Mental Health: What Helps Me

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

One of the major keys to dealing with anxiety and depression is to get ahold of it before it spirals out of control. But exactly how is that done? Also, having a plan for when it does spiral out of control is necessary to expedite your recovery to mental and emotional stability. Therapy, scriptures, and affirmations are three major tools that have helped me. Also, having someone you trust when you can’t talk to your therapist and having a SOURCE, which I call God/Creator/Divine/Source when you have no one to talk to is major. For me, Source is always available but, I know there are things I can do on my own to help myself. And this is encouraged by Source.

I think you should really get to know who you are and how things affect you. The only way to do that is to be totally honest with yourself. I am sensitive as I found most creative people are. It allows us to channel our emotions into what we are creating. I have a tendency to take things more personally, overthink, and overanalyze. I have learned how to back out of those things and become an observer for the most part. I also know that it takes me time to move past things. Over the years it has become easier to move past things. I think that comes with wisdom and not age.

Here are some of the things I do to help me to get ahold of anxiety and depression:

I acknowledge what I am feeling and then I ask myself why I am feeling it. What happened? Who said it? Consider the source from which it came from and are they credible? No one is more credible than God for me. If it’s coming from a person I don’t know, a person that is negative, a person that doesn’t like me, why would I feed into their opinion? Exactly. Unless, deep down inside I feel that way about myself and I am honest if I do! If they say, “You are ugly” and lately I have been ripping myself apart I’m going to feel bad. BUT YOU have the power to change what you feel by changing what you think and speak.

I use affirmations for anxiety and depression. If I feel afraid to sleep, I say to myself over and over, I am safe in my body. I am safe in my home.

I use scripture pertaining to whatever I am feeling or scriptures to contrary. If I feel weak, I say I am strong. If I feel afraid, I say God has not given me a spirit of fear but of power and love.

I pray.

I say, “Oh. I am feeling some anxiety today. I can fold my clothes. I can do some work as I work through this. I can do some exercise.”

If I have persistent thoughts or episodes, I make an appointment with my therapist (currently searching for a new one).

I talk to a friend I trust.

I cry. Crying is a release.

I pamper myself. I take hot showers. I oil and lotion up. I give myself a pedi/mani or go get one. I soak in a lavender Epsom salt and pink Himalayan salt mix. I schedule a massage session.

I go to my bathroom and read my yearly marching orders or my affirmations to reset my brain.

Now, what about when anxiety is CODE RED or depression is CODE BLUE!

My plan is to shut things down for a day or two this can include social media and putting phone calls on hold.

I call my therapist.

I rely on all the things above.

I immerse myself in Netflix, a blanket, and the couch.

I allow myself to sleep.

I lose myself in a hobby.

BUT the maximum I give myself is TWO DAYS and then I MUST come out of it. Anything longer than that can set me up for darker and deeper holes that are difficult and require help to come out of. I come out of it by pushing, forcing, and dragging myself to get back to a routine. A little at a time. And during this time, I make sure personal hygiene stays on top. If you don’t wash your face, brush your teeth, change clothes, shower, YOU WILL FEEL EVEN MORE LIKE CRAP. People tend to let themselves go in bouts of anxiety and deep dark times of depression.

During this time, I stay hydrated. I do allow myself some treats but I also make sure I eat as healthily as possible. Too much sugar or salt will make you feel worse. I add one of those packs of Vitamin C to my water. I sit on the porch. I go for a walk. I do 10 minutes of yoga if I don’t feel like doing 30. I do tai chi because it is slow movement. I may just stretch every two hours.

I hope this helps someone. Recently in Memphis, this week, we went through so many tragedies many of us are feeling things we can’t explain and some of us know exactly what we are feeling.

~Nikki

The Heart Needs More Time

The heart needs time to heal. My heart needs more time. How can it heal when people that are close to you leave this earthly realm too close together? I got the news this morning that a very dear friend of mine had left this earthly realm. It had been several days of waiting.

I woke up at 5 am and I got up to start my day earlier than usual. I meditated. Then I started to work on a project and remembered I had not prayed. I started to pray around 5:45 maybe 6 something and I thought of my friend. I almost said, “Lord, let your will be done” but then I stopped at “Lord, let your…”. I couldn’t say it and I told God why. I told God that I was afraid to say it because God’s will may not be my will or her will. I told God that I don’t know what her will is. I don’t know if she is fighting to stay or fighting to leave. So, I just said to God, “Lord, you know.”

