The problem with vision boards

Vision boards are well known and well liked and I’m sure people are questioning why I have a problem with them.

Vision boards are a look into your future and I’m sure I’m not alone in being unsure of what my future holds for me, maybe I’ll buy a car and have a family or maybe I will travel the world and enjoy the peace and quiet of being by myself. For me looking into the future is a blank board and feeling like I need a set plan of where things are going actually stresses me out.

Most people glamorize there vision boards with cute diamond stud stickers and colourful flowers, they put pictures of big beautiful houses and perfect families but for me that doesn’t help me feel good about my life… for one I don’t care for money or necessarily having my own family but I also don’t care to focus on things that aren’t in my near future.

Instead of a vision board I decided to do a “Life worth living” board, when I started therapy I was asked “what are your life worth living goals?” It took me a while but I came up with some.. slowly I’ve added to the list and now I’m making it a visual that I can see every day so on my hardest days I have a picture of my little brother, my friends, my loved ones and messages they have sent me so that it can make me pause before acting.

The main question I asked myself when deciding what to put on this board was .. “what do I need right now in my life?” I don’t need pictures of a future car or a place I want to travel, right now, today I need reminders of why I should stay alive and keep fighting. So that’s what I created. I focused on all things that will help me get past the next moment, hour or day.

There’s nothing wrong with vision boards! Don’t get me wrong! For some people they work great! I’m sharing this because for me this is what is best! And I’m hoping if anyone else out there is struggling that this idea might be able to help them as well!

This is my LWL boards!

I also want to say that I ended up with two boards and at first I felt the need to fill in all the space but I decided that I would leave space so I can add to it over time. If I hear an inspiring quote or a get a touching message I can add it to my reminders.

In case your wondering! I used a mix of magazine cut outs, photos and images from the internet!

Best of luck!

Leanna.

Let’s get mindful!

This past week I went to the gym with a friend, now not only does the gym make me anxious I was already having an awful week and this gym had hundreds of people which was very overwhelming. My first reaction was “fuck no. I can’t do this” but I stayed.. My friends was amazing with me she showed me exactly what to do and how to do it and most importantly she stayed next to me the whole time. By the end of our time there I felt calm and didn’t care about the people around, I hadn’t even noticed that a couple hours had gone by. we were getting ready to leave when she asked me about mindfulness so yes, we sat down on the mats while everyone around us was working out and practiced mindfulness. I explained to her a bit about mindfulness and then We went to get changed and decided to stop in at the sauna. If you have ever been in a sauna you know the heat is so overwhelming but also feel amazing that most likely your only focus was on the heat and how it was making your body feel, I could feel heat but also a bubble of cold around my body while I sat there. I think many people still have this idea that mindfulness is simply sitting in a “meditation position” and breathing deeply, which it most definitely can be! But it’s also anything that takes you attention and focus. My therapist suggested I try a new idea! I forget what she called it but I was explaining to her how I wanted to make a vision board and she suggested that I get magazines and then go through them and anything I have a reaction to I rip out that page and it’s actually an amazing excercise for noticing what’s going on within you and how you are feeling. She showed me some examples from clients and thoughts popped into my head like “wow this person is really angry” or “Ou childhood trauma” but especially considering the fact I have borderline personality disorder and a lot of times feel lost as to who I am or what I am feeling this practice was an intriguing idea!

So I went to the library and asked them for magazines! Sadly they didn’t have any but the librarian herself brought me some of her personal ones to take and today I sat down and took the time to rip out pages and put something together.

This is how it turned out:

If you are looking for ways to be mindful and connect with yourself! Try this! I’ve also done a previous post on mindfulness and I want to thank also my dear friend who sparked this need to answer the question as to what mindfulness is and how to practice it.

Remember to “HOPE hold on, pain ends.”

Coping with suicide

Warning: This post will contain sensitive information regarding suicide and suicidal ideation.

If you are in crisis: 1-800-273-8255 (National Suicide Prevention line)

Over the past year and a bit I have been working hard on recovery and using Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) to cope with and manage in day to day life. As far as I have come, it is still a journey and an on going one at that. Every day I am challenged to use my skills wether it’s asserting myself at work or coping with the demons that tell me life isn’t worth it. And today is one of those really tough days where in the past I would have stayed stuck in my thoughts, given into my demons and acted dangerously and put my life at risk.

