Self-Esteem Challenge: Day 4

This blog challenge was developed by betterthandarkchocolate.tumblr.com. If you missed the introduction or want to see a summary of all the questions, go here.

Day 4:
A habit you have that you like.
What do you do to feel better when you’re having a bad day?

Lots of bad habits come to mind. I like my habit of having dessert, but at the same time, I feel guilty for eating sweets so often. Plus it’s bad for my body. I asked my husband to help me on this one and all he said was “You’re not a habit driven person.” A big help he was. For lack of anything better, I’m going to say going to bed early is a habit of mine that I like. There is no down side to it. I go to bed early-ish even on the weekends. That’s one less thing I have to adjust to when transitioning from weekend to weekday. Going to bed at the same time every night is supposed to help with depression too. It also gives me enough time to get the recommended eight hours of sleep (when I actually am able to sleep).

When feeling bad, I try to remind myself of three things

  1. The past does not equate the future
  2. Failures are learning experiences
  3. I can adapt to change

Sometimes this helps me put things in perspective. I also have a list of things that usually make me feel good. It comes in handy for when I’m feeling bad and don’t know what to do. It doesn’t always work, but if I work my way through it at least I’m doing something and not wallowing.

  1. Eat cake with lots of icing
  2. Watch cute cat videos
  3. Put comfy clothes on (lululemon!)
  4. Cuddle Ewok
  5. Put some music on and sing or dance (often don’t have the energy for this one)
  6. Watch a “feel-g00d” movie (Phantom of the Opera, Pride and Prejudice, Memoirs of a Geisha, Definitely Maybe, etc.)music of the night
  7. Get hugs
  8. Find some company
  9. Think of things to be thankful for
  10. Drink something warm
  11. Call someone (this one is usually really hard to do, I often skip it)
  12. Doodle anything
  13. Look up positive or motivational quotes
  14. Bake dessert
  15. Sleep

Share Your World 2014 – Week 25

share your world

This is the Share Your World Challenge. If you missed the last couple of weeks, more information can be found at Cee’s Photography. Essentially, four questions are asked every week and you have to answer them. Simple and fun!

What is your favorite type of dog?  (can be anything from a specific breed, a stuffed animal, drawing, cartoon or character in a movie or TV show)

Today, my favourite type of dog is a Bernese Mountain Dog. They are beautiful dogs and they look perfect for hugging! I have never had a pet dog before, but I always loved them growing up. I collected Puppy in My Pocket. They were small dog figurines. Does anyone remember these? They were huge for kids in the 90s. My favourite was a Border Collie named Jemma. My sister and I would spend hours playing with them. We must have had at least 100 between the two of us.  I can still remember all their names and breeds. Ridiculous the things your brain remembers huh? lol. I couldn’t bare to give up my collection, so I still have them all in my parents’ attic.

resli-the-bernese-mountain-dog-1_66571_2012-06-26_w450

Bernese Mountain Dog Puppy from Daily Puppy

jemma- ronsrescuedtreasures

Jemma, Puppy in my Pocket from ronsrescuedtreasures

 

Name one thing not many people know about you.

I am a huge geek! Most people think it’s just my husband because of his Batman obsession and action figure collections, but I am a geek too. Maybe a bit of a closet geek. It doesn’t get a chance to come across in my everyday life. I love Star Wars. My cat’s name, Ewok, was my idea, not hubby’s. I like Star Trek too. Is it a sin to like both? I watch/read sci-fi and fantasy. I appreciate all things Disney and Lego. I cherish old school cartoons and toys and have a huge collection of character t-shirts that I never get to wear.

2014-06-22 13.21.46

Ewok painting with me.

Have you ever gone scuba diving?  If you haven’t, would you want to?

I have never gone scuba diving. The thought of it used to scare me, but no so much anymore. I went snorkeling for the first time last summer and absolutely loved it. I think I’d be open to trying scuba if the opportunity presented itself. I wouldn’t want to go extremely deep or into underwater caves. Those ideas still scare me. I think I’ve watched too many horror movies or something, lol.

What was the most important event in your life last week? (anything goes it can be a good nights sleep, finished a reading book, winning the lottery, or getting married)

Most important? Hmm, it depends how you define “important”. It has been a tough week, so I’m going to go with a definition of most impact. My husband’s friend from his time in Africa died. It was deemed a suicide. We found out about it through Facebook. I had never met the man, but I felt like I knew him through my husband’s stories. I also enjoyed the emails he wrote us, although those had been less frequent this past year. It was a real shock and I have all sorts of mixed feelings and unanswered questions.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last Week: I am grateful for having my health and another birthday. The events of the past week have reinforced this soooo much.

