5 Ways To Improve Your Mood

*Trigger Warning*
This post deals with mood disorders and may be triggering to some readers.

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Hi there! Sorry I was MIA again last week. My mood has been super low and I’ve been having a lot of trouble snapping out of it. I hope you’re doing well and your mood is staying level. ❤

Since my mood has been so low, I wanted to chat about some of the things I do to level out, or to not dip too low.

Sometimes, not diving headfirst into the Deep Dark is all you can manage.

And that’s ok!

Whatever feelings you’re experiencing are real. You shouldn’t try to ignore them or shove them down.

I’m guilty of that.

I often push myself to just get better… but that’s not really how my brain works.

Sometimes I get stuck in this perpetual darkness and the only thing I can do is love myself through it.

Remind myself that it’s ok to be sad sometimes, as long as I don’t let it consume me.

There’s a difference between feeling your emotions and going into a negative spiral.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

So, if you’re like me this week, and you feel like you can’t do anything except watch that Darkness close in, I’ve compiled a list of things you can do to make yourself feel a little better.

1: Read a book

I do this one a lot!

I find that getting swept up in a story is the best way for me to get my brain out of a rut.

Sometimes I get so focused on the sadness and the negativity that it can become really toxic.

Reading about another life, another time, another world can really help me get out of my head for a while.

So pick up a good book, even if it’s one you’ve read before, and get lost in another world for a while!

2: Take a shower

I’m not sure if anyone else feels the same, but for me, there’s something really calming about a shower.

I like baths too, but they’re too quiet for me. Too much space for my thoughts to take over.

Something about the steam curling in the air, streams of water pounding on my back, the smell of my favorite shampoo. It makes me feel safe.

The chaos of water pelting down is all I need to think about.

Sometimes I sit in the bottom of my shower and just let the water wash over me.

The sound of the water drowns out the sounds of the outside world and I’m alone, in the best possible way.

I’m safe.

I can cry, I can talk to myself, I can just sit in silence.

Whatever I need to do.

3: Get outside

This one’s tough for me.

Whenever I’m feeling really down, the last thing I want to do is go out.

But every time I force myself to get outside, whether it’s just to sit in my backyard, go for a walk, or go somewhere like a bookstore, it always makes me feel better.

Something about the fresh air.

Or maybe just physically removing myself from a situation where I was unhappy.

Whatever magical power outside has, it always works on me.

That is, if I can force myself to get up.

Sometimes it takes a lot of will power on my part.

A lot of “Just get up. You’ll thank me later.”

But it’s always worth it.

4: Watch a movie

I usually watch a Disney movie when I’m really upset.

Something about the simple plots. The humor. The characters.

You can laugh or cry and not really think about it.

Not worry about anything.

Nothing makes me feel quite as comforted as putting on some fuzzy pajamas, wrapping up in a blanket like a burrito, and watching something silly.

5: Talk to someone

This one’s hard for me.

Mostly because I have a hard time trusting people with my innermost thoughts.

But if you find someone you can trust, this can really be the best thing you can do.

If you’re nervous about how they’ll react, you can simply say, “I need someone to talk to, would you mind just listening and being here?”

Simple as that.

Talking it out can work some serious magic.

In the process of thinking through your emotions, putting them into words, you can come to conclusions you might not have reached before.

You might realize how to fix what’s wrong, or maybe why you’re so upset, or maybe you’ll just feel comforted and supported.

Reaching out is always a good idea.

I hope this list helps you!

Sending love,

MK

Whenever I’m sad, this boi brings me a ball because fetch always makes him feel better, so it’ll probably do the same for me.

Having Needs Does Not Make You A Burden

*Trigger Warning*
This post deals with feelings of depression & feeling like a burden and may be triggering for some readers.

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Hi there, I hope this post finds you safe & well! No post last week as I was very sick. Hopefully you’ve been taking care of yourself while I was MIA ❤

I ran across something recently that I wanted to share.

It’s something that I personally struggle with, especially as a neurodiverse individual. Something I think a lot of us can relate to, neurodiverse or not.

I was reading about assertiveness, trying to overcome my passivity.

I struggle with standing up for myself. Asking for what I need.

Being a “burden”.

So I’ve been doing some reading.

It said:

You have a right to be an inconvenience to others.

I was surprised, because over the course of my life, that has not been the message I have received.

Photo by Emma Bauso on Pexels.com

My past, and if I’m being completely honest, a whole lot of my present, has always said to me, “You need to be better.”

Do more.
Speak less.
Be more positive.
Be more helpful.
Do things.
Be everything to everyone all the time.

It’s exhausting.

It doesn’t help that I’m a perfectionist.

It doesn’t help that certain chemicals in my brain are out of balance. That there’s a little voice in my head that tells me I’m not good enough.

You see these messages everywhere saying that’s not possible.

You simply can’t be everything to everyone all the time.

You’re not responsible for the happiness of others.

But those messages are overwhelmed by the messages you receive from the people in your life.

The social media posts.

The professional criticism.

The pressure to be and do and think and exist for the happiness of others.

Photo by Asya Cusima on Pexels.com

So when I read this – You have a right to be an inconvenience to others – it felt foreign.

Wrong, at first.

I don’t want to be an inconvenience. A burden.

I pretend I don’t care, but I do.

I want to be the bubbly, happy, helpful person.

I want to be the reason you smile.

And sometimes that overwhelms me.

Sometimes I forget that I’m my priority.

My mental health is important.

Sometimes I focus so much on being what other people need, that I forget to be what I need.

So I wrote it down.

On a little notecard above my desk.

You have a right to be an inconvenience to others.

What does that even mean?

Well, it means that it’s ok to have needs.

It’s ok to let other people help me.

