Anxiety · Bipolar Disorder · Depression · Mental Health

Understanding Bipolar Disorder

Understanding Bipolar Disorder

I was really triggered this week by the news of Kanye West publicly going on “rants” and saying a lot of things that seemed “out there” to people. I noticed a lot of hate against him and a lot of memes making fun of him. Kanye was diagnosed with bipolar disorder about four years ago and publicly had a manic disorder which is symptom of bipolar. I am not excusing hurtful words he said or words that anyone says during a mania episode, but it is important we understand the mental illness aspect. A lot of people struggle with bipolar and some people are misdiagnosed and some know they are bipolar but are to embarrassed to share that they have it or struggle to believe that they do. To be honest, I have called Kanye crazy and have been like what is going on with this guy!? It is human nature to judge when we don’t understand the full gravity of the situation or what is truly going on with an individual. He is a celebrity and so it is easy for the media and people to tear him and his family apart. This is why empathy is so important to have and I have to even remind myself this as well.

The thing is, why did this recently trigger me? I have had an unbelievably emotional past couple months. Well let’s be real the past ten years. My mom was diagnosed with Bipolar a few weeks ago and so this hit extra hard. I have dealt with her for all my life but in the last ten years it has been very difficult to have a relationship with her. It has been difficult for her to want to live because of her intense mood swings. My mom used to go to a Psychiatrist back in Iowa who was pumping her with prescriptions but not finding the real problem. She has always been very depressed, anxious, excited, mood swings, sleeps for days, manic episodes, delusions, obsessions, rants, conspiracy theories, etc. A few weeks ago, she was suicidal because she just wanted the pain to go away and didn’t think she would ever get better. This broke my heart to hear and scared the heck out of me. I immediately called the suicide hotline 1-800-273-8255. I was able to speak to a trained professional and figure out what to do. When someone says they don’t want to live anymore WE HAVE TO TAKE IT SERIOUSLY! This can be so overwhelming and in the moment of panic it can be hard to know what to do. They were able to recommend a hospital for her to put her on a 72 hour hold, then to inpatient, and hopefully outpatient after. Finally, the Doctor said my mom has diagnosed bipolar but was never diagnosed properly. He said he can’t believe that previous Doctors never diagnosed her before. I did a lot of research on bipolar so I could better understand it and now it all makes SO much sense.

Here is some of my research on bipolar to help everyone better understand it and to spread awareness about it but tune in to the bottom where I share more of my experience of being the daughter of someone who has it and how it has mentally impacted me and my family.

What is Bipolar?

Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, concentration, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks (National Institute of Mental Health, 2020)

Bipolar, is also known as manic depression, and is a chronically recurring condition involving moods that swing because the highs of mania and the lows of depression. Depression is the most pervasive feature of the illness. The manic phase usually involves a mix of irritability, anger, and depression, with or without euphoria. When euphoria is present, it may manifest unusual energy and overconfidence, playing out in in the bouts of spending or promiscuity, among other behaviors.

Misdiagnosed is common; the condition is often confused with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, schizophrenia, or borderline personality disorder. Biological factors probably create vulnerability to the disorder with certain individuals, and experiences such as sleep deprivation can kick off manic episodes. (Psychology Today, 2020)

(This part really got me because my mom was diagnosed ADD when she was in Iowa and they pumped her full of medication for it and a very high dose. The Doctor makes a lot of money on Pharmaceuticals and so instead of caring for the patient it can be all about the money, unfortunately. I even thought my mom was schizophrenic because of her intense conspiracy theories; which schizophrenia is usually diagnosed in these situations since they don’t look into further testing for bipolar)

3 Types of Bipolar Disorders

  • Bipolar I Disorder– Defined by manic episodes that last at least 7 days, or by manic symptoms that are so severe that the person needs immediate hospital care. Depressive episodes occur as well, typically lasting 2 weeks. Episodes of depression with mixed features (having depressive symptoms and manic symptoms the same time) are also possible.
  • Bipolar II Disorder– Defined by a pattern of depressive episodes and hypo-manic episodes, but not the full-blown manic episodes that are typical Bipolar I Disorder.
  • Cyclothymic Disorder (Cyclothymia) – Defined by periods of hypo mania symptoms as well as periods of depressive symptoms lasting for at least two years (1 year in children and adolescents)

Signs and Symptoms

During manic episodes they may:

  • Feel very “up,” “high,” elated, or irritable or touchy
  • Feel “jumpy or “wired”
  • Have decreased need for sleep
  • Loss of appetite
  • Talk very fast about a lot of different things
  • Feel like their thoughts are racing
  • Think they can do a lot of things at once
  • Do risky things that show poor judgement, such as eat and drink excessively, spend or give away a lot of money, or have reckless sex
  • Feel like they are unusually important, talented, or powerful

During depressive episodes they may:

  • Feel very sad, “down,” empty, worried, or hopeless
  • Feel slowed down or restless
  • Having trouble falling asleep, wake up too early, or sleep too much
  • Experience increased appetite and weight gain
  • Talk very slowly, feel like they have nothing to say, forget a lot
  • Having trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Feel unable to do even simple things
  • Have little interest in almost all activities, a decreased or absent sex drive, or inability to experience pleasure
  • Feel hopeless or worthless, think about death or suicide

(Sometimes people may experience both manic and depressive symptoms in the same episode)

Diagnosis

Proper diagnosis and treatment can help people with bipolar disorder lead healthy and active lives. Talk to a Doctor or other licensed health care professional first. The Doctor can do a complete physical exam and medical tests to rule out other conditions. A mental evaluation is important as well and then referral to a trained mental health care provider, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or clinical social worker.

Treatments

Certain medications can help manage symptoms of bipolar disorder and it may take trying a few different medications before finding one that works best. These generally include mood stabilizers and atypical anti psychotics. Other medications can help with sleep and anxiety. Health care professionals will often prescribe antidepressant medications to treat depressive episodes. Combining the antidepressant with a mood stabilizer can help prevent a triggering manic episode.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy, is also called talk therapy and can be an effective part of the treatment plan. Psychotherapy is a term for a variety of treatment techniques that try to help a person identify and change troubling emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. They can provide support, education, and guidance to people with bipolar disorder and their families. Treatment may also include CBT or Cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Everyday things you can do to help

  • Regular Exercise
  • Keeping a life chart: keeping track of moods and talking with a licensed provider
  • Therapy
  • A structured and regular schedule
  • Healthy environment
  • Safe outlets to talk to

What causes Bipolar Disorder?

