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On Feeling Alone When Surrounded By Others

7 Aug

I think it happens when we feel isolated from ourselves. Like when we feel disconnected from our personal senses of comfort and knowledge or when our hearts/bodies/minds aren’t in line with each other.

How to prevent this feeling from happening:

  1. Journal entries
  2. Writing of any kind
  3. Exercise
  4. Art
  5. Reading memoirs of other people with similar experiences
  6. Daily meditation
  7. Cooking

How to deal with it in the moment:

  1. Meditation-style breathing
  2. Focus on one person, object, idea until you feel re-centered
  3. Think about what you can do with your physical body to make it more in tune with your heart and your surroundings – change your body position (stand up or sit down), drink water, have a healthy snack, give someone a hug, untense your shoulders, change your breathing pattern.
  4. Tell someone next to you about what you’re feeling

Peace.

Ways to handle my depression

10 Feb

I know I haven’t been blogging a lot, but I like to think that the few posts  I’ve done in recent weeks have been substantive and offer my readers something interesting and new that they perhaps have not read or considered before. I think I would rather have a few really well constructed posts than a lot of posts that I don’t think through. I use tumblr (yesmeansyes.tumblr.com) to chart my day-to-day emotions, thoughts, and growth. This blog I use more for introspection and large ideas about the world and my life. So on to the actual topic of this post…

You might notice that the title says “my depression.” That’s because I don’t believe that depression is the same for every individual. Actually, I know for a fact that depression varies significantly from person-to-person. I’d like to make it clear that I don’t claim to speak for all those affected by depression. I’d simply like to discuss the ways I’ve found to deal with my depression, after many trials and tribulations. Hopefully this information will be helpful to someone out there.

1. Eat healthy. I know that when I’m sad, I’m always tempted to eat comfort foods. You know what I’m talking about – fatty, salty, greasy foods that fill your stomach but in reality do nothing to feed your heart or soul. I’ve found that the days and weeks I get enough fruits, vegetables, protein, and calcium are the times when I feel most centered and prepared to deal with whatever mood swings my depression decides to throw my way.

2. Exercise. The absolute necessity of a good daily workout only came to my attention within the past few weeks. While I was home over my college’s five-week break, I only worked out once. That’s unhealthy for a lot of different reasons, but the reason which concerns me the most is that without exercise, I spend a lot of time feeling the lows of my depression, rather than the highs. My mood swings become more frequent and severe. I came back to school three weeks ago, and my mood (stability) has improved markedly since. I now realize this is because I go to the gym 5 to 6 times a week when I’m at school, and it helps center me, even on my lowest days.

3. Be productive. The college I attend is incredibly difficult academically and students tend to be involved in a lot of extracurriculars. Although this can sometimes be stressful, I also appreciate how it feels after I’ve completed a long day of classes, work, and meetings. I know I’m doing something good for myself (learning) that will eventually help me do good things for others (social justice and development). I really do love to learn, so school is a healthy place toward which I can direct my energies.

4. Drink in moderation. It’s no secret that college students binge drink. It’s also no secret that alcohol is a depressant. But I never used to think this was an issue for me, because I don’t typically get sad when I drink. However, I’ve come to realize that the depressant doesn’t just affect me while I’m actively drinking, but also for the hours and even days afterward. Being smart about how much I drink and paying attention to my mood before I start drinking are important steps in dealing with my depression.

5. Surround myself with people who love me. I have this nasty habit of chasing friendships with people who I believe will add something to my life. It works out sometimes. But it takes me a really long time to be okay with the situation when it doesn’t work out. Even after I realize that someone either can’t be or won’t be the friend I want or expect them to be, I continue to seek a relationship with that person. I’m trying to be more okay with the idea that sometimes friendships just don’t work out, and instead focus my energy on the friendships which do. My friends are an incredibly important defense mechanism against the down days which my depression occassionally inflicts upon me.

 

Hopefully as I continue my struggle with my depression, I will learn even more ways to keep it in check, and become more adept at recognizing when my current methods are no longer working. Until then, I’ll just keep plugging away. I hope this was helpful to some of you. I must say, it was helpful for me just to write it out.

 

Peace.

Christmas

24 Dec

Consumerism, consumerism, blahblahblah, consumerism.