Later, at about 9:45 her cousin called to tell she had passed this morning. And all-day yesterday memories flooded my mind. It was a bit overwhelming. My day was saddened and bumpy. I laughed at many of the memories. Oh, the trouble and situations we got in!

I did work on some projects. I did exercise. I had leftovers, lemon pie, currently binge watching Chicago PD, surfing the web, and I will play a game on the computer later after I finish this post. I know I will need a sedative for the night. Then I thought about my brother that passed away. My god mother that passed away. Another classmate and husband of another dear friend passed away. I said aloud, “When does the heart have time to heal? When things like this are back-to-back and all of trouble in the world? My heart needs time to heal.”

~Nikki

I Was Going to…

Sculpture from Musee du Quai Branly Jacques Chirac in Paris, France. Photo by Nicole Jackson

I was going to write this whole blog post about gospel artist Kim Burrell, the Kim Burrells of the Church (The Mean Girls or the people allowed to do and say whatever and remain in power and position), and the spin off topics that were made. Questions such as should the church be held to a higher standard? And why can’t people with church hurt find another church and/or just get over it?

I am still going to write my opinions, my thoughts, and my observations. But I had to stop, breathe and make sure I wasn’t writing from a place of bitterness. I needed to condense my thoughts and not rant. I needed to organize my thoughts and make them cohesive.

You see, sometimes we fly off the handle. It’s pure emotion and our thoughts are all over the place. WE that are responsible with our words must be more responsible with our words. It wasn’t me that halted my hitting the publish button, it was God. It was Spirit saying, “Don’t do it. Don’t put that out there like that. Don’t do it. Hold off. Hold back. Don’t do it.” So, I trashed it until I could come up with a better way to express my thoughts clearly. That will be Sunday’s post.

I hope you enjoy your weekend. I have unplugged from some social media spaces for the weekend. WordPress is not one of them. I plan to reset and get ready for the rest of the things I am to do by the end of summer.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: How Many Delays but Not Denials?

I mean seriously. How many delays in life can one girl have? I know delays are not denials but, it sure seems like it lately. Maybe I am exaggerating a bit but, I am feeling some frustration about not being able to do EVERYTHING I want to do right now! Yes…whining a bit. However, I know that I must prioritize and sometimes, like this time, sacrifices must be made. Sacrifice never feels good.

So, what can I do to ease the frustration?

  • I can do what I can and not fret about what I cannot do
  • I can find free things to do around the city
  • I can create things to do with family and friends that are cost efficient
  • I can spend time organizing my home
  • I have plenty of crochet work to catch up on
  • I can try new recipes
  • I can spend in nature or on my porch with a cup of coffee or a cocktail
  • I have a book to read for a book club
  • I can start writing my third novel

So, there is much to do. Although, it may not be the other things I want to do, I can still occupy my time and enjoy it. Also, there will come a time, because of the financial sacrifices I am making, I will be able to enjoy the things I want to do, when I want to do them.

~Nikki

Checking Your Own Insecurities (Uppity)

“You think you’re better then everyone else!” They said.

“Why do you say that?” I replied.

“Because you just do!” They said.

“You’re still not telling me HOW I am better than you or WHY you think that?” I replied.

This particular person never gave me a clear answer. But, through revelation via Spirit, I figured it out. However there were some that gave me vague answers as this wasn’t the first time I had heard this. Vague answers like, “You’re too quiet. You don’t do anything “wrong”. You are not like us.” So, because I don’t talk loud or I am mostly quiet by nature, I think I am better than them. Because I don’t smoke cigarettes or weed, I think I am better than them. Because I was raised different, not better, just different, I think I am better than them. Because I enjoy the Bible, the Word of God, spirituality, always trying to do right or good, I think I am better than them. Because I mostly stayed out of trouble, I think I am better than them. Because I got good grades, got a little education, I think I am better than them. And the rediculous list continues.

I believe most people don’t think they are better than you and I do think there are some that do! However, you may want to check your REASONING and RATIONALE and RELATIONSHIP with that person to make sure it’s not YOUR OWN INSECURITIES SHOWING UP. You may be just ASSuming a person thinks they are better than you when in fact they are just DIFFERENT by personality or upbringing and life experiences. They may not enjoy being around drunkeness because they grew up in a home where being drunk brought out the worst in a parent. They don’t think they are better than you. They may not be into drugs because of their religion or they hate smoke because it bothers their allergies or they can’t tolerate the smell. Doesn’t mean they think they are better than you. Perhaps you two took different career paths, they needed a degree or certification to be a nurse or teacher. Doesn’t mean they think they are better than you because you drive a truck and enjoy it.

