World Kindness Day

World Kindness day is November 13 and World Kindness Week begins the Monday of the week with November 13. After the events of the last few years, and the many years crammed into 2020, kindness is needed now more than ever. There are a couple of Buddhist sayings that always come to mind when speaking of kindness. The first is, ‘Be kind whenever possible. It’s always possible.’ And the second is, ‘Be kind to all creatures. This is the true religion.’ Kindness is the quality of being friendly and considerate. There are many who believe kindness is a weakness and these are the people who would do harm to others.

When someone is kind to you, it can lift your spirits and put a smile on your face. What happens to you if you’re kind to others? Some benefits for a person who is kind to others include elevation of dopamine levels in the brain, which make us feel good. It can also include the feeling of emotional warmth leading to a healthier heart, reduction of inflammation slowing the aging process, reduction of emotional distance helping couples feel bonded, and contagiousness that often sets off a pay-it-forward ripple effect. There’s one important message I have for everyone regarding kindness. Always be kind to others and always be kind to yourself. That last part is harder than people think. Be kind.

James Pack is a self-published author of poetry and fiction.  Information about his publishing credits can be found on his personal blog TheJamesPack.com.  He resides in Tucson, AZ.

To Whom It May Concern

So I know that I’m the last person you want to hear from. I know that you’ve moved on with your life and found happiness, however brief. I know that I hurt you more than words can explain. Yet here I am, reaching my hand out to you again. However, this will be the last time. It’s true what they say, time does heal all wounds. Every passing day I forget more of our time together. I’m forgetting your face, your smile, the sound of your voice. I’m forgetting the hole that was in my heart after I left you. I’m forgetting the terrible things that I said to you. I’m forgetting how much I loved you, how much I still love you.

I know that you don’t believe me anymore, and why would you. I’ve told you so many different stories and reasons that I can’t even keep track of them anymore. I’ve told you I did what I did because I was scared. Because I couldn’t watch you slowly wither away to nothing. I told you that I felt tempted by the allure of other women. I’ve told you so many things to try to justify what I did, because I thought maybe it would make me feel better. It didn’t, obviously. And every time I reached out to you, I just ripped that wound back open. I truly am sorry for that. I want to say that I never meant to hurt you, that I cared for you will all my being, but I can’t say that. It’s obvious that, based on my actions, that these idioms are nothing but whimsical fallacies. They’re lies I tell myself to avoid confronting what I did to you. They’re lies I tell you to make it seems like I wasn’t being selfish and conceited.

I know that you’ve moved on, found new lovers, and bettered your life. I say it from the bottom of my heart that I am so happy that you did. You didn’t take the same path that I did. You rose from the ashes while I sunk into them. Granted that I was the one who burned everything to the ground, but the sentiment stays the same. The reason that I’m writing this to you today, is that I finally think it is time for me to move on. It’s been over 8 years since I left you, and I haven’t moved an inch from where I was. Not until recently did I even attempt to make any progress with my life. Now, I’m a new person. I wouldn’t say that I’m a better person. I wouldn’t say that if I could go back in time I would change the desicion I made back then. I want to say I would, but I can’t because I wouldn’t.

With each passing moment, I forget more of you. More of our time together, until ultimately I will only remember your name, and that we were intertwined for a brief moment in my life. However, I am also forgetting more of who I was, for good or for bad, I’m moving forwards. I write this to you now in the hopes that you will never see it. That you will never think about me again. That you will live your life and be happy in spite of me. If by chance you do find this, and it strikes a chord, I’m sorry. Just know that it will be the last you ever hear from me. Not in the sense that I’m going anywhere, but that, for the first time, I will be moving on past what was or what could have been. I will always love you in some shape or form, and just know that I’m greatful for our time together. I’m greatful for the responses you’ve sent me through the years. I’m greatful that I got to see you achieve freedom. But with this, I am closing the chapter of my life that has gone on for far too long. In the hopes of a better future. For me. For you. But not for us.

