Friday 6PM ft. Mary

Get To Know Me Questions

How would you describe yourself to a stranger?

Describing myself is something that is always so hard for me. It makes me uncomfortable when people ask me about myself. It’s something I’d really like to get better at. That being said, I’ve been trying to work on introducing myself as a writer when someone asks me about myself. This is not what I’m doing for a living right now (I’m working in an office, not writing) but it’s the thing that I am in my heart.  If I had to come up with some words as well maybe I’d use passionate, dedicated, loyal. Sometimes soft and emotional. A little bit tough. A lot of awkward.

Which 5 songs are on the soundtrack to your life?

I’m sure I’d answer this question differently every single time based on my mood but here’s what I’m feeling right now:

 “Release” Pearl Jam

“Silver Lining” First Aid Kit

“Comedown” Bush

“Eyes to the Sky” Joseph

“Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town” Pearl Jam

My very favorite band is First Aid Kit but I’d say my favorite genre is 90’s alternative rock (2nd favorite genre is probably folk rock or something of the sort).

What are some of your goals for 2019?

Ah, I love making goals! Right now my two biggest goals are finishing my novel and buying a house. This year I’d also like to get a draft done of my next project, get some short stories published, and stay consistent on my blog. But my most important goal this year is to just write something every single day, no matter what that is.

Do you ever see yourself blogging full time?

I certainly would love to be spending a lot more time on my blog and connecting with humans on the internet, but I don’t think that blogging will ever be my sole focus. Fiction is my number one love, and I’m hoping that someday that’s what I’ll get to do for a living. But I really want to keep up with my blog on the side of that because I find it very therapeutic and I love connecting with other like-minded people this way.

Who inspires you?

So many people inspire me, from my family to prolific writers to bands to random people walking on the street. To narrow it down to blogging, though, the blog I love most, hands down, is Fire and Joy run by Nirrimi Firebrace. It is the most beautiful blog I have ever read and I have gotten lost in its pages for hours more than once. It doesn’t hurt that Nirrimi is an incredibly talented photographer and the imagery on her blog is just as beautiful as her words. And also — she’s just a wonderful human being all around!

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Ah, I am definitely a night owl! If I ever get time off from working a “normal person” 9-5 schedule I gravitate towards staying up until 2AM naturally. I definitely feel a little sleepy for the first few hours I’m awake.

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General Mental Health Questions

Do you have any advice on managing your mental health while waiting to get help (eg. being put on a waiting list)

It really sucks that this is a problem that people have to deal with. I’m certainly not a mental health professional, but I can say what has helped me manage anxiety personally. Meditation always helps when I do it consistently, and there’s a lot of free resources online and via apps for guided meditation. Also, exercise is super important; sometimes I find that the only way I can calm myself down is to go for a walk. Honestly, it’s super simple but deep, belly breaths always help me too.

What have you learnt about yourself through your mental health journey

The most important thing that I’ve learned is that other people’s brains don’t work the way that mine does (honestly, this can probably apply to any person on the planet, because we’re all so different). I used to think that I was just weak for not being able to handle life the way that other people can. When I realized that not everyone deals with what I do I was able to find a lot more kindness for myself. I’ve learned that I can be incredibly sensitive, and that’s okay. Sometimes I think that that sensitivity is a superpower; that I’m able to feel things more deeply than other people. Anxiety isn’t always bad. And the times when I can really accept that it is something that is part of me I am able to manage it best.

Do you use any apps for your mental health?

Yes! The meditation app that I use is called “Insight Timer.” It has tons of guided meditation options but you can also just use it as a timer that will go off every few minutes so you get a sense that your meditation is progressing.

I also use “Digital Wellbeing” which is part of the settings on my phone but I know that there’s other apps out there like it. Basically I limit myself to 30-45 minutes of Instagram a day because I find that if I don’t I’ll spend all day on it, get absolutely nothing done, and feel terrible about myself. And I do not have the Facebook app on my phone at all for the same reason.

Lately I’ve also been using this app called “Woebot” which is kind of cheesy but also fun. This little “robot” texts you every day and chats with you about various strategies for managing mental health. It’s certainly not a replacement for a real therapist but it has been a positive supplemental tool.

