Category Archives: mindfulness

So, I might be neurodivergent?

I’ve been wondering this for a while now. My struggles with attending community events or even being in public in general. Never used to be this way. In my 20’s, I was a fairly social creature. I went to all the events I could afford or travel to. Now, I maybe go to five a year.

A conversation this morning online has me questioning it yet again. I also completed the Myers-Brigg personality test and scored the rarest score – INFP – highly introverted and intuitive. The discussion connected INFP types to neurodivergents and well, it got me thinking.

My therapist diagnosed me with generalized anxiety disorder last year at a DSM level 5. Symptoms were exasperated by my employer. One of the catalysts that sent me into disability life. One of many reasons. I’m getting used to it.

I’m a gen X’er. Which means, we didn’t talk about mental health issues when we were kids. My mother repeatedly threatened to send me to therapy because I spent so much time alone as a kid in my room reading. I couldn’t read enough. I’ve always been a recluse, a hermit and loner. Friendships are hard for me at times. The other excuse was that my siblings were buttheads and there was a lot of bullying in the household.

They still kind of are at times. I only engage with them about issues with my dad, or my brand new baby niece who I am in love with.

But the bullying was traumatizing both physical and emotional. Emotional damage for years that would even induce nightmares about haunted dolls, and clowns.

Anyway…shudder. I don’t need those dreams.

We didn’t talk about mental health issues. I’m only now just connecting the dots through shadow work and her detailed journals, that my mother struggled with high functioning anxiety and depression too. There was a lot of stress in the house. And I would grow up to later have cortisol issues which causes fight or flight mode. On a loop. It’s exhausting.

So, why do I think I might be neurodivergent?

Well, we didn’t have terms like this when I was involved in the scene many years ago. I’m learning new terms all the time. And more neuro type folks that I met and befriended, the more I went… Huh.

And then I had a lightbulb moment.

Am I neurodivergent?

Let’s see how many behaviors apply to me. My therapist would cringe at this. She hates when people self-diagnose themselves.

Struggling to read and write – no. But holding a pen or pencil is painful for me. Most written communication is on the computer for that reason.

Clumsiness? Shit yeah, you should see the bruises on my legs.

Hard to cope with crowds, bright lights, noise, physical sensations? Yes! Even the sound of crunching snow under my feet drives me crazy.

Difficulties focusing? Can’t sit still? I mean, there’s a reason I’m on fetlife a lot these days. Distraction.

No smiling? Or social responsiveness? To a point. I do better 1 to 1 or in really small group settings where I know the people well. I attended a group event this fall and sat there literally chewing my fingernails. The anxiety about saying the wrong thing was surreal. And it was a small and intimate group.

Personality traits: I am sometimes blunt but don’t meant to be rude or hurtful. People don’t like that much. I mask when needed but I hate doing it. I’ve always kind of done my own thing and often don’t fit into communities.

When it came to school, I was never a good student. Classes bored me. I learned way too late in life that I learned better by actually DOING things. Math and science – my brain couldn’t compute. But language, music, arts, crafts, were my jam. Areas where I could express myself freely.

ADHD is also linked to hypermobility which is the main cause behind my chronic pain and injuries. Same with anxiety. Constant fight or flight mode. Throw in insomnia and other issues too. Sometimes I’m not fun to be around.

So, am I neurodivergent or is it something else? I don’t know. But the more people I interact with who are – it seems, the better we tend to get along and make friends fast with. I guess time will only tell.

What’s your neurodivergent story? How did you get diagnosed?


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I did not expect to cry over this video message

Jonna Jinton is an artist and content creator from northern Sweden. I first discovered her when searching for videos about my “home country” – Denmark. The beauty in her videos is what turned me into a fan. She’s also a musician and a bit of a humanitarian and has won awards.

I did NOT expect to cry over this video message. If you have an hour and need some uplifting messages today…. watch this please. She collected videos from people around the globe and just wow. She received thousands of videos from her fans which now reach over 4 million.

“You have a reason to be here”

“The true religion is kindness. Let’s just be kind to each other.”

Trust me. It’s worth a watch.

And trust me – you will need tissues. I am bawling over this.


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What is Shadow Work and why is it necessary for trauma?

Shadow work is working with your unconscious mind to uncover parts of yourself that you may have repressed or hide from yourself. This could include past traumas, hurts, or negative aspects of the shadow self, that we all possess.


What is our shadow self?

Our shadow self is thought to be the parts of ourselves that make us undesirable to others. Or parts of ourselves that hold us back from success or happiness. Our shadows can represent things like anger, sadness or depression, anxiety, self-doubt or self-loathing. It can have an impact on your overall well-being and cause blockages with your spiritual beliefs and practices.

Giving in for far too long to our shadow self, can result in struggling in relationships or connections in general. When you suffer from chronic anxiety and depression, it can really make it hard to sustain relationships with others who seem more positive or can shrug off challenges more easily. I am not one of those people.

This was the first time I really dived into shadow work, and it was a draining and exhausting process. It was also lonely as hell. But it’s something I will work continue to work on to help heal.


How to recognize your shadow self

A good way to test yourself, is to gauge how you interact and react towards others. How do you respond when people become aggressive towards you? What about those who do not respect your boundaries?

Are you firm in telling them to stop? Are you firm in sticking to your core values and principles? Or are you the type of person who avoids conflict or difficult situations and tend to ignore your selfcare because you are a people pleaser?

