Saturday, June 13, 2020

Dark Room

“It’s like trying to walk through a dark room you’re unfamiliar with.”

“Did you make that up or did you get it from somewhere?”

“I made it up just now.”

“You should write about that.”

I was having a conversation with someone attempting to describe what it felt like to be paralyzed with anxiety. 

I’ve been vocal about mental illness - particularly depression and anxiety because they are the two demons that I’ve had to battle face to face for almost seventeen years.

I’m happy to report that as of today, I am free from all medications and have replaced them with daily meditation, exercise and a healthy diet. I have insidiously been haunted by depression and anxiety’s minute particles on certain occasions, and when not mindfully noted as unhealthy cognitive patterns stemmed from my past, they collect and build an unavoidable explosion. This form of displacement leads to fights with those I love, or I’ll simply isolate myself and completely disconnect from the world. The way we treat others is a mirror of how we treat ourselves. It’s much easier to ignore that what we see in others is a reflection of ourselves. Sometimes it’s too painful to admit that what we strongly dislike in others is what we deeply dislike about ourselves.

For the first time in months I am struggling - struggling to keep it together, struggling to not give in and relapse. Part of my pain has resurfaced from people around me unable to understand that this is not a state of mind I choose to be in. I guarantee you anyone who is suffering mentally isn’t choosing to do so. There is nothing fun about feeling this way. 

My mind can get so confusing to the point where the dim light fades and I’m back in that dark room I’m unfamiliar with.

Then it becomes hard to move.
Hard to decide which direction to take.
Hard to decide what to say because my own thoughts don’t even make sense.

I wish I could make you not only understand, but also believe that what I’m saying is true. Have you see below my skin, feel my blood rush quicker, feel my pulse accelerate, feel my chest tighten and my throat thicken with knots.

I’m paralyzed.
Not because I don’t want to move forward, but because I don’t know how. 


So if your friend, your spouse,partner or family member are having a hard time… just remember they may also be in a dark room they’re unfamiliar with. Not because they choose to, but because the lights have dimmed a little too much. 

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Love yourself: a friendly reminder

Trust the process: a collective reminder.

If you had told me a year ago that today I’d be writing a post on fitness and wellness, I probably would have laughed at you. There were so many negative associations to that word in my world: untangling a distorted perception, healing it and recreating it.

Being active comes as a natural desire for some people, but I wasn’t one of them. I grew up in a culture where physical beauty was praised and having a few extra pounds was mockable. With hindsight, I created my own twisted perception of beauty: I thought I had to be a certain size to be beautiful. I also succumbed to thought patterns and behaviors of victimization. I didn’t want to admit I was making excuses. I didn’t recognize that the body requires motion to release energy and prevent it from becoming stagnant or transforming into something psychosomatic. I didn’t know the value and the array of the benefits that working out could offer. I completely overlooked the importance of building discipline, starting with actually being aware of what I was doing. 






Mindfulness: the foundation of it all. 

I realized that the more I focused on the activity I was executing, the better my performance was. I designed a routine that would be exciting for me, something I could look forward to and selected specific songs that made made me feel empowered. I stopped making excuses. I listened to my body. I began noticing a correlation between my mood and the amount of physical activity I did throughout the week. I paid attention to what I put in my body and made more conscientious decisions regarding my diet. I slept better, I felt better throughout the day and experienced less rumination. People started noticing not just the weight loss, but an overall change in the way that I looked. It would feel uncomfortable at first because I was never really at ease receiving compliments in the past. I worked with my relationship to self and reminded myself that these are reasons to celebrate and be proud of myself.

Self-love: the skyrocket. 

How can I take better care of myself?
What steps can I take right now to improve the way that I feel?
What can I do tomorrow that will help me become a better version of myself?
What is an action I can take to enhance my quality of life, physical and mental well-being? 

These are questions I started asking myself and everything led me to one thing: working out. 

And I started feeling better. 



The first thing I began noticing was my increase in energy and how easy it was to move around. Working out gave me something to look forward to where I could have fun by setting challenges. I started feeling more confident as I saw my body become more toned and defined. Now I’m at a point where I have my own personal goals, but it’s not about being a certain size or looking a certain way. It’s about challenging myself, it’s about honoring my body, it’s about respecting it and treating it the best way possible because that’s exactly what it deserves: to be loved, especially and most importantly by me. 

I feel like it is my duty to share this with you because it might inspire you, even though you already know working out is excellent. Perhaps there is something holding you back from going on that walk or run, that hike or that trip to the gym. Perhaps your relationship to self needs some re-visiting. I promise you one thing though, you will feel absolutely better afterwards and the feeling of accomplishment is going to be so rewarding, it will never feel like work. 