No, really, I love Christmas. Like, a lot lot lot lot lot. I’m not religious at all, so it’s not that kind of holiday for me. It is, however, a time to celebrate those things – no, not things…people – who mean the most to me: my family. I don’t just mean biological, although my mom and brother are at the top of my lots-of-lovin’ Christmas list. I also mean my friends who have given so much time and energy and love to my life that they have become like family to me. I really do believe that friends are the family you choose, and I know I’ve chosen wisely.

However, as the beginning of my post noted, I’m really getting sick of all the Christmas consumerism bullshit. So here’s my Christmas disclaimer: if I don’t buy you a present, it’s not because I don’t love you and it’s not because I’m not thinking about you during this special time of year. It’s because I’m sick of spending money on things that are going to sit on shelves or in drawers. I’m sick of spending money on things that are produced using slave labor and shipped thousands of miles, contributing to the pollution that is killing our planet. I’m sick of packing three bags full of stuff to bring home for winter break and still having half my wardrobe left at school.

I love my family. I love my friends. And presents are nice. Sometimes, they’re incredibly meaningful. But I don’t need them in order to enjoy Christmas. I’d much rather you sponsor my trip to Santiago, Chile next fall, or donate to one of the charities on this list.

Despite what advertisements and commercials and magazines and movies try to tell us, we don’t need stuff to make us happy. All I need is some good food, some good wine, and some good family to crack jokes and tell stories with.

I love Christmas, but I don’t love the consumerism of it. If and when I decide to have a family, we’re going to keep all of the meaning and magic and Christmas spirit that has been ingrained in me through my mom and grandparents, but we’re going to drop the consumerism. Care to join me?

Merry Christmas, and happy holidays to those who are celebrating differently around this time of year.

Peace.

Top 25 – Part 2

8 Dec

Second in a series of posts about my top 25 played songs on iTunes. See the first here.

7. Be Be Your Love – Rachael Yamagata

Everything’s falling, and I am included in that
Oh, how I try to be just okay
Yeah, but all I ever really wanted
Was a little piece of you

And everybody’s talking how I, can’t, can’t be your love
But I want, want, want to be your love
Want to be your love, for real

8. Better Together – Jack Johnson

There is no combination of words
I could put on the back of a postcard
And no song that I could sing,
but I can try for your heart
this is our dreams and they are made out of real things

Like a shoebox of photographs with sepia-toned loving
Love is the answer at least for most of the questions in my heart, like
Why are we here? And where do we go? And how come it’s so hard?
It’s not always easy and sometimes life can be deceiving
I’ll tell you one thing, it’s so much better when we’re together

9. I Love the Rain the Most – Joe Purdy

10. Step Up – Samantha Jade

11. Stay – Lisa Loeb

You say I only hear what I want to.
You say I talk so all the time so.
And I thought what I felt was simple,
and I thought that I don’t belong,
and now that I am leaving,
now I know that I did something wrong
’cause I missed you.
Yeah yeah, I missed you.
And you say I only hear what I want to:
I don’t listen hard,
don’t pay attention to the distance that you’re running
to anyone, anywhere.
I don’t understand if you really care,
I’m only hearing negative: no, no, no.

12. Red Right Ankle – The Decemberists

This is the story of the boys who loved you
Who love you now and loved you then
And some were sweet, some were cold and snuffed you
And some just laid around in bed.

Some had crumbled you straight to your knees
Did it cruel, did it tenderly
Some had crawled their way into your heart
To rend your ventricles apart
This is the story of the boys who loved you

13. I’d Lie – Taylor Swift

He sees everything black and white
Never let nobody see him cry
I don’t let nobody see me wishing he was mine

14. Look After You – The Fray

There now, steady love, so few come and don’t go
Will you, won’t you, be the one I always know?
When I’m losing my control, the city spins around
You’re the only one who knows, you slow it down

Oh, oh, oh
Be my baby
Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh
I’ll look after you

Someone please explain to me

2 Dec

how I got this lucky. All the people in my life are so beautiful and brilliant and full of joy and wonder. For those who aren’t in my life at the moment: you’re still in my heart, always.

Wishing you all peace and joy this holiday season.

