You may be saying to yourself: “where has Jess been again?” I know it’s been almost a month since I’ve posted but honestly some days I just didn’t feel inspired OR I was just inspired by the message of today’s post. Also, I rather be genuine and post when ever I feel inspired and motivated to be genuine to you guys and gals rather than to stick to a “schedule”. So let me start today’s post as I got the unintended disclaimer out of the way.
I tend to be stuck having this mentality: thinking about the “good old days” or worrying about “what’s going to happen next?” with the future. I never thought about the present even less enjoy it. I never took the time to appreciate the now, that one that God/universe has given me. The present where I have everything I need right now. I then started to think, if I have everything I need now, why don’t I just enjoy it? And honestly, this mentality has been SO GREAT for my anxiety. Like I honestly feel like my brain has shut up a little lol and anyone who deals with anxiety knows that’s a BIG deal.
The past can’t haunt me if I don’t let it
Live and learn and never forget it
Whoa, gotta learn to let it go
In my last post, I alluded to how my life is changing all around me, and it is. And in the beginning, I was too scared to acknowledge it, because I didn’t want to let go of the past. But at one point it became too hard to hard to hold on. I had learned all the lessons I needed to at that time and will bring them into the future. But the master lesson? The lessons of all lessons: learning to let go.
I had accepted that I needed to let go so I shifted my focus to the purpose . Like what was the purpose of the things happening in my life right now? Honestly, even THAT became too much for me and my mental health. Yes, I noticed things were changing, but I kept thinking about the long term outcome. Now I was worried about the future meanwhile life was still changing around me so it was a mental race in my head to try to understand it all. My anxiety was rising again with this way of thinking I was adopting. Every single second I kept thinking: “well what does this mean?” and that became too much for me and was becoming SUPER unhappy.
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when it happened, but my mindset shifted once again. I started to think: why am I getting anxious if everything is happening when it’s supposed to? Why am I trying to keep up or think a step ahead of life? Why can’t I just cool down and enjoy life? Everything right now is happening for a reason, why don’t I just enjoy what is happening right now and then God/the universe will take care of the rest. After all, they are the higher power right?
And OMG IT HAS BEEN GREAT! I’m enjoying what I want to do at the moment and not thinking about the next step again. As long as I’m open and honest with myself and others, my present will be okay, I will be okay. Like don’t worry about the purpose, just know when sh*t hits the fan, then you will take the lessons you’ve learned before and learn from them. Life is about making mistakes. It’s not about making it perfect or trying to understand everything because it will actually make you insane like I was trying to do. You will figure out things when you need to but right now, this present of yours and it isn’t going to happen again but its happening for a reason! Like, I find that beautiful and more meaningful than being sad about the past or stressed about the future. Like I said before, let the higher powers take care of that. You are here, you are now. Don’t let your anxiety take over otherwise. I’m telling you, my brain has been quiet. MY ANXIOUS/OVERTHINKING brain has been quiet since I’ve started to enjoy the present. Again, you’re gonna have your bad days, but remember it’s only temporary. But also, if you catch yourself worrying or reminiscing , it’s okay! You haven’t back tracked on your progress.
Can I just say I feel/been MUCH happier since I’ve adopted this way of thinking. People have seen me and have told me: you look happier. And honestly, that comment means more to me than anything. Because yeah, you can fake it until you make it, but being genuinely happy just takes everything to a whole other level. Enjoying life, being happy, being confident is what I’ve been asking for a while now. I think what makes this progress a little more special for me is that I’ve done it mostly alone. Sure, I have people in my life but I haven’t changed for them or because of them. My confidence is boosting for me, my happiness is boosting because of myself. So whatever makes you happy and makes life full to you, then go for it! Whether it be a can of soda, a photoshoot at a sunflower field, going on a d**e, just do it. As long as you’re not hurting others and being honest with yourself, what’s so wrong with enjoying life? Why can’t we enjoy the present that we are being given?
So let’s agree to not be sad about the past or worry about the future. If it makes you and I less stressed and less anxious let’s embrace it (as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone of course). I feel like this is what I’ve been needing for a LONG time and I hope someone out there can feel the same way as I do.
So this week’s post was supposed to be how my life has been and what I’ve learned from a breakup, new job, and quarantine. But first of all, it’s the beginning of August so it seems kinda irrevalent to do a “six month review”. Also, I’m kinda sick and tired of looking back. I’m appreciative of everything I’ve learned and will bring those lessons to me in the future but life is changing now. Now I’m focused on looking at how my life has changed and I’ve noticed a pattern: I’ve become somewhat fearless. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t become fully invinsible to everything, that’s why it’s “somewhat”. Below I list all the things I’ve become less fearful of and what I’m still working on.
