{February 12, 2012}   ~Releases~

     I have decided to share some of the things I do to de-stress or calm my anxiety. I am by no means a professional, just a patient, but I have found from experience that some or most of my strategies are very commonly used by others. As many people do, I tend to use alcohol or drugs, but I won’t recommend you do. It’s a very unhealthy coping mechanism and it’s harmful. It’s one of those- “it’s okay if I do it, but not if you do”- things. I will leave any and all harmful coping strategies out of my list, for obvious reasons.
MUSIC! Who doesn’t like music? I have found it’s helpful for me to listen to music when I am angry or depressed. Depending on which mood I’m in, I like to listen to a variety of music. When I’m angry it’s usually Godsmack, Finger Eleven, Trapt, Suicide Machines and other rock music. When I’m feeling down and depressed, I tend to listen to Matchbox Twenty, Ani DeFranco, Mellissa Etheridge, Alanis Morrissette, Collective Soul and a lot of Alternative music. ***I have found that if I am feeling anxious, noise furthers that feeling, and so music becomes irritating and upsetting rather than therapeutic.***
WRITING. Penning anything on paper is very helpful. Whether it be a poem, a journal entry or scribbling (I fucking hate ____, what a great day!, etc.). For me, just feeling the scratch of the pen or pencil on the paper is very comforting; it makes me feel like I have control over something, anything. I use this strategy on a daily basis for every and any reason- feeling angry, depressed, happy, accomplished, anxious, etc… One thing I have discovered: I tried using my laptop to write/type therapeutically to save on paper and pens (I go through a lot of paper and ink), but it didn’t help. I need to feel the pen scratching the paper; I need to feel my hands making my thoughts appear.
CREATIVITY. Painting, drawing or building something. I tend to enjoy painting on my neutral days, when I don’t feel much of anything, when I’m in that mode where nothing’s wrong but nothing’s right. Where I’m not happy or depressed. Drawing goes along the same lines of writing for me, feeling the pencil scratch on the paper, feeling that sense of complete control. Building something when you feel down or depressed can really lift you up, make you feel a sense of accomplishment.
EXERCISE. Walking, weight lifting, jogging, using a punching bag, hiking… anything physical that releases endorphins and battles stress. I have found that being able to do any of these activities outdoors is particularly joyful. I get a sense that there’s so much I have yet to see and I feel connected to the present. And your body naturally releases endorphins and other feel-good chemicals that can help bring you out of your slump or magnify those good feelings you already have.
And finally… psychotherapy. I know it’s not for everyone, but given my mental health issues it’s a life saver. Just to have someplace to go to feel safe and have someone there who is willing to listen to me and my problems, unbiased and free of judgment. I would highly recommend that anyone suffering from psychological issues give psychotherapy a try. It’s really helped me.

Feel free to add to this list. I am interested in learning new coping skills and seeing what works for other people as well.

{February 11, 2012}   My Name Is… Labeled.

They diagnose me from a textbook- 
Little do they know, I don’t fit their definitions.
My depression is more than sadness,
more than feeling worthless
helpless, hopeless, lost.
The scars they see are only skin deep
but I feel the slashes across my heart.
Bleeding the pain through my veins
is a fruitless attempt to relieve the pressure;
the aching I feel vibrating deep in my bones.
They cannot define the suffering I feel
for even I am unable to put it into words.
They can’t make me talk about it
because my voice fails to convey it accurately.
To attempt to portray it in a painting would be shameful
for it’s too ugly to waste creativeness on.

They diagnose me from a textbook-
Little do they know, I don’t fit their definitions.
My eating habits are not about control,
but about being perfect enough for my mother;
about acceptance and approval.
I’m not sick, I’m just starving for love.

They diagnose from a textbook-
Little do they know, I don’t fit their definitions.
My insomnia is more than sleeplessness,
more than exhaustion and a battle for rest.
The dark circles under my eyes are proof
of my weariness, of my restless nights.
They know I do not sleep near enough;
They don’t know the haunts that lie beside me.
They don’t see the nightmares snuggled up close
or the horror that lies in waiting behind my eyes.

They diagnose me from a textbook-
Little do they know, I don’t fit their definitions.
Their labels are generic, almost all-inclusive.
I don’t fit into their little boxes of reasons,
they cannot categorize my life.
They can’t put me into a group with others
for I am a group all on my own.
Their labels and definitions take the me out of ‘me’,
they turn me into another statistic,
another stereotype.
I define ME, and without me…
there would be no definition.

et cetera