Tag Archives: depression

You Are In Control

I keep this written on a couple of post it notes next to my makeup so I see it whenever I get ready for a long day.

We tell ourselves that life will be great when we can buy a more luxurious car, get a better job, buy nicer clothes, or whatever.

The truth is that there’s no better time to be happy than right now.

Your life will always be full of challenges. It is better to admit as much and decide to be happy in spite of it all.

I talk to SO many people who make the excuse of, “life will be great when…” Including myself! Until I started writing this blog, I didn’t realize that every single one of my days holds something awesome just waiting to be recognized. So you better recognize!

Please, everyone that read this post, comment what your happiness is/will be today!

And have a happy Monday 🙂

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Thankful Tuesday: The Ability to Recognize Trouble

For some reason, over the last few days, I’ve been on the brink of breaking down. I realize that the title of my blog is “Happy Lass” but part of my ability to be a generally happy person is allowing myself to have bad days and then sitting down and figure out what’s causing them. Sunday and Monday were bad days.

I have had no routine lately. Meaning that everything I do must be self-motivated. Everything including work, working out, eating healthy, and even waking up in the morning. That is SO hard! I’m really motivated but who wants to wake up at 6:30 am when they can wake up at 9am?? No one. So I solved that problem by going into work yesterday and figuring out a work routine. It’s going to take a few days but I’m excited about starting the process.

Next, I have no friends in Peoria. This may seem melodramatic, and I guess I have some work friends and some friends through Mike, but I don’t have anyone I can just call to get a coffee. I have a few amazing girlfriends but they’re spread all over the world (Colorado, California, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and China) and I need someone here! Someone to talk to about girl stuff. I find it hard to make female friends because of their tendency to be over dramatic, catty, and much too into their appearance. But it’s time to start the search. My hope is that now that I’m out of high school, it won’t be so hard to find someone calm, sensible, and fun!

So today I’m thankful for my ability to recognize when I have a mental issue and to set about fixing it. I didn’t overcome anxiety and depression just to lapse back into it. I’m happy for the long run baby! And I’ll do whatever it takes to stay that way. Even if it takes some bad days to snap me back into place.

Thanks for reading ya’ll. Have happy days and don’t forget to smile! They’re contagious.

Happy Monday!

This morning I made a mistake at work. I don’t work Mondays so it involved me forgetting to tell them something about our Monday morning patients. I hate thinking that I made a mistake that let people down and made their day just a little bit harder. But then I have to think like this:

“Flops are part of life’s menu. Everyone makes mistakes. High achievers learn by their mistakes. An error becomes the raw material out of which future successes are forged. Failure is not a crime. Failure to learn from failure is.

Yep, agreed. I have now forgiven myself and am moving on to workout with a clear head. And if that quote didn’t help, check this out.

Happy Monday! Smiling on Mondays is especially important, they’re contagious.

Thankful Tuesday

I decided that in order to have some direction to this little blog of mine, I will have a different theme to write about every day of the week. Since Tuesday are the beginning of my week (I work Tuesday-Saturday), I’ll be posting things I’m grateful for. I was inspired by a fellow blogger I have some serious respect for. You can see one of her blog posts here.

So today, what am I thankful for? Hmm…

I am thankful for Mike, my boyfriend. It may sound corny but I don’t care. He left the house this morning and I now find myself longing for him. Yesterday he helped with chores while I did work for job #2. Then he was amazingly tolerant when he took me to pick up my car from the mechanic 40 minutes away. And we had a great night of yummy food and trashy TV. Just being around him makes me automatically happier. So yeah, I’m thankful for Mike 🙂

^ That’s us at Green Lake, ME

What are you all thankful for?

Postcard Sized Mood Buoy

It’s a little bit gray out here in Peoria, IL. Lots of rain and cloud cover. Needless to say, I love it!! I love the rain. Growing up in Southern California means that I still regard it as special and fun. My favorite thing to do is put on some rain boots and go jump in puddles. I’m not joking. Sometimes the most childlike activities can be amazing therapy.

Anyway, if you’re not like me (ie. sane) then the weather (or the various thrills on life’s rollercoaster) probably get you down sometimes. So here’s a tip:

When you have a birthday or graduation or promotion or whatever, you inevitably get cards from your loved ones. Sometimes they are the generic, but still lovely, “Congratulations, we love you!” cards; but sometimes, they’re the kind that the writer really thought about. They tailored it just for you and when you read them, you get all fuzzy inside. I find that a lot of times, I’m so busy celebrating that I don’t get to sit down and digest these kinds of cards. So I cut out the part of the card with the happy words and I post it up in my apartment. Stick it to the fridge, put it in the front of your notebook, take a picture of it and set it as your phone’s background! Just be sure to put it somewhere that you will notice it when you really need to.

Let these cards be a reminder of how loved you are, even if people don’t show it all the time.

^ This is a graduation card from a family friend. “You have a great combo of beauty, brains, determination, and kindness”?? Heck yes I do and thanks for reminding me!

^My mom put this sticky note in a big hunk of bill and loan mail that she forwarded me from my house in San Diego. That was about 2 years ago. I stuck it to my bedside table so I see it every night before bed 🙂

Also, seeing these daily reminds me to tell people how much I love them, often and with enthusiasm. Hope you’re all having wonderful Sundays!

