Day 5: Today Was A Pretty Good Day

Mood Diary: 0

“Our happiness depends on the habit of mind we cultivate” – Norman Vincent Peale

Considering how bad yesterday was, I’m surprised at how nice TODAY was. I’m not even sure if it’s because I learned from yesterday or not, but all I can say is that I think I’m already doing a better job being aware of things. Or maybe it’s the Summer Solstice and the weather was just really nice? Haha who knows!

Something that’s becoming clear is that I need human interaction. Most days I hole up in my corner at work and don’t speak one word to anyone… and those are the days where I feel like shit. Yesterday I felt so awful and knew I should try to force myself to talk to someone, so I got up and was literally shaking walking down the halls to see if anyone wanted to walk to get food with me. Finally one of my friends came, and rather than hide how awkward I felt I chose to tell her about my disorder and also about my anxiety. She was really understanding, and even did my little anxiety dance with me where I saw too many people sitting at a table and I fled in fear.

That was REALLY hard for me, which is why I remembered that today and made a point to talk to people. The weather was gorgeous out, so I went on a walk with 2 separate people and we even came across a hummingbird feeding its young! What a beautiful sight! Gotta share the video because it was just so cute! Hummingbirds are my absolute favorite birds and my spirit animal 🙂 Sometimes when I’m manic and unable to slow down I feel just like one, beating my tiny wings way too fast just trying to survive.

I really feel like…being outside reminds me that we humans are creatures of nature, and we don’t belong at desks. Rather than be negative about that as I usually am though, I chose today to recognize that, like it or not this is the life I’ve chosen. I like my friends, and my life here is a lot better than I think on most days. I really need to be more grateful.

That’s something else that hit me hard on the walks. When you take the time to check up on people on a more regular basis, you realize that everyone is going through shit just like you (obviously) but a lot of the times, way worse than you. Being holed up at my desk, yeah maybe I’m gaining new perspectives watching people talk on youtube, but there’s nothing like talking to real people who you know in the flesh. It’s SO IMPORTANT to talk to those around you, see what’s happening in their life, and remember that not everything revolves around you.

I’ve been getting really into Deena Kastor’s book Let Your Mind Run. Although it started off slow for me, about 2 hours in when she meets her running coach it really picks up. More than running, it’s about learning how to shift your mindset to be more positive, but what I think it does better than other self help books is that she uses her memoirs to describe how EXACTLY her mindset was shifting. She explains how to counter specific negative thoughts she was having, and how over time she felt her energy actually change which is something that I’ve experienced but haven’t known how to explain. I guess you could say that this book has validated my own experiences and lets me know that I’m on the right path.

One part that I especially loved today that was super inspiring was her talk about losing a race and she was so disappointed. Her ever positive coach kept telling her that she did a good job, and that the fact she was disappointed showed that she was invested, that she cared. When you think about it, it’s so simple — transmute the failure into motivation. Realize that there IS positive reasoning behind the negative feelings. Disappointment is rooted in the desire to be better…find the light within the darkness. If you think “this is as good as I am,” you eliminate your own power and allow for self judgement. Change that to “this is as good as I am today” and it allows for growth while returning power to you.

“Be careful how you are talking to yourself, because you are listening” -Lisa M Hayes

Another nice thing I encountered today was in a podcast Bre sent me with artists Dave Rapoza, Dan Warren and Brad Rigney. It’s so strange because I feel like synchronicity has been at work lately with having the right information fall into my lap. I’ve distanced myself from the art world for so long that I’ve stayed away from art talk of any kind, but hearing the questions that their listeners would ask was so surreal to me because I was able to tell how far I’ve come. I also really enjoyed listening to their talk about depression, starting at 2:58:30. One of the guys was talking about exactly what I was talking about above, how he has to force himself to go outside or he’ll go into the depression spiral, along with going to the gym 3 times a week.

