Writing Therapy

Writing therapy for you can do about the same thing as talking to someone about a problem you are facing. Have you felt better after talking to someone about a challenge or issue? How did you feel afterward? You probably felt like a huge burden lift off your shoulders. The things that were bothering you were most likely clearer. Why? Because you saw it from a different perspective.

Yes, I’m talking about mental health again. The history of mental health in my family helped me understand me. I’m learning that I don’t have to allow it to consume my life. Over the years I worked in reception for a couple of different psychiatrists. I never would have imagined that I was learning about pieces of myself through the patients we saw and interacted with on a daily basis. I didn’t know that what I had been experiencing for the last twenty years was depression. This thing that I was struggling with become common knowledge to me until last year. It is so much easier to spot when I look back on my past.

For me, depression lingers long after my manic episodes pass. My daughter, Brooklyn loves to sing, “Rain, Rain, Go Away.” Call me silly or juvenile, but this is how I feel about the heavy rain cloud of depression. I’m sure there’s a great adult version out there, but I have yet to find it.

When in doubt, Write It Out.

The American Psychological Association says that writing therapy can strengthen your immune system as well as your mind. When you feel those thoughts of fear, doubt, worry, anxiety, or depression take over do yourself a favor and grab your notebook. Write out your struggles. It’s a no-judgment zone. I am the only judge of my entries. It’s comforting to know that I could take whatever I was going through and put it on paper. As an only child, I didn’t have a sibling to confide in and writing gave me the freedom to talk about the things that were going through my head at any time of day. There were no time constraints.

I have kept a journal since 1990 and have plenty of entries I’d like to burn, but I keep them. I hardly reread them, but when I do they help me see the darkness I was experiencing. On my days when depression isn’t an issue, it is easy to say, “What in the hell was I thinking?”

I can say that 90% of the time, I feel so much better. I’ve worked it all out of my mind and into something that I could see. The rewind and play loop I was stuck in vanishes and I can go about my day. My biggest struggle when I’m in that pit is grabbing the notebook, so keep it close.

Where to Start?

Anywhere in your thinking. Start at the top. When did you begin to feel the downward slide? The key is finding out the when and where. In my own life, I can establish pinpoints on when it began, so when it pops up again, I can do my best to stop myself from escalating the issue. Your reaction has everything to do with where your head will go. Try making it a daily practice. It’s a habit I’m working on reestablishing. I’ve been on a three-day writing streak. Now I only have 27 more days before I can make it an official habit. I’m all about establishing a habit when I can stick with it for 30 days straight.

If you can’t or don’t want to write there are plenty of other things to do to help clear your head. As with everything in your life from diet, exercise, or your writing habits, you have to find out what works for you. Trial and error my friends, but you’ll get there.

When I’m going through that terrible low mood I first turn to writing. If that doesn’t work I start out with meditation and follow it with yoga and then knitting. I would love to hear from you. What’s in your toolbox?

“Oh Buhay”: Life is So Hard

Oh buhay, Tagalog for “Life is so hard.”

In contrast, my sweet friend, Maribel, made me a frame that says, ” Life… it’s so easy.” It’s a little inside joke my friends and I have with her.

We can either go through life thinking one of the two.

How do you see it? I’m blinking at you like Dora the Explorer.

I need to brag about Maribel for a hot minute. She knows how to do things…from cooking to styling hair, to instructing Zumba, to being a phlebotomist. This lady can do HARD things. She is a devoted wife, mother, friend and foremost a Christian. She doesn’t need to advertise her beliefs because she embodies it in her daily actions. She’s the real deal. I love you, Maribel! I haven’t even covered half of what makes Maribel the awesome person she is.

*Disclaimer: If you are my friend, you may be subject to appearing in a post. I am a bragger, so if you are a friend of mine it is because you are a strong individual and I am inspired by the person you are. You continue to motivate me to be the best version of myself.

Life in the Ultrarunning Community

I have once again immersed myself into the ultrarunning community. I am currently living the cheer mat life sidelines. I am the person who will be one of your biggest supporters as you run and train for those ultra running races. My husband and I might just be at the aid station, making that crowd favorite of peanut butter and jelly wrapped in a tortilla.

I’ve missed it. If you’re one of my running friends reading this, I’ve missed you.

