Posted in grace, grit, happiness, Life, self care, strength

Coloring

Today, I’d like to take you back to when you were in kindergarten. Did you love to color, like I did?

I loved my coloring books and crayons. I would color for hours; choosing the perfect crayon and concentrating so I stayed within the lines.  There are times now I wish I had colored outside the lines, but I digress. 

Some days I would be so “into” my coloring it felt as though I was lost in my own little fun-filled, peaceful world. My tongue would even hang out the side of my mouth I was so focused on my creativity. 

On the first visit to my therapist’s office, she had a clipboard with mandala coloring pages and a little box of colored pencils. There was a written invitation to “feel free to color while you wait.” So I did just that. 

During a later session…on a day I was very anxious…she had me color while we talked. As we chatted and I colored, I mentioned I had coloring books for adults and colored pencils at home, but I had never used them. 

She suggested I go home and begin using my books and pencils. She instructed me to concentrate only on the end of the pencil while I colored.  I thought, “that’s a little strange, but okay.”

Willing to do almost anything to relax and get rid of negative emotions and anxiety, I went home and pulled out my coloring paraphernalia stash. I chose an intricate pattern, the perfect color of pencils and away I went. I focused all my attention on the tip of the pencil as it moved along the outline. 

Believe it or not…you can believe it because it’s true…before long my tongue was hanging out and my mind was cleared of all thoughts except the pencil! Just like when I was a kid, I was in my own calm, peaceful happy zone. 

It’s funny how as adults we forget the little things that brought us such joy as children. We get so caught up and bogged down with life we forget to do things just for fun. We all could use a little more fun and calmness in our lives, right?

If coloring isn’t your thing, you can pick a game you loved as a child; Etch-A-Sketch, Barrel of Monkeys, Jacks (I’m aging myself here, but who cares) and focus on fun. Even ten to fifteen minutes can do a spirit good. 

That’s it for today. Now, you go get your game or coloring book of choice and have a great, stress-free time playing with the joy and wonderment of a child. 

Diane💙

Posted in grace, happiness, Life, self care, strength

ABCDEFGratitude

The definition of gratitude is”the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation.”

Gratitude can be shown in a multitude of ways; from a simple thank you to telling someone how much you appreciate them or being of service to others. 

One way I express my gratitude is by keeping a gratitude journal. I have a spiral notebook and almost every day (sometimes, I forget…just being honest here)…I take out that notebook and write the letters of the alphabet in a list down the sheet of paper. 

Next, I think about things or people I’m grateful for and list them alphabetically. For instance:

Angels

Beauty

Counselor

Dogs

E, F, G and so on until I reach Z, which is hard, but I am grateful for zebras, because they’re interestingly beautiful, so the first “Z” isn’t so difficult. 

My gratitude list does several important things; it helps clear my mind of negative thoughts, calms my anxiety and helps with my depression when I read the things I’ve written for which I am thankful. 

For “gratitude on the go,” I carry a notepad or a small journal in my purse. When I’m waiting patiently for a doctor’s appointment or in a stressful situation with time on my hands, I pull out my notepad and begin writing. 

This is helpful as it gives me something I can physically see and touch, keeps my mind busy and my thoughts distracted from anything other than gratefulness. 

Keeping an alphabetic daily journal of gratitude is a great way to end, start or get through your day, relieve stress and is a gentle reminder that there is always, always something to be thankful for. 

That’s all for today. Thanks for taking the time to visit and read. See, I’ve got my “B” and “R”  for today…”Blog” and “Readers!”

What are your thoughts on this practice of thankfulness?  Leave a comment and let me know. 

Diane💙

Posted in Life, self care

Panic

Last week, I felt off kilter for a few days. Panic attacks were daily visitors. Exhaustion my enemy; sleep my friend.

I wrote the following when I was in the midst of a panic attack to try and distract myself and to document what happens to me physically when one occurs:

  • My ears are ringing.
  • My hands are numb.
  • My vision is blurred.
  • My stomach is churning.
  • My head hurts.
  • I feel dizzy.
  • I can’t get enough air into my lungs.
  • I feel something horrible is about to happen.
  • I want to flee my home.
  • I’m in a full blown panic attack!
  • There’s nothing anyone can do to make me feel better. Time is what I need. It’s time I want to speed up, but I can’t make it do so.
  • I just took medication to help, but the 15 to 20 minutes it takes to start working is really going to suck.

Yes, it really sucks to live with panic. I am lucky in that I have a strong support system in place. Mainly my husband who knows while he can’t stop the panic he can be patient and loving while it’s happening. That’s a big blessing to me.

The difference between anxiety and panic is anxiety is situational while panic comes out of the blue for no apparent reason. One minute I’ll feel perfectly fine and the next panic strikes. I have both anxiety and panic.

I’m usually a happy, optimistic person except on the dark days. During that time I’m all over the map emotionally.

I know I’ll be alright. During this time I need to rest and get back into a positive mindset as I know this too shall pass.

Diane

Posted in Life

Down the Rabbit Hole

For most of my adult life I’ve lived with mild depression and anxiety.

Three and a half years ago, my family was thrust into a tragic situation involving one of our children and deep down the rabbit hole I went. My depression and anxiety consumed my life.

I sought the help of a psychiatrist and therapist to help me through those dark days. The psychiatrist prescribed medication, which I willingly accepted. The therapist listened to and gave me insight in order to help me survive the ordeal one day at a time.

Despite medication and therapy, my depression and anxiety continued to worsen. It became so bad, all I wanted to do was sleep.

I didn’t care about anything; not getting dressed, brushing my hair, housework, showering, nothing. Sleep was my escape from all that was happening in my life. You can’t think or worry if you’re sleeping, right?

I didn’t go anywhere unless it was absolutely necessary, didn’t see friends or family; I basically hid away from the world. It was really exhausting and not something easily explained to those who haven’t been there.

Returning to the doctor, I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder with anxiety. I didn’t much care for the diagnosis because it made me feel weak and embarrassed.

A change in medications finally pulled me out of the dark hole and back into the light of the world. I still struggle, but I’m no longer sleeping all the time and I’ve returned to things like showering and getting out of the house. Two really big accomplishments.

I’ve come to realize my depression/anxiety is an illness not something of which to be ashamed. I no longer try to hide the fact that my brain has a chemical imbalance and is wired differently than others.

I no longer believe I’m weak. I’ve come to know I am a strong individual.

Diane