Addiction & Mental Illness

Hello friends!

To continue with the theme of Mental Health Awareness, I wanted to branch a little further and address addiction and substance abuse as well – as it is not uncommon for some to suffer from both, otherwise known as co-occurring disorders.

**Please remember, I am not a physician – just a gal sharing her experiences and providing resources**

It seems like over the past couple years, I have heard more about heroin overdoses than I ever have. It is scary, I have personally known friends who struggle with addiction and it greatly impacts their lives…their families and children. It saddens me greatly to hear about someone I know who cannot seem to stay in treatment despite what they have been blessed with or the support system around them. I am not sure if stigma has something to do with this, or what. My struggle with substances have never been that level of destruction, so if you have any insight on this and why it can be a struggle for the addict, I would love to hear your thoughts or stories!

“Millions of Americans suffer from anxiety disorders, and millions also suffer from substance use disorders. The illnesses can develop independently from one another, or one can cause the other.

Although people with anxiety disorders don’t always develop substance use disorders, or vice versa, research shows strong associations between the two. An estimated 18 percent of all people with substance use disorders have an anxiety disorder.”

– DrugRehab.com

In my own personal experience, the few addicts that I know, do have issues with coping and this is their release. The quick fix if you will, that we have all heard about over the years. We must help encourage change! If you or someone you know is struggling – try to make that first step in assisting them or yourself. There are many helpful resources out there both locally and beyond. For further information or help finding treatment near you, family or friends – please check out the below links:

 

Continue to be strong my friends, not only for you but your loved ones as well!! ❤

xoxo,

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Mental Health Awareness Month!

Hello friends & happy Wednesday! ❤

As most of you probably know, May is Mental Health Awareness month! YAY! This is super huge for me since I have been struggling for many years.

The last year and a half was a big slump for me in regards to recovery in adulthood. My fellow mental health warriors, you may experience this too – but it comes in waves. Some days/months/year(s) go by with little to no symptoms and other times it feels like a brick hit you in the face (or treats to a puppers face) and you feel ALL THE THINGS!

So, in honor of this beautiful month – I wanted to share a summary of my history with mental illness and what I am doing this year to honor it – since I am a bit stronger than last year!


The History: My “relationship” with mental illness probably started when I was in my later years of middle school. I do not remember the exact age anymore as it’s all a little blurry at this point in my life. I do recall the feeling of overwhelming sadness, numbness, anxiety and losing my will to live. Which, is scary thought to have that young.

I remember looking for ways to “feel” again. At that point, it had consumed me and had been for a while. I danced sharp objects along my skin, the burning, the color and feeling was the only feeling that came alive. Glowing red metal rods laid across my skin and pills by masses to try to get away from it all. I also remember driving and being tempted to just close my eyes.

My life, even in my younger years came with its complications. I had mentioned some of it in my “How the hell did I end up this way” post. There is always more to every story but I like to keep things going, I did and will hit all the highlights?? <– I need to find a better word here!

Depression is an evil bitch

Fast forward through the long dark days…There came a time when I snapped to and realized I had to get help. At the rate I was going, I think my story would have ended quickly. So, for whatever reason – inner strength took over my darkness for long enough to gain to courage to speak to my mother. Which…why I chose her to open up to at this moment, I will never know but I did. This was the woman who scrutinized my appearance regularly and informed me that I looked fat several times through out my life. You see, she has always been petite and we have been close in weight for as long as I can remember, so god forbid if I started to look like I as growing out of that mold.

Anyway, informing my mother that I no longer wanted to live and that I needed to go to the doctor was one of the hardest things that I had to do. She seemed to care and then handled it poorly afterward. I remember bits and pieces of going to my doctor, completing tests and having that hard discussion with her. I was put on antidepressants and agreed to counseling. I have never felt so lost and scared in my life.

Counseling was strange for me. I did not care for my therapist or her dated orange and brown decor through out her office. I think part of it was because my mother was in the room with me majority of the time, which she took over the conversations and reminded the woman that I was “fine.” She just did not get it.

She further proved that she did not get it by providing a less than supportive relationship. Which, is still true to this day. Versus actually talking to me, it was like I was living with a prison guard with strip searches to see make sure there were no fresh wounds. Which I can understand, but I feel there are better ways to go about it  – rather than throwing demands around and talking down to your child during these searches. She just looked at me as if she hated me, or perhaps she felt that she had failed on some level and it bothered it and came pouring out of her eyes. She already had a troubled child, so I don’t think she had room for me to struggle too… I suppose I can sympathize with that now?

Further more, my new medication made me feel nauseous – as many others you have taken these kind of meds, they can be rough until your body gets used to them. So now, since I could not eat without wanting to vomit, my mother viewed it as now an “eating disorder.” She would force me to clean my plate even if I told her if I ate one more bite, I will probably get sick. Which happened numerous times because when you have a level of anxiety – you already feel that way. Throw in some anti-depressants and you know what? You just don’t have the best appetite and that is okay, you are adjusting. When I did get sick, she would yell and say see – I told you. “I knew you were throwing up after eating!” No, actually I did not have an eating disorder at the time…but thanks Mom. That did happen, just in my adult years.