Goodbye M.

With love, E.

Depression While in Quarantine

I’ve been working from home for about a month now. As I hope many of you are, I am staying home about 95% of my weeks, the 5% is just to go out for groceries and pick up takeaway orders from some local restaurants.

Being home all of this time has made the voice of  my depression loud and critical. Because I have been depressed, I haven’t felt like doing anything besides laying around. I say to myself that I should do something, even just one thing, but often times that is a fleeting thought.

Depression tells me that during this time at home I should be productive. I should be exercising in some capacity twice a day because I have gained a little weight. I should be cleaning the house and doing home improvements that I have put off instead of playing The Sims 4. I should be posting on my makeup Instagram account or I will lose all of my followers I have worked so hard to get.

On Tuesday it peaked and I had a minor freak out. My boyfriend kept asking what was wrong, I would say nothing and he would reply, you’re lying. I was lying. Saying that nothing is wrong and that I’m ok is my most told lie.

I did open up though. It was hard to express myself in that moment. I’m a writer, I find it difficult to express myself in speech compared to writing it out.

He was supportive of me and said it was ok. That I don’t need to always be productive, that it’s ok to play The Sims.

I know that I would give the same advice to somebody else but I could never tell myself that.

This weekend I hope to get at least a couple things done to quell the demands of my depression. I hope when Saturday arrives I will have the motivation and strength to follow through.

How has your mental health been lately? Are you feeling things for intensely than you normally would or have you become numb to it all?

Learn to Love Yourself in the Alone Time

I have spent the last several months going to work and going home. Not much socializing. Sometimes once a month I would go out if invited to something. I was trying to save money. And I was trying to work on myself. I went to counseling and did other activities to pull myself out of depression. I don’t have insurance so that was the best I could do. I remember feeling alone often. I looked for ways to stay busy and distract myself from how I felt. I wished I could afford to go out and spend time with even one person.

As I was getting to a better place with my finances, the pandemic happened. Everything shut down. I lost a lot of work. Other than concerns for my income, my daily routine didn’t change much. I couldn’t read a book at a coffee shop, but I could live without that. I had grown more comfortable with myself and didn’t mind the alone time. I still feel alone but it doesn’t bother me as much. I’ve grown to a place where I enjoy cooking again. I read more. I write fiction more. My creative ideas are never ending.

During the pandemic, there were videos of celebrities feeling upset during social distancing. This reminded me of how I felt. I realized there wasn’t anything wrong with me or how I felt. We were all reacting in a normal way to isolation. I hope people are discovering new things about themselves. If you’re bored during isolation, you need new hobbies. If you’re alone and uncomfortable, you need to love yourself and enjoy your own company. We all should set time aside to be alone. It’s important to our wellbeing. Find your happiness in the alone time.

James Pack is a self-published author of poetry and fiction.  Information about his publishing credits can be found on his personal blog TheJamesPack.com.  He resides in Tucson, AZ.

“You Can Talk to Us”: Social Anxiety at Work

Social anxiety presents itself in a variety of forms for different people and can be perceived by others in a lot of negative ways. Last week I got called out by a coworker for rarely speaking to the employees on the first floor.

My desk is in the basement along with 3 other workspaces that occupy two part-time employees and one is there twice a week. Most days I am downstairs by myself.

The fridge and microwave are on the first floor so when I arrive in the morning I put my lunch away and come back up a few hours later to get it. In those few moments I am upstairs I try not to make eye contact or speak with anyone else.

bts-v-shy-02

What I look like walking down the hallway at work.

Last week I was walking back to the basement after heating up my lunch when my coworker said, “you know you can talk to us.”

I was dumbfounded. I felt exposed as if she pulled back the curtain to see socially anxious little me hugging my favorite teddy bear.

My anxiety has always told me that nobody wants to talk to me or cares what I have to say. It has made me believe that it is best for me to keep to myself so I don’t bother others.

