Where have I been?

 

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Hard Feelings shirt from Kinship Goods

Wow, it’s been a long time since I posted here.

 

As you all know I have tried to be open about my mental health struggles here in hopes of helping others dealing with similar issues. I would like to be an advocate for mental health.

Despite my desire to end the stigma, I am still finding myself embarrassed to admit that I have had a relapse with my depression. The past month or two has been a blur of misery, crying, breakdowns, and frustration. I have barely managed to maintain a job I no longer find any joy in, I have shirked commitments to the detriment of people I care about, and I have cried a whole whole lot.

I wanted to be cured. I wanted to believe that the depression was behind me.

It came roaring back to life though, just as severe as ever. Because of this, I have found it hard to find the energy to engage with much of anything, including this blog and my social media which I love so much.

When you are depressed though even the things you love and are passionate about slip away.

The only positive thing through all this has been that I now have a name for what I am feeling. For a long time I wanted to avoid the label of a mental health condition but now I find it almost a relief to know that there is an explanation for the ways I have felt most of my life, to varying degrees of severity. I spent years believing I was just crazy or lazy when I had tough bouts of depression.

This most current bout I believe has to do with the uncertainty I am currently feeling about my future plans. I feel indecisive and it has built up a lot of stress for me. That coupled with my susceptibility to depression pushed me right back into the worst of it.

This time though I knew to ask for help.

I let my family members and friends see my breakdowns rather than hiding them behind closed doors. Depression is illogical at its very core but I do believe letting them see what it does to me helps them to understand a little more.

I called my psychiatrist and told her when things weren’t working for me. Through some trial and error, I am starting to come out of the fog of depression with new medications.

I have never made a suicide attempt or been actively suicidal but when negative thoughts of that nature flashed through my mind uncontrollably on my worst days I chose to vocalize them rather than keep them to myself.

After working with my medication and family things have been improving. I have been working on self-care by doing things like completing applications, making doctors appointments, doing yoga, cleaning my room and car, working on projects, spending time with dogs, eating depression-fighting foods and many other things.

Many of these tasks may sound insignificant, but to a person struggling with a mental health condition, they can feel like mountains.

Slowly but surely I am recovering again. I apologize for my absence. If any of you have tried to get in contact with me please know that I wasn’t ignoring you intentionally. Let’s just say for now that I’m back. I love connecting with people through this blog and right now I’m trying to get back to doing the things I love.

Forgive me,

Paige

PS: Here is the link to my t-shirt! It is one of my favs. And no I’m not getting paid for this, I just love cute small brands like Kinship.

hard feelings womens varsity tee

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Surf’s up ​

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Me with my surf board. Not looking cute but definitely feeling accomplished. Location: Santa Monica, California

I tend to favor risk. I like risky sports, risky travels, and risky experience in general. That’s not to say I have a death wish. I keep my risk level at a comfortable spot and alway attempt to be as safe as possible. Let it be said here that I do not condone stupid and reckless decisions. Use common sense please people.

The truth is though, that safety and security are an illusion. You can do everything right in life but eventually, life is gonna get you somehow. I know this a little too well. At 19 I was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer and was lucky enough that it was treatable but my teenage invincibility complex was forever shattered. At 20 my flight to London from Houston experienced severe turbulence. There were a few dark moments when I and all the other passengers that day believed that this might be it. We made an emergency landing in Shannon, Ireland and while 18 people were hospitalized (I wasn’t) we all survived. If you want to read about that one click the link below.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/31/europe/ireland-houston-london-united-flight-turbulence/index.html

These are only two experiences but at 21 I am starting to feel like a cat. I am burning through my nine lives rather quickly but that’s okay. All I can do and all any of us can do really is live in the now and try to have as much fun and help as many people as we possibly can along the way

So do things that scare you. Life is short, and I want to experience all of it. I want to keep crossing items off my bucket list and continue to add new lines to the bottom of it until my hour glass runs out.

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The old unmarked van I met my instructor at. I found the sketchiness a bit amusing. Location: Santa Monica, California.

With that in mind, surfing is a sport I’ve always wanted to try. My parents, however, were not a fan of this activity and so I decided to rely on the age old wisdom, tis better to ask forgiveness than permission. I signed up for a surf lesson with a local instructor named Matthew at the Santa Monica surf school, got an Uber and headed there to meet him.

I’ve never been surfing before but I assumed it would be difficult. It certainly was but my instructor was so nice and encouraging. He taught us the fundamentals on the beach then we paddled out to catch some waves.

