Posted in Confessions, Keep Moving: Motivation and Inspiration, Making Sense Analysis, Mental Health, Potential and Worth, Power, Reflection, Self-Care, What Just Happened: Personal Anecdotes

Breaking From Trauma: Accepting Split Pockets of Peace

The Split Second

A week ago I sat at the edge of my bed and noticed a sensation I forgot I had the ability to feel. While coming to terms with the symptoms of my anxiety and basking in its reality for most of three years, I hadn’t felt a day that didn’t consist of nausea or worry. I haven’t felt nauseous for two weeks now. I recalled the sensations of calmness and suddenly didn’t understand what to think. Feeling okay felt strange and alien.

Being in a constant state of panic, worry, or fear became how I lived for years leaving calmness and peace strangers in a barren abyss. No thoughts resided in my head, my body felt rejuvenated from a full nights rest, and an overwhelming desire to get some work done filled me with energy. This is what it feels like to be okay, to be ready to take on the day. I didn’t think I could feel like this again.

Recollections

Although this year continuously has torn me to pieces, I didn’t realize the amount of effort I put into dragging myself out of countless depressive moments. Whether it was getting out of bed, not sleeping in, giving myself a bedtime and writing/career goals, eating more fruits and less bread and sugar, or even choosing to separate myself from thinking about situations I cannot control I became unconsciously active in my desire to feel better. Physical aches and pains have plagued this years list of what nows, but learning to not overthink is my new habit of choice.

Despite finding myself in really low moments and contrary to what I expected to become of me by this point, I recall several split moments of peace like the one mentioned above. Pockets of rainbows I would call them.

Accepting and Welcoming Peace

Confused by how I could possibly see or feel pockets of peace in arguably the worst year yet, it’s only fair to give myself some credit. Fear of leaving my trauma behind brought up some old feelings following the pockets of peace, allowing me to realize the comfort I sat in when it came to my anxiety and depression.

I’m used to feeling anxious and depressed. I don’t know what it is to not feel constantly overwhelmed with everything. Living and existing in a state of uneasy chaos is how I know to survive. I learned to live like this, who am I without it?

Witnessing and realizing that I’m able to feel better has caused both panic and peace disrupting the old state of chaotic homeostasis (if that makes any sense). I found myself having nightmares almost every night filled with both obvious and hidden messages. I’ve also recently become aware of my shadow and toxic characteristics, making me aware and awake when it comes to how I interact with others.

Now, because of all that’s happened, I’m able to gain control and pull myself to a more stabilized consciousness quicker than before. Both bizarre and contradicting as it seems, I’ve always thrived in a state of turmoil, it would only make sense for the key to my healing to lie in my darkest moments.

What Now?

Aware that I’m in another phase of transformation like in my college years, I’m open and accepting of something new to come. Despite the on and off nature of these pockets of peace, I know I’m able to gain control of my mental wellness more than believed before.

I’m both scared and excited to continue to take on the beast that is overcoming my trauma and will not give up knowing I can and will.

Posted in Events, Keep Moving: Motivation and Inspiration, Mental Health, Potential and Worth, Power, Reflection, Self-Care, Self-Talk

“This is Me” Reflection: Self-Reflection is Powerful

To acknowledge, reflect, visualize, create, and share goals, aspirations, next steps, and working points are the backbone of improvement and progress. “This is Me” opened up a space of opportunity to understand not only who you are, but also what you want. To be able to pick images, quotes, letters, words and symbols that reveal and mirror what it is you want to accomplish takes strength and dedication.

The Event

Who am I?

Before building our vision boards, I came up with a small diagram to get everyone to think of different angles to approach the “who am I?” question. While this is the most complex question to ask yourself, visualizing different parts of your identity can help to jump into ideas about goals, achievements, feelings, strengths, limiting beliefs, toxic tendencies, memories, things you’ve learned, and where you want to go.

It’s not only useful to think up goals and how you want to get there but also asking yourself critical questions of ways to improve allows for a grounded and holistic approach to becoming who you want to be. Vision boards allow you to see yourself in all that is you. They show you the space to see past, present, and future possibilities while influencing and reminding you how to get there by reflecting on yourself.

While we tend to focus on one part of our identity, it’s helpful to dig into ourselves and all of our dimensions to answer questions only one part may not be able to answer. Focusing on our career and professional goals can be supplemented by our mental and spiritual strengths to place ourselves in work environments that fit us. What do we actually want? How can we improve and become better versions of ourselves by tapping into all of who we are? We are a complete being, therefore we must look at everything that makes us a whole.

