Tips for coping with anxiety from a Psychiatrist, part two.

In working with a Psychiatrist to help cope with the massive amounts of anxiety I’ve been dealing with this year, I’ve been learning a lot about myself. I’ve also been learning a lot of how deal with the anxiety that I have. It’s an invaluable lesson and I’m passing along the things that my psychiatrist is teaching me in hopes that it may resonate with others.

One of the things that she’s teaching me is that, when you’re anxious, it’s really easy to believe things that aren’t necessarily true.

When I get anxious, everything pisses me off. Things that would normally roll-off-my-back seem like insurmountable feats and, it really doesn’t matter what people do, it’s just going to make me angry. As a result, I tend to alienate myself from people. And, when I alienate myself from people, my head is filled with even more anxious thoughts and beliefs that I don’t belong around people and that the people in my life don’t like me. It’s a vicious cycle that I’ve been spinning in for months now. Spending some time sitting down with my psychiatrist and talking about this cycle, she’s provided me some tips to help keep myself calm when I get anxious.

So here are the tips:

  1. When you’re anxious and your spinning, thinking negative thoughts that you cannot control,ask yourself “Is this really true?” Really stop and think about it. Don’t just allow yourself to say ‘Yes it’s true’. How do you know it’s true? Are you thinking inside of said person’s brain? Do you know their thoughts? Do you have hard and fast evidence of what said person is thinking? Because if you cannot prove with 100% certainty that the thoughts/feelings that are making you anxious are, in fact, 100% truth, you need to reflect that on yourself, not on them. Learning to take those situations and put it on yourself, saying “Why am I thinking this? Why is my brain doing this?” will allow you to be more cognizant of your negative thoughts and how to see past them when you do get annoyed/anxious/frustrated.
  2. Self-care is so integral. Looking after yourself on the outside will help you to feel better on the inside. Exercise. Wash your face. Put your feet up when you get the opportunity. Take the little moments that you get during the day to treat yourself, or enjoy yourself. Go to a yoga class, if you can. Or, if you can’t go to Yoga, practice some at-home meditation. When your body is at peace, it will help your mind to be at peace, so don’t just do these things when you feel anxious, do them always.
  3. Don’t own anyone’s bullshit but your own. This one is a big problem for me, and it’s something that I bet a lot of people who struggle with mental illness struggle with. I think that, largely, when you’re anxious and struggling, it can be very easy for you to take on the burden of someone’s lies, bullshit or nonsense without even thinking twice about it. This is something that you need to recognize when it’s happening and put a stop to. If someone lies to you, don’t just accept the lie, call them out on it. Say ‘Thank you, but I do not deserve your lies’. If someone treats you unfairly, remind them that it’s a reflection of them and not yourself. Actually say it out loud… not just inside of your head. Speaking our truth, saying the words in a manner which they can hear will do more for your psyche than anything else in that moment. Feel free to leave the burden of their bullshit with them.
  4. Don’t let negativity people rent space in your head. This one ties back to my previous post (Tips for coping with anxiety from a Psychiatrist). When people in your life are being particularly negative, it’s really easy to let them eat away at you. What my psychiatrist recommends doing is keeping a happy memory, one happy memory, in your mind and regurgitating that memory in your head or out loud when someone’s negativity is tearing you down. Forcing yourself to think of happy thoughts in the moments when someone is being particularly shitty, it will force much needed serotonin into your brain and provide you the extra ‘umph’ you need in order to end the situation. Whether that be walking away from it, telling them to shut up, asking them kindly to move on, or however you end up doing it, when you’re thinking happy thoughts in your mind, it’ll be easier for you to kick their negativity to the curb.
  5. Find your strength. One of the things that my Psychiatrist tells me is that I’m really good at standing up for other people and for coming to the rescue of someone I love or someone that I care about, but when it comes to myself, I tend to lay down and die (so to speak). I have a feeling I am not the only one. One of the best ways to cope with your anxiety is to find your strength, she says. Knowing that you have the power to stand up for yourself is so integral to switching off the negative parts to your brain.
  6. Clean your space. This one should go without saying, but it can also often be a struggle for people. If you’re living in a space that is dirty, cluttered or dusty, it can contribute vastly to your mental health. Much like how SAD(Seasonal Affected Disorder) is a real thing, (Space Affected Disorder) is also very much a real thing. If your indoor space is the equivalent of dark, grey, rainy and gross days, it’s going to to affect the way in which you view the world. Pick up where you can. Dust when you have a few spare moments. Throw away or recycle clutter that you don’t need. It will help you long term.

