Yesterday And Today

Yesterday, I woke up at 10 pm. It was impossible to get up. Sometimes, depression hits me like a truck. I sleep and sleep and sleep. Get up tired, at unorthodox hours. That in turn, messes up my sleep schedule. Then, my mental health starts deteriorating. I get more depressed. It’s a vicious cycle that we should break as soon as possible. Staying up all day so you fall asleep at a decent time. That’s what I’m doing today. I’m exhausted but this is something I need to do so I’m pushing through.

Today was a beautiful and warm day. I was outside and it was no nice. Sadness is still lurking in my mind. I have to accept what I can’t change and move on. No matter how hard it is, no matter how much you want to do or feel something else. I know what is best for me and he is not it.

I could say a lot more but I won’t. There’s this need to keep him in the past. At least, that’s how I feel. if I write about him, he’s present. I don’t want to feel his presence.

So, I’m just here, minding my own business, writing and listening to music. I listened to Grouper and now I’m listening to empire! empire! (i was a lonely estate). Emotional music helps me to cope. I’m practicing self-care and will meditate tonight. Affirmations have also helped me. Yesterday, I was feeling terrible. I listened to some positive affirmations, at least for 40 minutes. It was very soothing and I’m much better today. I do all kinds of affirmations, except for abundance and things of that nature. It doesn’t feel right to do that but, if you do, more power to you and I hope it works. I use Insight Timer and I recommend searching for affirmations and try the ones that are done by Keneth Soares. It’s very reassuring and a great way to fall asleep. Sometimes we need to hear certain things, in order to feel better. Things that we forget, like being grateful, loving ourselves, etc. If you want to try meditation, I made a little guide on how to start meditating with Insight Timer.

Now, I’m going to head to Crowdin and practice my translation skills. Soon, I will be working in that field. I have to be prepared.

I wish you all a wonderful night. Take care.

Social media, mental health, and strategies to avoid overusing it

This is probably one of the most talked about issues right now. Most people love social media. Sharing pictures, liking, commenting. It feels like socializing. You get in touch with people that are far away or close by. It’s fun and a time waster. It’s addictive. Every notification is a dopamine spike. We get hooked and spend more and more time on it. Too tired to do something productive, it’s easy to just scroll through Facebook or Instagram.

It’s an artificial world, where everyone is happy and on their best behavior. Or not but we are always in PR mode. “Look at this beautiful place”, “Look at this wonderful food”. If you’re not in the best place right now, it’s better not to be on Facebook or other toxic social media sites.

woman

At least here on WordPress, people get vulnerable. They talk about their victories, their defeats and everything in between. You are not bombarded by selfies or animal abuse videos or all that other crap you see on Facebook. This is a social platform for readers, writers, and curious people.

I definitely feel much better since I stopped using Facebook so much but let’s see what science says about it:

According to a recent study by UK disability charity Scope, of 1500 Facebook and Twitter users surveyed, 62 percent reported feeling inadequate and 60 percent reported feelings of jealousy from comparing themselves to other users.

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/nurturing-self-compassion/201703/mental-health-and-the-effects-social-media

Social media can cause depression, according to this recent study.  If you feel jealous or envious of your Facebook friends, it’s better not to have an account. As I’ve said before, it’s addictive, so it’s easy to keep going despite the fact that it’s making you miserable. It causes more sadness and less joy. It’s only natural for us to compare ourselves to others and on Facebook that is inevitable.

depressed woman

Human beings are always looking for satisfaction. Most people aren’t satisfied with their lives and virtual socializing seems safer. But it’s not. It can be in a sense but we need to feel a real connection. To be with people in real life, create bonds, etc. We weren’t made to be alone all the time. Humans are social species.

In fact, another study found that social media use is linked to greater feelings of social isolation. The team looked at how much people used 11 social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Vine, Snapchat and Reddit, and correlated this with their “perceived social isolation.” Not surprisingly, it turned out that the more time people spent on these sites, the more socially isolated they perceivedthemselves to be. And perceived social isolation is one of the worst things for us, mentally and physically.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2017/06/30/a-run-down-of-social-medias-effects-on-our-mental-health/#721f75612e5a

You’re shaping your reality and isolating yourself, under the false pretense of effortless socializing. You will perceive yourself to be more alone and that also contributes to depression or sadness.