I’ve also just started using the notes app on my phone to make lists (this was  suggestion from Nirrimi, at Fire and Joy). I find that I can be pretty forgetful, especially when I’m feeling particularly anxious. I’m hoping that this helps me remember things a little better.

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Therapy

What made you seek therapy ?

I’ve been putting off going to therapy for years. I have known that I have an anxiety disorder since about sophomore year of college (I’m now 27, so about eight years ago) and I’ve never worked up the nerve to go before. I always knew I wanted to go but I would always think “oh I don’t have time for that right now.” And then, this past fall, I had a series of really terrible things happen in my life over the course of a few weeks. I was desperate to gain control and to make the situation better, and the only thing I had control over was myself. So I decided to finally take that step to gather the tools that will help me become a better version of myself.

And honestly, I wish I had gone years ago.

What misconceptions did you have about therapy?

I was so worried about what my family and friends would think about me going. I didn’t want my parents to think that they failed me. And I’ve also always had this strange complex where I worry that maybe I don’t actually have anxiety and I’m overreacting (that is a bit of a paradox, I know) so I don’t actually need to get treatment for it.

None of that really mattered once I got there, though. No one has questioned why I’m going and certainly, no one has accused me of not having anxiety after all like I was worried.

How can I build the courage to start therapy?

Just remember that bettering yourself is something that you have control over. I was so worried about family and friends judging me for going — but there’s nothing shameful about wanting to feel better. And the more often I go, the more comfortable I feel admitting that’s where I go.

Honestly? My best advice for doing anything that you’re afraid of is to just take a deep breath and do it. I know that’s hard. Just because something is simple doesn’t mean that it is easy. But the longer you put something off, the scarier it becomes. I know because I’ve put a lot of things off. And I’m still fighting that particular beast.

After your experience with therapy so far, would you recommend therapy to someone?

Absolutely. I’ve been able to sit down and talk about some really difficult situations in my life that are causing me a lot of anxiety with someone who is completely unbiased and simply has my best interest at heart. She’s been able to help me with solutions that I would not have come up with on my own, and she can point out different perspectives. I almost never want to go to therapy before I get there but I always feel like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders when I leave.

Do you have any recommended resources for someone who can’t afford therapy?

I may not be the best person to provide advice on this, but I’ll try. I know that some therapists offer sliding scales based on income. I also imagine that in certain areas nonprofits may provide some sort of resource for therapists. And I’m also wondering if there are support groups out there for people with anxiety/depression, like there is for addicts and alcoholics (AA/NA). If not, they should exist!

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Pursuing Dreams

What’s your dream?

My biggest dream has always been to have my novel published. But there are smaller dreams in there, too, like published stories and a successful blog and a family and a home.

What’s stopping you?

Ah! This is where I want to say “well no one has published me yet” but the reality is that I’m stopping myself. I don’t spend enough time writing, and I definitely don’t spend enough time submitting. I need to overcome the paralyzing fear of not being good enough and just sit down and do the work. Sitting down is always the hardest part.

Do you think people’s opinions of your dream has affected your confidence in chasing your passion?

It absolutely has. The thing that almost always keeps me from writing (or from sharing my writing if I’ve already written it) is the fear that it isn’t good enough. It is so hard for me to let go of perfection and to be okay with the fact that not everyone is going to resonate with my art and that’s okay. I am always picturing that imaginary audience who is sitting there, waiting to judge my work.

I’m trying really hard to push through this and just focus on enjoying the process. I hope I get there someday soon.

Are you working on any cool projects at the moment?

Right now my big project is my novel. I finished the second draft back in October and I’m just now picking it back up. It’s a story about a father and daughter cleaning out the family house after everyone in their family has passed away or moved elsewhere. It’s about grief and family stories and dealing with the past.

I also have an idea for a collection of linked short stories but I’m having a really hard time getting started on that one.

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Anxiety

How long have you struggled with anxiety for?