Most of all, she says, is to go easy on yourself. Your issues are valid and you need time to properly grieve in order to move past them. This is a life-long commitment that you need to make to yourself in order to feel better. You owe it to yourself.

Stop wasting time, start getting things done.

It can be exceptionally easy to plop yourself down on the couch and kiss a few hours of a day goodbye, if you allow yourself.

I have an exceptionally easy time putting off tasks. I can waste the day away, I can waste a week away without even thinking twice about it. And lately I am realizing that I can’t be like that anymore.

For a lot of people, wasting time is not even about laziness. There isn’t so much a desire to just lay on the couch and waste the day away. For a lot of people, deep down, there’s an anxious mind propagating fears. The fears of messing up that keep us from even starting a task in the process, this is what contributes greatly to wasting time. I have a lot of those fears, and I have them often.

Note to self: stop wasting time, start getting things done.

  • Ask yourself ‘why?’ Why am I procrastinating? Do I know how to start? Do I know where to start? D I have the courage to do this, to get things done and to not stop until it’s complete? Don’t be afraid to ask yourself the hard questions.

Too many people live with the notion that if it can’t be done perfectly then it shouldn’t be done at all. This is wrong.

  • Don’t aim for perfection. Aim to get things done. Once progress has already begun, or a task has already been completed, it is much easier to edit or reorganize your work after the fact.
  • Clear distractions from your life. If having the tv on is going to cause you to lose focus, put the remote away. If having your laptop on is going to distract you, put your laptop under your bed. Don’t allow yourself the opportunity to get distracted.
  • Write shit down. Write it all down. Write down what you need to get done, and hey, if you can, write down some things you’ve already done. There’s a certain catharsis that comes from being able to cross something off your to do list. Just seeing something crossed off will provide you added motivation to cross more off.
  • Give yourself a window of time. Be it ten minutes, be it an hour, be it a day or a week or whatever time frame you give yourself, set a time limit. If you have a limit of time in which you can get things done, you will be more inclined to finish things before your deadline.
  • Celebrate your accomplishments. It’s important to note that when you get something done you need to celebrate the accomplishment. Celebrating finishing a task will help you with motivation for future tasks, and, if you are one of those people who gets anxious about things, or has fear of the future, celebrating the small victories can be really helpful for your confidence level.

Day 50: If someone tears you down, that’s a reflection of them and not you.

Honestly, my thoughts make a lot more sense inside my head then on the page in front of me. Nevertheless, here I go:

It’s funny, you know… putting your faith in someone. You work so hard to keep the walls up for so long and someone waltzes into your life convincing you to let your guard down. And they abuse that. And they abuse the trust you put in them.  That’s how it always happens, right? And instead of finding yourself back at square, it’s almost as though you’ve reverted back to step negative four. You’re worse off than before and that’s just how it goes.

I truly believe that there are people in this world who will opt to believe you’re a bad person in order to shed the guilt they feel for how they treat you.

‘If someone tears you down, that’s a reflection on them, not you.’

I have to keep telling myself this. And truthfully, it’s not easy task convincing myself. But, it’s a really good reminder, every day. Good people don’t tear other people down. Good people don’t convince you to trust them and then fuck that up. (Excuse my language)

It’s easy to think that you’re the problem. It’s extremely easy for me to think that I am the cause, that this is my fault and that I deserve the poor behaviour, language and attitude being sent my direction.

I deserve more. Good people do not tear others down. I deserve good people in my life and so do you. Don’t ever settle for anything less than what you know you deserve.

You’re not the problem. They are. If they screw with your trust, don’t give it back to them.

Okay, I think I’m done for now. I might add more to this later, but right now that’s where my head is at.

Day 48: A sign, an earring and a reminder to just breathe.

Gabe, the three legged chihuahua is giving me some hardcore side-eye right now. How dare I sit on this bed without allowing him to sit on my lap.

It’s been a little more than one month since I created a wordpress account and subsequently, this blog. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined the sincere and genuine kindness that I would have come across just by making a blog ‘on-the-line’. (Shout out to anyone who has seen ‘The Intern’) I’ve come to find that the interwebs are filled with incredibly kind and genuine people with nothing but love to share and provide total strangers. It’s a nice feeling to know that there are so many of you out there. It gives me hope. Thank you to each and every one of you who has shown me kindness. Especially to those of you who left me suggestions on how to help with my anxiety.

