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Gratitude Day 1

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grat·i·tude
[ˈɡradəˌt(y)o͞od]
NOUN:
the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness: “she expressed her gratitude to the committee for their support”
Today I gave myself a challenge:
The challenge is, I must blog everyday about (1) thing I am grateful for. Therefore, today I begin on my path to happiness with words and thoughts of gratefulness I share with you all. Please share your comments and my progress.
  1. Ok, my 1st day is going to be about FRIENDSHIP!!!!  I am grateful for my truest and longest friendship friendship with Christopher Hugo.  Im grateful for my friend Grace Teyah who has and will alway love me near and far as I do her. Im grateful for my newest and loving friendship with Jennifer Cutler. Im grateful for my most understanding and nonjudgemental friendship with Megan Martire. Im grateful for a new friend whom I look forward to cultivating into a  long term friendship with Jaleesa James.

These wonderful people are amazing in there own way and Gods gift to me because they have touched me personally in ways that have changed my life for the better. No matter how long or short they have been in my life or with time and distance between us, Im truly blessed. There are no words in the world I can say to truly give thanks for being there through the good, bad, ugly, sadness, beauty and my ongoing mood swings you can not understand. Im 100% grateful you are in my life even when life gets in the way. Please know I will always be there when you call on me and I love you to the moon and back. Im also grateful for the friendships that have blossomed in our meet up group. 

Everyone that has been a friend to me that has passed through, gone, remained or stays as an acquaintance, each of you has contributed to the strength that keeps me fighting on. I thank you for this and grateful for the time we have shared.

 

 

 

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A New Beginning and exciting Journey: by Vanessa

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Today is another day where I struggle to get out of my head, it is all fuzzy and hazy. The weather has been no help to this situation. Its been an up hill battle the last few months within myself. The up side is I woke up in a better mood today because yesterday was a new beginning for me. I was able to get myself to the long over do therapy appointment I booked. This was a huge achievement for me because it took me 4 months to get insurance through the city, 1 month to receive the card and another month to get an appointment. Im sure many of you know how hard it is to find the right therapist and let alone the juggling they put us through just for the appointment. In the end Im pleased to say I found a very good one. It was very hard and scary for me to revisit my past, but it did allow me to release a lot of tears that were well over do.

In one session I was able to settle with her that I need one on one therapy and will thrive in a DBT group therapy as well. Im ready to take on this challenge and excited to begin my new journey. Ive promised myself to be 100% committed to this and finally be properly diagnosed.

This morning i told myself I will continue to do the things I love.

#1 Write

#2 Help Others

#3 Take Pictures

#4 Physical Fitness

#5 Inner Peace and Spirituality

#6 Cook

Ive been fighting with myself for many months since January “how will I even begin to do this and why haven’t I already started?” So, I laughed at myself and traced my steps back. When I did this l actually have started it but it has been a very slow process. I didnt notice it because Im the type of person that needs things to happen immediately.

 

This is what I discovered.

#1 Though my meetup group has ended with Megan we have talked and decided to continue this blog (writing) together. She will contribute when she can because she has started another blog on  something we share a passion for, cooking! Yeah Megan myyearwiththenakedchef.blogspot.com

#2 My blog allows me to reach out to the world of mental health. It allows me to inspire and support others in this world who suffer from mental illness. (helping others)

#3 I have a passion for capturing nature and candid human moments. Ive decided to get back to (photography) using my phone and taking my cannon camera with me on outings again.

#4 Since I have moved upstate Ive only attempted two outdoor hikes. well now is the time to get back to nature. I will begin hiking again myself, with my dogs and my boyfriend. Also, Im getting back to yoga in a classroom, I found a summer by donation class. Ive only been doing it once in a while at home. (physical fitness)

#5 When I moved up here I was the one who put it all into motion and was able to do it in one month. That alone is a huge achievement and inner comfort because when I put my mind to it I get it done. Also I was able to successfully get state INS for myself and my boyfriend. This allowed me to find my therapist and go to my first session yesterday. When I think about this its hard to believe “I did it”. I will be getting back to my meditation when I wake up and before I go to sleep. it allows me to sleep a little better. (inner peace and spirituality)

#6 Cooking is something that I love, what I went to school for because it calms my mind and pleased the heart. Knowing that I made something that makes myself and family happy and satisfied is very rewarding.

