getting caught up in the storm

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It’s just one of those days. One of those days where I wish everything that I work so hard for would make the bad stuff disappear, but it doesn’t disappear. It never disappears. I feel down, I can feel it in my eyes. My eyes always get so foggy and grim whenever I’m feeling down. I can feel it in my chest, my shoulders and I have the overwhelming need to go home and nap all day.
The thing about dealing with depression is that it always comes back. Not as long as it did, not as hard-hitting as it used to, but it does come back.

Whenever this stuff hits it’s completely impossible to see the “positive” side of things. But here’s the thing, it doesn’t stay as long and doesn’t hit me as hard as it used to. Even when I feel like I haven’t done any good by trying so hard to manage my thoughts/emotions/life, there is undeniable #truth laying around saying, “hey, look at how much less terrible this is now. You must be doing something right.”
Does it make me happy and allow me to move on through the rest of my day with ease? No. But it’s something, and when you’re feeling down and awful and crying because some random person wouldn’t let you merge on the highway, that little something can change a lot.

So what’s my point?

My point is that even though the storm continues to come, it also continues to end. Just knowing that it will pass (not to be cliché) can be comfort enough.
That being said, there are a few things you can try (and I put a lot of focus on the word “try” here) whenever these moments hit you. **Disclaimer: you will not want to do any of them at all. Trust me. It’s going to feel useless and stupid and you’re going to think that I’m a bright shiny unicorn in your world of darkness but just try.

Release the pressure to feel “normal”

Wait, what? I actually want you to NOT try to feel normal?
Yes, exactly. Focus on the first three words – release the pressure. I could have really left this first point at that; release the pressure. Release the pressure to feel “normal”, to feel “happy”, to want to do things, to want to feel better.
I do want you to feel better, don’t get me wrong, but if you are in this headspace where you are so far down that you can’t see the positive, wanting to feel better – and not being able to – is only going to make things worse.
There are “experts” out there that will disagree with me on this. There are counselors/therapists that say you need to “focus on what’s good”, but I know from my own experiences that the last thing I need when I’m down (really down) is someone telling me how beautiful the sky is and how I need to be more grateful. This puts pressure on you, unnecessary pressure. If you are not capable of seeing the “bright side of things” during this time, don’t try to force it. If you are surrounded by people who try to “push” this on you, just put some space between yourself and them for a while.
I don’t want you to just fall flat on your face and say “okay depression you got me, do your thing!”, but I also don’t want it to get “Worse” because you’re trying to pressure yourself out of feeling bad.

Don’t make any big decisions or have any important conversations

Disaster. Disaster is what comes from communicating important things with those around us when we are feeling down or “off”. If there is one thing I wish I would have learned earlier, it would be this.
There have been so.many.fights between boyfriend and I because of me going off on my irrational thought wagon and him (obviously) getting very offended. Granted, I happen to be dating the most patient man on the planet, and we have worked through some things (hours after the original fight started). But the words, the spite, the tears; they aren’t worth it.
If something “pops up” in your mind that is really bothering you during this time, write it down. If you don’t have a journal, grab a piece of paper and just let it out. If you still feel the same way after you are back to the surface, then address them accordingly.
There is so much drama that can be avoided by writing out your frustrations instead of instantly jumping onto “dealing with them”.

Remind yourself that it’s “not real”

When this happens it’s very real to us, it drags us down and keeps us from living an everyday life. The #truth however, is that it is not the #truth, it’s not real. There’s a reason why you feel like a completely different person when the fogginess lifts, because the fogginess is just a façade. Whether you want to take this the scientific or spiritual route, whichever way you look at it, you are experiencing an overwhelming amount of awful thoughts.
You may not want to hear it, and you may be telling yourself (and me) at the time that this is the realest thing you have ever experienced, but just try it. Think of it like a bad dream, you experience all of the physical effects (heart beat increasing, breaking out in the sweats, feeling sick to your stomach) but when you wake up and the dream fades you realize it was just a dream.
The #truth is, just because it’s affecting you, doesn’t mean it’s real.

None of these things are going to make it go away, but what it does is lessens the power of the storm. You’re taking away what it needs to stay strong, which is fuel. You may not believe it, you may feel that it’s not doing anything, but the more you try, the more it will lose momentum. Over time, it lose it’s strength to stay with you as long, it will lose it’s will to knock you off course.

We want to get the power back into your hands. So,even when you feel like you have no place to go but down, you can take a deep breath and know that you still own the situation, your thoughts and your life.

– Kara Beth

change your mind, change your life.