I managed to stick to my therapy and medication and I did start to feel better. More alive and a bit more happier.  It took some time and some dosage adjustments but I got to a point of no longer wanting to harm myself and wanting to be able to walk this fine earth as a young person should. I am not sure exactly how long it took as I am getting old these days 😉 but the important part was I made it. It was not easy, reflecting on this point in my life – I believe there were a lot of factors that played into this outside of genes (they were stacked against me too). I am also sure that it took a significant amount of time of general sadness to get to my breaking point as well.

Anxiety and insomnia still was an issue from time to time. It really kicked up again around 18 – probably with adulthood, college and who knows what else. Luckily my college therapist was helpful in providing techniques to help me cope with panic attacks. I started back on my meds and tried to really focus on self care at this time. To be honest though, I have been dealing with anxiety ever since…in those waves that I was speaking of :).

Self image became an issue in my early adult years. I have always been told that I was “small, tiny, petite, anorexic, bulimic, had nothing to worry about and weird/tomboy.” I still remember this time in class when a man asked me if I ever ate without throwing it back up…. thanks fella. Reallly nice.

However, it did become an issue eventually. I was in a bad relationship with someone who made me feel less than. To put it simply, he was physically and verbally abusive and beat my confidence and self worth down. It resulted in me weighing roughly 75-80 lbs in my adulthood. Granted even when I was younger…I believe now, I can call it social anxiety?? But I had a fear of eating in front of people. The cafeteria in school was my nemesis. All the kids. All the food. Perhaps there is some sort of eating disorder theory in there as well??? Lord who knows – I am a mess haha.

When I finally got out of that bad situation, which took time. Planning an exit from someone like this must be done carefully. He obviously did not handle it well and probably would have reacted poorly regardless. Unfortunately, he did end up stalking me, he would show up at the local mall where I would be shopping, or restaurants where I was having dinner with friends and even showed up at my house. Trying to get over that fear while trying to repair myself again – whew. This time, it also meant physically and mentally. Again, I over came and now happily weigh in with triple digits on the scale and have been steadily since 2012-2013ish. While body image is something that I still struggle with after my many surgeries, the important thing to remember is it is progress. I am better than what I was before and that is key.

Mid 2015 is when my anxiety took on a form that I had never encountered before. I had gone through several ups and downs in life regarding my mental health and outside of it but this was different. It was something that I literally could not handle. Feeling anxious and insomnia again was not a stranger to me. I live a life that tailors to these needs – most would probably deem boring but it is my life and I have accepted this.

This was the first time in my life that I would need to check in somewhere for observation. I. LOST. IT. Best part? My breaking point occurred at work. I had to get out immediately, after reaching out to my employee assistance program – I informed my boss in little words as possible that I had to go without worrying her….. but one more issue… I take the bus (which was very hard for me at first too btw)…so I had to step up and take an uber to my car. One, I don’t like not being in control of the vehicle that I am in. If I trust you to drive me – congrats! Second, I don’t do taxis or ubers….the amount of germs, smells and general feeling of out of control does not vibe with me.. third, it was a 35 dollar trip easily. However, it had to be done.

This is where the medical field failed me and I have heard similar stories and it is so heartbreaking to me. I did not feel in control, I could not breathe, I could not function, I literally did not know what happening but all I can say is, I did not feel myself. I was not me, I felt literally insane or that I had “snapped.” I attempted to get into our local psych center…for anything consult, treatment, or whatever. However, they were at capacity and since I was not “that bad” I had to find elsewhere. This was the story for the next 3 calls that I tried. There is nothing worse than feeling helpless, trying to find someone to care when you do not even know how you are going to get home or what may happen to you. I was finally able to get into a physician…. 2 weeks later. How was I able to get manage this? Sadly, this is so common and for some people that 2 week wait has cost their life – no joke. Fortunately, my psychotic break was more controllable? (somehow I managed this…I will never know how) versus severe depression/suicidal. Luckily my boss was understanding enough during this time, my then fiance was….I don’t even know but he was there (at the time). I was able to hang on until my appointment where we had a full work up, got a referral in for a specialist, adjusted my medication and added in more…it was overwhelming but I hung in there the best that I could. I began intense therapy, maintained my strict medication regiment, tried my hand at self care and then my now ex (Fuckboy), abandoned me in December 2015. I guess I should be thankful that I was already medicated at that point. Perhaps he could not face being married to someone with severe anxiety, who knows. The key was, I was trying to take care of myself while planning a wedding with little help. Honestly, I thought I was doing well. I had the “supportive” partner who had been my best friend for years and we had helped another through it all – before and after we were together. Life was on the up and up….until he decided otherwise. Since I was medicated, when he left I always asked people (friends, family & associates) if they saw it coming. The answer was always no – whew so I was NOT crazy :). We even had Friendsgiving where Fuckboy stated he was thankful for me and put on this great speech where he pulled a fast one and even pulled it by my good friend Sunshine- who does not miss a damn thing! Anyway, after I had to handle that mess – I took some serious time off. I had to, granted I am still struggling to this day with building PTO…. it was worth it.

My anxiety/episode recovery has been hard since I did not see that life changing event coming during it. Learning to trust people again, regaining my self worth and learning to live independently has been really fucking hard. However, I have kept up with therapy. I know that leaving someone without reason, leaving all their shit  behind for you to handle, not telling their own family what they did and not forwarding their mail is THEIR problem and not mine. Abandonment is never okay and that is something that I have had to accept and the fact that I will never really know the reason why this happened.