Question your thoughts. Questions your feelings. In families, you have parents telling children that other relatives think “they are better than us because they have a big house and nice car.” Those children grow up thinking those relatives really think they are better than them and it’s really based on their parents’ insecurities and envy. Yes, you may just be jealous. Some children grow up mad at their cousins or half siblings because they had a better living situation or material things than they did. Imagine, you are an adult and still upset that your half brother grew up in a nice home with two parents when that half brother did’t have anything to do ( I want to say sh– t to do with) with what your parents or their parents did with their lives, careers, and incomes.

I grew up in a neighborhood with blue collar workers and white collar workers. I grew up in a neighborhood where two block away there was low income family homes. When we were children I recognized early on that some people had really nice homes that were bigger and better than mine. I also recognized that some of my friends and family were barely getting by. In some homes, no matter the size, there was love and in some no matter the size, type of car, there were some bad situations. I don’t ever remeber being mistreated by friends that had more and those that had less. We just wanted to play. Spending the night was different at everyone’s house. Sometimes breakfast was made by the parent in the house and other times, my friends or cousins would cook breakfast for us. I just wanted to eat and didn’t care if it was served on fine china or chinette paper plates!

I’m done with explaining to people who are bent on misunderstanding me. I am DIFFERENT. They can deal with it because I already have. I already have accepted the fact that I am not like others. We all are unique and that needs to be recognized and appreciated. I never was really loud or wild but, that doesn’t make me think I am better than anyone. I grew up in a two parent home but, I don’t think I am better than others that didn’t have both parents at home. You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors of the houses you drive by. I am a single parent. Proudly and unaplogetically. So, with that being said, those of us that are different from you, with different experiences, different educational levels, etc. for the most part aren’t walking around with our noses in the air. Get to know someone and appreciate the differences and embrace the commonalities. And question your own thoughts and feelings.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: I Think About Giving Up, Sometimes

Today is that sometimes. We all feel like giving up or have felt like giving in the past. If we are honest, there are some things we did give up on and maybe even ourselves from time to time. If you have been following this blog you know I’ve had my issues with the church and religion and at times with God. Let me back up…

It was an extraordinary week as I was in classes in Jackson, Mississippi learning about God’s Pattern for Leadership and Strategic Planning: Analysis, Needs Assessments, Objectives and Goals. I like to learn. I had very little anxiety while I was there. I know it was because I had very little responsibilities. I didn’t have to cook. I didn’t have to clean. I didn’t have to worry much. I returned home Friday and Saturday evening I partied with my friend and her family at a 1990’s themed house party. If I had more photo space, I’d share the jeans I created. I had a ball. I danced all night and today I can barely move. It’s not just age, it’s Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia on top of that.

What I feel like giving up on today is church. It’s funny because I was so sure of my direction all week. Well, not really but, I am sure it involved the church. Make sure you understand I said nothing about giving up on God. I know I am feeling this because of the conversation I had with a particular individual and after finding out they lied and twisted a conversation we had. This person actually is a pastor I know very well.

This thing I am feeling is temporary. I just wanted to acknowledge that I feel like giving up and it’s not an indication that I will. I think it’s important to acknowledge a feeling and to sit with it. To explore it. To receive what it is telling you or teaching you or where it is leading you. I hope you know that it’s okay to FEEL like giving up sometimes and sometimes there are things we should give up but, never give up on yourself.

~Nikki

Excerpts From My Coffee Time /God: Change Your View

How can I do my work without delay or hesitance?

Plan it. Do it. Discipline. Via time with God, I discovered my problem is, my root problem is a lack of confidence that stems from childhood. I was made to feel that nothing I did was good enough or right. None of the choices I made were the best or right per one of my parents. Although I have worked diligently through this there is still residuals of it that seep out in little ways. This is why I always say you will be working on yourself the entire time you are here. How on earth will you find time to fix, correct, and criticize everyone else “if” you are busy working on yourself.