Fear of Speaking Up
Don’t check on me
If we’re not together, then it’s probably for a reason
Every heartbreak has its season
It ain’t always summer in June
Chris Brown, “Don’t Check on Me”
The first event where I realized that I wasn’t really afraid was the end of June with the life altering news (again, I’m tired of talking/ writing about this too so I’m ready to move on from this). I remember thinking to myself: I’m ready to tell him that what I think he’s doing is wrong, I wasn’t afraid to tell him how it is and how I felt, just so I could have a piece of mind and to close that chapter forever. My mentality was:
“What do I have to lose? I felt like I had lost everything completely, so what’s stopping me now?“
Now, my way of thinking could be wrong and I’ve changed my mind since then, but most importantly, that was the begining of being fearless.
Fear of my Depression
Another big fear I’ve let go? Talking about my depression. Like hello, this is what this blog has become: openly talking about my depression and the thoughts I’ve had in the past. Never in a million years I would be so comfortable about talking about something so personal to me, but now I feel like it’s my purpose to do so. Like I say in my “About”page, my goal is to help one person out there, no matter how big or small it maybe. For someone out there to know that they are not alone.
Fear of Telling People About My Passion
With my blog and my depression, comes writing. For the LONGEST time, I didn’t even tell people I wrote. I didn’t tell people about my love for writing because I was trying to avoid this conversation:
Me: I write
Person: Oh what do you write about or can I read what you’ve written?
And a whirlwind of panic goes through my head because imagine someone I barely know reading “thoughts can be dark” ? That’s some deep heavy stuff that I don’t know if I’m ready for a person in front of me to know about yet.
But despite that, I have grown more comfortable with telling people in person that I write. Am I comfortable with telling them I have a blog and the content I write about? No, not really, but hey remember, this is all just a work in progress.
Fear of Being Vulnerable
So this is another deep-rooted issue of mine. I always seeked relationships because I thought that was the only way for me to be vulnerable. Again, its that romantic notion that you just share your whole heart and soul to one person and after that, that’s it, you are destined to be with that one person. I hate to break it to you, but that’s not the case.
Speaking in a non-romantic way, it’s okay to be vulnerable it’s just about being careful on who you’re being vulnerable too. It should be with someone you trust, it should be with someone you know can relate to your problems or even can’t relate but you value and honor their perspective. That’s another thing that I’m trying to offer in this blog, vulnerability. I’m putting myself out there in every way, shape and form I can think of, in order for someone to relate somehow.
After I really opened up in my blog, I became less fearful to talk about my life in person, I may not comfortable sharing everything just yet, but hey, it’s really just a start.
Fear of Disappointing People
So before, I would be afraid of disappointing people, making them unhappy cause I am a people-pleaser.
So for the LONGESSTTTT time, I wouldn’t tell people how I felt because I didn’t want to disappoint people or hurt there feelings or have any type of argument. But after much soul searching I’ve done for the past 6 months, I’ve realized what I want and what I’m aiming towards. Since I’ve gotten so much clarity on what I want, I’ve become less afraid to say “no that’s not what I want”. Being fearless also comes with not being afraid of being clear on what I want and express it because it’s my life (and I want to start living it).
Fear of Change
So, going back to the idea on how this blog post was supposed to be about reflecting on the lessons the last six months have changed me. The reason why I decided to skip that was because 1.) I was tried of reflecting on the past but 2.) my life is changing. Yes, my life is changing and something that I’ve learned is that life isn’t always changing for the worse. Life isn’t out to get you.Yes, you will have dark periods in your life but those are supposed to teach you and give you the building blocks you need in order for the new period of change coming along. So yes, my life is changing for the better: I’m working towards one of my goals, thinking about the next one, new people are coming into my life, acknowledging that I need to let go from those that aren’t in my life anymore. The best analogy I’ve came up with is in reference to the Titantic: you can’t stay on the sinking ship forever, you need to grab a life boat and just ride the wave towards something new and unknown.
Despite June turning out to be so dark for me, I have learned lessons and I think the biggest change I’ve seen in myself is: I’m less afraid. I’m less afraid to openly talk about my depression and I’m still learning about my depression as you can see. I’m less afraid to comfront someone and tell them “you’re wrong”. In my head, it’s “what’s the fear”? God has given me these life lessons, so I defintely can handle them.
That’s what being fearless is really about, a work in progress. Honestly it’s all just a learning process.You’re not going to wake up one day and that thing you’re afraid of, you’re suddenly not anymore. I mean if you are, hey you’re a super star. But if you’re like me and takes little daily victories to get over things, you’re still a super star too.