This Week: Our one year wedding anniversary is this week. I’m looking forward to doing something to celebrate. I have no ideas yet, but I’m sure we’ll come up with something. 🙂

 

Without Expectation

This post is going to be a bit of nonsense. Things are just really jumbled up in my head right now.

I’ve been thinking about that question, “what is important to me?” I think being happy is important to me. I know I can’t be happy all the time, but to feel happy and enjoy it every once in a while is something I really want. How can I be happy? I don’t know, but I do know I can’t be happy unless I am content with myself. How do I get to be content with myself? That takes a little more thought. The first things that come to mind are being successful and making other people happy. I have to knock off making other people happy because that is not dependent on only me. How do I measure success? That’s based on what other people think too. I’m miserable at this.

Expectation is a part of life. How do I learn to be ok with not surpassing everyone’s expectations? Easy, set my own expectations, right? If only it were that easy. I don’t know how to set my own expectations. I’ve been in school my whole life. I’ve constantly been evaluated by someone else. There has always been a level that I have worked to surpass. Now, I am an adult, I am on my own, I have finished my course work, I have passed my candidacy exams, the only evaluation left is my defense. My life is my own now.

With others’ expectations out of the equation, it’s easier to answer the question. I am most content with myself when I have the time to do the things I want to do…like eat healthy, exercise, draw, sleep, read, explore and visit with people. So I can answer the question, but this is unrealistic. You can’t just go about doing what you want, that’s not the way the world works. I have to balance my responsibilities with the things that make me feel content. I think, in order to do that, you need a set of values to live by and they need to come first, no matter your responsibilities or desires. Does that make sense?

Anyway, I thought maybe I’d have to get to know myself and what I want a bit better to figure this one out. So of course, I turn to doodling. Here is another page out of my Art, Doodle, Love book. I thought this page was appropriate. It’s called Affirmations. Affirmation comes from the latin word affirmate which means to steady, strengthen. The prompt on the page asks you what values can you live by the will make you a better person. You are asked to list and doodle them. Here are my pages. Some may be hard to read, so I’ll write them out.

  • Family – the most important – those you are given and those you choose
  • Love – all kinds
  • Friendship – everybody needs somebody
  • Science – the endless pursuit of knowledge
  • Goals – without direction we are lost
  • Karma – what you give is what you get returned
  • Tolerance – differences challenge us
  • Second chances – we all make mistakes
  • Laughter – life can’t be taken too seriously; you’ll never get out alive
  • Hope – it keeps us going
  • Hard work – it pays off
  • The small things – they make a difference
  • Attitude – it can make or break you
  • Cooperation – mutual benefit
  • Imperfection – it makes us unique, it makes us human
  • Gratitude – reinforcement of positive behaviour
  • Change – it’s how we evolve
  • Adventure – be the pioneer of your own life
  • Education – pass on what matters
  • Forgiveness – it’s needed to move forward
  • Choice – we make life what we want it to be
  • Integrity – the alignment of behaviour, words and thoughts

What would some of yours be?

artdoodlelove values artdoodlelove values 2

Pass the Kleenex

sorry bunny

TW: Suicide

I had an interesting birthday. Thanks to my family, I’d say overall, it was a good day. There were a few hiccups though. I had an appointment to get the lesion in my mouth checked out by an oral pathologist. Birthday biopsy! Hooray!! The appointment wasn’t until 2pm, so I spent most of the morning anxious about the appointment. I was worried about the exposed bone in my mouth being something scary. I was paranoid because of my friend’s recent cancer diagnosis. It turned out to be no big deal. I had burnt my mouth so badly on a nacho that bone had been exposed. Exposed bone goes necrotic (dies) and the body pushes the dead bone layer out. This is exactly what happened. So now I have a dent in my gums where the missing bone was. Bone remodels so it will heal on it’s own. The doc didn’t have to take a biopsy in the end because he was so familiar with this type of lesion. Phew! I’m so glad that turned out to be nothing.

