The Thankful Project Day 6: Planners

To step away for a day from the ultimately cheesy sounding thankful posts, I’m just going to dedicate this post to planners.

Yes, those things that organize your day and tell you what to do.

I use my planner for everything. I write down my work schedule (even though it’s a normal work schedule), I write down when I’m going to the gym, when my appointments are, and to be honest, it reminds me what date it is.

It makes the days look way more conquerable, and like anything is possible. And it’s true. When you write something down, not only does it make you remember it more, but it gives you a sense of purpose. That’s why to-do lists are such a big deal for some people.

A planner is like a giant to-do list that is portable and easily viewable. And, for those of you who are super creative, there is such a thing as a bullet journal now.

And these things are even cooler. All you need are super fun pens (which are sometimes even cooler than planners), and the will to decorate your own planner. It sounds like more work than it’s worth, but it’s actually pretty relaxing, and you have a completely customizable planner all for yourself.

And, to allow the cheesiness to come back in for just a second, planners help me when my depression gets extremely bad. They help me see that my day isn’t as busy as it feels like it is. It makes hours seem less daunting. Planners overall help me feel more in check and organized.

And that’s why I’m so thankful for planners.

What are you thankful for?

Advertisements

Thankful Project Day 4: Country Music

Some people don’t like country music very much. So this post might not get too much love. But I am so thankful for country music.

In country music, they don’t scream about sleeping with b*tches or rap about shawty’s ass. It’s just guitar, lyrics about drinking beer with friends and falling in love with the perfect girl. It’s soft drums and concerts full of happy people and cowboy boots. In other words, I think it’s quite wonderful.

Country music never fails to make me happy. It’s my music of choice when I’m sad or down about something. It makes me feel like I’m better than what I believe I am. Country music made me believe in the power of music therapy.

If you don’t what music therapy is, here’s a quick synopsis: a patient can find an activity that includes any genre of music (singing, dancing, learning an instrument, sitting quietly and listening), and that activity triggers their brain to be happier and more productive – the more you do it, the stronger the triggers get. Patients can then move from that to another activity (without music), and use the strength of the triggers to be happier, more productive, more vocal, more communicative, etc. Music therapy has tremendous success in patients with depression, anxiety, dementia, Parkinson’s, Autism, etc.

And country music is my genre of choice.

When I get in my car after a bad day, or a day of knowing I’m not going to feel 100%, and I turn on country music, singing softly along, I start to feel better. And I can carry that mood with me throughout the day. I’ll probably be humming at some point, maybe muttering lyrics under my breath, but I feel better.

Country music is so many things. It’s joyful, it’s sad, it’s a party, it’s patriotic, it’s beautiful. 

And no, not everyone agrees with that statement. But I don’t care.

Music has the ability to heal people.

So maybe this isn’t a thank you to country music, but instead to music in general. Music has the power to make people feel something more complex than what they currently feel. It brings people together. It makes people feel wonderful. It makes people happier. And isn’t that what we all want? 

So, You’ve Had A Bad Day…

I had a bad day today. Just a plain old fashioned bad day.

And my first instinct was to blame it on my meds not working right. On my depression and anxiety acting up. On my Celiac Disease. On my various aching joints and genetic back issues. On anything but the fact that I just simply had a really bad day. 

I couldn’t tell you what went wrong. I couldn’t tell you why I came home from work and the gym feeling like a failure or just plain shitty. I couldn’t tell you why I got out of the shower and just started to cry. Because there was no rhyme or reason.

Still, as I sat on my bed and cried into my hands, I couldn’t help but want to blame it on something in my life that’s gone wrong. I wanted to curse my medicine bottles for not being enough. I wanted to ask why my depression makes me feel this way. I wanted to reach for a donut just to give Celiac Disease the finger. I wanted to make my back curve the way it’s supposed to and give voice to my aching knees and wail.

Honestly? I just wanted to cry and scream and curse and yell.

So where is the line?

When is it a bad day and not anything else acting up? When is it just my fault? When is it not me hating my body or my body hating me? When is it just an off day? When do I call it and say ‘yep, I might’ve just started the day off on the wrong foot?’

And it’s days like this that make me wonder:

When does it get easier?

When do I get to stop hating walking through the pastry sections in markets? When do I get to stop fearing having children because of this horrific genetic makeup I’d bring them into? When does depression stop trailing behind me like an abandoned dog I once dropped a piece of bread for?

