mental health

Friday’s Thoughts

Hello beautiful humans!

I should probably post more often again. It would help the things that I DO post to make more sense. Or at least it would help me with the problem I’m currently having where I sit down to write a post and then I feel the need to recap everything that has happened in the 2-3 weeks since my previous post, except that I really don’t feel like doing that because I could create a whole post about those happenings alone. SO instead, we’re gonna do two things. I’m gonna tell you a couple of random things about how my life is currently going (no context though) and then I’ve got a little store of thoughts in my head from therapy and just random internet searches that I wanna share. Here goes! Continue reading →

Posted by katharine_marie in Creative Writing, Life in 2021, mental health, Parenting, 0 comments

Hello Again! A 2020 Life Update…

Hello, my darlings!

It’s been all of two weeks since the last time I posted, but in a lot of ways, it feels like much longer. Life has just been so hectic lately. I’ve got half a dozen drafts sitting in my writing program waiting to be finished, but since I’ve been doing more focused posts lately, I thought it would be good to just sit down and have a chat about how life has been going. I guess its not really a chat though if I’m the only one talking. Eh, whatever. Continue reading →

Posted by katharine_marie in Life in 2020, 0 comments

Finding the Beauty

Hi all you wonderful people!
I’m here for a ramble today before we close out this month that has been full of posts about thoughts and emotions and dealing with the strangeness that is 2020. It’s been weird and crazy and so, SO, random.
It’s easy to just want to give up on the world, on people in general. Everyone is horrible, nobody is good anymore, everything is just a messy disaster. Even the murder hornets didn’t want to stick around because we weren’t worth their time. That should tell us something. When everyone does nothing except argue with each other and it feels like nobody can agree on anything – that is incredibly discouraging Continue reading →

Posted by katharine_marie in mental health, 0 comments

Balance at Home

Hello beautiful folks!
Another week is almost over, and August is nearly over too – can you believe it? I kind of can, but just because 2020 has seemed like the longest year EVER. Ugh.
I’ve been talking a lot this month about how mental health problems can affect everyday life and rambled on about a few ways that I deal with and handle those things. Balance is not something that comes easy to me – I get very hyper-focused and then can’t have trouble getting other things done properly. Its something I’ve had to work on, especially now being a stay-at-home mom because its impossible to hyper-focus on something when your child also needs something, and dinner is trying to burn on the stove. You know what I mean…

Continue reading →
Posted by katharine_marie in mental health, 0 comments

Re-Direct, Re-Frame, Re-Train

Hi beautiful dreamers!

How many of us have thought and speech patterns that we know aren’t that great? Whether it’s a bad habit of mentally putting yourself down after being clumsy or the way we say “sorry!” after everything, regardless of what’s happening – I think everyone has something that they do without thinking that tears themselves down more than it builds up.
Many people can go through life and be just fine with a few negative thought patterns. It doesn’t affect them. I’m not one of those people. I have several very distinct patterns that can quickly turn into nasty spirals if left unchecked.

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Especially since the pandemic hit, my weekly therapy sessions have become a staple of my routine. I even had a minor panic moment this last week when my therapist said she was going to be on vacation. How would I ever survive?!
Joking aside though, I do rely a lot on the accountability and safety of that hour every week. And a big portion of what I work on outside of those sessions is reframing the negative and harmful patterns that I have, both in my thoughts and my words. She helps me find ways to rephrase things and recognize patterns that I wouldn’t necessarily notice on my own.

It’s a lot of hard work!

The longer a particular pattern has been in place, the longer it takes to work through it. These patterns are, quite simply, memorized brain responses, so the process of re-framing a thought really means re-training your brain. Which equals some hard work because thoughts are sneaky and like to creep through when you’re least expecting them. It’s a daily thing and can require lots of conscious effort for quite a while, depending on how long it has been a habit. Just like any other habit that you might want to create or stop, your brain’s habits are also challenging.

Half the battle!