The Boards

The more we looked at our identity’s focal points and where we were currently, the more we were able to grab images that mirrored how we wanted to approach our visions. I was excited to see how much work was put into visualizing the “who am I?” question. With only a limited amount of time, we were able to build and dive into ourselves to create works of art that symbolized us and what we wanted to accomplish next.

I’m extremely grateful for those who came out to “This is Me.” We answered big questions, reflected on who we wanted to be and where we want to go, while also being gentle and progressive with our progress.

Moving Forward

As I become more and more of myself every day, I see and appreciate how far I’ve come. Understanding and witnessing others in their goals, feelings, and aspirations helped me to see myself in mine. While I will always be a work in progress, I must also look at how much progress I’ve made. With all that I want to accomplish I get stuck in how much I need to do instead of appreciating the process.

I’ve learned to love and see myself as so much bigger than ever imagined. I say “I can” more and I’m excited to see where I go next. “This is Me” showed me to appreciate everything about my identity even the things I need to improve. I am me in everything that I am and will continue to work toward becoming more of myself.

Stay tuned for more events and reflections.

Posted in Confessions, Creative Writing, Keep Moving: Motivation and Inspiration

Get Out Of Your Head

They say you’re always in your head

Thinking up something
Breaking something apart
They say you’re always in your head
Creating a world of your own
A la la land of sorts
Creating solutions to problems over and over
It becomes a problem
Making you something that is a bit extra
I say you’re extra-ordinary
The creative space that’s filled with something that’s a bit extra
You talk too much
You dream too much
You are a problem
The way you can craft out the ideas that make you curious
Every thought you have you say out loud
You’re annoying
You’re sensitive
They say you’re always in your head
You feel
You know
You see
You examine
You speak
They say it makes you annoying
Get out of your head
It’s nothing
You want something to be more than it is
You want to experience the world that’s in your head
You keep going
Keep talking
Keep trying
They tell you to stop
You’re dragging the issue
You know it’s because of the extra you have in you
Creating solutions to problems over and over
You care too much
You love too much
You’re sorry a lot
You wish you were perfect
It’s because you’re always in your head
You see how invested you get
You want so much more than what is being offered
You want them to share their world with you
And when they don’t, your world gets filled with gaps and spaces
You want something extra because you are extra
It’s because…you’re always in your head
Posted in Confessions, Keep Moving: Motivation and Inspiration, Love, Mental Health, Potential and Worth, Power, Reflection, Self-Talk, What Just Happened: Personal Anecdotes

Dear Nina, Let It Go

Dear Nina,
You’ve been rejected.
You’ve been betrayed.
You’ve been replaced without notice.
You’ve been looked at as second best.
You’ve been abandoned.
You’ve been left behind.
You feel like you will never be a priority.
You feel like no one will love you.
You’ve never been anyone’s favorite.
You’ve been called weak and pushed to the sidelines.
You’ve been underestimated.
You weren’t taken seriously.
You’ve gotten blank stares.
You’ve tried to be perfect.
You’ve tried to make yourself favorable.
You’ve felt less-than.
You’ve felt unattractive and ugly.

But I’m here to rewrite the script for you.

No matter how you’ve shaped your self-worth or what thoughts you thought you got over but in dark times resurfaced, its time to let it go. You are all the things you’ve convinced yourself that you are not. You are beyond worthy of life, love, acceptance, peace and compassion.

Retake your life from the thoughts that hold you hostage. It doesn’t matter anymore. Live in today. Live in right now. Whatever pain you’ve gone through has made you into the beautiful, empathetic, caring, ruthless, ambitious, untouchable, unstoppable creation that is you. You are a progressed product of what has happened and all of that is now over. You lived in the pain and now you’ve learned. Stop picking at the wounds that are healing. Don’t make your wombs bleed again. Sometimes it feels like the same things are happening again, but guess what? Now it’s time to use what you’ve learned. Don’t fall back into the cycles that amplified your depressive or anxious thoughts. You have the power. You have all the power. I will keep telling you until you believe it for yourself.

Sincerely,
SparklyWarTanks
Posted in Events, Mental Health, Potential and Worth, Power, Reflection, Self-Care

“Storytime” Reflection: To Transform and Grow Means to Reflect and Change

What does it mean to reflect, grow, transform and in return become a better, more grounded empathetic product of your experiences and trauma?

“Storytime” allowed me to not only reflect on my past transformations and continuous growth but also listen to true stories of warriors. There were survivor stories, growth stories, pain stories, reflective stories, and stories that showed true perseverance. I applaud and thank those who attended this event. Although the group was small, it still contained voices that spoke with courage and bravery. This group of people was no doubt a group of heroes.

As I too am going through a time of painful transformation and reflection, I can’t help but look up to those who attended and shared at “Storytime.” I think about their stories daily in order to help me make brave choices that allow me to see my worth.