My response was, “Oh, I can? I thought you were all really busy most of the time.”

She said they aren’t then we proceeded to casually chat for a few minutes.

Over the years, I have shut myself off socially at work.

At my last job I kept to myself except for talking to my supervisor. Most of my other coworkers weren’t friendly so I didn’t speak to them unless necessary.

Nobody has called me out on my social anxiety (except my therapist) so it has become a normal way of living for me. It has definitely given me some perspective on how others view me at work. Something to certainly think about.

Do you have social anxiety? If so, how do you cope with it at work/school?

Also what is your current coping method when you’re struggling with your mental illness?

As you can see from the featured image, my current coping mechanism is BTS. Whether it’s watching their incredible dancing in their music videos or reading along with the translated lyrics, BTS makes me happy in all ways. It also helps that they are all super cute. (If you’re a fellow Army, I love Jin, V and RM most.)

What warms my heart is their lyrics in “Love Yourself” that say, “even the scars that were formed from my mistakes are my very own constellations.” These words are powerful for me because of my history with self-harm.

I Need to Call My Therapist

Today was the peak of my anxious December. Each day I have been getting more and more anxious, little things add up to become huge issues in my head.

A week ago I was nearly in tears because I was overwhelmed by anxiety. I often feel like I need to have a perfectly spotless house. When I’m tired or just want to relax, I sometimes ignore that and keep on cleaning. It becomes too much for me to handle so I crack.

Today I was experiencing a lot of anxiety that I don’t know where it was coming from. I was angry at everyone and everything for no reason. I could feel my muscles tense from the anxiety so I thought I would go to the gym to release it. Sadly it only helped a little bit. I walked back into my house and the stress fell back on to my shoulders.

Anxiety is the freaking worst. For me it is worrying about everything. Anxiety is stress piled up so high on my mind that I cannot see the top. It is being unable to act because I am frozen with anxiety.

On Monday I am calling my therapist to make an appointment. I need to hash out the worries and blockades in my brain that are holding me back.

How has your mental health been? If you struggle with anxiety, are you managing it ok?

Babbles: Bella’s Big Adventure: The Home Stretch

round grey and black compass

Photo by Supushpitha Atapattu on Pexels.com

I leave for treatment on Thursday.  It seems to have come upon us quickly in that slow agonizing kind of way.  I am the kind of person that once I have my mind made up, I am set and I am ready.  When I have to wait it is pure agony for me.

I know that good things come with waiting.  I have been able to spend good quality time with my family and my friends.  This weekend we had family photos taken and I was able to take my son’s senior portraits (what an honor!) I have been able to make my list and not only check it twice, but a good nineteen times at this point.

With the time I have had since being accepted into treatment and actually leaving I believe will be three weeks.  It has been a long, tiring, draining three weeks.  I have attempted to get “caught up” work wise, but alas, this does not seem like it is going to be one of the things that is going to be checked off my list.

And that is one thing I am learning.  I am trying, really hard, and I am doing the best that I can.  And that’s the best that I can do.  I am fighting through horrible side effects due to withdrawal from one medication and side effects from another new medication.  Then there’s stress that causes the body to breakdown it’s personal shields and cold season, and oh so much fun.

But, I am a fighter.  This journey will probably be the hardest one I have ever chosen to take, but I am going to muscle through each and every foot step of it, perhaps not with grace and certainly not always with a smile on my face, but I will do it and it will be worth it in the end.

Sprinkles and Cupcakes,

~Bella

www.bellasbabbles.com

Babbles: Bella’s Big Adventure: Perspective

woman wearing black shirt sitting on rock
Photo by Vlad Bagacian on Pexels.com

The days are passing quickly.  I suspect that it is due to being so busy.  However, I feel like I am barely keeping my head above water so to speak, only getting done the bare minimum and my head is swimming with what still needs to be done before I leave for my big adventure.