Today though, instead of endangering myself I challenged myself to use my skills. It has been tough and exhausting but all day I have tried to remind myself that the thoughts are not me, that I need to fight. I also used a skill called opposite action which is exactly what it sounds like! I felt like staying in bed with my room pitch black and isolating myself from the world. Instead – I made myself get up and I even went a step further by making myself do my makeup (partly because it helped me feel I was expressing myself in a way) and I went to my weekly group therapy appointment. I also fully engaged during group, interacting with everyone there chatting lots and smiling and in some way it reminded me that we have all come together as a group of souls that are suffering and yet here we are laughing and smiling, so maybe it’s not all that bad!

Now, if you are reading this looking for some ideas of support or self help I do have to let you know that skills don’t come easy! You don’t learn them and then use them right away because when your mind is overwhelmed with emotion your mind won’t think of skills if you haven’t practiced them. So, be kind with yourself, if you can do anything to help yourself then go ahead! And if you know skills then practice them! But it’s important to practice them even when your emotions aren’t heightened.

It has taken me a long time to get to this place where I am managing my depression this well with skills. I’ve also had intense therapy as I am on my third round of group therapy and have two individual therapists at this time as well as a psychiatrist so please do not read this and feel it should be simple or a quick fix! But do know that you can get to a place where you will be able to cope! Even if right now it seems impossible.

Talk soon-

Let’s talk about eating disorders

I have had struggles with food in the past, there was a period of time in my life when I stopped self harming and instead was purging.

This didn’t last long as I quickly returned to self harming on a daily basis- but nevertheless it happened. I don’t consider it a huge part of my life and it’s never something I’ve talked about in therapy.

My current struggle with food isn’t necessarily an eating disorder but my moods definitely effect my appetite.

Most days I forget to eat or will pick up a muffin and keep going and I don’t realize it until I hit the point of feeling like I’m about to pass out. This I have talked with my family and therapist about and we have all agreed that I do need to be eating better and making sure I’m eating.

Although this isn’t necessarily an eating disorder it is still something I have to watch because I have a tendency to find new ways to take control of my life and I am in a place now where I am not self harming or feeling the need to drink, but this puts me at risk for finding a new way to “cope” and control my emotions.

As I am writing this I am sitting in front of my dinner that I have no appetite for after working and all I have eaten today was a breakfast sandwich and a tiny bit of poutine. This is my current plate of food:


As you can see.. I have barley touched it

I want to also mention that eating disorders have a lot of stigma and in fighting to end stigma I must share that people with eating disorders are all shapes,sizes and even genders. High rates of men fight eating disorders. Also, eating disorders aren’t always about restricting your diet, for some it is the opposite and they cope by over eating.

Please be kind. You don’t know what the person next to you is going through.

Talk again soon,

Leanna

The Best and Worst

October, it’s my favourite month because of fall, but my least favourite month because of Halloween.

I know I know.. your probably someone who loves Halloween and is offended that I said it’s the worst .. BUT let me explain..

I’ve always struggled with this time of year, usually trying to avoid stores as Halloween creeps up and decorations start showing up. As someone who has and still does struggle with self harm, this time of year is particularly triggering.

Majority of people would never even think about the fact that it might be triggering for those with mental illness, and beyond self harm it’s hard on many other illnesses.. think about paranoia and even depression, Halloween has a lot of death and gore.

Now, I’m not saying I’m against Halloween or think it shouldn’t exist. I think the world needs to have fun and joy, things to be excited about.. I just wish there was a way to do it where those battling illness would not be harmed. I’m not sure that there is any great solution to this but if you know someone who struggles please reach out, if they seem bothered or upset about going to stores maybe consider the fact that it could be a triggering place for them.

If you are a Halloween lover and plan to share on social media I ask you to please give warnings and let people know if there will be mention or visuals of triggering content.

I hope you all have a safe and happy Halloween, and I hope for some this will help start a conversation as to supporting mental health while still enjoying Halloween.

Talk soon!

Eye on the prize

It has taken me a looong time to get to this point. For the longest time I battled severe depression and anxiety every day to try and make it to work or complete daily tasks like laundry.

Finally I have found a complete turn around in my life and I am full of motivation, and ambition.. I have a goal in mind which is to finish my education. In order to do that I need money and right now I am doing whatever it takes to make it happen.

