Accepting Criticism

I know I’m not perfect. I know that’s okay. Regardless, when someone says something about me, I’ll secretly be upset. I get mad at myself for my bad habits or  weird ways, criticizing myself for not being “better”. If you are anything like me, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

As humans, I think it’s a crumby feeling to find out we have flaws. By nature, we don’t like to admit we have imperfections. It’s hard to digress from that, to step out of ourselves and realize we aren’t perfect. Unfortunately, sometimes we have to in order to grow.

I think it’s worth remembering that humans are supposed to make mistakes. We’re supposed to have flaws. We’re supposed to be complex and unique. Being perfect is impossible. Even if it were possible, being someone without flaws or imperfections sounds boring! There may be people who we think are perfect, but even they are far from it. I accidentally came across a video of a girl named Essena O’Neill. She’s a former instagram celebrity, whom everyone thought was perfect. To everyone’s surprise, the video she posted was of her explaining how she was in fact not perfect. She had many flaws and many issues, just like any other person. The main idea she was getting at is that she’s human, and despite what the media may show, she is still like you and me.

Instead of criticizing ourselves when told of our flaws, it can be helpful to remember that everyone, even the seemingly perfect people, have flaws as well. We’re in good company.

We are also more than our flaws. As I mentioned earlier, we’re supposed to be complex. We can’t define ourselves by just a few flaws, because it’s unrealistic. We are by no means just that. There’s so many good things about ourselves that we must take into account as well.

So next time someone points something out about you, realize it’s okay. It doesn’t make you any less of a person, or under anyone else. Instead, embrace it, because it makes you human.

Remember, life is tough, but you’re tougher.

Jackie ❤

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Waiting For it to Get Better

I have been told by multiple people that college is a hard adjustment. That I’ll start enjoying it soon. That I just have to wait it out, in order for it to get better. One of my best friends told me that most of life is just waiting. I don’t know about you, but this drives me crazy. I am growing impatient. I want to enjoy college. I want to be happy. I want it to finally get better.

I’m sure others feel the way I do, especially with so many posts of people at parties or with new friends, looking like they’re loving the “college experience”. A common question people ask is, “they’re happy, why am I not?” The difficult part of this is that sometimes it’s just a matter of waiting for that to come. And that’s hard. It takes a lot of strength. Change is coming, and it will eventually get better, but regardless, living life right now is hard.

Finding distractions is key. Yoga, taking pictures, meditation, anything. Just to keep you away from your phone, from your dorm, and most importantly, from your negative thoughts. It’s important to have at least one thing to distract you from your waiting and keep you occupied until things start to get a little better.

I once listened to a guided meditation and it really helped me out. The meditation was focused on impatience and change. It said how each moment, everything is changing. Our feelings, our surroundings, even the cells in our body. So if we don’t feel happy in this moment now, we don’t need to worry, for the next moment is going to be something different. Change is happening right now, infinitely. Sooner or later, one moment will change into something better for you. Just take it moment by moment if you have to. When I grow impatient over waiting for winter break or for something good to happen, I tell myself, “Relax, because change is happening for me right now.”

To whoever isn’t happy yet at school, don’t worry. You’re not alone. You will find your place, and if you can’t, transferring is always an option. Hang in there. The waiting is tough, but you are tougher.

Jackie ❤

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I Am Worthy

Being the youngest of three, I’ve always been the butt of all my family’s jokes. Sometimes, these jokes became flat out insults. I had seen things I shouldn’t have seen, heard things I shouldn’t have heard. Being on the quiet side as a child, I was never popular. I remember walking around aimlessly at recess, not having anyone to play with. These instances took their toll on me, bringing out a very vulnerable part of me. I am not blaming anyone else for this, for how I reacted to these instances was my responsibility. Regardless, they planted the one thing in my mind that haunted me for years, and still does. I am not worthy.

Childhood can be frustrating at times because there’s such limited control of the world around you. Shit happens, but you can’t do much about it. If you can relate to this in any way, perhaps you feel similar to me.