Genetic and environmental factors can create vulnerability to bipolar disorder. Life events like childhood trauma are thought to play a huge role in bipolar disorder. Research know that once bipolar disorder occurs, traumatic events precipitate its recurrence. Incidents of interpersonal difficulty and abuse are most commonly associated with triggering the disorder. I have noticed that unresolved trauma really plays a part in bipolar which is important for individuals to try and work through the trauma, in order to help manage the manic or depressive episodes.

Resources

Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 which is available 24/7

Crisis Hotline: Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor 24/7

If you are thinking about harming yourself or thinking about suicide

  • Tell someone who can help right away
  • Call your licensed mental health professional if you are already working with one
  • Call your doctor or health care provider
  • Go to the nearest hospital emergency department or call 911

If a loved one is considering suicide

  • Do not leave him or her alone
  • Try to get a loved one to seek immediate help from a Doctor, health care provider or nearest hospital or call 911
  • Call the suicide hotline (that’s what I did and they were a wonderful help)
  • Remove access to firearms or other potential tools for suicide, including medications

Coping with Bipolar Disorder

  • Get treatment and stick with it. It takes time and its not easy but it is necessary
  • Keep medical and therapy appointments
  • Take all medicines as directed
  • Structure activities: keep a routine for sleeping and eating, and exercise
  • Learn to recognize your mood swings and warning signs, like decreased sleep
  • Ask for help when trying to stick with your treatment
  • Be patient; improvement takes time. Social support helps
  • Avoid misuse of alcohol and drugs.

How it has impacted me and my family

I have been dealing with this emotional roller coaster since high-school but my mom has lived in Iowa and hasn’t physically been around for years. I always prayed for her and hoped one day we could have a good relationship. There are other factors of why we haven’t had a relationship but I know a huge one is because of mental illness. It has been hard for me to be emphatic to her because of some hurtful things she has said to me and how she has been missing out of my life for the past 10 years. We have gotten into a lot of arguments and it can be difficult on me and on her. I get mad when she sleeps all day and get mad when she does other things that I don’t agree with. I am frustrated with the mental health system right now. I finally got her some help and she agreed but the inpatient facility she was in was horrible. The workers treated them bad, there were constant fights that would break out, and my mom felt unsafe so she left. I don’t blame her but it’s so disappointing how the system failed her. When someone doesn’t have money they are put into terrible facilities and really just comes down to money. We aren’t rich and don’t have the means to put her in a good treatment center but I wish she could get actual help. I know she would succeed if she was in the right environment that cared for her and made her feel safe. She has always been a great mother and she has a heart of gold. She means really well and she is one of the most selfless people I know. I wish she knew how wonderful she truly was and how we all need her. My brother and sister love her a lot too and I am thankful to have my sister to talk to about all of it. We will not give up on our mom. We know that she can be better but sometimes it gets very discouraging that she won’t. When she recently came back into my life in Georgia a few months ago I was so excited to have her around but I knew it wouldn’t be easy. It wouldn’t be easy to be to connect right away, it wouldn’t be easy to relive a lot of past pain and trauma, it wouldn’t be easy for me to watch her suffer, it wouldn’t be easy for me to watch this roller coaster of emotions, and it hasn’t been easy. I struggle between wanting to do everything I can to help and feeling like I can save her or fix her but then I struggle with knowing that I can only do so much.

Loving someone who has mental illness is really freaking hard and especially when you deal with mental illness yourself. I am diagnosed with anxiety, panic, depression, and PTSD. I am still working through some of my own experiences and trying to heal and be the best person I can be. For years, I stayed away from my mom and other people because I had to set boundaries for my own physical and mental health. To be honest, I am scared to even speak on this publicly for the retaliation I may get. I know that this is personal and some of this isn’t my story to tell, but my heart strings are pulling on me that it needs to be shared. People need to start to do more research, ask more questions and have more empathy. I am trying to have more empathy but the fact I am a very emphatic person means I need to set boundaries and make sure I am taking care of my mental health and myself first. These past few weeks have been really draining and I have had a lot of anxiety. We don’t know what the outcome will be but I will keep praying and hoping for recovery and for change. I will keep learning about bipolar and many other disorders. For the ones who are feeling like me, just know you are not alone! Make sure to go to therapy, journal, baths, walks, breaks from your phone, learn to say no, and take moments for you.

Thank you for reading and I hope this blog post can spread more awareness and help someone in need. Feel free to comment or reach out to me if you would like to discuss this more!

Love & Light,

Tuscany

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Mental Health · self-help · self-love · Uncategorized

8 Ways to Deal With Negative Thoughts

You wake up in the morning but you are rushing because you snoozed for the last hour. The night before, you planned on getting up early, drinking some cucumber and lemon water, stretching, walking the dog, and having time to get ready for yoga. That snooze button just was too easy and the bed was too comfortable to get out of. Yoga is in 20 minutes so you rush out of bed, eat a piece of toast, don’t even brush your hair or teeth, and basically throw clothes on and rush out the door. Already, you are anxious because you have 10 minutes to get to class before it starts. You are upset because you planned to have a good morning and to start it off right but that dang snooze button got the best of you! On the drive, you are talking so negatively about yourself and upset that you didn’t just get up. You get to class with 1 minute to spare and to your luck, the only spot left is in the very front and center of the class. GREAT just to my luck this would happen! The negative thoughts start creeping in… “This is going to suck,” “What if I get sick and can’t lay down,” What if I can’t keep up with the entire class since I haven’t been in a month,” ” I am front and center so I have to keep up or else I will look weak,” “I work here so I have to be a good yoga role model to the other students and to the ones online,” “I am scared I won’t do well,” “I am so mad about myself for not getting up earlier to get in a different spot.” The mind is going wild with so much negative thinking before the class has even started.

Instead of continuing this negative thinking and letting this mindset completely ruin the next 75 minutes of this hot yoga class, you make a huge shift in your thoughts! You start to look in the mirror and tell yourself, “I got this,” “I am strong,” “I don’t have to be perfect,” “I am thankful I made it to the mat,” “I showed up and didn’t fully bail on class,” “I just have to breathe and take it a step at a time,” and just like that…..you feel strong, brave, happy, excited, and you take on the entire 75 minute class like a rock star! What a concept right? If we switch our negative thoughts and start speaking positive affirmations then it can completely transform how you feel about a situation.