I have only missed one day of work in the past few months when I was genuinely sick with a migraine and I did work all morning until I was so nauseous I couldn’t continue. I have been sacrificing sleep, friends and everything in between- most days forgetting to eat meals.

I leave the house before the sun rises and get home after the sun is down.. I barley see my family and this thanksgiving weekend I’m not home for any family dinners so my family is fitting in a family lunch instead.

Work isn’t always fun or exciting and there are times I would rather be at home sleeping but I know that by next August I need a number in my bank account and the way to do that is to work as much as I can. I’m quite enjoying it and quickly progressing in my newest job as a server.

I am practicing my skill set of making small talk, finding confidence and I’m always trying to come up with solutions to any complications that arise in the workplace. I am becoming so much more outgoing and have been interacting with my coworkers, and yea that includes many males! In fact last night I was the only female there at the end of the night with five other male workers and yet I had zero anxiety. I talked with them and laughed, spoke to my boss about some ideas I had and went home happy.

Depression is a killer in everyday life.. literally and also not, I have been the person who cries and the thought oF rolling out of bed.. who doesn’t have the energy to shower and calls in sick because I just can’t handle life. I have been there and I have suffered. I have been so full of anxiety that I have had no rest for weeks at a time that I have been constantly nauseous and weak and yet had to continue.

I don’t want to mislead those of you struggling by making my change in situation seem simple because it has taken YEARS! And I still have my struggles! It takes a long time and a lot of effort to get to a good place! It is awful and exhausting!

The reason I believe I am doing so well is that I am continually working with my team including my psychiatrist and therapist to manage my depression and anxiety and find ways to cope. Beyond that I have my family who has taught me an amazing lesson which is to always look for a solution, don’t just focus on the problem. I practice this every day now, if I feel something is stressing me out I offer a suggestion or idea as to how we can improve it.

With all this being said .. I will point out that again.. I’m not perfect, I still struggle a lot with my anger both expressing it and having people angry at me. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen my post cursing about a truck that blocked our driveway the other night, and yes I was FURIOUS .. I was left with nowhere to Park I had a very long day and they were stupid enough to block an open driveway. I went inside and probably slammed doors and stomped around without realizing it in the moment and had to hold myself back from going outside and screaming at them for being stupid mother.. well I won’t finish that sentence. But you get my point!

So yea! I am doing good! But I’m still working on it! And the only reason I’m able to get the therapy I need is by having money to pay up for my support systems to stay in place.. not everyone has the ability to do that and Canada has a LONG way to go with accessible healthcare and mental health. Before I go.. let me just throw it out there that the election is coming up soon, so keep that point in mind while you head out to vote.

Just to throw in a smile for you!- caption this!

Talk soon!!

I’m to kind

Warning: Mention of abuse.

Usually being kind is a good thing, but for me it goes to far most of the time.

Here’s what I mean by that- the other day I was driving home and as I was coming up to an intersection (with a green light) a car across from me who was turning left thought they could race and get through before I got there.. except there was one problem, they didint check if anyone was walking and halted to a stop right in my pathway. Luckily I was able to stop in time but I didn’t even honk.. why? Because the thought that went threw my head was “I don’t want to upset her” I’m not at all an aggressive driver. This happens in my personal life too.

I have a major problem with anger and assertion, I avoid it at all costs! Seriously! It’s so bad that I don’t even speak up to tell someone that it WASN’T ME when they assume it was!

There’s only one person in my life who I don’t hold back my anger with and I guess that says a lot about my level of trust in him. I have yelled and screamed called names and cursed and he’s done the same with me but I never fear him. I don’t fear him physically or any other way. He can make me furious at times but deep down he is the one person I feel safe enough around to express my anger with.

I am working on this, slowly and many times not in the most useful ways.. I do dumb stuff like yell “you fucking dogs” when they won’t stop barking and random shit.. or sometimes I will hold on to anger and then tell people off through text.. obviously if I’m texting I don’t have to worry that they can physically harm me so it’s a safe option for me. Some say it’s cowardly, but for me it’s one of the only ways I’m able to express my anger.

My fears are strongly rooted in my past, I grew up knowing that anger turned into violence and especially with men they get very aggressive so I still to this day even after meeting many kind men who wouldn’t and haven’t hurt me still can’t face anger and confrontation. I also can’t assert myself at all! Because.. what if I upset them!?

