I Am Not Okay…
As we round the 30-day mark of this quarantine, with no end in sight, I need a favor from my B2B lovies! I’m going to need you to stop what you’re doing and pick up the phone. Face time, send a Zoom or Goggle meet invite or even just pop up 6 feet from the front door and yell their name till they come to the window….who are you checking up on…your family, friend, favorite co worker or neighbor that you know suffers from Depression! Anyone who has been treated for this debilitating illness needs their strong family members or friends right now. Depression is disease that breeds off isolation and detachment. People with real depression already live in a constant state of anxiety, mood swings, despair, and a lot of other physical health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease and migraines. This quarantine probably has those feelings magnified times a million. Your family or friend is NOT OKAY!
As someone who has been dealing with Depression the last 12 years of my life I’m speaking from experience. Part of my depression is I fret about the future, I doubt the present and I think about what I did in the past that could have deterred the present, I know that’s a mouthful, but people with depression live in constant fear. People with Depression have a hard time regulating their emotions. You add that with being stuck in your home for 24 hours nonstop and you have the recipe for a mental health breakdown.
I worry most about single mothers like myself. My daughter is two and I noticed that I wasn’t equipped enough with the right patience to deal with her, and the minute by minute doings of a toddler. It was in this instance that I felt extremely grateful for the fact that she was in daycare full time 5 days a week and I got my “breaks” to keep me sane. I can say those are the people I will not take for granted once this had died down. Parenting alone is a hard thing to do in general, and its nothing that I’m new too. My capabilities in being a single parent are like superpowers…but the stress, isolation and sometimes the outright anger I feel about certain things has taken my Depression to an uncharted level is my kryptonite! I have had a lot of mini mental breakdowns the last 30 days.
I know there are mom’s and dad’s out there who are feeling this distress and they aren’t sure how to send an SOS in a time where you can't get visitors to your home, you don’t want to go outside to chance getting sick and the walls in your home feel like they are closing in. This is when those people in your life who are stronger than you must step up! This is the time that you find out who really cares for you undoubtedly and unconditionally. If someone knows you. I mean really knows you, they are going to know that the bat signal may not be there, but they are coming anyway.
Here are a few tips that I use when I’m feeling that dreary feeling come over me:
`1. If you are a single parent like myself, I highly suggest sticking to the schedule that your child(ren) are used to, the one the daycare or school put into place. I made the fatal mistake of not doing that the first week & a half, and I got no sleep and was on the edge of insanity from insomnia. Keeping/Putting them on a schedule will allow you to have some free time to clear your head and gather your thoughts. Also get those kid(s) out the house, even if it's just your front door, they need to expel that energy. My daughter loves to play in front of my door, she’s spoiled beyond belief by her Nana who made sure she had a whole outside playground. We also like to just get in the car and ride to get air, no being in contact with people just being away from the house is enough.
2. Do something nice for yourself at least 2 times a day. I personally like to shop. I am lucky enough to still be working from home as well as I have savings. I don’t go insane, but I have treated myself to a few things that make me look and feel good. My biggest investment was a foot spa…get you one if you can. They are $17-19 at Walmart and you can have it delivered so you don’t leave the house. I am also a fan of super-hot showers, as hot as you can stand it. Just let the steam come over you and enter your pores to release the toxins that Depression makes.
3. If “it” makes you cry, makes you feel pain or doesn’t nurture your soul…let it go! I’m not going to give you examples of what “it” is because only you know what triggers your emotions which can trigger your stress and sadness...don’t let it! This world is already in a complicated state, don’t add to it, we are not promised tomorrow. “Live for that in which lives for your”
4. Increase your vitamin C, take vitamins especially Elderberry and get some pure ginger tea. Take all these things daily. Boost your immune system. Depression runs havoc on your immune system and lowers its ability to fight off disease. Personally, I can attest to it. When my emotions are out of whack, I get headaches, body aches, heart palpitations, runny nose and my throat closes from soreness. This is not the time to leave the gate open, COVID-19 is coming for whoever is susceptible. If you take prescribed medication, please adhere to it and don’t allow yourself to run out!