Meanwhile another survey of 1,000 British women by Forza Supplements found that 82% of respondents “edit” their holiday photographs before posting them online in order to ensure that they are shown to the greatest advantage; 34% use filters on Instagram to finesse their appearance. Additionally 76% of respondents said they have felt embarrassed by photos posted by friends or family members that included them, and 57% have actually asked these friends or family members to take a photo down because they considered it so unflattering.

Source: https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/230900/social-media-makes-users-feel-ugly-inadequate.html

So, people are altering themselves to fit in, to have more likes and receive compliments. We have to be flawless at all times. This isn’t healthy, it’s shaping our perception and putting pressure on us. It’s unrealistic and harmful. Artificial is the new natural. I fear the impact of this on society.

Everything that exists, in this life, is connected to something else. We are all connected and the internet connected us even more (even if in an illusory way). A comparison is inevitable in this environment. We see other people’s lives and automatically compare it to ours. This is very toxic and can lead to depression. It also leads to jealousy.

 (…) it can become a vicious cycle: feeling jealous can make a person want to make his or her own life look better, and post jealousy-inducing posts of their own, in an endless circle of one-upping and feeling jealous.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2017/06/30/a-run-down-of-social-medias-effects-on-our-mental-health/#720d85352e5a

We should always look at things this way: this person looks like she has a perfect life but everyone has trials and tribulations. They don’t show you when they cry, when they scream, when they are angry and frustrated. No one is perfect or has a perfect life. If you feel like you’re in this infinite loop of jealousy, avoid Facebook or unfollow your most successful Facebook friends or the ones that like to brag about their lives.

Part of the unhealthy cycle is that we keep coming back to social media, even though it doesn’t make us feel very good. This is probably because of what’s known as a forecasting error: Like a drug, we think getting a fix will help, but it actually makes us feel worse, which comes down to an error in our ability to predict our own response. One study looked at how people feel after using Facebook and how they think they’ll feel going in. Like other studies suggested, the participants in this one almost always felt worse after using it, compared to people engaging in other activities. But a follow-up experiment showed that people generally believed that they’d feel better after using, not worse. Which of course turns out not to be the case at all, and sounds a lot like the pattern in other types of addiction.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2017/06/30/a-run-down-of-social-medias-effects-on-our-mental-health/#720d85352e5a

I remember one day, I was particularly sensitive and I came across a video of animal abuse. Distressed and uneasy, I logged off and swore I would never log in again. One hour later, I was back. Just like an addict who is caught by the police, while buying drugs and buys drugs the day after that, most of us return to Facebook after seeing something distressing or disturbing. It’s important to break this cycle.

man thinking forest

Strategies to avoid Facebook and other social media sites

Evaluate your relationship with Facebook, how it affects you and make a conscious choice. There are strategies to avoid Facebook or other social media sites. If you have a pc and a cellphone, try to make it a habit not to use Facebook on your computer, just on your phone. Spend time doing other things on your computer, like watching movies, series, doing a course, watching interesting YouTube videos or documentaries. Even better is to see your friends in real life, take a walk, enjoy nature, read a book, meditate. There is a number of great things you can do in real life.

Set a time to check Facebook or just go with the flow and you may forget it exists for a few hours. Then, check your notifications and scroll for a few minutes, ideally less than five. Don’t get sucked into the rabbit hole, there’s a world outside. A palpable, more real world.

As you detox from it, you’ll start to notice that you spend less and less time there. You will start to value your other activities and understand that Facebook and other social media sites are a trap.

Conclusion

Facebook and other sites were created and designed to keep us hooked, in order to sell things to us. Gather our information and sell it to God-knows-who. It knows almost everything about us, based on our likes. It’s also an echo-chamber, somewhere where we just see what the algorithm thinks we want to see. This is also harmful, as we should be informed about various points of view., in order to not have a very biased opinion.