It seems like every few days I venture to the store to pick up a few things that I “need” for the trip and I am currently storing all items in a small, round, white laundry basket that I plan to bring with me so I have something to do my laundry (good thinking there, because how else would I actually do my laundry if I did not have a laundry basket??)  I feel like I am nesting a little.  I am thinking of what I may need over a 45-day period and it is nerve wracking.  I just started reminding myself yesterday that I have a spouse and he WILL be visiting me and he is willing to bring me items, so I should not worry so much about bringing everything that I need because I have a resource who can bring me items should I forget them.  But then, I was wondering if this is my way of attempting to be in control of a situation that is not within my control.  And if it is also a way for me to act out on my symptoms (shopping addiction) and justify it, with a pretty good justification.  In addition, I am spending time engaging in a mind numbing activity.

This weekend I ran errands and I felt no satisfaction from the shopping that I partook in.  It was not much, not like a “spree”, but more like a shopping trip for things that I did in deed “need” but I was numb.  This tells me that I am, in some ways, starting to shut down.

In other ways I am more heightened in my feelings.  When sitting at the dining room table with my family, I will well up with tears knowing that I will go without these family dinners for an extended period of time.  I know that my family will be fine, I have full faith in their ability to exist while I am away, but I will miss them, I will miss being with them, and I will miss being part of my family.

One thing that I have found is that I am holding onto things with more length, knowing that I have a short amount of time left (less than two weeks) and I am no longer taking things for granted.  I am holding on to each hug, each conversation.  I am staring like a weirdo because I know that I need to keep those memories glued in my mind.

I am feeling the depression starting to sink in.  The sadness, the heaviness, the despair.  Yet, there is so much to do that I have not time for depression, or any dip in my mood.  I need a up kick in my mood to be truly honest, I need a little bit of an upswing so I can have all the energy needed to get all this stuff done.  I feel like I need to be the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, but I feel like I am moving from Piglet into Eeyore and this, well, this is just not a good thing.

I am going to take a break and take a deep breath and let all the buzzing and rushing and racing come to a stop.  I am going to be still and calm in my space and in my mind.  I am going to embrace what I have in this moment and the gifts that have been given to me.  I am going to be kind to myself and my spirit.  All will be well.  This will be a wonderful experience.  I will be safe.  I will have what I need to function in the manner that I need to function.  I will not be in need of things, I will not be in a place of wanting.  My needs will be fulfilled.  I will have peace in my body and my soul.

This is a big adventure.  There will probably be some scary cliffs, but I bet there is going to be some breath taking views.

Sprinkles and Cupcakes,

~Bella

www.bellasbabbles.com

Babbles: Bella’s Big Adventure

Babbles: Blanket Monsters

When I was young, and I could not face the world, I would go to my room and I would hide beneath my blanket, sitting on my floor, with my blanket pulled over my head.  In my head, no one could see me, I was safe, and I was in my own world, numb to whatever was on the outside causing a ruckus.  It was my way of protecting me, giving myself a timeout.  As an adult, I still want to be able to hide under a blanket and disappear from the world at times.

One of those times was this morning/afternoon.  We changed a medication or two and I am struggling.  I am coming down from a very high manic episode and I would like to think of the descent as something that could be compared to that of a kite slowly descending from a beautiful ride upon the wind waves, putting on a beautiful show, but in reality it probably looks like a three year old having a tantrum because her leg is stuck in the string of the kite and she’s kicking and screaming down on the ground as her mother attempts to get the string dislodged from her ankle while not getting kicked in the face after she herself has had a few cocktails.  The key thing that’s missing is grace.

I really am struggling today, as I have all weekend.  The fatigue is intense.  I fear being away from my bed and I loathe having to be in clothes that are not ones that could count as pajamas.  I nearly had a panic attack today thinking that I would have to actually work and did not have the opportunity to sleep all day.

“What do you mean, work??? I want to sleep, not work! 

How can I work if I can’t even think today!  Will I be able to drive?”

