Survival Mode

I have been MIA for a few weeks now. I have been in complete survival mode.

Sometimes in life it is important to disconnect and simply survive. I have been taking time away from my computer, phone and social media to just make it. I have been in a funk and am currently trying to figure out what can get me out of it. I have been baking A LOT.

Some things I have learned during these times:

  1. Social media is my biggest trigger.
  2. Baking releases endorphins in my brain that make me extremely happy and able to cope. (Recipe page coming soon)
  3. Life does not have to evolve around your job. You can make your job evolve around you life.
  4. Finding people who are there for you is important.
  5. I have found my “tribe” and I thank God for them every single day. I literally would not be able to write this post right now if I did not have them.
  6. Your tribe does not have to be made up of all the same type of people. I have very different personalities in my tribe and that works the BEST for me because I have very different personalities based on what I am going through and they all give different advice so I am able to see all sides of a situation and how different I could handle it.
  7. It is okay to not be okay.
  8. It is okay to put yourself first. If you need to take a breather and go for a walk or cry, do it.
  9. The people who are there for you when you are at your worst are going to be there for you forever. They aren’t leaving. They love you.
  10. There will be a brighter day. It may not be today, and that is okay.

I have been using this time to bake, self-reflect and analyze what I am doing in life to determine what is next. I want you to know that you can do it too. If you need to go into survival mode just so you can figure things out, that’s okay. Turn off your notifications, set the phone down, close the laptop, figure out what your soul craves and make it happen. For me, I started baking, working on beautiful handwriting, and just being in the moment with people who are there and it has done wonderful things for me. I am not out of the woods yet though.

Survival mode also means exposing feelings, and for me it has been so hard to realize that I am actually experiencing anxiety and sadness to a level I have no choice but to address. I have been so busy just looking at my phone, on social media, working, or just sleeping that I did not realize I had this sadness and anxiety that I had never addressed. Everybody copes differently, for me, I always thought I needed to just get back to work, get back to being busy in order to “cope” but really, I was in survival mode. I was just continuing to fill my cup and then one day it spilled over and everything was out on the table. In order to prevent that from happening in the future, I have been dealing with emotions as they arise so that my cup stays upright.

Survival Mode is supposed to be a phase that helps save your life. It is not meant to be how you live. – Michele Rosenthal

You are Enough.

No matter how you are feeling today, know that you are enough and you are worth living for. When everything else goes wrong, your life is enough. You are important enough to keep living.

This weekend awakened me to the harsh reality that people I know and love don’t feel like they are doing enough and their life is not worth it. That was a hard pill to swallow. My depression has not ever manifested in a way that I felt I needed to stop living. My depression has always manifested in lack of motivation to do even basic things. When my depression arises, my house turns into a mess, my kids eat ramen or chicken nuggets every night for dinner, I don’t shower. But, NEVER, have I thought about taking my own life.

I know that this is not the case for many who suffer from depression. It kills me to think that anyone thinks that the world will go on without them. Or that not enough people care, so it is best for them to leave. I want you to know that you are ENOUGH. You, yourself, are worth fighting every single day for. When it feels like the whole world is against you, turn to me, I am here to listen and remind you that your life is important to me. You matter to me. I hope that my words are enough to keep you here.

Does a messy house make it worse? Take one day off during the week to clean. Then make an effort daily to keep it clean. You cook dinner? Clean up as soon as you are done. You got out games to play with the kids? Pick them up as soon as you are done.

Do you feel like you have to do the work of 5 people instead of 1 now? Be the teacher, be the mom, be the house keeper, be the cook, be the therapist? Remind yourself that it is okay to ask for help. It is okay to take a day off. You can’t do it all all the time. No one can. So don’t try to.

Do you feel like you have nothing to live for because your girlfriend broke up with you and you don’t have any family or friends to turn to? Take a breath, this is not the end. This is just the beginning of something greater. She wasn’t the one, and that’s okay. But, you are an amazing person and someone better will come along. It is okay to take a few days off and clear your mind. But come back, because we need you.

Do you find yourself thinking that you and the people you know would be better off without you? That couldn’t be further from the truth. So many people would miss you and be heartbroken for years if you left this earth. They would beat themselves up thinking “what if I would have…….” and they will never be at peace knowing that is how you felt. Please, talk to me before you act on any of these thoughts. Talk to someone. There is help out there and more people love you than you even realize.