5. Finally, whatever your faith or spirituality is...hold on to it. If you pray, mediate, chat or just need a minute to talk to the universe, do it! Let it all out...do not hold in! It is your right to feel upset, anger, confused, hurt, lost, lonely, betrayed, etc…expel all that negative energy and open yourself up to positive. As God said “And this too shall pass”
Mental health is no joke. Its going to be a serious issue once this quarantine is lifted and people attempt to find a new normal. So I’m once again asking people to just be vigilante in making sure your mental health is intact and those that you know have mental health issues are staying a strong as possible, let them know that you are there to help where you can!
This video is less than 4 minutes, it is a great visual about depression.
Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must be present for at least two weeks.
I have suffered from depression since my grandmother died in June 2003. I did not take care of myself for years. Then 10 years later my mother had a heart attack and died. I was 8 weeks pregnant with her first grandchild. THIS TOOK ME OUT! I was done done. Her dying changed my entire life, my personality, the way I interact with people... my whole life changed. I then was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and anxiety. I was afraid of the diagnoses. I didn't want anyone to find out that my mind was sick. I developed PTSD after the passing of my mother. But guess what I didn't know it. I recently found out after a lot of therapy-- it makes sense how I was feeling and behaving. Then a little surprise came and his name is Reuben. Reuben was a good baby, but mommy had postpartum depression for a little over a year after his birth. (also embarrassing). I needed help, but this time I got the strength to talk to my doctor. This was life changing. I was prescribed some medicine to help with the depression and anxiety. So, now along with the meds, I also see a therapist and psychiatrist weekly. I want you to be encouraged and I want you to treat your brain like you would fix a broken limb. If you are or think you are depressed, talk to your doctor as soon as you can. Tell your story, get a customized treatment plan and keep pushing!
In females, depression is nearly twice as common among women as men, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Below are some symptoms of depression that tend to appear more often in females:
Males with depression are more likely than females to drink alcohol in excess, display anger, and engage in risk-taking as a result of the disorder.
Other symptoms of depression in males may include:
If you have been experiencing some of the following signs and symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, you may be suffering from depression:
I had a beautiful upbringing because of the sacrifices my grandmother Florine and grandfather Reuben made. It all began on August 25, 1984 at a women's correctional center on Broad River Road in Columbia, S.C.
I WAS BORN IN PRISON.
Yep, my beautiful mother, Daphine was 26 years old at the time and I'm so grateful she gave me life. She had a healthy baby girl! She was so surprised because early in her pregnancy she was a drug addict. Hearts broke two days later. My grandparents came to my mother and took her baby girl away. I went to live with my 55 year old grandmother and 61 year old grandfather. My mother wouldn't see me again until I was about 10 months later. What's even more devastating--my mother had to have a full hysterectomy because of the cancer she had during her pregnancy. So sad. So life changing. So depressing, and so much trauma.
Well, I went home with my grandparents. After raising 12 children of their own, they now had a newborn. Momma and Daddy (what I called them) treated me like I was their 13th child. I was more than lucky, I was blessed. I loved them so much for all of their unconditional love they gave on a daily basis. LOVE.
"The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved." Mother Theresa
Are you avoiding social situations because you might be reminded of things you hope to forget? Do you avoid others because you feel you should be able to deal with challenges on your own? These can be signs of social withdrawal or social isolation.So many of us have or are experiencing some form of loneliness. During my reading, I discovered that these feelings are very common. Sometimes loneliness can feel like you're not even sad, but you feel empty. Or, have experienced not being physically alone, but mentally the loneliness makes it feel like there is no one in sight.
Let's shine a light onto the actual definition of loneliness. But before I give you the definition, please know there are other definitions; but, I selected this one for our blog. Loneliness is defined as feeling sad and unhappy about being socially isolated. Are you avoiding social situations because you might be reminded of things you hope to forget? Do you avoid others because you feel you should be able to deal with challenges on your own? These can be signs of social withdrawal or social isolation.
