friends

Unapologetically Selfish

I was on Instagram yesterday and came across a picture that really upset me. This is what it said:Screen Shot 2019-05-28 at 10.11.04 PM.png

I don’t know if I was hangry and it struck a nerve the wrong way or what, but my first thought reading it was, “you don’t know my life!”

I’ve reached the point in my life where I don’t even bother complaining about being so busy. This is the path I’ve chosen. I suppose I’ve reached a state of complacency. This is the new normal. It has been for almost four years now.

I work full time. I am enrolled in classes for my BCBA credential which I watch videos for every day after work. And in between all of that, I find time to sleep, eat, exercise, errands, and maybe if I’m lucky, I will get to spend time mindlessly scrolling on my phone or reading a book, or texting a friend to check in. I don’t even have free weekends. The downside of working full time is the only spare time I have for my online meeting and tests is on the weekend. Saturday mornings, too. Thank goodness I’m a morning person. But that eats up time I have and takes it away from someone else.

Guilt is such a useless emotion, yet one that seems to overpower me at least once a week. I succumb to my anxiety and get overwhelmed by the guilt of not being a good enough friend because I still haven’t invited them over, or made plans to see them, or have texted them to check in, or any of those emotions. I feel guilty when my schedule doesn’t align with my mom’s and I can’t help her run errands or even come in for a visit after work because it doesn’t line up right. I feel guilty and I cry about it, which takes me further away from my to-do list and further into a hole of self-loathing and shallow breaths.

Then I read that quote: “If they truly care, they will make time.”

And I’m crying all over again.

It’s not that I don’t care about you. If you are my friend, and truly my friend, you would try to understand and be patient with me. Maybe I can’t meet up in person but we could chat over video messaging, a phone call, text, it’s 2019 for goodness sake! But know that it’s not that I don’t care about you. It’s that I care about me.

What kind of friend would I be if I agreed to hang out and wasn’t really listening to our conversation because I was going over my to-do list in my head the entire time? Sitting there and suppressing every negative thought I have only to potentially have a panic attack the second I get in my car? I love you. I do. But one of my methods of getting through the week is setting up a “time budget” where I allocate my time into rough categories. It helps me feel safe, with flexible boundaries, and organized. I am calm when things are organized. It is not that I don’t want to make time for you or that you’re not important, but at this stage in my life, I have other things that are important to me and my well-being.

As a lovely friend stated last night, “if you truly care, you won’t ask someone to overextend themselves when they’re too busy.”

I’m doing the best I can with the time I have and the circumstances I have chosen or have been handed to me. And for that, I am unapologetically selfish.

The First Monday of 2019

Happy New Year, everyone! Today is the first Monday of 2019. A new year, a new set of goals, and new opportunities.

I tried to write a post last week about the things I learned in 2018 and I could not bring myself to finish.

To my friends and family I did not get to see much of in 2018, I am sorry.

I was rotten at returning text messages. I didn’t attend as many events as previous years. I shut myself out. It was truly a year of self-care and introspection.

To be honest, my mental health took a bit of a dive in 2018. I had panic attacks in the frequency and intensity as I used to have when I was first diagnosed in 2012. It scared me. I felt as weak as I did back then, times. I tried to push through it. But everything just felt so busy. In the past year, I worked full time, was in school part time, both completing my master’s thesis and then starting coursework, and trying to balance other responsibilities. I made it through, relatively unscathed. And now, I’ve been trying to reframe my overwhelming schedule as passionate ambitions.

Old Resolution: Social Media
One of my new year’s resolutions this year was to post less on social media. On my personal instagram, I posted about 80 times this year which works out to be about 6.9 times per month or 1.6 times per week. I liked not posting much on social media. However, when I would see people I hadn’t seen in a while, they would often say to me, “wow, it seems like you’ve been up to a lot of exciting things lately!” And naturally, I’d laugh and agree.

I, along with other millennials, embellish things on social media. No one posts the bad stuff on social media. On my blog page (@frompanictoplate), I have posted some more honest pictures and quotes, and honestly, that was refreshing. It was also comforting to have people inbox me and share their experiences and feelings with me. While social media can feel embellished and fake at times, sharing some of the vulnerable parts of yourself, the real parts of yourself, can be empowering.

New Resolution: Goals For Me and For Others
Something I started in the last quarter of 2018 was to say no to one extra responsibility a week. This meant saying no if asked to work an extra shift in an already busy week or maybe not doing the “suggested” reading for school so I could make more time for myself.