My medication has increased over the past year, I still struggle with insomnia and anxiety but I am stronger than I was a year ago – mentally and physically. I am able to stand on both feet and take on the world the best that I can. Some days are still hard… There are times that I cannot get out of bed for several days, at times my anxiety is so bad that I cannot leave the house and it does impact my day-to-day.

Most do not realize all that is going on behind the scenes in recovery and that is fine – because this is my journey and if they don’t notice – I must be keeping it together…..(right!?) hahaha. I am happy to report that I got through that very dark period aka – all of 2016 without thoughts of suicide and while I have lost some weight, I am still healthy. This has been my healthiest recovery to date and I am quite proud.

I may still be a mess but hey – I have a good heart dammit and worthy of love! Now let’s transition into what I am doing this year since I feel stable, happy and productive during Mental Health Awareness month!

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Present day! May 2017: Since I am someone who has clearly struggled with some shit – it has become my mission to give back to the mental health community in anyway that I can. I have done this by sharing my story with friends, family, here, through sites, beating down the stigma in anyway that I can, looking to become an advocate for local mental health chapters, donations, spreading the word, educating others, remembering to be kind – you never know what people may be fighting inside and by participating and supporting Kenzie Brenna during her self-love boot camp on Instagram- which encourages others with mental health disorders to share their stories through social media (there is a focus on body image but it is helpful for everyone), ensuring others that they are not alone!

You can learn more on the link provided or check her out on Instagram, along with her supporters @omgkenzieee and searching #selflovebootcamp. There is a new topic each day and so many people are opening themselves up to vulnerability – it is beautiful. I am going to push myself to participate every day, but some topics are harder than others as you can see in the calendar below. However, if this will help push me to become a more whole person – why not? Although, I do struggle with vulnerability…my therapist can attest to this :).

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FINALLY! If you made it through that entire post – you get a cookie! I know it was long so thank you for listening to my story, ignoring any typos that came out during the flow! Yoda best!

I want to ask all of you to do something for Mental Health Awareness this month too! It is so important to keep bringing awareness! Sometimes individuals cannot make that 2 week waiting period to see a physician – we need to do something about this! So my friends/warriors, wear some green this month or ribbon! Participate in a challenge or walk, start a conversation, be there for a friend, spread some facts on social media, advocate and help influence positive policy reform, volunteer, share YOUR story if you have one and remember to take care of yourself and others!

Love you all xoxo,

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Follow me! IG: @DiaryoftheMadKatter  P: DiaryMadKatter

My endometriosis story 💛

Hello friends!

As my lovely followers, you know that I suffer from mental health issues. I have opened up with my story a little bit regarding my struggles with them but my topic today is something that I haven’t really dabbled into and is another silent disease called: endometriosis. The link provided is from The Endometriosis Foundation of America and has some great information if you are interested in learning more.  

My story:

I will never forget in January 2013, I was suffering from some severe pain in my left , lower side. I have suffered from pain each month, to a point that pain killers did not even touch the pain that I felt. So, I did not think too much about it and thought it would pass, I took some medication and went about Fuckboy’s work holiday party, I simply did not have time for this and so I sucked it up, shook hands with the bosses, smiled and chatted with their wives and tried to force the pain down a river of endless beer.

It did not help. In fact, the pain progressed over the weekend.

I somehow made it through the dreadful weekend, called my doctor first thing in the morning on Monday to be seen. Surprisingly, I was able to get in quickly if I remember correctly, but my wonderful and caring doctor dismissed my concerns initially because “I looked fine.” I appeared to not be in pain in her eyes, luckily she still took the time to do a physical exam. Where I squirmed and yelped in agony as she prodded my ovaries.

“Oh, I guess you are in pain” as she continues her cold hearted prodding to my raging insides.

She finished the exam and suggested that I get an ultrasound. She suggested that it may be a cyst. However, since they are so common and typically go away on their own, she was not too concerned; but she did go ahead, and get the ultrasound scheduled for me. Gee thanks doc for listening to me…ahem.

So this is where things started to take a turn, I was able to go to a local branch to get the ultrasound done the next day I believe (by chance). However, this time I had to drink my body weight in water beforehand and hold it for this type of ultrasound…..you could say, I was about to get up close and personal with this ultrasound tech and her not so magical wand. I did not even get dinner or even a damn lollipop post session. She was nice  though, so I guess that is all I could ask for…and perhaps a hug or additional therapy.

It turns out, I did in fact have a cyst. It was one that was solid versus the “typical ” fluid filled kind. Now, things were rushed. I was referred to a specialist/local OBGYN to evaluate and treat asap. 

We all know that I suffer from anxiety, so as you could imagine, I was internally losing my mind. What is this elusive mass on my ovary and how dare it! Causing me great pain, moving in and taking over my lady organs without paying rent or giving back at all. Quite frankly, it was just rude!

So on to the next appointment and another ultrasound…ugh. Dr. Chan diagnosed me with an endometrioma or also known as: chocolate cysts or blood cysts. At the time, she wanted to try the wait and see game. I would have a repeat ulrtrasound in about a month to see if it shrank on its own. In the meantime, I got a full blood panel done because since this was a more solid mass, scary terms like mass and cancer was being passed around. “While unlikely, it is best that we take these tests to rule out any additional concerns.”