I promise myself to stick to these 6 things that make me happy and I know it will be a challenge so I enlist your support to check in on me and help with words of encouragement.

I thank all of you in advance!

Vanessa

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Ready To Listen By Megan

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I’m done being sad and stressed. These last few months have been kind of hard for me. I think I still have such high expectations of summertime and the freedom & fun this season is supposed to bring, leftover from when I was a kid. When in reality, it hasn’t been that way in quite some time. These last few months usually meant no more school, long warm nights, sleep away camp… Now it’s just the same as every other month, only warmer. For the last 87 days I have done nothing but work, plan & attend Meetups, run errands, try to make last minute plans for summer, try to make plans for my future, and attend family events.

Obviously going to work is nothing new, but within a few weeks of each other, all of my other nanny friends either moved away or got another job, and with them went all of the friends of the little girl I watch. Our hours of playdates were no more and I had to actually be creative and think of fun things for just the two of us to do. My days have now turned into trekking throughout the city, going to new playgrounds and having our own little adventures. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love that going to work for me means finding as many amazing playgrounds as I can around Brooklyn & Manhattan, but I think I’m trying to overcompensate just a bit for all of her friends leaving. My days have been ending with the both of us being happy, but exhausted!

This past month should also have been called “the month of things going wrong and being expensive.” Have you ever heard that expression “when it rains, it pours”?? That seemed to be my life motto for the month of August. My phone was dropped and the screen broke, I had a bad infection in my gums and had to see the dentist (without health insurance), which then turned into having to see a periodontist, my shoes broke (while I was in them), I got a bad burn on my stomach (taught me never to cook in my sports bra again!), I chopped most of my hair off in an effort to make it more healthy & to save money, just to find out because it needs so many products in it, it’s even more expensive than it was before. The rest of my stress has been due to trying to squeeze in a lot before the summer ends, getting said health insurance, planning visits to the doctor & dentist, planning activities outside while the weather in still nice enough to do so, family BBQs, family drama and trying to squeeze in a trip upstate while theres still time to do so.

I know that to many people, all of these things probably do seem like they could be a little stressful, but no more then anything else you have to deal with all year round. To me however, after the third or fourth problem, and trying my hardest to solve and conquer them, my head feels as if it is going to explode! As I’ve mentioned before, when stuff like this happens to me it is hard for me to do the “normal” thing to dust myself off &  just move past it. My immediate reaction is to curl up in a ball, feel sorry for myself, cry, and stew in it for as long as humanly possible. And that’s what I’ve been doing, practically all summer it seems. I’ve had my good days here and there but overall I have not been very happy.

Then a few nights ago, I received some news that would normally push me over the edge, again. And it did, for a bit. I cried a little, felt sorry for myself a little more, had a glass of wine, and tried to go to sleep. But as I was laying there I realized that this depressing pattern is not doing anything more than making me depressed. And it’s definitely not making it any easier for all the people around me. I felt like one of those old-school cartoons when they get a bright idea, you know when the light bulb turns on over their heads? That’s what happened to me! My epiphany is that the only way for me to get out of these self made funks, is to pick myself up out of them!

Just to drive the point home, at my last yoga class, my instructor said something that really resonated with me. She said “don’t get stuck in your emotions.” I’ve definitely heard that many times before, in fact, it’s probably one of my wife’s favorite things to say to me, but it seems as though this time, I was actually ready to listen!!

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Namaste By Megan

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Namaste – “an ancient Sanskrit greeting still in everyday use in India. Translated roughly, it means “I bow to the God within you”, or “The Spirit within me salutes the Spirit in you” – a knowing that we are all made from the same One Divine Consciousness. Used especially among Hindus to express a polite or respectful greeting or farewell.”

A few years ago, an old therapist of mine suggested that I started doing yoga as a way to “quiet my mind”. The idea of that sounded great to me, but actually following through was another story. It took me a few months to locate a yoga studio and muster up the courage to go on my own. Once I did, I creeped into the back of the room, sat on my mat and pretended to stretch, when really, I was checking out all of the other yogis. The clothes they were wearing, the way they had their hair, how they all seemed so confident and like they knew exactly what they were doing. That first class was probably one of the most difficult things I have ever put my body through. I twisted in ways I didn’t know were possible, I sweat in places I didn’t know existed —  I soon realized that yoga was more than just a lot of breathing and doing difficult poses, it was about focusing on what you were doing and where you were. The then and now. And in a way, it actually did “quiet my mind”.