Breaking from your deep vulnerabilities rooted from childhood is not easy. Since they’re so old, they have become a part of you and your outlook on life. It may seem that getting rid of these insecurities means getting rid of yourself. Talk about overwhelming!

As I look at it, I’m going deep inside myself to find the little girl who was convinced she wasn’t good enough. I find my nine or ten-year-old self and tell her to ignore her family, to break out of her shell and try to find friends. It’s like making peace with a part of yourself in a way.

In the scheme of things, no one is better than anyone else. I don’t care who you are, at the end of the day we all are just humans on this earth. Being “better” is so subjective that it is impossible for it to actually exist. Beauty is something society has created, and not something set in stone. It shouldn’t be taken so seriously.

If something traumatic has happened to you, feeling worthy can be extra hard. You  don’t deserve to have gone through such an ordeal. It can take its toll on you for sure. You must remind yourself every day you are worthy. During hard times, remember that you define you, not what has happened to you. If you still don’t feel worthy, talk about it. Be heard. Be brave enough to step out of yourself, and see your greatness for what it is.

Every human has worth. The world may convince us otherwise, but it’s important we change our minds by reminding ourselves of the truth. This takes time and effort, but it’s worth it in the end. Just say the words, “I am worthy.”

I hope this helps. Remember, life is tough, but you’re tougher.

Jackie ❤

When Life Seems Too Hard

A huge part of depression is becoming frustrated and sad over responsibilities, tasks or events that happen. Just having to get ready for class may seem like the hardest thing in the world. I know this happens to me a lot. Yesterday, I had to get up and go to work, but my body actually felt like it was denying it. In a sense, depression was trapping me. Luckily, there’s a way to escape depression’s grasp, no matter how tight it may be.

Just noticing this is a huge deal. Once you notice that you’re feeling this, you can begin to separate yourself. You can feel depressed, not be depressed. Sadness is only a feeling, and that’s it. This alone could be enough to motivate you.

This isn’t always the case. Unfortunately, symptoms of depression doesn’t always go away that easily. Sometimes, it takes more effort. Someone once told me to ask myself one simple question: “How can I participate right now?” In the present moment, just thinking of one manageable thing to do can help you back on your feet. It could be the simplest thing, such as brushing your teeth or doing one problem on your homework. The great part about this is, you only need to find one simple way to participate in the present moment.There’s no need to worry about future or past actions, because the present is the only one that matters. For instance, when I was getting upset over getting ready for classes, I participated in the present moment by simply opening my eyes. The next present moment, I got up just to get my toothbrush. When tasks that seem huge are too much, making them into smaller tasks makes them more manageable.

If you begin to feel more strength, you can build yourself up to bigger tasks, but only if you feel ready. It’s important to take care of yourself and love yourself; if you need time, take time.

Life can be hard at times, but things have a way of working out. During these hard times, I try to keep this in mind. Maybe you can too.

I hope this helped. Remember, life is tough, but you’re tougher.

Jackie ❤

Living Life With the Jitters

Heart pulsing, legs trembling, armpits sweating, all during just a normal day, this is anxiety. Things that shouldn’t cause this much distress does, and it can make you feel helpless. You feel like the world is moving way too fast and you can barely grasp it.

I felt this way today, over a bus ride. I knew deep down that it was just a bus; I would find my way to the bus stop, get on the bus and be fine. Yet, something didn’t agree with me. I was stressing for hours beforehand, and it was driving me nuts. If you are any way like me, you might know how this feels.

I deal with “the jitters” in a few ways.

Number one, I breathe. This may seem too easy, seeing that we breathe all the time, but hear me out. By taking a deep breath, you activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for calming you down and slowing down the body overall. Once your body calms down, your mind will too.

Sometimes, I ground myself. I make sure my feet are flat on the ground and I try to feel the ground beneath me, supporting me. This reminds me that I’m safe and that I’m not going anywhere. When I feel like the world is spinning around me and I’m in a million directions, this is helpful.