It’s also important to think that our time is finite and that wasting it on toxic platforms is not the best way to live. There are other activities that are more constructive and positive.

 

 

 

How to deal with New Year’s Eve when you feel like a failure

Every New Year’s Eve, some people go out and have fun. Others stay at home, celebrating with friends or family. It’s an exciting time, another year has ended. You look back at what you did that year, all you overcame, all the struggles, good days, bad days and experiences. Not everyone does this, of course. Some just want to drink and do substances, it’s an excuse to get high and there’s not much to think about. They choose to become numb (among those, some still evaluate the year that is passing because people are more complex and diverse than we sometimes tend to think).

When you spent the whole year alone and depressed; not leaving your house or accomplishing anything that is important, in the eyes of society, it’s easy to feel very down during the celebrations.

I remember my 2011 NYE. I was very down, frustrated and suicidal. I was celebrating with my family but I wasn’t actually there. I was far, far away in a planet of despair and self-pity, thinking to myself “I’m a loser, a disgrace, and a failure”. I smiled but the heart was dark and unhappy.

In the next year, I wasn’t suicidal but the dark thoughts were there. I had accomplished nothing, my life was going nowhere. I was just succeeding at being depressed and a complete mess. It was a self-pity party again. I started to hate the progression of the year. In January, I felt like I could turn my life around, made plans and had expectations. As the year went by, plans failed and everything was the same as it had been in the previous years. Spring and summer made me a bit happier, as I love those seasons. Then September came, all the sorrow and existential dread would come back. The end of the year was approaching and my life was still the same.

This year, as summer was ending, I started to feel a bit uneasy. Next thing you know, it’s Halloween and Christmas. Boom, a new year starts and, alas, nothing was done.

I started to feel differently about it. I feel like I’ve come so far, even if I’m not in school or employed. I got my family back, live a harmonious life and I quit weed. The blog is also something to be proud of l. I’ve done 300+ posts so far and exercised my writing skills. Met wonderful people, read beautiful and witty posts. Experimented with poetry and got good feedback. Made great online friends that love and support me.

It’s nothing for most people but I feel like this is big. It means that I’m slowly recovering and that I will be able to do much more in the future. Baby steps are steps nonetheless.

It also makes me think that, if I can see things in such a positive light nowadays (not always but I’m progressively feeling better about myself), maybe depression is in remission. It’s great and it gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling. I feel closer to the metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel.

2018 will be the first year in a long time where I will have a happy NYE. There won’t be fake happiness, it will be real.

I want to tell you all: all of you who struggle with depression, BPD, agoraphobia, whatever you struggle with; don’t compare yourself to your peers or what society says you should do. Focus on your baby steps and don’t disregard your accomplishments, no matter how small you feel they are. You are progressing, recovering and improving yourself. Enjoy yourself in NYE and remember to evaluate 2018; look at it from a distance and see how you can grow even more. I know this is easier said than done, believe me. Different perspectives are important, so maybe this piece can help you think a bit more positively and help you with NYE blues.

Image by nickgesell, courtesy of Pixabay.

Poem: Heart Monitor

My life is like a heart monitor

There’s a flat line on the screen

Dead

And lifeless

Startled by the slightest change

Afraid of the next palpitation

I’m alive once a week

The heart of my life beats joyfully

Only to stop in the day after

And remain flat for a week

Life is a series is not only itself

But also a series of deaths

Being depressed is hibernating

While having nightmares

Life is dull and dark

Nothing is pleasurable

Just craving solitude

Escaping life

Fearing change

Fearing things and fearing fear

Life has frightened us too much

We can’t take anymore of that

So we hide

Under blankets and sheets

Smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee

Trying to numb the pain

But it doesn’t go away

Like a shadow

It follows us

Even in the dark

Pain is a type of darkness

Even darker than the most unilluminated place in the universe

So it is visible in the dark

It’s our thoughts

Our dreams

Our reality

I feel like I almost drowned

And have just reached the surface of the water

Found a little raft

So I’m not in immediate danger

Just stranded

Not knowing where to go

My therapist throws me a compass

My psychiatrist, a paddle

And I’ve been rowing

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors, courtesy of Pixabay.