 

I wound up going to that very yoga class once a week, for a little over two years. Then this past winter, along with the snow, my Bipolar kicked in, and I decided that staying home, in my PJ’s, watching TV was more important. But then this past week, after laying dormant for almost 7 months, I decided it was time to dust off my yoga gear and head back. I Used to be able to do a full head stand. Bend over and lay both my forearms flat on the floor. Do a full plow pose (Plow Pose: Lie down on your back. Engage your abdominal muscles to lift your legs over your head until your toes touch the floor behind your head). Now I’m lucky if I can get up off from the floor without groaning. During my first class back, I figured I would be completely starting all over again from scratch. Not quiet. Don’t get me wrong, everything is much harder to do this time around, and after that first class I felt as if I had been run over by an elephant, but I have discovered that muscle memory is actually a real thing. My body knew what it wanted to do, it just needed to be pushed a little more this time around.

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I needed to be reminded to listen to my body. Push myself when it needs to be pushed, and ease up when it needs a break. I think that goes for my mind as well, out in the real world. There are times that I really can handle more than I give myself credit for. I can be one tough bitch when I really need to, but then there are other times when I need to give myself a break, celebrate my small victories, and let that be enough.

Get info on what benefits yoga has on the mind. http://healthland.time.com/2013/01/28/yoga-and-the-mind-can-yoga-reduce-symptoms-of-major-psychiatric-disorders/
http://www.yogajournal.com/article/teach/yoga-for-mental-illness/

 

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http://www.runningwiththesunrise.com/best-yoga-poses-for-beginners/

Mirror Mantra’s by Vanessa

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Many times through out the day, week, month and year there are times when I’m down and I don’t feel confident, sexy, smart or put together.

When I’m like this I was once told if I wore a smile and kept that smile on all day it would eventually turn into a real smile because happiness is contagious.

I decided to take it a step forward and take on the habit of the MIRROR MANTRA.
This is where you would choose to tell yourself something positive in the mirror every morning and all day long!

I’d like to share with you one of my favorites:

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If you have read this then I strongly recommend you try it!
Happy Mantra!

Its As Easy As Riding A Bike By Megan

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“It’s as easy as riding a bike.” You would have figured that very famous saying had to have come from somewhere, You would assume that riding a bike was one of the easiest things a person would ever have to do. So easy in fact, that even if you hadn’t done it in a long time, your body would just remember exactly how it was done. This is what I was counting on last weekend when my wife decided that we should spend the day riding bikes along the water, over the bridge, into the city, and just have a wonderful relaxing day together.
It sounds all fine and dandy, it sounded perfect actually, something cheap and fun that we could do, while spending time together. Something different.

I used to ride my bike all the time when I was younger. I mean it, any free moment I had during the day, I was riding my bike. I was pretty good at it and definitely confident enough that I was allowed to go wherever I wanted all by myself. I was allowed to go up the block, down the block, around the corner, I crossed streets, I even went into Prospect Park on my own. I was a daredevil on a pink Barbie bike! This was all 20 years ago though. So I’m sure you can understand my hesitation about going on this specific biking adventure last weekend. I wasn’t sure if that famous saying was actually true, and I didn’t know if my body would remember what to do. I didn’t even know if bikes were the same as they were 20 years ago. So before we set off for the day, I decided that I wanted to try going around the block a few times on my wife’s bike before I did anything that I wasn’t ready for. I am so lucky that I did!

Firstly, her bike is not made to be ridden around the streets of Brooklyn. Her bike was made to be riding up rocky path ways, and over large tree roots on mountain tops! Or at least that’s how it felt to me. My butt was too high up in the air, my chest was leaning so forward that I felt as if I were trying to lay on top of the handlebars, and don’t even get me started on the brakes. Hand-brakes!! Who knows how to use hand-brakes?? Not Me, I can tell you that much.