There’s nothing wrong with being a people pleaser, as long as you don’t dismiss your own values in the process.


Consequences of shadow work

When you do shadow work, you get a better sense of what those core values in relationships might look like for you. This can change your entire outlook on current connections in your life. You might lose friends or even your primary relationships.

People who aren’t ready to face their trauma or do shadow work themselves, will often revolt or shy away from those that do.

Shadow work can also reveal trauma you may have suppressed for years and this can open a flood gate of feelings you aren’t prepared for. I do suggest working with trained professionals in counseling or therapy. Or find a support group that you can trust.

You may find yourself becoming emotional for no reason even on those good days. Crying is a big part of it. You may also find you want to sleep more. Pain might surface. Same with tension headaches. If you struggle with any of these new symptoms, please check in with your primary care provider.

Your intuition will peak during this process. You will notice toxic behaviors more and people that you considered to be close friends, will not look the same.

You will go through it. The stages of grief are real. I’m kind of in between I’m ready to let it all go, I’m mad at the world, and I just want to have fun again.

Thankfully, the crying myself to sleep daily has stopped.


Setting intentions with shadow work

One of your intentions with shadow work might be to help heal from trauma or hurt that triggered something from the past. For me, it was an abrupt ending to a relationship. Being made to feel like I was a terrible person when in reality, I wasn’t. Unresolved conflict led me to an anxiety spiral and a serious depressive episode. This led to being ghosted.

This experience brought out a lot of insecurities and resentment from past partners. It also triggered my abandonment anxiety and I went into a bad spiral.

Intentions can be anything you want to work on. I find bullet journaling, writing here in this block and working with Tarot cards really helps to pick things I should focus on. Ideas will often come to me while meditating or working on crafts as well.

You can read more about intention setting here.


Lessons learned during my shadow work

  • Make sure you have clear intentions and an outcome for your work.
  • You will need breaks in between to remember the good things in life.
  • Give yourself a deadline for the hardest parts.
  • Surround yourself with people who are on similar paths that you can learn from. Be wary of those who are “leaders” and stick to ones you get good vibes from. Trust your intuition.
  • Your intuition will peak during this process.
  • You will feel things you’ve never felt before and these can manifest into physical symptoms.
  • You will want to isolate yourself. That’s fine. But don’t isolate too long. You will need friends to help you.

Most importantly: you will lose people. Those who are false friends will reveal their masks once you start taking care of you. It will hurt you more. But you are better off without these people. This will open new doors for new people to come in.

You will discover who your real friends are. The ones who are happy with you as you are and accept you fully despite your faults.


It’s a lifelong healing process

Shadow work can be rewarding and can speed up your healing process from recent hurts. That said, the more trauma you unpack, the more you connect it to your early memories. This can be a lifelong process and you may have to relearn coping mechanism along the way.

The point of shadow work isn’t to stay in the darkness forever. The point of it is to learn to let go of that darkness that hides your shine. You WILL find your inner light again. You will get your spark back.

You just have to keep working at it.


Also, this song came on while I was writing this and I thought I’d share the video. It’s fitting.

Discussion Prompt

Have you ever done shadow work? If so, what were your biggest lessons? What methods worked for you? Did you have a support group? Let me know in the comments.


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What is mirroring in relationships?

A discussion came up today during a therapy session when I explained a situation that I was faced with. Without giving details here, she said:

“It sounds like this person mirrored your behavior and when you hit a depression and life stopped being fun, they moved on.”

Have you ever met someone who was so much like you in early stages of the relationships that you couldn’t help but feel like you were soul mates? Or maybe it seemed too good to be true.

Some people you click with naturally, but sometimes – people are mirroring your behaviors.


Why do people do this?

That’s a good question. It may be that people lack confidence or awareness into who they are. Or they admire you and want to be like you. Or the darker aspect of mirroring – it can be a manipulation tactic to win you over. To gain your trust. And then a few months down the road, the flip will switch and you start to see that they aren’t the person you once knew at all.

On the toxic side of mirroring, it may be that the person is so miserable with their life that they can’t help it. They might not be aware of what they are doing. While others are very aware and use this to “infiltrate” the other person’s life. And sometimes, they are so good at what they do – it works.

I’ve lost friends over this. But I’m also fiercely protective over those long-term relationships and friendships and will do what I can to keep them safe.


What is mirroring?

Mirroring is matching the other’s persons behavior. Whether it is the way they speak, their mannerisms, they way they dress, the things they’re interested in, even down to body posture when together in person.

Sometimes mirroring happens when you spend a lot of time together. I’ve noticed, that sometimes I will adopt phrases that a partner or friend uses. Or we repeat the same jokes. You get the drill. Or you start loving their hobbies and interests, just to spend time with them.

This is also why I stayed in relationships that weren’t good for me, for far too long and often wound up hurt when they ended.


Is mirroring a toxic behavior?

Not always. The other person may not be aware of what they are doing. While other times, mirroring can be a way to gain your trust early on and make you feel as though you are the most important person. That you’re a rare bird and a rare catch. That your connection is like nothing else they have ever experienced before.

This is a form of manipulation that often presents itself months down the road. It may be easy to catch early on, but some people are good at masking and hiding who they really are.

I know I’ve done this in the past with people. I don’t think it was intentional. I would change myself for partners. Until I did some shadow work to determine core values and started imposing boundaries and limits that were for me.