Daily repetition

Every day, we repeat actions. Shower, brush teeth, brush our hair, eat and many more things. There’s something about repetition that is assuring. It provides us with stability and structure.

When you are depressed, it becomes tiresome and difficult. Everything is a struggle. That’s how I feel about it now and that repetition bothers me. It’s something that I can’t avoid and that is good for me but I reject it. Its boring, repetitive nature makes me want to quit doing everything, which is impossible. Makes me think that the creator of everything, God ( be it nature or theist), could’ve designed things differently. Most people don’t question this and, to be honest, I wish I didn’t. But I question everything, that’s the way it is.

I have to think that things were much harder a century ago. Designers, engineers and scientists help people us do things in an easier way and I’m very thankful for them. They make the world a better and less complicated place.

In my corner of the world, things are stable. At least, in my life. That comforts me but I always think that something terrible is about to happen. Something that will change our lives dramatically. I fear that wars are about to start but I try to stay positive. Enjoying the present moment is essential. It’s the best time there’s ever been and it can be even better if the people in power don’t ruin it. Like Freddie Mercury sang, “this could be heaven for everyone”.

Things need to be maintained, taken care of. We must feed our pets and clean up after them. Clean the house and ourselves. Read articles to be informed. Do our beds and fold clothes. I wish I saw this in a more natural light and not as something that I don’t like. Well, I like reading articles and a few other things that I do each day, the more creative, the better.

Writing can be an escape from reality. There’s no repetition (unless we want to add rythm). It’s important to sculpt each poem, each text as no one else has. A wide array of vocabulary enriches and adds value to what we write. No one wants to bore people. We want to use our creativity to add to people’s lives. Make people think outside the box and see things from a different perspective. Different points of view are so important. I just love to read things that provide me with a different perspective. I feel enlightened afterwards, like I can see further and better. The world is so complex that it needs different perspectives to be better understood. I don’t like superficial characterizations of subjects. They always lack vital information.

What do you think about repetition? Does it bother you or are you used to it?

Image by 1A-Photoshop, courtesy of Pixabay.

Stream of consciousness on writer’s block, depression and more

My posts here on WordPress are erratic. I either write furiously in one day, posting several times, or I don’t write anything for days.

I wonder why this is. Some days I feel compelled to post and, on other days, I don’t even log in.

It’s like I have spikes of motivation and inspiration. Sometimes I can write consistently for a few days in a row. Consistency is something I struggle with. It’s something pervasive in my life. It’s like I only do things when I feel like it.

I’ve been pushing myself to do more things, like cleaning and cooking. Some days, I can’t do almost anything. I think this is a sign of depression. Probably a sign that I’m getting better.

In the aftermath of my last psychotic episode, I have struggled with depression. Meds made feel numb and not really there. It takes time to adjust to them.

There have been many dark days, very unproductive days, when I felt useless. Stuck in an endless rut. Dormant and paranoid.

Weed didn’t help me at all. I only felt more numb and paranoid. I had no energy or will power. It was the only thing that made me go outside, the thing I thought about the most.

It’s very positive that I’m out of that cycle and, after five months, I can feel like I’m recovering.

If I cultivate discipline and consistency, it possible to acquire these skills. The brain is plastic and fluid. It’s only a matter of not doing only what I feel like doing. Getting used to to do mundane things and not just look for that dopamine spike that the internet, and other activities, give me.

I need to build on action to start doing more meaningful things such as projects and freelance work. Starting small is key and I have done it. Started by doing the dishes every night. Two days ago, I swept my entire house, mopped the kitchen floor and cooked lunch. Today, I cooked lunch, dinner, and did the dishes.

So, there’s been progress and it’s very gratifying to see that I’m moving forward.