“I will be brave
I will not let anything, take away
What’s standing in front of me
Every breath, every hour has come to this”
-Christina Perri, “A Thousand Years”
Honestly, this post is much as a reminder for me as it is for anyone else. To be honest with everyone, I STILL struggle with this. It’s one of my deep rooted issues that I didn’t know I still had. But a few days ago, on one very drunken happy hour, this issue came out in an impromptu venting session.
I started writing this blog BEFORE the darkest week of my life. Like I said in the beginning, this is something I’m still struggling with. I’m really posting it as a “letter to myself” so I can look back at it when I’m having those: where am I going with my life? moments. The biggest part of what contributed to that dark week/ day was seeing someone get engaged and someone else getting a house. Both these two people are very close to my age. Now remember, I was already down in the dumps that week and just seeing those two major life events happening to different people was just the icing on the cake.
I’m no where NEARRR ready any of those two life events. The only “life event” I’m in the process of is my braces which many people get in middle school. So yes I’m “behind” by roughly 10 years but that’s wrong, I’m not behind. Who says I have to have braces by 13? Who says I have to be engaged by 26? Who says I should have a house by 25? Who in society says that we need to accomplish these life events by a certain age in life in order to be deemed: “on the right track”?
See this is what really messes me personally up, the societal norms that society has created for ourselves. Knowing me and my personality, “the plan” is something I take VERY seriously, having a plan is the only way I know how to live life. Here’s my example:
So for some context: I wrote this 2 years before I graduated college and right now it’s been 2 years SINCE I graduated college. So let’s go over it. Well, I’m 24 and I still live at home so I haven’t bought and apartment and getting married at 25? Your girl is almost 24 and a half and is single, so getting married at 25 is still unlikely.
This list was created four years ago, but my “life plan” was once again shattered almost a year ago now, August 17th, 2019. That’s when we got the news we were being laid off, I was IN SHOCK, like physically in shock for about two hours. My plans for my braces, my plans for a promotion, was SHATTERED once again, my plans to go on my Colombia vacation in October 2019 were not happening. I felt lost, I felt in a way homeless, I felt like my home was being taken away from me. I didn’t feel completely “all set” again, until I wrote up a “game plan” a few weeks later. But then that planned got changed one more time: a break-up I wasn’t expected or could have seen coming. Now, I felt completely thrown from my game plan, starting from complete scratch again.
In my Instagram New Year’s post, part of my caption included this:
“What 2019 taught me is that life isn’t perfect. You can plan all you want, but shit can change in the blink of an eye.”
Have I learned this life lesson? Honestly, not to the fullest, but I’m trying; I have my moments too where time and planning is just a social construct.
I posted this on my instagram: the same day of the infamous panini sandwich day. I was trying to practice gratitude and see how much I’ve accomplished already. I want to say that there are some things on this list that people my age haven’t accomplished yet and vice versa. Again, you don’t have to compare everyone’s journey to yours, I know it’s easy with everyone on social media and everyone sharing only the highlights but remember:
“Your accomplishments are as valid as anyone else’s, no matter how big or small they are.”
Also remember everyone’s timing is different too. Do I really want the responsibility of a house right now? Nope. Do I really want to be engaged right now? HELL NO. Just trust the timing on everything, on whoever or whatever you believe in, it truly does happen for a reason and when you’re ready for it.
So Jess, whenever you have another drunk happy hour and you’re questioning what you’re doing with your life and why it hasn’t gone as planned and venting it out loud, just remember everything you wrote here. This also goes for you out there too.
Confession time: Yes, I’ve had dark thoughts before, like THOSE dark thoughts. The first one was even before I knew I suffered from depression. The most recent?-the week of June 21st. June 26th was the darkest day ever. I honestly don’t think I’ve had a week/day like that in a few years, the ones I will mention in this post. To get out the elephant in the room: yes, I’ve thought about it… like IT…IT. I’m still not able to say the exact word, a part of me being like “no way I’m thinking about THAT”. So here it is in the best way I can put it: Jessica Restrepo has wanted to die before.
To be clear, I never acted on anything, but just my own thoughts could make me as far as just not want to be here anymore. So that’s why I labeled the three instances in my life: thoughts, because that’s what they were for me but dark enough to make an impact in my life.
I was young, I was a freshman in high school. I remember hanging out with my friends one day and I still felt left out, like I didn’t belong. Little did I know, I also suffered from loneliness, so feeling alone even with a group of the people you’re close to is something that can happen. All I thought to myself was: “would anyone miss me if I was gone?” and then that night, while I was taking a shower, I drew lines down my arms with my shampoo bottle. Just picturing, my thoughts taking over. I couldn’t shave over my veins for the longest time, for the fear what I would do in the mental state I was in.
Honestly, the second thought is really just a blur. I can’t pin-point it exactly, but I believe it was in 2014, after my first heartbreak and when I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and started seeing a therapist. And since this is honesty hour, I must confess. I never told my therapist about my thoughts about wanting to die, I was too scared to be placed in a “watch” and I just thought that these were normal thoughts that everyone had (realizing later in life they’re not).
