Feel Free Friday!

Good morning ♡

The Full Moon is out this beautiful long weekend, & it’s interesting to observe how certain energies come together & express themselves around this time.

Lately, I’ve been seeing more & more people, Black women in particular, speaking out about their experiences with Anxiety & Depression. I actually wrote today’s daily yesterday to post yesterday, but time & a crazy schedule got the better of me so I decided to make this a Feel Free Friday moment. That being said, in light of May being Mental Health month, I thought I’d share some experiences of my own that may inspire you as others have inpired me to speak my truth: I battled with Depression. I just didnt know it at the time. And as a Black woman, there is so much stigma in our community towards Depression as we are expceted to just be strong take all the “licks” that life brings you without being knocked down. We are expected to always be strong for everyone in our lives, all while holding our heads up high with smiles on our faces. We are expected to be the Glue that holds it all together. This is enough pressure in itself &when Depression hits, you begin to feel inadequate, as thiugh you have let everyone down. Hencewhy we hide it. After the birth of my beautiful daughter & returning to work, that’s what had begun to happen to me.

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Over time, I began to lose myself in this new role of being a other while working full time as an RN & buidling a family. Being a parent teaches you so much about yourself that you never knew, & no matter what books you read, how much money you make, what kind of house you live in, nothing prepares you for it. You begin to learn things about yourself that you didn’t know before, about how fearless you can be, how vulnerable, how much you can actually Love, & so much more. I didn’t recognize it though. I barely recongnized myself. As much as I enjoyed being a mother, spending time with my little one, taking her places, showing her new things, even just the day to day, things inevitably become task oriented. The things I enjoyed doing in my Me time (i.e. writing) started to feel more like a chore because I was so tired. Burnout is absolutely real, & after my 1st year of Motherhood, I had become just that. I did my best to find the joy in all areas of my life, but the feelings were shortlived. Of course, my mini-me gave me the most motivation to keep going & I had a partner that was encoraging, but let’s face it, there are those days where no matter what anyone else tells you, you don’t want to get out of bed, you don’t want to go to work, you just don’t want to do anything. The optimistic person I once was had become more pessimistic as two steps forward became five steps back. Life stressors were knocking on my door & I was being pulled in every direction with very little time for myself to regroup and reconnect. But her little hands tugging at me, peeling my eyelids open on some days, helped get me through.

When I finally realized that I had an internal issue with my emotions, that the woman I envisioned myself to be was not quite the woman I was becoming, I decided to return to my old love: writing. I began writing again on a more regular basis, writing to myself daily messages of positivity & hope that I would go back & read when I felt myself slipping back into pessimistic thought (this is in part how The Peace(ful) Project was born; more on that another day) . The writing helped & it still does. A lot. I developed a stronger prayer, meditation, & yoga practice, daily, & started to speak more positively rather than talking about what was bothering me. As much as venting is helpful, when it becomes too regular & takes place of more positive conversation more often than not, it can drag you down, putting your focus too much on the things in life that may not be ideal to you at the moment. Gratitude is truly the best attitude & I began to see more of what I had than not as I applied more gratitude to all areas of my life. I began to feel more & more optimistic. I started to recongize myself again & was able to see the vision that I had of myself when I was younger: a writing, yoga-practicing, meditation & prayer-loving, patient, & optimistic woman that seeks ways to always enjoy life. My daughter & I even have daily positive practices that we do to keep is both in high Spirits, & if either of us feel down, we help each other through with reminders of what to do to get back to that place of Peace.

Sure, I still have stress, we all do. The difference now is that I do my best to express my emotions in healthy ways & outlets instead of bottling them up until they seep into other areas of my life. With that comes the understanding that there will be days when you want to crawl into the bedsheets & sleep until it all passes. Be patient with yourself & always remember to love yourself through it all. Whether it’s you or someone you know, I encourage you to find healthy ways to express yourself (see below for a list of some suggestions). As so many of us go through things on a daily that can make us feel downtrodden & low, the important thing to remember is that you need not feel shame or feel alone. That is what the outlets are for. Utilize the healthy ways to beat those blues & remember to keep positive. See below for a list of suggestions that can help you find ways Love yourself & be yourself. Peace & Love ♡ ☆

Some healthy ways to express yourself:-) :

1. Keep a journal. Write it out. Putting your thoughts out onto paper is helpful to relieve yourself of the weighted burden of sadness, anxiety, & whatever other emotions you are feeling at the time. It also makes for easier reflection as you can always go back to read what you wrote & see where changes have been made since. This is probably my favorite way to “vent,” as I wtite to myself, & I really do like to go back & see where my mind was at. It helps to give a clearer perspective of where I was & where I want to be.

2. Exercise. Get those happy hormones up! A great way to release endorphins is to exercise. It doesn’t mean you have to go all out & gey a trainer or buy an expensive gym membership. Whether you already exercise & need a change to your routine, or you’re fresh on the scene, do something you enjoy & just have fun with it. You will be amazed at how good you feel after. It definitely adds to feelings of positivity 🙂

3. Talk to a trusted friend. Vent it out to someone you trust. Talking things out also gives you clearer perspective on what you’re feeling. Sometimes what seems like the heaviest burden you are carrying really isn’t. You may also find out that you aren’t rowing the boat by yourself & have more support than you think.

4. Seek out a therapist. Despite the history of stigma with this, more & more people are seeing therapists for help. An unbiased person can really help you sort out what you’re feeling while providing you with tools that you can use on a daily basis when you feel those unwanted feelings creeping up on you.

5. Pray/Meditate. Whether you are religious or not,a solid Spiritual practice can give you Divine suppoet at the times wehn you most feel alone. Reminding yourself thay Almighty lives within & is always with you no matter what, will give you that boost in those down times to keep pressing on. The days when the tears can’t stop falling are the days when this reminder helped pick me back up off my feet and keep going.

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