coping.

When I was in grade 12, I missed four months to attend a day treatment program at the local hospital. I can’t decide if the worst thing was the meals we were forced to eat or the groups we were forced to sit through. My least favourite group was called Coping With Chaos because we had to role-play scenarios we faced outside of program.

CHAOS. 

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Chaos is defined as:

a state of utter confusion OR a confused mass or mixture

These days, I’m not sure where I stand with coping. I definitely know where the chaos lies though. Everyday feels chaotic but that’s probably an exaggeration. Being realistic and taking a step back, I know that things are tough right now because the semester is ending, finals are in 2 weeks, and I have so much to do. Not the forget the fact that I have a “planned” relapse in the works; or not….

Coping Strategies. They come in all types of themes. There are the strategies where you sit down and comfort yourself but there are also the coping strategies where you push out of the comfort zone and complete something. I guess it also depends on what you are coping with. Here are some coping strategies that I have tried to use in the past.

1. Log out of social media, put on your favourite playlist (currently) and have a 10-sec dance party to let go off stress.

2. Snuggle up under the covers with Netflix and a cup of hot chocolate/tea.

3. Set a timer and see how many sudoku puzzles can be completed in 20 min. (My current score: 15)

4. Take a shower.

5. Get outside and walk to the park for a bit.

6. Block all distraction websites and write 2 pages of an assignment.

7. Clean your room.

8. Edit photos.

9. Watch funny/cute animal videos (x, x, x, x) or this.

10. Hold ice cubes in your hands.

11. Reach out to a friend or hotline (x, x, x)

You can find more resources here.


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unknown.

I keep searching for somewhere to go or someone else to become because I’m not happy in my current situation. Sounds big headed or close minded when I think about it in depth. But I am truly unhappy with my current standings in this universe. It could be from many factors though:

  1. I just took a 9-5 summer job working in an office deleting data.
  2. I’m 19, living at home and I still have to ask for permission before I go anywhere.
  3. I am in school.

No matter how grateful I am for all of these opportunities, there is so much of the universe I have yet to find and I feel trapped because of those factors. I want to travel across Canada and visit the West Coast. I have dreams to visit multiple National and Provincial Parks. I want to tour with bands and sell merch. I want to get my photography published. I want to take photographs for magazines and websites and companies. I want to live a life worth fulfilling.

But I am not there yet. And I know that I should look at everything happening right now as a stepping stone in the river of my life. God is sending me in this direction because something good will come from it. However, sometimes it feels like I’m being tossed off the side of a mountain. With every fight my father and I have over a concert or travelling to a new place. With every night that I don’t sleep and every class I am too tired to attend. The world feels like it’s ending and I so badly want to escape.

So where is the escape hatch? Where is my little pod to eject off the side of this planet? How do I get away?

The answer is: I don’t. 

Is it even possible to be somewhere you didn’t choose to be? I guess that’s the thing with making choices. Until you are an adult and you have cut ties from your parents in financial ways ????

I guess I have to trust Him for this path. Someone once told me that if God didn’t want me to go in one direction, it would be difficult to get there. I wish I could trust in that thought but there is so much left for me to do and being held back due to career or family isn’t something I can dig. I am grateful for all that my family has provided me with yet I so dearly want to discover the universe on my own terms.

I want to visit multiple parts of Southern Canada this summer and I’ve got plans to do it. I have two weeks between my last exam and my first day of work. I have about sixteen weekends to explore the universe before I enter a new part of my life. School.

I’ve been thinking about how I want to fill my time these days. As I write this, I am sitting in my teenage bedroom surrounded by walls; half torn down, on my bed. I recently had some friends over who commented on the fact that I still sleep in a single bed. As if it mattered? As if I should sleep in a bigger bed now? Where do these ideas come from? If I purchased a larger bed, I wouldn’t have as much room for my desk and record player and book shelves and guitar. All these things that seem so small and unimportant but they mean something to me. Crazy…I know.

So I took this summer job and I changed my availability to be able to explore the universe but I did it to create some relationship with my parents again. A relationship that I have been tearing apart since grade nine. And it’s not like it was very strong before that anyway. Sad. A lot has happened since I found God and a home within His universe. Sometimes I’m not sure I am wanted by Him either but I know I have a place somewhere. I guess it will just take some time to find that place.


Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:34

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change. And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea. – Psalm 46:2

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change.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a list called ‘A List of Change‘ and it feels more relevant now then it did before. I wrote this a couple months after leaving treatment for the second time and not knowing what I was going to do. The universe is huge and this is my way of making my place known.


Change your surroundings, move away, change of scenery is always good.

This could be moving away or moving things around. This could be going on a road trip or plane ride. This could be changing schools. A breath of fresh air and time and life. Take charge. Let go. Find some piece of universe for yourself.

Cut your hair short, so short that you cut away all the bad and only leave the good.

I so badly want to cut the negativity out of my life. Leave it in the dust. Behind. Goodbye. It’s not that easy, I know. But I can make it easier than I have been. Hair holds this weight that you don’t need anymore. Leave it on the floor and grow out of what you are leaving behind. YOU ARE ALLOWED TO LEAVE THINGS BEHIND.