Looking back, even though I didn’t realize it until fairly recently, I’ve struggled with anxiety my entire life. I was a very shy child and found simple things like interacting with distant relatives or playing games with other children nearly impossible. It’s been better at certain points of my life and worse in others. I can’t remember a time in my life where I didn’t feel nervous about something.

How did you identify your triggers and what do you do when something or someone triggers your anxiety?

I’m still trying to figure out exactly what my triggers are. I can’t always tell why I’m feeling anxious when it happens. I have been able to identify a few things with my therapist, which has been a great help. As an example, I’ve always been really anxious about doctors/hospitals, and I’m working with her to try and figure out exactly what that fear is about, since I’ve never been sure. Otherwise, journaling can really help me identify what it is that’s bothering me. But sometimes it takes a few days before I really know.

When something triggers me, I try to take a lot of deep, belly breaths and try to distract myself from whatever negative thoughts are spiraling in my brain. I also tend to call my boyfriend a lot, but I kind of think that’s a bit of a crutch and I’d really like to stop burdening him with my anxiety so often.

What things has your anxiety prevented/ stopped you from doing?

So many things! The main thing right now is that I want to share more of my writing/art in general but I haven’t been able to. It feels so vulnerable to share blog posts/Instagram posts and often I’ll put off doing it because it scares me. In the past it’s kept me from sharing my fiction, making friends with people that I really connect with, moving out of my parent’s house (still live here), and many other things. It almost kept me from studying abroad in 2011 which was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I can’t imagine what I’d be like now if I had never gone.

Do you have any tips for calming yourself down when you feel anxious?

Lately I’ve been trying to distract my brain when I get stuck in an anxious spiral with the “categories” game. For example, I try to think of as many different kinds of trees I can. Aspen, Pine, Maple, Willow, etc. until I’ve gotten my brain out of the negative loop and I feel a little bit calmer. Sometimes those adult coloring books are also a good way for me to distract my brain for a little while. Other times, I just have to sit with it and accept it and just let it pass.

Do you think it’s healthier to focus on the healing than the anxiety?

Something that I’m trying to learn to do right now is to try not to fight the anxiety. The moment I fight against the fact that I’m feeling anxious, it turns into a full-blown anxiety attack. If, instead of fighting it, I accept that it’s there and try to work through it, it tends to resolve quicker. I guess in that way I am focusing on the healing — focusing on breathing deeply and distracting my mind while I just accept that I am anxious and that’s the way it is.

 

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xxxChips

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Friday 6PM ft. Bayance

Get to Know Me Questions

How would you describe yourself to a stranger?

Ooh well usually I’d just start with my name, age and where I’m from. But if I were to describe myself, I’d say I’m a people’s person who isn’t afraid to communicate her opinions and feelings and that I’m very passionate about justice, communities and turkish dramas (just kidding on the last one but hey, they’re really good)

What things would you say have shaped you as a person?

I’d say Islam is number one. Without it, I would’ve been completely different and probably lost. Also my experiences with people, reading and moving schools and homes a lot (getting to meet different people and being faced with different environments).

If your life was a movie what would it be called?

Hmm… “On Her Way To Save The World…once she stops procrastinating” Okay I really don’t know but my life so far might be “Mentally 40” or “Not Your Average Teenager”? So original, I know.

Which 3 songs are on the soundtrack to your life?

Oh man. I actually made a post called My Life In Songs describing my music phases so hehe, self plug there. But as in life, maybe Brave by Sara Bareilles, Never Be Enough and Titanium? I honestly don’t know.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Finished University and possibly engaged? I also hope to go into law or a political field so maybe a job there.

Do you ever see yourself blogging full time?

Honestly if I got the chance to, I would. I don’t think so now because my blog is very life based and I can’t imagine it with millions of views haha. But who knows?

Who inspires you?

My parents are super hard working and I get it from them. Noor Tagouri inspires me as well but I’m trying not to follow people’s footsteps and be my own boss. And spiritually, I should look up to prophet Muhammad because he was the best of mankind and treated everyone with respect.

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General Mental Health Questions

What are your top five self care tips?

