How to push anxious thoughts out and comforting thoughts in

Anyone who has anxiety knows how difficult it is to stop worrying. We have thoughts that hit us with full force no matter how happy we were minutes before!

This is something I struggled with for many years and I never realized how debilitating it really was until I received treatment for my anxiety. Apparently a side effect of my medication was anxiety! Meds cannot always be the be all end all when it comes to mental health but they definitely help and are an effective treatment plan. But even if we do take medication for anxiety, it doesn’t mean the anxious thoughts and obsessive worrying goes away completely.

Here are some ways to combat anxious thoughts.

  1. Validate your anxiety/anxious thought.

Validate yourself. Tell yourself that your feelings count and own what you feel. If you struggle with this, talk to someone you trust who can validate what you’re feeling. I find it helpful when I write it down.

2. Determine why you are feeling what you’re feeling.

It’s good to break your anxiety down and determine the root cause.

3. Identify solutions that will help ease your anxiety.

There is always a solution. Try to find one that will work for you.

4. Try to step out of your comfort zone (if you can).

Compromising is good. I find it’s good to push yourself a little bit so you can try and overcome what is causing you anxiety, but know your limits.

5. Be patient and kind to yourself.

Don’t beat yourself up, we all experience anxiety and worries. You can’t expect to have everything figured out. Time will make it all easier, just be patient.

  6. Tell yourself “I will get through this!”

You can do this. Believe in yourself and know other people have been where you are.

7. See a therapist.

If you are really struggling counselling goes a long way. Therapists can give you coping skills so you can recognize and combat anxious thoughts.

I hope these seven tips will bring you good vibes and luck when you face your anxiety.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to have support and professional help through these difficult times. We all have been there, so don’t be hard on yourself or get frustrated with your anxiety. You will figure it out. It took me awhile to get through my anxiety and find what works for me, but I finally found the right coping skills for me.

Let’s embrace our worries so we can push them out. We can’t get better if we ignore the problem. Mental health cannot be ignored. We need to bring awareness and mindfulness to ourselves when we experience anxiety, it’s the only way we can learn to let go.

 

 

 

How I Conquered Mental Illness to Succeed in University and How You Can Too

rtor-org-logo

I have been featured as guest author on Road To Recover.org. RtoR offers guidance, support and information on the best practices and providers in recovery-oriented mental health care.

I wrote about my journey with mental illness and how I persevered and completed my university degree.

You can read the article here: https://www.rtor.org/2018/10/11/how-i-conquered-mental-illness/

I have been battling mental illness for over 10 years now, but I have never let it stop me  from following my dreams and accomplishing my goals . Having Borderline Personality Disorder may sound scary to people, but the disorder doesn’t mean I have split personality or that I’m unstable or dangerous. It just means I feel emotions more intensely than the average person. Sometimes it’s hard if I go through a sad time but on the flip side I have very high compassion/empathy. There is always ups and downs with every physical or mental ailment. If you find yourself questioning someone because of their illness, take the time to research and learn more. That is the only way to fight stigma.

Thank you for reading!

 

 

 

Time’s up! Small Ways To Let Negativity Go And Embrace Positivity And Peace Of Mind

Times Up.PNG

We’ve all been there. We have a bad day or something inconvenient happens and we immediately vent and share this annoyance with anyone who will listen.

We call our best friend or our mom and say “I HAD THE WORST DAY!” It goes on and on, all day, and maybe even all week. We take something negative, something we didn’t want to happen to us in the first place and relive it over and over.

Doesn’t this sound strange? Why do we want to relive such situations?

A good family friend and I spoke about this kind of negative behavior and he said he will often ask people who vent to him “How many times have you told this story today?” He says everyone he asks that question to is always shocked.

I know when I have done this in the past I end up feeling exhausted and bitter however I keep channeling that emotion. I realized this and I decided to stop telling the story.

I think it is good to vent maybe to one person if you need to, and more so when it’s fresh. Holding onto that negativity and waiting to tell the next person is unnecessary and not good for inner peace.