Does this happen to you? Do you have moments before going into a situation and you completely already talk yourself out of it before you even had a chance to attempt? This happens to me A LOT! I don’t know if it stems from my anxiety, depression, or lack of self-confidence and trust in good things to actually happen. Along the way, there have probably been situations in your life where you have been let down. Instead of letting yourself down without fully knowing the situation yet, you tell yourself that it already isn’t going to work, so no big deal. This can be a defense mechanism and a reaction to replaying past events and worrying about the future. Unfortunately, these negative thoughts really take a toll and can hold you back from enjoying life experiences, distract you from focusing on what’s really important, make you feel anxious and depressed, and drain your energy. 

1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavior therapy or CBT is a psychological treatment that can be effective for a range of problems including depression, anxiety disorders, alcohol, and drug use problems, marital problems, eating disorders, and severe mental illness. CBT helps you manage stress and anxiety by learning relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, coping self-talk, identifying situations that are often avoided and gradually approaching feared situations. This type of therapy is focused on present problems and is works with problem-orientated situations.  A great resource to find a therapist in your area that does CBT is searching on Psychology Today online.

Cognitive Therapy Exercise:

(My Psychology teacher gave us this example of what a Cognitive Therapy Exercise looks like so feel free to answer these questions for your own personal reflection)

  • I often worry that I _____
  • What’s the worst thing that could possibly happen? What do you fear most of all?
  • When you think the worst thing that could happen, do you really think that it’s likely to happen? If so, How could you learn to cope with it?
  • I accept myself even though I ____ (do not use the word “am”)

2. Recognizing where your thought distortions are coming from

When you can recognize the core of where these negative thoughts stem from then it can be very beneficial. We tend to tell ourselves these stories of things that are really not true and these inaccurate thoughts can reinforce negative thinking. When we can really recognize them then we can challenge them.

  • Personalizing: Assuming you are to blame for anything that goes wrong. When someone doesn’t say hello to you in the morning at work and you feel that it is your fault and you must have done something to upset him/her. When really, it is more likely that person is having a hard morning and it has nothing to do personally against you.
  • Black and white thinking: Seeing things as one way or another with no in between.
  • Filter thinking: Choosing to see only the negative of a situation
  • Catastrophizing: Assuming the worst possible outcome is going to happen.

References: Psychology Today

3. Questioning your thoughts

We tend to make up stories in our heads and these stories become what we think is true. When we can step back and look at a different perspective then we can try to see the full picture and defuse the negative thoughts. If a good friend was telling you a story how would you react to what they were telling you? Try to put yourself in someone’s shoes and see if that can help.

Ask yourself:

  • Is this thought true?
  • Is this thought important?
  • Is this thought helpful?

4. Separate from negative thoughts

It is important to try and take breaks from negative thoughts and put in positive ones instead. I know this can be difficult and honestly it really takes practice, patience, self-awareness, and time. Take control of your thoughts and allow yourself a few minutes with the thought but then take a break and start focusing on something positive. When we spend too much time on these negative thoughts then they can completely take over and consume us, to the point we start to believe they are actually true.

5. Let go of the judgment!

I know it can be so easy to judge ourselves and put ourselves down without even realizing it. I feel like it is even harder now a days because of social media and social comparison. This happens to me especially while scrolling through my Instagram feed! I see how people are handling their Instagram for blogs and think wow mine sucks, it could be so much better! These people get to travel the world, ugh, I will never get to do that! I will never be that skinny! I feel so fat! I won’t ever get that promotion! I feel like all of us do this without even realizing sometimes and this can have a huge impact on your negative thought patterns. When you start to have these thoughts recognize your reaction to them, observe it, and then let it go. Another way, is when you are noticing you are judging yourself or someone else in a negative light then start to look for a positive quality as well.

6. Gratitude!

Practicing gratitude is by far one of the biggest helps when it comes to negative self-talk. I highly recommend meditation, writing in a journal, and yoga. These three things have helped me so much because you get time with yourself to really take a step back and be with your thoughts. You actually feel your breath and your heart beat. I always feel so grateful to even be alive and to be able to breathe. It’s those little things that can really put everything in perspective and help you see the bigger picture.

7. Starting the day with affirmations

I work at a yoga studio and one of the students I talk to could feel that I was very stressed. I was very stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted. The next day, she gave me a note card with these journal prompts and affirmations and told me to give it a try. At first, I was like how will I have time to do this first thing in the AM? As we heard above I LOVE to snooze my alarm and usually am running late. What if I got up a little earlier and spent 5 min or less answering these questions? Well, I did and let me tell you it really did set the tone for the day and I encourage you to give them a try!

8. Focus on what your strengths are

I know it can be difficult to focus on what you are good at and especially because you don’t want to sound conceded. But let me tell you, it is okay to talk good about yourself and be confident! It is human nature to dwell on the negative and overlook the positive sometimes, but the more you practice focusing on your strengths and how to move forward then the easier it will be to feel positive about yourself. Sometimes, we look into the past and can be upset of how we handled situations, who we surrounded ourselves with, and any thing that has happened that has made us feel less then. I know it is easier said then done but you have to forgive yourself and know that you made that decision for a reason. Every single life decision happens for us and leads us on the right path. When we can be more self-aware and think, “I put myself in that situation because I didn’t have the healthy coping skills as a teen and that is the way I got by.” Sometimes, we didn’t know better or maybe didn’t even have a choice. That is okay! Love every single inch of you and your heart.

I want you to know that I am posting this because I have a really hard time with negative thought patterns. I don’t even realize how much I am negative but I am a lot. The other day, I was driving to the dog park with my Husband and I said, “I really have to go to the bathroom.” He said, “There is a bathroom there we will be there soon.” and then I said “No, they are probably closed because of COVID.” See what I did? I didn’t even wait until we got there to actually see and instead already made up my mind that they were closed! Did I do this to protect myself in case there really wasn’t and I peed my pants? Probably! There are a lot of situations like that where I always shut things down right away without giving it a chance. I know that this will take effort and practice and honestly will probably be a forever thing to work on. The thing is, if we can work at it little by little and realize that we are doing this and why then that makes all the difference. I would love to hear your thoughts below and I really hope this helps!

Love & Light,

Tuscany

Here is me after Yoga this morning feeling AMAZING!

