activities, what would I have liked to do instead or could have done less of
  • In about summer 2018 I began to track my Internet usage for a Weekly Amount of Internet Usage from Monย  – Sun in my planner and by fall 2018 came to accept that I have an Internet addiction, more primarily distinctive to a Youtube addiction (as Twitter, blogging and the like is fine, although partially addictive at times too) I’ve also since defined the Youtube addiction to be inclusive of ‘Deep Dives’ which is when many hours go by when I say I’ll only “watch one video”. Or if I check up on people whom I have concern for but are unhealthy/obsessed with, whoops
  • In May 2018 I transitioned from my weekly appointments with my therapist to the DBT-Intensive program in which I see my T at program there instead (which is why we pay out of pocket for my psychiatrist and my family therapist, June, because the insurance wouldn’t cover either of those (and for Phil, my psychiatrist, unfortunately he doesn’t take my insurance anyhow))
  • On Oct. 11th I purchased my 5 year journal (5YJ) which I began to also fill out daily since
  • I changed journals as needed
  • I’ve used my DBT skills daily for a year
  • I’ve made new friends and pals ๐Ÿ™‚
  • I began to fill out trich papers and defined when trich is being utilized based in OCD behaviors or self-harm behaviors.
  • I’ve been very creative in the last year
  • Above all: I’ve been stable.

Being stable has become my newest baseline. I went from times of instability to complete stability. It doesn’t mean I never have bad days, rather that my bad days are more tolerable to me with all the DBT skills I’ve learned and practice every day. I’ve grown a lot in the last year, matured in many ways, and I now reside in a pedestal 20 ft above the ground. Whereas in the past my pedestal was only 2 ft high, now I have much farther to fall, and when I do fall, and I will, I fall only to 10 ft low, so that I can continue to work on myself, improve myself and utilize my skills to pause or slow down the crisis if one even exists to begin with.

My emotional pain tolerance is a lot higher than it’s ever been before. I have Passages to thank for that, as well as myself and the supports I have encircled around that. My self-esteem is great, I still take loads of notes in my journals, I record just about everything and I’m excited for where the road is going to take me. I’ve been able to minimize, not eliminate, but minimize my amounts of self-sabotage and intrusive thoughts. When I get intrusive thoughts now I often just ignore them or briefly acknowledge them before continuing on with my day as per usual.

When I do expand my radius outside of my bedroom, I do get more intrusive thoughts, but that’s likely just a side effect I’ll have to do my best to live with.

I went in Dec 2 weeks free of trich, which was amazing.

Since being involved with DBT-Intensive I’ve had many, many reasons to live and to continue as far as I can go on my stability journey. I can see now how permanent death is and how much I don’t want to yet experience that. I still am enthralled by life and it’s natural endings, but I try not to think too much about it most days. I’ve also managed to eliminate all ruminations from my life.

I could go on and on, but I think that’s enough for this post for now–it’s been a few hours at least.

Overall, I’d just like to thank the Universe for Passages existence and for helping me so much to grow, learn and blossom as much as I have. My identity and my acceptance is an ongoing journey, just the same as my recovery. I’m grateful to have a long-term program available to me and hope that the next year can be just as sparkly, glittery and amazing as this past one has been.

Thank you so much for reading!!

โค โค โค

I’ve Been Writing Creatively for 16 Years. I lost it for a while due to mental health. It’s Time I Reignite It.

It started out today with me having fallen asleep again during the afternoon while battling through intense rounds of boredom and lack of interest in pretty much everything. I was not without things to do, however. I could have read a book that I’ve been putting off for a couple of months (fearing that I’m not in the right head space to gather every concept and understanding of it, putting down page flag after page flag, being stuck in my perfectionism); I could have written creatively for my fan fiction stories, but I felt void of either endeavor.

So I slept for an hour and a half, as a way to pass the time.

And I woke at 4p rejuvenated and ready to take on the (rest of the) day. I ate a late lunch then wandered back into my bedroom, unsure how to proceed.

I didn’t have any writing vibes and I didn’t have the interest to read. I could even have started reading my assignment for tomorrow at Weekend Planning but I felt the same obstacles against me for why I didn’t turn towards the book. So I picked up my iPod, even though I’ve gotten bored with the music I listen to nowadays (the same songs on repeat), and I heard “For Your Entertainment” by Adam Lambert fill my ears.