Although I have a problem speaking up and putting my foot down I’m also very self aware and have a lot of self respect- I made a promise to myself to not keep toxic,bullying, abusive, aggressive or violent people in my life for any reason. I also made a promise that I would only work In positive environments for bosses who show care and respect to there staff.

I’m currently in a dillema with a work situation in which I have the option to avoid, or assert and of course my choice is avoid.. but beyond that it’s to choose self respect.

It’s taken me years to have this awareness and understanding of how trauma is an ongoing influence in my life but I won’t let it trap me because I want to live my best life.

My Relationship with Alcohol

Warning: this post discusses substance abuse and suicide

if you are in CRISIS : https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

As a Teenager i was against alcohol. I saw what it did to my family and because of that i hated it. I didn’t care for drunken parties and never found it cool. I had sips of it here and there but really never cared for it.

I started college at the age of 17 and things were getting intolerable, i was starting to come to terms with a lot of traumatizing experiences yet had no positive coping options that helped. I was beyond frustrated as i tried going the medical center on campus for resources and no one seemed to understand.. there solutions were to “try coloring for 10 minutes” or “take these pills it will stop you cutting and you don’t need therapy”. This intensified my fears that i was in fact crazy and that no one would ever be able to understand or help me.

One night I made the decision to drink, it was just a fun college thing to do and i ended up drunk. Sadly, I fell in LOVE with the feeling- I didn’t really know why i just knew it felt different in a good way. the next day it was the only thing on my mind and i innocently thought “all college students do this, whats the big deal??” except not all college students are dealing with trauma.

It got worse from here. My girlfriend at the time was busy doing laundry and i was alone in the dorm room.. this same night a person i thought i was close to blocked me- no goodbye and no explanation they were suddenly gone.. and this set me down a terrible path..

I saw the alcohol sitting in the kitchen.. i started drinking and i very quickly lost count of how much i had drank or what i had drank, as i intended to get drunk and then overdose on medication. I guess in a way i was lucky that i got so drunk i couldn’t stand up.. much less open a bottle of pills. I got black out drunk.. my girlfriend returned and was overwhelmed with concern not knowing how to help me.. she did what she could but because i was drunk i told her i HAD taken a bunch of pills (which i hadn’t..) so she called for help .. i threw up a TON (yea.. probably TMI .. but its true.) she came to the conclusion after searching our place that i hadn’t taken pills and got me into bed. (i caused a lot of fear and panic for her that night)

Just when everyone thought I was safe- I started having seizures. it was around three or four in the morning from what I’m told- the on campus medical response team got there first and then the ambulance was called. the hospital i was taken to was less then helpful, in fact they were very mean and only made my suicidal thoughts worse. I had the worst headache i have ever experienced in my life.

since then i haven’t been drunk. that being said, i have struggled with alcohol like crazy- when i turned 19 i was excited at the thought of being able to secretly buy alcohol and numb the pain away whenever i wanted. I got urges and cravings to drink all the time and it was so awful going to Christmas dinners or hanging out with friends when they would have alcohol around and i knew if i started i wouldn’t be able to stop. It was INSANELY stressful. I couldn’t even walk past alcohol in the store or see adds without getting cravings and urges. I’m lucky that i had a family around me that not only made it very clear that honesty was a priority and so was respect but that alcohol and being drunk would not be accepted, of course at the time it was a BITCH to deal with but it kept me from becoming a full on alcoholic.

Today at 21 i don’t have these cravings or urges, id mach rather have a coffee then a drink and i will almost always turn down alcohol.

I have wanted to share this story for a while but as i am sitting in my house and it is a chaotic mess from preparing to move, There are bottles of wine or alcohol around and as i look at them i think to myself of how far i have come- if this was two years ago i would be sneaking alcohol and now i sit here and think….. these bottles are really in my way .. seriously, we have beer in our fridge that every time i see it i tell my family how none of us are going to drink it and make it clear that i am not pleased about the space it is taking up.

I have come so far… I actually haven’t solely focused on alcohol in therapy but over time i have learned other coping strategies and now i just don’t see alcohol as an answer. Beyond this i have a friend who has battled with alcohol since he was young and this month he took a huge step and has entered Rehab! meeting him and hearing his stories of how much alcohol has destroyed his life has made a huge impact on me and how i view it. its so easy at social gatherings for people to use alcohol as a way to celebrate and yet there are so many silent sufferers out there who are probably thinking… why do you need alcohol to celebrate?