It’s ok to ask for things.

It’s ok not to be perfect.

It’s ok not to be ok.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

The thing is, asking for help can be the hardest thing to do.

Harder than the loneliness.

Harder than the pain.

Harder than the ache in your chest.

Harder than the darkness that settles over you like a wet blanket.

Harder than the weight dragging you down, the one that makes getting out of bed an accomplishment.

But it’s necessary.

You’re strong and brave and amazing, but you can’t do it all by yourself.

And you shouldn’t have to.

There are people in this world who want to help you.

Maybe it’s your parents.

Maybe it’s your friend.

Maybe it’s your partner.

Maybe it’s a therapist.

But there is someone out there who cares enough to put in the effort it takes to love you.

There is someone who thinks you’re worth the sacrifice.

Don’t be afraid to remind yourself of that.

Write in on a notecard and pin it to your wall.

Write it in lipstick on your mirror.

Draw it in your journal.

Tattoo it on your skin.

Do whatever you need to do to remind yourself that you are worth effort.

Your own, and that of others.

You are worthwhile.
You are lovable.
You are special.
You are good.

Be gentle with yourself.

Be careful what thoughts you allow to enter your mind.

Because you’re always listening.

Sending love,

MK

This is my boi Linux. He has yogurt on his chin and nothin’ but love in his heart.

Why “No” Is My New Favorite Word

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Hi there, how’s life been treating you lately? Are you taking care of yourself? You’re worth the effort. ❤

I’ve been working on boundaries over the last several months.

I’ve never been very good at saying no. I feel obligated to be nice. Polite. Helpful. “Lady-like”.

I think that’s something ingrained in us as children. Especially for women.

We are taught to be quiet.

To just deal with it.

Keep pushing through.

A lot of women get into trouble when there’s a situation where they should get out, but society tells them they have to be polite.

You have the right to feel safe.

And you don’t have to “be polite” to someone who is scaring you.

I digress…

Everyone, every gender, is taught to value politeness over boundaries.

But there are ways to protect your boundaries without damaging your relationships.

And, honestly, boundaries won’t damage your relationships with people who truly value you.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

For a long time, I was told to be quiet.

I received both subliminal, and explicit, messages that my feelings don’t matter.

As a child, I wasn’t really allowed to have boundaries.

Do what I say, because I say it. I don’t care how it makes you feel. If you’re uncomfortable, suck it up.

Even children (especially children) are entitled to boundaries.

Growing up like this, you learn to keep a lot inside. To shove your feelings down and ignore them. Something I’ve had to work against in adulthood.

I became Passive.

I didn’t stand up for myself.

I’m learning how to reverse this in the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Skills Workbook.

It can be scary, changing yourself so drastically.

People who know me are used to me just going with whatever people say.

Don’t ask questions.
Don’t stick up for yourself.
Even if you don’t like it.
Even if it’s painful.

I’m working on finding a happy medium.

Standing up for myself, while staying true to my moral standards of kindness and respect.

Boundaries can be stated in a kind and healthy way.

This is something I was unsuccessful with at first.

I swung in the opposite direction and sometimes came off as rude or aggressive.

Photo by Liza Summer on Pexels.com

Also, people were so used to me “just being nice” that my new outlook rubbed some people the wrong way.

Especially people who were used to using my doormat-ish tendencies to their advantage.

That sounds gross, and manipulative, but it’s true. Honestly, everyone uses “too-nice people” to their advantage every now and then. We’re human. We err.

It’s been quite the learning curve, to watch who accepts and who rejects my boundaries.

It says a lot about what I mean to the people close to me.

For example, I recently told someone close to me that driving causes me a lot of anxiety. I asked them to give a little more space from the car in front of us, just while I’m in the car.

They listened, and they changed their behavior to make sure I felt safe.

Positive experience.

Here’s another example:

A while ago, I asked someone close to me to be respectful towards myself and my husband.

They refused, then took steps to cut me out of their life.

It was shocking.

I had not expected them to run from my life after such a simple request.

It’s been a couple years and we’re still not speaking. And honestly? I’m ok with that.

I know how important I am to that person now, and I’m not interested in cultivating a relationship with someone who isn’t interested in respecting me.

Yeah, it sucked. But I’m better off knowing the truth than continuing on thinking they care about me when they really don’t.

Photo by Liza Summer on Pexels.com

Nowadays, I’m doing more to set boundaries.

I’m saying no. It’s become my favorite word.

I’ve learned that downtime is a good enough reason not to make it to every event.

I don’t have to hurt myself to make others happy.

My mental health is a priority.

But how do you go about setting boundaries, when standing up for yourself seems so scary?

The first thing you should ask yourself is what is important to you?

For me, I value kindness and respect pretty highly.

People are important to me.

My mental health.

Then you ask yourself what you need.

I need to feel valued by my loved ones – wanted and important.

I need hugs and affection from the people closest to me.

I need kind words and compassion from those whom I consider friends. (I don’t like to be touched, which is why my needs differ from friends and family, to close friends and close family. This is a boundary I’m still working on establishing with people.)

Then you ask yourself what is not ok with you.

I’m not ok with unkindness or disrespect, in any form.

I’m not ok with physical touch, except from those closest to me.

I’m not ok with people using my neurodivergence against me.

This is obviously a short list, and one that can be expanded on over time.

The most important thing to remember is that you are allowed to have boundaries.

You deserve to feel safe.

Your boundaries are more important than politeness.

If someone doesn’t respect the boundaries you set, that says more about them than it does about you.

And finally, even when you’re scared, you should push yourself to set the boundaries. Stand firm. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need.

Because setting boundaries can be the best thing that happens to your relationships. While, not setting them, only leads to discomfort and bitterness.