To continue this in 2019, I want to instead do (at least) one thing a week for me and just me. This may include saying no to an added responsibility or an act of self-care.

I also want to do (at least) one thing a week that improves my relationships with others. Maybe this is texting a friend I haven’t talked to in a while to see how they are doing. Maybe it’s making plans with someone for a coffee or other inexpensive outing.
I want to do better. I want to be a better friend.

Mental Health Meets Physical Health

A goal I would like to especially prioritize this year is taking better care of my mental health, especially due to the toll it has taken on my physical health in the past year. I was sick quite a bit and not just like, a little cold here and there. I had laryngitis (at least twice), one of the most painful UTIs I have ever experienced, and now, I am writing this while on the couch wincing at the overwhelming pain that comes with shingles.

To avoid feeling like this in the future (or ever again), I know I need to take care of myself and not push myself because I “like being busy.” I am learning to accept that taking care of myself is not selfish.

So here is to a new year and new exciting opportunities for growth and to make memories with those we love. 6fe48211174875e2cc330edb2519d971.jpg

July Check-In

The month is just about halfway done so I thought I’d do a mid-month check-in to see how I’m doing so far in July.

Mental Health

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While I have not been super relaxed so far this summer, my anxiety has had its ups and downs thinking about the future. My dad’s words of “don’t worry about the things you can’t control” are being replayed in my mind but I can’t help but worry sometimes. I think that’s human nature amplified by the effects of living with anxiety. I haven’t had any major breakdowns and my best friends (and my boyfriend, who doubles as a best friend) have been absolutely amazing.

Goals

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I really didn’t set any specific goals this month, which is a bit unlike me. The only goal I had in mind was to enjoy my time not in school, work hard, and take some time to enjoy myself with the company of friends and family. I’d say I have done that so far. I’ve made plans with friends more after work and made more of an effort to check in on friends and see how they’re doing. I have also been reading more books for pleasure. This is often something I complain about not having the time for when I’m busy with school work.

Goals in mind for the upcoming weeks:

  • Less emotional eating – I see myself starting to slip on this. Stress eating chocolate or unhealthy things to cope with certain emotions. I need to nip that early.
  • Practice more gratitude. I fell off the Five Minute Journal train. I stopped practicing daily gratitude. I need to start back up on that to start and end my days on positive notes rather than anxious ones.
  • Do more active things. In Montreal, I went for a walk with my aunt every night I was there. I have started doing more of this here, usually in the evenings when it cools down but it has been great to get out and take a nice 20-30 minute walk in the neighbourhood.
  • Focus more on my weight loss journey. While I haven’t been very strict on food choices in the last few weeks, I may look towards making smarter choices rather than be super restrictive. My work schedule has not been very consistent so far this summer but maybe next week I will get in the groove of when I can go to the gym after work as well. It’s never too late to try again.

In a couple weeks, I will write out my goals for August and share them. HM_press_release_infographic-1001x1024.jpg

 

It Ain’t All Bad

I think I get so caught up in the moment, especially while I am running on the adrenaline rush of an anxious moment (fight or flight), I sometimes forget to stop and realize that although I have moments where I feel like nothing is right, everything is wrong, and things are falling apart, in the grand scheme of things, it isn’t all that bad.

(Can you tell by that run-on sentence I still have residual anxiety from the weekend?)

Here are a few of my “It ain’t all bad” thoughts, in no particular order:

  1. I have a job I love with people I love working with.
  2. My clients may have bad days, or bad moments, but they are humans too, just like me. I have bad days. I have bad moments. I am making a difference in their lives. But life, as we know, can have its share of hiccups.
  3. My thesis is hard work right now, and I may feel like I don’t have much of a social life because of it, but in the future, I will be looking back, not remembering the negative feelings of it all, but just the satisfaction of getting my master’s degree that I worked so hard to get.
  4. I don’t feel guilty about eating that chocolate chip cookie because it was delicious.
  5. I get to hear birds singing out of my window every morning. Nature is beautiful.
  6. Money can be earned and saved in the future. Seeing the world and traveling with my best friend has greater value than the cost of the trip.
  7. My car gets me to and from the places I want and need to go.
  8. My friend group talks every single day in a group chat and I think that it’s wonderful that even though we are growing up and don’t get to see each other all the time that we still make time to send funny pictures or share things about our lives each day.
  9. I love having friends who know that even though we don’t talk every day, love and support is just a text or call away no matter what.
  10. The same is true for my family members.
  11. I’m learning to accept a lot of different things in my life. I am stronger than I ever was.
  12. I have access to delicious food each day.
  13. Soon it will be summer and I will likely be complaining that it is too hot rather than it being too cold like it is now.
  14. My boyfriend makes me feel loved, respected, and beautiful. I have never felt so comfortable being myself with someone. I wish everyone had the chance to feel the way I feel just by hearing his voice.
  15. I am 25 years old and I still call my mom for help with things like making gravy. She also knows how to pick my clothes out for me better than I can. My mom is my favourite person in the whole world.