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Anxiety · Mental Health · Panic Disorder · self-help · self-love

Anxiety & Panic Disorder

My story:

I have been so excited to speak on this topic because it is very special to me and I have quite a lot to say about it. Honestly, even though this post may seem like a lot- I have been through even more but by the time I tell you every single story I would have an entire book series. When I was younger I had no idea what anxiety or panic attacks were. I remember being fifteen when I had my first panic attack and I will never forget that moment. I remember feeling severe chest pain, excessive sweating, dizzy, and insane tunnel vision. I had no idea what was going on at the moment because I was so young and did not have that sort of awareness yet. This was after my grandparents who I lived with and helped raise me passed away one after another when I was starting Freshman year of High school. My dad decided to pick up and move us out of California and to North Carolina where it was cheaper. All of these huge life changes of losing my grandparents, moving, and leaving important relationships behind was very tough on a fifteen year old kid. I remember having several panic attacks my sophomore year of high-school but again, I had no idea what was going on. Shortly after living in North Carolina for a full month I moved back to California and lived with my sister. I basically told my parents I would kill myself if they kept me there with them. I was very behind in school and had to go to a continuation school in a not so great area of Orange County. I did not fit in there and felt scared most of the time. This is when depression set in and I started to go through A LOT of feelings this year. I was in a very toxic relationship with someone who was verbally and physically abusive. He would hold me down and choke me and hit my legs so people couldn’t see the bruises on my face. Force me to have sex when I didn’t want to…. I didn’t have parent supervision during this time since my parents were still in North Carolina and my sister was at work all the time. I would basically be able to do whatever I wanted and whenever. I remember wanting to be stoned so I wouldn’t have to feel what I was going through. I wanted to be completely numb to all of my feelings of fear, panic, stress, and anger. I was constantly sad and crying and I thought about killing myself regularly. I was also hanging around older people so I was introduced to a lot of different things during this time. Junior year came around and I got out of that toxic relationship by having to change my phone numbers, friends, and move from where I was living. The one thing that continued after that relationship was being on Xanax. I was introduced the previous year and I absolutely loved the way Xanax made me feel and I felt like I could handle anything when I was on it.

Senior year I started hanging out with the wrong crowds and was in another intense relationship. I also didn’t like going to school and had a lot of anxiety about facing other people. Soon after that I did independent studies which was only once a week. I graduated from a continuation school called Shores because of how behind I was in schoolwork. Thankful I graduated though! I didn’t like facing other people and having to explain to them why I was down it was really hard. I was very popular growing up and so I always felt like a lot of attention was on me and I had this image to be liked and be social. It started to become very draining being that person.

I got back together with someone from middle school who I loved a lot. He was sober at the time and I was trying to be as well. We loved each other and had a lot of great times together. Unfortunately, both of us were pretty broken and so as time went on and us being teenagers we fell into this toxic on and off relationship. A LOT of anxiety came from this relationship and created a lot of fear inside of me. The relationship really took a toll on me and many times he made me feel like I was worthless and that I would never be good enough. I lived with my mother again for a short time and that was a very toxic environment. We argued all the time and my mom was going through a lot of issues and had really bad mental health issues, and that is when the drinking started with her as well. I was constantly in survival mode and would stay at different friends houses or my boyfriends parents house. I remember having to sleep in my boyfriends car at times since his parents wouldn’t let me stay over because I had no where else to go. I never had stability and never knew when I was going to have to move, if I could afford rent, if my ex was going to leave me again, if my ex was going to upset me again, if my mom was going to be alive and well, and if my dad was going to recover from a quadruple bypass surgery or if him and I would have a relationship. Things started turning around when I was 18-19 and I moved to Santa Monica and started working for Red Bull. I met some really amazing people and this started to change my outlook on life. I felt confident and was around empowering women who lifted me up all the time. I was still dating that ex but this is when the cheating really begun and when he would cheat on me often and I would find out through his friends. He was in and out of trouble all the time so I was constantly on edge about getting a call from jail, or getting calls from his family to check how he was doing. He did a lot of really hurtful things to me that caused me a ton of anxiety and pain. A lot of verbal abuse happened in this relationship. He really tried to tear down my image of what people thought of me- but mainly he made me believe I was worthless and would never be good enough.

I will not say that I was perfect but when someone is that manipulating and puts you down, you start to believe it and then act out in certain ways for attention. Also, when you are already in such a low point in your life and don’t have self-esteem of course things are going to happen. He moved away and a few months later I followed him. I will spare all the details but he put me in a really terrible situation (I acknowledge that I did put myself there as well but still). Found out he was cheating on me, we got kicked out of the place were were staying and basically were homeless. I moved back in with my mom and had to sleep in the living room on a mattress and this was a really bad situation. My ex told his parents I stole their gas card (Even though he did- and had it the entire time and would fill up everyone’s gas tanks and trade it for money). So we were done- and I was always the one to blame! This put me in a really really dark space. He broke up with me, made his parents believed I was bad and crazy, and then I was back with my mother, and lost some really amazing friends since they didn’t agree with me moving there in the first place. I was very much in love with this person and the pain we kept putting each other through was really hard on me. Being in such a dysfunctional and intense relationship at that age really took a toll on me. I always just wanted to be loved but all I really knew was craziness and never had role models of a healthy relationship. My life was always crazy so that is exactly what I attracted into my life.

Shortly after this, “somebody” hacked my Facebook and put pictures up everywhere of me in lingerie. This was sent out to literally everyone. Family, co-workers, friends… and it was so humiliating. These photos were only for this one person- and I couldn’t believe this happened. It happened on my 20th birthday! It kept happening in and off and this was very traumatic for me. Being perceived to people as a “slut” or as someone who is worthless is a really terrible feeling. Especially when the one person you love is also telling you these things daily.

My anxiety was so bad that when I was 20 I ended up in the Hospital with stomach ulcers and a rash all over my body. I was so sick throwing up and basically pooping out a lot of blood and had to spend a week in the Hospital. I couldn’t hold down foods and was a complete wreck. I remember the Doctor being so shocked that I was only 20 but had ulcers. I knew why, because I was constantly stressing and on edge. It is crazy how connected our mind and body are! I didn’t have ways to manage my stress and I would hold a lot in. I didn’t have many people who understood me or good coping skills so it was really hard on me. When you are young and don’t understand these constant feelings of insecurity, instability, fear, and anxiety then it it easy to find ways to “not deal” with it. I would surround myself with people who partied and would go out and drink to forget how I was feeling. Sometimes I would drink too much and would end up blacking out. This led to a constant cycle of regret, fear, and non stop negative self-talk. This continued through my 20’s but I will spare you all the details but lets just say a lot of trauma happened.