I hope this article helps someone out there who, like me, is afraid to stand up for themselves.

You have needs. You are worth the effort it takes to meet them.

Sending love,

MK

This boi respects the heck out of your boundaries. Though, if your boundaries include not getting licked in the face, you’re outta luck.

4 Tricks To Get Out Of A Reading Slump

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Hi there! I hope you have had a great week. Have you done something just for you this week?

I got into a reading slump recently.

It was rough.

I couldn’t get into anything I was reading.

I blame The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab. It was heart-wrenching and I had a serious book hangover afterwards.

If you haven’t read it, I definitely recommend it. But make sure to give yourself a little time to recover afterwards.

I was just jumping from book to book, barely giving myself a chance to breathe between one cover and the next.

Then, when this book happened to me (and boy, did it hit me hard), everything else lost its luster.

Photo by Lina Kivaka on Pexels.com

So, how do you fix a reading slump?

Well, here are 4 easy steps…

1: STOP READING!

This may seem counterintuitive…

How do I get interested in reading again if I’m not reading?

Well, your brain is crying out for a break.

You’ve exhausted yourself. You’ve lost interest.

If you keep trying to consume more books, you’re just making it worse.

And, you might not be enjoying the books that you would otherwise love!

I stopped reading the Serpent & Dove series, and I think I might have enjoyed it if I hadn’t been in a slump.

So stop reading!

Just give your brain a break.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

2: Find something else that sparks creativity.

Paint. Go for a walk. Watch some movies. Take pictures.

Do something else in the creative world.

Yes, you can still get a great story from TV/movies.

Don’t be snooty.

Just do anything that gets your creative juices flowing.

I like watching movies, but there are so many options.

You just need to remember how it feels to be creative, but without reading books.

I paint sometimes. I’m not great at it, but that’s not really the point.

If your brain is tired of the same old thing, you’re stuck in a creative rut.

Have you tried cooking? Baking?

It can be really fun!

Just do something that makes you feel free and excited again.

Maybe you’ll get that spark back.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

3: Practice Self-Care.

Another reason you may not be into books recently might be because your mood has taken a dip and you didn’t realize it.

I’m guilty of this.

I get so hyperfocused on stories. I let them occupy my mind so wholly that I don’t realize I’m actually compensating for some deeper issues.

It’s nice when a book can help you cope.

Sometimes it pulls you out of this world and gives you a new one to think about for a while.

This can be good, but only for a while.

You have to confront your issues or they will eat away at you without you even realizing it.

This reading slump is your brain’s way of saying,

“Hey! Pay attention to me!”

Take a step back.

Ask yourself how you’re feeling, mentally and physically.

Are you covering up issues you’re struggling with by reading a bunch of books?

It’s ok to take a break and just feel your feelings.

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4: Read a different genre.

This really helped me get back into reading!

I decided to go for something light and easy.

I read Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan.

I’m not going to lie to you. This book was not some masterpiece.

But it was a really fun and easy read!

It was something light that could get me interested in reading again.

It was exactly what I needed.

A change of pace.

Keep in mind that changing genres might not work if you haven’t already done the other steps.

Your brain is giving you a sign. You need to listen, not just hop into another distraction.

Photo by Thought Catalog on Pexels.com

I hope these four tricks will help you get out of your reading slump!

Let me know what tricks have worked for you in the past. I would love to hear from some fellow readers.

And, most importantly, take care of yourself.

You are your top priority.

Sending love,

MK

Linux would like to remind you that there is no greater story than your own. Don’t forget to live a little. And also pet a pooch.

Do You Give Yourself Permission To Feel Your Emotions?

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*Trigger Warning*
This post talks about overwhelming emotions and may be triggering for some readers.

Hi there, I hope you are safe and well. Have you been taking care of yourself? It’s important to prioritize your mind & body. Self care isn’t selfish ❤

I’ve been doing a lot of work on feeling my emotions instead of just brushing them aside.

Not going to lie, I’m pretty bad at it.

I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to “be strong”.

Tough it out.

Don’t let them get to you.

Don’t let them see you cry.

It’s taken a lot for me to realize that reaching out is a form of strength, not weakness.

Making connections, talking to people about my neurodivergence, opening up about my experiences… These are all scary things.

But they’re so good.

Photo by Ashford Marx on Pexels.com

In the past, opening up hasn’t worked out so well for me.

I was shut down, disregarded. My feelings didn’t matter. Children should be seen and not heard. Friends didn’t really want to hear the ugly stuff I was sifting through.

The message I took away from these interactions was other people don’t care, so my feelings must not matter.

That’s the thing about having overwhelming emotions. Other people… just don’t get it.

They don’t get excited and feel like their body is exploding.

They don’t get scared and feel like they’re going to die.

They don’t get sad and feel like the entire world is crashing down around them.

They feel their feelings on a neurotypical level, instead of this gut-wrenching, heart pounding, world-ending level.

Being a highly sensitive person (HSP) isn’t all bad. There are some cool perks that come along with it.

But the bad parts can be pretty challenging.

For a long time, I just tried to deal with everything on my own, because no one really cared enough to try to understand.

Usually, that looked like shoving my feelings into a box in the back of my mind and trying to move forward.

Photo by Ryanniel Masucol on Pexels.com

This isn’t a very effective way to deal with your feelings.

Those feelings will start spilling out of your box because there isn’t enough room for all of them. They will creep out and latch onto your mind at super inconvenient times.

Like when you’re talking to your boss.

Why? Because you never dealt with them. So instead they lingered.

If you leave a half-eaten sandwich in your bedroom, it will start to smell. And that smell will linger, cropping up at odd/inappropriate times, until you clean it up.

But how to you deal with your emotions?