1.Smile (even when you’re not happy)

2.Reflect on your accomplishments no matter how small

3.Pray

4.Treat yourself (don’t go overboard but maybe a new outfit, a new meal..etc)

5.Take care of your hygiene and health (I need to follow this myself)

6.Bonus: TELL YOURSELF YOU BEAUTIFUL BECAUSE YOU ARE

How do you practice being kind?

SMILING! And complimenting people (it doesn’t have to be about looks). Just have a positive attitude and keep bad thoughts to yourself. It’s hard but with practise, being a positive person isn’t too hard.

What distractions do you find helpful?

I hate that I do distract myself but I really shouldn’t. Face a difficult situation head on and get it out of the way. But I distract myself by eating, watching Youtube and sleeping haha.

Does hearing other people’s stories help you manage your own mental health?

YES, it makes me so much more thankful and like I feel like I’m not alone. Sometimes people have advice for me and I have advice for them and it’s great connecting with people.

What do you think of the mental health area on social media that promotes/ romanticizes illness ?

ROMANTICIZES!! I know a lot of people disagree but ever since people started mentioning mental health a lot, rates have increased by SO much. I think people are having a hard time distinguishing between their emotions and name any hard or sad situations depression. And it sucks because now you can’t really tell the difference between someone who wants to be tumblr or someone who actually needs help. I think making mental health a little more private would be better. You don’t see people with cancer writing “very bad migraine today or back pain” on their stories. They seek medication instead which is what people should be doing here or at least talking to people privately.

Has being on social media affected your mental health and how?Do you think social media has a more positive or negative impact for someone struggling with their mental health?

NEGATIVE 100%%%. It has doubled my anxiety and literally anything I post I always second guess. Seeking validation has tried to suck me in multiple times and this drug called social media drains a lot of time spent on nothing and it just ends up making you feel worse because you’re constantly waiting for someone to message you and comparing your successes to other people. It’s terrible. In fact, yesterday, I unfollowed everyone on Instagram. Nothing to scroll hours on my feed and no stories that are so fake keeping me distracted. I’m done with it.

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Self Love

What is your biggest insecurity and why do you think you’re insecure about it?

Hmm my voice? It’s really annoying in sound recordings hahah. I’m not that insecure about my body anymore but maybe my face? Like I don’t know eyebags and I just don’t have the best structure at all angles. I honestly do not care anymore because I don’t understand why I’d thrive to look perfect. My body is healthy and functioning and my appearance doesn’t matter in the long run.

What was the first step you took to overcoming that insecurity?

I guess I just stopped looking in the mirror as often and weighing myself. I just didn’t care about the little details and focused on what I could control like my personality.

Do you have any advice on learning how to accept your flaws?

You are more beautiful than how you see yourself – I promise. We get too used to seeing ourselves but to someone else, we are beautiful in our own ways. Our flaws make us human and I think it’s important to remember that you do not need anyone’s validation to qualify for beauty.

Have you learnt to accept your body?

Yep! There are obviously times where I’m like wow this picture sucks with me in it but I honestly don’t care much anymore. It’s just a temporary structure that holds your soul and will decompose one day as well. It’ll be replaced with something better and it just reminds you that this life isn’t perfect. I feel like we ignore that our bodies isn’t what’s on the outside but the inside too. And I mean literally. Look at how your body works together – all the cells, nerves and neuron messages making up and protecting your body from diseases. God made us this way for a reason and we shouldn’t compare our bodies to others.

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Anxiety

What is your first memory of experiencing anxiety?

Grade 3 when I was overthinking. I was just thinking how we’re stuck in this sphere that’s rotating around the sun and how huge the universe is and how we’re going to die and the afterlife would be forever and aah forever and aah can I just undo my existence and aah it’s coming and aah time is passing by and gefyufbjhsj. I’ve accepted it and am now trying to work my way to prepare for what’s next but there are definitely still times where I’m still in shock with this all and how no one seems so sucked in to this world that they forget to really look around them and ask questions, me included.

What’s the worst thing about your struggles with anxiety

That the only way I can release it properly is to cry and pray. Which is good but isn’t too handy in public. So it just gets bottled up and I feel a pit in my stomach followed by a headache.

