Cleaning Out Boxes of the Past

A lake near a mountain

A lake near the mountains

After arriving back in the USA a few days ago, I’ve been busy cleaning out all of my old boxes. Although I just moved back from China, my goal is to move abroad again for my Master’s Degree soon. Thus, all of the clutter in my old room and closet needed to leave.

As I pulled out old boxes and rummaged through dusty drawers, glimpses of the past kept appearing.

My fingers were stained pink and blue from oil pastel paintings made in residential treatment for my eating disorder. Babies surrounded by darkness, blood-red monsters devouring me, trees half blossoming and half diseased – images of despair and hope mixed with every color.

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An Open Letter To A Person With Mental Illness 

Great advice and so much help! This is wonderful!

wehaveapples

Dear Person With Mental Illness,

You are not a monster. You are a valuable, unique, wonderful human being who deserves everything grand that this life has to offer. Come out from the shadows and stand proudly in who you are.

You are not damaged. You are WHOLE, regardless of having a mental illness. I like you the way you are. I wouldn’t change you. I see you differently than you see yourself. I am not afraid of you or your illness… I am amazed by you. I am amazed by your courage, willpower, gifts and talents. I accept you, and your worlds of light and darkness.

Some people just have a “neighborhood” in their mind and they never get lost. You have endless terrain to explore, but sometimes you take a wrong turn and can’t find your way home. I love your vast landscape and remember… we can make you…

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File That Under “Happiness”

Me trying on a huge hat

Trying on huge hats at Chapel Hats in Downtown Disney was certainly a moments for my “happiness” folder.

I like labeling and arranging things. Putting my books in a new order (alphabetical by author, similar genre, date published, etc) was an exciting task that I did around once a month. Color coding priced items for a garage sale, rearranging the school supplies in my drawer, checking off items on a to-do list – being an Aspie might contribute to my enthusiasm of these tasks.

Similarly, filing things brings me joy. I have folders full of programs of shows, recipes to try, pictures of places to visit, and medical information about my medications. The things that I keep serve some purpose; I want to try to accomplish/make it some day, remember the time a moment happened, have information for later, etc.

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Listaliciousness: WW2 Christmas Ad, Prison Dance, and the Cinderella Movie

It's Not You, It's My PTSD

Memories haunt, words remind, fears remain, but I will survive.

Today was extremely stressful. Work has highly triggered my PTSD to the point where I feel almost unable to cope. However, I am hanging in there and trying to remain calm. Wonderful friends helped today to be better as well as my managers. Still, others do not understand mental illness and grow frustrated with my inability to be “normal” or just take a joke.

Anyway, here are some links for you. Finding them was a bit more difficult this week for some reason. Instead of looking at the rest of the web, I focused on WordPress. Most of them are from bloggers that I greatly respect. Hopefully you will enjoy the articles.

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Listaliciousness: Fan-Favorite Couples, Oxford Restaurants, and Sherlock in Harry Potter

Books from OxfordMy love of making lists is no secret. So, when I had the urge to make a list of links from this past week, I decided to incorporate it into my blog. Especially with school starting, ways to help think of writing ideas is important. Thus, each week will contain Listaliciousness Sunday, Media Monday, Tip Tuesday (such as top ten lists), Thankfulness Thursday, Film Friday (with a Youtube video), and Coping Skill Saturday. I had already been doing most of these but will just become more consistent with them.

Anyway, here is my listaliciouness for this past week. Some are written by me and other are things that I found and liked. Enjoy!

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Coping Skill: #56. Creating a Memory Box

Poppy

A poppy that I found on my way to Tolkien’s grave

Perhaps because of my aspergers or perhaps just because of my personality, I am a very sentimental person. Each letter that has been written to me is kept in a bundle with similar notes. My room is filled with figurines and pictures drawn for me are taped across my walls. These help me to remember people who touched my life and helped me along the difficult journey of life.

However, having too much clutter will not bring back helpful memories. Instead, you will be overwhelmed, frustrated with yourself, or simply not be able to see what what you need. That is why putting certain items into memory boxes can be a helpful coping skill.

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The Avalanche of Letters that Covered My Loneliness

Love

The fact that I can plant a seed and it becomes a flower, share a bit of knowledge and it becomes another’s, smile at someone and receive a smile in return, are to me continual spiritual exercises. – Leo Buscaglia

These past few weeks, I wanted to show others extravagant love. Partly in an attempt to forget my deep depression and heartbreak, my mission on campus became to touch as many people as possible with kindness. One of the main ways that I chose to do this was by writing anonymous notes. Post-Its with quotes were slipped into backups, candies with uplifting messages were left in random mailboxes, and letters were written to numerous others.

However, I ended up only feeling drained. No matter how much I attempted love others, the sorrow inside ate away at me. Life seemed unbearable, making me want to end everything. Somehow (perhaps because I was too depressed to do anything), self-harm and major restriction did not begin again despite the strong urges. However, I knew that I could stay strong in my recovery for only so long. After such an amazing fall semester, my life was falling apart. Going back to the university, being an inspiration to others, and simply living any longer seemed pointless and impossible to handle any longer.

After putting out so much love to others, I felt empty and forgotten. We should not care for others just to receive something in return. At the same time, people cannot function simply giving of themselves and never receiving anything in return. Worthless and unlovable, disgusting and pathetic – that is what I must be based on what others thought of me. Or so I thought.

Then something amazing changed last week. Suddenly an amazing switch has taken place, and peace has filled me. Recovery, life, and friendship are possible.

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One Thousand Thanks: 411 – 421. Valentine’s Day

CleaingingTomorrow is the day that people seem to dread or love.  Husbands and boyfriends scramble trying to find the right gift or date while girls lament over what to wear and how to react.  Singles laugh off being alone while lamenting about it to their friends.  Then, some people just act like it is another ordinary day.

Valentine’s Day brings about so many different responses.  Since I never dated anyone, this holiday never impacted me too much.  To be kind, I created and sent handmade cards to friends growing up.  My mother often put little goodies on my bed as well as a thoughtful letter.  Thus, this day seemed normal if a bit depressing for me as a child.

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Coping Skill: #33. Writing Letters

Writing Letters

Letter Writing can be a great way to communicate with others.

As a writer, I think of many different ways that I can use this skill.  Most of my first thoughts center on creative outlets such as poetry and fiction.  However, typing out past experiences or present worries can help to take away stress.  Then, of course, there are the things that one must write such as academic papers, to-do lists, and social media updates.

However, there is a type of writing that is deeply personal and emotional that we rarely use anymore.  That is letter writing.

Growing up, my grandma and I corresponded with letters regularly.  We would read the same book and communicate what we thought about it.  At the end, we each created a test for the other person.  Her scrawling cursive writing contrasted with my large block letters with scribbles marking mistakes.

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