This can be such a challenge for people like me who grew up being told to just suck it up. Smile through the pain. Big girls work around the pain.

But that’s not how healthy adults cope with emotions.

Shoving them into a box and hoping they’ll fade away is not effective, as you may have discovered.

The first step to coping with your emotions is giving yourself permission to feel them.

Maybe something bad happened at work. A disagreement with a coworker. A demotion. Maybe you lost your job. Maybe there was a rude client. Maybe working for a living just sucks…

So feel sad.

Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

Have a good cry.

Give yourself a hug.

Ask a friend or family member if they have some time to chat.

Talk soothingly to yourself like you’re a child.

“You’re sad. That’s ok. Everyone gets sad sometimes. We can be sad for a little while until you’re ready to feel better.”

Seriously.

Especially if you didn’t get this as a child.

It’s time to raise the child living inside your head, so you can cope with adult life.

For an HSP, the scary part about feeling your emotions is that they can overwhelm you.

This can present a problem, and if you are getting overwhelmed and you feel like the healthy thing is to distract yourself for now and come back later, read this post.

But usually, even though your feelings seem scary, they will not overwhelm you.

And if they do, use the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Skills workbook to develop some coping skills to deal with those moments.

So how to you let yourself feel your emotions?

Take a deep breath, and ask yourself “What am I feeling right now?”

Get to the root of your emotion.

I’m going to use a specific example for the sake of your ease of reading. But you can apply this to whatever you’re going through.

A coworker said something negative about your recent performance.
You feel angry.
When you look inward (later, when you have the time and privacy to dig into your emotions) you realize your anger was actually stemming from hurt and disappointment with yourself.
You accept that, yes, you are hurt. Yes, you are disappointed in your recent performance, as well.
Maybe you feel embarrassed they called you out.
You give yourself space to feel those feelings.
Then you develop a game plan for how you will deal with work tomorrow.

That anger you felt may have been overwhelming.

You may have been seething all day.

But by looking inward, you found that your anger was actually some other, more vulnerable, emotions putting on a brave face.

You used Radical Acceptance to accept what you cannot change.

And you developed a game plan to change what you can.

That’s some pro-level adulting, right there.

The thing about emotions is that, inevitably, they do pass.

Emotions are like a wave.

Photo by Emiliano Arano on Pexels.com

If you give yourself permission to feel them, they will become bigger and bigger, they will crest, then they will fall-become small and more manageable once again.

If you struggle with the emotion, and feel as if it is beginning to overwhelm you, it’s ok to take a step back and come to it when you’re ready.

As a neurodivergent individual, it’s important to find the balance between allowing yourself to feel your emotions, and going down a negative spiral.

So how can you tell the difference?

Usually, allowing yourself to feel the emotion looks like comforting yourself. Building yourself up. Accepting what is.

Spiraling looks self-depreciating. Focusing on all the negative things and jumping from one ugly thought to the next.

Feeling and coping with your emotions in a healthy way will not involve shaming yourself for the way you feel.

If you do it in a healthy way, it should feel very healing.

You should feel refreshed afterwards.

Lighter.

That doesn’t mean the crappy situation is magically solved, it just means you gave yourself permission to feel the emotions it brought up.

To heal from trauma, in whatever form it was presented.

And to move forward in a healthy way, without lugging your emotional baggage with you.

I hope this post helps someone out there deal with their overwhelming emotions, and maybe even get in touch with themselves a little more.

Sending love,

MK

This boi would love to give you a smooch if you’re feeling sad, and snuggle you until you’re ready to feel better.

What If I Want To Be Sad?

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*Trigger Warning*
This post deals with depression and negative self-talk, and may be triggering for some readers.

Hi there, I hope you’re doing well! Are you taking care of yourself? Maybe it’s time to do a check-in. How’s your body feeling? How’s your mind feeling? Don’t be afraid to give yourself some grace. ❤

My mental health took a dip recently.

It happens.

More often than I’d like.

Sometimes I feel kinda up and down. I’m doing fine, then something switches and the tide pulls me under.

I thought I’d share some feelings I was marinating on while trying to get out of my funk.

I was talking with my therapist recently (if you don’t have one and you are struggling with your mood, please find one, they can be really helpful). She was checking my negativity.

She’s very sneaky about it. She watches me spiral, lets me get it all out, then says “Was there anything good about it?” or something of that nature.

It kinda makes me stop and think.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Yes there were negatives.

We’re not going to ignore any feelings here.

But if we’re going to spend so much time thinking about the bad, let’s not forget the good.

So my recent mood swing… I’m going to be honest, sometimes I’m not sure why my mood dips.

But it did, and I found myself coming up with all the reasons my life sucks.

Hardship in my relationships with friends and family.
Work has been rough.
Writing is not going super great right now.
My mental health seems to keep getting kicked down, despite my best efforts to even out.

Then I really start spiraling.

I feel discouraged.
I feel alone.
I’m not good at anything.
I just suck.

It can be so easy to get trapped in the negativity spiral. It’s like the thoughts have a mind of their own.

One minute I’m recounting things that happened, that are in fact negative… Then next thing I know, I hate myself and my life is awful.

It can get out of control really quickly.

So how do you fix it?

Photo by Caique Silva on Pexels.com

I think the hardest part is recognizing what you’re doing.

You have to take a good, long look at yourself and say, “Is all of this really that bad, or am I in a negative spiral?”

I’m not saying things in your life aren’t bad.

We all have stuff we have to deal with.

Stuff we wish we could just drop and leave behind us.

But that’s not how life works.

So what I’m asking you to do is use Radical Acceptance like I talked about in this post, then ask yourself: “Is everything truly awful, or am I letting the negativity take over?”

Say you have an arguement with your partner.