I had a life altering experience happen to me about five years ago and that is when my anxiety got even worse. I will talk about this at a later post, but just know it was very traumatic and I have a lot of PTSD from it. This situation happened because of the build up of so much anxiety, panic, depression, self-doubt, and not feeling in control of my emotions and my life. I almost died in this situation and I will never forget that turning point of my life. This situation really opened my eyes and basically woke me up and kicked me in gear. After that, I moved to Georgia and moved away from the past in California. I was able to finally start dealing with all of these emotions and figure out why I was the way I was. I started to be very fearful of being in the car (because of a bad car accident), couldn’t be in party situations with previous friends, couldn’t be around certain people, and it was even hard to go into work some/most days. Even though I was away from all of my triggers, these feelings were still very much there and there was A LOT I needed to unpack and figure out.

In Georgia, we have a lot of thunderstorms and tornado warnings and scary weather situations give me extreme anxiety. I do not like situations that are out of my control and I have always been in survival mode. When you live in “fight or flight” mode for so long and you are just trying to survive- it is very hard to feel grounded and realize these fears are not in my control- but it is okay and I will be okay. I also notice there there has been many times my anxiety has been so bad about facing people when I feel down- and so I haven’t been able to go to work or complete daily tasks. It has been crippling many times… and that is when I call out “sick” but most of the time it is mentally sick… which usually isn’t as acceptable. This is why the past 6 months I’ve had to leave the corporate world and be in better jobs for my mental health.

There are a lot of situations till this day that I will have a huge panic attack over and I can’t handle life. I am constantly worried about losing the ones I love or something bad happening to them. I have been constantly worried about my parents even though it’s out of my control. I always want to control the outcome of situations, but when in reality I can only control how I respond to them. My husband travels a lot for work and I will obsess over if something happens while he is there. If I am going on a trip with girlfriends I obsess over every detail of what we are doing and I start to worry about how I will be able to handle these social situations. I have anxiety in my relationship/marriage now of whenever we would have a disagreement-if he was going to leave me. These are things that I was used to and conditioned to believe were okay. Understanding that this is not normal and to learn better ways to handle conflict. luckily, my Husband is so supportive and understanding. He knows about all of this and he has been a huge reason I have been able to heal and get better. He has loved me for me and he has treated me with so much respect, and is just such a loving and caring man. He makes me feel so confident and pushes me to be the best. I am so thankful I met such a wonderful man who I love so freaking much. He has helped me grow in so many ways.

What does Anxiety & Panic feel/look like?

FYI: I am not a Professional! These are the symptoms I have felt and personally go through. Please consult a Doctor to get evaluated 🙂

  • Over-analyzing
  • Over-reacting (You feel like you are- but do not put yourself down for this!)
  • Constant sweating
  • Constant worry of the future and past
  • Panic attacks
  • Obsessing
  • Anger
  • Frequent urination
  • High-blood pressure
  • Urge to drink water constantly
  • Feeling like you can’t breathe
  • A lot of “what if” questions
  • Hard to fall asleep, stay asleep, or sleeping too much
  • Crying
  • Taking everything personal all the time
  • Feeling not good enough
  • Feeling not in control
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea or stomach issues (mind and gut are connected)
  • Heart palpitations
  • Crying when under a lot of pressure
  • Indecisiveness
  • Having certain Phobias
  • Not being able to be around people (social anxiety)
  • Thinking of something bad happening
  • Asking a lot of questions because of the fear or what could happen
  • Living in regret
  • Isolation
  • Feeling guilt or shame

IF YOU KNOW SOMEONE WITH ANXIETY:

  • Don’t tell them to get over it
  • Don’t tell them not to worry
  • Don’t tell them they are freaking out for no reason
  • Don’t tell them they are creating their own reality with these worries
  • Don’t tell them they have nothing to worry about
  • Don’t tell them to chill out
  • Don’t tell them how they should feel
  • Don’t tell them “it’s no big deal”

Managing my Anxiety & Panic attacks

“Your Anxiety was your companion to survival when you needed it”- Athena

I will tell you right now that I am still working on it because it is something I will ALWAYS have to work on. This is apart of me and this will not just go away, BUT I have found ways to manage it and be able to live my life and not keep myself in my room all the time. My anxiety led to a lot of isolation and then that would lead to depression. I get very lonely and a lot of past emotions are stuck deep down inside of me. These mental illnesses are so intertwined because it is a chain affect. I would get anxiety about going out with my Dad but then the next day I would feel regret for not going, and be like “what if something happens to him” which that fear still is going, and then I would continue to not make plans with people, and then depression would set it. I would be sad that I wouldn’t see people I love and be upset at myself for not going. It was a constant cycle and I have started to acknowledge these feelings but accept them. It is okay if I don’t feel like going somewhere- and not to force myself to do things I don’t want to do. My intuition is so strong and anxiety is my intuitions way of telling me the situation is not good for me and to also honor when I am tired and need to stay home and rest. The people who love you should understand!

Therapy has been a huge help in me managing anxiety and I highly suggest it for people. I started with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which retrains your mind to go in a different direction. You discuss different situation and they give you the tools on how to understand why you are thinking a certain way, actually process it, and then change your way of thinking. I started going to therapy once a week for 4 years so believe me it really takes time and patience with yourself. I no longer hide these fears and I think it is very important to honor yourself and not put yourself in situations you do not want to be in. YOUR MENTAL HEALTH is important and if someone is a threat to that then you need to set boundaries or discontinue the relationship. I also started to cut out people who were bad for my mental health and only surround myself with people who I could be my true self with. For so long, I wanted all these friends and people to like me but now I’ve learned that I would rather have fewer friends who won’t judge me or make me feel less then. Being around people you can be honest with and who really love you is very important. When you have a great support system and ones who understand your mental health- then it really helps. I am so thankful for some of my friends because they know I have anxiety and so when I start to get anxious and ask a lot of questions- or if I disappear and don’t talk to them, they understand and will not cut me off for it. They will check on me and ask how I am doing and genuinely care about how I am. I have been practicing yoga for 10 years but let me tell you when I constantly go to yoga, then my anxiety and panic are a lot less. I feel a lot more confident and I can manage my stress better- so I highly recommend trying if you haven’t yet!