I know I’ve mentioned this in posts before, but meditating is miraculous. Meditation can calm me down, and that’s a lot considering how much of an anxious person I am just naturally. Staying in the present moment and actually letting your mind rest makes the world of a difference. This has helped me during nights where I was so anxious that I couldn’t sleep. One of the best apps for this is Insight Timer, which has hundreds of amazing guided meditations for free.

A few years ago, someone told me, “You have anxiety. Anxiety doesn’t have you.” I don’t know if I’ve ever heard anything so true. Maybe we just have to remind ourselves of this, when we feel like it starts to take its toll on us. We have control over ourselves, not anxiety.

So take that bus, ask that guy out, apply for that job, because anxiety doesn’t have to win; there are ways to control it. Remember, life is tough but you’re tougher.

❤ Jackie

Self-loathing

Do you ever lay in bed at night, thinking about all you have done wrong? I know I do. I ruminate on all the things I said and did, ashamed of myself. What I, and many others, fail to realize is that while focusing on all we have done wrong, we forget what we have done right. There’s always at least one act we do every day, one act that’s a reason to love ourselves. It may even be unintentional. It could be smiling at a stranger, complimenting someone or telling your family you love them. Although the task may be hard, it’s important to look back at those kid of things at the end of the day.

It’s easy to go down the road of self-loathing. What’s hard is coming back from it. A helpful thing for me to remember is someone, somewhere sees me completely different from the way I see myself. I try to look at myself from their loving perspective, so in turn I could love myself. Look at yourself the way your friends see you, your family sees you, your pet sees you. You are that person.

I hope this helps for anyone who might be struggling. Life is tough but you’re tougher.

Jackie ❤

College and Mental Health

The first semester of college can be mentally draining to some. It’s the first time your parents aren’t there to guide you through anything. There’s no instructions on how to live on your own and yet you’re expected to figure it all out.

For the first few weeks of college, I sometimes felt like I couldn’t move. I was so overwhelmed by everything that it triggered my depression. If this is similar to your experience, don’t be ashamed. Adjusting to college life is not easy. You’re not crazy or anything if you think you might be relapsing. You’re not alone.

What’s not okay is continuing to feel uncomfortable with your mental illness. No one deserves that! I wish there was a way to simply banish it by waving some sort of magic wand. Sadly, mental illness doesn’t work that way. I don’t know if any of these things would work for you, but they helped a little bit for me.

Go to the counseling center

This may seem like a no brainer. But it works. You can easily have weekly appointments with a counselor there. He or she could talk you through your problems and help you brainstorm some solutions. During some of my worst times here, I went to the counseling center and I actually felt a change in mood afterwards.

Avoid isolation

Being alone may be the only thing you want to do at this time in your life. But as much as you want to, try not to. It can make you feel more alone and more helpless. Just going to a coffee shop with a bunch of people around can even help. If you haven’t made friends yet, that’s okay. Explore places where people are around, such as the mall or the campus. When I wanted to be alone, I fought this feeling off by going to the mall and making a Build a Bear. It sounds goofy, but it helped.

Find one thing you love to do

Sometimes, one little thing can pull you out of the darkness. It could be painting, playing a sport, baking cookies, you name it. Anything to get your mind off of what you may be feeling. Even if it’s just for a short time, you don’t focus on your mental state, and that can make a huge difference. For me, I started taking pictures of nature on my iPhone. I love photography. It distracted me from my depression and really helped me during some hard times.

Talk to your psychiatrist

I see this as a last resort, if a few weeks or months have gone by and things still are not getting better. Call up your psychiatrist! See if you may need to up your dosage or get a prescription. Sometimes, it’s a chemical imbalance that needs to be fixed in order to stop feeling a certain way. If you don’t currently have a psychiatrist, try going to the health clinic and asking about psychiatrists on or near campus. Try not be be hard on yourself if you have to take a medication. It’s common not just among college students, but people in general.

