“One of the toughest challenges I face living with an invisible illness is explaining to others what it’s like to be in my head. From the long anxious nights fighting insomnia to struggling to find the motivation to get out of bed most mornings, one of the only ways I’m able to explain what it’s like to grapple with my persistent depression is by using analogies.
Analogies help me to be both creative and descriptive as I paint a mental image of my experiences. The most recent analogy I’ve used to explain my depression to my therapist is the most spot-on, especially since this year has been my toughest one yet.
My analogy goes a little like this: Living with persistent depressive disorder is like a series of dark tunnels in my mind. There are no lights at the end of any of these tunnels. Instead, the lights are in small pockets underneath street lamps surrounded by fireflies. These fireflies represent strength, reassurance, and growth. And although they aren’t everlasting, I can use what I’ve learned from them while I continue to crawl along in my dark tunnel.
I’m proud to know my toolbox is filled with everything I’ve learned in the light, but that doesn’t make my darkness end — I face that reality every day. But with that knowledge, I can keep going because I know I’ll soon reach another bright pocket.
If you ever find yourself in your own dark tunnel, it’s OK to rest and take a peek inside your self-care toolbox. You are not alone and the darkness doesn’t always last forever.”
Have you ever used an analogy to describe what it’s like living with an invisible illness? Join the conversation here on The Pencil Case.
This activity was featured in The Mighty #CheckInWithMe newsletter which you can subscribe to on the TheMighty.com or Mighty app.
You are light.
Even in the darkest moments you are strong enough, brave enough, and capable of feeling joy again. You are more. You are power. Remember all the times you were able to get back up. You did it once, you can do it again and again.
You exist on purpose.
The past 3 weeks have been difficult for my mental health, particularly for my depression. One of my favorite activities to do when I’m experiencing my symptoms is creating something I can see every day when I wake up.
Last night, I decided to get some card stock, scissors, a pen, and some images that reflect my vision of empowerment to write myself a message.
Every day I wake up, right next to my pillow, written by my own hand, I’m now reminded of my light, persistence, and resiliency even when my mind is telling me I’m none of these things.
As I trudge through the days exhausted and torn, I must constantly remember who I am and all I’ve accomplished simply by being me. My joy is accessible to me, it’s time I access it.
Even if the odds are great and the challenges overbearing; even if what is in your face seems larger than life; even if the weight is heavy and the future seems bleak all that you are is greater, larger, and stronger than the mountains and hurdles that are placed in your life to stop you.
What you are is more despite those emotions that hold massive pressure in your body.
When I look at you I see a person that can do it. Whatever you see, feel, and want is yours. Take it. Push the mountains to the side. Claim what is yours.
Your joy, peace, and perseverance is yours.
You are not defeated.
Speaking with intention is the first step to manifestation. With talent, skill, and ambition comes bravery and courage to go for what you know you can accomplish. “I can” and “I want” are statements of intention and confidence. Your interests are the gateway to your purpose. Your excitement is the key to that gateway. Empowerment is in the journey of clarity.
You are all you need to step into your season of power.
Speak with intention.
Listen to yourself and how you feel.
Clarity will come when you listen.
Affirmation: I am stepping into my season of clarity, power, and purpose.
Release the tension in your shoulders, sit straight, and breathe. Give yourself time, space, and the grace necessary to let go of anything you are holding on to. Allow the ebbs and flows of the process to teach you what you need to progress and move forward.
- What makes you feel frustrated or unhappy?
- What memories resurface?
- Who can you ask for help?
- How can you prioritize yourself better?
- What are your next steps in processing your emotional healing?
- What do you need?
Listen to your body.
Listen to your triggers.
Affirm you are ready to move forward.
Comment below what backpack item represents your goal for this week:
Calculator– Working and getting things done
Pencil– Writing and reflecting
Ruler– Asking for help and working on prioritizing your needs
Notebooks– Being Creative
Water bottle– Resting and taking a break
Eraser– Other [Add your own goal!]
Feel free to choose more than one item/goal, too!
I’m taking notebooks and a calculator out of my backpack this week.
: You are good enough and capable of achieving everything you set your mind to.
Find this Check-in here in The Pencil Case on The Mighty.
What color drink describes how this week is going for you?
Comment with the color drink that describes how this week is going so far:
Yellow- Okay, I guess.