This also changed relationships for me. While there are still things I struggle with – like trust and anxiety, I’m getting better at recognizing toxic traits early on. But some people can still fool you. I also really recognize toxic traits in myself, that I am trying to unlearn.


What about mirroring in romantic relationships?

Sometimes in romantic partnerships or connections, you can mirror each other’s feelings. This is especially true if you are an empathetic person. I know that for me, my emotional state often depends on how the other person is feeling. Or how they interact with me.

Relationships are harder for me, because I notice everything. Even if communication changes in the slightest, I need more reassurance more than the average person. It can honestly be exhausting. I’m learning as much as I miss things like intimacy, I’m often better off single.

If my moods are that dependent on the way someone else treats me, then maybe that person or relationship isn’t the right one for me.


New relationship energy or mirroring?

New relationships energy can also complicate things. Some call it the honeymoon stage. Everything is shiny and new. You want things to be perfect. But relationships aren’t perfect. They’re meant to have challenges and lessons so that we can all learn and grow from them.

While mirroring early on in relationships can be a useful tool, over time, learning to recognize your partner’s needs and emotions should come naturally to you.

You’re allowed to feel what you want in the present moment. You’re allowed to have a difference of opinions. You don’t have to match or agree on every subject or challenge that might come along.

This is part of life. Part of what being in a relationship is. The best connections are those that you can learn from and help each other grow. And also, when you’re there for each other during low points in life.


Something I really learned this year is:

Be wary of people who seem too good to be true early on. If they use language like “you’re important to me” in the first weeks of conversation, this is a red flag for me.

It’s one thing to click naturally and have a lot in common, but trust me when I say – you won’t match on everything. And if you do, maybe it’s time to step back and figure out who you really are and what makes you tick.

Because copying someone, making friends with all of their friends, and then ditching that initial relationship? That’s just hurtful to the ones you leave behind. And yes, I’ve had this happen a few times.

One person just ghosted me without an explanation, after chatting for months on end. All day. Every day. I wound up blocking her on all platforms when I learned she was hitting up my partner at the time. That’s not cool. That’s taking mirroring TOO far.

Some people do this. They see you living the life they want for themselves, and try and take yours over, while pushing you out. I’ve lost some friends to this over the years. And sometimes, you just drift apart as new people come in.

Good relationships take time to develop. Build on them. Go slowly.


Have you ever been mirrored by someone? Or have you caught yourself mirroring someone else? If so, let me know in the comments what happened.


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How to incorporate mindfulness to your daily routine

Mindfulness is described as being the state of being aware or a state that keeps you in the present moment – instead of dwelling on the past, or worrying about future events that you have no control over.

As someone who struggles with anxiety, this is difficult for me but also a necessary part of healing and moving forward in life. In addition to incorporating daily spiritual practices, I thought I would share some ideas and tips on how you can practice mindfulness in your daily life.

These are things you can do from anywhere – even if you’re on the road or traveling. It won’t cost you anything and you only need minimal supplies.

My spiritual workings involve a lot of meditation, journaling and doing a lot of these things already – so, don’t be surprised if some of my advice is overlapping in some areas.


Start your day with intent

Something I’ve always done as an anxious person, is wake up in the morning and run through a list of things that I need to get done for the day. I keep calendars and sticky notes with reminders of important tasks or appointments that I can’t miss. I run through plans multiple times in my head to make sure that I won’t be late or miss anything I need to do.

Now that I’m not working, my to do list is a lot shorter. So, it’s important for me to find things to do during the day that fill up the time and give me a sense of purpose (as health and symptoms allow for). Some days, all I can do is sleep if I have a migraine or in a lot of pain. On those good days, like today – I feel motivated and try to be productive where I can.

  • Take some time after you wake up, or during your morning routine to think about what you want to accomplish that day. Whether it’s finding time for yourself to meditate. Or get that workout in. Or go for a walk. Visit with a friend. Whatever it may be – set an intention for you that brings you joy. Even if it’s something like buying a coffee and drinking it while listening to music.
  • Check in with yourself during the day. Make adjustments if necessary to fit it in with your schedule. Remind yourself why this is important to you and why it is needed. The more you do this, the easier it will become a habit for you.
  • Rinse and repeat – every day, until this becomes second nature to you. Soon, you won’t even need a journal or to write things down. You’ll train yourself to be able to just follow through. The important thing is not to give up on those down days when you’re feeling low. Don’t be too hard on yourself. And don’t set unrealistic intentions. Start small and work your way up.

Mindful Eating and Exercise

Too often, I find myself eating meals at my computer while watching my favorite YouTube channels or binge watching shows in the evening. Sometimes, I eat so fast, that I feel hungry within an hour or two, and then crave junk food which always makes me feel worse.

One thing that can help with weight loss and improving eating habits in general, is to be more mindful of how you eat – now just what you eat.

  • Take a few deep breaths before eating. Calm your mind. This works better if you eat meals alone or on your breaks. Eat slower, chew slowly. Enjoy every bite you take.
  • Eat the foods you love – don’t force yourself to eat foods you’re not a fan of. Eating should be pleasurable. If weight loss is your goal. do research into healthy meals – there are lots of foods out there that can help you meet your goals, you just have to put a little time and effort into them.
  • Listen to your body. Pay attention to how hungry you are. If your stomach is getting full, don’t force yourself to eat all the food in front of you. Package some of it up for later. Or eat smaller meals throughout the day. This will depend greatly on any medical conditions you have or special diet requirements. Eat to sustain your energy, not because you are bored or feeling sad.
  • Look at your relationship with food – do you have healthy eating habits? Do you often forget to eat or skip meals? Do you eat out of boredom or to help with grief or strong feelings? Once you recognize your eating patterns, you can work on your relationship with food. You may need to recruit a professional therapist or counsellor if you really struggle with it.
  • Move a little every day – You don’t have to get an expensive gym membership or build a full gym at home to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Start small. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Go for a walk on your break. Go to the mall and walk the halls in winter months. You can do things like yoga or pilates at home. As long as you move at least 15-20 minutes daily, you’ll notice a shift in how you feel overall.