These feelings are temporary. They won’t be there forever. They will come and go just like anything else in this life. We can make things better, we just have to figure out what helps and do those things. Know that it is okay to take a day off to just lay in bed. It is okay to take a day off to just clean the house. It is okay to feed your kids fast food just so you don’t have to do dishes. It is okay to feel sad. You do not have to do everything all the time. It is okay to have a messy house. It is okay to not make a 5 star dinner. It is okay to take a day off because work is too much right now. It is okay. We can get through this together.

You are enough. You are worth fighting for. Your capable of amazing things. Sometimes we just don’t feel okay, and it is okay to ask for help. But please, please, please, ask for help. Talk to someone, anyone. I am here to listen.

The Social Illusion

Sometimes we get caught up in social media and what other people are doing all the time and find ourselves yearning for the same life.

Social Media does not show you every aspect of a person’s life, it shows you what they want you to see. You could be seeing one thing on social media and the reality is actually very different. For example, almost 2 years ago I was posting about Kamryn’s milestones and work, but never posting about how I was 6 months pregnant. My pregnancy obviously was a huge part of my life, but I did not want to get my hopes up that people would be there for me, when I knew that once the baby was 3 days old, they would all disappear.

What I am trying to say is that you should not base your life on what you see of someone else’s life from the skewed image of social media. People are more complex than just a few status updates and a few pictures. That girl that “is always with her friends” works all the time and never gets a break. That girl who has the #squad at the end of every picture, goes to dinner by herself because her “friends” are too busy for her. The mom who is always posting cool arts and crafts with her kids just yelled at them because they spilled paint on the brand new carpet.

It is okay to feel the way you feel. More people than you think feel the way you do. Alone. Behind. Out of the Loop. You need to know that you are not alone. You are never alone. Sometimes work demands more than social life. Sometimes those friendships aren’t everyone else’s priority. It is okay to post on social media that your kids spilled the paint and you got upset while they were making that craft. It is okay to post the messy, not perfect things on social media too. I bet you that more friends would relate to the messy than to the perfect.

It is important to be vulnerable. It is important to show people that you do have a life outside of friendships. When you show that side of you, you gain more than you lose. If we are always showing the perfect, we are making someone else envy us and feel like they have failed because they don’t have it all together. I know that I feel envy every time I see a specific person post because according to social media, their life is perfect. They make good money, travel often, are always with their friends or family, they have it all. But, I talk to that person in real life and they are struggling with being alone. They travel so much for work that they never see their friends. They haven’t found a partner in life and their friends are all getting married. They are envious of my life because I have everything they yearn for, a husband, two kids, I have bought and sold my first home and own my second home. To them, I am settled and they feel very unsettled.

We always think the grass is greener on the other side. But, the person whose life you envy, could be envying yours thinking the same thing. We should love the life we live and find ways to improve it in the ways that we want to. If that’s traveling more, finding friends, being calm when your kid spills the paint, we can accomplish these things within ourselves without wishing to have someone else’s life completely. The first step is to be open and share the not so pretty sides of our lives. We all have them. Let people in. Find what you desire from that other persons life and make it happen in yours. You want to travel more? Spend less somewhere else. You want to have a #squad, find people who can be that for you. You want to not blow up on your kids for the small things, breathe and remind yourself that the moments are what matter.

You have complete control of making your life what you want. The grass is greener where you water it. When you realize that, the sky is the limit.

The Choice

Many times we find ourselves operating on auto pilot. It isn’t until something happens to throw us out of autopilot that we truly realize how bad it is to operate that way.

After operating on auto pilot for years, I found myself in a very dark place. I realized after gaining 30 pounds within 3 months that something had to change. That was the day I went to the doctor and got an appointment with a therapist. That was 6 months ago. In the last 6 months I have learned more about myself than I ever knew before. With this, I have also learned to stand my ground and know that I do have a CHOICE in what I do every single day.

I have realized that the world does not end if I take a day off work or do a little bit less work in a day. I have realized that the world does not end if I choose not to pick up the house before I go to bed. I have realized that the world does not end when I choose to do the things that make me happy and surround myself with people who make me happy. I have realized that I feel better, my kids are happier and my husband is happier when I choose myself every day. If I am feeling down, I choose to take the day off to get in a better mood for my family. If I am feeling overwhelmed, I choose to do just a little less work to lift that feeling. If I am feeling frustrated and upset, I choose to be around people who make me happy and remind me of the good things in life.