I took a deep breath and agreed to the tests.

Listen guys, I don’t handle medical needles well. I have tattoos, mostly where I did not watch them drill my skin and for a reason. Watching someone draw my blood, especially several vials – I was feeling severely overwhelmed, anxious, and terrified. It seems that I was right over the years but here is the thing – endometriosis can only be “officially” diagnosed through surgery. While this was on the list of possibilities. I was hoping this asshole cyst would go away on its own. 

A month down the  line, the pain persisted and when it was time for my next  ultrasound, my cyst grew to the size similar to a baseball, just a little bigger. It was time to really talk about surgery. 

I spent the month between appointments researching endometriosis and what that would mean for me. I have always wanted children and I was with my long term boyfriend at the  time who also wanted children one day. How would I talk to him about this? How can I accept this? Engagement was coming close and hearing this information threw me into a depression. 

I will never forget speaking to Dr. Chan, in her little private office about the surgery. Recovery and what I wanted for my future. Worst case, she needed to know if she needed to try to save an ovary if I wanted children .  

I was 24, going on 25. Sitting alone, planning a surgery that may impact my distant life. 

I choked  out, what were the odds that my fertility would be impacted. There is no simple answer for that. 

Some people have little endo and experience great pain and fertility issues, some do not. Others have severe endo and still have babies. She would not know the severity of mine until she went in to remove my cyst and we wouldn’t know how my fertility was impacted until I were to actually start trying. 

Ideally, it’s best to try right after the surgery since the adhesions would be removed from my organs.  Again, at 25 and where I was at in life, it wasn’t going to happen. 

So then comes the thoughts – how could a man love me? Would my then significant other run for the hills? How would I bring up the topic to any future lovers. I mean, I don’t know  myself, but when do you insert the statement “oh hey, I’m not sure sure what you were feeling here…But if you want  children with me, I need you to know there may be complications.” 

Does that come after drinks a year down the line. Is that something that should be covered sooner so no one gets upset or too attached?

**I had not been had the surgery yet mind you. This was just flying through my head on my drive home, to my then boyfriend and tell him the plan and news.**

Surgery day  came, I was hangry and ready to vomit the bile that was the only thing left in my stomach. With no food after midnight and my surgery pushed to 12p. Whew. All I could think about was food. 

When the dreaded time came, I was sent off from a few loved ones and I was out before I knew it. 

I woke up  groggy, in pain and of course the news that endometriosis was indeed found. She lasered all that she could and successfully removed my cyst without having to remove any additional organs. I still had two ovaries – thank god. 

Recovery was slow. I could not wear real pants for like a month and time around the house left time to continue into a black spiral of  “being a broken woman, that no one could love long term.” 

I had a supportive partner at the time or so I thought. I sometimes wonder that if possible fertility issues was part of the reason he up and left before the wedding. But hey, we won’t spend another second on him. 

Time went on, I grew to accept that my window of “ideal” procreation came and went. I grew older and went through periods of acceptance, anger, back to depression and also periods of  “I could be just fine!”

But I have generalized anxiety and we like to cover all the grounds 😂. Post surgery, I had to start taking a continuous regimen of birth control pills to try to control symptoms of endometriosis. 

It’s been about 5 years since then and that’s kind of been the course. But now I’m facing 29, with those scary thoughts and have a sort of significant other?? 😂😳

I’m still terrified. I still wonder if I will ever  be a mother or if I would have to adopt or just be a dog family. I guess time will tell. 

The scary thing about endometriosis is that it can go untreated for many years, women suffer in agony before many take them seriously – this includes medical professionals.  It is very similar to my experiences with mental illness. Others do not see an open wound on your arm and it doesn’t exist. Or it’s not as “serious” as you claim.  

It is truly heartbreaking that this is the case, because it can impact many aspects of a woman’s life in the current and future. 

I leave you with this, I ask you to educate yourself if you do not know much about endometriosis and share that information with others. The more attention that is brought to the disease, the more hope we can have for the  future!

I hope you enjoyed my post or learned a thing or two. I encourage you to take a look around and if you are having symptoms or have a friend, family member or loved one with these symptoms, support them ❤️. 

If you have  any questions,or have a story of your own, I would love to hear it!

Xoxo,

Monday coffee fueled thoughts! 

Hello friends & happy Monday!

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Tis a grey, gloomy day in Columbus, OH. I have thrown down my vitamin d gummies (like a REAL adult..ahem) and currently enjoying a large coffee. Essentially with that combo, I should be ready to take on the world soon!

How was everyone’s weekend? Did you do anything new or exciting?

I did a lot of “adulting” things I guess you could say – I am all caught up on laundry and cleaning. There is something so soothing about a clean space, I need to stay on top of it more…. Cluttered space = cluttered mind and I say NO MORE!

I am feeling better emotionally this week – knock on wood. I am hoping to keep it that way. Thanks again for all your support last week friends ❤ you are the best! I did not realize that I needed a damn battle helmet to start/get through last week. Had I known, I would have worn it with pride…and accessorized it accordingly.

With all of last week’s aftermath still floating around in my head, I am thinking about trying to expand my self-care list. Mine is rather small and includes: basking in sun when available in Ohio and blanket cocooning with Netflix playing in the background to recharge. I clearly need to try some more options, before I turn into a full blown hermit! So with that that in mind, What is your favorite self care tip/activity?? Hopefully by sharing, we will all try something new!