With love,
Patricia










Sunday, November 24, 2019

Polar Vortex

“I missed you,” my soul whispered to yours as it felt its vibrations. I knew your presence would be idiosyncratic to my growth, but I had no idea you would hurt this much. It comforts me to know that only you got to see the depths of my darkness and that the whole world didn’t curl up to haunt me. A depressive episode that burst from a constricting environment - my body shivered as it prepared to witness the inevitable collision. So often you would lay your head on my chest to hear the noise inside my heart. You got me good. 

Narcissism, abandonment issues and a deep stain of rejection - all the hues in your voice’s inflection. I was afraid of you and yet sick of the fear, so I jumped in your sea of judgements without hesitation. I lost my dignity the second I let you walk over wounds and allowed you to place my light and my love below your reckless desire to repress anything you might feel. And I thought this night was cold - boy, nothing beats your chilling lack of compassion. 

Did you really happen? You felt like a moment, like the sound of the cars passing by. A recollection of distorted sensorial information, a maze of the nothingness inside your heart and a mental picture of your frigid eyes - all fading away. 

I've highlighted your shallowness, hypocrisy and heightened sense of intellect so I remember not to fall for the walking wounded.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Rebirth

On March 16, 2016, I wrote a very personal blogpost titled A Visual Representation of Living With Depression and Anxiety. I've re-visited the post several times but kept it silently dormant. I knew I would write a continuation for it someday, and that day happened to be today. 

I was twenty-six when I wrote that post. I am thirty now. Since then I have experienced even darker times but also the warmest light, and it has been life-changing. 

Writing has always been something that has come easy to me, but I never saw it as a gift until now. I have been very vocal and open about some of my experiences because I know there are millions of people out there who feel exactly how I felt: alone, empty, unworthy, unlovable, unloved, neglected, exhausted, frightened and out of place. I know the feeling of not wanting to be here anymore, and only those who have gotten to that point can understand that level of pain. I decided to take action today despite the fears of my own ego - exposing myself once again to the world - to write the continuation of a plant that was seeded and since then, bloomed. I'm here to help you by sharing how I got to the other side.

Asleep

My face was hiding under a mask for thirty years. It fit so perfect, I believed it defined me and was permanent. I believed that it was a part of my skin and just how my personality was, and that I had no control over how I chose to treat myself. I believed I was here to please others, live up to others' expectations, get up and go to work. Numb myself and spend most of my time sleeping because it was the only way I could silence my rapid mind from my own judgements. Spend my off days wallowing in my own darkness, isolating myself even more from everyone else. Hurting myself both psychologically and physically. It was the only recipe I knew, and the more I disconnected with my outer world, the more I insidiously faded.

My life came to a fork in the road: I could continue living my own hell or I could create a clean slate. Look at myself in a new way, speak to myself in a new fashion, see this journey in a new light - a new perspective. And trust me, I know it's easier said than done, especially when you feel you're on the verge of psychologically collapsing. But a part of me had already awakened, it's just that I was so broken and too busy playing the role of a victim that I hadn't noticed who was actually there all along.

See, we all come to this realm with our heart open, but this world can be a scary playground. Situations in your early stages in life begin to shape you, and so do the people around you (or lack of). If you had any traumatic incidents in your childhood that were never healed - whether you were abused, neglected or abandoned - you begin to create thick, tall walls for your own protection. The road can become narrow and you can even lose your peripheral view - so you're not even able to see what's around you. 

In my experience, my ego was developed at a very early age. At the age of three I was already experiencing fear of loss and I sensed emotions and energeies very intensely in a conscious way. I was mocked at elementary school for being a cry-baby and authoritative figures began criticizing my body during that time in my life, too, even though my weight was perfectly healthy. My foundation was made out of criticism and self-doubt, enabling what would turn out to be a mentally chaotic journey. 

Suicidal ideation emerged for me at the age of fourteen when I had my first attempt. "Nobody gets me," I thought to myself. I had a close friend who committed suicide when I was seventeen - she was sixteen. Two months later, my dad left our apartment. I spiraled a little further. 

I fell madly in love when I hit eighteen to a guy I had met when I was twelve, was a rebellious risk-taker by later in life deciding to quit my psychology program at my university to marry him. I was twenty two when we got divorced. When someone you love the deepest you've ever loved is unfaithful to you, trust in other people becomes this difficult energy to juggle. 

I didn't want to love and get hurt again, so my mid-twenties was focused on perfecting my big, thick walls so no one could ever enter and have the possibility of doing it again. I was single for several years, and then decided to give dating a chance. I hated the initial stages, the bullshit, and pretending to be someone I was not. I was divorced, but I still had beautiful, long hair, I had a great body, I was a psychologist, I had this, I had that, I wanted that, I lacked the other. Internally I was broken and lost. I became an expert at sabotaging the possibility of any form of romantic connection, and those things I was told as a child began resurfacing: "I was told I'd be a failure for choosing psychology as my career, so of course I am one. No one will ever want to be with me because my husband told me so, and he left me, so he's right. My body nor my face aren't really that pretty."