I know that I have went through a lot in my life and it all started at such a young age. I never had stability or people to count on when I needed them the most. I quickly got into bad relationships with people who I wanted to “complete me” and then would end up lowering my worth to people who did not deserve it. Always being in survival mode and having to just continue to make money to pay bills and to survive really took over my life. I wasn’t able to just be a kid and always had to be the responsible one for MYSELF to survive. I was a parent to my own parents when I needed parents the most. This is why I wasn’t able to truly process what I have been through and why so much built up. Even though I have stability now in my life and my own house- I still unintentionally have fears and things I worry about. When you use anxiety to survive most of your life then you are used to those ways of handling/ thinking about situations. I am so thankful now that therapy has given me the tools to finally deal with these things and to completely transform my life. I have more acceptance when it comes to my parents, and am starting to learn that they had their own issues they were dealing with. They loved me but they both had depression and other issues and it was difficult for them to even love themselves. I think when we start to have compassion for people and start to understand why they do or don’t do things, then we can actually learn forgiveness. It doesn’t mean that it didn’t hurt not having them there for me when I needed it, or that I didn’t need more structure from them- or that certain relationships that treated me badly didn’t freaking hurt to my core (or that I’m making excuses for them) but in order for me to heal it is about forgiveness and having empathy for others. I have truly forgiven my ex for all of the hurt and we’ve actually had discussions about things at an older age and I feel a lot of closure and I use it as a learning experience. I’m thankful for these experiences because it’s made me who I am today. I am starting to listen to myself more and be grateful for all of these experiences. I know what is best for my life and SO DO YOU. I have forgiven myself for putting myself in bad situations and lowering my standards. I have forgiven myself for being a certain way and not treating myself good. Never let anyone tell you how to handle your life or that you don’t deserve greatness, because you DO! I am very grateful for all of the challenges because now I am able to help others and share my stories.

What helps my Anxiety?

(FYI, I am now an Affiliate with Amazon! All of my recommendations will be highlighted as a link. Click that link and it will go directly to the product I recommend from Amazon)

  • Knowledge of anxiety- and knowing the symptoms and how to overcome them
  • Therapy
  • Mindfulness
  • DBT workbook: Click on that for the direct link to Amazon. This gives you a bunch of exercises and teaches you mindfulness and what your triggers are/ and how to overcome them
  • Yoga (helps sooo much!)
  • Meditation: There are a lot of great apps out there! I love Insight timer
  • Journals. Here are some I recommend, Zen as F*ck: A Journal for Practicing the mindful art of not giving a Sh*it, The Anxiety Journal, Present, Not Perfect: A Journal for slowing down, letting go, and loving who you are, The Mindfulness Journal for Anxiety:Daily prompts and practices to find peace
  • Diet adjustments- Whenever I eat clean and healthy I have less anxiety and feel a lot better. Too much fast food and salt make me feel worse
  • Less Caffeine: I have switched to matcha green tea or pure green tea
  • Check out my website with Arbonne (click this link to go directly to my site and purchase) I LOVE the energy fizz sticks and they don’t give me anxiety after drinking them
  • CBD Oil: I am an affiliate with this brand click the CBD oil link to go directly to the product
  • Herbal remedies: St John’s Wart, Magnesium, Valerian root, L-Theanine, B Complex, Ashwagandha, Melatonin, Fish oil
  • Probiotics: The gut is very connected to your mind…healthy gut/healthy mind 🙂 Grass fed Collagen Peptides with Type 1 & 3 Probiotics from Garden of Life
  • Take baths! Dr. Teal Epsom salt soaking solution Lavender
  • Essential Oils! I love lavender oil and I keep a diffuser next to my bed when I sleep and one at my desk
  • Weighted blankets if you get anxiety at night time
  • Medication: I had to use medication like SSRI’s for awhile which help with anxiety and depression, sleeping medication, & medication for panic attacks (Please discuss with a professional about this)
  • Support groups: There are so many support groups online. I love Peak of Panic. I am in a group me with 300 others and you can talk about how you are feeling that day- and share stories and share tips to others. Follow her on Instagram and ask to join her group
  • Being more assertive: Speak up about your boundaries and expectations for others. Let people know your triggers and how you feel about certain things. This has helped me a lot!
  • Get enough sleep
  • COLD RAGS! When I have a panic attack and get really hot..then I love getting a rag and making it wet and putting it either on my forehead or back of neck…it really soothes me
  • List your fears and put them in order. Least to worst: and explain why these are your fears? It is nice to have it down on paper to really see what is going on
  • Have a good support system of people you can trust and rely on
  • A schedule: Having a schedule really helps me but I can’t overwork myself or else I get too stressed and my anxiety builds up
  • Time management: Give yourself an extra 15 min in the morning to wake up. Whenever I rush out the door then my anxiety doubles and I start to get angry
  • Don’t put yourself in situations you don’t want to be in: YOU ARE IN CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE! Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for not doing something
  • When having a panic attack: Take control of your breathing and start counting to 50. Keep your mind focused on your breath. Breathe, touch, and smell. Use your basic senses and use whatever you have to get your mind to focus on that- instead of the worry
  • Walking: Walking at least 4-5 times a week has helped me so much. Being out in nature really calms my mind and exercise is really good for anxiety
  • Do not drink: I know whenever I drink alcohol it makes me feel worse and can lead to a lot of anxiety
  • Make lists of what you need to get done
  • Set time out of everyday to take at least 5-10 minutes to be with yourself and breathe
  • Have compassion with yourself

Books I recommend:

Clink the links to go directly to Amazon to purchase

I believe in you!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. I really hope that my story can help you feel less alone in this. I am always here if you need extra support or have any questions. You are not alone in this and you can manage this with the right help. Do not be afraid to ask for help! Speak up to people and let them know what you are going through. Take deep breaths. Also, I would love to hear from you and your experiences with anxiety. I am here if you want to share your story! 🙂

Love & light,

Tuscany

Depression · Mental Health · self-help

Fighting the Darkness of Depression

I have been wanting to talk about this topic for a while, and I have also got quite a few requests on how I cope with it. I wish I could say “overcame” it but I am still dealing with it off and on, and as I write this, I have been in a down spot so it has been difficult to even start writing about it.

Depression is such a heavy word and to people who don’t deal with it or know much about it, they may think it looks like someone who looks very sad or down. Not true! There are a lot of times I have been depressed but I have posed for photos smiling and posting acting like everything is great. Sometimes we are trying to fool even ourselves, and want the world to think everything is okay. We also don’t want to come off like we are complaining or not being grateful. People want to see the highlights on social media and want to see the happy photos, right? Although, I am learning through this journey the more open I have been about feeling depressed- I have connected on such a deeper level with people. Once I started stepping into who I am and sharing that with the world, and not being ashamed of it is when I started to get my control back and started to give myself more grace. Not saying my “identity” is being a depressed person, because no it is not. It does not DEFINE me, but it is apart of who I am and I have accepted that.