This period of time was alot of break downs, alot of crying in my parked car in my college parking lot or at work. Calling my best friend while I was having a break down. Waking up crying, not when I would fall asleep, but I would wake up crying, just filled with sadness.
I remember one day in February 2015, I was eating lunch and the wave of sadness and loneliness once again hit me. I grabbed my chicken nuggets, went to my car, had a full on breakdown, was calling all my friends, hoping someone would pick up just because I was so scared of where this sadness would take me. I don’t remember how I cooled down, but I remember feeling mostly disappointed in myself. I was going to therapy, I thought these breakdowns weren’t suppose to happen again.
What I didn’t realize is: we’re still human, we’re going to have good and bad days, it’s just a matter of how we deal with them and realizing how much stronger we come out at the end.
Now to be honest, I wanted to come back to the blog game with a happy post, not about how “Depression Comes in Many Colors”. I was supposed to start off this “restart” on my blog with a “what these 6 months in 2020 have taught me” and glorify everything and how much growth and learning I’ve done. Primarily, it was supposed to be about how I’ve been healing from the worse breakup I’ve ever experienced. It wasn’t bad in the sense of the breakup before that, this one was just filled with hurt. I love this person very much and haven’t stopped, but our timing was just off. Now let’s not get COMPLETELY in my feels cause this isn’t the right place for that….
After my unhealthy relationship, I VOWED to myself that I would never threaten anyone with “s”, because I’ve been in the other end of that. A few days after my most recent breakup, I had retweeted a tweet: “I am so over being on this earth” and my ex had reached out to me, concerned and asked me if I really meant it. I knew I didn’t, because again of my vow and I couldn’t do that to him or myself for that matter. So no I didn’t mean it, but it was more of my depression being like “hey I’m back”.
But an engagement a few months later, my life was SHATTERED once again. It wasn’t just the engagement that shattered me, it was just the icing on the cake. Thoughts and pictures kept popping in my head. It was the first time I wanted to call the Crisis Text Line. As much as I was talking to my best friend about it, as much as I started crying at the dinner table and for the second time in my life, talking to my parents about my love life crisis, to telling a FaceBook group about it and receiving 100 likes and 30 comments from that post from people I don’t know, I still felt alone and lost and stuck in darkness. I was just so lost, I had hit my downfall once again, just as suddenly felt like I was seeing past the clouds. Finally when I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, as I had finally had said the day before: “I feel ready to move on”, this bombshell happened.
So that whole week, I was just off, my depression stronger than ever, my emotions at a ultimate high, having a million and thoughts. Then on that Friday, I just CRACKED. I honestly just didn’t want to do it anymore. I would like to say that a force, which for me is God, made me wake up on that Saturday, because I honestly just hoped I didn’t wake up the next day.
On that Saturday, I got a panini sandwich. Yes, a panini sandwich saved me. It might sound silly and odd but I believe it to be true. But back to that Saturday, I wasn’t planning on buying a panini sandwich, it was just a thought I had while I was at work and I decided: “you know what, I’m going to treat myself to a panini sandwich” and that’s exactly what I did. And I think it was mostly about the freedom and joy that I can create for myself. It was a reminder that I have the ability to create my own mood, I can change up my own routine. The reminder that I have control of my life, not my depression, me, myself and I. Just walking to grab that sandwich made me feel in so much control, control I thought I’d lost, that sandwich reminded me that I had the control. I felt so inspired in that moment, I shared that story on my Instagram.
And here I am now, that’s the true story on why I restarted this blog up again. Life isn’t always about the highlights, it’s what we learn from the low lights as well. Nobody knows about this, absolutely no one knows I’ve had these thoughts before. I mean, it’s only been just now that I could actually admit it to myself, so imagine sharing it outloud? So you maybe asking yourself: “so Jess, why can you admit it online for strangers to read it?” Well, that’s what that Saturday helped me realized too, what I really wanted this blog to be. I want to help somone on their mental health journey by sharing my experiences. I want a stranger to say: “wow, someone else feels this way too” and that makes me happy; someone who can relate. I don’t want someone out there to feel like they’re alone in their thoughts, because they’re not. I want to help at least one person feel “normal”, that it’s okay to have these thoughts, you are never alone.
Definition of Depression: “Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you feel, and how you act” (American Psychiatric Association).
