First let me say please check on your strong friend people. Anyone can be screaming HELP! with a stoic face. You never know what battles or demons someone is fighting. Depression, anxiety, anger or suicidal thoughts are not always visible. Please take to time to ask your strong friend (or anyone for that matter) if they are okay. The most important thing is to stick around and wait on an answer. Mental illness does not have a class. We often equate wealth and riches with happiness. Sorry people, wealth does not equal happiness. Relationships are important. Smiles are important. Kindness is important.
It is okay to say you are not okay. No man is an island. If you are depleted and feel as if you need to replenish then say so and take good care of yourself. If you don’t know how to take care of yourself, ask someone. It is okay. Don’t go at it alone.
I sat down at my computer to start work and of course plastered all over everywhere was the recent suicide of Anthony Bourdain. I read it and shook my head. I don’t know if I was scared, shocked or angry when I began this post, but I know something needed to be said. Weren’t we all just discussing the recent suicide of Kate Spade? How many people do you know have said that they have thought about suicide at least once? Did you remember that day? You might have been out having what you thought was a good time. Meanwhile that person was in their own silent hell.
Let’s show up for one another. I am your strong friend, but I need someone too!
If you need to talk please call 1-800-715-4225 Suicide Prevention Line.
I try to stay mindful of the fact that not everyone has a person or people in their lives to pick them up when they fall or give them a kind word when they are having a rough day. I wanted to show up today for anyone who is unable to show up for themselves and perhaps may not have anyone to say the things that they may need to hear right now. Just in case no has told you today,
- You are going to be okay
- All you can do is the best you can
- It may be the end of the road, but not the end of the world
- This is just temporary
- You are such a beautiful person inside and out
- It is okay not to be okay
- You are not alone
- No one is perfect
- Even the smallest thing we do for ourselves or someone else can bring so much joy
- The love you have for yourself surpasses the love anyone else can have for you
- Be kind to yourself
- It’s okay to laugh at yourself
I felt a need to put this out in the world because we are all in this thing called life together, whether we know one another personally or not. You may need these words today or maybe it’s someone you know. Maybe you will meet a stranger today who needs a kind word. The world is hard enough on us all. Let’s try to pull one another up in hope, kindness and love.
P.S. I went to walk my dog this morning and I had the leash and his poop bags, but I forgot my dog! I chose to laugh at myself instead of getting upset about messing up the walk.
Speak with you soon.
It was a glorious rainy afternoon in October and there was slight breeze in the air. Anyone that knows me, knows this is my absolute favorite time of the year. I was going to make the most out of this day. My plans included playing with my puppy Gambino, taking a hot shower, making a bite to eat, binge watching Brit Box while doing a bit of writing. This was a great day to be home or so I thought. It was around 3 PM as I was stepping out of the shower all of a sudden my music stop playing. Everything got quiet and the air conditioner faded. Initially, I didn’t give it a second thought. It was only raining hard outside. There was no thunder or lightening so surely it was just a glitch in the system. After I got dressed, I decided to take a nap because there was nothing else to do. I could cook, watch television and read once I woke up. I knew the power would be restored by then.
I woke up feeling like I had been asleep for days. Gambino was waking up and we sat there staring at each other, trying to figure out what to do next. It was so quiet and there was still no power. By that time, I was getting upset and hot. It was getting dark. I was hungry and bored out of my mind. I called Georgia Power and was told they were aware of the outage and to keep calling back for updates. I was not ready to hear that. I immediately started pouting and complaining. ” Are you serious right now?” “It ain’t even doing anything outside!” “Man, I should’ve stayed in Alabama!” After the rant monologue, I lit candles and just sat down. I was lucky enough to have a portable charger, so I was able to listen to some music and play on social media. I sang every song in my catalogue to Gambino until he finally ran under the couch. It was too hot to sleep. I was tired of singing and I just wanted to watch British television. I finally just sat there, mad at the world. While I was sitting in my recliner, acting as if my world had come crashing down, a little voice told me to stop complaining and be thankful. But I didn’t want to be thankful, I wanted to a brat because my plans were ruined. Reluctantly , I re-evaluated my situation. It was raining outside, but I had shelter. There was no electricity, but I had candles and a flashlight. I could’ve read by candlelight. I was not able to cook, but I had food I could’ve eaten that was already prepared. I could’ve ordered in if I chose to. The air conditioner or fan was not working, but I could’ve opened up all of my windows as well as my patio doors. I felt bad about complaining. At least I knew I would have power at some point. The people in Puerto Rico not only don’t have power, but they don’t have anything. Everything they once knew is no longer there and they have no idea when things will get back to normal. There I was carrying on about a little power outage, when all I had to do was to look around and count my blessings. Sometimes we focus more on what we don’t have rather than being grateful for what we do have. Things don’t always go as planned, but that’s okay. The power was eventually restored around 3:00 AM in the morning. What did I do once I had power? Turned off everything and went to bed.
This is the first time in all of my years, I have had the nerve to say this phrase aloud. Maybe it’s because I am writing for my blog or maybe it’s because I decided to throw caution to the wind. Honestly, my anxiety has kept this phrase in check as it has been something I thought, but was not brave enough to say aloud. By saying “what’s the worst that could happen?” I thought was essentially “poking the bear” and literally begging for bad things to happen. It was so much easier secretly think it and try to control everything to produce only favorable outcomes. It is so amazing how I thought I was in control of each and every outcome in my life by doing this and not that or by saying this and not that. Would it actually be living a full life if those safe guards were actually true? I can almost say with certainty I would make up a ritual of wearing a certain pair of socks on a cloudy day because the last time I wore those socks the sun started to shine. As I was writing that sentence, I literally imagined how this could snowball into something unimaginable. How many pictures does a person take to get the perfect selfie? How many things in life do you postpone because you are waiting on the perfect time? Trying to put together the “perfect” anything can literally drive you insane. Control is just an illusion to make us think we are in charge. When we fight against what is happening instead of going with the flow, it is then when produce stress, anxiety and depression.
Catastrophic thinking is only focusing on the most irrational worst possible outcome in even the most simple situations. For example, if one of your friends did not call you today, instead of thinking they maybe busy, you think they are mad at you or maybe even hurt. Many of us have catastrophic thinking that has somehow been our guiding light throughout our journey in life. It’s like looking for directions from a broken compass. Yes, it can be viewed as a defense mechanism to protect us from harm, but just as other defense mechanisms, it can have negative effects on a person. The outcome we fear will happen will not only paralyze us, but also cause us to carry around self imposed guilt. What if they find out I am not perfect? What if they laugh at me? What if they find out I really have no idea what is going on? What if they stop loving me? What if I lose friends? What if I fail? These are all questions that come up when we think about the worst possible outcomes of any situation. Two of the most important mantras that have helped me with my thinking is taking a step back and saying to myself “whatever happens, I can cope” and “I am not the first one and I am sure I will not be the last one.” Taking a deep breath and sitting with those thoughts puts a whole new perspective on things. It is okay not to have all of your ducks in a row. It is okay to mess up. It is okay to not know the answer. It is okay to just be okay. The world will not end and the people who love you will love you flaws and all.
“Do not fear failure but rather fear not trying.”
― Roy T. Bennett