I promised myself I’d write a blog entry today, but I hate writing something that seems self-absorbed. I did start this blog for myself though, so here goes.
I’ve been in a fairly good mood for the last week. Before this, I’d been having periods of bad anxiety & depression. One thing that’s helped has been watching videos on YouTube. First when I was feeling really depressed, I found & listened to a couple relaxing meditation-type videos. These were nature scenes with relaxing music. The next day, I found a good channel by a guy who’s fighting anxiety & depression himself. Later I watched a couple TED talks on the same subject. These reminded me of techniques I already knew but had slipped in following.
1. Daily physical exercise, including sunshine & fresh air if possible. I started walking my dog again, since the extreme 100 F + heat had stopped. This is good both for me & my dog, who is older & overweight. We’ve also had problems with one roommate smoking way too much marijuana in the house, along with negative emotions building up from him, me & the other roommate. I think I’m a bit of a psychic empath, so I feel other people’s emotions. These kinds of energies build up inside a house, so it helps to get out & to air out the house.
Physical exercise has been shown in several studies to help fight depression almost as much as prescription antidepressants. You can’t go wrong with eating healthy, getting enough sleep, & getting regular moderate exercise, no matter what your perceived problem is. Journaling one’s thoughts, feelings & experiences is also good general advice. You can take note of what seems to help you & what doesn’t, then make an effort to do the things that seem to help.
2. Taking my St. John’s Wort & upping the dose. I didn’t realize until I’d already had several weeks of crippling anxiety & depression that the new bottle of St. John’s Wort I’d been taking was a lower dose than the last bottle. I upped my does to taking it twice a day instead of just once a day. I also stopped taking medical marijuana edibles to control my anxiety, since they’re a less reliable medication for me. I think they do help sometimes, but I wanted to take an herbal medication that I know works reliably.
3. Consciously changing my thought patterns to not be self-judging & full of guilt. I got this from the YouTube videos. Sometimes Emotions create Thoughts. Sometimes Thoughts create Emotions. When you’re prone to anxiety & depression, your thoughts & emotions can create a vicious downward spiral of mental & emotional negativity. We can try to control our emotions with drugs, exercise or music, but stopping negative thoughts is crucial too. I can stop my negative thoughts to some extent by watching a movie or TV show or by sleeping, but as soon as the show is over or I wake up, the negative thoughts can come right back. The videos I watched reminded me that I don’t have to feel guilty for all the mistakes I’ve made in my life, mentally punishing myself over and over again. I shouldn’t expect to be perfect, because nobody is. I also realized that part of my mind was telling me I was “bad” for feeling angry, which I know is programing I got from my mother & which I don’t believe is true. I also accepted that I’m not “broken” or “useless” just because I sometimes feel anxiety or depression. What this one guy on YouTube said that was enlightening is that we are not our depression or anxiety, these are just feelings we have sometimes. We aren’t always broken. These are just emotions we feel, but then pass when we don’t dwell on them.
4. Getting up and doing something every morning. Even if it’s just getting dressed & watering the yard or walking my dog, I have to get out of bed to do something positive. Getting out of the house is even better, since this takes me away from all the negative emotions in the house. The other 2 roommates also have a lot of anxiety & depression, so we can all feed on each other’s negative emotions if we’re not careful. This was true in my last home too. I usually isolate myself in my room when I’m feeling bad, but emotions aren’t stopped by walls. I can shield a little, but normally I need to get away physically from people who are exuding emotions to which I’m sensitive. This helps them too, so they won’t feel my negative emotions either. I believe everyone is somewhat psychically sensitive, but few people are aware of their psychic sensibilities. We all have auras, which are fluid energy fields around us. We all interact with the energies of other people around us. Most of us just don’t realize we’re doing this.
On Wednesday morning I awoke once again with a constricted throat, then had a horrible coughing spell in which I felt like I couldn’t breathe. The problem was clearly caused by a roommate who’d been smoking way too much marijuana inside our house. I walked out to into the living room to see him opening a window, then rolling another joint while I stood there looking at him. He asked, “Are you ok? Are you sick?” Then I went off on him, yelling & swearing for the first time since I’ve lived in this house. I told my other roommate that I forget sometimes that my Chinese horoscope character is the Dragon. I’m usually cool, rational & don’t express my emotions to others, but there is a raging sea of emotions inside me that comes out when I’m pressured enough.
Later our landlord finally called & told the roommate who’s been smoking in the house that this is not ok. For the last 2 days, he’s now smoking outside or in the garage, so we can breath freely again. He’s also not hogging the TV by playing annoying cartoons even when he’s not in the house. He’s still eating some of our food, but he also made an effort to buy some of his own & to replace some of our food he’s been eating.
We’ve had a small reprieve from the horrendous roommate situation we’ve had for the last 2 weeks before this, but I know the bad roommate will go back to his old ways eventually. I’ve thus taken steps in the magical realm, since normal ones haven’t been sufficient to alleviate the problem.- If you practice magic, you probably have some idea why I can’t go into greater detail. It’s bad practice to discuss a work in progress.
Another thing I do that I can’t discuss in detail is mystery shopper jobs. They don’t pay much, but they make me feel like I can do a real job & I get a little money & free food. Because a mystery shopper is essentially working undercover to evaluate stores & their employees, one is not supposed to reveal the shops or who they are.
Because my birthday is coming up & I was worried I’d be depressed, I signed up for 5 shops in the first 2 weeks of September. I also signed up for a bunch of loyalty programs, so I can get free food rewards for my birthday. I need these little treats for myself right now, because it’s so easy for me to feel depressed. Having to review a shop also forces me to get out of the house & be responsible, then get rewarded with a check later. Some kinds of shops I hate doing, but I do them anyway, because overcoming the obstacles of a somewhat difficult job proves to myself that I can get a job done even when it’s difficult, & thus boosts my self-confidence.
Yesterday I forgot to take my St. John’s Wort, but I went out to check my post office box, to use a coupon for a restaurant, & to do some other errands. I was feeling very emotional, sometimes anxious, sometimes sad, sometimes angry. Because I was alone in my car, I let myself feel & express these emotions. I told myself it’s ok to feel this, just don’t tell myself that I’m bad or broken for feeling this. After eating at the restaurant, I saw a young homeless man sitting by the side of the road. I had printed out a coupon for free chicken tacos at a nearby restaurant, so I pulled into the parking lot & gave this coupon and a dollar to the young man.
As I did so, I thought about all the emotions I was feeling. I felt empathy for the man, even though I didn’t know him personally. I felt sad that there are so many homeless people in our city. I felt remorse that I didn’t have more to give. I’d told myself I’d keep bottled water in my car to give to homeless people, but I’d failed to do that. Why hadn’t I kept more of these coupons with me? Is it cheating the restaurant owners to make multiple copies & give away too many of these coupons? I gave him a dollar too, but I knew I couldn’t afford to give him more, because I don’t have a job myself. Did I give to him just to feel better about myself? I don’t think so, but it’s not bad to feel good about helping other people either.
I try to understand other people, but we aren’t all the same. If I have something that could help someone else, even if I don’t know that person personally, I want to give it to them. When I gave a copy of that coupon to my nice roommate, she smiled & said thank-you. When I gave a copy to my bad roommate, he threw it on the kitchen table & ignored it, without saying thank-you. That’s the difference between a nice, socially normal person vs. one who’s self-absorbed & lacking in empathy.