It made me smile because years and years ago I had this dark!Wilson from House MD fan fiction story idea where Wilson is secretly a serial killer with House as his roommate in their studio apartment and he’s secretly hiding the bodies of strippers in their house. The song was meant to be quoted throughout the story as part inspiration and part storytelling. Wilson would pick his victims and kill them at the apartment and at the end of the story, House finds out and we think that he’s going to stop Wilson (as does the woman in question) but House winds up joining in instead. :O I know it’s a little elaborate and fucked up but it was still a good story idea.

This then reminded me of my friend Vanessa, when I told her about how I had a really old House fanfic idea from back in the day that I never finished, who asked if I had the link to that story (she thought I had published it). At this moment, I wondered if I could find it, in that old green notebook I had when I started the story several, several years ago.

So, with the song in tow–although for a different fanfic–I dared to go through my writing box which is more so a place of where all my creative writing and other artsy things like drawing and photography are housed.

And I found it, actually. It’s no longer in the notebook but loose leaf pages of pencil scratch. It’s from 2011. And I’m going to finish it. I actually, thank god, still have the notes of the plot line attached so that’ll make it easier for me to work with the characters and such again (especially since I don’t have to rely fully on my fuzzy memory).

And I’m going to write that “For Your Entertainment” fic too. I just have to do my research and remember the characters more to write them effectively and in character.

But it all reminded me, as I scoped through various folders (lots of nice folders, even) of poems and short stories how much I had forgotten how creative I used to be. I used to be able to create elaborate plot lines of original work and original characters and flow and emotion and on topics that I had never even experienced myself but felt as though I were channeling by some other person renting space in my skull.

I forgot how amazing that was, how I was. I forgot how I didn’t always just write about myself and my experiences but of people and places and things that never occurred to me in reality yet I could paint so perfectly that it’s questionable if I hadn’t experienced it.

I’ve been writing creatively since I was 9 years old. That’s 16 years ago. I got into writing poetry in 2007, writing primarily prose until then. I have so many works on my deviantART account from way back in the day. And I have even more that I’d forgotten about that never made it quite to the computer screen.

So I’m going to revive them. I’m going to bring them back to life. And I’m going to share through this blog my previous creative works of fiction (and some nonfiction). I’m going to make some thumbs for poetry and prose respectively and we’re gonna have fun with this.

I have yet to completely sift through everything I uncovered but I’m excited. There are some particular stories and characters that are darker than most (and thus will come with necessary trigger warnings) and some of it I have to really fix up before or while I type them and before I publish them, but overall I’m excited.

I guess, it’s not that I lost the creative ability, it just got buried a little deeper. But I’m hopeful that I can reignite it and share that with all of you reading this. It’s worth a shot at least.

It’s funny because going through these papers I remembered how I would see and engage with things in life or online (say, on deviantART, someone else’s photograph or my own) and be able to write creatively about them (and I know I have tons of previously unfinished or completed works regarding this theme) but yeah, I had also forgotten about this detail and how I don’t necessarily do that as much anymore.

Part of this exploration is mourning the loss of what things once were, I’m finding. But maybe, just like with photography, I can expand and explore and reignite the passion that was once so prominent.

My goal is to work on these pieces and upload TuTh’s with creative works to my blog and update my DA where relevant with the newly revised works. Some of them will be finished for the first time and others will be just typed up as they were (unless I’m able to channel some new vibes and add to them present day wise).

Also, I think it’s important to note that in creating a blog itself and when I have written blog posts that those can be works of art and creative writing endeavors themselves. I don’t think in the bulk of this text, I was giving myself enough credit for that. I think my writing has evolved in many ways and some of it, I’m finding, hasn’t stayed with me all the way but I think I can work on regaining that. Especially nowadays with how stable I am, I think it’s something I’m ready to explore again with a whole new focus, idea and perspective. Plus, reading more when I can actually do so will help with this too, and I’m still writing fanfics too, which is another form of creative writing. Plus I wrote a poem recently so that’s some too. I guess, in dealing with my mental health conditions I lost a lot of that original work of plots and characters yet at the same time it’s probably more accurate to say that they stepped away for a bit and I’m starting the process of rediscovering them all.

I also have some classic old writing pieces in mind that I can share with you guys. And articles, in a way, were just different forms of journaling. When I write fanfic stuff these days, it’s a flow of consciousness which is reflective in my articles and may be a little different than how I used to process writing in the past. I just figured I’d add this notion before fully leaving this post.

For now, that’s all I have to say.

Life is…interesting, to say the least.

I’m curious to see where this takes us. ๐Ÿ™‚

Stay safe.

xxxx โค โค โค