trying again

It’s mental health awareness week, so here is a journal entry/poem that I wrote a couple months ago about the sand in my shoes holding me down, the knot in my stomach that keeps me in bed, the ache in my chest that pushes people away etc etc. It doesn’t always feel this bad, but like, sometimes it does.

there is a pain that I have yet to figure out how to mend.

at times it feels like loneliness, when I’m with people who love me.

at times it’s the illusion that I’m empty, when I’m doing things that fulfil me.

other times it’s a hunger for nothing specific.

no matter which form the pain takes, it is always present.

it always makes me feel like something is missing, but I’ll never know what that is.

i’ll only find a million pieces to a whole other puzzle.

— trying to cure depression with orange juice straight from the carton (march 2017)


Xo, Rachel 

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haikus_2

Caught in a mess I
Made all by myself again
And you told me so

Growing my hair out
So you won’t recognize me
You don’t know me now

Oceans in between
If we ever meet again
I’d still pull you close

Maybe you never
Meant to make a mess of me
You could help clean up

My aloe plant is
Growing big enough to heal
My whole broken heart


Xo, Rachel

for so long

For so long I’ve been running around looking for something,
Running alone, running in the dark
What am I looking for?
Am I chasing something I’ll never outrun?
For so long I’ve had shoes laced up and bags packed
For so long I’ve been running around the same track,
Surprised every time I end up back at the start
For so long I’ve been running without knowing where I was going

For so long, I can’t run anymore.


Xo, Rachel

Let’s Talk: Part 4

Ok hi! This is the first time I’m posting this on my Real Blog and not my Tumblr so I’m a bit nervous but here we go!!

I’ve been posting little updates/pep talks for myself on Bell’s Let’s Talk day every year for the past 4 years and somehow I still get my thoughts all jumbled and forget to include probably important stuff even though I am trying here. Bare with me.

So, we all know that mental health is important. And we all know that it’s so hushed. And we all know that half the battle is feeling like you’re alone in your experiences. We know this, yet we gloss over things because we are afraid? I don’t know why we do this.

Personally, last year was a bit of a mess. I have come to realise though that life is supposed to be up and down and you have to ride it out. I spent my summer in one of the most beautiful places in Canada and I felt horrible. I also spent some time doing nothing in the middle of nowhere, feeling great. I definitely felt more depressed this year as opposed to the previous year being fuelled by anxiety, these things seem to come in waves. I also started feeling very spaced out, or at least noticing that I was feeling spaced out, which was sweet. Overall, it was a year of recognising my feelings and trying my best to accept them instead of pushing them away. See, for a long time I couldn’t draw the line between “I’m upset because of my brain” and “I’m upset because something upsetting has happened” and that was frustrating. I kept going back and forth with “well, would a normal person be mad about this or is is just me? Am I in a depressive state or am I just sad because I miss my family? What’s the difference?” and if you’ve ever had that inner debate, I have no advice, but I’m right here with you.

Last year my goal was to make my blog a place where people could go to have their feelings validated by sharing more and more of the things I tend to keep to myself. Whether that be the things that make me anxious or the way it feels to be in a depressive low or even the way I feel when I feel great! I’ve just been having human emotions out here in the open and nobody has come at me with a pitchfork. I’ve gotten feedback from people that I don’t know, and even some people that I hadn’t spoken to in years, because they read my words and found a kind of comfort. That really kept me going through all of October and even now – it’s nice to know that even though sometimes I feel like I’m sending these thoughts into a void, they occasionally reach other humans.

It makes me want to write more and talk more and text my friends to tell them that I don’t feel alright and tell them why and have them tell me they have felt the same, or simply send me heart emojis. I don’t know. I’ve been trying to be a more empathetic person instead of a disconnected robot person and it’s been working out quite well.

Talking helps. So much. More than yoga and more than drinking water and more than hurting yourself.

Use your words, friends.

Xo, Rachel

year in review, part 2

Because it rhymes.

It’s been a year. Kind of a weird one, as a matter-of-fact. I think we can all agree on that. Here are some more Life Lessons from me, a person Totally Qualified to give advice after learning things The Hard Way (quite possibly the only way to learn things).