Gray- Not so great.
Pink- It was challenging, would like support.
Reminder: You are doing the best you can and that is always good enough.
Find this Check-in here in The Pencil Case on The Mighty.
Pick a self-kindness affirmation card to accompany you through the rest of the week:
1. I am enough.
2. I give myself permission to rest.
3. I give myself space to learn and grow.
4. It’s okay for me to ask for help.
5. My worth is not dependent on how much I get done.
6. I honor my needs by resting when my body tells me to.
Feel free to add your own affirmation!
Find this Check-in here in The Pencil Case on The Mighty
So very excited to announce the NAMI-NYC Expressive Arts workshop event I will be co-hosting later this month! This event will be via Zoom and on the NAMI-NYC website. You can find the link here. Click the Expressive Arts Zoom link for August 29th, 2020.
If you have any questions or concerns feel free email me or leave a comment. The time of the event is in Eastern Standard Time.
**I will share any updates or changes and keep everyone posted.
Here are some details for the event:
5:30 pm – 7 pm EST
“Lifeboat” is a creative, reflective, and fun event focused on creatively describing ourselves, our challenges, and how we can approach those challenges using our strengths, skills, and perspective. Starting with an ice breaker, we will brainstorm our favorite slogans, affirmations, and quotes. The main activity will be to then imagine a scene of a boat out at sea. Each portion of the image signifies a different portion to approaching challenges: the sea being our challenges and things would like to improve in our daily life, the boat being the tools we use to approach those challenges and how we can take care of ourselves in the process, and sky being goals and ways we can maintain self-care using those tools in our lifeboat. Lastly, we will close by sharing our works of art!
Paper, writing utensils (pen, pencil, markers, or crayons).
Hope to see you there!
Sometimes the world around me is a lot to process — noises are too loud, lights too bright and my thoughts often fall down a never-ending spiral. I care deeply for the people around me and wish I could do more. It’s like I’m an emotional sponge.
I’m no stranger to feeling overwhelmed and I catch myself retreating in order to feel better again. I regain my energy with creativity and love to reflect so I can better understand myself and others. My brain likes looking at the bigger picture but does so through subtleties. I see patterns and small details and my favorite questions are “why?” and “how?”
However, being highly sensitive has made me susceptible to scrutiny and criticism. I’m often “too much” or “too deep” for the liking of some people. I remember once being told, “You make things too difficult and complex and would benefit from being more simple.” That isn’t who I am though, and I shouldn’t be ashamed of how sensitive I am. It’s taken me some time to fully understand and accept my emotional nature and to perceive it as an ability instead of a burden.
While feeling deeply is no walk in the park, I am proud of how far I’ve come in my journey of self-love. But I know I still have so much more to learn. If you are a highly sensitive person like me, know that you are not alone. No matter what, you are not “too much” and I’m happy to walk this journey with you..
What are your experiences like as a highly sensitive person?
Can You Relate? Let’s Reflect!
To my highly sensitive people, we are in this together.
No matter what, you are not “too much” and I’m happy to walk this sensitivity journey with you. If you find yourself overwhelmed or overstimulated check out these reflective guided questions, they’ve helped me navigate my sensitivities:
- How are you feeling?
- Do you feel overwhelmed, anxious, frustrated, or overstimulated? Where and when do you feel this way?
- Are you overextending your energy?
- When was the last time you took a break?
- Do you need time alone?
- What places help you feel safe?
- What are your triggers and how can you manage them?
- What is in your control?
- What are your needs? How can you prioritize your needs better?
- What are your limits? What are you okay/not okay with?
- Do you need to write down your thoughts or talk them out?
- Who can you ask for help?
Join this conversation here in The Pencil Case on The Mighty, or comment on this post!
An important part of following through with achieving your goals is knowing and believing you can achieve them. Building confidence is knowing what you’re capable of then crafting and creating goals that reflect what you want and see yourself achieving.
How can you build confidence in the goals you set?
Are the goals you’re setting reflective of your needs and interests?
Do you believe you can achieve the goals you set?
I can build better confidence around my daily goals by being more patient with myself and giving myself credit when I accomplish something. Once I learn to be proud of myself even if I still have work to finish, I can become more comfortable in continuing what I need to do to get where I want to be.
Join this prompt’s conversation here
on The Mighty.