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The Friend That Doesn’t Go Away: Dealing With Depression

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For years I fought it, I tried so hard, yet I had lost numerous times, more than I count actually. But then, I began to become friends with it, became friends with her. Well, we are more than an acquaintance but less than friends, so we are somewhere in the middle when it comes to our unhealthy relationship. Who is this friend, you ask, her name is Depression.

Depression has been with me since I can remember, she was first introduced to my mind at the age of 10 years old when I was constantly being bullied by classmates and feeling like a tiny little microorganism under a microscope that didn’t matter to the rest of the world. She was basically my monster, at least at that time she was a monster to me.

As I got older, she stuck around and somehow maneuvered herself into the position as an acquaintance. And we began a turmoil of a relationship that I would never want to put on my worst enemy (don’t have any enemies, but you see my point) through the gut-wrenching relationship I had gone through with my depression. And at times it was extremely bad that I found myself on the other end of things, and it was not pretty. I can honestly that I feel sorry for my mom, for my therapist, and for the friends who witnessed the scars and the aftermath of the crap I had done; but I am truly grateful that they were there for everything that I was enduring.

Although most of my life, depression was that monster that hid in my mind and tied me to my bed most mornings, made me scared and anxious to go to school the next day, or to even speak to another person; somehow, I had managed to become friends with the monster in my head. And to be honest, it was a scary thing to commit to, but I knew that I wanted to be friends with her instead of having her as an enemy. Trust me it was the right thing to do.

Coming to the conclusion of being friends with depression, it is still a rather awkward situation. Why? Because she is not like most people’s depression. She doesn’t come in episodes, she is actually there every day, every moment of every day. Some days she is heightened, other days she just chills out in the back of my mind making paper mache masks for some masquerade ball that she will never attend due to my social anxiety keeping her company. Nevertheless, she is there. And as I write this post, she is more heightened this time, and all I can think of doing is just lay in bed with Sherlock on Netflix, drowning out my horrid thoughts until she decides to calm down once more.  And that is perfectly fine because I know that my depression is trying to cope with certain things, trying to compartmentalize every aspect of my mind and the scene around me.

Having a friend like depression there with me every day of my life is something that I feel like would never have happened if I hadn’t gotten the help I needed with a therapist and having the support from family and friends, but I am glad to have my friend, depression, there with me, because she has brought so many creative poems, stories, and songs, even if she didn’t mean to bring any harm.

**If you are dealing with depression, or know anyone who is dealing with depression, please see a therapist, or call the national suicide hotline: 1.800.273.8255

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The Safe Haven: Where Social Anxiety Cannot Reach Us

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Away from the civilized society, away from the sounds of the bustling city streets, and cars honking continuously, away from the mass crowds of human souls; this is where those like us with anxiety retreat. We retreat into our own habitat, into our homes, locked away, or out into nature where no one can reach us, and where all of our anxieties have disappeared for the time being. It is something that we have been known to do.

It is hard to determine what actually causes anxiety because for each person it is different. It can be caused by traumatic childhood memories, or it could be just a part of their personality. Mine is more along the lines of being part of my personality, and also part of what I had gone through while growing up in a town that looked down on me. And to this day, my anxiety can get pretty rough, but there are days where I can handle it very well, then there are days where I cannot handle it.

For those who do not live with social anxiety (which is what I have), here is an example of a situation in my everyday life: I am at a function (book reading, work, or even a get-together with co-workers, etc.) and on the outside, I seem happy and cheery, however, my voice slightly shakes just as my hands, and my mind is racing a thousand miles an hour, trying to look for an exit. Sometimes those around me, who know about this, will check on me and will say something to calm my anxiety or just make me laugh. And I am grateful for when they do that. However, there are times where I cannot handle it and there are times where even someone with good intentions will be unable to calm me down. Another example: At work, the phones are constantly ringing, and I talk to a lot of people throughout the day. While on the outside I seem okay, and somewhat normal, on the inside my heart is racing, and the thought of answering the phone makes my chest tighten.