Today is one of those days when optimism rules. I feel good and eager to do things.

I made myself write this post, even though it was not my intention to write. It’s important to write every day, even when we don’t feel like it. It’s crucial for evolving as a writer.

I see writer’s block as, not only not knowing what to write but also, not feeling like writing. If we try, there’s always the possibility of writing a post, doing a stream of consciousness, forcing yourself to write a poem.

If it’s not very inspired or beautiful, it’s alright. It can be a practice post, preparing us for better ones.

I want to have another blog, one where I don’t discuss my mental health condition. A blog that I can show everyone, even future employers, as proof that I am fluent in English.

I almost bare all in this blog. Never shared it on Facebook, just through messenger to some trustworthy people.

Being open about it to everyone takes a kind of courage that I don’t possess at the moment. The freedom of coming clean comes with great responsibility. I know how people can see me in a bad light for struggling with mental health. They can see me as being weak-minded and fragile.

The need to do meaningful things, in order to be accepted by society, is something that I long for. Doing it before I start doing mental health activism, seems like the best way to gain credibility.

Building a reputation of being active and productive is necessary for me to feel adequate in this society. It’s that pervasive shame that I feel since I was a child.

I’m sure that therapy will help me overcome it. Feeling like I’m achieving things will also help.

I hope you are all well and that you have a wonderful day.

Are you consistent and productive in your life? How do you deal with writer’s block?

Image by FrankWrinkler, courtesy of Pixabay.

Feels bad

It’s been hard. There’s this sadness hovering over me. I’m somewhat more aware of his passing but still shocked. Can’t help that I feel responsible for his death. They say it’s a normal feeling. I remember him every hour of every day. He was such a good friend. Very loyal and caring.

Life is fragile and impermanent. Appreciate your friends and let them know that you care, you never know when they are going to go.

This got me thinking about mortality. I wonder where he is. He didn’t believe in an after life. I don’t know what I believe. No one came back to tell us. I wonder if we go to a sea of nothingness. Just nothing forever. I wonder if we wake up somewhere. I’m afraid to think that the after life is going to be bad. It could be worse than life. What if we wake up in a dystopia? I really hope not. Maybe we wake up in a beautiful place, we have to wait and see. Even though I consider that hypothesis of the after life being worse than this life, I don’t think we should be afraid of it. It’s a natural occurrence and it’s a new adventure. Just don’t do it early. I know many of you have or had suicidal ideation. Hang in there, it gets better. I know this is a cliché but I can’t help but say it. Life is precious and suicide is so hard on the people that we leave behind.

His father told my mom “He isn’t the only one that died. We are dead, too”. This is so heartbreaking. I can’t imagine how they are feeling. Your offspring, the light of your life, just vanished. You had to bury him. It should be the other way around. No parent wants to bury a son. It’s just not natural.

This also had me thinking about my parents’ death. How heartbreaking it will be. Will I survive? I don’t know. Some people die of heartbreak. I’m so connected to them. In an alternate universe, maybe all the people that love each other die at the same time. How wonderful that would be. I hope I can overcome that situation and keep living a good life. Maybe I will be stronger then. I hope so. If we don’t fade into a sea of nothingness, I want them to see that I’m okay. I want to lead a good life for them, since sometimes I can’t see a purpose for myself. They are my strength, my heart, my everything.

The thing about this is that you start questioning everything and get in this really uncomfortable headspace. I want to overcome this. He wouldn’t like to see that I’m suffering. I have to honor him.

Me and him were kindred spirits. We couldn’t adapt to this world. I tried to commit suicide three times. I know how it feels to be so desperate that death seems to be the only way out. I don’t wish it upon my worst enemy. If it wasn’t for my medication, I wouldn’t be here. It has given me my life back. I never thought it would be possible to live my life in peace again but here I am and I cherish it.

My therapist has been helping me a lot. She is a very important part of my support system. It really helps to vent with an impartial person. To have someone you can tell absolutely everything and that doesn’t judge you. I recommend it to everyone. Medication is not enough, we need to talk things through with someone that is trained to help. Someone that we can bond with and create a healthy relationship. That is crucial for our recovery and I know we will recover. I firmly believe in that. We can do it.