Arguments/disagreements/fights (whatever you call them) suck, but they happen in every healthy relationship.

You’re human. It’s not possible for two imperfect people to perfectly agree on everything all the time.

So you have this argument, and instead of leaving it where it is, you begin to spiral.

We had an argument.
My relationship is awful.
I’m not a good partner.
They don’t like me.
I’m a burden.
I don’t like me.

But instead of letting the spiral continue, you take a pause.

You use Radical Acceptance.

You say, “We had an argument. That sucks. I feel sad.”

Then you stop the spiral before it takes root.

Photo by Dziana Hasanbekava on Pexels.com

The ugly thing about thoughts is that if you say them enough in your head, you start to believe them.

So if you spiral and reach the self-doubt stage, those words you say to yourself are words that take root in your heart.

I’m a burden.
No one likes me.
I don’t like me.

At first they’re just words, but if you keep saying them enough, they will become your reality. You will honestly believe that you are a burden, no one likes you. And you will actually begin to not like yourself.

Don’t go there.

Because you are not a burden. You are worth the effort.

People do like you. You have friends. Family. That partner you just had an argument with. They stick around because they like you, not because you have somehow tricked them into it.

Not liking yourself can be a real feeling that is so hard to pull yourself out of. You run down that hill without a care in the world, but the trek back is quite the climb.

So don’t go there. And if you are there, go look in the mirror and say nice things to yourself. It sounds stupid, but like I said, the more you say something, the more you believe it.

Photo by KoolShooters on Pexels.com

Before you go any further down the negative spiral, take a breath. Say to yourself, “You are spiraling. You need to stop before this goes any further.”

Am I asking you not to feel your feelings? No. Not at all.

Your feelings are real and valid. But these thoughts are cropping up because of your feelings, and they are not always true.

Negativity leads to more negativity, so you have to stop before you go too far.

If you continue down the negative spiral in the name of “Feeling your feelings” you’re fooling yourself. This is not helpful. You are punishing yourself by piling on more and more ugly thoughts.

So take a breath. Pause. Say “no” to the ugly thoughts. Do not allow any more to pass through your mind.

So now you’ve stopped the spiral. Yay You!

But there’s still a little ways to go.

Don’t worry, you’ve already finished the hard part.

But it can be easy to slip back into the negativity, so you have to run in the opposite direction.

Photo by Noelle Otto on Pexels.com

It’s called Opposite Action. You can learn about it in the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Skills Workbook. You should check it out if you’re needing help overcoming overwhelming emotions, or just looking for self-betterment.

You feel pulled toward these negative thoughts, so instead you should seek out positive thoughts.

Let’s start with some opposites to the ugly thoughts that cropped up before.

We did have an argument, but that’s normal in a healthy relationship, and we’re stronger than this fight.
My relationship has more good days than bad.
I am a good partner.
My partner cares about me.
I’m worth time and effort.
I love myself.

Then take it a little further.

What are some redeemable qualities about the relationship?
What is something good that happened recently?
What is something you love about yourself?
What is something you love about your life?
Name 2 things that bring you joy.
Name 3 things you have done that make you proud.

These are just examples, and I encourage you to find whatever works for you.

Just like negative attracts more negative, positive will attract more positive.

Feel your feelings, but don’t let yourself spiral.

You can still acknowledge that something sucked and you’re sad without going down that ugly road.

You’re worth the effort, so don’t let yourself go there.

I know the sadness can be intoxicating sometimes.

Like you’re so angry with yourself that you deserve to feel this pain. So you list all the reasons why.

But you don’t deserve it. There is a child inside you who lacked something growing up, but didn’t have the capacity to fill that void.

You’re grown up now, but you still have to raise that child inside you.

If a 6 year old was sitting next to you, saying all these ugly things, you would stop them. You would tell them how wonderful they are and that things will be brighter soon.

Maybe you should use some of that kindness for yourself too.

Sending love,

MK

When Linux is feeling down, he avoids the negativity spiral by thinking about fetch.
And treats. Lots of treats.

Do You Ever Feel Alone?

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*Trigger Warning*
This post deals with feelings of loneliness and depression and may be triggering for some readers.

Hi there, how are you doing today? My mood has been low lately, what about you? I hope not, but if you’re struggling, make sure to take care of yourself. You’re worth the effort ❤

Loneliness is one of the major triggers I struggle with.

It’s a symptom of my brain chemistry.

When my mood takes a dip, I think no one wants to be around me.

Why would they, when I’m like this?
No one really likes me anyway.
If people wanted to be around me, they would reach out.

These ugly thoughts tumble around my head and get stuck on repeat.

You’ve never felt the depths of loneliness until you’ve been surrounded by people, all talking around you and laughing, but not one person makes an effort to connect with you.

Photo by Aline Viana Prado on Pexels.com

Maybe it’s me.
Maybe there’s something fundamentally wrong with me.
Maybe if I just lighten up… be more positive…
Maybe if I was neurotypical…

Ugly thoughts, I know. But that’s what runs through my head.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

Call me jaded.

Call me negative.

But the world is full of selfish people.

When was the last time someone asked you how you were doing, and after you gave the socially acceptable “Fine, how are you?” They took you by the hand and said, “No really, how are you doing?”

When was the last time you felt deeply cared for?

Important.

Valued.

Special.

I don’t mean to be so negative. I’d love to be adorable and positive, but that’s not really how the world works. Not my world, anyway.

Here I am.

I’m neurodivergent. 

My world gets dark, and sometimes I’m not sure why.

Photo by Lisa on Pexels.com

The reality is that not a lot of people in this world are going to take the time to get to know the real you. To go the extra mile to make sure you feel cared for.

They exist, but it’s rare to find them.

If you do find them, hang on to them. That’s a special person, indeed.

