Packing up

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The Gastrologist(s) told me before that GERD causes my palpitations, and that my GERD stems from anxiety. She can just give me PPIs, but it’s up to me to manage my mental health. I got sick so often, I was in the ER countless of times, and had so many lab tests that my health care plan almost reached its limit.

There was a time that I just went around in circles, always going on a downward spiral and just forgetting how to manage my thoughts. I can’t say that I have a better grasp of things now since I’ve been so busy with rehearsals and other activities these past few month but I really hope that I am improving.

It is tiring to live in constant fear and worry, and in this case, I get scared about having panic attacks. This is usually the reason why depression catches up. Almost every time I prepare to perform onstage, I freak out about having an attack during the performance.

Eventually, I learned to anchor myself in the moment while performing. I have to prep myself well before going onstage. It takes up a lot of work and this process usually isn’t obvious to the people around me. I used to long for the moments when performing (or basically living life) used to be so natural, but this is my new normal now and that is just how it is.

The Harry Potter in Concert performances last weekend is probably my last gig with an orchestra for the year. I’m deeply grateful for the busyness and distraction that performing with the orchestra gave me, among other things. I always learn new things about myself whenever I prepare for rehearsals and performances. I also realized that I love making music more than anything and that I tried keeping myself from it because it hurts to not do it. It’s a paradox and it’s confusing AF.

I’m packing our bags now for a family adventure and I hope to recharge my creative juices on this trip. Sometimes this country gets too overbearing and plain uninspiring so I’m looking forward to breathing a different kind of air.

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Watercolors, unfinished. Just checking to see if I can still paint.

“I love you as certain
dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow
and the soul.” – Pablo Neruda

 

 

Reverie

Hello, world. I’m back! After almost a year of not posting anything, I’ve finally resurfaced online. With the recent string of suicides, especially the ones who made the news, mental health awareness is becoming more prominent. Because of this, I have this urge to go back to blogging.

Maintaining this blog was not even one of my priorities, hence the lack of updates. I had no clear purpose in blogging before – I just wanted an outlet for my thoughts. However, it’s becoming clear to me that I continue writing my story and sharing my experiences to somehow help and inspire others going through the same things as I am. As someone dealing with several mental disorders, it has been incredibly hard for me to deal with the transitions of marriage, domesticity, motherhood, and loss. Maybe, in dealing with my demons, I can help others while helping myself. Continue reading

if

 

i am
 to cease
 existing

as breath
 fogging
 the glass
 disappears.

gone,
 yet void
 of suffering.

i am
 just a speck -
 irrelevant,
 never belonging.

fading in time
 like memories,
 fleeting.

like dust
 slowly
 dissipating
 into not being.

fading away
 to black
 or white,

into nothingness.

Dealing with myself

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It’s been a while. I keep telling myself that I should blog more often, but it’s just very difficult to get things done at times. My last post in June was very positive and uplifting, and I had hoped that it will stick but it did not. Thing is, when life throws me curveballs, I have a tough time recovering as I am easily shaken.  I have depression and anxiety, and these are not easy to deal with. I usually wish that I am normal, but I’m not, and I have to live with it and deal with this rollercoaster of emotions on a daily basis.

A while ago, I chanced upon some videos from The Mighty, namely “When ‘High-Functioning’ Mental Illness Makes You Feel Exhausted and Isolated” and “What It’s Like to Live with Both Anxiety and Depression“. I actually like browsing around that site because it makes me feel like I’m not alone – which is the truth. Millions of people suffer from these conditions, but it’s just so hard to just talk about them in the open. I know I’m not alone, then, why do I feel so isolated?  Most of the time, I feel like the people close to me, especially my family, does not understand what I’m feeling. The depth of the pain, hopelessness, helplessness, despair, fright, and loneliness. I also feel like I’m being judged as someone who likes to wallow in these dark emotions. Just to make it clear, I’m not. Those who are not in this position simply do not understand the desperation of wanting to be simply ok.

My health and my body reflect my mental state, rather, my mental illnesses manifest in my body. I’ve been in countless ER trips and visits to different kinds of doctors and healers. They all try to cure the symptoms, but it just doesn’t stick. As long as I don’t fix what’s going on in my mind, I will just keep on getting sick. It is a tiring process and it makes me more depressed. My anxiety makes me want to cling to life and worry about every single thing that I’m feeling, but depression makes me so tired of life. I feel like I’m losing my mind sometimes and I keep chanting to myself while breathing deeply, “it will pass, it will pass, it will pass.” Then I pray, or just cry, or do both. Desperately clinging to faith. Find a bit of relief in crying. Talk to someone who really understands.

Most of the time, the pressure to be ok is overwhelming. I have a toddler who depends on me. I have a husband who loves me, yet who I feel I am burdening with my constant screw-ups. I have a tendency to obsess over things. I have the vision of the perfect mother, the perfect wife, the perfect person in my mind which I desperately try to achieve. This obsessive-compulsive drive to be perfect haunts me everywhere in my life and in my work. I’m still working on this, on embracing my whole self, my flaws, my being human. The mind is a terribly tough thing to rein in.