Anxiety to Depression and Back to Life

Confession: I have terrible anxiety. Most of my loved ones know this about me but many others do not. I have never felt the need to tell strangers, until now. Maybe it will help more people learn to deal with it as I did.

Misconceptions: Most people equate anxiety to a singular, fleeting feeling, like being nervous. That is one definition of anxiety but it’s definitely not the only one. People can range from mild to severely anxious but it’s my personal belief that a large percentage of the population have very bad anxiety and haven’t yet recognized it.

My Case: I have always been a very detail-oriented, conscientious, and organized person. I am always looking to the next step so that I can be prepared for whatever life throws at me (I’m one of those people who carries an entire survival kit in my purse). However, when I started college, things escalated. I found that my brain would never turn off. There was no point in my day when I could just sit down and think, “Hm, that was a great day, now I’m going to sit down and relax.” My brain never stopped so neither would I. It’s hard to explain to people without this condition but it was like a movie reel that just kept spinning and spinning even though there was no film left. Even after my endless to-do lists had finally been accomplished my psyche would make up new things to think about. It was awful.

By the time I was 20, I was plagued by such overwhelming anxiety that all I could do was cry. A lot. My frustration just turned into sadness at the thought that I would never, ever be able to relax. I dove into a deep depression that stopped me from enjoying my life. It must be said that I am one of the most selfless people you’ll ever meet (obviously I’m not quite as humble, haha). I would never take my own life because of the pain it would cause my family and friends, but it was during this few months that I understood people who try to commit suicide.

Thankfully, I have an incredible support system. My family was available to talk over the phone anytime and I had an amazing boyfriend who would have done anything to see me smile. (I think every one has support like this, they just have to accept it.) The problem was that not one of my supporters truly understood what I was going through. After a couple of months, I knew I had to figure this one out for myself.

My Solution: Therapy. < my mom correctly pointed out that therapy was only one small part of the solution. Actually, it was a combination of self analysis, exercise, forgiveness, and therapy. The problem was that I’m from San Diego and only had emergency health insurance in Boston where I lived. So I did some research and found a group of doctors that provided help for only a much as I could pay. I scheduled my first appointment with Dr. Linda Puretz and the healing process began. I was still really busy with school and work so I only saw Dr. Linda once every two weeks but just that little bit started the ball rolling.

For about 1/8 of her normal hourly rate (that was all I could afford), she helped me practice coping mechanisms like muscle relaxation and meditation. But that was just a fraction of what I had to do for myself. I began exercising on a more regular basis but instead of focusing on weight loss I did it for mental health. I would use those workouts to clear my head of everything but technique and breathing. I also found yoga videos for really cheap online and started doing yoga and guided meditation whenever I was feeling overwhelmed. But most of all, I started to forgive myself. I started to realize that being productive wasn’t everything in life and that sometimes, the best moments and opportunities result from relaxed downtime. I just stopped putting so much pressure on myself. Pressure to be smarter, faster, skinnier, funnier, and more appealing to everyone else. I started to try to be HEALTHY. In mind and body.

Step Two: Although I had finally broken the loop, anxiety still floated around in my head like a free agent, looking for something to destruct. When I started grad school, it struck again. The combination of financial worries and intense academic obligations sprung up all those precursors to depression. Because of my self-analysis years before, I recognized the warning signs and took action immediately, before things could get worse. My mom had recently also been through some weird mental stuff and tried a new method, hormone medicine, or bioidenticals.

I still had three months before I got home to see our doctor so I started taking some depression medication. It definitely pacified my erratic thoughts but dulled my personality and zest for life. I was so excited to get the hormone testing when I got home in December.

December break finally arrived and I got my blood tested for my hormone levels. It turns out that I had almost no estrogen or progesterone in my system. Both things contribute to lack of relaxation and lower energy levels. Dr. Kelly Austin at California Natural Health in San Diego analyzed my hormone levels and prescribed me a couple of creams which I now apply, twice daily, to my arm and leg skin. Within 30 days, my anxiety had become manageable again. YAY!! I am still on the hormones one year later and consult with Dr. Austin every three months to make sure my anxiety and energy levels are on track, along with a host of other things that are affected by hormones. Also, it should be mentioned that hormone imbalance can affect any person of any age or sex. It can be pretty expensive to get tested but I know there are payment plans and it is seriously worth it. Just your nearest health center and ask some questions!

Finally: Its been three years since I pulled myself out of depression and one year since I started hormone treatment. Unfortunately, depression and anxiety are similar to addiction and it never actually goes away. I have learned to recognize the warning signs and to reign myself in when my thoughts get out of control. I still exercise regularly and practice some preventative yoga so that my brain never forgets how to relax. I learned an incredible amount from that period in my life but what I want to shout to the world is this: Every life has the potential to be wonderful, no matter your finances, family, or genetics; but every sad person has to find the strength to break their vicious cycle before they can improve their lives.

Something Fun: On a totally different note, I am on vacation with my family in Santa Cruz right now and I got to visit one of my best friends, Katie! We raced bikes together in college and now she works at Specialized (the biggest bike company in the US) in San Jose. We got to tour the office and everything! I am so insanely jealous of her work place.

20120816-145026.jpg^ yep, it’s a building INSIDE a building. With a fire hydrant and a car and everything!

ps. If anyone else can relate to this post, please have the courage to comment. Put yourself out there so you can help others.