But I can tell you one thing.

I care.

I care how you feel, even if no one else does.

If you were sitting next to me, I wouldn’t let you get away with “Fine, how are you?”

I know what the darkness feels like. We’ve been familiar for a long time now. 

So when I can’t seem to escape the darkness, I will do anything in my power to bring light to your world.

I think sometimes the people in this world who feel the most pain are the ones who try the hardest to take it away from others.

And sometimes, when I’m in pain, giving love makes me feel a bit lighter, even if my problems don’t really go away.

Photo by Liza Summer on Pexels.com

People around me see me as bright and bubbly. Laughing and smiling. 

But that’s not always how I feel.

I just don’t want the darkness to spread.

I’m responsible for the way I act, no matter how I’m feeling.

Just because I’m having a bad mental health day, doesn’t mean I have to bring you down with me.

Why? Because I don’t want to be the person who hurts others. And because you’re important to me.

I see value in every person I meet.

Maybe because it’s so rare that people see the value in me.

You are deeply cared for.
You are important.
You are valued.
You are special.

And if the darkness is hanging over you today, I hope you find it a bit easier to bear in the knowledge that you are not alone it this. 

I’m here too.

And as souls brought up in darkness, I think it’s our moral obligation to seek the light.

To bring healing and love and laughter to the people who mean something to us… in the hopes that whatever darkness lingering over their head might be vanquished.

And maybe, while you’re being a warrior for love and light, you might find some healing for yourself in the light you bring to others.

Maybe making someone feel valued and loved is exactly what you needed.

Maybe someone will see how special you are while you’re telling them how special they are to you.

At the end of the day, no matter how you’re feeling, you are responsible for your own actions.

You get to decide how you want to treat people, what words come out of your mouth.

So who do you want to be?

I hope the rest of your day is filled with light and laughter.

Sending love, 

MK

This boi will bark and bite if the darkness gets too close!
…JK he’s a chicken, but he will definitely lick your face if you get sad.

My Mental Health Does Not Make Me The Problem

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*Trigger Warning*
This post talks about mental health and messages of shame and feeling alone. Reader discretion is advised.
Please reach out to someone if you need help.

Hi there, how is your week going? I hope you did something this week that was just for you. Something that put a smile on your face. ❤

I read a book instead of getting some work done. And I’m not cooking tonight. Nothing puts a smile on my face like takeout.

Today, I wanted to touch on some messages that have weaseled their way into my mind time and time again over the years.

-Everything is my fault, because I’m neurodivergent.
-If I didn’t have depression, we would be happy.
-If I didn’t have anxiety, we wouldn’t fight.
-If I was just normal, my relationships would be good.

These thoughts don’t just come from me.

They have come from parents, doctors, counselors, friends, family.

Sometimes explicitly: “That’s probably just the depression talking. It’s all in your head.”

Sometimes more implied: “Are you sure that’s what happened?” Then they go into how I might be looking at things in a negative light.

WHICH TOTALLY HAPPENS

But that doesn’t mean I’m making up my feelings…

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

My feelings are valid. The way that I feel comes from somewhere.

For my neurotypical readers, I’d like to put this into perspective.

Saying it’s probably just my depression, that it’s not really like that, is like saying “Oh, you’re just on your period.”

First of all, I’m triggered as heck just thinking about this statement.

Second, my period may influence my mood, but that doesn’t mean I’m not feeling those feelings. They may not seem all that important to you, but they feel very big to me.

If that doesn’t resonate with you, it could be like when you’re at work and you suggest something, but get dismissed because “You should leave it to the higher-ups.” Your position at work doesn’t make your opinion any less valid. People who dismiss you for that reason are disrespecting you.

Everyone deserves to be heard.

I have a hard time with this in my interpersonal relationships. Family and friends may do something or say something, and I’m left reeling.

But they just say I shouldn’t feel that way.

If you weren’t depressed you wouldn’t think that.”

Maybe…

But it doesn’t matter.

Why?

Because I am feeling it. This is very real to me. And as someone who claims to care for me, that should matter to you.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The worst part about this scenario?

I have heard these messages for so long, the words don’t even have to be spoken. I can hear them in my head. I see it in your eyes, your body language. The way you laugh and shake your head when I finish speaking. The way you turn away and leave me to deal with these feelings on my own.

Sometimes it’s not even other people…

The messages spiral out of control in my brain and I find myself shaming my brain chemistry, something I don’t have much control over.

There are drugs. Therapy. Doctors. Essential oil crazy ladies coming out of the woodwork.

But the thing about brain chemistry is that it’s unique to everyone.

Some people benefit so much from drugs. They find balance in life and finally get to feel healthy again.

That’s not what happened for me.

But I found that out by trying, not by simply saying they wouldn’t work. So if you’re struggling, please talk to a doctor. There are so many avenues you can take. Find what works for you.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

The ugly self-depreciating messages became so ingrained in my mind that, even when people were listening to me, I would assume they were going to disregard me.

I would interpret body language and facial expressions for what they had sometimes meant in the past, instead of learning what they mean now.

After a while, I stopped reaching out.

Why would I, when no one will validate me anyway? When my feelings will be dismissed?

Why would I reach out when I don’t know if you’ll catch me?

Photo by Andres Ayrton on Pexels.com

When I retreated inward, I started to blame myself.

Maybe if I wasn’t like this, my relationships would be better. Easier.

Maybe if I wasn’t depressed, my relationships would be happy.

Maybe if I didn’t have anxiety, we would fight less.

Maybe all the problems, with my friends, my family, etc… Maybe it’s because of me.

After all, what’s the common denominator here?

That’s what I would tell myself. And the funny thing about the human brain is, the more you say something, the more you’ll start to believe it.