If you are in Crisis : https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
you can contact them weather it is a crisis or not- they can also give you resources and information on topics other then suicide!

I’m 21

Warning: mention of suicidal/depressive thoughts- please do not read if you feel it will harm you!

In less then an hour it is my birthday, and for once in my life I am celebrating.

A year ago today I sat at the dinner table with my family and as I blew out my candles I wished that I would die soon, I didn’t care how but I wanted it to happen. It felt weird that everyone was so excited for me and, I was silently dying inside more and more every second.

Every year I have had a hard time with my birthday since .. probably my twelfth? Birthday.. I remember one year I was turning 15, my biological father or as I prefer to call him “sperm donor” (because the only part he had in my life was creating me..) texted me and I quote “happy b day” no excitement no “I love you” or care put into it but it made my day. I was so broken at this time and I was confused, I didint know how I felt about life or people in my life, I was conflicted in so many ways about so many things, all the while struggling through high school.. so him “Acknowledging” me if you call it that somehow was what I thought I needed.

I now, don’t feel this way at all- I find it quite hilarious that a piece of shit like that could have ever been something I thought I needed any approval from.. but we live, we learn.. and Most of us grow up.

It’s been a rough many years and this year I am taking the day, I gifted myself this one day to not work and to do things I enjoy.. to see people I care about and to actually celebrate the fact that I am in fact alive. I made it another year. For anyone who struggles or has struggled with depression you know how hard each day can be. So making it another year is a huge accomplishment.

Looking back it’s crazy to think that I didint take my life sooner and at the same time I am beyond grateful that I didint. You know how people say that “things will get better” and you roll your eyes and definitely DONT believe in it.. well it’s true. I never thought I would have ended up meeting this family, my family.. that I could have come as far as I have in coping and feeling better. I never thought I had any chance or hope in life.. the only thing I knew was that college meant a better life and man, I never knew that college would mean a COMPLETLEY new life.

College didint end up being the education that saved me, in fact it was the education that caused me harm, but I got so much more out of it- I met Ryan who led me to (then) his family which is now my family as well and they are truly the reason I am here today. Not only am I here but I am happy being here.

If you had told me in high school I would meet a great family and get the help I needed and be able to afford basic items in life I never would have believed it. Yet, here I am.

So to all of you out there, wether you are depressed, have been depressed or maybe you are just having an AWFUL day- it will get better. There are people out there you haven’t even met yet that love you and care for you and need you in there life..

And to all you fellow September babies.. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Here’s to turning 21!

Talk soon!!

Leanna

Loving the job i always thought i would HATE

i have shared with you about my depression and how it makes it tough to go to work and keep a job. i have also shared that i am now working TWO jobs while also learning to manage my energy so i don’t wear myself out!

Recently I found my self in a Financial situation which left me with two options. 1.) spend less or 2.) make more money. the answer was simple, i had to get another job. The money I’m spending is necessary and not optional to cut down on so.. i had to go with option 2.

I went online and started applying for jobs, my sister the told me about a diner that was hiring and i figured.. why not try it??

I have always been the type to say .. “ew .. people” (and yes i have a shirt that says exactly that.) i have never really been a people person i am very shy but also i found people annoying. So, I never thought i would be applying for a job as a waitress where practically your entire job is based on social interaction.

Shockingly i have come to find that this job… and these social interactions are what i THRIVE on. I Love my job… its weird! i never thought i would care for a job this much but today i have a day off.. and i miss it! how crazy is that! some how i feel like this is the job i have always needed in my life. i think it is helping my depression. Customers like to have conversations and are usually very grateful for your effort. Beyond this i have found that my co-workers are willing to jump in and help each other out, really using team-work while also being able to joke around and have fun!

I never would have seen myself doing this job before, life is funny that way.. sometimes the things we least expect to make a difference are the most impactful moments of our lives. not only has this job made me more confident, its helped me grow as a person.. learning new skills and facing fears. making conversation all day long! its getting so much easier to make small talk in daily life now too! maybe there is something you have been fearing or thought theirs no point in even trying because you decided the result would be awful before even trying it.. and maybe you should re-consider! who knows what opportunities you could be having if you took a risk and tried! whats the worst that could happen?? you get fired… well… go find another job!

I made this video a couple months ago! its funny that one of my goals was to work on making small talk.. and now its my job to do that! watch the video for some more ideas and thoughts on this topic!

and hey! take a risk! trust yourself!