What does depression look like on me (& maybe the same for you)

  • Overload on social media to get attention
  • Ignoring people for days
  • Not being able to talk on the phone
  • Lying in bed & zoned out for days
  • Hard to connect with others, but longing a deeper connection
  • Wanting to go out and have a social life, but feeling too down to face other people
  • Can’t focus on work, school, honestly on any daily tasks
  • All over the place with emotions
  • Days that are very HIGH and you feel very excited, motivated, inspired, and share a lot- but then come down off that and feel isolated and alone
  • Buying things (online shopping) to make yourself feel better at that moment
  • Constantly looking back at the past
  • Eating fast food, or indulging a lot of food that feels good for that second-for some not eating
  • Binge drinking, and going out when you are upset
  • Excessive guilt and blaming yourself
  • Shaming yourself and speaking badly of yourself
  • Sitting in the bath and listening to very sad songs
  • Thoughts of harm to get rid of the pain
  • Feeling exhausted
  • Feeling like a dark cloud is constantly over you and you are trapped

My story:

 My depression started when I was a freshman high school but at the time, I had no idea that’s what it was. I remember always listening to sad music and watching sad movies to sit there and cry. I would actually crave this kind of sadness, almost like I started to become obsessed with being sad or down. I always longed for “more” and would get into this fantasy world, instead of being present in the world I had in front of me. There were many factors of why I was depressed, so my feelings were completely valid, but I did not channel this energy correctly at the time. What’s the correct way anyways? I would drown the pain being surrounded by the wrong crowds, smoke, pills, drinking, unhealthy relationships. I didn’t know how to process my emotions; all I knew is that I had a lot of emotions. I was always (and still am) known for being very open about my life, and to some people that can be a lot. I used to be too much for people and I used to think that was a flaw of mine, and that I needed to stop sharing so much of myself. I felt so judged and felt embarrassed about who I was. I didn’t want people knowing my mistakes or knowing that part of me that made bad decisions because she was hurting. At that young age, a lot of my friends didn’t understand this kind of deep hurt. They were just regular high school people and trying to live it up and have fun. They were worried about what college they were going to go to, and I was just hoping I made it through another day. I was so envious of this and felt jealous of their lives. I would constantly compare and get mad at myself for how my life was.

“Comparison is the theif of joy.”

I started to hold a lot in and not deal with feelings, and just act like everything was okay. I remember always feeling so exhausted every morning and not being able to talk to people. Going into work and everybody would be bubbly and talkative, and it would give me anxiety to even have conversations with people. Sometimes I would call out of work because I could not face dealing with people in general. I did not want them to see me down, and I felt like it was written all over my face. I stopped wanting to share things with people because I stopped trusting others, and started feeling like I had to be more selective. I felt like people could use it against me, and I did not want them knowing I was weak. I was always a “social butterfly” from a young age, and I wanted to keep that up but so much was going on that I was really losing myself throughout this sadness. For so long, I had to be strong and to continue to survive. I was always in survival mode and that weighed very heavy on me. This is a lot for someone in their teens and twenties to deal with, and it starts to catch up on you.

With my image, I didn’t want to feel like I always had issues or “drama” because didn’t want people to not want to be around me. I know it can be intense to hear things all the time, and you don’t want others to worry about you. I learned this from being on the other side of worrying about someone with depression and hearing about situations a lot. Depression heavily runs through my family and I have seen A LOT of hardships.

At times I would feel like a bad friend for not going and hanging out, or not calling someone. Luckily, I have found a great support system that understands me, and I have been able to tell them these things and now I don’t feel as bad. I definitely have my moments though! I do have moments of feeling crazy, like why am I feeling this way when I have a roof over my head, food, loving husband, friends, family, and I AM HEALTHY AND ALIVE. I feel like I come off ungrateful since I do have so much, and then I say well some people have it WAY worse than me, so why am I sitting here sobbing? Yes, people do have it worse, but that doesn’t mean your feelings aren’t valid and true. Honor those feelings and acknowledge them! When you are going through something, it is very real for you and so do not feel bad for feeling that way.

My depression got really bad before I moved to Georgia and I was going out more, and using tactics to “not deal with it.” I was making bad decisions and felt so exhausted from these feelings for so long. I started to feel super depressed again while living in Georgia because I felt very alone. It always goes back to that feeling of being alone, feeling lonely, lack of connection, guilt over the past, and comparing myself to others and their progress in life. It started to get to the point where I couldn’t go to work or do normal activities. I felt like I was always looking backward and into the past and living there. I would constantly go through old photos, post old photos, and would wish things could be different. This is when I knew I needed professional help, and I was so scared to get it but I was more scared to keep living in these thoughts.

How therapy helped and gave me the tools to heal

I was actually really proud of myself for getting professional help, and for those of you listening do not be ashamed if you do! That is a sight of strength. I have learned it is okay to ask for help, and that I do not need to keep living my life this way, and it is time to rise above. Therapy is where it started and wow that has changed my life. First, I tried Cognitive behavioral therapy which is a psycho-social intervention that aims to improve mental health. It focuses on challenging and changing unhelpful cognitive distortion’s and behaviors, improving emotional regulation, and the development of personal coping strategies that target solving current problems. I would go into therapy and tell her current situations going on, and she would help me change the way I think about them and the way I react. It was about training my brain to change my “usual” response and to rewire it to a healthier response. These tools helped me a lot! I started to be able to communicate my feelings more and be able to understand myself better. I realized I am not crazy, and that there are reasons why I think this way. I stopped going to that therapist and saw another and it was more basic therapy that worked better for me. I loved the tools from the first, but never be afraid to switch therapist if the one you have isn’t working for you! I love the one I have now and have seen her for three years. She has helped me understand things on such a deeper level, and it is crazy how much comes from our past, and how we are used to handling things. She has been able to really help me work through past stuff and find the strength to create boundaries and loving relationships that will last and to mainly love myself and to not be so hard on myself. My feelings and experiences were very valid and so are yours!

