Is it all in my head?

The intruding thoughts, the paranoia, the hurriedness to finish a task, is it all just in my head?

Yes. But, also no.

Of course the thinking is literally in my head. But, I’m not making up all these negative obtrusive thoughts. Or am I? You see, when you think 1,000 thoughts in a minute’s time it can get fairly confusing. Yes, I do live with anxiety and depression and have done so for much longer than I first thought (therapy is a funny yet beautiful thing). BUT – my anxiety and depression do not define me. 

Just because I hear negative thoughts creeping into every moment of my day, does not mean that those are my own, true reality. Or are they? Now I’m just getting too existential and need to take a step back. LOL

What I’m getting at is this: humans are multi-faceted beings. You can have one side to your personality or 10. And lately, I think I’ve begun to almost relish in my melancholic side. Do any of you get that way?

I’m not saying I’ve enjoyed this struggle bus I’ve been riding for what feels like forever, but lately I’ve been thinking I’ve let myself use my mental illnesses as an excuse. An excuse to be antisocial. An excuse to not go to the gym. An excuse to ignore responsibilities.

Sometimes it seems you are climbing an uphill battle, and hey, maybe you are. But working on ways to counteract those negative thoughts and actions is what will get you to that holy grail of a destination: peace.

My dad, the wisest, kindest, most optimistic person I know (he’s also a psychologist so hey, he’s got the proper training, too) once told me that to keep yourself at peace, you must replace each negative thought with a positive one. And when the negativity seems to be taking over no matter how hard you try, you can’t give up. Hating on yourself for looking fat or unkempt in your outfit today? Tell yourself you’re beautiful. Say it out loud if you have to. Shit, write it down!

We all have our ups and downs, and I personally have been on a down for a while now. But I haven’t given up. I won’t give up. Adding positive and healthy habits into your routine is a great way to start.

For example, I’ve been reading so much more lately. I used to always have my nose deep in the spine of a book, but I got off the reading train in college and never quite hopped back on. Until last year. Not only does reading make me happy, but it also is a non-electronic activity, which are few and far between these days. It also helps me fall asleep easier and more quickly than if I turn on the TV. Which means…drumroll please…I wake up more easily!

Getting out of bed on the right foot really goes a long way. Forcing yourself to find the silver lining helps, trust me. Yesterday I had the day off of work, and when I first woke up I couldn’t wait to just lie in bed all day and watch TV. But why? Sure, a leisurely day is necessary, especially when your body and mind need rest, but too many lazy days is what starts your downward spiraling.

So, what did I do? I said NO to my negativity and got out of bed and went to yoga. As soon as I had my breathing regulated and hit my first down dog, I immediately felt a release of stress. Pain, hurting, anxious and depressive thoughts quickly crept out with each huff.

I felt so great afterwards and ended up having a fully productive day, all the way down to putting up Valentine’s decorations at midnight (still working on the whole falling asleep thing, it’s a marathon not a sprint y’all gimme a break).

So here’s to replacing each negative thought with a positive one. Let’s spread more peace – Lord knows our world needs it now more than ever.

xoxo,

HB

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Staying true to myself one bad day at a time

“My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the simplest way.” – Ernest Hemingway

What a beautiful sentiment. These words have resonated so deeply with me since I first came across them. The Old Man and the Sea was one of my favorite books in high school and I’ve always admired Hemingway for his writing, so when I came across this quote of his, I vibed with it.

While this was written decades ago, I see it ringing true here and now in 2018. Our country is in chaos, the president of the U.S. is the laughing stock of the world and the headlines in news get worse each day so intensely that we’ve become desensitized to horrific violence happening all over our world.

But, back to the quote above.

About a year or so ago, I told myself I would be honest about my feelings and not hide in my hurting anymore. Today, I don’t feel like donning my typical wide-mouthed smile. And that is OKAY. Am I moping around like Eeyore? No. But am I hiding behind a smile and saying “fine” or “good” when people ask how I’m doing? Also no.