I’ve been running a lot more, and getting back into doing Yoga With Adriene who, by the way I missed DEARLY. It’s so dumb how even when we find things that work for us, life gets in the way and we somehow stop then things get worse again and you somehow find your way back to something you could’ve just kept up with the entire time. I’ve been doing her peace series on the members only part of the site, but considering she updates weekly I think I’m gonna restart her Yoga Revolution series which was her first yoga series that I felt changed my life. I am also SO grateful for Adriene’s channel because really… even more than the Headspace meditation app, the way she teaches yoga heals my soul. I feel like I’ve reunited with an old friend that’s able to soothe this chaotic mind of mine 🙂

 

 

 

Day 3: Shower Epiphanies, Running and Dogs

I woke up this morning to find that Eddy had pulled an all nighter to finish freelance, and we ended up going to McDonalds to get breakfast. This is something we’d do SO MUCH in what I call our “old life” when we first started dating to about like a year ago when I tried getting really serious about our health, then we would only do it for special occasions like going to the airport or Disneyland or something. I realize though that the mornings where I do unexpected things puts me in a really good mood because it makes me feel like I have a life outside of work.

I’m trying to go deeper into understanding why work gives me so much anxiety, and I think it’s because I spent so long trying to get into the animation industry that I constantly feel unworthy and never wanna fuck it up. My mom raised me to be an academic, which in recent years when Christie told me about the MBTi stacking traits and the enneagram, I was told that I was being forced to function at my lower traits my whole childhood. I basically felt trapped and unable to explore, when exploration and learning through others and learning through doing are my primary function stacks that result in my higher learning. So basically being at work reminds me of being in school, and because I spent so long trying to please my mom with good grades rather than figuring out who I was at a younger age, I feel like I can never slack off or treat work like other people do. Hence the anxiety and not knowing how to interact with people at work. Not understanding the balance of work to play… The only times I was ever comfortable at work were when I was working at Roger’s Gardens and Style Addiction and basically had my own office away from everyone else. It’s kinda ironic because I love people but I can really only interact with them when I’m able to fully immerse myself in the experience, such as being outside, at a party, or… well haha anywhere but work xD So then I feel like nobody likes me since I never visit them at their desks etc. I’m realizing more and more that if I’m around people who I don’t feel comfortable enough with, it affects me way too deeply that it can set off my mood and make me hate the world during the day, which in turn causes me to stop focusing and not get my work done in time, leave late and fuck up my whole schedule and make me feel like a failure.

Wow that was a long tangent. I was basically trying to say that… doing stuff with Eddy in the morning that I would normally do like later in the day makes me feel like I’ve had an enjoyable full day of interaction with the loves of my life, Eddy and our pup Han, so it puts me at ease for when I get to work and sets my mood up for success. I already interacted with people at work today! So everything is happy! 😀

What I really wanted to talk about though was how eating the McDonalds made me really start to see how eating healthy changes your palette over time. The sausage egg mcmuffin and hashbrown used to something that made me HAPPY BEYOND BELIEF but now I can basically taste all the unhealthiness of it. It was still good, but definitely didn’t have the same effect on me as before. Right when we began dating, part of what made me realize Eddy was the one is how he would wake up early and grab me McDonalds breakfast and leave it on the bedside table so that I would wake up to it… such a knight in shining armor.

Anyway, when I went to run I had this pain in my lower stomach, similar to cramps but not really. I assumed it was from the sausage mcmuffin. Regardless, I forced myself to run 3 miles because I think I’m getting addicted to running O_O YESSS! What i’ve always wanted! I’ve hoped to be consistent enough to get addicted but could never force myself out… having Han helps since I have to take him out first thing in the morning anyway, so it’s nice that it gets me out of my shell enough to just suck it up and do it. But seriously now running gives me such euphoria, and I think it’s because I’m choosing to be mindful about it. I’m also really starting to see WHY it’s so important for people with mental illness to exercise, and why so many people, especially with depression, have said that running has saved their life.