The Theme: The Tree and the Butterfly

When planning and organizing “Storytime”, I wanted to create a space where others can bring an artifact to represent or supplement a moment in their mental health journey that symbolized growth or transformation. What does it mean to grow and transform through mental trauma?

The tree or symbol of growth and the butterfly or symbol of transformation became fit in becoming the theme of “Storytime”. To transform is to move past a prior state and into a more comfortable, enlightened state and to grow means to change, adjust, and become better in whichever ways fit your life and experiences.

In order to be able to reflect on your experiences and become better and more comfortable in yourself, you must first open your perspective. Allow yourself to move past the pain and complacency of heartache and struggle.

I learned in ” Storytime” that speaking out loud and speaking confidently as you share can help in understanding who you are in your experiences. Leading with a mindfulness breathing exercise also allowed a space where reflection became fit and vulnerability more accessible. Live only in the present moment.

Although the stories were stories of mental struggles through big experiences, my guests were products of growth and transformation. I’m proud to know that these people exist. They need to know constantly that they are worthy of life, love, compassion, and acceptance.

Final Thoughts

I thank The Mighty for opening up the door for me to do these events as well as helping me to learn my passion. I’m constantly learning as I experience with others. Continuously reflecting on the “Mighty Mic” and “Storytime” has opened my perspective and my heart to the lives of many.

I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Posted in Confessions, Keep Moving: Motivation and Inspiration, Potential and Worth, Power, Quotes, Reflection, Self-Care, Self-Talk, What Just Happened: Personal Anecdotes

Purposeful Pain

Some morning are particularly hard, but this morning made it to top 5. I had to write myself out of a potential downward spiral into depression. I forced myself to see my self-worth and value even in the midst of heartache and self-doubt. A love letter of sorts to keep going even when feeling emotionally weak.

The face that I look at every morning is powerful and deserves peace of mind and joy amongst other things, but most important she deserves to know that her life is worth something.

As long as her heart beats, purpose flows through every vein all the time. Standing is hard, but I can’t stay down for too long.

Posted in Confessions, Defying Shadows Articles, Keep Moving: Motivation and Inspiration, Mental Health, Other Publications, Potential and Worth, Power, Self-Care, Self-Talk, What Just Happened: Personal Anecdotes

Defying Shadows Article: What I learned After Neglecting My Mental Health

What did I learn after I neglected my mental health? What does neglecting my mental health look like? Why is prioritizing your mental health important? How can you improve your mental health?

In my Defying Shadows article, I navigate and discuss my difficult moments with my mental health, how I learned about what mental health is, and why it’s so important.

What I learned After Neglecting My Mental Health

Posted in Confessions, Events, Keep Moving: Motivation and Inspiration, Late Night Talks With Nina, Mental Health, Other Accomplishments, Potential and Worth, Power, Reflection, Self-Care, Self-Talk, Videos

A Reflection: The Mighty Mic

The Mighty Mic was an amazing experience. I’m extremely grateful that I was able to collaborate with The Mighty to help my community as they find strength in their mental health struggles. Here are some highlights from my event and a message that I learned.  I will be planning and hosting more events so stay tuned!

My Open Mic Poem: A Messy Masterpiece

I look up to the rainbow that extends from one end of the equator to the other.

The rain that just passed has drenched me with growing pains as the flowers sprout from my insides out.

A messy masterpiece they called me.

As I feel the thunderstorms inside my gut, my tears run frantically like uncontrolled children in the playground.
A messy masterpiece they call me.
I can’t breathe like someone is putting duct tape on my mouth as I try to scream, my surrounding get blurry again, I can’t see
Overwhelm
A messy masterpiece they call me
I’m a mess I say
They say
They look at me confused because I’m in one of my silent spells, they think I’m upset but really I’m in this deep dark place in my head, my body is free but my mind captive
A messy masterpiece they call me

Sometimes my bed arrest me

I’m in trouble from the thoughts that told on me, I broke the law

Now I’m confined to my pillow and blankets, I got life but I’m planning on breaking out
Sooner than later because I deserve to be free
A messy masterpiece they call me
You see, my footprints tell a story
It’s not just an abandoned trial
It’s meant to be a pathway for other people like me
How I walked that walk and now they can see a way they can go
They too are messy masterpieces fashioned together to make beautiful poetry learning that their voices too do still matter
Because ears that need to listen will be drawn to the sounds of their voices in the distance
The Mighty Voices
A messy masterpiece they call me

My Story and Advice

After some mighty poets and speakers shared I was compelled to share my story to them as well. I noticed a pattern in the themes that recurred in the poems and pieces everyone shared and thought I would give some advice based on what I learned.