Now, don’t let the above definition scare you, but yes depression can be scary. Depression can be diagnosed or undiagnosed. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety when I was eighteen years old. But looking back now, I was suffering from depression longer than that, I just didn’t know it yet. This post isn’t really going to focus on my depression story exactly. I want to talk about how depression can “manifest” itself. Yes, depression comes in waves, different colors, different forms whatever you’d like to call it. Whomever you talk to, they will tell you there different experiences with their depression. I can talk about my own experiences and share my own stories hoping to help anyone. But please, if you really feel stuck and alone, PLEASE seek professional help. I am not a professional, I’m just a person who deals and lives with depression. Talk to a doctor or a therapist. If you’re in crisis or are thinking about hurting yourself, helplines can also provide free, confidential support:
Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
So I will go more into details about this in another post, but yes, your own thoughts can be the darkest part of your depression.
The first tell tale sign that my depression is making an apperance, as I like to call it, is my lack of energy and always saying to myself: “can’t I just die instead?” All of this is a cycle: my lack of energy was feeding into my lack of wanting to live. Now I would always “joke” about it, never planning on taking action so it never occurred to me that I could be suicidal right? I couldn’t be, I was only talking about it, not taking action. So that’s not the same. Wrong.
Just because you don’t act on it, doesn’t mean you’re not thinking it.
The thoughts are in your subconscious but those same thoughts are little warning flags: “Hey Jess, check on yourself, you’re depressed.” Those “jokes” are just as much as a cry for help as any physical action are. So really pay attention to those “jokes” and make sure you’re listening not only to yourself, but others who may be secretly feeling that same way as you.
One of the biggest ways that my depression manifests itself is my lack of appetite. I don’t get hungry or feel hunger at all. This also happens when I’m stressed. You know how people stress eat? Well I don’t, I’m the opposite. So I would try to force myself to eat, which isn’t that great for you either.
BackStory: I would force myself to eat a full meal even when my body was clearly telling me something else. So whenever I had to brush my teeth, I would PHYSICALLY gag. Now this can be a natural reaction when someone washes their teeth, but no, I would want to actually vomit and feel nauseous and would have to take breaks while washing my teeth. It got so bad at one point that I grew fearful all the time of washing my teeth. I later learned that it was my ANXIETY that was causing my gaging (more on my anxiety in a later post). I don’t want to give you any wrong advice or unhealthy advice for that matter, this is just my own personal experience. But before making any dietary changes, PLEASEEE consult with your doctor about your depression and your appetite.
Grey – Sleep & Hygiene
I guess my sleeping pattern was sort of abnormal during my depression, it was more of lack of energy. I remember seeing a tweet one time, from YouTuber Niki Demar, who described it perfect. I can’t remember it word for word but it went along these lines: Depression causes you to burn energy, so it’s okay to sleep hours on end. This is SOOOO true. All that over thinking really keeps your brain turning and energy burning, so that’s another explanation why you lose energy and become sluggish while you’re depressed (diet can also be an issue which can go with over/under eating, seee it’s all a cycle). So it’s okay to sleep the whole day or be lazy for a day. BUT PLEASE REMEMBER and recognize the dangerous pattern where you’re sleeping all day for a week, two or three, that’s where your depression is really taking over you.
Another sign of my depression: this is gonna be TMI but depression is real and dark and pushes that border. When I was depressed/stressed back in 2016, I would not shower everyday, but every other day. The longest I went without taking a shower is a Wednesday-Saturday. I know those are 4 days, but just putting it in words, makes it real and that’s how I simply remember it. I remember that, I remember it so clearly even 4 years later. I rather not go into super details with this, if that’s okay. Now I make sure, no matter how down I feel or whatever the case maybe, I always take a shower. This little victory already makes you feel better and accomplished.
Let’s be real, is there “soft” days with depression? I mean yeah you can have the acknowledgement that you are depressed. You can say to yourself: “yeah, I’m depressed”, I guess that would be the “white” days of depression. It’s like: “okay I know I’m depressed, now what?”
Another “white” part of depression, is understanding your own depression. Again, I’ve been suffering from depression since I was thirteen years old, has only manifested itself when I turned 18, and has made a come back now that I’m 24 but I’m only understanding it now as an adult. If you need help recognizing your own depression: recognize the pattern you feel when you’re feeling down. Like for me it’s my: thoughts, appetite, sleep and hygiene. It will help you acknowledge that your depression is making an apperance too.
Again, depression isn’t forever, it’s just something so major that you live with, that many people around you do, even if you know it or not. But you don’t wake up everyday depressed and I know you want to be like: “yay, it’s over” and as much as I want to be that light of hope and say: “yes, yes, it is”, unfortunately, it’s not. It’s just a dark cloud that lingers but remember, you can change your relationship with your depression. You can ride the wave, let it past, acknowledge that it’s here, talk to it. Recognizing your own relationship with depression can make a major difference.
Again, in no way shape or form am I a medical expert, just someone sharing her own life experience, please talk to a medical professional about your depression and what works for you.