For me, half the battle sometimes is simply recognizing a pattern that I don’t want to continue. This is where a therapist can come in handy because they are listening to you and hear things much more objectively than you do. Plus they don’t have your history with whatever pattern or thought process it is, so they can point out things that you might not otherwise see for yourself.

Some examples might be…

Following a spiral of worst-case scenarios in your head.
Mumbling “stupid” under your breath whenever you drop something.
Judging yourself mentally every time you catch your reflection in a mirror.
Apologizing for being enthusiastic about something when talking to a friend.
Immediately assuming someone is mad at you because they don’t respond right away.

And so on and so forth. There are a million different examples I could give, but I’m sure the ones I mentioned already struck a chord with a few people. It’s hard to acknowledge these things sometimes, but being able to recognize and point out a negative pattern is the beginning of the road.

In my personal life…

I do rely on my therapist a lot to help me recognize when I’m speaking in a way that isn’t positive or loving to myself. Having that outside voice helps a lot. I have found my own patterns though in the past, usually by flipping through past journal entries that end up making me cringe. Sometimes even by listening to someone else and realizing that they’re not being kind or gracious to themselves has flipped a switch for me, causing me to acknowledge that I do the same thing to myself. Ouch.
As I mentioned, acknowledging the pattern as a problem is half the battle. Once I see what I’m doing wrong, I’ll notice it every time and sometimes that’s enough to stop me in my tracks. Other times, especially when its something that I’ve been internalizing for many many years, its a lot harder. In those situations, I usually have to dig a little deeper inside myself and find the root of that pattern. Maybe its something that I was told as a child that I shouldn’t have clung to, but did anyway. Regardless, if I can find the root of the issue, I can start to work through it and make a stronger effort to change my habits, and my heart as well. It’s challenging, for sure, but so very worth it. There are days that I struggle more than others, but that’s what life is, right?
Is there a thought or speech pattern that you notice in yourself that isn’t kind or loving? What is it that you need to begin that change in yourself?


Love, kindness, and lots of light,
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Posted by katharine_marie in Anxiety, Depression, General, mental health, 0 comments

Marriage and Communication

Hi, my beautiful folks! I hope this week is treating you well so far!

At this moment, two years ago, I was preparing to say “I do” to the person that still means more to me than anyone else in the world. For once in my life, I wasn’t nervous, which says a lot, because I overthink and question every single decision I make in my life. I’ve never questioned that decision though. My marriage is absolutely the best part of my life and I am happier than I ever thought possible.
But I’m not going to wax poetic about love and romance and all that. I’ve already written about the wedding before, and also about how amazing The Best Husband is on our first anniversary. I’m taking a different approach today and looking at what affects relationships and how they can all be different but still wonderful.

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Every single person is different, so every single marriage is going to look a little different from the next. It would be impossible to expect all relationships to work the same way because there are so many factors that play into it.

Mental Health’s Role

One thing I struggle with is my mental health and of COURSE, it has an effect on my marriage because how could it not? Mental health plays a role in all sorts of relationships in my life, especially friends and family members, and none more so than the relationship I have with my husband. He knows me the best and I talk to him more than anyone else, so he’s most familiar with what I deal with. It’s hard on him sometimes and it can make things difficult, certainly. Not everyone’s relationship is like ours – not everyone knows for sure that their significant other truly has their back all the time. It’s a whole lot easier for me, just knowing that he supports me 100% and will hold my hand every step of the way. That in itself is a lifesaver.

Find Balance Together

I know that he’s there for me, no matter what, but sometimes it’s hard to balance my own health against such an important relationship. It’s a personal struggle that I have because I always feel guilty and think I’m being a burden/too demanding/needy/etc. I’ve been able to overcome a lot of those feelings, but it has been hard. I have very particular needs on my bad days and sometimes trying to get those needs met doesn’t go so well because… communication? I think. Still figuring that out. Basically, I’m working on being able to communicate my needs better without dumping all my crap onto my poor husband and overloading him because hello? He’s got things he needs to and I have a tendency to forget that. I really don’t think he knew what he was getting himself into when he married me. Sorry, love.
I really do have the right intentions at heart, and so does he, but finding that balance where we both feel heard and understood is difficult at times, as I think it is for all couples. We’ve gotten so much better, especially since COVID hit and we were forced to spend even more time together than we used to. Haha.

