self-care, gratitudes, and making happy

read

Earlier this year, I worked on a project of documenting things I was grateful for and things that made me happy. I only got a few months in as I suddenly found myself with a job, I moved 1000 miles, and until October, my life was in job / location flux.

But even in that short amount of time, I came up with 99 things to be grateful for and 100 things that make me happy. Here is the list.

(I know numerous people found the list to be a great template to create their own lists so feel free to download!)

Since Tuesday’s upset, I’ve been working on loads of self-care to get me through this time and it’s been helping. I’m a big proponent and advocate of self-care and I think it’s one of the most important things we can do for ourselves. While we should always fight injustice, we’re not going to be any good unless we in the place to fight for ourselves.

Let me put it to you this another way:

If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” ― RuPaul

Here are more things to add to the lists:

Self-care

  • Getting off the internet. Period.
  • Read
  • Meditate
  • Bake
  • Go for long walks
  • Knit
  • Play video games (I’m currently enthralled with Animal Crossing. Friend code:4613-7073-9492)
  • Working on my projects
  • Text with close friends
  • Breathing exercises
  • Snuggling with TEH
  • Cleaning house (don’t judge)
  • Drinking hot tea
  • Sleeping on freshly laundered sheets
  • Making lists and knocking things off those lists
  • Doing something kind for someone/things
  • Eating chocolate
  • Long near scalding showers
  • Long hot baths with epsom salts (TEH only has a large walk in shower but if I have access to a tub, damn straight I’m getting my bath on)
  • Read tarot cards
  • Online shop (but not spending anything!)
  • Watch Bridget Jones’ Diary, Pride and Prejudice (2005), Harry Potter series, or any other favorite movies
  • Writing letters / postcards
  • Yoga
  • Wearing one of my perfume oils

There may be some cross-over from the original list to here but that’s okay. When I’m starting to feel anxious or stressed, I use one, or many, of the things listed above to calm me down.

What is your self-care?

two days later

TheExHusband is not one for being active in politics. Sure he votes but he votes for his conscious and his reasoning as such is pretty sound (to him) but we tend not to get into political fights even if we disagree. He did the much the same this time around, however, he aligned much of his vote with mine (#ImWithHer) as he believed she to be a better candidate than Tr*mp and he was supportive (mostly) with her ideologies.

After we voted at 6:15AM, we arrogantly believed Hillz would take the presidency because every major news outlet told us so. They was predicting the margin would be wide, 538’s gap was 80/20. Hillz triumph seemed like a sure thing. I started watching CNN after we came home and lasted about four hours as the predictions started to waver as exit polls and interviews of voters started to occur.

(When the returns started rolling in, we watched MSNBC while I kept tabs with BBC, New York Times, and CNN on my laptop.)

When the ballot counting began, and Tr*mp started pulling ahead, pundits tried soothing the nation with, “Losers always pull ahead with the smaller electoral votes and peter out around the 200 mark,” and, “Urban counting takes longer than rural counting due to population density, so calm the fuck down.” But the train wreck and horror as time wore on of our election slowly proved otherwise.

TEH was knocking back vodka/fruit punch (I believe he had four) while I was fetal position on the couch, one glass of wine barely finished in front of me. I have never seen him like this — this agitation and worry. It was clear he was worried, very worried, and if his own person was shaken by the obvious outcome, what did it mean for me? Him? Our future separately and together? And most of all, our country?

When time started ticking after the midnight hour, my breathing became short, I was panting, and a physical anxiety attack started to happen. TEH got me a Klonopin which blissfully hazed me for a few hours until around the 3AM hour when I heard the announcement the remaining states had fallen to Tr*mp and he was now our next president of the United States.

Then I started to cry.

TEH, slightly sloshed on vodka, and myself, hazed up on Klonopin, our mouths became agape, and the it was the end of the world but we were not feeling fine.

As I watched my timelines across the internet, many felt the same as we did: anger. Disbelief. Shock.

But there was also hope.


This just happened  to me (cross-posting from Twitter)

Going back& forth w/ the organizers who escort people at abortion clinics (to volunteer) & they said, “you have to be prepared for filming.”

(It’s legal for the protestors to take pictures and film you.)

I told them I was fine w/ that & gave them the details on #teamharpy, b/c honestly, once you’ve been smeared on internet, anything is gravy. They said they knew from googling me when I emailed them to volunteer but ALSO because they were following the case while it was happening.

It’s weird, for me, people were watching outside of library world and I’ve also come across them irl who’ve offered up sympathy. And in some way the case is even more valid nearly two years on from the dismissal. Tr*mp and the allegations about him and how the media just swept that shit under the rug is PERFECT why women won’t come forward.

(I am so desperate to not name names and let loose a string of obscenities about them, but last time I did this, I named names and I got sued. So.)


 

The morning after, admittedly, I was a bit manic, I started taking on a zillion things: donating / volunteering / spreading support to overcome my anxiety. (I had another panic attack later yesterday afternoon so my actions from that morning were not completely bright.)  But as the anxiety marched on, my mania started getting worse, and I felt pulled too thin.

I wanted to do all the things but my self-care started to show cracks and I knew I had to pull back.

