Advice.

I have been asked a lot lately: “What do I do if I’m feeling depressed” or “How can I help my friend that is cutting”. Yes, I studied psychology and sociology, so I have a little bit of background in why our brains work the way they do and how society shapes us, but in no way, I am an expert.  I used my personal experiences and what worked for me to give others advice. I sometimes feel awkward giving advice because I don’t want to give anyone the wrong advice or advice that could make someone feel worse instead of better. So in reading this post, in no way am I telling you this is what you have to do, or if you do these things you will feel 100% better, these are just the things that worked for me!

So here is the advice I can give you through both personal and impersonal experience:

When it comes to self-injury (cutting), it has a lot to do with control and the releasing of negative feelings. Confronting someone about cutting can be a tricky thing. For one, they are most likely embarrassed about it, so if you’re going to confront them, make sure you do it privately and come from a non-judgemental standpoint. At the same time, the person could possibly be doing it as a cry for help. A lot of the kids I work with I find are doing it to get attention. So give them attention. Ask them questions and offer your support. Show them that you are there and they do not need to do these things. Help the person brainstorm other options instead of cutting. For example, writing (one thing that really helped me), talking with someone (a close friend or therapist) and exercising (even if it’s just a walk or bike ride).

I self-injured for close to 10 years off and on. I still remember the last time I did even though it was years ago. I got to the point where I came to the realizing that putting a blade to my skin was doing nothing to fix my situation or make myself feel better. It was like a drug. I got that high/numb feeling for those couple minutes, but the sadness and pain still came back every time. If I could go back and talk to myself when I was in grade 6 and started turning to cutting, I would ask myself “Why?” and explain that in the long run, this is doing nothing to help fix my dark feelings, and get rid of the dark cloud that followed me.

Depression is a whole nother thing. I had a good talk with a friend a couple nights ago about people calling a bluff on having depression. I personally don’t think anyone should be told “You are not depressed” because no one else but them knows how they are feeling on the instead. At the same time, I really don’t like when people post about mental illness and do not give some kind of solution or ways they are trying to deal with it. When I get depressed I isolate. I also go crazy on social media in the sense that I am constantly looking at what everyone else is doing and make myself feel bad that I’m not doing things like: dating anyone, going out to some crazy party or travelling the world. Social media is something I find to be very toxic for myself. So when I start feeling depressed I take a step back and look at certain aspects of my life. 1) Am I eating probably and getting to the gym? 2) Am I getting enough sleep? 3) Am I spending to much time on social media comparing myself to others? and 4) Have I talked and been around positive influences I have in my life? Usually, if I can focus on balancing out these things, I find I can subdue my dark cloud.

Medication is something that doesn’t work for everyone, but can definitely be an option. I am a huge believer in not filling our bodies with harsh chemicals from food, alcohol, drugs and unnecessary medications. But with this being said, I am on an antidepressant that helps eliminate my risk of having any future seizures. If I take this medication regularly it does help my mental health a lot. If I don’t take this medication properly, it can send me into a downward spiral. So please, if you choose medication to help with your mental health, take it regularly and how the doctor prescribes it.

-A

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How to Make a Friendship Flourish and Not Flop

When you are young, friendships are sooo easy. Simple play dates, similar interests, same after-school activities, ect., but the older you get, the harder they get. Specially in female to female relationships.

I listened to a podcast today (Unlady Like) and it talked about the difficulty in female friendships and why so many of them don’t work. It discussed how it’s sometimes hard to be honest about how we’re feeling in friendships and comparison to relationships. It’s easier to tell your partner: “you hurt my feelings because you did (blank)” but harder to tell a friend this. Here are a few things I’ve found that have worked when building strong and long lasting friendships.

  1. Communication is key. In all relationships, communication is a major factor. You could simply be on different pages on something, or be reading entirely different books. It’s fine to take time and space from a friend to process emotions or feelings, but as soon as you’re ready and able to articulate your feelings, do so. This is the be all, end all of a friendship. You need to learn how to express what you’re going through, without attacking the other person. This is the best way to save or continue to grow a friendship.
  2. Allow your friend to win. Sometimes your friend is going to be more successful than you in life and you need to learn that that’s okay. It’s okay to celebrate them. It’s okay to be the ‘cheerleader’. Everyone has their own time to shine.
  3. Know when to just listen.  A lot of the time, a friend’s job is to just listen. Listen without judgement and without the desire to need to give your two cents. Sometimes a friend doesn’t need to be told what to do, they just simply need someone to be there and listen.
  4. Be loyal. No matter the circumstance or the current situation between you and your friend, always be on their side. Speak positively about them in their absence and always have their back.
  5. Always make time. Time is such a precious thing and should never be taken for granted. If you truly cherish a friend, make sure you are making them a priority in your life.

-A

He loves you so good, but does he stay the night?

I often get passion mistaken for love, and when I say often, I mean almost always.

I am so tired of people leaving me feeling more lonely than when they found me. More empty instead of more full. And I really have no one else to blame but myself.