On the days where I or anyone else out there that also lives with anxiety gets to the point of being unable to handle our anxiety, we retreat. In the first paragraph, I had described that we retreat to our homes or into nature, and that is very much true. Like everything else in life, everyone is different, and how and where we retreat will be completely different. One person will retreat into nature and just go camping for a few days, another will just stay inside on a weekend and not talk to anyone.

I have done both of these, however, for the most part, I end up staying at home, where I can stay in bed or chill out in a different part of the house with a puzzle, a book, movie, or music. I will wear my pajamas, dance like a fool, or just focus on a puzzle for hours, enjoying the silence, enjoying the fact that my anxiety has been put to sleep, at least until I venture outside and be surrounded by a lot of people. Throughout the years I have learned to manage my anxiety, and sometimes it does get the best of me, however, I have learned to embrace the chaotic part of my mind that makes me want to turn on my heels and run for the hills, thus making my life with social anxiety somewhat easier.

Do you have social anxiety? Do you have a different type of anxiety? If so, how do you cope with it? How do you retreat?

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It Starts With Us: Parents Talking to Their Children to Stop Bullying

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“You’re not thin enough”, “You look weird”, “Why are you even here? You should die”, these phrases are just a few of the phrases that are being thrown around in the schoolyards, in the classrooms, and I kid you not, at work as well. And believe it or not, there are even some worse phrases that will not be mentioned in this post. Why? Because they are horrifying and should never be said to another human being, or any being for that matter.

Now, I am not a parent, well, I am a fur-mama, but I do not have any human children at the moment. However, I do have nieces and nephews, and they are the light of my world, and right now they are very young, very impressionable, and can sense when things are not right. And I know that they are the perfect target for bullying. Hell, every child, teenager, and adult is a perfect target for being bullied. I know this. I’ve lived through most of my life of being bullied. Bullied by classmates, by teachers (yes, that does happen), and even bullied by co-workers, and it is not something I would want another person to endure.

Recently, I found out that a friend of mine’s son was bullied. Bullied to the point that he was sent to the hospital with a broken nose, several broken ribs, and bruises all up and down his body. Do you know how angry this made his father feel? How his mother felt? Hell, when I heard what happened I got so mad to the point that I nearly broke a counter. Yes, I got that mad. But where does this anger get placed? On the school system? Absolutely, the school is responsible for the children while they are at school, and under their supervision. On the children themselves? Of course, they are supposed to know what is right from wrong. On ourselves? Yes, a million times yes it is, the anger should weigh heavily on us adults. Why should we be angry with ourselves? Because we are the adults here, we are supposed to show our children how to behave, how to treat one another and to show them that they are not supposed to bully and assault others. As the adults we are supposed to set an example for them, to show them that two beings can be in the same room without violating the other. We are not supposed to set a bad example to them about how to start a fight, how to mistreat a girl or a boy. We are the adults here, it is our job.

Yes, there are pep rallies every year in most schools that bring awareness to the subject at hand, but do they really make an impact? No, not really. Growing up I went to several of those rallies, and do you know what still occurred. The bullying still occurred. Don’t get me wrong, I think the rallies are great, but they do not actually do much help when it comes to telling children to stop bullying, to stop assaulting their classmates, or anyone they meet in life.

It all starts at home, with the parents. As parents, we are supposed to set examples, good examples of how to treat others, and it is the way you mistreat others, say unkind and horrible things about another person is what the children are seeing more of. I know this to be true. I know a lady who is in her early 40’s and she treats others like crap, she mistreats them, bullies them, steals their energy, and makes others feel like garbage. And time and time again her children have witnessed this, and time and time again I have to remind her that they are watching her every move, every word that she says, and they are more than likely going to mimic her as they grow up. And that is what happens. Children mimic their parents, they mimic the way we talk to each other, how we treat each other. And if they are seeing that we are mistreating each other, then they are going to assume that it is completely normal, that it is okay to bully and assault each other.