I hope everyone has a great start to the week, talk to you soon!

❤️❤️❤️

What does anxiety feel like?

Hello friends 🙂

Things have calmed a little on my end. I have nothing really new to report. After having a two day spat, I’m trying to take in the good. 

Anyway, with this past week – I have struggled with my anxiety and insomnia a great deal. One of my friends had asked “what does your anxiety attacks feel like?” Or essentially, how do I feel when I have these rough patches if you will. I reflected in how I was feeling and this is how I explained it:

My chest feels tore open, set a flame that spreads up to my neck. Nausea takes over and I cannot eat. I also have short breath and lightheadedness. 

How do you describe your experiences with extreme anxiety? I try my best to use breathing techniques but it’s difficult when it gets to that level. 

Tonight’s post is short and sweet, hopefully after a good night of trazodone induced sleep – I will be back full swing. 

Thanks for stopping by and for all your support, love and advice this last week. 

❤️❤️

INFJ Personality 🤔

Hello friends 👋🏻

As a complex human and since I work in human resources, I’m always looking to learn more about myself, how I work and how others work as well. 

Everyday we deal with personalities. Whether it’s our own, coworkers, friends, enemies or just a stranger that you chat with at the coffee shop. With all the daily interactions, I think it’s safe to say that we have had good and bad experiences. For example, you’re assigned a project with a couple of your coworkers and we all see the differences first hand. You can have the overbearing, the shy and the lazy all in one group if you’re lucky and WOW it can be stressful! 

Let’s be honest, some personalities just clash. 

Additionally, in my work, we find it helpful for managers to take a personality test so they can be more aware of their traits and how they can effectively communicate and lead their subordinates. 
Since I am a curious gal, I took a personality test myself at 16Personalities.com 

I took it several times…just in case but after many trials, I am clearly an INFJ. I took a little slippet from the site and pasted it below. I think over all, I agree! 

If you are curious of wtf an INFJ is… Please read below! Or if you are more eager to know more about you, head on over to http://www.16personalities.com and see what you are! I would love to hear if you agree with your results, comments or personality  humor!

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ADVOCATE PERSONALITY (INFJ, -A/-T)

The Advocate personality type is very rare, making up less than one percent of the population, but they nonetheless leave their mark on the world. As members of the Diplomat Role group, Advocates have an inborn sense of idealism and morality, but what sets them apart is that they are not idle dreamers, but people capable of taking concrete steps to realize their goals and make a lasting positive impact.
Advocates tend to see helping others as their purpose in life, but while people with this personality type can be found engaging rescue efforts and doing charity work, their real passion is to get to the heart of the issue so that people need not be rescued at all.

*HELP ME HELP YOU: Advocates indeed share a unique combination of traits: though soft-spoken, they have very strong opinions and will fight tirelessly for an idea they believe in. They are decisive and strong-willed, but will rarely use that energy for personal gain – Advocates will act with creativity, imagination, conviction and sensitivity not to create advantage, but to create balance. Egalitarianism and karma are very attractive ideas to Advocates, and they tend to believe that nothing would help the world so much as using love and compassion to soften the hearts of tyrants.

Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. -Martin Luther King Jr.

Advocates find it easy to make connections with others, and have a talent for warm, sensitive language, speaking in human terms, rather than with pure logic and fact. It makes sense that their friends and colleagues will come to think of them as quiet Extraverted types, but they would all do well to remember that Advocates need time alone to decompress and recharge, and to not become too alarmed when they suddenly withdraw. Advocates take great care of other’s feelings, and they expect the favor to be returned – sometimes that means giving them the space they need for a few days.

*LIVE TO FIGHT ANOTHER DAY: Really though, it is most important for Advocates to remember to take care of themselves. The passion of their convictions is perfectly capable of carrying them past their breaking point and if their zeal gets out of hand, they can find themselves exhausted, unhealthy and stressed. This becomes especially apparent when Advocates find themselves up against conflict and criticism – their sensitivity forces them to do everything they can to evade these seemingly personal attacks, but when the circumstances are unavoidable, they can fight back in highly irrational, unhelpful ways.

To Advocates, the world is a place full of inequity – but it doesn’t have to be. No other personality type is better suited to create a movement to right a wrong, no matter how big or small. Advocates just need to remember that while they’re busy taking care of the world, they need to take care of themselves, too.

*ADVOCATE STRENGTHS/WEAKNESSES:

Advocate Strengths

    1. Creative – Combining a vivid imagination with a strong sense of compassion, Advocates use their creativity to resolve not technical challenges, but human ones. People with the Advocate personality type enjoy finding the perfect solution for someone they care about, and this strength makes them excellent counselors and advisors.
    2. Insightful – Seeing through dishonesty and disingenuous motives, Advocates step past manipulation and sales tactics and into a more honest discussion. Advocates see how people and events are connected, and are able to use that insight to get to the heart of the matter.
    3. Inspiring and Convincing – Speaking in human terms, not technical, Advocates have a fluid, inspirational writing style that appeals to the inner idealist in their audience. Advocates can even be astonishingly good orators, speaking with warmth and passion, if they are proud of what they are speaking for.
    4. Decisive – Their creativity, insight and inspiration are able to have a real impact on the world, as Advocates are able to follow through on their ideas with conviction, willpower, and the planning necessary to see complex projects through to the end. Advocates don’t just see the way things ought to be, they act on those insights.
    5. Determined and Passionate – When Advocates come to believe that something is important, they pursue that goal with a conviction and energy that can catch even their friends and loved ones off guard. Advocates will rock the boat if they have to, something not everyone likes to see, but their passion for their chosen cause is an inseparable part of their personality.
    6. Altruistic – These strengths are used for good. Advocates have strong beliefs and take the actions that they do not because they are trying to advance themselves, but because they are trying to advance an idea that they truly believe will make the world a better place.

