A Lesson From Mister Rogers

Mister Rogers is my childhood hero. Every morning I would get up and turn PBS on to watch what lesson he was teaching his neighbors. As an adult, I will go on YouTube and watch old episodes to see what takeaways I can get as a 33-year-old. I came across one of his songs called, ‘What Do You Do with The Mad That You Feel?’ This song helped me understand my life a little more as a woman with Bipolar Depression. In this song, Mister Rogers explains that we can just be in our feelings, or we can find ways to express our emotions so we can get through them.

A main reason why we keep our feelings to ourselves is that we are afraid to look weak. We think the moment we break down and begin to open up; people will immediately judge us and tell everyone that knows us how much we suck. But that is not true. Most of the time, when we let people that love us in, they are understanding and want to help us get out of whatever it is we are in. For the most part, our friends’ job is to hear us out and be the shoulder you need to let out those big feelings. But it takes us, the person that is hurting, to allow someone in. It can be challenging, but what are the other options; to keep your feelings bottled up until you eventually pop? That will never work.

Mister Rogers ends the song by saying:

And what a good feeling to feel like this,

And know that the feeling is really mine.

Know that there’s something deep inside

That helps us become what we can,

For a girl can be someday a woman

And a boy can be someday a man.

What we can take away from these lyrics is that the feelings we have are ours. We can allow them to control us or do whatever we need to do to get them out. I know firsthand that allowing the feelings to control me only made me feel worse. But once I started taking control of those feelings, I felt right with the world. Again, we are in charge of what we allow to go on within our minds. If you have to write the feelings away, do it. If you have to take a long shower and cry the feelings away, do it. Does working out help to get the feelings out? DO IT! Whatever it takes to help you gain control over them, just be like Nike and DO IT. It can only help you grow more as a person. We owe it to ourselves to find ways to live with the emotions that we have. It may take some time, but if you are willing to put in the work, I promise you friends, you will find it worthwhile.  

Ari’s Scared

Today is another day I let depression and anxiety sleepover in my brain. This time they brought with them a list of things that scare me. Here goes nothing.

I am scared of change. The funny thing is, I am a Gemini, and change is something that we should enjoy. That’s why you can’t trust the signs. Not at all.

I am scared of not being in control. I hate having to leave the decision making to someone or something else (I am a Type-A personality if you couldn’t tell).  

I am scared of being a failure. I am so scared of failing; I will work myself to the point of wanting to pass out. Well, at least I didn’t fail, huh (that may be a fail, though).

I am scared of being by myself. To know that I have people on my side means the world to me, and to ever lose that, I don’t know what I would do. Also, don’t tell me that I was born alone; that doesn’t help me stop feeling alone and afraid.

Lastly, I am scared of letting people in. I love hard. If I say I am riding for you, I’m riding until the wheels fall off. With this mindset, I have seen myself giving my all to someone who will never show up for me. It’s safe to say if I leave my walls up, I can save myself from the fear.

My therapist said that it’s okay to be scared, but you have to find the willingness to push through. This means you can be scared AND still come out of that situation as the winner. I am working daily to fight through what scares me; if you are afraid of it, just take my hand. We will make it through together. It may be scary, but it will not defeat us.

The Happiest Ever

I’ve been feeling down for a while due to the sun setting at 4 PM, on top of just being Bipolar and anxious. I decided that I did not want to be down anymore, so I started watching my wedding video. If I had to pick a day that I felt the happiest, my wedding day takes the cake. I want to share a little about that day if you don’t mind.

My husband Donta and I got engaged in June of 2017 and settled on a date in August of 2018. One day while working on our seating arrangements and Donta turned to me and said, “Let’s change the date to this year,” “I don’t want the big guest list; I just want to marry you.” I was a little upset at first because I wanted a big wedding and fanfare, but on the other hand, I realized that I only want to make Donta happy, and the rest of it did not matter. So we changed our date to December 22, 2017.