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Self-Care for the Soul

Happy Monday! Another week and this week is March Break. While I still have to work for a few of the days of the week, I am dedicating a lot of this week for working on my March goals. This past weekend, I got quite a bit of work done on my dissertation and made plans to see friends throughout the week.

Today, I am practicing some self-care with two of my best friends and we are going to a day spa to relax and have some well-deserved “me” time.

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Here are some of the benefits of having some “me” time and going to a spa:

  1. If you go with friends, it’s a great place to catch up and be in the presence of other people while also being away from the hustle and bustle of life.
  2. Stress relief. Life is busy. Why not do something different from your typical routine and take a break from your busy schedule and go to a spa?
  3. Increase your serotonin and dopamine levels. As someone who has has chemical imbalances in these areas from time to time with anxiety, studies show that massages release these chemicals having positive effects on stress relief.
  4. Detox. Massages, facials, the whole deal – they all have detoxification effect on the body helping lymph nodes release toxins.

 

Whatever you choose to do today, be sure to practice at least one thing for self-care. Happy Motivational Monday!

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One Brave Night

Last year, I participated in CAMH’s event One Brave Night. CAMH One Brave Night for Mental Health™ is a Canada-wide challenge to inspire hope for those affected by mental illness. It starts now and continues through to Friday, April 6.

For those who are unfamiliar with CAMH, it is the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. It is the largest mental health and addictions teaching hospital. Their One Brave Night campaign has had the following impact for mental health initiatives:

  • Create three new youth clinics to help address the gap in mental health treatment.
  • Inspire hope through discovery by testing new treatment options for people with severe and treatment-resistant depression.
  • Publish over 500 journal articles, sharing the incredible discoveries made at CAMH.
  • Continue to redevelop CAMH facilities to build treatment, education and research spaces that reflect respect for patients and hope for recovery.
  • Expand effective and timely access to mental health services in remote and underserved communities around the country through technology and access to telepsychiatry.

I am proud to say that I am taking part in it again this year and have set my fundraising goal at $250.

If you are interested in supporting my fundraising efforts, you can donate at this link. If you are interested in joining my fundraising team, you may do so at this link. My Team Name is Stomp Out Stigma.

Happy Motivation Monday!

The Fight Within

Today’s post is not about food. I am remaining compliant today and have 9 days left in Whole 30, but in the past 24 hours, something more important has taken over my thoughts. Apologies in advance for my disorganized array of thoughts.

Last night, I received news that a good friend is fighting hard with his battle with cancer but has unfortunately been placed in a palliative care unit in the hospital.

When I received the news, I froze. My first thought: I have to go visit him. My second thought: I haven’t stepped foot in that hospital since my dad died and I wasn’t sure I would be strong enough to do it. I want to and my intention is there, but these multi-level feelings of grief, weakness, and heartache are complicatedly woven. To the reader, it may not appear to be complicated. My anxiety lenses, however, would gravely disagree.

It’s not the first time in my life that someone I love has fought cancer or other medical battles. I get overwhelmed and frustrated that bad things happen to good people. I try to hold onto the idea that there must be some sort of greater meaning out of all of this.

But then this morning I received news that a friend from high school had suddenly passed away. A sweet girl who has just turned 25, just like I did last week, had her life cut tragically short.

I’m a hopeless romantic and an optimist at heart. I like to believe there is more good in the world than bad. But today is just a hard day. I send prayers to the families and friends of everyone I am thinking about today going through the hardships I mentioned as well as the people who have silent struggles and other hardships they are experiencing at this time.

On this motivational Monday, may we be able to look for the good in the world, have strength to face the bad, and learn lessons from both.