The next hiccup was a really bad one. We found out a friend of my husband’s killed himself the night before. My husband is in a real state of shock. He found out through Facebook. Got to love that Facebook…..I had never met this man, but I felt like I knew him because of all the stories my husband has told me about the time they spent working in Africa together. He was in a really sad situation. Of course, I only know his side of the story, but I can imagine the immense amount of pain he must have been in. Suicide always evokes so many different reactions. I feel awful for his family and friends and the grief they must be going through. It’s not about them though, it’s about him. I am saddened that he is gone, but I am glad he is no longer in pain.

I’m surprised how much this is making me think. I think I understand suicide. It’s about the individual having a desire to end their pain that is greater than their desire to live. I hope his family and friends understand that. It’s not about hurting them or being selfish. It’s about the pain. I stay frozen in a state of depression. I don’t know what changes to to make to get better. I’m also afraid to make changes in case I make things worse. I already have several failed strategies in my back pocket. This man put an end to his pain instead of sitting there and letting it take over like I do. I’m not saying he made the right decision. He lost his life in the process, which is never something I would recommend, but he did something, probably the only thing he could think of that would successfully end his pain. It makes me wonder what threw him off balance. What was the final straw that made him want the pain to end more than he wanted to live.

My pain makes me implode. I stand there frozen between wanting to live a happy life and wanting the pain to end and I do nothing. I stop functioning. Countless times I have stood on the platform watching the metro pull in and wondered how many people think about jumping. Just three more steps, that’s all it would take, and it would all be over. Thankfully, I’ve never witnessed this happen. I hope I never will.

I’m sorry. This is an incomplete thought. I don’t mean to upset anyone. My husband’s friend passing has really shaken me. I find it easier to sort myself out in writing than by talking. I’m wondering about this line of thought, is this my illness talking? Would this thinking about suicide be just another symptom of depression? Just like a stuffy nose is a symptom of a cold? If that is the case, then shouldn’t we be talking more matter-of-fact-ly about it? Someone with a stuffy nose doesn’t pretend they don’t have a stuffy nose. They ask you to pass the kleenex and they blow their nose. No one is shocked by nose blowing and the individual isn’t treated any differently. Treating the symptoms of depression isn’t as simple as blowing your nose, but shouldn’t it as easy to talk about it and ask for help as it is to say you have a stuffy nose and ask for a kleenex? I look forward to a day when this is the case.

I have an illness, I experience the associated symptoms and talking about it helps. I don’t want to feel ashamed and guilty anymore. Maybe if it were easier to do so, my husband’s friend would have felt he had more options.

Sunny Sunday Blahs

I still feeling rather crap-tastic today. The weather yesterday was nice and I managed to make myself go for a run. I felt more in control after that. So I guess I’m not feeling as bad as I was. I know it will pass eventually, it just sucks having to wait it out. I wish I had a trigger, something that I knew set me off so I’d have something to work against. I’m been trying to figure it out since I was diagnosed in 2006, but I got nothing. I think it’s just bad genes and chemical imbalances for me though.

So it’s Sunday. I’m going to ignore reality (work) and just focus on existing today. I’ve been told many time that I need to stop and smell the roses more often. So this morning, I sat on the balcony with a coffee in the morning sun. It was rather nice. Ewok came out too. It was entertaining to watch her play with the bugs on the balcony. The rest of today will be spent out at the in-law’s (for the third weekend in a row). It’s not so bad I guess. They have a big property away from the city with a pool. It’ll be nice for a day like today. My mother in-law is the epitome of bubbly though. I admire bubbly people, but sometimes it’s too much, especially with the high pitched voice and my current mood. On top of that, she doesn’t like people with mental health problems. I have to put on a bit of a show and pretend I’m a happy ordinary person.

My parents will be joining us all later for dinner. It’s completely different with my folks. I can be myself, which is a big relief. I try not to be a total downer because that’s no fun for them, but if all I can manage on a given day is breathing, that’s ok with them. I’m hoping them being there for dinner tonight will take some of the pressure off. I can take a break from acting and just listen to them have conversation. I’ll be eternally grateful for their understanding and patience.

I didn’t get very much sleep last night, so I ended up doodling in my Art Doodle Love book again. The page I worked on asked me to doodle/collage any emotions I feel about myself today. I opted to skip the collage part. It was the middle of the night and all my scrapbook junk was in the bedroom where hubby was sleeping. So I just doodled.

artdoodlelove feeling low

It turned out rather colourful considering how dull and empty I’m feeling. I think maybe I want to be vibrant and colourful. That’s why I always use colour as opposed to darker monotones. Also, my lack of expertise in shading makes it really hard to do anything without the colour variation. I must take a drawing class some day.

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