Check In Often

As I mentioned, communication is key. It will almost always be the key, regardless of the issue. Too many times, we forget to check in to make sure the other person is doing okay. Assuming that someone is doing fine because they haven’t said otherwise is likely to get you in trouble. I’ve been on both ends of that and neither one is fun. There are times that life is too busy and too hectic to really have long, insightful conversations, yes. I’ve been there, but I strongly believe that if you’re too busy to check in on the relationship regularly (daily, in my opinion) for even just a few minutes then you’re too busy. Making the effort to keep the other person “in the loop” about how you’re feeling and doing is vital to staying connected to each other. Without communication, we lose connection, people don’t feel loved and relationships deteriorate.
For me personally, since I stay home all day, it’s easy to get caught up in my own projects and then somehow “not get around” to telling the Best Husband Ever about what’s going on or how I’ve been feeling. It has the double effect of making him feel like he’s not an involved part of our home life and making me feel like I have to take care of everything. The longer we go on like that, the worse it gets. But even if its a day that he gets home extra late, but we still find time to talk about what happened and how we’re doing before going to bed? That’s still a good day and we go to sleep feeling that connection.
This post is getting a bit long already, whoops. Most of what I’m said so far sounds like basic relationship stuff, but making connections is even more important when dealing with mental illness. In my experience, both anxiety and depression have a really frustrating effect of making me pull away from people, especially important people who are good support in the tough times. Maintaining and making effort in those relationships when times are NOT so hard is vital for me because it creates better habits for when things do get rough.
Have you checked in with someone today? Just to see how they’re doing? Or maybe you feel the need to check in with someone else, just so you don’t feel alone – that’s good too, do that!


Love, light, and kindness, always,
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Posted by katharine_marie in Anxiety, Depression, General, Life in 2020, mental health, 0 comments

3 Ways to Deal Right Now

Good morning beautiful darlings!
I hope this week, and the new month too, is treating you well so far! I got a ton of work done last week and was actually able to take a nice relaxing weekend. I did all sorts of nothing without feeling all kinds of guilty about it, which was SO amazing!
The world is continuing to be overwhelming in so many ways for me. I know not everyone would agree, depending on how you view things, but 2020 has been a rough ride so far and I don’t exactly see it getting much better for a while at least. I’m typing this while my cat screams in the other room and the baby cries for me to pick her up. Noise is a big trigger for me, so I’m actually dealing with the overwhelming-ness of home life as well right now at this moment. The irony is strong, right?
Anyways, a lot of the time the days are long and hard. I try to only pop onto social media a few times a day because honestly, it’s depressing for me. And I know the same applies to a lot of other people. Humans, in general, aren’t meant to live through this kind of stuff, but here we are trying to figure it out, and then judging each other for it? Come on y’all.

3 ways to get through

Recognize Your Limits

Some things are within our control. A lot of things are not. There is a balance that can be struck between choosing to engage with things that are important to you and choosing to refrain and focus instead on your own personal life. I’ve been struggling with this a lot because a month or so ago, I was being quite outspoken on my platform about things I was passionate about. I was stepping out of my comfort zone and saying things I had never had the courage to say before. But I slowly found myself feeling angry and bitter towards the people who were unwilling to have a conversation. So I’ve taken a step back. And I feel guilty because those causes I was speaking for are still there and I feel obligated to continue trying to make a change.
I had to make a decision for myself and realize that the negative feelings were not serving me at all, and were in fact harming me. I’m not holding back all my opinions or anything like that, but I am checking myself at the gate to see whether I’m saying something out of anger or out of a genuine desire to make a difference. There is a balance there and its not easy to find, or maintain.

