NO.

How hard is it for you to say no? If you are like me, saying no feels like slapping someone in the face. Saying no makes me feel guilty even when I have a reason to say it. So what do you do? Should you say yes forever? Well, I have a list we can all use to help fight the fear of saying no.

It is okay to say no…

If it doesn’t make you happy

If you feel as if someone is forcing you

If it doesn’t fit your plans

If it makes you uncomfortable

If you want to be by yourself and relax

If your feelings are not being valued

If it goes against what you believe in

If it’s a family member

If you have no reason other than you wanting to do it

Understand that it does not happen overnight. But remember, you have the right to say no to anyone about anything. Saying no helps protect your feelings, so use it when you can.

Dear 20 Something Ari

Hey Girl,

Right now, I am sure you are writing your fifth 10-year goals list, hoping that 30 never comes for you. Well, sis, it’s coming sooner than you think. But guess what? You do not have to have it all together before 30 comes. You are at a place where making mistakes should not drive you to think less of yourself, but the mistakes should be taken as lessons being taught to you. You are smart enough to reach any goal you set your mind to; just stop trying to focus on how quick that goal is achieved when it’s not the time for you yet. I know you see people you went to high school with having their degrees and starting new chapters for themselves, but understand you did not do anything wrong. We are not supposed to move the way we see others moving. That’s not how we were made. We were made to march differently and do so with ease.

Lastly, Ari, you are killing it! Just take your time and do not allow what you see others doing; keep you from being your true self. We have time, so take the time to enjoy the journey.

Love,

30 Something Ari

Alone at Last

When I am depressed, I find myself pulling away from people that I usually like being around. Most people have told me that if you are alone when you are dealing with something, it will only make you feel worst. That’s not always true. I know for me, being alone helps me handle whatever issues I might be dealing with at that moment. See, I still want to be viewed as the one who has her stuff together. Being anything less than that will not work for me. I want to make sure I am okay before I spread any negative energy around people I love. I also chose to be alone because it helps me get my feelings in order and ease the anxiety monster hiding under my bed. The more people I am around when I am depressed, the more likely she (anxiety) will show that cute little face of hers (I kid, she’s a mess, but you didn’t get that from me), so alone I stay until I am out of my depression. I need that alone time to get me together, so I know how to face whatever this life has in store for me the next day. If you are like me and need that time away from people, take it. Do not respond to people who say that you are funny when you decide to be alone. Only you know what you need to get over your depression. Your peace is what matters the most. Choose peace over anything else. Trust me, and it is worth it.

Being alone has a power that very few people can handle.

Steven Aitchison

Take the Mask Off

Are we able to be our true selves wearing a mask? Will people be able to understand us when we are hiding behind something that is foreign? This video touches on how taking off our mask can help us in finding our freedom and true peace.
Music: Team Astro – Better, Together, Forever https://chll.to/95d04f90

Thoughts of a Manic

I have been dealing with mania for about two weeks now. It could be longer, but my mind is all over the place that I thought yesterday was Tuesday. WRONG! This post has no real topic, just different ideas floating around in my head while I try to work on anything, or even when I try to hold a conversation with people. I hope that this helps anyone that is also suffering from manic episodes.

A rundown of my day:

7 AM:

Hey girl! Let’s start our day!

Do you know what you want to do today?

Let’s work on our business plan.

No, let’s read a little.

No, how about we look at our assignment for next week.

I wonder if they received my mail-in ballot.

What time is it?

Let’s workout.

You should call your mom and see how she’s doing before you start your day.

What time is it?

Why are we still laying down in bed?

What time is it?

GET UP, GIRL!

9 AM:

We should go for a walk around the neighborhood

Let’s play Animal Crossing

Our business plan is top on the list for things to do today

I wonder if Donta is busy at work.

Let’s go for that walk.

What’s the weather like?

Why am I on YouTube?

Go to the Weather App.

What is the name of that song by Drake you like?

Noon:

We still have a lot to do.

Why are we laying down?

No, don’t crash. We have stuff to do!

Ariel, you are so lazy!

We do not need sleep. We are rested!

Let’s check our emails.

What time is it?

Today is going too slow.

I need to do some research regarding my plan

I. WILL. NOT. LOSE.

I’LL SLEEP WHEN I DIE!!

7 PM:

What is he saying to me?

That debate was insane.

If I were debating, I would have wiped the floor up with both of them.

What time is it?

I think I need to do more research on this plan.

I might need to pull an all-nighter to get this assignment done.

What day is it?

What is this conversation about again?

Focus. Focus. FOCUS ARIEL!

I should get my nails done.

Focus. She’s talking to you.

Do I have enough money to last me until my next job starts?

Focus. What did she say?

Do I need more leggings?

Stop going on Facebook! You know it upsets you.

What day is it?

Focus on the conversation you are having with your friend!

She probably thinks we don’t like her because we aren’t responding.

What did she say?

Should I eat? I not sure if I am hungry.

Focus.

Midnight:

I hate that I am up by myself.

Let’s go on Twitter.

No, try to sleep.

No, let’s sit down at our desk and write.

Write what?

What time is it?

You did nothing all day.

I need to work on my next assignment.

He sleeps so peacefully. One day I will know that. NOT.

Should I eat something?

I wish I had an idea of where to go to get my plans off the ground.

Focus. Focus on the plan

I am a screwup.

No, I got this! I will make it!

There is no time to sleep. Just work!

Damn, you forgot to call again!

I think I am going to start a podcast.