Give away the clutter. Give away the trinkets from all the bad years.

I’m not going to lie, I am somewhat of a hoarder. I keep everything. Movie tickets, tests from high school, pens that long ago ran out of ink. It’s all in my bed room. Why? Because I might need it some day? In reality, I’ll probably never need that math test I flunked in grade 8 or the dirty bandana I wore tied around my arm when I visited Nicaragua in grade 10. It’s all just material items that I am so tied to that I don’t want to get rid of. But materialistic items aren’t what I need to keep, it’s the memories I am refreshed with every time I come across something from years ago.

Contrary to whatever you may believe, getting rid of these items won’t get rid of the memories. So make some room, you’ve got adventures to take and memories to make!

Strip the walls of all the memories and posters you’ve held onto for so long.

My walls were plastered with posters and memories throughout high school. In grade 10/11, I had a mild obsession with Demi Lovato and covered an entire wall with photos of her and her lyrics. In grade 12, I ripped that down and started over with bands that meant a lot too me and art work that either I loved or I had created. It was a masterpiece within itself. By first year, I decided to change that again and ripped it down. My walls are bare now, except for the dried tack on the walls that wouldn’t come off easily.

I wanted those memories gone. The ‘Stay Strong’ taped above my bed for the multiple rough nights, the pyramid of positive quotes, the photos with people I was no longer in contact with. It felt amazing to get rid of those things. It’s not that I didn’t admire those memories, it was that I didn’t want to be pulled backwards any longer. Those memories are a reminder of where I once was. Not where I am headed.

Buy some plants and grow with them. Grow your roots into the ground and nourish together.

Don’t forget where you came from but also don’t let that hold you back. Grow. Find what you want to do and follow that. Buy some plants and make your life a bit more earthly. Find who you want to be and follow them down your own path.

Start wearing your glasses with pride because they made your eyes look like oceans.

This one’s a bit more centred towards my own life but honestly, wear what you have to wear with pride. Don’t hang your head and smile with your mouth closed. Braces and glasses and headgear and retainers aren’t there for anyone except you. Live your life and keep your chin up!

Wear whatever the fuck you want.

Wear the clothes that make you feel comfortable. If you want to wear makeup, wear it and if you don’t, then don’t wear it. You don’t have to dress to impress. Who are you trying to impress? No one’s comfort is more important than your own.

Don’t change the way you act for anybody, they won’t be worth it.

I can’t stress this one enough. Don’t change yourself for others. Please. Be who you want to be because there isn’t anyone else to be. Don’t let someone else’s ideas of who you should be effect you. Make your own decisions. If a boy doesn’t like the clothing you wear or how you don’t wear makeup, tell him to f*ck off. You don’t have to shave your legs. You don’t have to stop speaking your mind. Please, just be yourself.

When your friends make you feel invalid, speak your mind. Tell them. Make it known. They aren’t worth the relationship if they can’t accept you.

I get it. Telling your friends how they make you feel is really difficult. But it’s not okay for you to feel stuck being their friend. You are allowed to have opinions and be yourself. Tell them your likes/dislikes. Tell them your hobbies. Tell them about your dreams and fears. Tell them your secrets and your jokes. Tell them this and if they can’t accept you for those, then they aren’t worth your time. Please don’t waste your time with someone who doesn’t care about you.

Tell your loved ones what’s going on because sometimes they know more than they’ve led you to believe.

It seems to be that those surrounding you tend to pick up on emotions and events more than you may think.

There’s definitely this unspoken rule of letting your loved ones come to you instead of bombarding them with questions. It’s totally okay to ask if someone is okay but don’t follow them around or make them uncomfortable. When they are ready, they will tell you and you can take the chance to tell them what you’ve noticed. Please let someone help you. You don’t have to suffer in silence.


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breathe?

breathe. 

find the world burning inside your mind 

the light is going out you are starting to die

lose the world in you viens 

no one cares about your feelings 

you are nothing 

who are you trying to be?

—-

breathe.

let your mind move on and break

crack in half and burn up in the atmosphere

you are nothing 

stardust melting 

in the firey hearts 

of those who want you dead

—-

breathe. 

who have you become: a monster

the ones under you bed

are nothing like the ones

you have become 

your mind, the devil

a grin forming at the though 

of a peaceful rest;

FINAL DEATH

—-

my world is ending and I am not sure where I am going from here,

the apocalypse and i was not prepared

but the underworld is life and i am living 

the world, upside down 

with life colours

a mess of sounds

—-

who am i becoming yet?

why.

What do Christianity and Eating Disorders have in common?

Probably nothing. Except maybe the fact that both are the result of wanting to believe in something or the feeling of direction it serves. It took me years to realize the purpose that my eating disorder served me. And now, as I embark on a new journey through recovery, I turn towards the Lord for that purpose.

My eating disorder, diagnosed as Anorexia Nervosa at age 13, was a source of protection. It protected me from everything that was going on at home and school. Around the time that it began to manifest, my dad had been diagnosed with Prostate Cancer, my parents didn’t really get along and my mental health was already heading downhill. Probably a difficult time so it makes sense I guess.