Practicing mindfulness helps a lot, but the learning process is so hard. I keep going back to square one then I go around in circles. After that, desperation sets in and I feel an infinite kind of sadness – one that feels like the pain is swallowing you whole. I can remember not wanting to live as early as I was four years old. Why? I don’t know. I just felt so scared of life that I don’t want to go through it and just go straight to heaven while I am still deserving. I was a weird kid, and even though bullying is wrong, I understand why I was bullied so much in school.

Socializing is another thing that is very hard for me. It’s also so hard to talk to people because I feel like most don’t really understand what’s going on. It’s so different from being just sad or nervous. The depth of the pain, it’s something that cannot be explained clearly. I try, but it’s very difficult to give them labels or to put those kinds of emotions into words. It’s hard to get people to empathize because you just know that they can’t understand. It’s also scary to talk about these things because people think you’re weird or different, then start treating you differently. Then feeling a constant paranoia of being thought of as lazy, unfit, and a bad friend. So, at times, smiling and trying to laugh carelessly is the only thing that I can think of doing when around people.

When I’m not working, I am stuck at home, trying to be strong and happy for my son. I also can’t seem to find the courage to go out alone, even though I really want to. I like it when I rehearsing, performing, practicing, or painting. It’s like I’m removed from my own reality and isolation, but starting the activity is always my problem because self-doubt always creeps in. Frustration easily gets to me and I become angry at myself. It’s hard, isn’t it?

I did not choose to be like this, and I most definitely do not want to remain to be like this. I am taking steps forward so that I can be a better version of myself. So far, what’s helping me is the following:

  • Therapy
  • Mindfulness
  • Minimalism
  • Meditation
  • Reiki
  • Creative Activity
  • Exercise
  • Essential Oils
  • Prayer

Right now, I’m in search of a community or a group of friends who can empathize and understand. I feel that having a community will help me a lot. Another thing that I’m studying right now is how diet affects emotions, thanks to a book that was given to me by good friends. Also, if you are experiencing the same things as I am, please feel free to reach out, comment, email, or whatever. I’m very interested to interact with people who are going through the same things. ❤

Embracing myself

Going to therapy is the best thing that I’ve done for myself. I don’t paint regularly, but I even noticed a change in my process. ❤️

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It feels like I am trapped at times, unable to move, unable to breathe, unable to function as I should… but this is my reality, and choosing to embrace it means that I have to learn how to look at the good things that come with it. This is who I am, and loving myself means loving all of me. Embrace the “bad” things because it’s part of me – that there is a beautiful side to it, too. It can be painful, it is definitely a struggle, but a rare and beautiful flower can bloom in adversity.

 

Babymoon

This post is way overdue, but the busy-ness of motherhood is making me dream of taking a trip out of the city with my husband. Should I feel bad for wanting some me-time with my husband? Of course, leaving little Raffy behind is not an option now, so we will just have to wait. Here’s a throwback to our lovely babymoon – the last time we were able to travel as just husband and wife. Continue reading

Transitioning to a plant-based diet

Two months ago, I had some lab tests done at home c/o Hi-Precision Diagnostic’s Home Service Testing and I encouraged Ralph to have a blood test done right then and there because his gout is bothering me. You see, he’s had gout for over a decade now and time and time again, he refused to have a blood test done to check his uric acid levels. Thankfully enough, he conceded, and later that afternoon, the results arrived in my email. True enough, his marks are so high and this got me worried even more, so I did a lot of research about gout and hyperuricemia.

According to Healthline, Hyperuricemia occurs when there is too much acid in your blood. I’ve since learned a lot about the topic of gout, and I will discuss this in another blog post. The point is, we have decided to go on a plant-based diet because vegetables are the best low-purine foods. What about beans, you say? In recent studies, it is shown that plant-based purine sources have a low bioavailability, which means that these purine-rich sources are not easily converted to uric acid. (As an added note, foods containing high-fructose corn syrup is hell on people with hyperuricemia!)

Going plant-based

This is where I had a tough time. I was the kid who grew up not eating vegetables, and I have a pretty good repertoire of meat recipes under my belt. That said, I don’t cook vegetables really well. I’m not even familiar with some of the vegetables that are found in the wet market. My husband is an Ilokano, and he loves his vegetables. In the course of our relationship, I slowly learned how to appreciate and actually like eating veggies – but I still don’t know how to cook them. When changing your lifestyle, I figured that it’s best to consult the people who already has that kind of lifestyle. I am grateful that we have quite a handful of vegetarian and vegan friends, so I contacted them for resources and tips. Our goal is to be 80% plant-based, for now. What matters most to me right now is getting rid of sugar, processed foods, and unhealthy ingredients. Continue reading