It is with these choices that I have found my own happiness. Now, my choices do impact others, but it gives them an opportunity to choose what they want to do with it. My co-worker has chosen to pick up those extra tasks on the days that I choose that they would be too much for me. If someone upsets me, I choose to distance myself because my happiness is important too. This allows them to choose whether they want to make it right or remain distant.

In the past, I always felt the need to do everything and be everything. That caused me to be a very overwhelmed, burnt out, depressed person with a lot of anxiety. I have always done it all. Kids need something? I’ll do it. Family needs something? I’ll do it. Work needs a project done? I’ll do it. I was doing the work of 2-3 people every single day in every aspect of my life. It is absolutely no wonder that I was as overwhelmed as I was. It is no wonder that I was not always the greatest person to be around. I was strung so tight and demanding so much of myself I did not even know what made me happy anymore.

Moral of the story is: You do not have to do everything all the time. Find where your happiness is, and do those things. If you start to feel like you are falling back into doing everything all the time or the mental pressure to do it all, come back here and be reminded that you don’t have to do anything that does not bring you joy or happiness. It is okay to take the day off. It is okay to do one thing less. It is okay to order dinner instead of cooking dinner. It is okay to let that task wait until tomorrow. There is nothing more important in the world than your happiness, and only you can create that. The first step is realizing that you have a choice.

You have nothing to be sad about…..

These are the words from the mouths of those who do not understand depression.

I cannot tell you how many times I have been told this exact thing. You have everything you could ever want, why are you sad? Well, I’m depressed; not sad. Depression is not synonymous with being sad. You could have all the money in the world, have everything you could have ever wished for, and still be depressed.

On the worst days, it is so hard to get the motivation to get out of bed. It feels impossible to get up and get dressed. No food sounds good, so there is no motivation to eat. The best feeling is to be able to do nothing, and not be questioned. There is no sadness, there is simply a lack of want to. The lack of want to bother anyone with feelings. The feeling that if anything is shared at all, it will come off as a burden. The feeling that being a burden is the last thing, so why not just be alone.

Depression comes about in a number of different ways. It also can last a day, two days or even two months. Depression has no timeline. Depression doesn’t care what plans were made, depression is there until depression gets what it wants. If depression wants to lay in bed all day, then depression lays in bed. If depression wants that Dr. Pepper and Reece’s Outrageous bar, depression gets that Dr. Pepper and Reece’s Outrageous bar. Maybe if it gets what it wants, it will go away faster.

The reality is that no matter what depression wants and gets, it stays as long as it wants to. The goal is to make it through with a support system around. If you or someone you love has depression, it is important to have a support system of people who know what is going on and ways to help. In those hard days, stay accountable. Make a list of 3 things that you can accomplish in a day and send it to someone who will hold you accountable to those things, and who you won’t lie to about doing them. If your loved one has depression, have them give you 3 things that they can accomplish and hold them accountable. These can be as simple as getting out of bed, taking a shower, getting dressed, eating breakfast. These things will get them through the hardest days, so that they can have more good days ahead!

Depression in a time of Social Distancing

During this time of social distancing, one thing is often looked past. That is the mental well-being of those of us with depression and/or anxiety.

You are not alone. We have to make tough decisions about what make sense for our family during this time. Following your heart and your gut can come with a lot of backlash from others who believe differently than you. You have to do what is right for you and your mental health. For me, that means sending my kids to daycare so I can work full time. I tried to work from home with them one day and my anxiety was through the roof and I felt a bout of depression coming on because I felt like I was letting them down by telling them “no I can’t play right now, I have to work.” I realize this is not the decision that everyone will make or is making. That’s fine.

It gets lonely when you are stuck in the house all day. I thrive on face to face interaction with my co-workers day in and day out. They help make the day go by faster, and I can turn and ask them a question at any point in the day and get an immediate response. Now, I am being inundated with conference calls on things that would have previously been a 5 minute conversation that we would have had at our desks. Or, I am waiting on them to tend to their families and get back to me when I can. Work is less efficient.

Do what you need to do to stay sane. Is that going for a walk? Do it. Is it getting your favorite drink from a drive thru? Do it. Whatever your mental health needs, do it. For me, it is getting that snack that I gave up a few months ago to lose some weight, or even taking a nap. Listen to your anxiety/depression and let it tell you what it needs, and do it.

You are not alone, we may be socially distant, but we are all in this together and we WILL come out on the other side.