I’m sure you’re thinking about times you’ve done this, and that’s OK! We are human, we are social beings and we like to express ourselves. But when do we draw the line?

You must also be identifying specific people in your life who seem to do this constantly. Maybe they like the drama of it all, but deep down, I can tell you, they are not truly happy. This type of behavior is bullying behavior. We are bullying our psyche. And bullies are never happy people.

I challenge you to recognize when you do this and stop yourself. Embrace the positive, let go of those inconveniences and see the good in your day, week, month or year. Life is what you make it. We have all the power.

If you see someone else who is retelling the same negative story, ask them, like my friend does, “How many times have you told that story today”? Sometimes all it takes is self-awareness for overcoming negativity.  It all comes down to being mindful. Remember to take a step back and reflect and above all change your mindset. You’ll be happy you did.

The Key to Mental Illness Recovery

StockSnap_3DLBJDZSV7.jpg

Since creating my blog and website, I have had the opportunity to connect with people who also experience mental illness. Some of these people I have never met, and others are people I’ve lost touch with and since re-connected.

It’s amazing to hear from these individuals, who all have their own story to tell. Although they may experience similar mental health conditions, they all have had different journeys and perspectives and it’s incredible to hear how far they have come and how they have persevered.

Having a community like this is so important and key to recovery. I think the most difficult thing about mental illness is that people tend to feel so alone. But yet there are so many people out there who are going through the same thing. That’s why I am writing this blog, and sharing my website, because I really want people to know they are not alone.

If you are having a rough time, connect with others. Gain insight from them, and share yours as well. By doing this compassion will shine through and hopefully will help you to develop compassion for yourself as well.

Support is available. All you have to do is reach out to your community and take advantage of the resources available. Don’t be afraid! The community is here for you.

Introducing Christin, my bestie.

1936840_96482506187_5555470_n
Christin and I, age 15, at Toys R Us. Yes we went to Toys R Us (and had a blast).

Have you ever had a friend that you click with so well? The type of friend that knows what you’re thinking just by looking at you? A friend you have a secret language with? Or a friend that just gets you? That’s Christin for me. She and I have been buddies since grade 8, and she’s is the greatest gal ever! She’s silly, hilarious, and has a huge heart. You always know when Christin is nearby because she has the best laugh that makes us all laugh! Even though she is smiley and full of laughter, Christin experiences mental illness just like me and we have very similar conditions. I hope to feature her from time to time on my blog to have her share some of her stories, both the good and the bad. She has a great deal of insight to share and I hope you will enjoy her fun quirky stories and personality. Stay tuned!

How to embrace change when facing a mental illness

Picture15

Change can be a very scary and awkward thing, especially if you have a mental illness.  I find I have a harder time adjusting to change than most people because my emotions are so heightened. Even if the change is good it still takes time for me to transition and get my bearings.  The only way I get through it though, is by fully embracing it.

In the span of two weeks I have started a new job, enrolled in a writing class and started volunteering! Talk about a triple whammy! I’ll admit, each change has been terrifying, especially because they are major social changes and new social events cause me to have anxiety. Why did I do this all at once you ask? Because it was time for me to come out of hiding and renter the world. The past few years I have barely done any activities or tried something knew and it was causing me to regress.

I was resistant to starting a new job because I was scared of the unknown and unfamiliarity that comes with a new job. I felt the best thing was to stay put and endure my workplace the best I could. But by doing so I was very unhappy.

I was resistant to joining a class, activity or volunteer organization because I was shy and felt lazy. As a result, I gained 40 pounds and was very bored and lonely!

I was not my usual self at all. It was as if I’d given up.
One day I just snapped out of it and thought “what the heck was wrong with me?” I was not following my mono-mantra at all!