    Advocate Weaknesses

    1. Sensitive – When someone challenges or criticizes Advocates’ principles or values, they are likely to receive an alarmingly strong response. People with the Advocate personality type are highly vulnerable to criticism and conflict, and questioning their motives is the quickest way to their bad side.
    2. Extremely Private – Advocates tend to present themselves as the culmination of an idea. This is partly because they believe in this idea, but also because Advocates are extremely private when it comes to their personal lives, using this image to keep themselves from having to truly open up, even to close friends. Trusting a new friend can be even more challenging for Advocates.
    3. Perfectionistic – Advocates are all but defined by their pursuit of ideals. While this is a wonderful quality in many ways, an ideal situation is not always possible – in politics, in business, in romance – and Advocates too often drop or ignore healthy and productive situations and relationships, always believing there might be a better option down the road.
    4. Always Need to Have a Cause – Advocates get so caught up in the passion of their pursuits that any of the cumbersome administrative or maintenance work that comes between them and the ideal they see on the horizon is deeply unwelcome. Advocates like to know that they are taking concrete steps towards their goals, and if routine tasks feel like they are getting in the way, or worse yet, there is no goal at all, they will feel restless and disappointed.
    5. Can Burn Out Easily – Their passion, poor patience for routine maintenance, tendency to present themselves as an ideal, and extreme privacy tend to leave Advocates with few options for letting off steam. People with this personality type are likely to exhaust themselves in short order if they don’t find a way to balance their ideals with the realities of day-to-day living.

        *ADVOCATE RELATIONSHIPS: When it comes to romantic relationships, Advocates take the process of finding a partner seriously. Not ones for casual encounters, people with the Advocate personality type instead look for depth and meaning in their relationships. Advocates will take the time necessary to find someone they truly connect with – once they’ve found that someone, their relationships will reach a level of depth and sincerity that most people can only dream of. Advocate romantic relationships.Getting to that point can sometimes be a challenge for potential partners, especially if they are the impatient type, as Advocates are often perfectionistic and picky. People with this personality type aren’t easily talked into something they don’t want, and if someone doesn’t pick up on that, it’s a trespass that is unlikely to be forgiven, particularly in the early stages of dating. Even worse is if a suitor tries to resort to manipulation or lying, as Advocates will see right through it, and if there’s anything they have a poor tolerance for in a relationship, it is inauthenticity.

        *IS THIS FOR REAL: One of the things Advocates find most important is establishing genuine, deep connections with the people they care about.

        Advocates will go out of their way to seek out people who share their desire for authenticity, and out of their way to avoid those who don’t, especially when looking for a partner. All that being said, Advocates often have the advantage of desirability – they are warm, friendly, caring and insightful, seeing past facades and the obvious to understand others’ thoughts and emotions.

        Advocates are enthusiastic in their relationships, and there is a sense of wisdom behind their spontaneity, allowing them to pleasantly surprise their partners again and again. Advocates aren’t afraid to show their love, and they feel it unconditionally, creating a depth to the relationship that can hardly be described in conventional terms. Relationships with Advocates are not for the uncommitted or the shallow.

        When it comes to intimacy, Advocates look for a connection that goes beyond the physical, embracing the emotional and even spiritual connection they have with their partner. People with the Advocate personality type are passionate partners, and see intimacy as a way to express their love and to make their partners happy. Advocates cherish not just the act of being in a relationship, but what it means to become one with another person, in mind, body and soul.

        *Feature photo from personality-central.com*

        28 going on 40!? Today was therapy day.  

        Hello friends 👋🏻

        I had therapy today. I found a wonderful therapist last year, so it’s not nearly as painful as it once was. I think that is key – honestly. Find your match if you will ☺️. I did and find it super helpful and recommend it. If you just need that one unbiased person to help you soul searching and battle things you didn’t even know – give it a try. 

        The only downside to this, each session leaves me drained. It takes everything out of me but I guess that’s the point eh? Purge your damn soul to this person, who in turn asks hard questions about YOU. Which makes me so uncomfortable. I have no problem focusing on anyone  else, taking care of people is what I call my super power. 

        Anyway I wanted to touch base with my followers but I’m struggling to be witty at the moment so I will switch to listing the good, the bad and the ugly of my day 🙏🏻. 

        The Good:

        • I was told I have a soul of a 40 something. I find this endearing for some reason. Lol. 
        • I was not late for work today – winning. 
        • Work went by quickly and without issue. 
        • Had therapy for the first time in a while. 
        • I was told I was funny. 
        • Job. Dogs.  Roof over my head 

        The Bad:

        • Had therapy today. It leaves me drained. 
        • I’m dreading 29 reallllllllly bad right now. It’s almost 30 and I feel more alone than ever. When I wish I just had someone to battle the world next to me. 
        • It has been raining for days. 
        • I’m struggling with a lot of me actually. Which was a topic at  therapy,I need to try to be more gentle with myself. I apparently judge myself too harshly. Upon  reflection, she is probably right. 