So I usually go to Colombia for two reasons: visit the family of course and a mental escape. I’ve needed this trip for a mental break for the past two years. I remember when I was just too overwhelmed with life, back in October of 2018, I said: “I need to go to Colombia….”
Back Story: You see, this idea of a “mental break” started on my last trip to Colombia, in 2016. When I spent the night on my aunt’s island in Cartagena, where I literally had no Wifi, but it helped me feel better, and clear my mind about my problems at that time. You may say that my problem stems from my connection to my phone, well, that is probably true and it is part of the problem. Still, I brought that “off the grid” mentality and brought it forward into this trip. For the record: I wasn’t entirely off the grid on this trip.
So with the baggage of a breakup and a terrible mistake back in 2018 to a harassment issue. In 2019, I dealt with another breakup and a job loss, I REALLY needed this break now, and the peace I gained back in 2016, to see if Colombia “would work.”
And honestly, this trip at the beginning had a lot of ups and downs: from two stomachs bugs to feeling just sad and not excited to be there. I didn’t feel like I was in Colombia for the first few days. Then after my stomach finally started to adjust to the fantastic Colombian food again, my soul began to feel better itself.
*Warning- religion to be mentioned*
It wasn’t until my trip to Buga, a religious “pilgrimage,” my parents and I take every few years, is where I put things into perspective and prayed. I prayed for all the bad and for good. I don’t want to get into my faith TOO MUCH (but I can get to that later). Still, after I prayed for everything that I was going through and hoping to achieve, it felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, and my mind became clear. And that’s where my first lesson appeared: Leave it all in God’s hands. (It doesn’t have to be God necessarily, it can be whoever or whatever you believe in, if anything)
The second lesson came with the initial experience I came with to Colombia in the first place: Be Present. I had to remind myself that, yes, I am in Colombia to heal and clear my mind, but I’m also here to see family. I only go to Colombia every few years, so I have to appreciate these moments I have with them because things can change in the blink of an eye…
During the trip, my parents and I, along with my tia Roselia, visited the beautiful little town of Filandia, Quindio. The ancient architecture of the city is still mostly preserved, filling the town full of history and color. Here we went up to a look-out spot, El Mirador, where you can see the beautiful Colombian mountains from above, and that’s where I learned my third lesson, breathe. You couldn’t help but feel at peace and relaxed when you saw all the nature around you. I took in the moment, knowing that you couldn’t see these views in suburban New York, and just breathed in the fresh air around me. With breathing, I felt a calmness inside me as well. I knew whenever I was feeling anxious or worried, all I needed to do was to take a step back and breathe. Now I apply it every day back home, first thing when I open my curtains.
Now the fourth and fifth lessons came just from home, one in a peculiar way. During the downtime at home, I would play Monopoly on my phone. I played it to keep me off social media, and it was something I could do when the wifi was down at the apartment for a few days. It was the most comfortable place for me to practice the fourth lesson, thinking positively and manifesting. This has been the hardest habit for me to adapt because I’m used to thinking negatively and always thinking of the worst-case scenario. I would start a new game by saying, “I will win this game,” and every time I would catch myself slipping, I would repeat the mantra again. I also tried to replace the word “may” or “might” to ”will,” and I try to apply it to my everyday life. With manifesting, I also put it out to the universe that the things I wanted to happen in my life, will. And what’s one of the best ways to keep yourself accountable? Twitter.
A while back, when I worked in the news, I remembered that we did a light-hearted story about a little boy who repeated his positive declarations on his way to school. That little boy and his affirmations always stuck with me. And that’s where affirmations became the sixth lesson. Now, not to get too personal, but I always liked the idea of statements, and I had thought about a few I wanted to use, not for myself, but for someone else. I decided to adopt them for myself because I knew I could use those words too. And, now, every day I say my affirmations to myself and make sure to include a smile at the end.
Colombia set up the mindset/fundamentals for me to use to practice here and the rest of 2020 to continue the journey that is set up for me.
So I didn’t think it would be fair to you guys, my readers, to write a blog post and ignore the elephant in the room- my lack of posts. Well this post will hopefully include all the information you may or may not want to hear. Warning: I am shamelessly self-promoting my Instagram in this post (or at least try to).
Let’s start with the beginning shall we?
So if you don’t follow jess_restrepo the day this photo was taken was on March 8th, 2018, 75 days until my college graduation. So as you can imagine, I had many events coming up… (And many more that I didn’t include)
As you can see from the two pictures above, I had many seniors moments to be a part of. And of course I still was in school so I had school work and finals to deal with. ANDDD I also have parents, friends, and a boyfriend that I wanted to spend time with.
AND to top that, two days after I graduated, I started my full-time job as the audio girl from my first post. So I had ALOT to do and manage throughout the two months I had, especially in May. Like I would tell myself, I had to become an adult, and real fast.