Late Night Talks With Nina: Final Thoughts

Navigating Purpose

Purpose, worth, self-talk, and identity were themes that recurred while I sat and soaked in the message of each story. While we are faced with difficulties with our mental health, it’s often due to mental conversations about those themes. As we continue on in our journey and our battle we must let go of the notion of a single purpose or single mission conforming to the standards of the society we live. Instead, we must continuously walk in our own self-fulfillment-whatever that looks like-while also navigating our peace through the opportunities we are able to take up. We live our life through how much we are filled with happiness and satisfaction with what we are doing. Let’s not waste ourselves with expecting purpose to manifest without manifesting ourselves in the process. We manifest purpose by being alive and continue fulfilling our own talents. Learn yourself, love yourself, and find peace through appreciating your life and the opportunity to live it.

Posted in Confessions, Keep Moving: Motivation and Inspiration, Making Sense Analysis, Mental Health, Potential and Worth, Power, Reflection, Self-Care, Self-Talk

Why I Claim my Anxiety and Depression

Mental Illness and Religion

Depression

I struggled with depression for a lot of my teenage years unknowingly; falling into silent spells or isolation cycles were “normal” ways I would deal with how I felt. Because of this, depression remained regular. The pain was me.

When I thought about depression or sadness my mind would drift off to what my former pastors would suggest— praying, fasting, and going to church healed all wombs. I often heard, “mental illness was a weakness, ‘the devil’ is consuming your thoughts to keep you from what God has for you. The only way I could be better was to do what God wants me to do. If you’re continuously doing bad, then it’s your fault. You are not trying hard enough. Do not ever claim depression on your life. Don’t say that out loud! If you say it you are manifesting that demon on yourself.” Frightening, right?

Because of those words, I grew up scared of myself, my thoughts, and God punishing me. I felt relief in my good days but tormented on my bad. Maybe if I tried to be “as holy” as I could then maybe I would feel better. The day never came where just praying and fasting relieved my depressive thoughts though.

Here Comes Anxiety…

When first faced with crippling anxiety, I felt ashamed, embarrassed, and discouraged. I isolated myself and talked to no one about my struggles. It wasn’t real. I tried to push harder even when I felt exhausted. Self-care, mental health, or anxiety weren’t words or phrases I knew much about anyway. I just had to pray, right? My relationship with God is not strong enough. I kept pushing myself well past my physical and mental limits until I couldn’t anymore. The more I dismissed my symptoms and repressed my feelings, the more I felt powerless, hopeless, and weak.

Moving Forward

Writing Therapy

In order to feel better, I challenged myself to think deeper. What do I do to move forward? As I constantly struggled to find peace in my mental turmoil, I looked to my writing and voice for refuge.  The day I felt most empowered, most liberated, and most peace fell on one day, the day I uttered the words “I have depression and struggle with anxiety.”

While I long left the church because I wanted to find myself aside from religious indoctrination, I started writing, and the words I typed and wrote freed me from my thoughts. Thoughts became tangible. Words became ideas I could look at. I manipulated those words to something positive and uplifting. I began reflecting on and discussing what mental health meant for me, asking critical questions combining my pain with creativity. Excitement filled me again. 

Final Thoughts

My projects now bring me to life, they are my medicine. The words I utter, the words I write are my power. I am new, I feel refreshed. I wage war on my mental health struggles, expectations, and stereotypes that bind me and my progress (hence why my writing space/blog is SparklyWarTanks).

Even though I still struggle, I continue to write and think of new and creative ways to express myself. I’m currently planning and hosting events too! There is power in words, whether it’s saying them, writing them, or thinking them.

Claiming my anxiety and depression was not a downfall manifesting struggle and doom to my life, claiming anxiety and depression gave me the power that helped me to liberate my perspective, relieve my mind, and continue on in the progression of becoming myself.

Posted in Confessions, Creative Writing, Keep Moving: Motivation and Inspiration, Mental Health, Potential and Worth, Reflection, Self-Care, Self-Talk, Voices Of Mental Health, What Just Happened: Personal Anecdotes

SparklyWarTanks Writing for Voices of Mental Health!

Im super excited to announce that I’m writing for another mental health website!

Voices of Mental Health

Here is my anxiety story. A story that is told from now a place of confidence from once a place of fear and embarrassment. Anxiety will not limit me.

Voices of Mental Health first article:
“Having anxiety, depression, or any mental illness or limitation does not mean we can’t have high standards, ambitions, and goals. We just know where our boundaries and limits lie. We must prioritize our self-care over anything else and that is ok. The constant task of weighing our options and declining some opportunities will be our regular because we know that we can’t do everything. That’s what self-care is.”

I’m a College Grad with Anxiety but I’m Still Ambitious