        The Ugly:

        • I haven’t heard from Caterpillar, this has been one of our longest stretches. So I have to figure that out and what I need to do for me. 
        • When my therapist asked me what are some things that I love about me, I couldn’t come up with anything. But I told her without sun and current low  feeling, I would have no issue with this. I love me honestly, even though it seems dark right now. 
        • Fighting the feeling that “everyone leaves me” – easier said than done. 
        • Perhaps I love too much. Do I change? Idk.  

        Well. Sorry this wasn’t as cheery as I hoped, I have some reflection and homework to.  Thanks for stopping by and if you’re feeling low as well – Hang in there and I will too! *Hugs*

        More cheer and updates to come. Thanks so for hanging in there with me all. 

        ❤️

        Oh, hello rabbit hole. It’s been a while…

        Hello rabbit hole – I need to climb up.

        I have been struggling to put my thoughts together over the past few days…

        Some other things that I have noticed over the past month: I don’t play music when I drive, or when ride the bus or during work my 9-5.

        My bed feels like the only safe place. I struggle to get though the day, come home to my three obnoxious dogs. I take care of them and sometimes myself…then retreat to comfy clothes and cocoon in a blanket. Every day.

        I don’t eat three meals or drink any water. I’m lucky to get one decent meal in       to be honest. Some days it may just be a cliff bar.

        Self care? Forget it. I don’t think I’ve brushed my hair in three days. So…

        I guess before I knew it, I slipped, fell and landed head first into the bottom of the rabbit hole… Or depression if you will. 

        Of course post breakup or whatever you want to call it – these things are natural. Staying in bed, not eating or over eating when I do. Then before I knew it, a month went by. That’s right, it has officially been a month.

        It seems like it drug by, but honestly we all know a month is not a lot of time. I have stayed in contact with Caterpillar (to view that saga – see my post “Depression within relationships…) when he initiates and things were going so well, that I even stayed with him during one of his hard days last week. Other days, I’m not so strong. I knew it would be hard…but some days – whew. I still have faith and even more than I did before but on these off days, it just feels tiring to be strong for two if you will.

        Anyway, I’m susceptible to depression. It’s been legit freezing outside or rainy and it just helps me slip into that mode with ease. I do keep up on my meds and avoid alcohol during these times. Alcohol when I’m depressed – eh takes me to a very dark place that’s takes me like 3 days to recover. Does anyone else have this problem??

        So in efforts to dig myself out of this hole and focus on gratitude and self care… I was thinking about starting a bullet journal. I jus don’t know where to start…

        BuzzFeed posted this article that inspired me and included everything that I think may be helpful.

        Do any of you use any of the topics included in the article? Do you have any product suggestions? Thoughts? Advice!? Words of encouragement!?

        Thanks so much for reading through my cluster thoughts and being the awesome readers/friends that you are.

        Xoxo,

        62f9bbbb-e173-485a-b715-f617f4b92791-1

         

        P.S. – The featured photo is from this evening…when I ordered pizza for my feelings and asked them to surprise me with something written inside the box 😂❤️. It’s the little things right?

        Depression within Relationships and Hope? 🙇🏻‍♀️

        As I have mentioned before, I suffer from anxiety and depression. As someone who has dealt with this for many years, it’s deeply comforting to meet someone “who gets it” especially if that person happens to eventually become your significant other.

        I met a lovely man whom I will call… Caterpillar. There is a story behind that but hey, that’s not the point of this post.

        Caterpillar also suffered from depression and anxiety so he “got it.” He understood my anxious days or lower days because he has suffers from them too. It felt like he understood me better than myself most days. That feeling is, earth shattering. Before I knew it, I felt a little less guarded and cared for this Caterpillar very much.

        He didn’t scream at me to get over it, shut me out and leave when I had bad anxiety days. Not like what I had to deal with in the past. I was with someone for 5 years and he never understood me quite like Caterpillar. Even though we both had bad breakups, we fell into whatever you want to call it…

        However….

        Here is the thing with two individuals who suffer from these mental issues… No one responds or handles things the same. So yes, we did have some bumps in the road as you could imagine. While I like to be with my loved one on bad days, he wanted to be alone. Thats just how it was. So fast forward through our days of being inseparable and acting like kids in love in toy isles… Which is a literal statement 🙏🏻.

        The day came, winter was especially hard on us. I combat the lack of sun with vitamin d supplements and try to keep going. He, took it harder and eventually there came a day where he said his depression got to a level that concerned him and that he needed time to focus on himself and figure a few things out alone.

        Again, I would want someone to be beside me in these cases and have before. He obviously wanted to be alone, which was not out of character for him.  I didn’t understand it, but respected it.

        While I looked for any reason for this to make sense in my raging anxious mind, which irritated him. It wasn’t me, it was him needing time to sort through  things,go to the doc and do it alone. I just needed to understand that.

        It was/is hard. I saw this man almost every day per his own requests – I didn’t push or was the overbearing woman – in any way and we had the best of times. We were fine the day before, so this was a bit of a blindsided situation.