Libraries

29 Nov

I love libraries. They are quiet and warm and full of stories. I am relaxed when I walk through the dark stacks of books on the third floor on a dark Sunday evening.

It feels kind of like a treasure hunt – looking for a book. When I finally find it, and open to the title page, I can smell the age. Older books have a musty, worn through scent. Newer books smell like fresh ink and paper. Covers tell me how many times the book has been opened, skimmed, read, loved, used.

If I could, I would just sit down in the middle of an aisle and read for hours, days, weeks. Reading feels like eating, and I’m so hungry lately. Hungry for new words, characters, stories. Hungry for anything that isn’t Sociology or Anthropology.

I think I’ll spend more time in the stacks. It’s quiet there, and smells like books. They make me calm.

Top 25 – Part 1

26 Nov

Part 1 of my top 25 songs on iTunes. These are the result of about four years of listening. I still love all of the songs on it. A lot of them are songs which were associated with certain people at one point or another, and that’s why they’ve been listened to so frequently. A few of them just make me feel good. I’m going to do this in installments, because I want to include my favorite lyrics. Here are the top six:

1. Stolen – Dashboard Confessional.

I watch you spin around in your highest heels
You are the best one, of the best ones
We all look like we feel
You have stolen my heart

2. Unsaid – The Fray

We’re both pretty sure
Neither one can tell
We seem difficult
What we got is hard as hell
A hundred thousand words could not quite explain
So I walk you to your car And we can talk it out in the rain
And we are leaving some things unsaid
And we are breathing deeper instead

3. Come On Get Higher – Matt Nathanson

I miss the sound of your voice
And I miss the rush of your skin
And I miss the still of the silence
As you breathe out and I breathe in
So come on get higher
Loosen my lips
Faith and desire
And the swing of your hips
Just pull me down hard
And drown me in love

4. Crash Into Me – Dave Matthews Band

Touch your lips just so I know
In your eyes, love, it glows so
I’m bare-boned and crazy… for you.

5. Realize – Colbie Caillat

If you just realize what I just realized,
Then we’d be perfect for each other
and will never find another
Just realized what I just realized
we’d never have to wonder if
we missed out on each other now

6. A Wish – Gregory and the Hawk

And I wish to feel smaller
under your sheets.
I wish for the whole truth
every time you speak.
And I’m thinkin’ about how you care half as much for me
As I watch you arrive, smoke cigarettes, sleep.

And I guess it doesn’t matter what I say or what I seem
You stuck what I felt for you in the pocket of your jeans.
Ignoring me the morning after isn’t enough
and I swear I’m going to cry.

I’m sick of tryin’ to be tough.

Thanksgiving

25 Nov

I feel that since it’s Thanksgiving, I must do the requisite “What I’m thankful for” post. See here for the basics I am thankful for. It’s a list of things people (especially those of us who live in wealthy countries) take for granted on a daily, if not hourly, basis. The list includes things like clean water, housing, parents, and food.

Today’s post, however, is more about the individual parts of my life for which I am thankful.

First and foremost, I am thankful for my mom and brother. They are my very best friends in the entire world, and they know me better than anyone else. No matter what happens in life, they will always be with me.

I am thankful for my friends, new and old. My friends are the people who get me through life on a daily basis. It has been said that friends are the family we choose. That couldn’t be more true in my life. Every one of my friends is part of a family I’ve chosen to create, and I couldn’t be happier.

I am thankful for music, which should be fairly obvious given the posts I’ve done on this blog regarding music. Anyone who knows me understands that music is a central part of my life. You won’t ever catch me without my iPod in or a song on my lips. One of my goals for the rest of the school year is to start practicing piano again, because it’s so close to my heart.

I am thankful for animals, especially dogs. I’m having two dogs stay at my house this Thanksgiving break, and I’m looking forward to some very necessary pet therapy. For whatever reason, dogs help heal emotional and psychological wounds. I think it’s probably because they are always hopeful, always happy, always excited to be around people. I can never feel bad when I’m around wagging tails.

I am grateful for books. Finding a good book is a great joy of life. I will never tire of exploring new stories, learning about new characters, inhabiting new worlds.

I am thankful for being alive and enjoying it. Many people do not live as long as I’ve been able to, and many people who are alive are suffering – emotionally, physically, psychologically. I am grateful and lucky to have a life which I enjoy.

