Mental Wellness: Real Life vs. Virtual Life

Last May I was sitting in the waiting room of my mechanic’s shop waiting for my car to finish with an oil change and I saw this story. I clicked on the link and read through it and fought back tears in the waiting room. I got my car back and got back into the office and read the story again. And read it again. And about a dozen more times. I sent it to my boyfriend. A month later I went to the doctor to get blood work done as I was experiencing extreme fatigue. For the 2nd time in 6 months, I was so completely fatigued that I couldn’t stay awake past 7pm and everything exhausted my body and my mind. My blood work all came back normal and my doctor suggested that I go on anti-depressants because she believed that my fatigue was due to me being stressed out and depressed. I didn’t do it – I’ve always been against medication. I hate taking drugs. Not the point of the story. But the point of this personal story is that what is discussed in that article I linked is so extremely true. We look for so much validation in our life and social media makes it instant. It’s instant feedback and instant validation. For the person posting something. But for others, it’s just a scrolling highlight reel of everyone that you are friends with or follow.

This quote from the article has always resonated with me.

Yes, people filter their photos to make them prettier. People are also often encouraged to put filters on their sadness, to brighten their reality so as not to “drag down” those around them. The myth still exists that happiness is a choice, which perpetuates the notion of depression as weakness.

The myth still exists that happiness is a choice, which perpetuates the notion of depression as weakness. That quote forever rolls around in my head. Sometimes getting knocked back to just a memory and other times feeling fresh and right before my eyes. I have sat down in conversations where individuals talk about depression and that “it’s just so sad that people choose that life.” No one chooses to be depressed. No one wants to have those suffocating feelings of worthlessness. No one desires to live that kind of life. But yet, we hear stories like Madison’s and think, “why didn’t she just talk to someone? Why didn’t she just cheer up? How could anyone like that ever be depressed?”

There is no mold to fit for depression. And it’s not just something that you can just “snap out of”.

Many times I get irritated with people (to be fair I get irritated with people on many things) who believe that wellness is just eating healthy and working out. Yes, those are important parts to it. But your mental health…your mental health is so important. And there is never anything wrong with seeking help.

Although to be transparent, here I am a 28 year old educated individual (educated in psychology of all things) embarrassed and frustrated with the fact that a year ago a doctor told me that she thought I was depressed. And I decided to just run out my frustrations because seeking help was too expensive for my health care plan.

I’m not really sure why I’m publishing this – it’s not well written, it’s not anything ground breaking or new…but it’s raw and it’s me and it’s my feelings. The linked article is about Madison Holleran the U or Penn runner who committed suicide. It’s sad, it’s raw, it’s true, and it’s powerful. And if you have to read only one article, read that. Share it. Pass it on.

Financial Wellness: Finding a System that Works for You

A few years ago I wrote that I wanted to get my credit cards paid off and to do that I was going to track my expenses through Excel spreadsheets. I was able to keep up with that for a few months, until I got my credit cards paid off, and then I started utilizing my spreadsheet less and less. Mostly because I rarely open my computer when I’m at home. I sort of try to avoid using my computer seeing as I am in front of a computer day in and day out at work and my phone meets all my other needs. So my budgeting took a back burner. Then E and I moved in together and my expenses were cut down in half and I stopped being as vigilant with my budgeting. But because of that, I’ve lost sight of my goals (I planned on trying to get around $10k of my student loans paid off in this year when my expenses were so low) and haven’t made progress on them.

I’m trying something new this year – in my planner, I’m tracking what I’m spending every week and then adding it up on Sunday. I then put my total that I spent that week on my monthly calendar in my planner. I won’t be able to make up lost ground with my student loans but I’m hopefully that I can still make a bit more of a dent in my loans. It’s important to remember that it about making progress and not about being perfect. With your finances, your fitness, your work, and your life.

Mental Wellness: The Should and the Push

I recently stumbled on a blog from a guy who runs in the fast group at run club. I never talk to him and rarely talk to anyone in the fast group (or any group outside of my friend and I) mainly because I don’t feel “good” enough to converse with people in the fast group. These guys are like royalty to me. They run high mileage, big races, fast times…and I just sort of…well run, occasionally. Times that I put up aren’t impressive, just a bit above average and it’s to be expected. I don’t put a lot of work or effort into my fitness. Yet I expect to excel at races.

I keep finishing races feeling like I should feel happy and accomplished but I actually feel disappointed. I’m disappointed with my marathon. I should have trained harder, I should have ran faster, and I should have finished within my time frame. I had it in me. I’m disappointed with my half marathon. I should have ran faster out of the gates, I should have put some extra training miles in last week, and I should have been able to break 1:50 which would have allowed me to place.

And I should remember all of this every single day when I’m being lazy reading blogs and watching tv instead of running and cross training. If I want to be even considered a smidge of a runner, I should be busting my ass and run as often as possible.