I know I’ve been a crappy friend, but can you blame me? Depression kicked my @$$ BIG TIME. I retreat inwards. It’s not good. I do not recommend it. I’m learning to reach out to others. Like I’ve said before, people can’t read your mind, because if they could your people would be right there to lift you up.

When you are in that big pit of despair, who do you turn to when you no longer have your friends to turn to. I found out who I really needed to turn to.

There’s only so much you can do when you turn away from God.

I can tell you one thing, your problems will not end. You may get tried, but He can make your burdens lighter. When you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, only He can make it lighter and send people to you to help alleviate those burdens. If you are still on the fence about the God thing, think of it as the Universe. I’ve said this before. We are interconnected. You know why? Because we need each other. There is no “lone wolfing” this life.

I mean, you can if you want, but you are essentially making life a lot harder for yourself than it needs to be.

Back to talking about running…

I’ve missed the people who became my life’s greatest cheerleaders.

When you stop running, are you still a runner?

When I wasn’t running…no, I didn’t think of myself as a runner. I walked the trail for 3 years and could not imagine myself ever running ANY foot race again. I asked and wondered, mostly in my head, why ANYONE would subject themselves to a 100 mile race, especially a race in the Florida Keys during the month of May?

I forgot the joy that running brought me. The onset was sudden. It started when my husband, Anthony, our daughter, Lexi, and our other daughter, Brooklyn came down to Ancient Oaks 100 in Titusville, Florida to volunteer at the start/finish aid station this past December. This past year it has become an infamous race for other reasons, but I’ll let you do the research on your own.

I planted the seed when I said I lost my passion for running.

I used reverse psychology on me and now I have some races lined up leading up to the Keys 100.

Do you see how our lives are created by our own making?

I had a reawakening in my soul. Please refer to my last few blog posts to understand what I’m talking about.

In two weeks, my daughter, Alexis, aka Lexi will be jumping out of a perfectly good plane and upon landing, she will then run 13.1 miles. Why? Free will. Also, one of the greatest gifts God has given each one of us on this planet.

The race is called Sky Dive Ultra, created by Eric Friedman. He’s also the guy who created FUR Florida Ultra Runners group on FB.

I’ve wanted to attend Sky Dive Ultra (not jumping out of the plane) get together/reunion of sorts since 2014. The date has not worked out in my life’s schedule.

I’m not saying live a YOLO life. I’m saying we need to live among the living. The world is so much better with YOU in it. Be with the people who make it worth living.

You will be happier for it. I’m living proof that it’s better to live life among the living. I changed how I saw things and once I did that, everything else just clicked. I mean EVERYTHING. Thoughts, ideas, and actions. Most importantly, people have been placed in my path to facilitate the actions. More on that in another post.

Well, now that we have a family member running the race, the race will be more meaningful to say the least. Not only that, but now I created an opportunity to catch up with my running friends and introduce them to my husband, who has unwittingly caught the running bug, before I knew I wanted and needed running back in my life. I am grateful he planted the seed in his own way, unbeknownst to him.

The Keys 100

In the same vein of ultrarunning thought, I’m in the beginning stages of training for The Keys 100. This race is a special one for me.

Here’s the short short story…

2014

I attempted this race as a solo runner…meaning no running crew. I depended on the aid stations. The problem? They can’t anticipate your needs, because they don’t know you. I did experience what it means to help a sister out. Christian Stewart and Susan Anger who are well known to those of us who are Florida Ultra Runners. They helped me after the 7-Mile Bridge. I made it as far as 96 miles, but knowing that I wouldn’t buckle, I threw in the towel.

2015

I towed the line once again…and finished.

Why?

I had a crew. Three other ultra runners (Lani, Bernadette, and Kevin volunteered their time and energy just to get me thru to the finish. They were there to anticipate what I needed, before I even knew I needed it.

I’ll never forget the moment when my friend, Lani, said sometime during the last six miles. I was severely chaffed in my nether regions. It hurt with every step I took.

Lani said, “If you want me to put Butt Paste there, I’ll do it.”

Her look of compassion for a situation I put upon myself in made my heart fill with more gratitude than I can express here in words.

I could not have done it without them. This year I’ll have a different crew. Two of them will be my family members. I’m sure you can guess who that will be.

2022

I have been looking for my buckle from 2015…it’s vanished from my possession. I can’t remember the last time I physically touched it.