This was part of the internal monologue that I had with myself today.  I lost the fight by the way.  The practical part of my brain won, and I took a shower, and dressed in reasonable clothes, did my hair and makeup, even threw on some jewelry.

But, a mere hour into my day, I am in the middle of a vacant parking lot, crying on the phone to my mother.  And it did not take her long to figure out that I was “hiding under my blanket”.  And she called me out on it.  In her high pitched, sweet and loving voice,

“Bella, are you hiding under your blanket?”

And I answered with snot being slurped up my nose and with my right-hand swiping across my face, yes (it is no wonder I have only gotten pink eye once, with all the tears and swiping that happens to me and my face).

“Are you done hiding?”

“No……”

So we talked some more….

Depression is a mother fucker.  It robs you of so much.  I shared that it feels like I am carrying around my weighted blanket and wearing shoes with sand in them.  It is heavy and causes oppression.  It takes me extra effort to get up out of my chair.  I have to will myself to get up, and to go pee.  Like I am sitting here thinking hard about it, and making sure that it is something that I really have to do and going to fully commit to and just not some willy nilly have to pee thing, because I am not getting up for some tinkle, I am only getting up for a full fledge if I sneeze I am going to flood this seat kind of a pee.

 

“Bella, are you ready to come out now?”

“Yes mama, I will come out now…”

Life must continue and we must move on and keep things in motion as hard and dragging as it is.  Today is a grueling day for me.  I have much to do, although I have zippo energy to do such things.  I will be kind to myself and I will cut myself a break.  But I will also realize that I can not hide under a physical or metaphorical blanket all day.  I need to be brave.

 

Sprinkles and Cupcakes (and kites and blankets),

~Bella

www.bellasbabbles.com

Babbles: Truths

women wearing sun hat

Photo by Lucas Lima on Pexels.com

It’s been a while since I have taken the time to sit down and write.  True.

I have not been feeling motivated to write. True.

I don’t feel like I have had much creativity over the last few weeks. True.

I have been struggling to make it through the workday.  True.

I have been sleeping more than normal. True.

I spent all weekend in bed last weekend. True.

I’ve been suffering from depression. I finally confess, that this is also, true.

 

It’s amazing home things sneak up on us.  How we are doing well and then as days turn into weeks, weeks into a month and before we know it, we are having trouble getting out of bed and we are dreading leaving the house.  We look at the shower and contemplate the necessity of this torture chamber, and debate whether our hair really needs to be washed.

I swear just a few days ago I was fine, but then when I really think about it, it wasn’t a few days ago, it was more than a month ago, and I have not been fine for a while.  I’ve been tired, exhausted, and agitated, fussy and not much fun to be around.  I look forward to sleeping at night, treasure the hours when I get to disappear from the world and live in my dream world, and spend all day waiting to go back.

I have been lying to myself.  Telling myself that it’s the heat, that’s it, the heat, it’s just wearing me down.  Or, that it’s just a dreadful day, that I am grouchy because I am constipated perhaps due to meat or gluten.  Or due to a restless night’s sleep disturbed by nightmares.  I’ve also blamed it on stress from work, stuff with the kids, or just blame it on life in general, yeah that’s a good one.  Plus my favorite is citing the medication change, which most times that IS the trigger to my ups and downs, but still, I have been in denial.

The bad data that has been filling my head with negative thoughts, the feelings of despair and the idea that I am not good enough have been torture.  The tears that have been running down my face, the amount of mascara that I have wasted, that time that has spent wiping snot off of my face, I have simply lost count.  Swollen, puffy, red eyes, looking back at myself in the mirror wondering where the sparkle has gone.  Wondering why I can’t help but to yell, why do I do this, what is happening?  Why do I feel this way?

Why does the good Segway into the bad?  Why is this so cyclical? How long will I go before the sunshine comes back and when it returns, how long will it stay?

Tomorrow, tomorrow, the sun will come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there will be sun…

 

Cupcakes with Sprinkles,

~Bella

www.bellasbabbles.com