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“If you think you’re awful and you want to not be awful, stop telling yourself that you’re awful”

How much easier (happier/relaxing/joyful) would our lives be if we could change our minds about ourselves? Like one day we wake up and say, “huh, I’m not so bad, I feel like enjoying the world today.” I know, I know, easier said than done, right? But just think about it for a minute, think of how different our lives could be if we weren’t so hard on ourselves, if we weren’t so judgmental, so quick to give into our ego thoughts.

This is the part where I tell you it’s possible. Oh this again? Yes, this again. It’s possible. Let me explain.

During our lives we find different things that we believe in. Whether it’s a religion, Santa Claus or that our grandma’s chicken and dumplins are obviously the best ever. We believe those things because we have been taught or trained to believe they are true. Maybe they were taught by an outside source, or maybe we came upon those conclusions on our own; “Man there is NO way that any other grandma makes dumplins as good as these.”
Our thoughts can soon becomes beliefs, and as we get older we start to experience more. We learn more, see more, think more all while our egos are forming a nice little story about ourselves.

But then it starts to change.

As we start to meet more people, experience new things and see more of the world, some of our previous beliefs (perceptions) may start to change. Someone may come along and change the way you see your religion, you may have an experience that changes the way you feel about Christmas, you may just even eat a bowl of dumplins that is better than your own grandma’s. The point is, as things come along, your beliefs and perceptions can change.

But how does that affect the way you feel about yourself? In the exact same way, except YOU are going to have to be that driving force for change. We are back to this easier said than done thing again, aren’t we? Just bare with me.

Try this:

Think of every bad thing that you tell yourself each and every day. Whether it’s “I’m not good enough”, “I’m never on time”, “It’s my fault”, “I’ll always be alone” – just make a mental list of all of those thoughts. Now above that list I want you to see the word #nontruth or Limiting Belief; whichever word can most convince you that these thoughts are complete crap.
Now that you can see your list, and you see that they are listed under #nontruth, I want you to carry that with you throughout your day. When those thoughts pop up I want you to very calmly (don’t attack it) just say to yourself “this is a #nontruth, this is a limiting belief.
You don’t have to believe it yet, but do it anyway. What this is doing, is removing the power from your ego thoughts and placing that power into your own hands.

Here’s the “why”:

Whenever you remove the power from your ego thoughts you are taking a step to think otherwise, to choose differently. You are making an effort to say “no brain, I disagree”. As the amazing Gabrielle Bernstein would say “I choose love over fear, I choose to think differently”.
You may not notice a change over night, but after a few weeks of doing this as much as possible you will start to notice that these thoughts start to lose their momentum, they hurt a little less, they will start to  come in a little less, and eventually they will stop completely.
You CAN take control of your mind, even the minds that have a mind of their own (that’s your ego!). You can lessen it’s power by simply saying “hey, I see you, I know you are a #nontruth. I accept you as a part of me, but I choose to think differently”. If your thoughts cause you to feel sick or anxious is any areas of your body, stop whatever you’re doing and take a second to breathe deeply into that space. Say that mantra above, and just release. Let it go. Choose to think differently.

No, it isn’t easy, it’s not a quick fix. As I’ve said before, there is no quick fix. But it’s a start, a start to manage your thoughts, and your life on your own. Step by step, you can take ahold of your own power and you can become a person that you love to be.

– Kara Beth

perception = i’m awful

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The easiest #nontruth that our minds make us believe is that we are awful. We are just plain awful.

 But we really aren’t that awful, are we?
You see, the #truth in ourselves very rarely get to come out and play here in the real world. We tend to hang on to those easier to believe #nontruths before we can wrap ourselves around the possibility that there may be more to us.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to your ego.

The #truth is, your reality is what you make it. Now, before you go yelling at me and saying that “changing your reality” isn’t easy let me say this; of course it isn’t easy, but the uneasy doesn’t make it any less #true. Our perceptions form our realities.
Where do perceptions come from? Well, they come from what we know about the world, situations and people. Perceptions are where racism, discrimination and stereotypes are born. (That being said, not all perceptions are bad. They can be uplifting, joyous and happy as well.)
If your perception about your job is that everyone (other than you) is an idiot, you are the only person that works hard and you’re boss is a worthless piece of *beep*, then my guess is you really don’t enjoy your job very much.
Is it YOUR fault that these above “issues” are a part of your perception? Well, kind of.

The #truth is, we choose how we see people based on what we know of them. The way you view people that are like/unlike you will depend on how you were raised, and what you were raised to believe about those types of people. It won’t be until someone proves you otherwise, that your perception may change.

Well I’m here to prove you otherwise.
You can change your perception about anything. Yes, I really do mean anything. It takes a nice chunk of willingness to have an open mind.
And that’s it. Yep. I mean it, that’s all you need.
To be willing.

