coping

Coping Mechanisms: Thoughts on Meditation

Hi lovely people and dreamers!

I’m so behind with everything right now, but I’m still managing to show up at some point, right? The Tiny Princess hasn’t been quite herself this week, which means I haven’t had much time for anything else the last few days.

2020 hasn’t been the year any of us thought it would be, and it’s not always easy to let that go. I’ve been doing a lot of meditating lately as a way to sift through my feelings and calm my anxiety. It’s not the easiest thing all the time – my brain likes to run a million miles a minute and finding the focus for meditation isn’t always easy.

IMG_2411

Emptying Your Mind is a Misleading Phrase

It’s hard to empty your mind of everything, and often, the way that people talk about meditation makes it seem like that is the only way to meditate: clear your mind and relax, or something like that. And I had a difficult time with that because there is no earthly way to clear my mind – at least none that I’ve figured out yet anyways.

Instead, I’ve found it helpful to find something to fidget with – something with texture to keep my fingers busy is great – close my eyes and just practice acknowledging my thoughts. I don’t focus on anything in particular, I just take note of the things that come through my mind, and then move on. It’s not as easy as it sounds and I’m definitely not very good at it yet, but it’s actually been very helpful in reducing my anxiety on bad days.

On days that it’s hard to even do what I just described, I’ll find an affirmation, Scripture, or inspirational phrase/word and focus on that instead. It gives my brain something to analyze and work on while still practicing that mental focus.

Silence, Sounds, Solitude

It’s hard to find uninterrupted time to myself right now with a 9-month-old baby roaming the house. I’m very lucky that she takes fairly consistent naps, so at least I can time my 10-15 minutes of meditation more easily. But I still have the baby monitor in the room and just knowing that its there can take away from my focus. It’s not easy, and that’s just the season I’m in right now, but it’s still important to take care of myself, so I’ve been trying to make it happen anyways.

The baby monitor we have vibrates when she starts to cry, so I’ve been able to turn the volume all the way down while still knowing that I won’t miss anything if she needs me. That helps quite a bit. Locking the cats out of the room helps too since sitting still always looks like an invitation for them to come and sit on my lap. Claws in my leg are not exactly helpful!

But even perfect silence is still not always the best. I think it causes me to start listening even harder for something to disrupt my mental focus – the irony of that is a little annoying. I definitely do best with some sort of sound, whether it’s white noise or music. I use an app called Insight Timer, and it allows me to add a gong or bell sound at preset intervals throughout my meditation session – sounds like a weird thing maybe, but I’ve found that hearing a specific noise every 30 seconds or so helps me refocus my mind again instead of accidentally getting lost somewhere along the way.

Practice and Forcing It

I’m the worst when it comes to just relaxing and letting things go at their own pace. I have to see improvement quickly or I get frustrated. This is something I’m working on in a lot of areas of my life, but I find that it’s more difficult with certain things. Meditation is one of them – it sounds too easy when in fact, it’s quite difficult.

It took several attempts over several months for me to actually understand that this was something I was going to have to practice as well. Just like drawing: my hands don’t automatically know how to create a recognizable picture. My brain doesn’t necessarily know how to focus and find the clarity that I’m looking for. So meditation is something that requires practice as well. And practice can not be rushed or forced.


This week I’ve been brainstorming and researching some new coping mechanisms beyond writing – I have a tendency to rely solely on the one and it doesn’t always work out so well. So I may be writing more on different self-care and coping strategies in the near future as I experiment and try some new things out!


Love, light, and a heaping dose of kindness,

untitled

Posted by katharine_marie in Anxiety, Depression, General, Life in 2020, Lifestyle, mental health, 2 comments

Win the Battle

Hello my lovely dreaming readers!

I talk a lot about how depression is a rough road with a lot of ups and downs. And every word of it is true. The struggle of managing a mental health issue is never a straight line, its always a zigzagging path and you never really know what’s coming next.

But time and time again there’s always one idea that comes back into my mind. I’m honestly not even sure when or where I first saw or read it. Probably on some blog somewhere. Wherever it came from, it always provides some small degree of comfort and hope.

DBdPt9pXkAA_cei.jpg

You’ve won every battle so far.

Maybe it doesn’t seem like a super profound idea, but the first time I saw it, my mind was definitely blown. I happened upon it when I was in a deep dark hole and there seemed to be no way out. I was despairing, there was no hope, and I was ready to give in. While those words didn’t pave the way out of my darkness, they reminded me that I had been at this point before, sometimes even deeper.

And I had won those battles. Every single one of them.

I had come out the other side, usually stronger. I had battled depression and won, more times than I cared to count.

And that thought was, and still is, the thought that kept me going. Kept me fighting for the light at the other end of the tunnel.

Because if I had won this battle before, what was stopping me from winning it this time?


Maybe these words don’t strike you as strong as they did me. Maybe this is your first time fighting this battle so you can’t resonate the same way. But depression will never be stronger than you. It will never be stronger than the power of love.

It is an incredibly hard battle to fight, but it is not impossible. Not as long as you keep fighting.


As always, with the power of love and kindness,

Katharine Marie

Posted by katharine_marie in Depression, mental health, 0 comments