Archive | present RSS feed for this section

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.

Advertisements

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.

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.

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.

17 Nov

Hey. I’ve been a horrible blogger lately, which is probably why my view counts are down. I appreciate the people who visit every day, anyway.

I’m super swamped with school/work/extra curriculars/applications/friends/emotions.

Thanksgiving break is next week, and I’m so excited to go home and see my family(ies) (both biological and not).

I will probably do another post about music soon, since it is getting me through my daily life. I’d also like to post about Carnival at some point, because I’ve been learning about it in my Spanish class and I love it.

Just started a chapter of Free the Slaves at my college. I haven’t posted enough about anti-trafficking work on here. I promise to do an extensive post on modern day slavery this weekend.

Thanks again for reading. ❤

11 Nov

Wrote this poem a month or so ago, maybe a little more. First non-school, non-blog, non-tumblr writing I’ve done in a while.

You’re so literal
If I said I wanted to hold you forever
Would you let me?
If you told me
you wanted to kiss me all night long
would we fall asleep with our lips pressed together?

I would wake up with a mouth full of cavities –
your breath is sweeter than anything
I’ve ever tasted.
I’m a kid in a candy store.
You’re my gobstopper –
hard to crack
constantly revealing a new layer
I could suck on you all day long.

But I suck at this, most days.
This
like
love
want
need
can’t get enough of
thing.

I’m trying to get better at you.
I’ll study you
like a foreign language –
take each syllable and roll it around
in my mouth
until the pronunciation
jumps off my tongue.

But I’ll keep your name a secret
hold it in my teeth
chew it like a piece of gum
I hope you never lose your flavor
because I don’t ever want to
forget the taste.

Can I just get a little taste
of the way you see the world?
I’d like to see everything through your eyes
I’d like to see your eyes.
I’d like to watch them close
tonight.

teaching moments

5 Sep

we took a vote on the way our bathrooms would be gendered. two teaching moments occurred:

1. we did the votes on pieces of paper, and were asked to write down our preferred gender (so they would know to make a single-gender bathroom for men if most of them wanted it, or for women if they wanted it). anyway, it didn’t ask for “sex,” it asked for “gender,” so I put down “woman.” I recognize and accept that my biological sex is female, and am okay putting that down if the question is asked of me, but would prefer to answer “woman” when asked about my gender. To me, gender is more purposeful than sex and results from experience and growth and life. I identify as a woman because I feel like it’s something I’ve grown to, something I’ve chosen for myself, something that is strong and beautiful and flawed, whereas “female” is something that was assigned to me by someone else.

Anyway, a girl sitting next to me saw me write “woman” for my gender, and asked me why I wrote it. I think she was confused as to why I didn’t just write female. So I got to explain to her everything I just explained to all of you.

2. The rule for voting was this: if even ONE person said they unequivocally needed a single-gender bathroom, there would automatically be one, even if the majority of people said they wanted gender-neutral bathrooms. For example, if even one girl said she wanted a single-gender bathroom, there would automatically be a women only bathroom. I asked why that was, and they (the Student Adviser and the Residence Life Coordinator) said they wanted everyone to feel as comfortable as possible. I asked what if a gender neutral person felt really uncomfortable choosing either a men’s or a women’s bathroom? why aren’t we worried about them feeling safe and comfortable? i didn’t really get a good answer to that question, but there was a half-hearted attempt at justifying it by saying that we cater to the most conservative person. Um, horrible reasoning? I also ran into a tad bit of unspoken animosity as a result of me challenging the idea that one gender binary-conforming person’s interests trump the interests of everyone else. Dear person who gave me asshole-y looks during this conversation: genderfucks, transsexuals, gender neutral people, intersex people all exist. Your rights do not trump theirs. They have just as much a right to a safe space as you do. A compromise would be more productive than just simply asserting the rights you claim as a member of the majority.

In the end, we did come to a compromise. One bathroom is woman-only, and one bathroom is gender neutral. I have chosen to only use the gender neutral bathroom, not because I am genderfuck or transsexual or gender neutral, but because I think it’s important that everyone feels comfortable entering that space, and I want to show that gender neutral bathrooms can work for all kinds of people.

Teaching moment number three, which did not involve the bathroom vote:

A person I just met, who has since become a friend, used the word “pussy” in a derogatory manner toward one of his friends. I asked him not to use the word, and explained that it bothered me because he was equating a body part of mine (which I love and take pride in) with weakness and fear. My pussy is not weak or scared, it is powerful and a great source of joy for me (and others). This leads to the greater issue of equating femininity with weakness. Feminine=strong, wonderful, powerful. Not worthless or weak. Next time you insult someone, please think of a non-gendered word, because I take offense when you use my body to bring other people down.

(p.s. look forward to a future post about using gendered insults)

During the course of the conversation, I had a learning moment, too! We were brainstorming words to use instead of “pussy” that could convey the same message without being super ultra sexist, and we came up with “sissy.” I have no personal experience with that word being anything other than a synonym for weak. But my gay friend spoke up, saying that “sissy” is a word used to describe/make fun of gay men. He told me about how he was called a sissy throughout his childhood, and I promised him I wouldn’t use that word either.

Can’t decide which is better, teaching or learning. Thoughts?