So, parents this on us. We need to be setting a good example for the children, and show them how two human beings can get along, and show them how to treat others. Have a long conversation, or two, or three. It doesn’t matter how many conversations you have with your children, the only thing that does matter is that you talk with them and that you set yourself as a good example. Because if we don’t do anything about this, then more and more boys and girls will end up in hospitals due to broken ribs, led to anorexia or bulimia, or even led to the final blow of a gun from being bullied.

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Healing From the Core: Elemental Energy

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When one heals from the very center of their being, the core, their whole body, mind, soul, and heart heals as well. The very core of a person’s body is deep inside, it is not the stomach nor the pancreas, it is something bigger than their soul. It is their energy, it is where a person gets their energy from. That energy is linked to every part of their body, including their personality, a great example for this would be: when you see a friend or relative of yours who you consider down-to-earth, they get their energy from the earth below their feet. Or someone who is like a cloud moves about, sometimes there or they have taken off to unknown places, they are connected to the air that is around them, that is where they get their energy, by standing on top of a mountain or hill, letting the wind gently brush up against them, giving them their energy to thrive for a period of time.

Returning to your element, to heal yourself is vital, because you would not be able to focus on the tasks at hand, nor would you feel healthy and safe. And there are many ways you can get your energy back whether you be outdoors or indoors.

Fire

For those who resonate with the fire, those who are normally hot-headed, fiery, passionate, and just have an all-over connection with the element, you can warm up your house with the fireplace on, or you can participate in hot yoga (not only will it get you moving, you will be able to connect with the heat as you practice). At work, add some photos of warmth, such as your memories of bomb fires; or if you are allowed in your workspace, light a candle.

Water

When it comes to the water element be near a body of water, such as a river, lake, or ocean. Being near the water will help you rejuvenate and bring your energy levels back up. Submersing yourself in a body of water will help you out, even more, go for a swim, and just let the smooth water wash over every inch of you and just let it fill you with delight and peace, when you let that happen you will become healthier once more. At work, you can add a little buddha fountain or whatever your preference in the statue is, that has the trickling of water into the numerous rocks, or you can add water meditation music as you work throughout the day.

Earth

Mother earth, she truly is a beautiful piece of artwork, isn’t she? When it comes to the earth element, it is easier to find your energy more outdoors than indoors, but that doesn’t mean that it will be impossible to incorporate the earthy element into your office or home. Add plants or flowers, add little bamboo pieces around to make you feel grounded and in your natural habitat. When you add these little pieces whether at work or at home, your energy draws from the plants and bamboo, revitalizing and becoming healthier.

Air

When it comes to the air element it is a little bit harder to place objects around your office or home to draw in that energy you are needing. However, it is not impossible. Adding meditation music such as birds chirping, wind chimes playing, or even lighting an incense candle will bring the element of air into your office space if you are unable to open a window (city buildings don’t have a lot of windows that are able to be opened). At home you can also do the same thing, or you can even just open up your window, and let the breeze fly into the house, filling everything with positive energy, bringing your core into a healthier state.

Digging into our core, we will be able to heal once again and be able to boost up our energy levels so that we may thrive and be ready for whatever the Universe throws our way.

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Reconnecting With Yourself

There are times where we need to unplug from our electronic devices, get away from the internet, and the social media wars that seem to plague everyone across the world. The reason for this is to reconnect with ourselves, continue our own growth, and get back to the core of our own being. That is what I have been doing for the past two months, I had rarely made any posts on here, or on any of my social media accounts, because I wanted and needed to reconnect with myself and see where I was going, to see if I was growing in any sense of the word (except for height, because I am always going to be short).

Stepping away from the internet helped me, because I was able to focus more on my poetry, on myself and heal. Knowing that I was starting to become a slave to my electronic devices, I set them aside, and started to focus on myself and see what it was that I needed to do in order to grow more spiritually, personally, and career wise. Plus, I needed to focus on my health. During the two months of not only posting anything, I also ended up not really speaking to many people that I know, this is also due to a fact that I needed a break from socializing, because I was being drained. Drained of my energy, and drained of any thoughts that I harbor. And it was slowly making me depressed and unable to focus on a lot of things.