From a young age, I was the shy kid. I didn’t fit in with the sports crowd or the art kids. I was my own person and that didn’t seem to work very well at school. I didn’t have many friends and often was excluded in activities. Honestly, I’m okay with not having a large social group but then again, that could just be due to how difficult it is to socialize with mental illnesses. I’ve had anxiety since I was 7 or 8 and that made things difficult. Eventually my obsession with disappearing grew into an eating disorder in which I would eventually become small enough to disappear all together. A dangerous task yet I quite determined.


That was the past though. Here’s the now. 


My eating disorder has been a cage that I live within the confines of. An exhausting, daily battle. Within the last 2 years, I completed 4 months of adolescent day treatment and multiple family therapy appointments. I can tell you the spot on the floor in an office that I memorized. I can tell you the set up of every room doctors office I’ve ever attended. I can recite calorie amounts like the back of my hand. I’ve spend countless nights on my bedroom floor instead of sleeping in my bed.

Last year I faced my worst relapse ever. My weight dropped lower than it was during high school, I began to abuse laxatives, starting purging even though I swore I never would, and eventually began abusing caffeine pills. Did you think overdosing on caffeine was possible? Answer: It Is. I took the equivalent of 80 cups of coffee and had emergency services called because of it. So bad that they wanted to take me to the hospital because my heart was beating so damn fast and they were concerned. I turned down the suggestions. I said no. I said I’d get better on my own.


Update: I’m not better yet. It’s been over a year since that night and I am not better. I don’t touch those tablets and I don’t take laxatives and I haven’t purged since November, but I am not better. I am still at war with my mind. I wake up every morning uncertain of whether food will be okay or not. It’s exhausting. I wake up every morning ready to fight. It’s exhausting mentally, physically and emotionally. Yet, I am still fighting.

music.

One of the first things I did when I realized that maybe in order to start my journey with God was to find music to connect with. Music makes up a large part of my life and I am very thankful to be blessed with ears that can hear. It’s helped me through the highs and lows of my life and I am forever grateful at the hands of the Lord.

So I went on a mission to create a playlist of music to which I may connect with to find Him. Including artists like Dan + Shay, Casting Crowns, and Chris Tomlin. I wanted to share it here, maybe someone will stumble across this and find something to connect with as well.


Other playlists I made:

  1. January 2017
  2. February 2017
  3. March 2017
  4. Letting go // Getting Out
  5. c h a n g e
  6. grxw

it’s true. i’m mental.

Mental. Health.

When brought up, these two words instil a fear. You can see it in the persons eyes, their body language. Have you listened to the talking in a room stop? Have you felt everyone’s eyes on you? Have you wanted to scream at them? Tell them to turn around? Same.

I guess it makes sense. The stigma around mental illness is so large these days. We spend these special days like ‘#BellLetsTalk’ or ‘#NEDAW’ or ‘#NSPW’ trying to battle the stigma but that’s not going to change much. My mental health doesn’t just show up on days when it chooses to be heard. It’s heard all the time. Most of the time, it’s the centre of attention, the prima ballerina while we dance through the Nutcracker over and over again. It’s exhausting. My mental health is exhausting.

Often people tell me they understand. And they do. Sort of. They understand the parts that I choose to share with the universe but really, it’s not that much. My mind is lock and key. I am not sure what is acceptable to share these days. My constant fear is triggering someone else so I don’t share. The fears eat me alive almost as much as bottling it all up does. And most of the time this ends with me bursting at the seems, full of too much.

Too much hurt. Too much anger. Too much.

I’ve been fighting my mental health for almost seven years now and it hasn’t gotten much easier. I’ve overcome the impulsivity of just turning to self-harm the moment something difficult happens however I still don’t get out of bed before noon because my mind is exhausted. I don’t eat three meals a day and I’m lucky if I manage to get in one. Food is a constant topic on my mind. My jeans seem to fit one day and not the next. I am happy one day and not the next. I can get out of bed one day and not the next.

Some say that medication is the way to go. For others, it’s exercise and meditation. For me, it’s freedom. Not being stuck. A simple idea right? Wrong. I am constantly stuck. Stuck living at home with a curfew. Stuck going to school for a degree I no longer want or can enjoy. Stuck in a place I don’t want to live. I want to travel the world and tour with bands and open my own music venue and find peace within myself but right now? All I’ve got is my mental illness. A tasking thought that I try to push away with everyday that I move forward.

Resources in Toronto seem to be difficult to find. Especially once you turn 19 and you are an “adult”. The world gets turn upside down all over again and you are left to fend for yourself. Practitioners won’t force you to go into anywhere. They will leave you until you are sure want help and with mental illness? When do you really ever want help? THE WHOLE TIME BUT YOUR MIND HAS A MIND OF ITS OWN AND IT FIGHTS YOU ON EVERYTHING. Trust me when I say that I know.

I recently came across a post in the Bunz Mental Health Zone on Facebook and thought I would share this here. It’s a list with an interactive map of mental health resources in Toronto. It’s accurate and helpful. Check it out, here.

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