I was so disappointed in myself at first but then I decided to be kind as I am after all human, and ups and downs are a part of life. Even though I write this blog, I do NOT have my life and mental health all figured out. This blog is just as much for my readers as it is for me. I like to go back and read my posts when I’m feeling glum and remind myself that I have the power within me to fight and make a difference for myself and my life.

After my personal intervention, I took a chance and decided to make changes.

I was very overwhelmed initially. So what I did was write down what was stressing me about the changes. When I saw it written down on paper it made me feel better and allowed me to develop a plan to limit my stress as much as possible with these new upcoming changes.

Before I accepted my new position I made a pros and cons list to ease my mind and talked about them with my family. It was great clarity and having family input and support was validating.
When I started my new job I decided to be proactive and make it the best experience I could. So far, it’s been great and I am very happy I took the plunge. New jobs aren’t easy but they are worth it and can open up many opportunities.

In terms of activities, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do in my spare time that would help me grow. I decided to enroll in a writing class because writing is my passion and I wanted to develop more skills. So far my class has been amazing and I finally get to hang out with people who share the same passion.

My volunteer experience with my church has been wonderful and I get to work with my mom which is really nice! Supporting local community charities has been rewarding, and it makes me grateful for what I have.

So if you are stuck in a rut and unhappy with your life, think about and embrace change.

  1. Decide what you want/need to change in your life.
  2. Identify any barriers that will make you resistant to change
  3. Find solutions and coping mechanisms to help you embrace the change and allow you to distress.
  4. Discuss your thoughts and concerns with someone you trust.
  5. Decide what is best for you.
  6. Make the transition as easy as possible.
  7. Have an open mind and see the end goal.
  8. Eat right, exercise and do things you enjoy so you can relax.

Change is so difficult but it is part of our everyday lives. I know I won’t get far in life if I don’t try new things and explore new opportunities. Life is short, we have to make the most of it!

Daily Routine Life Hacks for those who suffer from anxiety and depression

Anyone who struggles with mental illness knows how hard it can be to complete regular daily activities. Life is chaotic with so many things to do and not enough time to do them. Balancing Work/school, eating healthy, exercising, chores, errands, spending time with family and friends and self-care seems IMPOSSIBLE at times.

What I really want to do is nothing at all most days. I want to relax, let my emotions calm down and be able to enjoy my day instead of constantly running around. Sometimes I get in a funk and want to do nothing for days. Then I feel guilty for being so lazy and unproductive. There is no winning!

The other day I did some research on laziness and how someone can overcome such a state, as it’s getting in the way of my success. It was amazing what I learned. I read an article that suggested assessing your situation and finding the true cause of your laziness. The common reasons people are often lazy are because they are feeling tired, overwhelmed, afraid, uninspired or stuck. When I read this I realized I was often feeling all 5 at some point during my day. With this new insight I looked deeper and figured out what specifically in my daily routine was making me feel this way. It was amazing how many little things would stress me or make me unmotivated and after chatting with my husband I realized the solution was to make my day as easy and stress free as possible so I could accomplish normal everyday tasks.

Here are some daily routine hacks that I have incorporated into my week so I can feel well emotionally and be productive:

  1. Establish a routine and goals for each day, week and month.

I’ve heard many mental health professionals say establishing a routine is key. In the past I have never been able to schedule my day down to the minute as I’m a bit of a free spirit. It stresses me if I don’t follow a schedule exactly due to my perfectionism. But I’ve realized how to schedule my day so it doesn’t feel so strict but also makes me productive and calm.

I figured out my wake and sleep times first and then wrote down my goals for each day with no specific times set. That way I can have flexibility.

I found an amazing site with multiple free printouts for day, week, month and year schedules and to-do lists. It was fun to find one that worked for me!

 

https://scatteredsquirrel.com/printable/personal-planner/

 

  1. Meal prep as much as you can.

 

I absolutely hate cooking during the week because I’m so exhausted after my work day. Lately I have cooked a few things on a Sunday so I have them for the week and I can grab and go as I please.

