When the Storm Hits

So as we all know, I have depression.
Hello, my name is Natalie, and I have depression.
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Over the past 20 or so years, I have done serious work on myself and my depression.
From accepting it, understanding it, unlearning/relearning coping skills
to countless medication combinations, therapy, THE WORKS.
Along the way,
I discovered a few of my own ways to make my depression calm the heck down.

So without further ado,
here are my tips for when the depression hits:

  • Acknowledgement
    Despite the fact that “It’s fine” is my unofficial catch phrase, I have never gotten anywhere acting like I was fine when I was SO not fine. So own it, face it, say it out loud, talk to yourself in the mirror about it, write it down…something. Depression is there whether you want it to be or not, so acknowledging it is a very obvious but very important first step.
  • Redirect the Sadness
    Watching Grey’s is huge for me and my depression. Instead of wallowing in my own sad life, I wallow in theirs, and dear lord, theirs is horrific. That’s what you gotta do sometimes ok, you gotta take the sadness and throw it at something else. You take it and you throw it and you cry about it, because sometimes, you need to cry about SOMETHING that you can feel, experience and then turn off and walk away from. I cannot walk away from my depression, that jerk follows me everywhere, but I CAN walk away from season 8, episode 24. ::cue Snow Patrol:: If Grey’s doesn’t do it for you, try Beaches, Eternal Sunshine, My Girl, P.S. I Love You, Mona Lisa Smile, This is Us or just text me because I can hook you up with secondhand sadness ALL DAY LONG.
  • Take Your Meds (if applicable)
    In some of my more depressive states, the hopelessness can sometimes win and I will skip my meds. Because nothing matters right? Everything is shit, everything is doomed, and why even bother, right? WRONG take your meds. I am saying this to you, yes, but I am also screaming it to myself. TAKE YOUR MEDS.
  • Confide in Your Friends
    It is such a huge deal in your mental health journey to have support in place. Solid ground in the form of a friend. It can help so much to talk to a friend who gets it and if they get it, they can help support, motivate and love you through it. I recently had a talk with Kate about how difficult it has been for me to shower or straighten up my house, how the small things feel so huge these days, and instead of thinking I am gross or lazy, she pushed me. Lovingly, of course. She got me out of my house, she told me it was ok that I wasn’t bright and shiny, and that I was still worth a damn. After my weekend with her, I feel refreshed, loved, and deeply understood. I even showered AND cleaned my house. (see photo for proof) Friends are invaluable. (If you do not have a friend like this, email me. I will be that friend for you. We are in this together.)
  • Dance It Out
    This one may seem silly or pointless, but it can help, even if just momentarily. Everyone has that one song that when you hear it, you just have to move. Getting up and jumping around to some fun tunes can really lift the fog. It does not matter if you look silly, it does not matter if you dance badly. You gotta do it. Check out the hashtag #takefiveanddance on Instagram for some inspiration and click here for a playlist to inspire you to get your booty in motion!
  • Have a Cry
    It comes as no surprise I am sure that I advocate for crying. I am nothing if not on brand. Crying is an emotional palate cleanser. A reset button. It can be cathartic and a way to just purge your system of all the negative crap clogging it up. It isn’t always that simple, but sometimes it is and there is no shame in crying. Let it out.
  • Nuts
    NOT THAT KIND YALL GOOD GRIEF! Ok but for real, according to many sources I found on google… almonds, pecans and walnuts can really help. “Just an ounce a day can help improve both your physical and mental health. These nuts contain calcium, which can help offset hormonal imbalances in women as well as alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, irritability and impaired memory.” AW NUTS
  • Make Lists
    I find that it helps me to have a plan, even if the plan is small, even if I don’t completely stick to it, even if it is scattered …writing things down helps put things into perspective and makes it easier for my depressed brain to manage. Keep your expectations low, cut yourself some slack, and praise yourself for the things you manage to complete. Small steps forward are still steps forward.
  • Lean Into It
    Hear me out ok? I am not promoting wallowing. Maybe I am? I don’t know but I wear glasses, so I know everything. It is ok to feel sad. Depression is not your fault, it comes out of nowhere, and sometimes, the only way out is through. Lean into the feelings, allow yourself to feel them, give them names “I feel sad, I feel hopeless, I feel unworthy.” When I do this, it can help me to realize how irrational my thoughts are. When I say my negative thoughts out loud, I can immediately counter them with logical thoughts. Sometimes saying some of the thoughts out loud can make them seem so silly. I have done this exercise before and actually ended up laughing about it, calling my brain a jerk, and just moving on. I also like to yell, “I DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR THIS NONSENSE.” Come for the cute art, stay for the incredible advice.
  • Create
    Not everyone is Picasso or Mozart or Ansel Adams or Frida Kahlo, but that does not mean you shouldn’t try! It can really help to just get the bad feelings out in some creative way, and you may even end up with something great! Journaling, doodling, painting, DIYing are all great ways to get your mind off the sadness. Check out my Pinterest board for some craft ideas.
  • Brush Your Teeth, Drink Water, Paint your Nails, Take a Nap
    Sometimes the small things seem like big things, and consequently, that can make big things seem insurmountable. Let’s take 5 minutes to do something small, something for ourselves, something that is leading us in a more positive direction and then, let’s…
  • Celebrate Small Wins
    The fact that you are trying is something to be celebrated. Existing is hard, especially when it feels like the weight of the world and all its pressures are crushing you and your mind is a minefield out for blood and no one gets it and you are sinking. Anything you do to help yourself along – big or small – should go without praise. You are doing good, you are doing something, and that is everything.