I think one of the big things that started changing my relationship with running was the decision to stop listening to music and focus on my surroundings. I used to run high and tell myself “Ok Elora, now look through your 3rd eye” and when I would make the conscious decision to do that, I felt like I could feel the truth of everything around me. I realize now that what that actually means is being acutely aware of my surroundings. I find that when I do the 3rd I thing now, I essentially choose to focus on one sense at a time, like smelling the grass being mowed in the park or the fertilizer, listening to my steps hit the ground, the birds singing, squirrels chittering, today I heard that beagle Faith barking incessantly after them… feeling the dirt under my feet, the wind and sun against my skin… I find that focusing on any of these things rather than my thoughts helps me appreciate the world, appreciate existence, and also makes me feel like this is just the matrix so I need to not take it as seriously as I have been. It makes it feel like a videogame, and I find that over time my music has become the world. Running quiets my thoughts, and I feel like that aspect of “game” makes me feel like I’m never going to get bored of it.

I’ve been building a habit of, when I feel pain, to close my eyes and try to run in a straight line while counting to 10. In the beginning I would chicken out and think I’d run into someone coming my way, but today I counted all the way up to 30 without even cheating! (Like opening my eyes a lil bit) The pain in my stomach seemed like not even that big a deal, and sometimes I would even choose to meditate on it and FEEL it… but in the way that was interesting rather than intolerable. I wanted to go 4 miles even but I REALLY had to take a shit.

Here’s a link that Bre sent me yesterday with runner Deena Kastor talking about how mindfulness helps with HER runs too 😀

I’m trying out this pomodoro timer thing to make sure I don’t ramble on and on forever. You know really… it’s cool that I have this blog because I can type faster and more than I could ever WRITE BY HAND in my journal in 25 min. I have 8 min to go and have already written this much! 😀 I love the idea of the pomodoro because it’ll beep when I’m done and NO MATTER WHAT I’LL HAVE TO STOP.

Anyway! When I got home to shower, I had a sudden epiphany. Both me and Eddy are such messy people, but we’re both working hard to try and become aware of our bad patterns and fix them. I think it helps that we’re getting married this August, and I think it also helps that we have a puppy now. When our old dog Einstein died last November, it was a shock to our whole world because we started to understand that we HAD to change. Einstein was 16, and because he was old it made us be ok with just staying in, taking it easy, and living in filth because he couldn’t control his bowel movements and it was excusable.

Now that we have Han though, it’s like we have to get our shit together because he’s so new to this world (7 months now). I can’t even express how much he’s changed our lives… maybe someday when I have a full 25 min I’ll explain, but dogs really are such a gift to humanity. They have such great personalities and I dunno… remind me so much of humans but with the ability to truly live in the present and be a pure expression of love. They are so happy just being around you and don’t compare their lives to that of other dogs. They don’t feel envy… just love. I think humans love having them around for that reason. They remind you what’s actually important in life, and they don’t put up walls in the same way humans do.

OMG I’M ALMOST OUT OF TIME!

When I got in the shower after running I couldn’t help but instantly be disgusted. Neither of us ever take the initiative to clean, and I felt like I was just getting sick from all the mold in there, yet didn’t feel like I had time before work to clean the damn thing. I NEVER HAVE TIME. But I actually do. That mindset needs to change. Seeing this dirty shower really had an effect on me today… maybe it’s because my feet were super itchy for a weird reason. Maybe I have to clean my shoes? Or maybe I felt like I haven’t felt 100% for months and breathing in mold fumes wasn’t helping. But whatever it is I had the epiphany of “Do I do this to myself for a reason? Why do I let things get so bad before I actually do anything to fix them? Do I gain some weird pleasure from this?”

Regardless of what it is, it made me take a step back and look at my life, my mess, my chaos. I think I’m really truly starting to understand why people say that organization and cleanliness is a huge part of mental health. If I’m gonna do this no meds thing, I really need to start with cleaning my room.

BOOM! TIMER DONE! Looks like I can write a LOT in 25 min… woohoo!