NO! I’m going to keep up with blogging.

YOUTUBE FOR THE WIN!!

3:00 AM:

KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN

Is he breathing?

Good, I can hear him!

What time is it?

Play one more game!

I hate that he’s asleep.

Google…

I finally allow myself to go to sleep, but my mind is fighting me all the way.

I hope that sharing this moment with you will help you seek help if you are dealing with racing thoughts. Finding someone that you can work with to assist you in navigating through the rough patches. I know that that rush of mania can be intoxicating, but what goes up must come down.

6 Weeks of Depression

The best part about having Bipolar II Disorder is being depressed. *Cue the sarcastic grin*

Depression is like the Groundhog seeing its shadow and running back into its hole. You do not want to do ANYTHING! If you could stay in your den, you would be fine. What makes me upset about being in a depressive state, I cannot seem to find a break. It is as if someone is sitting in a control room in my mind, finding the most peeving things to set me off and make me never want to leave the house again. But what can I do? Nothing, I suppose, but it is not from a lack of trying. Winter it is.

Ariel, now you know you cannot leave this blog like this. Where is the brighter side of things? How can we defrost? I mean, we have to say something uplifting girl. Okay, let me turn things around.

We can change our season. When you feel like you are in your 6 weeks of Winter, understand that it will not last forever. Yes, I know it is cold right now, but we will warm up. We have to give ourselves grace when we are feeling sad or depressed, and not allow guilt to make us think that it is wrong to feel down. Weeping may endure for a while, but if you can change your perspective, you can turn your mood around.

So, continue to bundle up, we will soon see spring again.

Escaping the Manic Monster

I just watched the video of Kanye West at his campaign event in South Carolina, and all I can do is cry. Not because I have love for him as an artist, or because he’s black like I am, but because I suffer from the Manic Monster within me as he does. Just like Kanye West, I have Bipolar Disorder, and the Manic Monster does not care who you are or what kind of money you have if it wants you, it will take hold of you.

Before I knew that I had Bipolar Disorder, I would catch myself doing a lot of rants as Kayne West does. There was never a real rhyme or reason for them; I would just keep going and going until I would tire myself out. One day, I cussed my husband out for an hour straight about how he does not understand that when he does not tell me when he is leaving one place to another with his friends, it will make me think that my husband is dead and I would not know how to find him. I could see the look of concern on his face as I began to cry and yell about the level of love I have for him, and if he loved me on that same level, he would not make me think that he is dead. The Manic Monster inside me had control over me, and I could not fight him off. It was only until my Psych Nurse let me know that I was Bipolar that I could figure out a way to fight back.

I want you to understand that a person who has this mental illness cannot help it when the Manic Monster comes to get them until that person is willing to find help from a mental health professional to fight against it. Kanye West needs help. He does not need a room full of people to encourage him to keep this energy up, or people to say how crazy he is. He needs someone willing to help him understand that it is okay to seek the help he needs. Kanye is in the dungeon of the Manic Monster, and if he wants to get out of there, he will have to fight his way out. Until then, I will pray for him. He needs it.

Am I Good Enough?

“Ariel is going to school for her Doctoral Degree!” “Ariel is a Director at a childcare center.” These are the statements that my mom makes to people about me on a day-to-day occurrence. I always tell her to stop telling people all of that stuff, but she would just roll her eyes and continue her “Ariel is the best” Parade. I do not feel that I am as smart as my mom and other people think that I am. I feel that I do enough to get by. Man, my therapist would be so upset with what I am saying about myself. But that is how I feel. I feel that I need to push myself harder to be what people think that I am. Ugh! Anxiety, you are such a jerk for making me think like this.

Maybe I need just to take what people are saying to me as encouragement. Perhaps I should stop being so hard on myself. I have to get out of the way and do the best I can. I do not have to be perfect to get things done. I do not have be a genius for people to give me praise. My mom is not saying I am smart because she’s my mom; she’s saying this because she believes in me.

Now the question is, Ariel, will you believe in yourself, or will you allow your anxieties to beat you down?

Anxiety Woes

I saw a journal prompt that I would like to share. The prompt asks, What is one way your depression or anxiety has held you back this week? I want to tell you how my anxiety treated me this week, and hopefully, this can help others dealing with their depression or anxiety during this pandemic.

Monday, I wanted to go to the store and pick up some things for my husband and me. As I was going to the store, my stomach was doing flips. I went into the store, trying to gather myself. I went down every aisle I needed to go on and quickly went to the register. I thought I was home free. “You can make it, Ariel,” I said to myself. Then it dawns on me, “I forgot the chips!” I yelled out loud. I did not want to go back into the store I left out of, so I went to a small convenience store. I went in, got the chips my husband wanted, and ran back to the car. My stomach is doing the Salsa at this point. It was taking every fiber in my body not to make the mistake of throwing up on myself. I did that before, and it was not pretty. I pull into the driveway, thinking that I am in the clear, but as soon as I started taking bags out of the car, I had to throw them back into the car and throw up all over the grass. It took me about 10 minutes to gather myself and continue to unload the car. I did not leave out the house for the rest of this week. Anxiety has a funny way of trying to “help” you out. 

Although anxiety may have you feeling physically sick, we have to find ways to fight back. If it means to take baby steps until you can regain yourself, do that. Anxiety’s job is to make us afraid of the world around us, and since this pandemic has changed our world, anxiety is working overtime. Find peace and know that what we are facing right now will not become the norm. Pace yourself, love yourself, and above all, listen to yourself. We can make it!