Meditation to strengthen your focus

As someone with undiagnosed ADD, I struggle a lot with focusing on specific intentions or tasks. I easily get distracted or become disinterested in things the moment I get started on. Even with this article, I started on it five hours ago – and have worked out, cooked dinner and completed other tasks that I could have waited on.

Meditation can really help strengthen your focus. This can be done by focusing on your breathing, listening to music, or doing something physical like yoga. For me, music is my meditation. Or I have to force myself to lie down and try and clear out thoughts that are running a mile a minute in my busy and anxious brain.

Here are some types of meditations you can do, to help “slow your roll” and that may help to strengthen your focus.

  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Body scan meditation (lay down, relax, focus on breathing)
  • Sitting meditation (with intent)
  • Walking meditation (connect with nature)
  • Music meditations – binaural beats, alpha, or theta (I’ll write another article on this)

Bullet journaling or practicing or writing

This is something that is new to me and I have a private journal I write in often, especially on those low days where I want to keep thoughts to myself. On good days, I’ll write a post here or share with my friends.

Using a daily bullet style journal is a very useful tool for practicing the art of mindfulness. It’s about self-exploration, writing down thoughts that come to you or questions that might come up. You can jot down your feelings about certain events or situations. Or you can create lists of intentions and things you want to accomplish.

You can do this the old fashioned way, on pen and paper. Or you can download journals from sites like Etsy and use on your tablets. Journaling has come a long way and you can tailor something to help meet your bulleting needs.

I try and write a little every day. Whether in this blog, my private journals, or working on my short stories and books. This is a hobby for me, and helps me relax.


Why is mindfulness is important?

If you’re a person like me that struggles with anxiety, adding these practices to my daily life can not only give me something positive to focus on, but also can greatly reduce the number of panic attacks or anxiety attacks I might have in a given day.

Living with chronic pain and a disability can be difficult to manage – especially on those days where it seems like just getting out of a bed can be a chore. I felt a lot of guilt for not being able to work, and now, I’m accepting this is life now. And I’m making the most of the time I have here. This blog is a hobby for me and I’m writing about issues that bring me joy.

Mindfulness can help manage illnesses like generalized anxiety, depression and other mental health issues that you might struggle with. If you live with daily pain like I do, it might even help boost your serotonin (the happy hormone) or dopamine, and give you energy needed to get your daily tasks done.

You may even find over time, that your relationships become easier to manage as you learn new coping techniques for stressful events. You learn what’s worth fighting for, and what’s worth letting go of – even if it hurts.

Learning to work with things you can control, and letting go of what you cannot control, is honestly a game changer when it comes to mindfulness. Knowing that you’re doing the best you can, in extraordinary circumstances, focusing on what you can do, while letting the universe take the wheel for the rest.


What are some ways that you incorporate mindfulness into your busy routine?

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The thing about shadow work they don’t tell you

For the past month or so, I’ve mostly kept to myself. Focusing on healing and shadow work. Trying to let go of outdated patterns that no longer serve me well. Also, trying to move on from this depression.

But the more time that goes on, while I feel less hurt, and I’m not crying on a daily basis – it still stings.

Shadow work can be draining in itself. When you’re forced to face your trauma head on, especially if it’s the reason for a relationship ended or failing – you’re also forced to look inside yourself to figure out why these relationships fail.

In asking for space and time to heal, I lost some friends that I used to talk to often. I think that’s the hardest part of a breakup, especially when you see your ex’s out in the same community. It’s one of the reasons why I left the alt community in the first place. Too many ex’s and everyone seemed to play or hook up with each other. To the point where it gets “icky” for me to think about.

Something I have learned recently, is that when you do the work on yourself to heal and grow – and you share your experiences – it can scare friends away. And not for the reasons you would think.

I think in some cases, maybe those people aren’t ready to face their inner demons or work on their trauma. Yes, they acknowledge they have issues, and pain, but they continue to move through life without doing anything to help overcome it. And trust me when I say, there comes a point where you recognize your patterns can be hurtful, and you want to make changes. Well, maybe not for everyone.

There are some people that have stood by me through this and are noticing the growth and changes I’ve made. I’m not writing daily – at least not on social media for friends to see. I’m more working on artwork, and getting back into editing and rewriting my book series. It’s distracting. In between sleeping and naps. I cannot seem to get enough sleep – another side effect of shadow work. It drains you.

I think the lesson here for me, and something my Tik-Tok feed keeps telling me is this:

People come and go into your life for reasons and seasons. Some are there to teach you karmic lessons. And others, will stay by your side, and support you on your journey, no matter what it looks like.

For me, I’m grateful for those friends I’ve had for years who have stuck by me. They’re the ones I can rely on. Some read this blog. They’re the people I can visit with, after months of not seeing each other, and we just pick up like no time has passed. Or we can sit in comfortable silence, watch a movie, or a concert and just enjoy each other’s company.