 

Lately I’ve been cooking ground turkey with taco seasoning and having taco salads for lunch. It’s super easy and delicious! I’ll often cook chicken on the weekend and have it for a couple days along with some veggies for dinner. It doesn’t take much to have healthy meals, just plan ahead and have easy things on hand like fruit, veggies, yogourt and cereal.

 

I usually never have time for breakfast so I started buying high protein Boost drinks. I feel like an 80 year of women at times but it really helps me to get my nutrition in the morning and it keeps my appetite at bay.

 

  1. Have a small bag of your staple cosmetics that you can quickly grab in the morning.

 

I have a huge makeup and hair cupboard but I typically don’t use evertyhing for a typical work day. I keep a bag with some staples like a hair brush, elastic, mascara, foundation, eyebrow pencil and blush and everything in the bag is all I use to get ready (plus toothbrush). It makes me WAY less stressed as I don’t have to go rummaging through my cupboard looking for things.

 

Another tip: do your hair and makeup but don’t feel like you have to look like a model everyday. I used to go all out but it would overwhelm me in the mornings and then I would end up wearing no makeup which would make me feel less confident. And confidence really helps my mood.

 

I learned to minimize my work day makeup. I wear a few products that make me feel and look professional and leave my other products for when I have a special outing and more time to apply it.

Please note though it is totally fine if you don’t want to wear makeup. To quote Hailee Steinfeld – “You feel greatest when you feel like a damn queen”. If you feel great and confident without makeup that’s great. YOU DO YOU!

  1. On Sunday, pack 5 days of work-out clothes and put them in your gym bag/car.

 

I NEVER want to exercise after a long day at work. I always want to go home and veg. However exercise is really important for those who struggle with mental health as it improves mood and reduces stress. When I have my clothes in my car for the week, there is no effort and no excuses on my part. I can go to the gym before I get home and the laziness sets in. It’s made a huge difference having my clothes on hand instead of having to go home, get dressed and go out again. HUGE HACK!

  1. Choose your outfit the night before.

 

Everyone says this but it’s totally the best way to go. When I have my clothes picked out the night before for the next day it’s amazing how my stress lowers.

FINAL NOTE

Everyone has to figure out what works for them. I’m still figuring it out every day but I thought I would share some insight in case it helps others!

 

If anyone has any more insight into daily hacks please share in the comments section!

 

Thank you for reading! All the best!

 

MEgan

Overthinking Anyone?

Do you ever find yourself awake at 3 AM thinking about that embarrassing thing you did ten years ago? If no, you may find this ridiculous but if you’re someone like me you’ll understand the torment! I constantly suffer from obsessive thinking/worrying and I have to say it is exhausting!

I’m not sure why I worry the way I do. I’m always so concerned how I come across to others (so I guess I care too much about what people think), but it’s not that I have no confidence in myself I just hate when my character is judged. I like to think I’m a nice person that can do no wrong, but of course this isn’t true for anyone. We’ve all done things we aren’t proud of, whether it was simply embarrassing or just a mistake, but for me it stays with me.

I remember one time I was on a school trip to Prague. I didn’t know anyone on the trip but I always wanted to go to Prague so I decided to go by myself and meet new people. It ended up being the worst trip ever! I did love the city and the things we did but the people were just terrible and I felt very stressed around them. Whenever I would talk to someone they would pretty much ignore me and hang out with their other friends which I found odd as most people from our school were very inclusive. Not only was I ignored but I was teased for making conversations. They said that Canadians made them uncomfortable because we talk too much. In my defense (in this particular instance) we were at a restaurant at a table for two hours. Was I supposed to sit across from them and be silent the whole time? I was just trying to be friendly by asking them where they were from and what courses they were taking in school. I don’t think that’s being that nosy! I felt so humiliated! To top it all off our bus got in an accident on the way back from Prague. The bus drive went on the wrong exit and decided to back up on the freeway instead of turning around at the next exit! A car ended up hitting us. We were all okay but it held us up for three hours and we almost missed our ferry! The icing on the cake was when I tried to get some sleep. I was trying to lay down across two bus seats and felt the seatbelt tighten on my stomach. Due to the tight belt I let out a fart that was definitely heard by some of my bus mates and I almost died.