Lexi said, “Well, I guess you’ll have to run another one.”

So, I guess it’s time for me to get a new one. I look forward to the coming months and years with my new found love to live life. I’m continually learning to love every aspect of it..meaning the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I ask that we all adopt Maribel’s saying, “Life…it’s so easy,” and add “when you allow others into it.”

Let us help each other in this crazy journey we call life!

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Thank you for visiting and I hope to “see” you again soon.

Change Your Mindset and Have a Day to Remember

April and I used to have this inside joke where we would tell each other to “Have a day!”

You know, because having a good day would be expecting too much.

Well, I’m learning to expect more. It’s about making your day and not your day making you.

Do you know what I’m talking about? We had a situation the other day that could have ruined our day, but my husband and I proceeded with our day and took that pivot. Do you remember that episode of Friends where Ross and Rachel are moving that sofa? P-I-V-O-T was the main message.

How do you change your mindset?

You make it a daily practice. Like anything, i.e., writing, creating (whatever that avenue is for you, running..all of it requires a daily practice).

Have you prayed for patience or love?

You will be tried.

Why?

God is turning your weaknesses into strengths.

So you prayed and you’re asking why the world is working against you. Keep in mind that you are slowly being molded into the strong individual that people see today.

I need to constantly press the restart button. I’ll be the first person to tell you I’m far from perfect. When it comes down to it, I’m just trying to be the best possible version of myself to my family, friends and strangers alike.

Learn to see things from a different perspective. It just might change how you see an individual.

Scenario

Brooklyn takes her diaper off and uses her poop as finger paint all over the living room.

My husband said, “Why didn’t you ask me for help?”

“Because I thought you would have figured it out!” I replied.

I expected my husband to help me out. You know, anticipating what my needs were.

Verbalize exactly what you need from your spouse.

He’s not a mind reader. Yes, you may be required to spell it out for him.

We are all on this learning curve called life…together.

*Disclaimer: Even when you don’t pray for something, you will still be tried. Most likely because you didn’t learn the lesson the first 100 times.

It’s 2022: How’s Your Mindset?

There was so much I wanted to accomplish in 2021.

I fell short, but I did do some things like sticking with this here blog (country talk is rampant in these parts).

I started this post back in November, but other topics felt more important until now. During the beginning of November it finally started cooling down here in Florida.

The leaves changed from green to a light diarrhea brown. Not quite as eventful as it is in places like West Valley, New York.

Simple Mindset Change

Missing the change of seasons is a small price to pay, because Florida does have its perks. Two words: sandals and tank tops. Not having to scrape ice off my windshield to run a quick errand. I could go on, but enough about why it’s so great to live in Florida, I ‘ll leave that for another post.

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Today I wanted to provide you a list of my favorite books that changed my view on life. Perspective is EVERYTHING.

Here’s a short list that I’ll continue to add on to, so keep checking back.

Self-Improvement

The Holy Bible

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Thank You for Arguing- Jay Heinrichs

Literary Works

Fountainhead- Ayn Rand

Anna Karenina- Leo Tolstoy

100 Years of Solitude-Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Running

Born to Run- Christopher McDougall

The Ultra Mindset- Travis Macy

The Ultramarathon Man- Dean Karnazes

This one made marathons seem like a 10k. After my first marathon, I crossed the finish line and knew that it was only the beginning. I would run my first ultramarathon two months later…Chuckanut 50k and then came Rainier to Ruston 50 mile. Both in 2008.

I wouldn’t run my first 100 miles until 2015.

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What ever you do today, make it a fabulous one. I pray that you will be able to find humor in the things your mindset would normally take you. It can change your day and affect those around you for the better. I dare you to give it a try.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by. Please comment below and let me know what you think about the list. I would love to hear what book helped change your perspective. I’ll add it to my own list.

Coffee for the Brain

Image Creds: @suebeehonee

That accident shook me to my core. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, please take a moment to read my previous post. 

You have to listen carefully to understand.

No skimming.

I tell you this because I’m guilty of skimming. I like to get my information from my source as quickly as possible, but as I have learned taking things in slowly helps your brain slow down and absorb what is being said. 

Do you understand what I’m saying? 

What you see is not always what you should take at face value, literally and figuratively.