Getting to see a glimpse into someone’s mind who is a far superior athlete than you is fascinating. Slightly motivating. Definitely overwhelming.

I should stop reading his blog and wash my dishes and prep for tomorrow which should include laying clothes out to get an early morning run in.

Mental Wellness: Growing Up

I have these random “aha” moments in my life when I realize, yup, I’m an adult. Today’s came when I went to the dentist to get my very first cavity filled. I hadn’t been to the dentist since I got my braces off at 18 (I’m 26 now) and so I was terrified of going. I saw Scrinina (blog, twitter and instagram – if you don’t know her, you will. She’s amazing! I adore her!) went to the dentist back in May for the first time in almost a decade and that coupled with Eric saying “you will never go” (I love nothing more than proving people wrong and he knows it) made me muster up the courage to make a dentist appointment. My first in 8 years and my first since picking up bulimic tendencies for a couple of years.

I was terrified. Just terrified. I thought for sure my teeth were all cavities and that the dentist was going to be utterly disgusted by my teeth but I emerged from the chair with stern warnings about flossing and using a soft toothbrush but overall praise on my teeth. I had one tiny cavity that was fixed today (I was in and out of the dentist in less than 30 minutes) and I was on my way. As I was walking out after paying my co-pay (nothing makes you feel like more of an adult than paying your co-pay amirite?), I realized that I’m an adult now. As I was getting ready for bed and remembering that I am due to change my contacts tomorrow and realized that I have only slept in my contacts once since going to the eye doctor at the beginning of May, that I have flossed every day since going to the dentist…that I am working on taking care of myself. First in small ways because as anyone who has ever done consulting with me knows, I love small wins. Ah, now we get to the point of this blog (about time Newton!). Small wins. When you graduate from wherever that lands you in the real world with adult responsibilities, one thing that helps me keep on track are small wins. Small wins with my health, small wins with my fitness, small wins with life. They give you that sense of accomplishment.

So what small wins will you accomplish this week?

Mental Wellness: But First, Lemme Take a Selfie

How many of you have posted a selfie? Raise those arms up nice and high…keep em up…ok so the majority of us have. Having a fab body image day? Take a selfie! Love your outfit/hair/makeup/etc? Take a selfie! Right?

Well, maybe not…a recent study linked selfies to narcissism, addiction, and mental illness. So does it really pay off to take a selfie? The obsession these days of getting the perfect picture and picking apart one’s appearance when selecting the perfect picture is getting out of control. This article introduces a young guy who took selfies to the extreme and would spend hours upon hours taking hundreds of pictures just to find the right one.

Now, I cannot be the only one here thinking…what? These are selfies that we are talking about. Selfies. How is this happening? It’s weird research to me, but I can definitely see the value in this research. It’s a quick read if you are interested and bonus, their sources are linked (hoooray!) so if you want to get even more info on this research, you can.

 

Mental Wellness: Reflection

Awhile back, I wrote a blog post revealing a side of myself I keep locked away from people I know. I made reference to eating disorders being a mental disease as well as a physical disease. I’m currently lounging around watching old episodes of True Life and naturally, I watch all the ones that are related to food and body image. The subject interest me in multiple ways because I can see bits of myself in these people.

You see them looking in the mirror and critiquing themselves and pointing out all their flaws, all their physical flaws. They point out physical flaws and relate them back to how they feel. I always relate this back to me after I engage in b/p behaviors. Because I look in the mirror and see my physical self but the reflection isn’t something I know or respect. The reflection is hatred and disgust. At some point, diets turn from hating the reflection in the mirror to hating the person in the mirror.

The hate isn’t in the reflection. It isn’t in the body in the reflection. It’s something bigger than that.

Mental Wellness: Jealousy.

I’m in a funk. That is for damn sure. And I think a huge reason why I am is because of increased exposure to social media, especially during this time of year plus the type of personality I have. I one time read something on reddit that was in regards to social media and how you are seeing everyone’s highlight reel while you are living your day to day and seeing the “behind-the-scenes”.

Do you ever just feel so overwhelmed by seeing everyone’s highlight reel? But at the same time, dude it’s social media, there is no need to treat it like your diary. So all we ever see is highlight reel upon highlight reel. And with the facebook, the twitters, the tumblr, the google+, the instagram, the youtube, the wordpress, the blogger, the vine, the linkedin…am I missing any? Probably. But with all the social media outlets and your ability to like, favorite, follow, subscribe, friend, etc anyone given any status…it’s no wonder your feeds are full of highlight reels.

And it goes back to how I have been feeling lately. Just burnout on all the highlight reels. And selfishly wishing that I had something to contribute to a highlight reel but feeling stuck in a routine. Feeling jealous of everyone’s lives and their highlight reels. Feeling like my contributions are not enough. Feelings of disappointment. Failure. Rejection. Wanting to prove my worth and not knowing how to do it and if my worth is something that is even worth something.