Choose to Step Away

Like I said, I was feeling angry and bitter. Much more so than I could handle appropriately or maturely. My tendency is to lash out when I feel frustrated, which serves absolutely nobody, least of all the causes I’m standing for. My desire is only to show love and compassion, so taking that step back was a better choice. I’ve said it so many times that yelling at someone doesn’t make them change their mind. I’ve found myself so overwhelming so many times because I don’t know what to do or say or even what to think because there is so much negativity in the world, but stepping back is definitely a good choice for me. These situations aren’t just difficult, they’re brand new to me – someone who has never willingly chosen conflict or confrontation, and that requires some adjustment. I’m changing, just like the world is, and giving myself (and others!) grace is a sign of strength.

Find One Good Thing

I would be the first to say that toxic positivity needs to GO. I don’t have time for that kind of stuff. When I’m depressed and someone tells me that my life is great and I have nothing to be sad about, all I want to do is strangle them. That kind of talk helps nobody. End rant.
HOWEVER, on the days that I’m feeling overwhelmed because there is so very much going on, it can help to find one good thing. If it feels like the whole world is crumbling around you, it can make a huge difference if you pick out just one little thing that is still okay. It gives you something to hold onto, a little piece of hope in the middle of all the mess. It’s not going to fix anything, but it can help you feel better. It just creates a little bit of a better balance between the positive and negative in the mind and creates a tiny piece of stability.

I guess overall, my point is that the overwhelming-ness (yes I’m going to keep using it) is hard. I understand it, I’m still struggling with it too, and we’ll all get through it together.

Now: what’s one good thing you’ve found in the world today?


Love and kindness,
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Posted by katharine_marie in Anxiety, Depression, General, mental health, 2 comments

Recognition

This post was supposed to be out yesterday but I got flattened by a migraine, so here we are instead!

Hello lovely dreamers!

I don’t think it matters what side you’re taking, which opinion you have, or any of that. Everybody is being affected in some way by the state of affairs in the world today. Everybody that I know has taken some sort of mental health hit this year. It’s hard. We weren’t made to live through things like this and thrive at the same time. It’s okay to struggle, to have a difficult time dealing with change, and want to cry, argue, fight, etc.

I know for myself, it’s been hard lately to take a step back and look at the big picture. I’ve found myself caught up in details, in the anger that is circulating, especially in our small town, and I’ll admit that I succumbed to a bit of the hatred that I normally avoid like the plague (hahahh sobbing).

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Photo by Ryan Plomp on Unsplash

My husband is the best. We see eye to eye on basically every single thing and we are able to talk about everything in a way that makes me calmer, balanced, and more centered. I love our relationship.

But the last month has seen his work hours getting longer and longer. We basically expect a 12 hour day 5 days a week at this point and because he’s working outside in the Texas heat, and wearing a mask out in that heat, he’s exhausted when he gets home. I love him for working so hard and taking care of us, but it has been difficult to deal with the fact that we rarely get much time to really talk and be together. It took me far too long to realize that was why I was being so emotional and feeling so frustrated all the time – because I wasn’t getting the things I wanted. I was trying to be “okay” with the work situation and that irritation was just spilling out in other ways.

Last week I took some time to myself. I reconnected with my spirituality a little bit again and worked on answering some questions that had been floating around in my head. It’s easy, especially when running low on sleep, to just avoid doing the hard things and taking care of yourself emotionally. I had just been surviving for a while now and I can only do that for so long before it starts to really affect me.

But the frustration doesn’t just go away. Taking care of myself and trying to be okay with things that rub me the wrong way only lessens it a little bit. I’m starting to realize what triggers the negative emotions like frustration and bitterness and when I feel that happening, the best thing to do is to step away and focus instead on something that will fill me, like laying down on the floor and playing with my daughter or having a dance party in the living room. Those things help, regardless of how inconsequential they might seem in the moment.

It’s funny. I don’t claim to be perfect or whatever, but I do think I usually do a good job of seeing and recognizing problems within myself or my behavior before they become real problems. Right now though, it feels like I’ve been blind to a lot of things that were just building up inside of me. And it’s a challenge to figure out what to do with the emotions now that I’ve identified and validated them.