In other news, on February 11th I placed an order for earrings on a boutique website. I’d been eyeing them up for a while, deciding whether or not I could justify spending the money on them, and finally decided to pull the trigger. I paid for express shipping in hopes that the ‘2-3 Business days’ promised under the express column meant there might be a slight chance that I could have them for Valentine’s Day. When I hadn’t received a shipping notification by February 14th I sent an email to the boutique to ask where my earrings were. Apparently, unbeknownst to anyone, there’s a 5-10 business day handling period prior to shipping. So paying for express shipping would be 2-3 to ship following the 5-10 handling period at the boutique. As a small business, I can understand a need for time to process orders. What I cannot understand is why you don’t tell your customers that. Had I known that there was a handling period, I would not have paid for express shipping. Perhaps it’s just my needing to rant, but as a small business, you should be willing to be transparent with your customers about things like that. It’s good business and it’s good for survival.

My anxiety has gone down considerable amounts since yesterday. I think that I was overly nervous for my cat-scan last night. Being confined to small spaces, especially a cat scan machine, wasn’t sitting well with me. It’s nerve-wracking thinking something could be wrong with me. I’m trying to practice patience, though. And also, to find solace in the fact that they are trying to figure out what’s wrong and not just leaving me be. Knight and I went to the gym today t blow off some steam and that helped considerably. I’m going to take some of the suggestions that were left in the comments of my last post and try to start working them into my days. The way I figure, it’s worth a shot.

Plans for tomorrow include sending off my resume to a few more leads. Also – there’s apparently a coffee shop in town that has a wall of old books you can sit and read while you’re in there. Perhaps I’ll take my laptop and spend a few hours outside of the house.

Reminder to self: just breathe.

It’s time to find a job. A job that furthers my career. Just waiting on someone to realize what a badass addition I would be to their office.

Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.

Sending love ❤

Tired and uninspired.

2019 has been kicking my ass. That’s become a phrase that I’m using a lot this year. At 1.5 months into this year, I’m wondering where the time went while also wondering why everything is going so slowly.

This just in – I am still unemployed. And it’s not for lack of trying. I even had a professional writer take a look at my resume to tell me what was wrong with it. It’s good. Trust me, it’s good. Somehow though, that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that I have ten years experience, a degree, or anything that’s listed on my resume. I am just another one of the bunch. And since the bunch is plentiful, here I am… serving as the token unemployed millennial. Such a stereotype. Such I am.

In other news, my mother’s chemotherapy has been delayed. The poor woman seems to be allergic to just about everything, so, I guess the doctor’s are hesitant to completely destroy her immune system until they know that she’s not going to adversely react to the medications she’s required to take through the process. Knowing that this process is being prolonged is affecting my anxiety in copious amounts. It’s hard enough to have to watch your mom go through something like this, but it’s getting harder knowing that it’s so much more complicated than we originally thought it would be.

I’m still homeless. It’s been difficult. Though I’ve lasted 12 days at this point so I am pretty proud of myself for that. I find myself missing simple things… like being able to open the cupboard and see exactly what I want to eat in there… or being able to leave the dishes in the sink and wash them later. Or just sitting down on my own couch. Things are just things, I am aware of this. I am now realizing though just how much comfort some of these things can bring… especially when you might just be in a frail state yourself (and not wanting to admit to it).

I have a CT-Scan booked for Saturday. I was quite amazed that I actually got it booked so quickly. Hopefully though, they’ll be able to see what’s really going on inside of my head and provide me some relief to this constant pressure in my face. The doctor thinks it’s internal damage from a broken nose, but needs a CT-Scan to see the extent of the damage. I guess we’ll find out on Saturday. As if there wasn’t enough to worry about in my life already…

To take a moment and talk about the bonuses – Knight and I travelled to Lake Louise to see the Ice Magic Festival this past weekend. It was magical, and everything I’d ever wanted it to be. I’ve had dreams of seeing it since I was a kid, so being able to be there and see it up close and personal was a pretty big check off my bucket-list.

Here’s to trying to see the positives through all the mess.

And self-care. Self care is very important.

Travel Diaries: I left my heart in the Rocky Mountains.

There’s a song by Joe Walsh called Rocky Mountain Way. The first line of the song, ‘spent the last year Rocky Mountain way, couldn’t get much higher’, aptly describes my feelings towards this perfect part of the world.

I still remember the first time my parents took us into the mountains. Growing up with the pacific ocean just minutes from my front doorstep, I’d never experienced anything close to the majestic nature of the mountains before. And the Rocky Mountains, they’re like any other on earth.


I’d never seen anything so beautiful in my life. I remember sitting in the car getting lost in the views outside the window. Anywhere you turn. Everywhere you turn. Seeing snow in June. Seeing elk walking down the sidewalk as though they’re humans. Those four days will forever stand out in my mind as my favourite holiday ever taken with my family.