I’m really trying to let go of those people that don’t want to be in my life. But it’s hard when it’s a small community. There are some that I love dearly, and want to keep in touch with. Even though there is hurt there.

I wonder if part of the thing with shadow work – does healing and letting go of trauma, make you rethink those connections and friendships you thought were right for you? Were they really friends, or were they just hanging onto you for whatever reasons? Maybe you provided a service to them. Or maybe you made them feel good with attention.

Or maybe.

Part of healing is recognizing to see the bullshit that others put into the world. You catch on more easily to who the players are. You’re moving into a new phase of your life, where you’re just tired and don’t have the energy to put up with the crap.

You re-evaluate your core values and boundaries. And when you enforce those boundaries, you’re called an asshole and ungrateful. At least, that’s what I learned from family. And so, I just disengage. Remove myself from those conversations and people.

There’s a lot I’m feeling right now. And mostly, I want to be alone. I want to write. I want to share my thoughts and ideas. I want to heal. I want to let go of everything and that will happen eventually.

The resentment? Yes, it’s still there.

But deep down, I know I’m on the right path. That these lessons had to happen for a reason, so that I could start this healing journey and unlearn responses to trauma that are from generations of trauma.

So, if you feel like you need to do work – do the work. You don’t have to go it alone, sometimes it’s just better to. Just be careful when you get started.

You won’t look at people in your life the same way again.

And oddly enough. The one person I really want to talk to, is one that I left behind, because I was told he wasn’t good for my mental health. And yet, I miss our nightly chats and flirting the most.


How can shadow work be so therapeutic, rewarding, needed, and yet so fucking lonely at the same time?

What is toxic positivity?

In follow up to my rant on Sunday about those people who demand positivity from others – I had someone mention Toxic Positivity to me in a discussion on Twitter – so I thought I would write a separate post for that.

Who knew. They have terms for everything these days whether it’s toxic or not.

In spiritual practices such as Wicca, we all know that what you send out to the universe comes back at you. Some call this karma. Others believe in the Law of Attraction and how sending out positive vibes to the universe will bring positive things your way.

While that can be true, it’s not always the case. Sometimes in life, things just happen whether you manifested them or not. And while having a positive outlook on life, can result in you being a happier and energetic person, there are downsides to it too.


What is toxic positivity?

Reciting positive quotes about hard situations – obsessively, as if you are trying to convince yourself and others everything is okay.

Experiencing guilt for being sad and angry or experiencing confusing feelings or situations.

Hiding or masking painful emotions, putting up a false front or a shield that makes it seem like you are happier than you are.

Ignoring your problems, dismissing others’ problems, instead of working on them or yourself to help make things better.


The image above was saved from Dr. Bryan Pearlman’s website. Reading it makes me cringe. I have heard so many of these phrases from people in my life. “Just smile and plug through the day!” Or “Just get out there and meet new people!” Or “Just stay positive! I need to be around positive people only!”

We all experience painful emotions from time to time. Some people are better at hiding or masking their emotions from friends or loved ones. For me, I’m a writer. It’s my main form of communication to my networks online. It’s how I share my learnings and experiences. It’s therapeutic for me. And I’m working on myself, doing shadow work, healing, and working hard so that I can be a better person for those people in my life who need me.

I’m also an emotional being. Someone recently said to me, “You’re a walking emotion, how did he not know that about you?” Which is true.

Anyone who has followed my writings for any amount of time, knows that I’m not afraid to share my emotions and put them out there. So, if you get in a relationship with me, you shouldn’t be surprised that yes, I’ll be writing about it from time to time. Especially when I’m feeling overwhelmed or confused. Though I’ll keep private details – private.

It’s like the guys that date Taylor Swift and then are surprised she mentions them in her songs. Duh. That’s what writers and artists do. I’ve even modelled fictional book characters around my ex boyfriends. It’s therapeutic.


“Good vibes only!”

When you tell people that you want “good vibes only”, it’s saying that you only want to hang around when it’s beneficial for you. It’s not being a good friend or partner.

What this tells me – is that you’re the type of person who will bail at the first sign of trouble.

We all face hardships in life. We may lose a job. Or get heartbroken when a relationship that meant a lot to us ends. Or we lose someone very dear to us to illness or an accident. Or just sometimes life gets to be to “too much” and emotions can become overwhelming.

We all handle our emotions differently too. Some people lack the ability to control their emotions. While others, are avoidant and will do whatever they can to shut others out. I’ve dated a few guys like this in my time. Relationships can be tough with those who avoid “serious feelings”.


How toxic positivity makes others feel

For me, I know I felt deep shame for sharing my emotions publicly which is ironic, since my journal writings were how I connected with many of them in the first place. People want to be seen and heard and have their emotions validated. Saying things like “happiness is a choice” – is a bit of a slap in the face to those who experience depression or other mental health issues.

The guilt we feel for not being the person they expect us to be is real. I know for me, during dark times, I tend to isolate and withdraw from friends. This is a trauma response or triggers. I need the time alone to sort through my feelings before I can my game back on. Sometimes it takes longer. The guilt is there for wanting the time alone.

This also prevents growth. If you are the type of person to avoid facing your emotions or learning from them, then you’ll never really grow. Life is about karmic lessons and learning from past experiences and mistakes. It shapes us into who we are meant to be. Toxic positivity is avoiding dealing with those feelings and emotions and situations that may seem difficult to face.

Facing those challenges head on, can be a daunting thing, but worth the work you put into it, in the end.