But enough about me and my antics,
how do you combat your depression?
Tell us below in the comments! 

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Heart Eyes – Back to School Pins

Happy back to school everyone! In honor of the kiddos going back to school, brand new supplies, awkward lunches, awful reading assignments, and passing notes to friends, I have rounded up a few of my favorite pins that just S C R E A M “Back to School”

 Study hard and be nice to each other!

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Heart Eyes – Nat’s Current Favs

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Currently crushing on all of these things, so let’s go through them because it is fun to window shop, right?

  1. I am very into wide leg jeans right now, and these babies from Bando are just too cute to handle. Some cheaper options here, here and here!
  2. I have so many pairs of sandals, but if I could I would have more. It is a sickness. These are definitely at the top of  my list, but  if you don’t have $100 for a pair of shoes ::raises both hands:: there are cuter ones for less $$ here and here.
  3. Ok, so I have been using this DIY  for years. I have naturally wavy + oily hair. Not an ideal combo, but this sea salt spray helps keep my waves in line without weighing them down with gunk. I highly recommend it, especially in the hot, humid summers of Memphis, Tennessee.
  4. This band, this album, on repeat until the end of time (or until I find a new obsession to sing along to in the car)
  5. I admit, I haven’t read this book yet, but I did read the one that came before it and it is amazing. It is an adult version of the “choose your own ending” style books I loved as a kid and I literally had NO idea what to expect. One ending I was an artist living in Paris with my trans lover who overdosed on pills and another time I was a zoologist who died from being ripped apart by a very horny gorilla. Seriously, you need this book.
  6. Ever since I watched the 1997 film “Lolita” and fell in love with Dominique Swain’s red toes, I have consistently had red toes. Red toes all the time, here is my favorite.
  7. Such a lovely way to end the list, this adorable shirt. Have a nice day!

Book Bag

By: Kaitlyn Luckow

As a former English teacher, it’s no surprise that I love reading. I wanted to bring in some of my favorite reads onto this blog, so I compiled a list of books I have read that I think would be perfect for you crybabies for a variety of reasons:

SHRILL
BY LINDY WEST

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I just finished reading this book and I adored it. I loved what Lindy had to say about body image, abortion, internet trolls, her writing and her marriage. It was raw, real: humorous when it needed to be and heartwarming when it needed to be. Although I didn’t agree with everything West said in this book (you always need to approach memoirs with an air of caution), I do think she’s a powerful voice in feminism today.

 

ALL THE SINGLE LADIES
BY REBECCA TRAISTER

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This is one of the best and most well-researched pieces of journalism I’ve read in a while. I must admit that this book may not be for everyone (it can be dense), it’s groundbreaking in it’s research about how society views single women, how that is changing and how it needs to continue to change. Traister looks at all sides of the issues and provides a variety of viewpoints to make for a really well-rounded and eye-opening read.

 

 

MILK & HONEY
BY RUPI KAUR

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I can’t say enough good things about this book. If you haven’t heard of this yet or read it yet, do your heart a favor and pick yourself up a copy. If I had the money, I would buy one for everyone in my life because everyone needs to read Kaur’s poetry. She touches on womanhood, abuse, healing, and empowerment in a beautiful way. It’s poetry that isn’t intimidating or pretentious and it invites you in to emotionally experience the words with it.

 

ELEANOR & PARK
BY RAINBOW ROWELL

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If you want a cutesy, but heartbreaking romance that’s going to make you feel all the feels, then you need to read this YA novel by Rainbow Rowell (or really any of Rowell’s books). Her writing is gorgeous and her characters are ones that you just want to adopt and gather up into a giant hug.

 

 

STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST
BY AUSTIN KLEON

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Sadly, there has been a large rise amongst artists and large corporations of art being blatantly stolen from makers. A lot of us either know someone this has happened to or have experienced it first hand. It’s heartbreaking, discouraging and painful. This book can help that. This book is a great little nugget of inspiration, touching on the idea that as artists, we are stealing ideas and inpspiration from different artists all the time. However, there is a difference than being inspired by someone and copying them.

 

 

Do you have any book recs? Leave them in the comment below!