This is something I’ve had to work on.

It took a lot of self-reflection. A lot of comparing facts and feelings, finding the truth that lies beneath. A lot of talk therapy. A lot of my DBT Skills book.

A lot of forcing myself to be vulnerable and reach out, even though that’s the scariest thing in the world to me.

And if they don’t… you’re strong enough to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and say next time will be better.

Because, eventually, it will be.

That’s just math, folks. Statistically, if you reach out out to people, someone will eventually reach back.

If you keep letting the cycle of ugly messages get you down, you are letting them win. You are shrinking inwards when you could be growing.

I won’t lie to you, it’s not always easy.

I’ve really struggled with it.

I still struggle with it.

It’s scary.

But when you find someone who meets you where you are, who takes your hand and walks with you through the dark, there’s nothing like that feeling.

It’s ok to lean on someone.

It’s ok to ask for help.

It’s ok not to be ok.

Photo by Yogii Surya Pangestu on Pexels.com

You are learning to live with your unique brain chemistry.

I am too.

We’re not experts. Sometimes we mess up.

But we will never have the chance to grow, to get better, if we’re not willing to take the risk of putting ourselves out there.

That’s what life is all about.

Testing your limits.

Getting out of your comfort zone.

So what if your comfort zone is a bit smaller than the average bear?

You’re doing the best you can, and in that, we are the same.

I understand you.

And I’m really freakin’ proud of how far you’ve come, and how far you will go.

Sending love,

MK

Mah boi here says he hears you and thinks your feelings are valid. And if you reach out, he will most definitely lick your face. Right after he finishes licking his butt.

How to Stop Letting Others Control Your Mood

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Hi there, I hope you’re doing well. Taking care of myself has always been a struggle for me, but I’ve been making an effort, and I hope you are too ❤

Do you ever find your mood swinging up and down based on the behavior of others? Your friend makes a joke about you and you become sad, dejected. Depression kicks in again and you disconnect from people for fear of what they might say next. Or maybe you and your partner are getting along really well right now, and you feel like you’re floating on air. Your mood is elevated, there’s a true smile on your face, and you feel like you can conquer anything that comes your way.

The problem with hinging your mood on the behavior of others is that, inevitably, people will fail you. I don’t say this to be cynical, or cruel, but just to be real. Humans are selfish by nature. We fail by nature. We say or do the wrong thing, despite our best intentions. Your friend will say something you don’t like one day. I guarantee it. You and your partner will inevitably have a disagreement.

This is normal.

The scary thing is when your mood sways up and down with them.

Sometimes, I felt like I wasn’t in control of my own body. I was a little boat and my emotions were the sea. I never knew what kind of waters I would encounter next. A still, turquoise sea, sunshine reflecting off its surface… or rough waves that threatened to swallow me whole.

The storm of life. Boat on the ocean. Sunny sky. Storm. Overwhelming emotions. turbulent.
Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

I knew I needed to take back control, but how?

Well, emotions aren’t really something you can control. You can’t tell yourself to stop feeling upset when you and your partner have a fight any more than you can tell yourself to stop being happy when they bring you flowers or kiss your cheek.

Emotions are real, and they matter. They can be overwhelming, but like the sea, if you learn how to navigate them, they are a lot less daunting.

But how?

The first thing I did when learning to navigate my own emotions was to develop coping mechanisms that could help when the waters started to get choppy.

Argument with a friend? Do some deep breathing.
My partner says something that hurts my feelings? Use positive coping thoughts like “this feeling will pass”.
Work is stressful and my boss is a jerk? Imagine my thoughts and feelings are a balloon floating away on the breeze.

There are lots of ways to cope with stressful situations, these are just a few examples that work for me. I suggest seeking out some positive coping mechanisms that work for you. I found these and many more in the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Skills Workbook. Check it out if you’re needing some help in this area.

Once I had some coping mechanisms under my belt for in-the-moment feels, I brought the focus back to my whole self. I sought contentment within myself.

What makes me feel happy? Well, I like reading and writing. Also baking and watching Disney movies.

What are some things I can do to seek contentment when I feel down? I could read a book or watch a Disney movie. Sometimes I’ll even have a movie picked out for the next time my mood is down. I’ve found this really helpful because the times when I really need the mindless joy of a funny movie, I have no motivation or desire to pick one out. Up next is Tangled 😉

I also thought about some things that made me feel unhappy. Not just generals like “when me and my partner fight” or “when my friend says something mean” but specifics.

Examples:

I need to feel validated by my partner. When I don’t, I feel sad and unimportant. How do I combat this? Well… I told my partner. Simple, right?

Actually no… not for me. I spent a lot of my life being invalidated by others and being punished when I shared my feelings. Opening up has never been an easy thing for me. But I forced myself to. I shook, I held back tears, I was ready to run.

And do you know what happend?

My partner said he would try harder to validate my feelings and gave me a hug.

That’s it.

I felt a little silly for being so scared.

And I’m so glad I told him, because not only did I gain something that I needed, but we grew closer because of my willingness to be vulnerable.

What’s another thing that makes me unhappy? Well, when people make negative comments about things I can’t really change (my body, my personality, etc.) I feel unloved and worthless.

How do I combat this? Just like with my partner, I told my friend who was doing this to me how I felt.

How did that work out?

Not well… they told me that what they said was perfectly reasonable and that I shouldn’t be so sensitive.

Not great, right?

But the thing is, now I know where I stand. That is not a person I can be vulnerable with. And their apologies may not bring me comfort in the future.

And later, when they realized I had pulled away, they actually came back and apologized. A true apology.

It may not always work out the way you hope it will, but it will always work out how it should.