#1 – don’t force it
I spent a lot of these past few months frustrated that I couldn’t seem to write anything, that I didn’t have the same desire to write as I had in the spring. Truth is, I needed a break. I needed to do other things for a while. I shouldn’t have expected myself to be able to write 3 pages a day for the rest of my life. I don’t have it in me. This goes for everything – if it’s supposed to be fun but you’re putting so much pressure on yourself that it feels like a burden, let it go. Step away from it for a moment.

#2 – go
Cheryl Strayed said that wanting to go is reason enough, and I completely agree. I’ve had 4 different jobs this year, because suddenly the urge to go hit me like a ton of bricks, and I went with it. I trust that gut instinct – if I feel like I need to go, I go.
And if I want you to go, I’ll let you know. Or I’ll try to be subtle and tell you that you can’t sleep in my bed because you snore. And I’ll keep telling you that until you get the hint (if you’re reading this, you really did snore, and I really couldn’t sleep. I also didn’t want to kiss you anymore). Not quite the same as my family’s “go before you go” rule, but both are valid.

#3 – it’s No Big Deal
I currently work at an art studio that does a lot of classes for kids as well as birthday parties and at the start of each one, the intructor lists off our 4 rules: No Running, Be Nice, No Big Deal, and Have Fun. Oh, how smashed we’d all be if we drank every time a coworker said “oh, it’s no big deal” on a Saturday afternoon. But it’s so true! Much like the whole don’t worry, be happy motto, No Big Deal is our daily mantra. You got paint on your face? It’s no big deal. Your mug didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to? No big deal. You showed up late to the party? NO BIG DEAL. It might seem silly, but most things in life are not a big deal. Nearly everything is fixable, and if it’s not, it’s really no big deal. You’ll get over it.

#4 – be kind
One of the rules at work, and something said quite often during a yoga practice. Be kind to yourself, be kind to others, be kind to your surroundings. Be thankful for your body, getting you where you need to be, for the sunshine and the rain, the places you can go, the people you have met. Be nice to the people closest to you and be nice to strangers. Practice self-love.

#5 – stop making things worse for yourself
exhibit a- don’t listen to sad music all of the time
Your mood depends heavily on what you’re listening to, so choose songs that make you want to dance and sing and get out of bed in the morning. Limit the amount of times you listen to Holocene to like, 3 times a day.
exhibit b – no caffeine after 6pm
I was thinking the other day about how I had so much trouble sleeping for years and years, and I’d always attributed it to my poor mental health but looking closer, I had been drinking like 7 cups of caffeinated tea per day and barely eating. And I wondered why I was so anxious and high strung all that time? Of course you won’t be able to sleep if you drink black tea at 10pm to “calm yourself down before bed”. Hindsight is 20/20!!!!

#6 – most places have non-dairy milk
Self-explanatory.

#7 – you need other people
I included this one last year and I’m including it again because sometimes I forget.

#8 – it’ll make a good story
If ever you’re on the fence about saying yes to an experience, remember that actually going to Christmas dinner at your boss’ parents house makes a better story than just being invited. Trust me.

#9 – being stingy pays off
All those months of eating oatmeal instead of cereal because water is free, drinking only tea and tap water, living with people you don’t like because the rent is low, and reading the same books over and over could mean being able to fly home or escape to the mountains for a few weeks. Ya never know.

#10 – make something
Anything.

Lastly, if someone tells you that they love you, don’t tell them that they don’t. Even if you don’t believe them. Even if your insecurity tells you that it can’t be true. Validate other people’s feelings. This is something I am learning from experience, after doing the wrong thing. Don’t ever tell someone that what they feel is wrong. And on the other side, if you feel something, don’t be afraid to tell someone. It doesn’t have to be a romantic thing, it could be anything. Let yourself have emotions.

Let’s not beat ourselves up about the forgotten resolutions, because as I said in my last post, it’s our expectations that end up hurting us in the end, not the people or the places or the events occurring. Instead think about all of the things that you didn’t plan for – all of the things you did that weren’t on your list of resolutions. Chances are, you accomplished loads of things this year that you didn’t even know were in the cards. Give yourself a break.

Oh, and like, get wrecked.

Xo, Rachel