It wasn’t an easy month and it definitely took a mental toll on me. I wanted to enjoy these moments, but of course, I also had worry in the back of my mind about the future. Being an “adult” now, writing this, I can tell you it’s a definite change: a change in schedule, a change in habits, and a change in lifestyle. It’s been 3 weeks that I’ve entered the adult world and has not been easy to adjust. But I try to take a few seconds whenever I feel overwhelmed and adjust.
Being an adult, it takes a mental change. And of course for everyone it’s different, but this is just my personal antidote to it. For me, I was a college grad one day and the next I was a full-time employee. Maybe I didn’t have a time to digest it all? I’m not sure, but one thing I was sure that I was blessed enough to have the opportunity that I had that offer. I know of the horror stories about not finding a job after college, so I just couldn’t say no.
To be honest, I’m not where I want to be emotionally but right now it’s an everyday kinda thing. But as I have reiterated, this has been a fast process which I want to take it slow and take it all in. Honestly, writing this piece has made me feel in a way “normal” and “back to my old self”. I think that’s important to find, if you ever feel unbalance with yourself. Find that thing where you feel at peace and do it. That being said, the blog posts will definitely not go away, they will only be not as consistent as they were (if they were consistent anyway) as you guys know, this is my passion but my field is another passion of mine as well. I’m just trying to find a balance, both physically and emotionally.
If anyone is in the same boat as I am, the advice that I give you is this:
Thanks everyone for listening 🙂 Also, comment down below if you’d like to see more pictures of my senior year!
So continuing with the mental health theme I have created in this blog, anxiety can create a very deep doubt within you. Anxiety can create a doubt about anything: the world, the current situation going on in your life or the other extreme, your future, your past and other things, you name it, the list can go on. Anything that causes you to be anxious can cause your self-doubt. You can always counter-act that doubt and live the best life you can- confidently and assured. Here are a few tips of mine on the way you can do so:
If you go into a situation with a defeated attitude, chances are that you are not going to do the best that you can do. If you go into something and immediately think “Oh I can’t do this”, the outcome is not going to be what you want it to. When you have this mentality, you judgment on yourself is preempted. In the end, this will do nothing for you and will only make you feel worse. Instead of thinking negatively about yourself, challenge yourself. Don’t question it and don’t let it belittle yourself.
A good way to counter-act that doubt and judgment upon your self is to tell your self “what if”? So continuing with the “I’m going to fail” thought, tell yourself “but what if I succeed”? And hey, you might succeed, but let’s say you do “fail” who is to say you failed anyway? Not to get philosophical, but what is failure? And if you did fail, at least you “died” trying, right? Just see what happens. It’s not about winning or losing, it’s the fact that at least you tried.
Another tip I give you is that apply this challenge to your mornings. (Side note: I talk about mornings so much but I’m not fully a morning person yet). Applying that counter-action is just little easy baby steps. Instead of saying: “today is going to suck”, stop yourself mid-thought and think- “but what if it doesn’t suck”? These little challenges open up the possibilities of you not failing as well as you not pre-judging yourself.
Welcome the Good and Bad
You attract that bad energy that you are so fearful of. But always remember, everything happens for a reason. Another little mantra you can tell yourself is: “it’s all good“.
As a personal example, I scratched my car with a pole at my school. Of course, I was upset at the moment, but then as I cooled down I told myself: “It’s all good, I know now that I have to be more careful and not be lazy and take my time”. Another personal trait I need to work on: time management. Are you always late like me? It’s all-good, I just need to wake up 10 minutes earlier or plan ahead (fun fact, it worked).
Of course this is all easier said than done, especially in these smaller terms, but let’s talk about the bigger scale. When we lose someone we love or something very traumatic is going on in your life, just remember these are things you may not have control over, and that’s key. But even in these situations, we can still find the good in the bad; it’s just a little more challenging. When I lost someone in my family, who I wasn’t even close to, but I knew they were suffering, I just thought about how fortunate I was that I knew that person. I also got a chance to learn from that person. If you believe in heaven, you know that that special person is now with you even more because they are always with you and looking out for you wherever you go.
When you tell yourself its all going to be okay, it makes you become less afraid of life. Sometimes you just need to sike yourself out and trick your minds like I said before. Even if you do “fail” or bad things happen to you, it’s still teaching you a lesson, giving you some sort of knowledge that you can apply for the future. That knowledge will give you confidence and power (Do I really have to throw so many cliche in each blog post?) but it’s true. Knowledge gives you a boost because you now know how to handle the situation when it comes along again.
Welcoming things into your life also means welcoming and owning the things about yourself that maybe aren’t your most favorite quality. Owning your weaknesses owns who you are, and theirs nothing more powerful than that. Just as I said in my post, Finding Your Passion, your weaknesses can become your strengths.