        I tried my best to try to be apart of his life because from what he was telling me, he was in a dark place and I am a bleeding heart for the ones I care about. He still needed his space. So… I somehow found the strength to not text him unless he initiated it.

        Which he did and still does…even though he wanted to fully disconnect. Which helped me hanging to hope. Now here is the real portion of the post that I want you to focus on – the back story was important but my cry for help if you will or looking for thoughts on hope.

        This man has never lied to me in any way and I trust him 100% and I saw with my own eyes, his struggle. He wasn’t just using this for an excuse to leave. If that was the case, why still keep in contact at all. Which we have had over the past month – a couple days may go by but he always touches base with me. I have also seen him cut off people who brought negativity in his life and yet he hasn’t done that to me.

        My friends and family seem to have an issue with me still responding to him… Still having hope. Here is the thing, they dont suffer from mental illness. They don’t understand it at all really, so I feel it’s easy for them to say: you need to cut all ties and move on.

        I have been in a dark place. I know what it’s like to feel self hatred, confusion, anxiety and struggling to get out of bed. They don’t.

        So here I am. I’m still holding on to hope and he stated he has hope as well but he didn’t want me to wait around because  “it wasn’t fair to me.” To me, that’s my choice but he didn’t see it that way.

        So here is my question for people who are in relationships where one or both of you have depression and/or anxiety….

        • Have you ever been pushed away? If so, did you hang in there?
        • Did you have people call you weak or essentially made you feel silly for holding on to hope?
        • What advice do you have for me!?

        I feel very alone in my case and hope to hear some thoughts from you.

        Happy Monday everyone and I hope you have a great start to your week!

        Sending lots of love and good vibes ❤️

        Xoxo,


        **Sorry for any mass typos that may be here! I struggled to open up about this and then it just flowed 🙏🏻

        Crisis? Rant? Regardless 30 is coming quick!

        As February is speeding by, I realize that I will be 29 before I know it – April 29th to be exact and for some reason, I am very anxious about it. Because you know, 30 is next and I should totally have my life together… Ahem.

        As many of you around my age know and probably experience, social pressures can get to you around this age. The typical (and dare I say painful) questions that fly at your face like damn grenades at family gatherings and even the what was supposed to be a low-key happy hour….usually ends up like this for me:

        · Hi, what do you do?

        · How old are you?

        · Are you single? …I have someone perfect for you!

        · Do you have children? No? Do you want them?

        · Do you want to get married?

        · How is your job going?

        The questions do not seem to slow and next thing you know, I am sweating, heart is racing and looking for the nearest exit or contemplating if faking my own death would be less painful at the moment. Which let’s be honest, probably would be a blessing.

         I wish I could say that I am one of those rare people that has all the luck in the world and life just continued perfectly for them…you know the perfect significant other, the nice home, a dog and 2.5 kids….whatever that means, I find it mildly concerning 😊. However, that is just not the case. In fact, I am one of the most cursed people that I know. Life likes to throw me curveballs, or cement bricks at me with a steady pace.

         Simply, I don’t have it together.

         As a younger naïve gal, I thought for sure that I would be in a more stable position at 28, rolling 29. That whole approaching 30 mark, just makes it seem like I am running out of time due to these social pressures that I mentioned. Yes, most people I know are married, have a steady relationship, engaged, children, home, making serious dough and here I am….feeling broken especially with my anxiety hanging on my back like Yoda.

         I have had a broken engagement, been abandoned, cheated on, made a fool and I’m sure been loved in there somewhere too…I hope. I just find it hard to trust at times, as we are all broken at this point in our lives in one way or another, and I also bring to the table some health issues. I mean who would want someone like me!? I am A MESS. I have had several surgeries and officially diagnosed with endometriosis in 2013. Apparently, after my surgery was the time to have children…but that was NOT happening. If I think I do not have it together today, I really did not have it together then.

         I have scars across my belly from 4 surgeries, may have fertility issues and will not know until I try for said children, throw in a some mental issues too and you got yourself a Katrina. Ugh. But while I have had some challenges, I do have a big heart and love hard, so there’s is that?

         Anyway, let me bring back my original point, to those aggressive questioners – which may be family, friends or someone you just met. Chances are, NO we do not want to be set up, we will get there when we feel like it. For me, NO I do not have children yet, but wish and hope I am able to – thanks for bringing that up btw not that I haven’t dreaded that thought since my diagnosis of endometriosis. My Job? Oh well, I get paid so that is nice…I mean it’s a job. I would rather be a beach bum but hey – here I am slaving away to keep my house – that I do have I guess and kibble in the bowls for my pups. Also… of course, I would want to get married but keeping a man has been hard for me for some reason…. now where is the BOOZE! Or at this point, just picture me running away like a mad woman with my 5’2” legs… #strugglebus.

         I don’t think some people realize how personal and uncomfortable those questions can be. Especially if you suffer from an anxiety disorder, depression and or other mental concerns…it all falls back to that lovely quote:

        Be kind.
        Be kind, even when you are taking life grenades.

        As you can probably tell, I have been going through a rough patch and this may just be a product of hurt, but I would love to hear how you handle situations like the above or any advice for a late 20s gal!
        Thank you for stopping by and reading! I hope to hear from you!

        Xoxo,

        Katrina