This trip was three years ago and I still think about how embarrassing it was! I am never going to see those people again and I feel so stressed thinking about it. Now that is definitely ridiculous.

Lately though whenever I find myself going down the overthinking road of doom I try these tips to help calm my worried state.

  1. Talk it out, or write it out. It helps me to vocalize my feeling so it doesn’t consume me. If you don’t want to tell anyone you can always write in a journal to clear your head. It always does the trick.
  1. Self-assure. Tell yourself “it’s okay what happened”. Learn from it next time if it was a mistake or if it was embarrassing find a way to laugh about it and move on. If you cannot self-assure trying getting reassurance from someone else but don’t keep rehashing.
  1. Distract yourself. When you start to have those thoughts try to think of something else or do an activity that de-stresses you. Working out or reading always helps me.
  1. Find common humanity. Remember everyone has these moments in life! You are not alone!

I can’t stress (lol), the last one more. We all will commit stupid embarrassing things sometimes. It’s going to happen, it’s part of life. But we have to learn to be kind to ourselves and move on from them or else we will not be able to lead a happy life. Only you have the power to fight these feelings and see yourself for who you really are, a good person. If you have done bad things, you can always start fresh and make amends. It’s never too late. So let’s stop obsessing and start de-stressing!

Winning The Mental Health Lottery

Everyone dreams of winning the lottery, right? I know I do! Just imagine all the things you could do in life if you won that 55 million jackpot? If you’re reading this, like me, you are probably thinking about all the things you would want to do. Pay off debts, buy amazing properties and maybe even quit your job and travel the world. The sky is the limit! Of course money can’t truly buy happiness but it certainly can change your life… that is if you buy a ticket. Many people say – “what’s the point? I could buy tickets my whole life and never win”. Well you certainly won’t win if you don’t purchase a ticket at all! It’s funny how the brain works.

This concept faces me every day but it certainly isn’t just lottery tickets making feeling skeptical. From time to time I get down, I feel worried and stressed and sometimes for no reason at all. What makes me feel good about it is that others too go through this, but the thing that makes me feel hopeless is, what do I do to get over this hump? I’ve done the late night stress eating, the sleeping for hours, not connecting with friends and family, feeling dread for the next day not knowing what awaits. Where did it get me do you think? Continuing these detrimental cycles? No where. So what’s next do you think?

Mental health is a tricky thing. Anyone going through it knows how awful it feels to be in limbo land of emotions where there is no light at the end of the tunnel. I felt that way for awhile, but then one day I became fed up and said no more, what can I do to help myself? And from that moment on I did everthing in my power to feel the best I could and figure out the best coping skills that worked for me when I did feel like times were tough again. But the key word was ME. I read books, I saw professionals, I found support, but it was MY determination and perseverance that got me there. I always look for new things that are out there it never ends, and if you’re reading this now you can seize this day right now and do something anything that will help yourself get over this rut. The struggle is still there but it’s comforting to know you are doing everything you can to make yourself better.

If you’re lying in the dark with the blinds closed, open those curtains and let the sun shine in. Start taking advice your doctor and read that book on mindfulness. Call your local gym and set up an appointment with a trainer to have a workout plan. Play tennis, go swimming, stroll the mall, do an activity, talk to your friends and family again. Even if it’s the last thing you want to do, do it. It’s what you need to do.

If you catch yourself thinking “what’s the point of doing anything?  I probably will always feel like this” than you are most likely going to continue feeling that way. We need to push ourselves and find what works for us. Accept what you feel, know it’s not permanent and ask yourself “what do I want to feel right now” and go from there.

We won’t always have the answers as to why we feel the way we do or how to stop it, but we still need to live our lives. Once I found determination and perseverance I won the lottery. It’s time for us all to buy that ticket.