For example, if you are a jealous person in any sense of the word, acknowledge that you are a jealous person, but don’t justify it, and work with it so the next time an issue arises where you become jealous, you don’t have to be. Make it your strength turn it into something good. It makes you trust what’s going to happen next.
Always Do Your Best
If you always do your best, that’s all that anyone can ask of you. You can’t create expectations for yourself if you know you gave it your all. And only you know what your best is. Trust that you know you are doing your best whether you are or aren’t. Even if you do fail, at least now you have the confidence to know that you did your best. Knowing that you did your best, builds up the immunity to other’s people’s opinion and judgments. Just remember that, someone is going have a say in whatever you do. Not everyone is going to like you or what you do. Just know that you went into that situation with the best intentions at heart, you put yourself out there to the best of your abilities, and expressed yourself. At that point, the ball is no longer your court to make someone happy. Also remember, you have nothing to prove to anyone and have your own back, be your own best friend.
More tips later to come 🙂 Leave a comment down below on other ways you can stop doubting yourself.
So I was actually going to post this blog post up first before Embracing Anxiety. But I felt like I need to explain to you guys and tell about my anxiety. Notice, I didn’t say, “suffer” because as you guys know, I am trying to embrace my anxiety. I am trying to have a different relationship with anxiety as the little guy in my Headspace says (more on that in a future post). So I want to give you guys some suggestion and life advice on how I deal with my anxiety and tips and tricks that everyone can try too!
I can already hear my boyfriend clicking out of this post. But it’s true; it has been proven by facts that healthy eating can really make a difference. Eating more of those veggies instead of that nice, greasy…juicy (self-control Jess) burger will really keep your anxiety in check. Eating whole foods and having a balanced diet is key to dealing with anxiety. I’m not calling myself a saint in this aspect and I’m REALLY REALLY REALLY trying. When we are anxious, we have a tendency to fall into bad habits and eating our favorite junk foods (inserts a list in her head) is the first thing people reach for. Bad habits trickle in when you’re feeling vulnerable and unease with yourself. And when anxiety is at is peak, we want to stay in a place that makes us feel safe and our favorite salty snacks can do that to us.
Creating a Safe Space
Create a relaxing environment for yourself and something that doesn’t spark stress can also help relieve anxiety. To create a safe space, clean out the clutter in a corner of your room or apartment. If you need to set a day in your busy schedule just for that, then do so! Move your furniture around to help you create your Zen space. Adding new things to your bedroom can add a new vibe to your environment. Make sure to keep things fresh and change your space up, keep it clean and organized (at least once a week alright?)
Creating a Morning Routine
If you don’t have a morning routine, create one or start thinking about one. But if you do, incorporate something new. THIS SHOULD BE SOMETHING OTHER THAN SOCIAL MEDIA!!!! I CANNOT STRESS THIS POINT ENOUGH. I’ve recently cut looking at social media as soon as I wake up in the morning and it has really made a difference. What you see on your feed can influence your whole mood and day. Some examples of what you can incorporate in your morning routine can be: meditating for 10 minutes, doing some yoga, write in a journal or anywhere, or look into your horoscopes or read some devotions. Allow yourself some headspace and to be with yourself in the morning. Most importantly, this something new to your morning should not be something you feel like you have to do, rather something that you want to do.
Get Things Done
As I mentioned in my other blog post about anxiety, procrastination is something that triggers mine. The brain plays mind tricks on you. It tells you, put it off since it’s causing you anxiety. NO NO! THIS IS ONLY TEMPTATION! ABORT MISSION ABORT! If you just do what you have to do and not stress about it or stress about the stress it causes, then you’ll keep your anxiety in check. Just focus on doing what you need to do. If you need to make the task fun in order to complete it, then feel free to do so! For example, you have that essay you have been dreading to write and have put it off for as long as you can. Pack up your bag and go to Starbucks to finish it. Or stay at home and light up some candles before you get crack it down. Make the task comforting and less of a hassle. You will make it to the end trust me. Getting it done will put you in a better mood and you will be feeling much better. You’ve pushed yourself to get the things you needed to get done, done! And you proved yourself wrong which is the best part! At the end of the day you can treat yourself with a glass of wine, drawing or reading your favorite book. Reward yourself because you did it and slayed at doing so.
Accepting that you have anxiety helps you change your life around. Without anxiety, you wouldn’t have been inspired to change your room around or start meditating in the morning or joining that yoga class. Anxiety can help you find your new source of inspiration.
Comment down below how you deal with anxiety and any other tips to share with others! Also, let me know what you think of the gifs! Thanks to @thewpbuffs on Twitter for helping me figure it out!