When my friends take a selfie on FB, I immediately “heart” the picture. But, if they appear to have some type of down-turned face I read what they have to say.

Usually, they are talking about something they are going through, but this is where it gets tricky.

I have also learned to see past a smile. If you are their “friend” take the time to read their post…especially the ones that make you click “see more.”

This is a plea from your friend. They want to be heard. Listen and comment. We are all people that have needs. Familiar with Maslow’s Heiarchy of Needs?

Maslow’s Hierarchy Pyramid

Do them a small favor. Slow your roll and read their post through the entirety. Sometimes they are talking about what they are going through, yet they are still smiling through the pain. 

It’s taken me a long time to take the dreaded selfie. The added baby weight that I’m still in the process of losing was a huge factor of me NOT loving myself. 

But somewhere in between the wake up from depression and the car accident and attending church, I instantly remembered who I was. It was like my life was stuck on pause until I understood my mental health better. Does this resonate with anyone? Please tell me if it does. Stop being afraid to live. The more you let go and let God, you can set yourself free from your own mental prison. I know all about that.

You are a bird that is meant to fly.

Stop living in the cage when the door is wide open. We have this one life to live. Do yourself a favor and live it well.

FLY!

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Thanks for dropping by. If you are feeling some Holiday cheer, Buy me a coffee.

This mama would really appreciate it. Hope to “see” you here again soon. I promise I won’t waste your time.





Depression: The Big “D” Word

Let’s make that a double. This is Desiree on Depression.

I have talked about this sort of thing before, but not at this level. You can say “I’m leveling up.” -The Blue Shirt Guy, Free Guy.

I have been in a dark place mentally, which came with having my two little additions. They are 11 months apart! Once upon a time on the tiny isle of Desiree, I thought having babies 16 months was close. Life showed me what was up. Four months after Brooklyn was born, I was pregnant…again.

*Side note: So, you can get pregnant while nursing. Talk about one of thee worst myths created!!!!!

I have faced this issue time and time again throughout motherhood, but I didn’t realize that I was suffering from postpartum depression also known as baby blues.

The Dark Place

There was little motivation I could summon except the minimal which included writing, blogging, and finally finishing up my Master’s which was only supposed to take two years, but turned into five. I had TWO classes left when I stopped running and schooling in 2018. I am proud to say that this past year I finished up those classes because I have an ever-supportive husband.

Since I didn’t feel the drive to run anymore I just didn’t see why I was alive. Hey runners, I know you know what I’m talking about. A f*cking IDENTITY CRISIS Ya’ll. If I wasn’t a runner, who was I?

If I was mentally checked out on my children, how could I call myself their mother?

And if I couldn’t love myself how could I love my husband like I said I did? How could I be there for them and him?

My toilet bowl flush of thinking went on to believe that my children would probably do much better in life without me.

Depression made me feel like I wasn’t worth anything to anyone.

This was the worst stinkin’ thinkin’ that I had ever come up with.

I will not go into the rabbit hole of “normal” today. My family knows that terrible truth. Do you know that song by Taylor Swift called “Blank Space”? I can relate… a little too well I didn’t recognize the “dark place” for what it was. Depression clung to me like a noose, so much so that it came with my husband calling a mental health facility.

I wanted to kill myself…what I didn’t care to understand at the time was that during my rant, my two oldest daughters heard my yelling through their bedroom wall. They cried, while I screamed, yelled, and ranted. My husband hid all the sharp objects. while I screamed, yelled, and ranted.

Suicide isn’t the answer and because of my husband I got through the night and then the days slowly turned into weeks. I apologized for saying those things and thinking those thoughts, but I didn’t realize it hurt them. There are a lot of things I don’t realize when I end up in the wrong head space.

I spoke to my daughters individually and apologized for my behavior.

It’s difficult to put my thought process into words, let’s just say I was in the wrong head space. I didn’t give a f*ck and I’m not talking about Mark Manson’s version.

I could only see the worst in myself.

The Conclusion

I realize not everyone faces depression, but there are many people that do. I know I’m not alone when I say that I like to pretend everything is okay when it’s not, mostly because I don’t want to burden anyone with my problems.

Unfortunately, there are far too many women and men that don’t talk about the mental pain they are experiencing.