Life is hard. It’s hard for everyone in different ways and on different days. On a hard day, the easy way out is to simply grin and bear it and hope for a new day tomorrow. Well – not today, junior!

Y’all know I struggle with anxiety and depression. I’m not shy about admitting it. But, it’s still hard on days when I’m down and don’t want to get up. My typical response is to laugh it off, act extra happy and hope I can convince myself that I truly am.

Well, here’s how I’m feeling today:

  • tired
  • lost
  • in pain

I woke up on Monday with back pain that I haven’t experienced since my surgery (for those of you who don’t know, I had back surgery Dec 2015 on two herniated discs at the bottom of my spine). While my pain level isn’t anywhere near what it was pre-surgery, it still sucks. I haven’t been sleeping very well this week because of the pain and the anxiety this pain is causing.

Broken. Let down. Failure.

That’s how I feel. I’m 25 years old – why the hell am I dealing with 65 year-old health issues?! I get stuck on that question a lot, “why?” or “why me?” But, this isn’t healthy thinking.

Healthy thinking is believing in yourself. It’s staying on task so you feel accomplished checking off your to-do list. It’s working on your full self: mind, body and spirit. So today, I’m letting myself hurt. I’m accepting the back pain I’m dealing with today and challenging myself for a better tomorrow.

I know this blog isn’t quite as strong or captivating as my others, but this is for me. I’m writing down here and now that I am working on myself, for myself, by myself and won’t stop until I feel like I’ve reached the top of this mountain.

                        xoxo,

HB

 

Why is it so hard to love myself? 

Most of you who are reading this are probably thinking to yourself, “but she exudes confidence” or “she’s always so bubbly and happy to be here.” And most of the time I am happy to be where I am – I’ve always chosen to take the optimistic approach and try to find the silver linings in life. But realistically speaking, even the more sunshine-y people out there have bad days and question their worth.

Growing up the baby of a huge family, I’ve always tried to be louder (let’s be real, I didn’t have to try too hard to be loud) and get the most attention by nature. Working hard to be the best of whatever my latest venture was has always been my goal. Determined to succeed, I’ve held dozens of leadership roles in various student and non-student organizations since I was 15. I graduated in the top 10 percent of my high school class, excelled in the Journalism School at KU, moved to Dallas to work at an international marketing agency, moved back to Arkansas to work at an agency closer to home, and now am once again residing in Dallas and employed by the University of Texas at Dallas, doing what I love.

I’m 25 years old. I have my own apartment, the world’s sweetest dog (not up for debate), live with my amazing boyfriend and have had dozens more experiences than your average 25-year-old.

BUT. For some reason, more often than not I criticize myself, my work and my place in life. The majority of these self-doubting thoughts are along the lines of “why am I not more successful” or “why don’t I have the perfect body” or “why can’t I figure my shit out!?”

And you know what I think is a large contributing factor to my self doubt in this day and age? The brutal culture and expectations modern day America has on people, especially women. Growing up I looked up to all the supermodels and A-list celebs who are all size 0 and wear designer everything. How ridiculous is that? Even when I was in my fitness prime, I still wore a size 9-10, knowing damn well I’d never look like the entertainers on TV.

But instead of looking at my accomplishments and giving myself that much-needed pat-on-the-back, self-criticism trumped all. Comparing oneself to another’s accomplishments or body or life in general is only going to do damage and harm to the soul.

Thankfully, a friend very near and dear to my heart reminded me of my self-worth today and inspired me to write this post. I know I’m not the only one out here who feels like their appearance and demeanor on the outside doesn’t match what’s truly going on inside and felt I needed to share these thoughts with my readers.

Anxiety plays a role in this dilemma for me, but even the women out there not living with mental illnesses struggle with loving themselves daily. We need to stop comparing ourselves to others and instead learn to relish in our accomplishments and be proud of them in a positive way.

After reflecting on this, here is my mantra for the week:

I am strong.
I am beautiful.
I am worthy.

xoxo,
HB