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Sand filled surf van. It was so cliche I had to take a picture. Location: Santa Monica, California

Surfing, like many sports, is a great (even if cliched) metaphor for life. If you are like me, you fall over and over again. You get beat up by the waves that keep coming at you whether you’re ready or not. You have to fight to control your body and face the onslaught. To be successful you have to work with the onslaught. You fall over and over again but have to keep pushing yourself to try again. You feel exhausted and beaten by the powerful forces beyond your control. You feel humbled as you realize your insignificance in the vastness of the ocean and of life. Eventually, you have to take a break and allow yourself to rest so you can go on to surf another wave tomorrow.

It was a positive experience that still managed to remind me of the tough stuff. There was a lot of times I wanted to quit. I am really small and the waves in Santa Monica were big and tough. My limited strength seemed to fail quickly. I was glad I did it though. I want to continue to challenge myself and grow with new experiences. Surfing is one I can say I’ve done now. I am sunburned and know I am going to be sore as can be tomorrow but that’s okay. I did something tough, active, and fun. Despite my lack of talent for the activity I still feel a sense of pride for going for it.

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Under The Santa Monica Pier. Location: Santa Monica, California

Whatever it is that you’ve always wanted to do but felt scared to or made excused about the inconvenience I would encourage you to go for it. Do it tomorrow if possible. If not make plans. Don’t let anything stop you from pursuing your dreams.

Encouraging you to take the risk with love,

Paige

Wednesday Wisdom: They’re Just Not That Into You

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Dress: Topshop Necklace: Madewell Location: Wynwood Walls Miami, Florida

Have you ever had a friend who made you feel like a burden? A friend who made you feel like you should feel grateful that they took the time out of their day to respond to your text or meet you for coffee? Or a friend who was only there when it was convenient for them. Have you had a friend that’s mostly around when they need something but disappear when you need them?

Spoiler alert: They’re just not that into you.

I think a lot of us fall into this trap. We have a person that we like and consider a friend, or in some cases a potential boyfriend or girlfriend and we will do anything for them. I’m guilty of this for sure. But I am learning that sometimes you need to evaluate who your true friends are in life to protect yourself a little. I have found myself in so many “friendships” or “pseudo relationships” with people who barely cared about me at all. I would do anything for these people but eventually, I had to realize that they would seldom lift a finger for me.

The levels of effort we were putting into our friendships were vastly different. I was there pouring everything I had into them. Making myself available whenever they wanted or needed. They weren’t doing the same, however. I was prioritizing people who barely thought about me at all.

A good example of this was a “friend” I had in high school. I would hear people say negative things about her and I would defend her endlessly. I wouldn’t believe a single one of the rumors because she was my friend and I liked her. It took me until the end of high school to really look at that friendship though. I realized that I was there for her whenever she needed. Any favor, homework, crisis management she needed I was right there. But she wasn’t there for me. We only hung out when she needed something from me. It was never just for fun. Never because she liked me. I was doing everything I could for this girl to try to make her want to be friends with me, and she didn’t care at all.

Unfortunately, that isn’t the only time I’ve done that to myself. Friendships like this can leave you feeling worthless and stupid. I spent so much effort on these people and even the best of me wasn’t good enough. Eventually, you realize you’re either being used or they are friends with you out of pity and you feel miserable. Even worse is the fact that quitting the habit is so hard. You care about this person and you wanted them in your life. Accepting that they don’t want you is difficult and painful. In some cases, you are almost addicted to them. There was a reason why you stuck around through all the garbage before. You cared.

So how do you fix this? It’s not easy. If you think you are strong enough for the clean break do that. But personally, I have found that phasing these people out is the best way to do this.

Make a rule for yourself. Something like “I will only contact them once a month” or “I won’t talk to them/see them unless they make the effort to talk to me.” Put the ball in their court. This allows them to have the chance to miss you. Maybe they will wake up and realize how valuable you are to them. Or maybe you will get to see just how little they care.

This clarity hurts but is helpful in healing. Hopefully, as you slowly phase them out of your life you will begin to crave their presence in your life less and less. It isn’t a perfect solution but cutting these people out of your life who are only bringing you down will help you in the long term.

Right now you are allowing them to define your worth and are left feeling inadequate. You deserve to be loved, cherished, and cared about. You deserve friends who are as enthusiastic about you as you are about them. Don’t let people who don’t appreciate your value make you miserable. If you have a person or people in your life that fit this description give it some serious thought.

You deserve real friendships and real relationships. If they want to talk to you they will. In the meantime focus on loving yourself, growing closer with friends who value you, and making new friends who will love you for who you are, not how you can benefit them. Trust me I’m still rereading my own advice. It isn’t easy but it works!

With love,

Paige