I felt my mask and pressed it harder onto my face. My dermatillomania - which began around the age of four - worsened to the point where I would pick at my skin in my sleep and wake up to bloody spots on my sheets. I had so many scars and scabs on my back and my the back of my arms, I didn't wear bathing suits or exposed shirts or blouses. I was destroying my body, the same way I was destroying my own mind.

For years I blamed others. I blamed the early negligence and lack of love, I blamed my failed marriage, the "friends" I had lost. It was easier to tell myself that there was something out there that was dangerous and traumatic that made me the way that I was.

Things didn't get easier for me as in my next relationship, I experienced daily verbal abuse and gaslighting. I believed I was this ugly, unimportant, fat piece of shit, because that's what he would tell me I was, and by then I had so much self-loathing, I stopped caring for myself. I developed a binge eating disorder and got up to one-hundred and seventy five pounds when all my life I had weighed around one-hundred and fifteen pounds. I'm 5'0. I hated myself so much, I couldn't look at myself in the mirror.




Rebirth

I was emotionally and physically drained. I was diagnosed with a herniated disc and was told I would no longer be able to run or be active anymore, because I "had the back of a seventy-year old," according to my doctor. 



A day before I was diagnosed with my herniated disc, Joy, a sweet jack russel/cairn terrier pup, came into my life. A man literally showed up at my workplace with a treasure box with her and her brother in it. I knew she was meant to be in my path.



She was my angel. I had five epidurals throughout three months which kept me in bed for days and had me miss so much work, I was struggling financially and worried I'd lose my job. It was a very lonely time. I thought I was a good person and would have support from the people I thought were my friends, but only Joy accompanied me through those days when I was physically immobilized. 

I hit my breaking point. I hurt so much I couldn't feel pain anymore. 

And right when I hurt myself the most was when I realized that I had been asleep all these years. I played close attention to my inner dialogue. "You can talk about it or you can walk without it," said a friend with a gentle sigh. I didn't know I even had a choice. 

But I did. He was right. And I chose to walk without it. 

I decided to make a commitment to myself as I began to experience this new wave of brightening energy. 

I decided to commit to my spiritual growth. I decided to commit to keeping my heart open. I felt like a snake peeling layers of skin, purging as I re-lived traumatic events and blocked energies I had stored for years in order to heal them. 

In that process, I found myself. I stood naked looking at myself in the mirror and said to myself, "I love you." And I meant it. 



I committed to holding myself accountable for my financial independence as well as my well-being. I became the observer and payed close attention to my inner dialogue. I began speaking to myself in a kind manner. I was compassionate and loving with myself. The dermatillomania stopped, an obsessive-compulsive disorder that is supposed to be "cured" only with behavioral therapy. Feeling more confident in my own skin, I bought myself a nice bathing suit and began swimming to strengthen my core. I developed this beautiful symbiotic relationship merging my body and soul. I felt strong, so strong I even put on my running shoes and went for a jog. I can run now, and I feel my body getting stronger everyday. The back-pain is almost non-existing despite my diagnosis. 



I still have my days. I experience the sudden shifts in energy. I'll feel perfectly fine and then I'll be caressed by a dark thought. I take it back to the breath and let things be - I choose to honor my emotions. It's ok to not be ok sometimes, but limiting yourself to your own fears means you'll be destined to repeat the same patterns, hence the same mistakes. 

I'm writing to you as a friend. The friend who never told you you are good enough, the friend who never told you that you are loved. The truth is, we come to this world thinking we are programmed to be a certain way to fit society's standards when in fact, we are the creators. 

The words you choose to narrate your story to others are powerful, and so are the words you choose to speak to yourself. If you believe you are a failure, you are destined to fail. If you believe you have a physical limitation, your body will listen and weaken itself. If you believe you are alone, you won't attract your tribe. If you believe you are not good enough, you will never attract abundance. 

As a friend, I'm reminding you that you are powerful, and you can absolutely change your life around. And don't try to please anyone because people will always judge. This journey is about you. What you want, what you wish to create. 

It starts with you. It starts with facing your fears. It starts with you looking at yourself in the mirror.  It starts with forgiving yourself. It starts with making that commitment. It starts with having faith and believing in something you cannot see nor touch and yet feel the excitement rush through your blood. It gives you goosebumps and keeps you moving.



Feel that mask, friend? It's a mask you no longer have to wear, because the true essence in you will arise when you let the connection be, when you let things flow, when you give all the power to the Universe. 

I love you.

Sincerely, 
Patricia