What’s your best tip for learning how to cope with anxiety?

Write it all down. Get it down on paper. Pray because God knows what’s in our hearts and what we’re struggling with and there are times when I’d be so overwhelmed and anxious and then after praying, I’d feel so relaxed like there’s no worries in the world. If you choose not to believe in God now, that’s your choice and you could always ask me questions but your soul needs care too and denying everything would just make it darker. Another way I cope is to cry. Your mental health is like a bladder sometimes and if you feel too much emotions, let it out. Just like how you’d pee or throw up, stress needs to be released too and I promise you’ll feel better after a good cry.

How has your anxiety affected your education?

Only last year. I was trying to work and the group behind me was talking really loudly and then I started to think about how I used to be part of a big group like that and then everything became so blurry and I started getting dizzy and my heart was beating fast and just all thoughts hit me at once and I had to leave the classroom. It sounds really pathetic but it happened a few times where I felt really down but it got way better. Sometimes we think bad days and feelings last forever but they don’t. I promise you, they don’t.

 

Thank you so much for having me, Chips! I loved answering these questions.

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I started blogging because I needed a space where I didn’t feel restricted when it came to voicing my opinions and sharing my emotions and I found that, I found this amazing community of people who’ve changed my perspective about and opened my eyes to a lot of things.

I’m a better person because of those people.

From the very beginning, mental health was always something I wanted to talk about because it’s something very close to my heart and something I’ve struggled with for a very long time. Right from the get go I told myself that someday I would talk about my own issues, that, I would do it regardless… Continue reading FRIDAY 6PM

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xxxChips

FRIDAY 6PM

FRIDAY 6PM (1)

It’s been a hot minute since I last posted anything BUT I have an excuse perfectly good reason. I’ve had this idea in my head for a while now and I’ve been trying to tie up a bunch of loose ends surrounding it because when this launches I want it to be every bit as raw and real and incredible as I’ve been envisioning it for the past 2 months.

I started blogging because I needed a space where I didn’t feel restricted when it came to voicing my opinions and sharing my emotions and I found that, I found this amazing community of people who’ve changed my perspective about and opened my eyes to a lot of things.

I’m a better person because of those people.

From the very beginning, mental health was always something I wanted to talk about because it’s something very close to my heart and something I’ve struggled with for a very long time. Right from the get go I told myself that someday I would talk about my own issues, that, I would do it regardless of what anybody else thought because it needs to talked about. It’s something millions, if not billions of people struggle with and there’s still such a lack of understanding and awareness and of course, a stigma surrounding it.

Friday 6PM

~A series coming out in 2019 where I interview people~

We talk about things like identity, self care, loneliness, therapy, disability, high school experiences, stress, bullying, toxic relationships, friends, anxiety, depression, body image, middle school, self love and their lives(goals, who they are etc.)- that and pretty much anything else you can think of related to mental health or life

The goal, I would say, is to talk about the things that matter to us, to have a place where it’s okay to start a conversation and you don’t have to tiptoe around a subject. I can’t possibly do this alone though so, if you could:

a) Comment the name and links of someone you’d like me to interview, this can be anyone (that includes you)

and

b) Ask a question, about one of the above topics or any other question you want answered in the comments

it would mean a whole lot

xxxChips

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MENTAL HEALTH

So I’ve haven’t written about Mental Health much and I haven’t shared my story with you guys and that is something that will happen eventually and it is a mess of a story, but right now that’s not important. This post is not about my depression/anxiety/mood disorder story, this post is about everything happening now, in the moment, in my maze of a mind.

So for those of you who don’t know I recently started boarding school, and we weren’t allowed our phones/laptops for the first few weeks of it so I apologise for my absence.

I hate it full stop

I don’t fit in. In the two brief weeks I’ve been there I’ve made some amazing friends and I’ve figured out who the fake ones are.The thing is… I’m not happy. I can’t focus in class, I don’t like the extra-murals, I don’t like the people(of course in saying this I mean some of the people, most, of the people).And the truth is, there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. I feel trapped. So trapped that I’m going to see a doctor sometime within the next few weeks for an evaluation.