“Positive vibes only” can also be a sign of gaslighting. And as someone who broke free from a narcissistic abuser, I’m so done with this in my life.


It’s okay, to not be okay

Your feelings and emotions are yours to feel. Don’t let others judge you for that. If you’re feeling sad, angry, or whatever you happen to feel in that moment, your feelings are valid. You don’t need others to validate them, though it can help when you are seen and heard.

Something I’ve learned to do on really low days, is write in my private journal. Or here on this blog where few friends follow and I’m writing my thoughts out to mostly strangers.

You can manage your negative emotions, and keep some to yourself. But don’t feel guilty or shame for thinking them.

Focus instead, on others who have offered support. Read as much as you can and learn about developing healthier habits to incorporate into your daily routine – things like bullet journaling, meditation, making sure you get sleep, exercise and sunshine. These are all things you can do that helps to elevate your moods.

Learn to recognize toxic people and remove from your life. Even if it means cutting out people that you thought were your best friend at one point.


Do reach out for support when needed

I’m learning that friends shouldn’t be used as therapists. I’m learning that I’m not the type of friend who you want to chat with on a daily basis. I’m also the type of friend that won’t sugar coat things and will give honest and real advice.

While I have a few close friends I can turn to for advice, if you’re struggling with a current situation or problem – get support from a licensed therapist or coach. Find someone you can trust who isn’t connected to you personally.

Write daily. I often write here or my private journal. I’m getting back into fiction writing to help with trauma dumping and letting go of things.

Find creative outlets to pour your emotions or anger into.

Get out there. Meet new friends. Find people who are similar to you and understand what you’re going through.

And seriously, just forget those people who say things like “happiness is a choice!” or “failure isn’t an option!” or whatever. These are outdated terms and are now considered gaslighting or toxic.

Do you have people like this in your life? How have you responded to them? Let me know in the comments.


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Working with intentions instead of resolutions

I’m not a fan of making resolutions at the start of a new year. Resolutions are easy to forget and give up on. Many people often make goals or lists that are unattainable or unrealistic. Or they lose momentum and motivation within the first month of the year.

A good example of this, is how many people buy gym memberships in January and start training, only to quit after a month or two. As someone who prefers home workouts, I’ve never understood this mentality. It just sets you up for failure.

A few years ago, I started off the new year by making a list of goals that I want to achieve. Sometimes, I’ll break the goals down from month to month or I’ll assign deadlines which help keep me motivated.

This year – I’m trying something new and letting go of old habits. Instead, I want to focus on INTENTION – and what that means for me.


What does the word intention mean?

That’s a good question. Intention is one with cause and effect. It determines the outcome of any situation. If you’re stuck, and not moving forward in life, you need to check the thought and action that created your current situation.

Creating a list of intentions for you to focus on – may help you get “unstuck”.

As part of mindfulness and healing, I sat down and asked myself some hard questions this past week. This is part of shadow work – something I’ll write more about later. It’s a form of deep healing that some people do to let go of trauma bonds and emotional grief or disappointments.

Some questions that came up for me were:

  • What are some things I want to accomplish this year?
  • What are things that will help improve the quality of my life?
  • What are things that bring me the most joy?
  • What are some areas that I can improve on?
  • What did I learn last year, that I can carry on to this year?

These questions will help me determine goals that I want to set for myself and aspire to. Instead of focusing on negative, I’m looking at things (even small things) that will help improve the quality of my life.


What are my intentions for the year?

Now, that’s a very good question. My first intention, is to focus on improving my current state of depression and learning to let go of past hurts. Moving forward with lessons learned from what went wrong last year. The year wasn’t all bad. I made some great new friends and had some amazing first experiences. But – there was also a lot of heartache that I’m still recovering from.

The key is to take lessons from those experiences, so you don’t make the same mistakes twice.


Education and spiritual practices

My main goal this year is education. I want to learn as much as I can, and absorb as much knowledge as I can so that I can share these learnings with you. Areas of focus will include: spiritual practices, languages, arts and crafts and learning more about my ancestry – the Nordic roots.

This means getting back into reading. I’d like to read at least ONE book per month. I think that is a pretty attainable goal.

Improving overall health and wellness

This will happen in various stages through the year. Since Christmas, I’ve mostly been catching up on sleep after months of serious sleep deprivation. It means, trying to regulate my sleep patterns.

This means continuing to eat healthy, cook more meals and stock up the freezer for summer months with meals that can be reheated. This means sitting outside more on warmer days and using the balcony daily in warmer months. This means going for nature walks as my knees allow for it. Going for coffee with friends. Attending workshops and events that will help me connect with likeminded people and make new friends.

Practicing daily mindfulness

This means writing more – here in this blog and in my journals. Researching new topics to cover and track my moods. Practice daily gratitude and mindfulness techniques so that I can appreciate the here and now -and what I do have, rather than focusing on what was lost.

Working with my hands

Part of the issue of not working, is that I have a lot of time on my hands. I’m not able to hold down a job due to physical disabilities. The pain is too much at times from arthritis and fractures that I live with. On those good days where I have good energy, I intend to keep my hands busy. Work on bracelets, artwork and create digital products for Etsy. This is a hobby for now. It brings me joy and keeps the mind distracted.

Learning new skills would be helpful so that I can expand my current capabilities in jewelry making. I’d love to make necklaces and sell them to friends.