Time and time I again I chase after the type of man that doesn’t want to be caught. That doesn’t want the love I am offering and doesn’t desire what I have to offer.

But why do I do this to myself? Do I enjoy the pain, the heart break or the disappointment?

Am I replacing my past pain with the continuous sting of rejection?

The truth is I don’t need another person to make me whole. But the lie I tell myself is that I do.

I can’t wait until your bitter after taste becomes only a memory. And your smile is something I no longer see as my light, but as a subtle glow in my past. Reminding me that I was my own light all along.

I hope one day you realize how much I could have given you. I hope you smile in my memory, and feel a sting of my long gone laugh echoing through your head.

And if you don’t, I hope you learned a lesson. That a girl with a soft heart is fragile and should be handled with care.

But I also hope you realize that she didn’t end at you. You fed her fire to find someone deserving of what she has to offer.

I hope you one day regret, that your hands explored more of her than your heart ever would.

-A

What are you choosing to care about?

I am in the middle of reading the book, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck”. And when I say I’m in the middle of reading it, I mean that I randomly pick it up every once and a while and read a random chapter.

I highly recommend this book, especially to people like me, who care way too much about everything (not to say that isn’t a great characteristic to have).

The chapter I’m on is called: “You Are Always Choosing”. It basically talks about how we are responsible for everything in our lives. We may not always be responsible for what happens to us, but we are ALWAYS responsible for how we react, how we respond and how we move on from events in our life.

The book asked you these questions: “What are you choosing to care about? What values are you choosing to base your actions on? What metrics are you choosing to use to measure your life? And are those good choices, good values and good metrics?”

I really had to step back and think about these answers. I have been feeling very down lately for multiple reasons. Health, friendships and relationships and family.

My health is under control right now. I have not had a seizure in 2 years. I take my medication daily and am getting a prettying decent amount of sleep. I think I could almost choose to care a little more about my health. Getting some sort of exercise every day, eating properly and enough and maintaining a healthy sleep schedule.

I have had a hard time with friendships this year. Trying to balance which friendships I should out my time and energy into and which friendships I might need to let go of. I have finally realized that no matter how much love and respect I put into a friendship, that doesn’t mean I will receive the same back. I can’t choose how people treat me, but I can choose how I react to their treatment, and unfortunately, I have had to choose to let go of some people recently. I need to focus on the friendships that I have in my life and putting my attention and energy into making those friendships the strongest I can.

Relationships. It is completely my fault that I keep going back to the people that have hurt me, or a certain type of person that will end up hurting me in the end. I cannot allow myself to do this anymore. It’s no healthy, fair or beneficial to me. Being lonely is not a good enough reason to allow people to walk all over me. Never allow someone to make you an option when you’re making them a priority in your life.

Am I happy right now?

My short answer would be no. I feel lost, negative, ran down and stuck. But when I take a step and think about how I’m measuring this question, is the answer actually no?

I have a great group of friends. Friends that check on me and want the best for me. I can’t be friends with everyone. That’s just how life works. I am healthy and haven’t had a seizure in 2 years. I can’t predict or worry about the future when all I can do is concentrate on the now and doing everything I can to promote a healthy future. In relationships, I am the one who sets the standards of how people treat me. I need to stop accepting anything less than I deserve and if that means that I need to let people go, I need to accept this and trust that if these people want to be in my life, they will fight to be there.

I know this post was a huge ramble. Really, it was a post mostly for me to see that I can control whether I allow myself to continue to be sad and negative, or I can snap out of it and realize that I have people that love me in my life. I have people that want to see me succeed and want to see me smile.

It’s okay to have bad days. But it’s important that a bad day does not mean a bad life.

-A

Choose Yourself

I was about to write a negative post about falling for someone who doesn’t like you in return. I mean which one of us hasn’t been there? Regardless if you’re a male or female, I guarantee it’s happened to you. And it sucks. It sucks big time.

The feeling in the pit of your stomach that lingers and the pain of rejection echoes through your head.

But why do I need to continue to throw myself pity parties, when it’s already taken up enough of my time, energy, emotions and in reality, sanity.

I have worked too hard on loving myself over these past couple years. It’s not worth sacrificing that.

So here I am. I can say all these things, but my heart doesn’t hurt less. I won’t get the time and energy back that I put into this person or the false future I created in my head. I still want to talk to them, ask them how their day was and tell them about mine. And I still feel an emptiness in my bed. I will still answer texts, snaps and simple “hellos” because the pain of not having this person in my life at all is even worse than the pain of knowing I will never have this person to myself.

But none of that means I should continue to accept their poor treatment, half love or inconsistent attention. I shouldn’t believe that I only deserve a part of a person, but I truly deserve an entire person. Their full attention. Their full love. I don’t deserve to be kept secret. Only seen late at night in the dark. I shouldn’t be cared or thought about only when it is convenient. I shouldn’t be an option only when they are bored.

I set the bar of how other people are going to treat me and what kind of treatment I’m going to accept.

I can’t control how other people act or treat me but I can control my choices.