Let's talk about folks with VAST SOCIAL NETWORKS. How can these individuals be in a state of loneliness? These folks have a ton of friends, acquaintances, and aren't afraid to network or intentionally communicate with others. Sometimes these social butterflies have inner turmoil that cause their sense of loneliness. For example, suffering from guilt, untreated depression, grief (the loss of a person or relationship) will amplify these feelings.
Loneliness is not an introvert only issue. As we can see from above very active social folks can be lonely too. loneliness makes us feel disconnected ; and this state of being can be debilitating if its not treated seriously and with some sort of help to begin healing. Filling you loneliness void doesn't get you to the ROOT of your feelings, so I'd like to share the steps I've taken and still use to help push me through to the other side of my loneliness:
1.Validate your feelings! Name it!: your feelings are valid and we need to put a name on it.
2. Practice daily gratitude: this helps me to realize all that I've been blessed with and changes my thought process.
3. Acts of kindness: do something good for someone else!
4.How much is social media influencing your life---think about this
5.Night Cap: change it! What do you do at night to cope with your loneliness? Do you smoke or drink alcohol? These aren't healthy ways to end your evening. Try watching a motivational YouTube video, work on a craft, plan what your next day will look like, read a new book, work on a hobby, or listen to music that relaxes you.
6. Seek a mental health professional to help you work through your feeling of loneliness.
Lastly, let's take the concrete steps to strengthen our connections with others--small talk with the people you come in contact with (find similarities to strike up a conversation. I will add that when you begin trying to make new connections or HEAL old ones be intentional, purposeful, thoughtful, and make sure there is some reciprocity in the mix too.
The shattered friend.
You can't put a broken glass vase back together perfectly again once its been broken. You are now a different person. Put yourself back together anyway sis! Missing pieces and all!
Someone very near and dear to my heart just poured out her heart. Her boyfriend left her for his ex-girlfriend. She was told the relationship with the ex-gf was over... then boom they are fucking and back in a relationship together again. She is so extremely distraught. She asked me for advice. (If she only knew.)
So this is what I advised her to do:
1. Cut off contact. ... so hard... she says they were friends for many years
2. Give it time. ...--- also very difficult, time moves slowly when you're heartbroken.
3. Let go of the fantasy. ...-- I told her to let go of the fantasy that he portrayed, that she was living.
4. Instead of choosing bitterness, and anger-- choose FORGIVENESS
5. Please sis, do not beat yourself up about still loving him, this loss; this time of grieving will take time
6. Spend time with the people who Really love you unconditionally.
7. Don't forget about your other relationships
8. FULLY EXPERIENCE your EMOTIONS!
9. Try putting some time into a new hobby.
Hey ya'll! I'm Brandlyn, I'm a mom of two--you'll hear about my loves eventually. So, why this blog? This blog's purpose is to inspire hope, educate, and impart love to each of you. I am not a mental health professional-- I'm just passionate about mental health and wellness. How will I do this? The idea of The Mental Health Burrito came to me while I was in an Intensive Outpatient Treatment facility in Cary, N.C. I was in treatment from October 2019- December 2019. I started thinking about how I could make daily changes and the first thing that came to mind was, " What is Brandlyn filling herself up with?" What things need to go to facilitate my healing? How do I view myself? Lord... where do I begin One day during treatment I was enjoying a delicious burrito with everything I love inside of it: chicken, steak, rice, beans, grilled onions and peppers, sour cream, lettuce, pico de gallo, and last QUESO!!! So, while I'm eating this literal burrito, I began to think about a metaphorical one. This is what I came up with: I want to fill my burrito (since I'm ingesting it) with love, compassion, self-care, peace, grace, intentionality, forgiveness, radical acceptance, and empathy just to name a few. This blog will be personal, raw, and very real. My hope is that you will feel the love, always leave with something you can share, and feel hopeful about your mental health journey.
Brandlyn Owens is passionate about exploring and educating herself and others about mental health topics. She's a momma of 2 kiddos and she resides in Durham, NC.