Home on the Range · Mental Health

Caught off guard

“Instead, it’s pooling like groundwater. Polling underneath my skin, seeping to the surface here and there, now and then. Endlessly replenished. Easy to forget about, until it startles me with the depth of it. The usual suspects- cancer movies, weddings. And then there are times it catches me completely off guard,…”

Bethanny Chase, “The One That Got Away”

I read this passage last night and it had been knocking about in my head all day, just tapping away for me to spit out some thoughts and feelings. Believe me the feelings are THERE.. they run under the skin constantly as Chase describes in her book. So many writers are so good at describing what I struggle to put into words.

GRIEF

At first you can barely breathe, ever. Time passes and the feelings are always present but maybe they don’t show themselves on the outside as often. But for me, a little over 4 years later, while I think of my Mom daily, I don’t always find myself heaped in a puddle on the floor. There are the triggers as Chase mentions.. Yes, cancer movies. Yes, Mother’s Day commercials. Yes, milestones having to do with my daughter and all the things my Mom will miss about her only grandchild and namesake growing up.

It’s always there.. and then there are the days like today where I’m just caught off guard. Likely the book passage pushed me over the edge..but yesterday I was brought to tears by my daughter relating a story from her Spanish teacher assigning the simple homework assignment of “going home and hugging your parents”. Why? Her husband has cancer, and she is grateful that it is not spreading. She is grateful she still has him. I’d be grateful too and you can bet Hannah got an A on that assignment.

My advice to those going through the stages of grief has always been to allow themselves to FEEL the feelings. Go through the steps and remember that some day it really does get better. It DOES, I promise. But then there are days, like today, when you are just caught off guard, and thats ok too.

Mental Health

5 TIPS TO KEEP ON KEEPING ON WHEN YOU’RE FEELING DOWN

This is a post I originally wrote back in 2017 on my old blog. I know its not quite fall yet, but it was when this was originally posted.. I’m finding myself feeling pretty similar so I thought it’d be appropriate to share again.

Although autumn is my favorite season of the year for many reasons, I find that I am often caught in the middle of loving the season with its color, scents and beautiful golden light but I have difficulty emotionally due to the time change, holiday stress and other factors. This leads to an increase in my anxiety and depression and with that comes a lot of self doubt. It becomes so easy to take little speed bumps and make huge, man eating pot holes out of them; to turn everything into a sign that you should just throw in the towel… BUT ITS NOT!!

At these moments of anxiety and self doubt, it is so important to make a conscious effort to readjust your attitude and your direction. Here are 5 ways to “reset” your thinking and get back on track.

1. GET OUT! Stop what you are doing and change scenery. Take a walk, take your dog for a walk, go shopping, go for a drive. Even if you can’t physically GO somewhere different you can still go outside the house and look at the flowers, sky, leaves, animals, art, etc. SEE what is around you.

2. SELF CARE!! You have to take care of yourself FIRST, before anybody else because if YOU aren’t happy, no one around you will be happy either. Pamper yourself with a mini spa day, take time to read a book, make art just of for fun, journal, go some place fun or just take time to BE.

3. LEAN ON A FRIEND. I find when I am at my lowest I am in a cycle where I haven’t been out and around PEOPLE. Dropping off and picking up my daughter at school, doesn’t count. Get out and connect with friends.. take a workshop, have a coffee date, go to a museum, or at the very least pick up the phone and TALK to someone. I don’t think texting or emailing count as actual contact, phone or Skype is close but its best if you can get out amongst your peers and friends.

4. THINK POSITIVE. This is a doozy for me. I go a long fine for awhile and then the little voices in my head start talking. (not really) The self doubt appears.. I am a champ at comparing myself to others and telling myself I am not good enough to be successful. What is up with that?? STOP!! Take a few minutes and get out your journal or a piece of paper, and start writing down all the GOOD things about you and your successes. Remind yourself that you are enough!!

5. THIS TOO SHALL PASS. Remind yourself that feeling down or unworthy is temporary. Yes, depression and anxiety are lying bastards.. they tell you the wrong things; but find a way to remind yourself that these feelings will not last forever. I keep inspirational files on my computer of artwork and quotes that help me remember that brighter days are ahead.

I know from experience that dealing with anxiety, depression and self doubt can be hard but if you stop and take action you can often nip it in the bud. What are your tips to keep a bright outlook?