Our wedding day came, and I was so excited. We decorated our living room with daisies (fake ones because we were on a budget) and candles (Also fake, look, we were setting a mood, not trying to burn the house down). It seemed so whimsical and better than any wedding venue I could dream of. I was ready to marry my best friend! As my dad walked me down the hallway to greet my groom, all I could do was smile. I started thinking about the journey Donta, and I were about to start and how I could not see this life with anybody else but him. It will be 3 years in 13 days, and I love being married to this man every second of each day.

The moral today is: Although 2020 has thrown so many shots at us, we can still find our happiest ever to get us through it. I hope that happiness comes soon for you.

2 Something in the Morning

I am not feeling my best right now, so it only fits to spread positivity to myself and others. Here are ten affirmations I use when I am feeling out of it during my depressive episodes.

I possess the qualities needed to be successful.

I am a work in progress, and that’s okay.

I choose positivity today.

I will let go of things that do not give me peace.

All my problems have solutions.

It is okay to say no to things that do not serve you.

I am grounded.

I choose happiness.

I can handle anything that comes my way. I am strong.

I have the power to control my thoughts.

Say these affirmations to yourself daily and see how well they work for you. I am not saying that they will work overnight, but if you are willing to make it a habit, you can see your behavior change.

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

Don’t Obsess

This spot! It was driving me out my mind! What a spot—what a spot for a fellow to find! My troubles were growing. The way it kept going! Where would it go next? There was no way of Knowing.

–The Strange Shirt Spot

The above passage comes from a Dr. Seuss book called Seuss-isms. In the story of The Strange Shirt Spot, the little boy was obsessing all day with a spot on his shirt. He would clean the spot off his shirt, for only the spot to jump on something else. That strange spot was all he could think about, and I am sure I am not the only one that has been where this little boy has been with this spot. Let’s talk about obsessions and how we can combat them.

Our minds love to jump on one thing and will not let it go until it figures out the issue, or it tires itself out. The one big obsession I have is trying to figure out why people think and act the way they do. I will ramble on and on to anyone that would listen about how I cannot figure out why a person could respond or react the way they do. I would obsess so much; I would catch myself spending hours on Google trying to find counterpoints to a person’s actions or statements. Did my obsession solve anything? No. Did it help me sleep at night to obsess over it? No, it did the exact opposite. But I just had to know why. With therapy, I have learned that I cannot control everything that is going on around me. I also learned that my way of thinking is not made for anyone else. When I started understanding these two points, I was able to stop my fixation on what other people did or say.

We will all have moments where we will fix our mind on things we cannot control. But if we can remember that the only thing we can have true control over is ourselves, the less likely we are to obsess over things. As my therapist would say, “If it is not on fire, it is safe to say you do not need to give it all of your energy.”  

Low Battery

I had no idea what slow down means. I felt that if I sat down longer than a minute, I would get worried that I would not get things done. I have been this way since I was 11, and this “get up and go” mindset has only gotten worse.

“Ariel, when do you ever just stop moving and relax?” My therapist asked during our last session. “What does that mean?” I said, laughing so hard that I begin to cry. My therapist just shook her head and responded to my silly question by saying, “You cannot keep going without stopping and taking some time for you.” I thought to myself, “what if I do need to slow down?”, “What if I am not getting enough rest?” “Well, I have a lot to do.”

Friday, I had a 12-hour workday. I thought I was going to pass out as soon as I came through the door of my house. I didn’t even say hello to my husband before I fell asleep on the bed. When I woke up the next day, I told myself that I was going to take a day to pamper myself. I went to get a beautiful mani and pedi, and I must say it was amazing! I guess my therapist was right; if I do not slow myself down, my body will make me do it.

I know that it is easy to forget that rest is needed to help your body recharge from the work that you do. We are not robots. We cannot put ourselves on a charger for 20 minutes, and we are back at a full battery. If your situation is not on fire, it is safe to say that it can wait until you get your rest. Understand that you only get one body, so treat it with the utmost care.