Staying connected

This is a hard one for me. When I hit depression, or low periods, as I call them, I just do not have the energy or stamina to be around people. I need time on my own to recharge. This often means losing friends and or unintentionally pushing people away.

Something I need to work on is repairing those connections that went awry – and that are meaningful to me. Staying in touch with friends that I want in my life. And – opening up my heart again to the possibility of new friends. This might be the most challenging thought of ALL.


Live with intent and follow up on actions

I think that’s a pretty good list. I try and keep intentions or goals to 3-5 for the year. I tend to revisit my list each month and create a progress report for friends to read if they’re interested.

My main goal is to live with intention. Follow up on promised actions. Make amends. And heal. However that looks from month to month, we’ll just have to wait and see what comes up this year.

One thing I do believe in is – the energy you put out there, often comes back at you. The three fold rule of attraction. I’m working on hard on trying to attract only good things and people in my life. While not tearing down those who may be struggling as well.

What are your intentions for the upcoming year? Let me know in the comments!


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All the things I’m grateful for

It’s nearly 4 am and I’m supposed to be in bed sleeping and dreaming away. But as usual, my brain is being a Sadist and refuses to listen to anyone. I just popped some sleeping meds so I will be sold out tomorrow. Which kind of sucks – I have a lot to do to get ready for the weekend.

I feel a little giddy when I think about it.

It’s been so long since I’ve had lifestyle friends that I can just hang out with and be myself. Yes, I have my long-term friends who I cherish and hope to see often this fall and winter. But it’s these connections and dynamics where I can just be my silly, goofy and perverted self without worry or judgment.

Years ago, when I was active in the community, I had a few girlfriends I could have sleepovers with. They were fairly benign. We’d watch movies. Pig out on pizza or Chinese food. Then sleep in the same bed. Some friends would cuddle – because that’s fun to do. And once, I curled up in bed with one of my best buds and his girlfriend. Yes. You read that right. Shocking, I know. But – back then, I was less inhibited and freer than I am now. I’m slowly getting back to my old self though.

I’m so looking forward to this. Just hanging out in pajama pants, watching stupid Halloween movies and just having a good time.

Of course… the men are trying to turn this into something more than it is. You know how men can be. They get ideas in their heads about what sleepovers are. Like us dressing up in lingerie and having pillow fights. I mean, I’m sure some people do that – but come on.

I’m excited to wear my favorite pair of fuzzy pants and pork out on pizza while watching movies like Practical Magic and Hocus Pocus for the fun of it.

I was supposed to have a couple of coffee dates in the next bit, but COVID happened at a recent community event, and half the guests are in isolation. I was supposed to go to one of the park meets and I’m glad I didn’t. Pretty much everyone there got sick. I have the sniffles, but I think it’s allergy related. Otherwise, I feel fine. The smoke from the wildfires has been bad this week resulting in wicked migraines.

As for the coffee dates. Yes, I’m excited and nervous? I’m trying to meet people in person to break out of my shell and just get out there. As friends. I know one person really likes me – and that’s exciting too. We’ve met several times at various events over the summer. I like him too. There’s chemistry. But what that chemistry is, I haven’t figured that part out yet.

The world of poly relationships or ethical non-monogamy isn’t new to me, but it’s been so long that I forgot how much fun it can be.

My long-distance relationship is still going strong but not without complications. It’s fucking hard. The distance. The nights are lonely. I wish he were closer so we could be together in person. But I know that’s not possible with his schedule and family commitments right now.

Why does it seem like the people you connect most with, are half a world away? He’s not even that far, but travel for a weekend doesn’t seem likely any time soon when it’s a 19 hour drive!

But alas. The man has my heart and as he said. We don’t know what could happen in four or six months. And it’s weird to think he’s been a part of my life for nearly six months. Longer than some of my in person relationships.

For now, I’m trying to keep myself busy and distracted. Been getting back into cooking. I made some delicious zucchini and cheese loaves this week. Some chocolate raisin cookies. And yesterday, I made a delicious and spicy tomato and vegetable soup. So, my diet is back on track and I’m making the most of my time at home.

Weight loss is slow progress. Migraines are making it hard to do much and same with the insomnia. I also have limited mobility these days with my arms and shoulders. Probably will need physio therapy at some point soon.

That’s life in a nutshell. Trying to weave my way through the ways of the ENM lifestyle. Making new friends and sharing some laughs along the way. I have my own little tribe. A small group of friends that chat almost every day.

I also recently saw one of my oldest friends and we sat in a coffee shop until almost midnight just catching up and chatting, eating Timbits and having a good time. I need more of that in my life please.

And that – is the most precious thing to me right now that I hold close to my heart.

Otherwise, life is moving along as it should be. And while I struggle with anxiety and sometimes the depression, I know I should be fucking grateful for all the good I have now. And with it being autumn, I can breathe a little easier, and sleep when it finally comes.

G’night world. For now.

Mindfulness vs. Mindlessness

This is a repost from 2020 – rewritten and updated

This morning I decided to do a search for trending health topics to write about this week and came across this headline: Mindfulness vs. Mindlessness. Given my history working in addictions and mental health, I thought this would be a good topic to cover today.

So, I hit the Google and did some research. While I knew what mindfulness was – I had never heard the term mindlessness before.


What is mindfulness?

There are two definitions that pop up when you look up the word “mindfulness”.