After spending time by myself, meditating, healing, and just focus on my own well being for a change, it made me happier, and made notice that we all need to make time for ourselves more than just an allotted time each day. And so now, after taking those two months, I figured out how each person, child, woman, or man can create more time to just reconnect with themselves even if they are on a tight schedule and cannot devote an entire month to themselves.

Each morning when you are getting up, or helping your children get ready for school, create a drink  to your liking for each season (hot chocolate or coffee for fall or winter, smoothies or iced tea for spring or summer), to go along with your breakfast. Sit together, you don’t have to speak to each other necessarily, but sit at the same table, and enjoy  the silence or put on some light music, while you prepare yourself for the day ahead. For lunch time, sit by yourself and enjoy your lunch while you read a book, listen to your iPod, or sit with your friends or colleagues and just enjoy a light conversation that doesn’t cause such a big stir (ahem, politics). When it comes to dinner, socialize with your family, talk about your day, enjoy your dinner. But after dinner, make that time for you, and you alone. Put on some music, write in your journal, meditate; just shut out social media for that time period. On your days off, go out into nature, embrace the beauty, the energy that she provides us, and take it all in. Because while you are walking through the hills, forests, mountains, or near by the ocean, your body is healing, your soul is healing. And that is what you are needing.

A lot of people don’t realize that they are needing some time by themselves, so that they can heal, can reconnect with themselves. And that is the problem with social media and the internet, it takes away that time, and instead uses its vortex of search engines and websites to drag you in further, keeping you away from what your body is needing, and what your soul is needing. Always make time for yourself to heal, to reconnect, because if you don’t then you won’t be able to help others. You need to help yourself first before you can help others.

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Seeking Answers in Mother Nature

For the past month, I haven’t really written a lot of posts for this site, nor have I really posted anything on my social media accounts, due to the fact that I have been in the process adjusting to my new job, new town, and new state. On top of that, I needed the time to take care of myself, to focus on my health and mentality, and to dive into my art and dreams. 

We’ve all been there, a new place where things seem foreign, a place of isolation even if we know a few people there, a time where we feel a little bit lost and are looking for the right path for us to take, hoping that we can find some sort of guidance to help us out. That’s where I’ve been for the past month. Don’t get me wrong, I love Alaska, it’s truly magnificent and outrageously beautiful. But there has been a few moments of, “is this truly where I’m supposed to be right now?” And so this past month, I had been going out into nature, talking to Mother Earth and seeking answers to my questions, and she answered. 

Being linked to Mother Earth, Father Sky, and my ancestors that roamed around the forests, hills, and mountains, it keeps me grounded, and gives me the ability to receive answers in my dreams. Sometimes they don’t make sense when I’m having the dream, but once they become reality, then I completely understand what they were trying to tell me. And that was what I was dealing with, I had received the answers that I was looking for. 

Not only that, I have been focus on my health and well being, by eating a little differently, going out into nature more since I live just half a mile from a trail that leads up into the mountains. There I can breathe, just stand in silence, and just be happy and healthy once more. 

Sometimes, we just need to step away from our electronic devices, social media accounts, and websites to heal ourselves before we can communicate with others and help others.

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A True Beauty (Poem)

He had a certain type of beauty to him,
Not the hollywood glitz and glamour,
But a beauty that came through years of torment that resided inside.
Roughed up,
Spit out,
Thrown out on the sidewalks,
With women and men walking by,
Without giving him a shot.
This society we live in is corrupt,
It tells women to be brainless,
Tells men to achieve a hollywood staus.
Who are we kidding,
No amount of twilight sparkle will ever catch my eye.
Give me a man that will speak his mind,
Express raw emotion,
And for God’s sake,
Make sure he doesn’t follow society’s stupid pride.
Photo Model: Henry Rollins