I hope some of these suggestions helped for anyone who might be struggling. Remember, life is tough but you’re tougher!

Jackie ❤

Focusing on the Good Times

As many people with depression know, sometimes we feel sad without any particular reason. Personally, this is the worst pain I endure because I feel I can’t do anything about it.

Times like these suck. But that is how depression is, and we have to just learn to deal with it. The only way out of this pain is to go through it. There’s no way to sugarcoat it. When the pain comes, I’ve found it’s better to feel it and express it in healthy ways, rather than to ignore it. Once you’ve acknowledged it, then it’s okay to move forward.  Acknowledging your pain is important because bottling up emotions never ends well! It is important to remember that this pain does end, even if it doesn’t seem like it.

I’ve dealt with depression since I was 12. Out of all this pain, I’ve learned focusing on better times will overall lift my mood. We all have happy moments in life. I live for the moments when I’m joking around with my friends or eating something really yummy or babysitting an adorable kid. These are the moments we must think of. These are the moments that will keep us going when times get tough. Remember, when pain comes, always remember something lovely is coming your way.

The deep, dark pain we may sometimes feel can’t control us. Life doesn’t have to be defined by the pain, but by the joy instead.

Careless Remarks

Today in English class, my teacher was making fun of something and compared it to a mental patient. I was really offended by this. The comment was probably just a slip of the tongue and not intended to be mean, but regardless, it hurt. Having been a mental patient multiple times, it feels like I’m being looked down upon. The worst part is, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard comments like this. I often hear people say things such as “I want to kill myself right now!” or using words such as psycho, loony bin and emo.

This is offensive because living life with a mental illness is incredibly difficult and tiring. To have someone make fun of it as if it’s nothing makes me feel like my efforts to recover are worthless. It also makes me feel like I’m weird or crazy. Not a good feeling! Society has a long history of stigmatizing mental illness. But it’s time we face the truth. Being mentally ill doesn’t equate to being crazy, weird or less than. Mental illness doesn’t define a person.

A helpful thing to keep in mind is that most of the time, people aren’t saying these careless comments with the intention to be devious. Not everyone understands the struggle of being mentally unstable, or the power of his words.  I find it most effective to calmly, openly talk about how and why these comments are offensive. Getting mad may seem easier, but it just creates unneeded tension and fighting. Staying calm and actually talking about it is better because this way, people aren’t on the defense and they will understand and respect you more. It also may stop them from saying these kinds of remarks in the future.

Words hurt, but they don’t define who we are.

Friend Groups and Feeling Left Out

Many times, I’ve felt left out when I was with my friends. For me, it feels like I’m invisible. Everything I say is pointless because no one will listen or care. No one would notice if I left. I’ve gotten in my fair share of fights with friends over this. Their response was always, “You’re doing this to yourself. You leave yourself out.” This always made me so angry. Why should I be the one to blame for something they are doing? I often grew very resentful and defensive from this.

This past year, I finally experienced what it’s like from a different perspective. My friend had been acting very distant and cold with me and my other friend. I felt like she was icing us out. It was confusing because I had no idea why. During every conversation, she would just shut down and not say a word. After talking to her about it, she told me she was feeling left out. To me, this didn’t make sense. She seemed like the one who was isolating herself.  Even when I tried extra hard to include her, she still felt the same. It was very frustrating, but at the same time, I knew how she felt. I’ve been in her shoes before.

That’s when I realized it’s not anyone’s fault specifically. Some people just connect and interact better than others. When another person is added to the equation, it’s harder to find a place sometimes. It’s not intentional, but just the nature of relationships. Most of the time, people don’t leave people out to be mean. It’s not someone’s fault they share a certain chemistry with someone else. It can’t be ignored. It also isn’t someone’s fault if they feel left out. It’s okay not to share that same bond as some other friends may have. Each friendship is different, and some groups mesh well while some just don’t.

This is something I think everyone deals with at one point or another. Feeling left out sucks, but hopefully it’s comforting to know it’s not your fault and not intentional.