-the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.”their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition”

.a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

Mindfulness is being able to live in the present moment. It’s a type of meditation or state of being that helps you to become full aware of what you’re feeling in the moment. To be truly mindful, you must be able to live in that moment without judgment. You can still plan for the future – but do so without worry or concern.

gray rocks on body of water during daytime

Mindfulness and Buddhists

The Buddhists are great teachers when it comes to the art of mindfulness. The mindfulness state of being is the main principal of Buddhism. It is a fundamental pathway that can lead to a spiritual awakening. For Buddhists, mindfulness is a way of life.

If you’d like to learn more about Buddhist Mindfulness, here is a list of books you can check out.

Buddhism, Monk, Temple, Panorama

How to achieve mindfulness?

To achieve mindfulness or living in the moment, many people find success through meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, guided imagery or other spiritual practices to help them focus. Continue reading to the end of this post for more helpful suggestions.

For me, connecting with nature is one of the most spiritual experiences for me. Whether it means going on a nature hike, or traveling to the mountains – or even meditating on my balcony late at night time. Being alone in nature and taking it in all her glory, is just one of many ways to achieve the mindful state.

Buddha, Zen, Meditation
Pixabay Photos

What does it mean to be mindlessness?

To live in a mindlessness state is the opposite of mindfulness. It can lead to careless or unthinking behaviors. Or to a less damaging degree, it can mean to carry out tasks or live day to day without consideration or thinking of consequences from your actions.

Some of these people who live in state might take action based on feelings or gut instinct rather than making an informed decision. Some people, like me, might be in a constant state of fight or flight mode that causes them to react this way. While others may be more on the empathic side and tend to feel more or react based on those initial feelings.

You might have heard the term “mindless work” – or someone who prefers to work in a job that requires little thinking on their feet. This could include jobs like stocking shelves, pricing items, food prep in a kitchen or working in a factory line. After a while, muscle memory takes over and your mind is free to think about whatever you want to think about.

The same principle can apply to the mindlessness life. To go through the motions without stressing or constantly worrying about the future. Or to act on impulse and “go with the flow.”

When it comes to my life, I’m a little of both. I’m a careful decision maker to the point of worrying. But a lot of times I make decisions based off of gut feelings or reactions. When I need to quiet the mind, I sit outside or go for a walk.

Trees, Field, Trail, Pathway, Path
Pixabay

How to stay in the present moment?

Like any skill, learning to stay in the present moment takes some practice. It also takes making a commitment to yourself to make lifelong changes. Journaling will help you here. Make a list of things you want to achieve in your life. Develop a system to achieve those goals. Practice awareness through meditation, yoga or other spiritual practices. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

And most importantly, and maybe the most difficult task – learn to enjoy where you are in life and the moment that you’re in without stressing about tomorrow.

Composite, Landscape, Fantasy, Dreamy

Practice daily gratitude

Practice daily gratitude and be thankful for where you are now – not where you want to be. Don’t focus on the things you don’t have in front of you. Focus on what you do have.

I’m bad for this – I’m always one step ahead trying to plan for the future and I think of all the things I don’t have. This often leads to over spending and buying things I don’t really need. I’m going to make a commitment to myself to appreciate all the things I have now instead of longing for things that are out of my reach.

They say it takes three weeks to form a habit. If you practice daily gratitude for three weeks and note at least one thing that you are thankful for – then this will become easier for you.

50 Best Gratitude Memes To Share When You're Feeling Thankful | YourTango


Use “I am” messages daily

Daily affirmations can help some people transition into positive thinking. Using “I am” messages can only help boost confidence – but they can also help with staying in the present.

  • “I am brushing my teeth.”
  • “I am working out.”
  • “I am going for a walk.”
  • “I am content with my life the way it is.”
  • “I am worth it.”

Meditation

Meditation will help to keep you grounded. You can practice meditation for a few moments every day on your lunch break or during your coffee break. For me, meditation can be as simple as having a bath and listening to soft music in the background. Or finding a quiet space to sit, and clear the mind of clutter and debris from the day. This can be hard to do if you haven’t meditated before.

Just five minutes each day will help you to stay focused and be more present.


Are you mindful or mindless?

Which type are you? Are you a mindful person or mindless? In the end, it doesn’t really matter how you live your life – as long as you’re able to enjoy the moments you are in and find something to be thankful for.

Whether you live in the moment, or you prefer to plan for the future – the key to finding out what works for you is to make a commitment to yourself.

Practice daily gratitude. Meditate often. Reconnect with nature. Go on a hike or take a trip to the mountains. Take up a hobby like crafting, painting or music.

Surround yourself with people who have similar goals and want the best for you. Remove the negative and toxic people from your life where you can. Build a small support group of those people who want to see you succeed at your goals. Build a life together with someone who has a similar outlook on life as you do.

But more importantly, find what works best for you. Whether it’s living here, right now, in today’s moment – or planning the next five to ten years of your life.

The key to a fulfilling life, is to find HAPPINESS and ENJOYMENT in what you do. To know inner peace and live in the moment, also means being comfortable on your own – and finding time for self reflection. Is that something you can do?

Iceland, Sky, Clouds, Beautiful, Sunrise

Thank you for reading!

This is an older post that I wrote in 2020. I’m working on a new mindfulness series and including posts on selfcare, meditation, etc. As spring approaches, I’m itching to get back in touch with my spiritual side and writing articles like this definitely helps.

Please note: I’m working on older articles and you may see a familiar post pop up from time to time in your feed. I think some of these conversations are great to revisit and re-evaluate later in life.

Mindfulness Series