Try it out today and see what kind of #nontruths you can dig out of your deeply buried perceptions. Open your mind to wonder if you may have it wrong, and not just about others, but about yourself as well.

– Kara Beth

the road less traveled

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Whenever I was first approached with the possibility that my depression could be handled without medication, I was ecstatic. Like so many others I was put on antidepressants, and was about 5 months into the process when the clinic switched my doctor. (To which I was very happy, I didn’t particularly love my previous doctor)

This new doctor was new and different in every way. I came in expecting for him to up my dosage (due to the increase of feeling down and worthless over the last few weeks), and for me to continue on this route of treatment.

I was in for something completely different.

This man, this brilliant and amazing man sat me down and had a bit of a “come to Jesus” talk with me. This was my first moment, this was my “I can do this?” moment. I began the process of tapering off of my medication (which was terrible on every level possible) and I was released out into the world with a few pieces of advice.

1. Move your body. Slowly. Comfortably.

2. Drink tea, with good water

3. Sleep

And off I went!  Out into the dark and scary world.

I didn’t have much to go off of except I knew that this man believed in me, he was proud of me for what I had accomplished already (which seemed like close to nothing at the time) and now it’s my turn to see what works for me.

So I did what everyone in their 20’s does when they need information – I went to Google!

My story stretches much wider than a google search and a cup of green chai tea; but it’s where it began. It started a change in my life that even I didn’t see coming at the time. Just the smallest bit of hope from another human being that I didn’t have to live numbed out, unable to socialize, or without dependence of drugs sparked enough motivation for me to start to looking for other ways to help. To help myself.

And here I am today, putting my experiences out on the internet so that people that like me (like you!) can have that one person saying “Hey! It’s possible! Let’s do this!”

I believe in you, even if you don’t.

We as humans have no idea what we are capable of. Really, you have no clue what you can do. Chances are you haven’t even discovered your purpose on this planet yet! (if you have that is amazing!!) You are more than your thoughts, you are more than your feelings, and you are more than your experiences.

All it takes is a spark.

-Kara Beth

the beginning

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In the beginning, things are easy. We are free from worry, doubt and anxieties. We believe in fairy tales, Santa Claus, we think our parents are the greatest people on Earth. There’s a freedom to childhood, a sense of exploration and adventure. There is so much to do and see! It’s not until our later years that things go from being “around us” to being “a part of us”. Slowly, but surely, the innocence and the adventure begins to fade and the worries set in. Our egos are born, and everything changes.

Some are able to keep that adventure alive, able to prioritize their own needs and wants over what the world wants of them. Others, take a darker road. A road travelled by so so many before them. A road where the only signs and directions that are given, are those pointing right back at you, telling you that you will never make it.

Depression. Anxiety.

This was the path for me, as for so many others. A path that is almost impossible at times, a path that is misunderstood by those who aren’t on it themselves. Some will tell us, “just keep going! All you have to do is push down the gas pedal!”. What they don’t understand is that the gas pedal is no where to be found, and when it is there, it’s completely out of reach. Some may say “just keep looking ahead, good things will come, it won’t be like this for long”. What they don’t understand is that everything is dark and foggy, and the only thing we see when looking out the window is our own reflection, proof that it’s our own fault that we haven’t made it as far as others.

This road, this trip of life is not easy. It’s degraded by those who don’t experience, it’s numbed out by medication prescribed by doctors and therapists that don’t know how to handle it otherwise (or don’t care to).

I am here to tell you, that there are other options. I am here to say that you can manage this lifestyle, that you can be who you want to be and make a life that you dream about. It is possible.

No scams, no get happy fast schemes. There is no cure all, there is no quick fix. There are subtle shifts that you can make in your life to help manage your thoughts and feelings. It cannot be “cured”, but it can be managed, and that’s what I’m here to do. To help get through those times where you feel like it’s impossible, to give even one person the ability to look at their thoughts and say “these are just thoughts, and I’m more than this”.

You may be saying “well who are you to give me advice on how to handle something you don’t understand”. No worries. I’m thinking the exact same thing as I type this out. Who am I? A person that has had a lifetime of struggles with both anxiety and depression. I am a person who has created a practice to help manage my thoughts and feelings. It’s not fool-proof, and there are ups and downs along with days where I feel like I’m not getting anywhere. But I have, and that’s why I’m typing this today.

It’s an option, and its possible. All you need is the willingness to try, the willingness to even think that it’s possible. You don’t have to believe it, just be willing, be open, and be ready for a change.

I’m here for you now, let’s see what we can do.

-Kara Beth