I am thankful for all of you who are reading this. I’m so glad you think it’s worth it to read my thoughts, and I hope you will contribute some of you own.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Know Your Rights

23 Nov

Tonight I attended a Know Your Rights workshop. Ups and downs:

1. Up – The panelists were varied and knowledgeable. There was our Dean of Students, head of Campus Safety and Security, a G Police Officer, the County Attorney, and a prominent G defense attorney. There were two women and three men, one of whom is African American.

2. Down – Attendance was really low. I think if one, especially as a college student, is offered the chance to talk to those in power, especially those with legal/judicial power, one should always take it. A major flaw with this student body is the arrogance with which many people approach the topic of the law and police. Students complain about police, but don’t make the effort to know the appropriate and legal ways to deal with them. That’s ineffective. I can’t stand it when people opt for ignorance. There are no excuses, in this situation, for not knowing your rights as a student and a resident in G.

3. Up – The people who attended asked interesting and intelligent questions pertaining to on-campus guests, public intoxication, G Police in the dorms, no-contact orders, and more. I valued the curiosity and forethought of my fellow students.

4. Down – The defense attorney exuded white male privilege. Emphasis on the white privilege. Opening the panel by saying “you won’t need to know this stuff if you’re not breaking the law” is ignorant and disregards the oppression which young people, women, and especially people of color have experienced at the hands of those who are supposed to protect us – the police. Everyone should always know their rights, because not every police officer, lawyer, or judge is fair and impartial.

Overall, I think the panel was valuable, and I hope that, in the future, more students will attend.

Note: For those who know me, “G” represents the name of the town I live in/school I attend. I’d like to keep as much personal information as possible off this blog.

I love my body.

21 Nov

This is something I have to remind myself of frequently. My body is beautiful. My body is a masterpiece – both aesthetically and functionally. My heart beats and pushes blood through my limbs. My bones hold my entire body up. My legs push me (and sometimes pull me) through each day. My skin is soft. My stomach is round and warm. My mouth is full of smiles.

The background picture on my computer screen says “Start a revolution – stop hating your body.” I really do believe that loving my body is a revolutionary thing to do in this day and age, when so many people are trying to convince me to spend my money making better what is already so incredible.

This post is happening now for a few different reasons. First, I’ve been incredibly stressed out lately – with school, friends, work, and soon, travel. A lot of stuff has been happening which I have no control over, and that scares and upsets me sometimes. I like to be in control, and it frustrates me every time I get reminded that I can’t necessarily control the grades I get or the actions of people I know. My instinct, instilled in me over the course of a lifetime of being told my body isn’t good enough, is to turn to controlling the part of my life which will always respond to what I want. My instinct is to target all my frustration at my body instead of constructively examining what is bothering me and attempting to fix it or at least find a new way of looking at the situation so that it feels less stressful.

I have never had an eating disorder, thanks mostly to the confidence my mom instilled in me. But I have hated my body. I have cried about it. I have been angry with it. I have berated it and compared it and fought with it. Those were all things I did with and to my body when I didn’t have enough other important things to think about. I find that, now, when I start to worry about events and people that don’t matter, I also start to worry about my body. So, with the stress of the past couple of weeks, I started to look at my body more critically. I started to berate it again.

The second reason this post is happening now is because one of my classes just began a unit on the beauty myth, and how it is perpetuated in our country. Although I’ve read the book before, we read a passage from The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf – a book that literally changed my life. I realized I had begun to forget what I learned from that book: as women gain strength and power socially, politically, economically, society seeks to bring us down in other ways. The more time we, as women, spend hating our bodies, the less time we will spend running companies, Universities, the country. We lose our power when we choose to hate ourselves. I don’t say “choose” because I believe we are free to make a decision without the influence of culture. I say “choose” because I believe that, with enough reinforcement, all women would choose to love themselves, and I believe that it’s possible.

I love myself. I love my body. This post is the way I recenter my relationship with my body. This post is the way I come back to what matters – my friends who consistently show me how much they care, my family who will always love me, my plans to travel abroad next year.

I hope this post helps you recenter, reexamine, or consider for the first time your relationship with your body.

Peace.