I have stood/sat at this lake shore in every season under every type of weather imaginable and it is always the most beautiful sight I have ever seen. That being said, Lake Louise definitely has a certain je ne sais quoi about it during the winter months.

Being able to walk out on the frozen lake and look back at the shore is an experience everyone should try in their lifetime. It’s something so small, but it means so much when you’re doing it. And, if you happen to catch Lake Louise in late January you can see some incredible ice sculptures built on the lake each year as a part of the Ice Magic Festival. Info here: https://www.banfflakelouise.com/ice-magic-festival

Things to do in Lake Louise:

  • Lake Louise. That’s it. Just go see it. You have to. Sit at the shore. Walk around the lake. Take the horse-drawn carriage. However you do it, just go.

If you carry on down the highway to Banff you will find the tourist mecca that is (quite possibly) the most known of Canadian town in the country of Australia. Banff caters to tourists. Amidst the big chain stores (that normally are only found in larger city centers) there are tiny little one-of-a-kind cafes and shops where you can truly find the spirit of the mountains.

Highlights of Banff:

  • The Rose and Crown – incredible food and has some really fantastic staff.
  • Banff Ave – This is the most photographed piece of Banff. Main street is worth the wander, just to see what kind of treasures you can find.
  • Mount Norquay – Head up Mount Norquay to see some incredible views of the town from above, and, of the landscapes surrounding Banff in the national park. Info here: https://banffnorquay.com/

Now, Canmore. Let’s talk about Canmore. Do you remember when you were a kid and your parents would read you storybooks about perfect tiny little towns where everyone knows everyone and everything is good? Those books were written about Canmore. Well, maybe not. But, if ever there were a town that could have served as motivation for those books, it would be Canmore, a tiny little town of dreams in the mountains.

When you wander into Starbucks you see the barista wearing a nametag that says “Songbird” and you’re quickly reminded of the slower pace of life that comes in small towns.

Don’t get me wrong. Canmore is a resort town. There are some incredibly breathtaking places to stay in Canmore. The thing that I love about Canmore so much more than Banff, though, is that it’s less touristy. It’s more home-y… if that makes sense. Everything seems to be within walking distance from you, and even if it isn’t, you want to walk anyways because the views are so breathtaking.

I love Canmore. I’ve been 15,000 times in the past six years. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but truly, if I could have been 15,000 times, I probably would have. Take a hike, take a bike, see the galleries, eat the food, be at peace in this tiny little town in the Rockies.

Must see in Canmore:

  • The Drake Pub – Trust me, you won’t regret it.
  • Dogsledding – Do it. Epitomize what it means to be in winter. Info here: https://howlingdogtours.com/our-tours
  • Golfing – Stewart Creek Golf & Country Club is one of the most incredible courses I’ve ever had the privilege of golfing. If you’re a golfer and you visit in summer, check it out. Info here: http://www.stewartcreekgolf.com/

Day 27: What’s it like to be homeless?

The day that I was fired from my job I gave notice that I would be moving out of this apartment. At the time it seemed like the right thing to do. I didn’t want to be here, and if I wasn’t working, why should I stay? I was clearly way too over-confident in thinking that I would have everything sorted out in one-month’s time.

Here we are 27 days later and I don’t have any more answers now than I had the day I gave my notice. I’m packing my things, cleaning my apartment and getting ready to become a stow-away/couch surfer/mooch from everyone I know.

In the truest, societal definition of the sense, I am not ‘homeless’. I won’t be on the streets. I won’t be in dire straights not knowing where my next meal will come from. Thankfully, I do have some extremely wonderful and loving people in my life whom I know will make sure I have a place to sleep during this awkward transition I seem to be going through. That being said, it’s going to be weird to be of no fixed address. To not have my things and my bed and say I am going home to my place at the end of each day. Maybe I’ll get used to that. Maybe I’ll even like that. It might be nice to have nothing to tie one’s-self down.

The one thought that has remained constant during the past 27 days is the desire to travel. I have the most intense, urgent desire to up and leave everything behind and see the world. I want to take beautiful photos, eat exhilarating foods and spend all of my savings just living. Truly living.

Perhaps I’m wrong. But then again we’re all allowed to make our own definitions of what it means to truly live. I can’t shake this feeling though that there’s got to be more out there for me than a cubicle with my name on it.

Maybe I don’t need a fixed address. Maybe what I need is out there… somewhere in this world that I have yet to travel.

Question of the day: where’s your ideal travel destination?