I can’t say this enough…TALK TO SOMEONE!!!! Real friends will listen. The Universe needs you. Please remember that you are not the only person suffering, your immediate family members will feel the pain of your loss every day and for generations to come.

We All Have a Purpose

I urge you to take some time for yourself and do some soul-searching. Bite the bullet and be alone with your thoughts. Turn off the music and stop trying to drown out whatever you are trying not to feel. Your soul is trying to tell you something. Now is not the time to be comfortable in the sadness. We are not meant to dwell there. Do yourself a favor and free your mind. What would you do right now, if you didn’t have the constraints of your j-o-b?

Find your PASSION and chase it down HARD. Think of yourself as a lion/lioness chasing its prey like it hasn’t eaten in a week.You can recognize it when it strikes a chord in your being. It makes you want to get out of bed in the morning. Do not confuse a person for that feeling. Remember that post I wrote about creating your own sunshine? Do that. You are your choices. Accept the good and the bad and as my husband says, “Keep it movin’.”

Everyone experiences those lows. Depression can strike the happiest of people. The key is to catch it before you hit what feels like the bottomless pit. Life is better among the living. Remember that YOU have a purpose.

Once you figure out what that is, write it out. Tattoo it on your forehead. Do whatever you need to do, so you can see it every day.

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Thanks for dropping by. I know and understand the value of time, so thank you for taking the time to read my post. I would love to hear from you, so please leave me a comment.

So I can keep bringing you the best version of myself through my wordsmithing, go ahead and buy this mama a coffee.

Memoir Writing

Memoir What

I’m sure you have questions, like wondering if you should start at your birth and inch your way up? You can do this for the sake of your timeline/outline, but I have yet to come across a memoir that begins with something to the effect of, “I arrived in this world at 6pm on Sunday, September 21, 1979.” (Yes, that’s my birth day) or “And then I started riding my bike without training wheels when I was 2.”

If you can creatively write your when’s and where’s from point A to point B then do it, but for all of us regular writers, spare your audience all those details. Instead, try a memory that sticks your readers right into a piece of the action. It doesn’t have to be about the time You-should-have-seen-the-other-guy kind of moment. Something low key is a good starting point.

Here’s an example taken from one my earliest memories:

My surroundings became a blur. The sky and the ground swirled into a blur as my body slid across the icy packed snow in an aluminum saucer sled. I sat crosslegged, gripping the sides, but came to an abrupt stop when the sled met the wooden fence, hurling me into a dizzying heap. I was splayed on my back with snowflakes melting on my face. My mother ran to my side and picked me up, brushing the snow off my body, checking for broken bones. My tongue tasted something metallic, and then my lip began to thump and burn.

Reminisce Away

You can start with something unique from your childhood or think of key moments from your life. Try a hilarious moment when you fell flat on your face because your backpack was too heavy, or a sad moment like when your mom told you she had breast cancer for the second time.

Talk to a Family Member

Ask a family member about their memories of you. You can even try to write from their perspective and see where that takes you. It will probably head you straight into memory lane and that my friend is exactly where you want to be.

Tell your Story

Is your story worth telling? Still thinking about it? Your story is worth telling because there is not a single person on this earth who can share the same story of their life. They may relate, but no two lives are alike. What struggles did you face?

I think Priyanka Chopra Jonas said it best, “You’ll definitely learn about how I became me during the in between of what you haven’t seen.” We all have chinks in our armor. Talk about your fears and your doubts. People are far more interested in the unseen.

Memoir Now

I am a believer in self-starting. Do you want to write your life story? What better time than now? Even if you’re not looking to publish, it’s a way to leave something for your posterity. A few of my writings I recently shared with my 18-year-old daughter. She had no idea about the things I shared. She felt like she was finally getting to know me. Her own mother!

How much of your story do your children not know about you? I’m not talking about our deepest darkest secrets. From my own experience, it was as simple as my children learning the origin of my childhood nickname.

Additional Help

You can spend a great deal of time looking for journal prompts to get you writing, or you could try this guided journal. No, I don’t get paid to sell you on a journal, so if you tried this particular one out, let me know what you thought of it. Also, if you have found a guided journal to help write your story, please feel free to leave it in a comment and I’ll be sure to add it.

This is My Life: A Guided Journal

This Is My Life: A Guided Journal: Creative Prompts to Tell Your Story, So Far