So yeah. I guess that’s where we’re at right now. I do want to say though, that I don’t post things like this for a reaction or for any other superfluous or selfish reason. I post things like this as an insight into my own mental health journey so that other people can know that they’re not the only ones struggling. I know, for myself, that reading other people’s stories can really make me feel less alone and less terrible about myself. Just keeping it real here, that’s all.


I love each of you readers so much! I’m sending out all the light and socially distant hugs today and wish you all a great rest of your week!

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Posted by katharine_marie in Anxiety, Depression, Life in 2020, mental health, 0 comments

Thoughts on Words, Support, and Culture

Hello, beautiful darlings,

Is it just me or has this felt like the looonngggessst week ever? I’m getting so sick of shutdowns and being trapped at home and not being able to function like a normal human being. Ughhhh…

Anywho. Today I wanted to jump straight in and have a little chat about mental illness and a few of the things that really affect it, especially right now. Heavy subject matter maybe, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about lately.

Over the last ten years or so, possibly longer if I could remember, I’ve heard comments from all sorts of people about how mental illness must just be laziness or some other such nonsense.

“It’s all in your head.”

“Have you tried NOT being depressed?”

“You have nothing to worry about, your life is great!”

“You must not be trying hard enough. If you do X, you’ll get over it more quickly.”

“I know someone who did X and they’re totally normal now!”

Ad nauseam, on and on and on again.

Please. Just. Stop. It.

I’m begging you.

First of all, mental illness is just that. An illness. Would you say those same things to someone who was suffering from a physical medical diagnosis? I’m willing to bet that you would not. Well, some people might, but most people wouldn’t. Not only that, but mental illness is not considered an acute illness. There is such a thing as situational depression or anxiety that is caused by a traumatic event, of course, but the majority of cases are CHRONIC. Meaning that there are good phases, there are bad patches, and there’s everything in between. We keep keeping on, doing the things that help keep us in the good places and move on.

Trying to find the support that is truly needed is hard. I personally have a very small number of people that I would consider reaching out to during a really rough patch. I may write about it all on here, but 9 times out of 10, I’m writing about the experience after the worst is over.

Mental willpower is something that people misunderstand, though, and that seems to play into a lot of the bizarre comments that I and many other folks with mental issues have received. Religious communities tend to give pat answers like “pray harder!” or “if you have enough faith/trust, God will release you from your illness.” I’m sorry, but that just isn’t the case! Of course, I believe that God has the power to take away our struggles and our ailments – that not what I’m saying at all. The problem with these answers is that they’re pretty and easy. They put all the blame at the feet of the suffering individual. And we’re not meant to go through things all alone, we’re meant to go through them together, with community and encouragement and love.

The other thing that contributes to a lot of this problem is simply the culture that we have right now. The world is lonely. We have social media and memes and entertainment at our fingertips, and we’re always working and running from this place to the next. We have no true connection. We don’t have people that we do life with on a basic, emotional level. Like I said, we’re meant as humans to have a community. We’re not meant to go through life alone. And I’m not talking romantically alone, I mean having meaningful friendships and relationships that you cultivate and nurture.

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Photo by DJ Johnson on Unsplash

Trust me, I am preaching myself more than anyone right now. I have failed my friends in so many ways. I have pushed people away, and I struggle every single day just to text people back when they reach out. Nobody said that the things that we truly need would be easy to find. They take work and believe me when I say that I am SO awful at searching for community and friendship. But the times that I push through and actually try? Those are the moments that I really treasure and hold close.

That’s my little rant for the day, and reading back over this, I realize that I’ve glossed over a lot of deep topics that could very easily be turned into their own posts – so I guess that will probably happen in the future. All I’m trying to say right now is think about how powerful words can be and how important we are to each other.

What do you think? Is this something that you think about and struggle with too? I would love to hear other people’s thoughts on these ideas. 🙂


Love, kindness, and so many hugs!

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Posted by katharine_marie in Anxiety, Depression, General, Life in 2020, mental health, 0 comments

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.

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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,

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