4/05/2014

Six Word Saturday: Spring's Sprung


Warm sun, windows open, gentle breeze. 

3/29/2014

An Evening with The Minimalists

Standing room only at The Last Bookstore
We arrived a bit late and there was standing room only. We positioned ourselves at the back of the room. Joshua Fields Millburn was reading from the The Minimalists' newest book, Everything that Remains. He described the experience of losing his mother, and the process of how having to pack up her belongings got him thinking about what's important. He and his best friend Ryan Nicodemus started on their journey to become The Minimalists. They started a blog and wrote a couple books. They're touring now in support of their memoir.

I can't remember when I first learned about them. I think I'd been familiar with minimalism for a while but these two have a style that is open and encouraging that's unique. When the opportunity to go see them came up, I jumped on it. It takes a lot to get me to go into LA proper but we made the trek and I'm so glad we did. But at some point in the reading, I began to feel ill. I was overheated and sweating, suddenly became fatigued and was nauseous. I found a cool corner and sat down on the floor to rest. It passed after some deep breathing but I thought it odd. I later found out we'd had an earthquake and wondered if what I'd felt was a shift in energy. It was a little weird.

Following the reading, the crowd queued up for pictures and autographs with the guys. When our turn came, I was ridiculously giddy and couldn't stop smiling. The Minimalists are so generous and spent a few minutes talking with us before signing my ticket, taking some pictures, and sharing hugs. Two hugs each!

Minimalism isn't just about limiting our possessions. It's about figuring out what and who adds value to our lives, and how we can add value to the lives of others. I'm up for the challenge.

Six Word Saturday: Get Up and Move!


I've realized how inert I've been

3/22/2014

3/15/2014

Six Word Saturday: Grow!


Going to give houseplants another try.

3/12/2014

The Button Story

I recently got a new purple blouse. It's nothing fancy... just a collared 3/4 length sleeve knit shirt that works well for layering. The first day I wore it, a button came off. Luckily it was one of the bottom buttons, and I found it under my desk. I picked it up and put it in my little pill holder so I could sew it back on. I didn't particularly like the buttons... they're grey and plastic and have a loop instead of 4 holes. I turned over in my head where my sewing kit might be at home. When I couldn't mentally locate it, I thought I might use my mom's sewing basket on laundry day. Then I remembered that my dad saves all the buttons he comes across. The thought occurred to me that I could replace the loop button with a sturdy 4 hole button.

This thought surprised me. You mean I didn't have to go along with things as they were? That just because the silly blouse came with crappy buttons, I didn't have to keep them?! I could replace them with frog-shaped buttons if I want to?!

I started to think about how my go-with-the-flow attitude might not always be a good thing. In some ways, it's good because it limits the amount of drama I live with. But on the other hand, it's limited me in other ways. How many other opportunities for creativity, self-expression, and life-betterment have I missed out on because I look at things at face-value? I don't like the blinds on my windows; you mean I could get curtains? One of the bulbs in the bedroom light is out; you mean I could fix it? I don't need a china cabinet anymore; you mean I could sell it? I'm thirsty; get a drink! Part of this is about practicing common sense. And part of it is about giving myself room to breathe and grow.

I'd like to encourage us to be more open to ways that we can express our creativity and self-care. What could you change about your habits or thinking that would allow you to do that?

The Language of Recovery

{This post was cobbled together as I try to understand what recovery means to me. I hope that someone might benefit from my rambling.}

I’ve been in the mental health system in one way or another for the past 15 years. I’ve probably been sick for longer than that but it was only when I got to a breaking point that I sought help. In all that time, I don’t remember any professional suggesting to me that I was recovering or was in need of recovery. I was only ever “being treated.” In hindsight, I wonder if I could’ve done more to explain to my health-care team how all my maladies were inter-related. At the time, I just wanted relief and was eager to meet as many of the bullet-points on their diagnostic check-lists as possible if it meant they’d give me medicine. I don’t recommend doing that because it easily leads to mis-diagnosis and wasted time and money. All along the way I knew I could’ve benefited from meds and therapy but I could only ever afford one or the other.

The problem with being medicated but not pursuing behavioural therapy is that habits don’t change. Medication alters mood, not necessarily motivation. I’ve spent years in a “good mood” but not been able to successfully manage my own life. Several years ago, I spent some time in an outpatient mental health program. This was a turning-point for me and I often harken back to the things I learned there. I learned that thoughts are just thoughts and don’t always require action (in an OCD context, specifically) and that just because I’m not suicidal or unable to hold a job doesn’t mean that I’m not deserving of getting help.

Here’s the thing: You’re totally worthy of getting help. If you feel disordered, depressed, anxious, chaotic, compelled, psychotic, whatever, on any level, it’s ok to ask for help. And if you’re in treatment and/or working on your own issues, whether they be mental, physical, spiritual, whatever, it’s ok to say you’re in recovery. You don’t have to be on the brink. You don’t have to wait to see how much lower you go. All you need to do is seek help, and be open to it.

I’m a stranger on the internet and I’m telling you it’s ok to use the language of recovery to describe your efforts to be a better you. Recovery indicates action, and intention. It means you’re in the game. It means you see you’re worth saving. I think you are.

TL;DR - My name is TMC and I’m in recovery.