That brings me to the third thing I did, which involved a technique called Radical Acceptance. I learned about it in the DBT Skills book and it has helped me SO MUCH.

I will do another post on this, but to make a long story short, radical acceptance is all about accepting situations for what they are, instead of what you wish they were.

Real life example:

I’m driving to work and I get stuck in traffic. It sucks. I’m feeling frustrated and stressed. I’m concerned about making it to work on time. My feelings of failure are cropping up. I’m starting to use phrases like “I’m such an idiot” and “Why do I always do this?”

But I’m not going to let myself go there. Why? Because I’m practicing Radical Acceptance. I’m stuck in traffic, yes. I’m late. Yes, it sucks. I feel frustrated, and that’s real. But that’s just where I’m at right now, and worrying won’t solve it. I breathe in, I breathe out. I think back to my coping mechanisms, I stuff my feelings of stress and frustration into a balloon, I open my car window, and I watch it fly away.

Let it go, Elsa.

Letting go. Acceptance. Radical Acceptance. Meditation. Self help.
Photo by Sirirak Boonruangjak on Pexels.com

It’s easier said than done, I know. But I can honestly say that I have used this technique time and time again. And you know what? It helps. I genuinely feel lighter when I watch those feelings float away.

So why do these techniques help me to control my own mood?

It helps me find peace. It’s that simple.

You can’t shake a tree whose roots are deep.

I find contentment inside myself. Other things can bring me happiness or sadness, but my soul finds contentment and peace of its own accord.

I set the temperature for my mood. I am in control.

Frankly, sometimes I still mess up. The threads slip, and I scramble to regain the control I had.

It happens.

This does not make you a failure, it makes you a student of your mind.

The important thing is that we keep trying. That we keep reminding ourselves who is in charge.

I set the temperature.
The wind and the rain may come, but I steer this boat.

So, keep trying. Keep reminding yourself you are in charge. YOU set the temperature. The wind and the rain may come, but you steer your boat.

I hope that you find some peace within yourself. A warm spot inside your soul that you can call home.

I would love to hear your story. Let me know in the comments below what coping mechanisms you use, and how you find peace within yourself.

We’re all on the same team here, and I would love to lift you up.

Sending love,

MK

This boi says he finds inner peace by skipping other players. Or making them draw 4.

How to Fight Self-Doubt

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Hi friend! I hope you’re showing yourself lots of love. You deserve it ❤ I’d love to know how you practice self care in the comments below.

For years, I’ve struggled with insecurity. That voice inside my head that told me I wasn’t good enough.

Strong enough.

Talented enough.

Smart enough.

Just… Enough.

There is a school of thought that the voice inside your head is actually your parents’ voices. As a child, they could build you up or tear you down with the words they chose. Those words became ingrained in you and you use them throughout your life unless you train yourself otherwise.

I grew up in an emotionally abusive situation. Words were used as weapons, and I felt small. As I grew up, my inner voice started to sound a lot like the voices I heard as a child.

But this time, it was me saying those things, not my elders.

Photo by JESSICA TICOZZELLI on Pexels.com

I’ve learned to be careful how I speak to myself, even in my own head.

Words and thoughts have great power over the mind. One word can send signals to the brain and transform into an emotion, an emotion splits into secondary emotions, and secondary emotions set a pattern of behavior.

Here’s an example: If someone calls me stupid, that message is relayed to my brain. My brain sends chemicals out in a response. Now I’m angry. How dare they call me stupid? Then, I start to experience secondary emotions. I become fearful they might be right. I question my worth. I feel sad and defeated. These emotions set a pattern for my behavior. I will feel inferior, because “others think I’m stupid”. I will feel sad, because “maybe they’re right”. I will question my worth and pull away from relationships, avoiding the situation that brought me pain. I won’t try new things because “I’m too stupid to be a success”.

Think of a situation where someone made a judgement of you (whether wrong or right). How did you feel? After some time, what feelings cropped up? How did your behavior change?

I’ve been reading this Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook. It’s been so helpful in retraining my brain to cope with thoughts and emotions. Check it out if you’re anything like me and your thoughts tend to spiral.

Any-who…

Recently I was talking to my step mom, who has been a huge source of love and support in my life – a mom to me for so many reasons. I told her that I had thought about branching out and trying something new, but that I wasn’t sure it was the right fit. I told her I was going to give up, because it probably wouldn’t work out anyway.

She asked how I could know I wasn’t the right fit. How could I be sure that no one in this world wants what I have to offer? She said I should let them judge for themselves.

Dropping wisdom in the parking lot of Olive Garden.

I had heard this before, but it hit home when she said it. By giving up before I even tried, I might have missed out on an opportunity to grow. Not to mention, by labeling myself as “not good enough” I was essentially saying that I knew better than anyone else.

I knew I could not make it.

I knew I was not good enough.

I knew that no one wanted what I had to offer.

How big-headed of me! I must be psychic, to know the thoughts and opinions of everyone.

So I asked myself, what did I have to lose? What if I tried, and I failed?

Photo by Dziana Hasanbekava on Pexels.com

Well… Then nothing would happen.

Sure, I would have invested a bit of time and put myself out there. But that’s it. No one would be hurt. I wouldn’t lose any money. I wouldn’t be labeled a failure for the world to see.

So why not try?

Why not let other people decide whether or not they want what I have to give, and show up regardless?

So now I ask you: What have you given up on because you judged yourself inferior? What goal or dream or idea did you have that you didn’t pursue because “it would never go anywhere” or “I wouldn’t be any good at it”?

Maybe we should let others decide what they do and do not want, and just live our lives to the fullest. Try new things, put ourselves out there, do something that scares us.

Because yes, it may not amount to anything…

But it could become your everything.

Sending love,

MK

This good boi thinks you are capable of big things!