When do I get to feel like I won?

It’s days like this that make me wish I journaled so that just maybe I could track down an answer or see a pattern to all the madness around me.

And maybe that’s the point, right?

Everyone has days like this. Even people without depression, Celiac Disease, etc. Even people who seem perfect on the outside sometimes just go home to cry or vent or scream.

It’s all madness.

Everything around us is chaos. That’s life.

Bad days happen. And it isn’t always for a reason. And it might not get easier; it might get harder, it might stay the same. And maybe every bad day will have me reaching for a journal I don’t have just to see if my body has turned on me further. Maybe every bad day will have me wondering about why I am built and made up the way I am.

But you’re dealt your cards, and you learn to live with them. You learn to bet on them. You learn to bet on yourself.

Metaphorical Misery

I wrote this poem in the span of just moments – something that rarely happens. And why? Because someone was trying to save me from my depression and anxiety. I write about my depression often, but never have I written about it like this. There is no story to this poem – just expression. 

they romanticize it –
call it van gogh cuttin’ off his ear
then paintin’ healthy
green wheatfields underneath upset skies –
say it’s the last autumn leaf fallin’
to the damp grass because
everything must fall before
being reborn better –
claim it’s bees seekin’ flowers in your garden
only to create crystallized honey
so sweet rotten

they call it beautiful like –
give it a poetic name
and it’ll be good enough
when you swaddle yourself in your grey duvet
in the dull shuttered morning light

mine is this way –
they use fanciful language and
tear open my body to love
the depression right out of me
they make me a metaphor –
call me persephone beggin’ for freedom –
all exhausted cliche and comparisons
to something i’ll never add up to

when really –
it’s just van gogh in wheatfields
weary leaves being raked
sour honey thrown out and
broken greek myths strangled
in a cloud of existence and
surrender

 

(All copyrights to this poem are mine. Please do not republish or take without permission. This is original work and should not be plagiarised.)

Why We Should Treat Mental Health the Same as Physical Health

I am depressed.

This is not something I try to hide, or shy away from. This is a part of me, something I deal with every day, just like someone putting on glasses, or managing an autoimmune disorder. But people don’t cringe when I tell them I have Celiac Disease. People don’t cringe when I tell them that I just can’t eat gluten.

So then why do people cringe when I tell them I’m depressed? It’s the same thing. Not only am I depressed, but I’m treating it. So why is it a big problem when I tell them that I can’t eat gluten, and I also can’t get out of bed some mornings? At least I can take medications for my depression. I can’t treat my Celiac Disease.

I personally think it’s because depression can be crippling. It does cause me to have to stay in bed some days. It does cause me some trouble most days, even though I am treating it as well as I can.

My Depression rears its ugly head quite often, and it follows me around, trailing Anxiety on a leash.

They both ask me questions all day, begging for my attention, begging for me to treat them as way more important than everything, and everyone, else in my life.

I have to fight Depression and Anxiety every day.

So, arguably, it’s not as normal as putting on glasses. Once people put on glasses, they don’t have to worry about it the rest of the day.

But.

I have to fight not to eat a bagel every day. I have to fight not to go the easy route and eat burritos and pasta and sandwiches every single day. Some days, it’s harder to fight my Celiac Disease than it is to fight my Depression.

Once I’m out of bed, I’ve already won a fight against my depression.

And I can avoid it during the day – I keep myself busy on a tight schedule, I carry around a planner, I have a stress rock in my backpack. It is nearly impossible to avoid gluten though. I have to walk by a bagel place to get to some of my classes. My friends and classmates are constantly (unknowingly) taunting me with their cupcakes and PB&J’s.

If my Celiac Disease is harder for me to cope with than my depression, why is there a mental health stigma? Why isn’t there a stigma around Celiac Disease? Why don’t people cringe when I turn down a piece of their pizza because I don’t want to be sick for the rest of the week?

To me, there is little difference between my Celiac Disease and my depression. I battle with both every day, all day. I fight the urge to stay in bed with the same effort with which I fight the urge to eat a donut. I diligently treat my depression with medication and self-care the same way I treat my Celiac Disease with good eating habits and smart choices.

I’m just curious as to why one makes people cringe, and the other just makes people apologize.

 

Featured Image via Wildgypsypirate