Psychiatry experience

My therapist recommended seeing a Psychiatrist for me to get on medication and this is when a whole new world started. For those of you curious about these appointments, they are an EXPERIENCE, to say the least. I went to my first appointment, and there is a student in school who is the assistant asking me over 100 questions and to rate my feelings about topics on a 1-5 scale. This is so scary because you almost don’t want to be honest about your suicidal thoughts, so you don’t get committed on a 72-hour hold, and you also don’t know how you truly feel. It is a weird experience, and there is no in-between or being able to explain the reason you feel this way. It is based on numbers, facts, and way different than therapy. Then, I met with the nurse and talked to her about my situation, and then the Doctor came in for like 1 min and handed me my prescriptions. It is very business-like and not a “feel good” experience. I left there with 4 prescriptions, and was more terrified than ever! At the time I was planning a wedding, dealing with my husband traveling for work, personal issues, and working and school full time. I needed these meds in order to handle all of this, honestly.

My medication journey

I started my journey with anti-depressants, sleeping meds, and two different anxiety meds. It was very hard because you can’t drink on them, and not like I drink much but the occasional wine I had to be very careful about. Then the weight gain started and this really made me mad! I kept wondering why I couldn’t lose weight, and it made sense because I was on so many medications. The anti-depressant I was on was an SSRI that have fewer side effects than past anti-depressants. For those who don’t know, SSRI is Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and increase the level of the neurotransmitter serotonin by limiting its reuptake into the presynaptic cell, which increases the level of serotonin in the synaptic cleft available to bind to the receptor. Basically, it increases your level of serotonin and makes more available to pass further messages between nearby nerve cells.

I will say medication truly saved my life and helped me connect more to people again. I was able to make phone calls, hang out with people, go to work, work out, and have a healthy relationship with myself. I would highly recommend medication to anyone who thinks they need help and do not feel ashamed for doing so!

Getting off anti-depressants

A few years later, I got to a point where I wanted my body to be more natural and to let go of all the meds. I felt happy and in a better place so thought I could do it. You are supposed to slowly wing of anti-depressants and I did and followed all orders. Although, it was one of the hardest things I ever went through last year. I was having brain zaps, out-of-body experiences, depression, anxiety, fatigue, hard to connect with others, and basically, all my symptoms came back. I thought I was never going to be the same and thought this would never end. During this time, I highly suggest you eat really healthy, get a lot of sleep, and make sure to have people you trust to watch you and support you. Continue therapy because I think that is one of the main things that got me through it. I still take meds to help me sleep, because at night is when I get super anxious and start thinking about so many different topics. I think of things I need to get done, things I have been lacking on, and just things in general. My mind races and I can’t turn it off, and so the sleeping meds and have helped me so much. When I get good sleep then I can be functional the next day, and it also helps me with my depression. After a very LONG 5 months winging off these meds, I started to feel back to normal. Although, I still have very big highs and low lows so I am never against going back on them if I need them.

The Silver Lining

I started being more grateful for my flaws, and for my journey. My heartaches, setbacks, and pain are what has made me a stronger person, and someone who has a story to tell. Through my stories I have been able to help others, and that is something I have always wanted to do but didn’t know-how. I would try to help others see the good in them because I saw their potential, even when they didn’t. That can be very draining and exhausting! This also put me in very toxic relationships of trying to be a “fixer,” when really, that person needs to work on themselves and I can support and love them for who they are. The real energy needs to go into me and worrying about that. It doesn’t mean you are being a bad person, and it is okay to be selfish. Selfish always sounds like a bad word, but YOU NEED TO BE. You need to put yourself first, because if you don’t take care of you then you can’t have loving relationships with others. I am still working on this, but I can say that I have overcome a lot. I have found healthier ways to cope with and actually deal with my emotions. I try not to avoid what I am feeling, but the most important lesson I can give you from my experience is…..

“It is OKAY to feel down, feel your feelings, but do not stay in them”

This was a very hard lesson for me to learn, and I still struggle with it. I think when I would sulk for too long, and continue that sad playlist then I would stay down and in this endless cycle that I could not pull myself out of. I have to put on upbeat music and have to do more things that light my soul on fire, and that inspires me. I have to do more things for me, and do things that make me feel confident, happy, and alive! Your feelings are valid and I hope this post makes you feel less crazy and less alone in your feelings.

“Vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness”

What has helped me fight the darkness

  • Don’t do things you don’t wanna do & don’t feel GUILTY for not going
  • When you are exhausted learn to rest and not be hard on yourself for doing so
  • Do activities that make you feel happy
  • Therapy: CBT, DBT, or regular mental health help
  • DBT workbook: From Amazon, it is a workbook that gives you exercises for learning mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation & distress tolerance
  • Getting out into nature
  • Medication(Seek out professional help for this and do research)
  • Showering, washing my face, brushing my teeth! (These simple tasks can even be difficult when feeling down)
  • Less drinking and going out. Alcohol is a depressant and it is easy to drink the worries away, but it can end up bad if you go out in that mindset
  • More me time (Self-care)
  • Yoga
  • Opening up about my depression and talking about it, and to talk to people when I feel down and get support
  • Having people you can trust and talk to
  • Creating boundaries
  • Vitamins and herbal supplements
  • Don’t look back at the past, use it as a learning experience and make peace with it.
  • Focus on the PRESENT 🙂
  • Essential oils: Lavender and Frankincense oil are amazing combos! (I always have a diffuser by my bed and in my office) I also spray lavender on my pillow before bed to help me calm down and relax before sleeping
  • Meditation: Apps I use are; Headspace, Insight Timer, Simple Habit, & Mindbliss
  • Journaling: This is very healing and feels good to let things out and down on paper
  • Having my dog helps me get out of bed and forces me to get outside for walks- which can be difficult but ends up helping my mood overall
  • Eating healthier: The body and mind are connected and we store a lot of stress in our gut, and that can lead to stomach issues and more.
  • Connecting with other like-minded people
  • Self Help Books: *The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer, *YOU ARE A BADASS by Sincero, *10% Happier by Dan Harris, *Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown
  • A fun/uplifting playlist (Spotify has ones based on mood)
  • Allowing yourself to feel sad and acknowledging the emotions, working through them, but not staying in that down mindset
  • Forgiveness (Forgive yourself and others)
  • Have compassion for yourself and be thankful for all you’ve overcome
  • My grandma Duffy taught me to put makeup on and get dressed because when you look good you feel good- and feel more confident

You got this

I just want to say if you are struggling right now with depression you are not alone, and you will overcome this. I hope these tools will help and I hope my story will help you feel less alone. There are so many resources so do not go through this on your own. You are loved, valued, and seen. By the way, I am not a professional so this is all based on personal experience and what I have learned along the way.

Sending love and light

XOXO

Tuscany

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