First, I needed to grieve, which I didn’t do. Next, I need to assess my life and I was not realistic about how much involvement I could do. Third, I needed to figure out how to best spend my time rather than going crazy on all the things. (TEH is worried my overextension may be problematic to my mental health.)

After I stepped back from my crazy morning, I became more frightened of what this potential presidency will mean on a personal level. First, my mental illness and gender are going to be heavily questioned and possibly terrorized. First and a half, if ObamaCare is rolled back and Medicaid cut, I am seriously fucked. Second, my pathway into spirituality will have to be locked down to the closest of friends (and on my anonymous blog) since it doesn’t fall into the Judeo-Christian tradition.

It is also knowing once this post goes public, I’m opening myself up for attacks, criticism, and threats.

After calming down a bit, I decided to take action as much as I mentally could:

  • I signed petitions and passed on those websites on my timelines for others to sign and they to pass on
  • I donated small amounts of money when I could to the places really close to my heart
  • I contacted the local abortion clinic to volunteer as an escort and I will be starting training soon
  • I contacted my local suicide helpline to volunteer and that training will start soon as well
  • I subscribed to Ms. magazine
  • I searched Facebook for groups / organizations / events I could locally attend / join

It seems like a lot but it doesn’t feel like a lot as my natural instinct is to do all the things. But it’s what I can afford to mentally, physically, financially do and I take comfort that anything is better than nothing.


Through all of this, I’m keeping my white privilege in check. I’m acutely aware of what is made available to me mainly has to do with my skin color. I have a roof over my head, food in my belly, and clothes on my back. I’m also acutely aware if Obamacare AND Medicaid get repealed, TEH and I are half-seriously considering getting married again so I can have health care (if I’m not working at a place that offers it).

It is my duty, no my responsibility, to help those that are not as fortunate as me and fight as hard and as much as I can.


Below you’ll find a list of phone numbers to call if you’re in crisis and a list of lists compiled by other outlets of how you can help. If you find this useful, feel free to share it on.

Phone list if you are in crisis

Suicide Prevention Hotline 800-273-8255
Crisis Text Line: text 741-741
Trevor Project (for LGBTQ+ youth): 866-488-7386<
Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860

Things you can do

remember not to die

caravaggio-momentomori
Saint Jerome Writing by Caravaggio

[Crossposted to Medium]

First things first: I’m collecting donations for the Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention 5K walk which is happening on November 5. Here is my story:

When I was 17, I attempted suicide. It was through a suicide prevention crisis hotline that got me the help I needed. I am also bipolar and the National Health Association report those with mental disorders are 30 – 70% more likely to attempt suicide.  I know too many people who have either thought of or attempted suicide and I want those numbers to be 0.  I tattooed a semicolon on my wrist to be a constant reminder my story, and everyone else’s, is not over.

I’m also walking for my mom who attempted suicide in 2001. Suicidal thoughts know no age, no race, no income barrier, no religion and more. Please help me fight against suicide prevention by donating to my walk.

The resulting donations have been amazing! My original goal was $200 and I doubled that in the first two days, and tripled it within a week. If you have a few bucks to spare, please considering donating!


This essay has changed topics at least twice before final publication. First, it was a meditation on spiritualism of the pagan variety which is long overdue and definitely needed. Then on to recounting seeing my mother for the first time in over four years which turned into talking about suicide.

Which, you know, is a sunny topic.

Suicide and I have a complicated relationship: I started writing a book when I was in my pre-teens about it (which made for interesting fare for research at the library) and then there is my own attempt at 17 which was a revelation and a curse. A revelation I was not alone in my attempt though at the time it seemed like no one had ever felt that way and a curse as just like talking about mental health is a stigma (let alone having any mental illness) so too is talking about suicide, especially if you attempted.  I rarely talk about my suicide attempt and enough years have filled in from then to now the recollection of what happened is hazy: the smooth move of my arm to the bottle, the bottle opened, the drugs down my throat, then as the drugs took hold, the very thing pushed me to die was now attempting to have me live.

(I need to note here friends got to me just in time and force fed me hamburger whose grease had not been drained which prompted me to throw up every last thing in my stomach, which of course included the drugs. The EMTs were called, which led to my mother being called, which led to them not taking me to the hospital as I had already thrown up the drugs and my mother is/was a nurse so I should be “fine.”)

What I didn’t mention to my story in AFSP was my mother’s reaction – something along the lines of “I got called out of work for this?” to direct quote, “Next time you try, don’t use my pills.” While contacting a local suicide hotline IS true, the motherly lack of care of me and my brain following my attempt never happened.


When I attempted suicide, there was some reasoning behind it: I didn’t feel like I belonged; I wasn’t loved by anyone; no one was there for me. When mother attempted suicide in 2001, we never really found out why she attempted — or the whys when she attempted again a few months later. Perhaps there were no reasons on the attempts but here she is, 15 years later on still being an asshole to everyone and ruling as if her suicide mattered and mine did not.

Nothing has changed. Everything has changed.


As the decades have passed, I catch brief glimpses of that day. I know it was spring/summer. I know my action was spur of the moment and not planned though it was never far from my thoughts. I know that singular attempt was enough to want me to live a life worth having. I wanted to go to college, see the world, maybe get married and / or have kids.

All the things I have wanted and continue to do.

I want a life not just to live but to be alive.