A dear friend of mine, Ashok, recently told me that I should end each day by saying ‘Today was a good day, today I am grateful’.
I’m trying to take his advice to heart, knowing that if I start believing the better, I’ll start seeing the better. I’ve always been someone who’s had a hard time getting past the negatives in a day. But I’m making changes. I’m trying to remind myself the good is more important, and that I need to stop and pay more attention to it when it comes.
Today was a beautiful summer day. In what’s a seemingly rare occasion around here this season, the sun was shining… all day long, the birds chirped, the world (at least my corner of it) was peaceful. Anxiety will always be a part of me, but that doesn’t mean it has to be the largest part. Today, my anxiety did not win.
This is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot as of late. People are so quick to state that it’s the wrong time, that they’re not ready, you’re not ready or I’m not ready. Everyone’s got an opinion about the wrong time. Something that people never seem to want to share though is, when is the right time?
With all the things I’ve been through this year, with all the things that everything has been through this year, why are we questioning the wrong timing rather than living in the now?
A friend of mine was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Now, understandably so, all they can think/talk about is all of the mountains they never climbed, all of the marathons they never ran and all of the times they put these things off for work, or for ‘life’ not really thinking one day they wouldn’t be able anymore.
Point of this story? The right time is right now. Stop telling yourself that it’s the wrong time. Stop telling yourself that you’ll do it later. If it’s something that you want, do it. Do it now. If something is happening, whether it’s in your control or not, this is what is supposed to be happening. This is something that I’ve had to learn the hard way… because it’s been a crappy year. Even just typing that, I feel like a broken record as I know it’s something I’ve said all too many times before.
When you’re going through a hard time it can feel like everyone and everything is against you. And honestly, on my bad days, that’s what I’ve spent a lot of time this year believing. However, I watched an interview between Stephen Colbert and Anderson Cooper last night to which Stephen Colbert said something that really struck me.
I’m paraphrasing here:
“I’ve learned to the love the thing that I wish most had not happened. What punishments of god are not gifts?”
It’s a gift to exist. It’s a gift to exist. And with existence, comes suffering. There’s no escaping that.
If you’re grateful for your life, you have to be grateful for all of it.
If you’re grateful for your life, you have to be grateful for all of it. The good, the bad, the happy, the sad. And with that understanding comes the realization that the right time is right now. Whether it’s good or bad, happy or sad, right now is the right time for what is happening to you, for what you want and desire most, for what you think you cannot handle but absolutely can.
If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to have the weight lifted off your shoulders, I think this is what has done it for me. Honestly, these shitty times are setting me up for something. They have to be. And that’s why I’m choosing to believe that what’s happening right now is supposed to be happening right now.
Stop putting something off because it’s not the right time. Don’t tell yourself you can’t have a baby or buy a house or go on a trip or pierce your nose or change your career path. Do it.
*This definitely sounded a lot more coherent in my head. Ah well, I’m leaving it now.
*Please note – the information contained in this post is not from someone of a medical background. It’s the explanation of a story to share and hopefully inform. Questions regarding this subject should be directed to a doctor or medical professional.
In 2018, after feeling utterly exhausted and ill for a long period of time, a doctor sent me for a blood test. This, being the first of many blood tests that I had done in 2018, revealed that I was/am severely deficient in Vitamin B12.
I’m sharing this story because it’s estimated that as many as 1 in 4 people are deficient in Vitamin B12 and attributing their tell-tale symptoms to something else. It seems like such a small thing, being deficient in one Vitamin, but it makes a world of difference in how your body and mind function.
What is the issue? Having vitamin B12 deficiency means that your body does not have enough of this vitamin. You need B12 to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen through your body. Not having enough B12 can lead to anemia, which means your body does not have enough red blood cells to do the job. This can make you feel weak and tired. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause damage to your nerves and can affect memory and thinking.
What causes it? Most people get more than enough B12 from eating meat, eggs, milk, and cheese. Normally, the vitamin is absorbed by your digestive system—your stomach and intestines. Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia usually happens when the digestive system is not able to absorb the vitamin. This can happen if:
You have pernicious anemia. In this anemia, your body destroys the cells in your stomach that help you absorb vitamin B12.
You have had surgery to remove part of the stomach or the last part of your small intestine, called the ileum. This includes some types of surgery used to help very overweight people lose weight.
You have problems with the way your body digests food, such as sprue (also called celiac disease), Crohn’s disease, bacteria growth in the small intestine, or a parasite.
This anemia can also happen if you don’t eat enough foods with B12. People who eat a vegan diet and older adults who don’t eat a variety of foods may need to take a daily vitamin pill to get enough B12. Other causes include drinking alcohol and taking some prescription and non-prescription medicines.
What are the symptoms? If your vitamin B12 deficiency is mild, you may not have symptoms or you may not notice them. Some people may think they are just the result of growing older. As the anemia gets worse, you may:
Feel weak, tired, and light-headed.
Have pale skin.
Have a sore, red tongue or bleeding gums.
Feel sick to your stomach and lose weight.
Have diarrhea or constipation.
