Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Today I Feel...Stronger

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So what I've been thinking about lately, as I have started my final semester of grad school, and have really begun to delve deeper into learning about the things that I am passionate about and want to build my future around, is how much strength and confidence I've gained in--even the last six months. I think as you grow older and gain more experiences, you slowly do naturally become more comfortable with yourself. However, I've noticed a huge difference thanks to this blog, reaching out to peers about my depression, getting on medication, and learning about myself through my grad classes.

One thing that really stands out is that, being an introvert (who thought I should be/was an extrovert), there were so many times that I let other people affect how I behaved because I thought they knew better than me. Looking back, the instances that irritate me the most are those in which I was in the leadership position, but I still let particular people influence what I did because I thought they knew more than me, or were better than me or I wanted their approval...all of the above. I have always been very sensitive and emphatic to other peoples' emotions etc., which practically dictates that I am a people pleaser...but truly there are some people that can't be pleased.

Even now, I can recognize when I feel guilty or upset by something I have no control over (i.e. other people), so I really feel a whole lot better about myself and where I am than ever before. Lucky for me, I don't have any of those people in my life anymore, where I somehow felt obligated to put them up on a pedestal for no good reason other than my whacked out perception of their superiority over me.

However, I think one good thing that came out of that is my leadership style has evolved into a much more collaborative style. I don't want anyone to feel like their ideas are less valid, or won't be heard, especially because I know how crappy that feels. One of my professors likes to say that every experience is a positive experience, because you either learn what you should do, or what you shouldn't do.

What makes you strong? What gives you confidence in yourself?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Celebs Who Inspire: Demi Lovato

Pic/Interview at Seventeen.com
You'll notice Demi is also a supporter of the Love is Louder Movement! 
I've been wanting to write about Demi Lovato for awhile. Finally, I was up in the middle of the night thinking about it, so I decided it was time. It's important to note that I was a fan of Demi's before all this, she is a super talented singer and has pipes that rival Kelly Clarkson's. However, since she has opened up about her struggles, I find that my admiration and respect for her has deepened immensely. In fact, when she said she didn't know she was bipolar until going into treatment, I realized "Wow, there must be so many people that don't know they're bipolar, depressed, etc." This may sound obvious, but it was honestly the first time I had really thought about it in terms of how severe an impact that would cause on people's lives.

I began to realize that I was probably one of the many who are currently undiagnosed, with a mental illness or disorder.

I was hitting another period of depression in my life, but I, buying into the stereotypes, was both not interested in medication and thought it would eventually go away. As Demi started to share her story, I began to educate myself on the bipolar spectrum and also major depressive disorder. What were other people's experiences? I didn't want just a list of symptoms, I wanted to here what people went through.

This was a turning point for me, finding myself identifying more and more with these stories, I finally asked my therapist to recommend someone to evaluate me and started trying out medications. Trying out medications hasn't been a particularly fun process, but I had to hope that eventually I would find peace. At the moment, things are going very well.

So the reason I wanted to honor Demi Lovato is that her story was really the catalyst for my story to move on to the next chapter. I started this blog in hopes of inspires others in even the smallest way, and to continue to express my own experience that I kept hidden for so many years. Even though Demi is 6 years younger than me, I really look up to her. Inspiration is where you find it.

Demi shares in her MTV documentary "Stay Strong," that she can't say she hasn't relapsed since being in treatment. I think it's extremely important to share with others that the journey isn't a smooth one, and I appreciate her candidness. I've included the first part of her documentary here, all of which is worth the watch and available on MTV.com

Get More: Music News

Also, I previously included her song "Skyscraper" in my first post on Music that Inspires:

What do you think of Demi's story? Who has inspired you?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Depression in Movies: Crazylove

I think this might have originally aired as TV movie, but I am not entirely sure. I watched it on Netflix Instant, partly because I wanted to see the main character go through her journey of recovery and I'm a sucker for any story about finding love in a hopeless place (not necessarily hopeless, I just wanted to quote Rihanna's song there).

Anyhow, the main character, Letty struggles with extreme anxiety and depression which results in OCD. She is very much a people pleaser, giving above and beyond to her students, her lawyer boyfriend and gluing her family together post-messy divorce. In fact, for a lot of the time you wish that Letty would just yell at them all to  deal with their own problems (well..not the kids). Instead, she has a breakdown and ends up in a facility where she meets a guy with schizophrenia, who has a rocky history of coping with his illness.

I think the movie definitely delves into some good territory, such as how difficult it is for her to get her job back after her breakdown, but they focused on the love story and then Michael's story, and we never really got to see Letty's "breakthrough" in a way. I'm also not so sure how they would get away with fraternizing at the facility, as it's specifically against the rules.

I felt it had an overall positive message, specifically not to give up on the people you love--even if they are going through something you may not understand.

I'd give it 2 1/2 out of 5 stars...it was fair.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Website to Inspire: HealthyPlace.Com

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I was actually recommended to HealthyPlace on Twitter and I'm very glad I starting following them! They post a lot of great blog posts and I've only just begun to discover what else they have to offer.

I particularly like this article addressing "Speaking Up" which is something that I hopefully manage to advocate on this blog. It was very difficult to even admit I needed to seek outside help to myself, even with a family history of depression. I am also naturally an introverted person, so it took a lot for me to then take the next step and start talking about my experiences with others. Lucky for me I have gotten a lot of support and now have a great outlet in the form of this blog.

This short blog post on the HealthyPlace mental health website talks about how opening up will help your self-esteem as well as some ways to say what you're feeling: http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/buildingselfesteem/2012/05/speak-up-and-increase-your-self-esteem/

What are some things that keep you from speaking up? How do you deal with them?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Stars Come Out

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      "Don't lose hope
                    when the sun goes down
                                                 the stars come out"                                                                          
                                       ~Author Unknown

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Today I Feel...Guilty

Image from item found here
One thing I've only recently begun to become aware of since starting therapy was how guilty I feel. This comes up time and time again in my relationships with others and also in how I view myself. If I do something fun instead of something I "should" be doing, then I feel guilty. It's my go-to form of self punishment, that reminder to tell myself "you're terrible!"

Hanging on to these guilty feelings has really weakened my self confidence. I am still discovering that I feel this way especially when I choose to do what I want to do (or what I think is best for me) instead of what someone else wants me to do. Then, no matter my logic, I feel as though I am letting them down. What I realize is that maybe I am letting them down, however, that doesn't mean I should feel badly and doubt my decisions. I've still been feeling guilty about quitting my job a year ago, when I know it was the right decision for me. I've kept questioning it too, even though I knew it was what I needed.

I'm slowly working on building myself up again, recognizing that I have the strength to speak up for myself, and also trying to let go of the voices that are trying to get me to be a people pleaser. I'm actually a terrible people pleaser because I'm fighting with myself the whole time to do what I really want!

What do you feel guilty about?