I  can’t even blog at boarding school, do you realise that? Blogging is what helps with my depression, my anxiety and still when I write about something as simple as whether or not I’m A Feminist  people (my family)start the conversation about whether or not the content on this blog is too ‘mature’ for me when these are things they have a) discussed with me and b) things I will share regardless. I started this blog for me. I started it and it gave me a  space where I could voice my opinion and hear the opinions of others, I haven’t received a single rude comment since I started and obviously not all bloggers are that lucky. But the truth is when I start writing about my mental health story people are going to judge me, regardless of whether or not the responses are positive or negative, I’m being judged. It makes sense that because I’m so young and there are pictures of me on this blog that people wouldn’t want me to write about a topic that could impact my future so ‘majorly’.

I am not a genius so I can’t say that I won’t regret writing about my mental health story 20 years from now, but I don’t think I will and writing about my story and sharing it with other people is something I need to do.For myself. And it is really, really important to me that people understand that what they are going through, isn’t something they are going through alone.

……………………………………………………………

I feel in volumes

-Adria T Petrov

Confusion

Heyy guys,

Wow. This is actually kinda hard to type. It’s just…

So yesterday I was up watching Shooter till like around 11 and then I went to bed and I woke up at like 8ish(which is actually really late for me). I don’t wanna say I woke up in a bad mood but I wasn’t exactly in a good one either, so let’s just call this mood GYST mode coz I was feeling really productive and I wrote my to-do list and I studied made study notes for math and NS(science)and I was just having a great day! I honestly don’t even know why I’m in such a bad mood because I just bought another book, ‘Milk and Honey’ and I’ve been dying to read it ever since I first heard about it! I like, just got home and I watched a few Youtube videos and I was just like ‘Okay, time to do schoolwork’. And I like couldn’t if you get what I mean. The school term is pretty much over which means we’re pretty much done with the third term’s work but we’ve started term 4’s work because it’s a short and busy term coz of exams (we write 13 btw). I just feel so stressed, and I don’t even know why.And I honestly just want to cry, but I’m soo tired of crying and feeling sad . And uhhm… I’m kinda worried my term mark because I know I didn’t do well, and it’s so frustrating!!!Like I was soo angry at myself when I got my report back at the end of term 2 and I promised myself I would work harder, and I did and I tried hard, but it’s all just too much.Like tests and projects and homework and blogging and me wanting to start a Youtube channel, and I really don’t want to start moaning and crying about what’s going on but I just feel so stressed. And it’s like I can’t even think straight anymore. I just want it to stop. Like, where is the big pause button I need??? Like at what point… at what point does it all just stop!So what I said I would do, and this is going back to the schoolwork side of things is like catch up because I feel like I’m falling behind and I like was in 3  4subjects:

Math

Tech

NS

and Afr(Afrikaans)

So I borrowed my friends’ books and I got some textbooks from my teachers(they generally keep them coz our parents complain about the weight of our bags). But yeah I caught up and honestly, I know it’ll be worth it, not just like with exams coming up but like…I was awake till one and I don’t see the results. And now I’m crying again even though I said I wouldn’t but it really, it really and truly does suck.To sit at a desk till one working hard and catching up, failing a test and then sitting in class feeling so dumb for not understanding the work and begging myself not to cry in front of my class. And with Afrikaans, I work hard, and we get given tests and I don’t understand a single thing anymore.

I just feel so dumb.

And I’m sorry if this wasn’t the post you were expecting but I really needed to get this off my chest. And I didn’t know I felt all this stuff till I wrote it down so I’m kinda glad I did but I just want you to know that it’s okay to have flaws, it’s okay to be real with people. You don’t have to act around people, and if you have stuff going on talk to someone coz internalizing your feelings isn’t going to get you anywhere. It’s not going to help you.It’s going to tear you apart mentally and you won’t even understand why.

Uhm. I just want to say that whatever you’re going through, it’s going to be okay.

TODAY’S SONG:Orlando-XxxTentacion

I love you guys

-Chips