If the level of vitamin B12 stays low for a long time, it can damage your nerve cells. If this happens, you may have:
Numbness or tingling in your fingers and toes.
A poor sense of balance.
Dementia, a loss of mental abilities.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can also weaken your body’s ability to fight off infection, due to the lack of production of red blood cells. For me, the biggest symptom I suffered was a persistent infection that my body could not fight off. No amount of natural or medicinal remedies could cure the infection. Following the results of the blood test, the doctor attributed my lack of ability to fighting off the infection to my lack of B12.
The Blood test results showed that my body has less than half the recommended levels of B12 in my body. The B12 in my body was so low, The Doctor actually gave me a shot of B12 that very day before I left his office.
Symptoms I was experiencing with B12 deficiency:
Extreme exhaustion – I was having difficulties being awake for four hour periods at a time and sleeping, at times, up to 20 hours a day.
Persistent Infection – One that I could not get over, naturally or with antibiotics
Persistent Headaches – I had a headache every day.
Unbearable brain fog – I felt almost as though there was a dark cloud clogging my brain that was causing me to have issues thinking, reading and talking.
Joint Pain – I had frequent joint pain in weird parts of my body that I couldn’t explain. My mom said that I was arthritic like her, but when I started taking B12 supplements, the joint pain went away.
Vitamin B12 occurs naturally in the following foods:
Beef, liver, fish and shellfish
Dairy products: Milk, yogurt and cheese
Honestly, if you find yourself feeling frequently exhausted, look at your diet and see how much of these foods you eat or do not eat. Could your body be lacking in B12? Increasing B12 in your body is always a benefit and if you are low in the Vitamin, it’s a natural way to boost your body’s immunity.
Unfortunately, for me, these foods are not foods that I am able to eat, due to allergy, celiac disease and lactose-intolerance (which is likely why I was so deficient).
There is medical research comparing a lack of B12 in the body to increased rates of depression and anxiety.
Is lack of B12 cause your depression? From what I’ve read, very likely not. Could having more B12 improve your symptoms and make your depression seem less awful? From what I’ve read, probably.
As with all things you red on the internet that contain information about health, I would HIGHLY, HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend speaking to your doctor about it if you do have questions. I’m not a dcotor, and I’m not stating that anything in this article is anything more than personal experience and information from the internet.
So please, please, please, whether you’re experiencing similar symptoms or have questions about something you’re dealing with, talk to your doctor.
The goal of therapy is to give yourself the necessary tools to help cope, improve or get through whatever situations you’re dealing with that are causing you to struggle. And truth be told, majority of the work done in therapy takes place outside of the Therapist’s office. This is because a Therapist doesn’t fix you, you fix yourself.
What this means is that you have the real power to enact change in your life. Consider taking small steps every day to help yourself feel better. The following are genuine suggestions provided by a therapist to help improve your present situation, if you’re in need of the boost to your well being.
Love, appreciate and respect yourself. If you’re willing to love, appreciate and respect others in your life, why aren’t you willing to do the same for yourself? Imagine what you could accomplish if you directed those feelings towards yourself.
When you’re stuck in a negative spiral, write down three things that you like about yourself. It could be something so simple as ‘I love that I’m tall’. Reminding yourself of the things you like about yourself will help to boost your self-esteem in times of need whilst also forcing some much needed serotonin to your brain to help your mood.
If you cannot control the situation, try to find a positive in every negative. Take your negative situations and turn them on their head. Even if it’s the smallest of positives, every positive thought will do your brain benefit. Ex: Did you get fired from your job? It sucks, yeah. Remind yourself that you dodged a bullet because you hated that job and the people who worked there. Is someone being a real asshole towards you lately? Remind yourself that their actions are a reflection of who they are and not of you.
Do something nice for yourself each day. It’s easy to neglect yourself when you’re in a slump. This, in fact, is one of the worst things you can do for yourself. Treat yourself well. Give yourself a reason to relax. Give yourself a reason to smile. You’ll thank yourself for it.
Make a list of ‘your people’. You know the people who you can call or text any time of the day and they’ll respond, be receptive to what you’ve got to say and try their best to help? Put them on your list and consider it cultivation of our inner circle. These are the people who are going to help you when you’re in your low moments and these are the people you need/want to keep around when you’re on top of the world.
Don’t let your inner-voice win. Anyone who’s dealt with mental health issues can agree, your inner-voice is a duplicitous SOB. Not only that, but it can often feel as though your head wins over your heart every time. Don’t let that negativity rear its ugly head without fighting back. When your brain tells you that you suck, say ‘not at all’. When your brain tells you that no one likes you, say ‘you’re lying’. Don’t let that inner-voice win. It seems easier said than done, so in these moments when you need to tell yourself better, imagine the advice you’d give to your best friend. Take that advice and give it to yourself.
Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution and when your main goal should be to fix things and make your life better, you don’t need that negativity in your life.
Exercise. Every day. Just thirty minutes of minimal exercise is the equivalent to a low-dose of Prozac for your brain. If you’re needing your mood brightened then take a walk, go to the gym, climb the stairs, go for a run, play some basketball, play some baseball. Just exercise. However you do it, it will benefit your mental and physical health.
