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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.

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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.

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.

words and phrases…

17 Sep

…that I am tired of hearing people say:

1. “That’s gonna look pimp as hell.” Unless it’s going to look greasy and disgusting and abusive and oppressive, it’s probably not going to look “pimp.” Pimps are people who manipulate, abuse, and terrorize women and then take their money. They are not cool, smart, good looking, bomb, or any other positive identifiers. Please don’t use “pimp” as a word that expresses anything positive.

2. “Calculus raped me.” Nope. No it didn’t. Seriously though, calculus did not sexually abuse you, have sex with you against your will, steal your bodily autonomy, or generally disrupt your emotional and psychological health. It did not make you feel unsafe or targeted because of your gender, race, sexuality, etc. It was just difficult, and you need to get over it. Also, if someone asks or tells you not to  use “rape” in a casual context, you should probably just say okay and move on, instead of asking them questions like “have you been raped?” or “why not?” Those questions are just insensitive.

3. “What a bitch.” I really really really don’t like gendered insults, because they carry meanings which are inherently sexist and stereotypical. This word, in particular, is used by women, men, and others to put women “in their place.” Calling someone a bitch is an almost sure way to make them be quiet, passive, or otherwise unable to feel confident speaking up and out. “Bitch” is also used to degrade a man expressing feminine qualities. Both reasons for using “bitch” are sexist and I find the word highly offensive.

In other news, I taught someone that genderqueer people exist, and what it might mean for someone to be genderqueer.