Picture by MichaelGaida, courtesy of Pixabay.

An update on my situation

First and foremost, I’m still sober and doing better. I don’t think about as much and I’m still dealing with cravings in a positive way. Whenever the thought arises, I let it go and don’t let it evolve into a relapse. It has been working so far and I’m grateful for that.

Yesterday, I had a lovely evening with my boyfriend. We took a walk and sat at a café. The night wasn’t cold, it was rather pleasant. A very good night to be outside, to escape the heat of the afternoon. I could definitely use the vitamin D that the sun provides but I woke up too late.

We talked about many things and he shared me the issues he has been having with his job. Sometimes, he doesn’t tell me things that happen there because he doesn’t want to worry me. I said that it’s fine and that I am strong enough to help him deal with whatever comes up. I mean it, we’re in this (life) together. I want him to vent. Tell me about his most annoying customers. Tell me when the boss nags him, know every little detail about his daily life. He carries to many things on his shoulders and we could share the weight. It brings us together after 4 years of dating. It makes me feel a bit more useful. He is too important for me to let him suffer alone. I know how much venting works but he is so stoic. Too stoic, if you ask me but it’s, nevertheless, a good quality and I love that in him.

I have been doing the dishes every night since last week. It’s a small step for someone but a giant step for me. I want to help more at home and not be such a burden. My mother deserves it, she is such a brilliant parent. I want to make her happy. I also want to do more for myself and my life. My parents suffer with my lifestyle because it’s not good for me, in the long run. I don’t want them to suffer because of me, not one bit. They deserve more peace in their minds and I deserve a better life. I know I am capable of achieving my goals.

I started a course,a few months ago, on Coursera called Budhism and Psychology. It is helping me understand the nature of emotions. I highly recommend it for someone who is struggling. We often get caught up in our emotions but they are illusions. They had a purpose when we were hunter-gatherers and our society and world is nowhere near what it was at that period of time. For example, craving sweets served a purpose in the stone age. It meant eating fruit and provided us with much needed vitamins. We still have those cravings but many of us turn to processed sweets, which can contribute to obesity and other conditions. Budhism is very interesting. I enjoy secular Budhism, as I don’t care much for its folklore and myths. It’s the westernized form of Budhism and the science behind it that is so powerful to learn. I’m not saying I’m going to convert to this religion, as I am an agnostic-atheist. I am and probably will be always looking for answers and new points of view. That’s one of my purposes in life.

I have also begun meditating every night, which was one of my short-term goals. I’ve been using Insight Timer, an app that I have already reviewed and I’m going to start using a new app for learning how to meditate. I will review it, as soon as I’m familiar with it.

I hope you enjoyed reading my updates and I wish you a good day.

Image by sasint, courtesy of Pixabay.

2 months of sobriety

I have been away from WordPress, as you might have noticed. I’ve been struggling with motivation.

The only good news I have is that I am still sober. It has been two months since I stopped smoking. I am proud of myself and confident about recovery. I didn’t think I could do this by myself but I accomplished it.

Other than that, I am stuck in the void. I haven’t been outside in almost two weeks. Depression has hit me hard. Seeing my therapist is difficult because I have to go outside. I need to talk to my psychiatrist as soon as possible, this is hard to deal. Feeling hopeless and impaired. Feeling like a burden to everyone. Feeling like a failure. This is my mental rut. Drinking too much coffee and smoking too many cigarettes. I feel like I can get a serious illness soon. Scared, so scared. Drowning in social media. Wasting time. Unable to learn anything new that could help me feel useful and productive. Staying up until the sunrise. Trying to cope but digging a deeper hole. Feeling inconsistent and unable to keep up with normal activities for a 34 year old. I’m numb.

This is all I can say for now, as I don’t want to bore you with this silly self-pity galore. I love you all

Image by JohnsonMartin, courtesy of Pixabay.