If getting used to the bike itself was all that I had to do, the day probably would have gone differently. But of course, because this is me we’re talking about, if I have to deal with something physically challenging, chances are I will wind up having to deal with something emotionally challenging to go right along with it. Not only did I look like the human-bike riding version of Bambi walking for the first time, but every movement I had to do or did and wasn’t supposed to do, was second & third guessed and then criticized all by me within the span of 5 seconds. Riding onto the sidewalk, or turning a corner turned into me analyzing in detail how much space I had, how much space was around me, who & what was within 30 feet of me… Before I had a chance to finish all of my “special calculations” I was already slamming into a car. Or a tree.

After going up and down my own block for awhile on my own, I rode around the block once with my wife jogging along side me (asking people to get out of my way and telling me when I should start getting ready to turn the corners), and once while sitting on the back while my wife rode the bike herself. That’s when I realized just how paralyzed by fear I actually was. I kept thinking about how instead of focusing on riding the bike, I would inevitably zone out, as I tend to do quite often, my hands would turn ever so slightly in the wrong direction, and then I would veer into traffic and die. Pretty soon all I could think about was how dumb I looked, how dumb I felt and how much I wished I were a child again with no fear of anything. I finally had to tell my wife that it just wasn’t going to happen, and proceeded to take a minute for myself and cry. Our beautifully planned out, adventurous day turned into me feeling afraid and sorry for myself.

I know that it’s always harder to learn new things as an adult or even to relearn things. Your brain and your body both work a little slower, and you actually understand the risks of what might happen to you if you do something wrong. This was something I really tried to keep in mind. I also had to remind myself that my brain does nothing but over think, over analyze, and dissect almost everything on a regular basis. Trying to ride a bike shouldn’t be any different.

Mother’s Day By Megan

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Mother’s Day — a modern celebration honoring one’s own mother, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society.

Mother’s Day for me used to be a day in which I would scrape together what little money I had to buy the perfect card, gift or ingredients I needed to make the perfect culinary treat for my mom. Of course, I was never any older than 16, so the word “perfect” is probably stretching it a bit, but I’m sure my mom loved whatever I came up with.  Sadly, I lost my mother a little over 13 years ago, so since then, Mother’s Day has always seemed kind of pointless to me, seeing as you need a mother in order to celebrate it.  For a while, I spent the day trying to pretend that everything was alright, but really I was always just full of sadness, because I missed my mom,  and anger, because it always seems like the other mother-daughter pairs I was surrounded by, were being shoved in my face. Even now I know that’s not true, it’s just my paranoia setting in which it always eventually does. And then finally jealousy, because I’m not one of those happy mother-daughter pairs.

Now that I’m a little older, Mother’s Day has turned into much more. Now not only do I not have my mother around, but I am also not a mother myself. My mom was 34 years old when she had me, these days, waiting to have children until you’re a little more established in life, seems to be trending, but back then, something I noticed was that she was usually older than all of the mother’s of my friends. Because of that, I decided that I wanted have a child much younger, but now I am much closer to her age then I care to admit, and I still don’t have a child of my own.

Last year I felt as if I had finally reached my breaking point, and was no longer able to sit there, surrounded by happy mom’s and their kids, and pretend that everything was alright. My wife had decided to invite all of the mothers and their children in the family, over to our house for brunch. It was a really sweet and thoughtful idea, except that instead of putting myself through it, I wound up escaping to my sister’s house. It was nice to be with her, because I knew that she was missing our mother just as much as I was, but she has two of her own children. So as much as she missed our mom, the other gaping hole in my heart, was lacking in hers.

This year, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I am trying very hard to be less negative and I’m trying to focus on what I do have, instead of what I don’t. I may not be a mom right now, but I know in my heart that it will happen soon. And I may not have my own mother anymore, but I am lucky enough to have the mother-in-law that I do. Its funny, because when you think of mother-in-laws, you often think about the stereotype that is usually portrayed in movies and TV shows. I think of Jane Fonda in Monster-in-Law, or Doris Roberts in Everybody Loves Raymond. I however, happened to really luck out when it comes to mine. She and I are so similar in so many ways, and get along really well. We have long conversations about food  & different cooking techniques, we compare the strange going ons in both of our heads , I call her Momish & she calls me Megish. She may not be my actual mother, but she is a pretty wonderful stand in.