Via God/Spirit: I tell you this; DO IT. Do your work and expect errors. Expect people not to like it or to like you but, you don’t have to be defensive about who and what people like. You don’t like certain people and you don’t like what they are talking about, teaching about, speaking of and the difference is you have learned that you don’t have to voice or write that unless what they are saying is filled with hate. I am not of hate, division, or things of that energy. And even then, you need to know when to speak and when not to.

Via God/Spirit: See mistakes as teachers and tools to help you grow. Ah, you are embarrassed and ashamed when you make mistakes. Yet, you always defend and tell others it’s okay if they make mistakes. You don’t give yourself the same grace and mercy. I know. It was never okay for you to make mistakes. And when you did, boy were you ever ridiculed merciless at times. Give yourself the same grace and mercy you give others. I gave you grace and mercy then, now, and in the future. Release that thinking. Let’s work on that.

~Nikki

Excerpts From My Coffee Time /God: MOVE

Excerpt Day 5

MOVE. Move physically. Move spiritually. Take care of yourself. Eat healthier. Move your body. It helps to move negative and stagnant energy. It helps to move the energy of anxiety and depression. MOVE.

MOVE from thinking like you used to think or the ideals you once had. They aren’t working in this season. Some are no longer working at all.

MOVE away from what you used to do. Things have changed. It seems strange because you are between habits and new mindsets. SHIT has happened and hat the fan so SHIFT can happen. SHIFT has happened for you mentally but, emotionally, you need to catch up.

~Nikki

Excerpts From My Coffee w/God: When, Who, and How

Day 4 Excerpt

God knows WHEN, WHO, and HOW so I don’t have to worry about those things. It’s none of my business. I request. I give thanks when I think about the absence of things so the absence disappears. Therefore, the “thought” of absence disappears. It’s just an illusion anyway. When I think about when, who, how I remind myself that God, Infinite Intelligence, the Creator, the Universe, Yahweh, knows and I can be at peace.

~Nikki

Excerpts from My Coffee Time w/God: Do You Feel at Peace About It?

Photo by Nicole Jackson The Might Mississippi from Rooftop

I had an opportunity but the hours would be a challenge to me physically. You would think well that’s a no brainer. It’s not when you are trying to save money and take care of things around the house. I struggled for about two weeks in agony about what to do. How to sacrifice and what exactly would be at stake. I worried myself sick and stirred the hornets’ nest of anxiety. I asked God for an answer over and over on what to do. I thought I didn’t get answer until Day 2 of Coffee Time with God.

As I sat there in quietness, sipping coffee, I asked God, “Why didn’t you answer me about that opportunity?”

God: I did. Those times when you were silent internally, I asked you, do you feel at peace about it? I asked you several times. Sometimes you said no and at other times you kept worrying about it and what other people would think of you if you passed up such a golden opportunity. Once you said no you didn’t feel at peace about it, that was your answer.

Me: Oh.

I thought about all of those years I worked jobs and I didn’t like any of them. In fact, the last one I hated so much it made me ill. Why don’t people do what they love or “just find another job” you may ask. Well because it’s not always that simple. Would you believe some people don’t know or believe it’s possible for them to do what they love in life? Some are working jobs and careers other people chose for them or for the money it brings. Some of us are working jobs to take care of family, loved ones, children and to pay off debts. I looked for jobs to do what I love but I didn’t have the education and I didn’t have the ability to go back to school in another state with a child in tow. Who would watch my daughter? Online school was not a thing then. When it did become a thing, I did go back to school and received my Associates Degree only to become ill and unable to continue with my bachelors.

At that last job, I kept it because the hours allowed me to be a mom 4 days out of the week and I could work overtime. It was not for the pay. I also only had to worry about childcare and how to get her home from school 3 days of the week. My last two years on the job while I was ill, I searched for a job that could accommodate my illness. I did not find one job and the job I had told me they couldn’t either.

You don’t know people’s struggles or logic and I advise against flippant retorts such as, “Just find another job.” That job may provide them with the necessary benefits to cover for their family. YES, there are times people have to work jobs they don’t want to or enjoy until the opportunity presents itself or until they create an opportunity to do what they enjoy or to become what they always wanted to be. Maybe asking them if they have a plan to find or do something else is better.

This was the one time and first time in my life I could say no to a job that would hurt me physically and I didn’t know what to do. It was the one time; I could wait on something better or continue to create my own opportunity into better financial gains and abundance. Shortly after that, I sold 5 pieces of art.

~Nikki