Cut-back on the alcohol. If you find that you drink when you’re stressed, depressed, anxious or down, you’re probably not doing yourself any good. The alcohol may mask your feelings for a few hours, but the monster will rear its ugly head when the buzz wears off. Using alcohol as a coping mechanism is a crutch… one that isn’t doing you any favours.
Have a night-time ritual. It’s a well known fact that a good night’s sleep is integral to your health and well being. When you’re depressed, anxious, stressed or struggling, getting a good night’s sleep can seem like the world’s most difficult task. Train your body that certain activities are winding you down at the end of each day. Doing this when your in a good place will hep you to do this when you’re not in a good place, so to speak.
Remember that you, and only you, have the power to enact real change in your life. Take control of your mental health today and remember that it takes time to see real improvement. There is no quick fix, you need to make a serious and genuine investment in your well being.
Want to read more on the subjects of mental health and self care? CLICK HERE
I first came across the concept of mindfulness in Yoga. I took a 16 week beginners class to learn the basics of the art in an effort to relieve some stress and, hopefully, make myself a little more flexible. And I truly think it worked. I do remember leaving each of those yoga classes with an inherent sense of calm.
It’s been a while since I’ve been to yoga class. Not for any other reason than that life gets in the way sometimes. But, I’ve come across the practice of mindfulness, one of the key concepts of yoga, in another area of life. It’s true, ‘they’ swear by mindfulness in therapy.
One of the things I’ve been told in therapy is that I could benefit from being a lot more mindful. And honestly, that’s true. The more that I think about it though, the more that I think everyone can benefit from being more mindful.
At times it can come across as a tad hokey. It’s worth the effort, if you’re willing to put forth the time.
*Please keep in mind, I did not write the following. It was a hand-out written by my therapist. I was asked to put it on my wall to remind me to practice mindfulness as I go about each day.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is experiencing the present moment in a non-judgmental way. It is paying attention with a welcoming and allowing attitude… noticing whatever we are experiencing in our thoughts, behaviour and feelings.
Making changes in our life begins with awareness. Awareness means paying attention to what we are doing, thinking and feeling. We then have the option to either accept things or change them.
Practicing mindfulness teaches us to relax and remain alert in the midst of the problems and joys of life. It encourages us to pause in the moment and respond to life with curiosity and a welcoming attitude.
How do you practice mindfulness?
The practice of mindfulness focuses on four areas: body, emotions, thoughts and inner self/soul.
Begin by becoming aware of your breath. Simply notice the sensations of the breath in the nose, throat, lungs or belly. Follow the breath just as it is. The goal is not to change it but to observe it and be mindful of each breath.
Once you’ve mastered your breath, mindfulness can extend to noticing: body sensations such as pain, pleasure, heat, cold, tension and relaxation, emotions such as fear, anger, sadness and happiness, thoughts that arise in the mind in the form of sentences, words, fragments and images and your connection with your inner-self and with the universe.
The purpose is to fully experience and be aware of whatever might arise within you… calm, security, panic, fear…
The practice of mindfulness, when you’ve worked at it enough, will continue you as you move through your day, becoming more and more aware of your reactions as you go about your daily activities. Are you breathing more heavily when you’re scared? Do you breathe more deeply when you’re calm? How do you react in situations? How can you use that knowledge to better deal with situations in future?
It is believed that by staying in the present, being aware of who we are, how we feel and how we react to our day as we go through it, we’ll be less likely to get caught up in worries about the future or regrets over the past.
Because nobody should be worried about the past, and the future should be something to look forward too, not worry about.
Want to read more on the subjects of mental health and self care? CLICK HERE
I want to take a brief moment to point out the importance of ranting. See, most people in my day-to-day life tend to get annoyed when I rant. Actually, I think that’s probably true of almost everyone. People don’t like to listen to ranting. But I think it’s important that everyone take the opportunity to rant.
If something is bothering you. If something’s unfair. If something’s ridiculous, you should be able to say it. Setting aside the catharsis that comes from ranting, it’s important to note the unfairness and injustices in this world. Ranting ensures that we aren’t allowed to hide from the unfairness or injustice. When these subjects are brought to the forefront no matter how big or small, it ensures that we can’t hide from them, that we face these feelings head on.
I think that’s why I like wordpress so much. It’s provided me a place to rant where people accept and appreciate what I have to say.
I believe in ranting and I appreciate others when they’re able to share their true thoughts and their truth with me. It should also be noted that you can rant without being mean. As long as they’re constructive about it, I love listening to people rant. I think ranting is extremely helpful for one’s mental health.
Rant away, I say.
PS. I went to the doctor this afternoon and he told me I’m suffering from a migraine. Thanks to everyone for your kind comments last night that included suggestions about things to do to deal with pain. Presently trying to lay low. Hoping to be back to my normal self soon.
Care to Introduce yourself? A brief introduction of yourself can showcase your blog to others and find more bloggers for your blogging community.
Follow me on Twitter and Instagram under the username @ohmillennials
Check out my mom’s crafts on Etsy under the store name ‘GrandmaCreated’.