Is it bedtime?

For as long as I can remember I have been a “night time person”, never ever someone who loves waking up early. Not my thing. Nope.

Over the past several years I have developed the worst bed time habits:

  • I couldn’t fall asleep without taking some form of melatonin/sleep aid/sleeping pill
  • I would fall asleep anywhere between 12-4 am…
  • I would be on my phone while laying in bed to the point of exhaustion
  • I had to have complete peace and quiet
  • I needed to have a dark room, no light coming from the cracks in the door, I had black out curtains.. no lights from a clock or anything

These sound like lovely habits eh ?…

No. Not really. I knew this was abnormal and I knew I needed to address it but I also realized that there were reasons behind why I did the things that I did. It wasn’t until this past year that I finally addressed it and discussed it with my counsellor and doctor .

So.. why was I doing what I was doing ?

  • With depression, as I have expressed many times before in previous blog posts.. sleep/tiredness/exhaustion/insomnia/hyper- insomnia are all issues/symptoms of depression. I would sleep all day and all night. If I slept all day, I’d be wide awake at night .. you get the picture… but the thing is I never ever actually felt energetic or ready for the day no matter how much sleep I had.
  • I became reliant on any type of sleep aids, I believed that I could not fall asleep at night without it. I convinced myself it wasn’t possible. I ended up then developing a tolerance to anything I tried and would have to take more and more to feel like I could fall asleep.
  • I let myself be on my phone to the point of exhaustion to avoid thinking. I use to be so afraid of being alone with my own thoughts. I feared panic and anxiety. I feared having to deal with the hard stuff. I convinced myself if I let myself think.. I would only end up being more sad .. more depressed.
  • Having all the lights off and needing a dark room was not a good habit, it’s like it was another escape to avoid thinking. I’d get so busy with trying to make my room pitch black that I didn’t have to worry about anything else.
  • In terms of noise, I have developed a habit of self-aggravation when I heard sounds I didn’t like. It’s all I can focus on and I end up getting so distracted by it and angry. For example, I cannot stand the sound of a clock ticking or snoring. I even use to hate the sound of the rain ! Who hates the sound of the rain ! Ahaha it’s suppose to be comforting and white noise. This is still something I work on.

What’s my new routine?

  • Aromatherapy has been a good natural way to calm and relax myself. I love using my diffuser and essential oils. I deep breath when I have it on and attempt to relax . I mix in lavender, peppermint or eucalyptus or chamomile .. sometimes different concoctions that I have looked up.i also recommend the aromatherapy Bath and Body works line for sleep, stress and energy! They have pillow sprays, room sprays, lotions, body oil, body sprays and even bubble bath and bath salts. You’d be surprised how much it can work if you relax (I know that people argue that it’s just a placebo affect and we just convincing ourselves otherwise … I use to hold this opinion).
  • I take calcium and magnesium after dinner, these vitamins are consider to both aid in sleep. For instance, milk contains small amounts of tryptophan, which the brain uses to build both serotonin and melatonin which both have to do with your sleep.Think about it, new mothers breast feed their new borns or feed them milk in a bottle. Calcium is a great source of sleep aid.. consider how much babies sleep OR why people usually suggest warm milk before bed. Of course there is more to it but this is just the basis in simple terms. Magnesium is well known to relieve insomnia. It’s been researched that magnesium can aid in the lowering of cortisol (stress hormone) and that it helps wth muscle relaxation.
  • I try to stop using my phone about a half an hour to an hour before I go to sleep. I usually put the phone down, find a relaxing/chill playlist on my Spotify and I either take a shower or read a book or do a sudoku puzzle for a bit. Its been researched and found that using electronic devices can be stimulating and can cause sleep disturbances or lack of sleep. Also it’s been suggested that bright light/blue light signals our brain to stay alert which is what we see when looking at our phone. I try to keep my phone on my dresser rather ham under my pillow at night.
  • I now aim to be in bed by 10. That way I can relax and an unwind in my bed for an hour or so.
  • I have now adjusted myself to sleeping with light. It started off with not covering the cracks on my doors or windows where light peeked through and uncovering all the led lights like on the tv or clock (this sounds so silly but I got to a really bad point). I then took off my black out curtains — THIS WAS SO HARD FOR ME TO DO. I then attempted to sleep with my blinds open. I am not at a point where I can fall asleep in any time of lighting. PHEW.
  • I also went through a trial and error adjusting to “white noise” like a fan going throughout the night. This has been so helpful. I still don’t like snoring and the ticking BUT I have adjusted to a point where no longer get angry but attempt to not focus on it . It’s a bit of an improvement I say.

Anyways! This is my routine at night. Little things I have learned through trial and error. Is there anything you do that helps you fall asleep ? I’m intrigued to here !

Love, Sarah. 🖤


What’s holding me back ?

Since I have become super open with everyone about my mental health, especially with the circumstances that happened in the summer… I know I have scared a lot of people and I know people still worry and I know it’s because they care. I feel like those closest to me have been effected the most. A big thing I am facing right now is those people now need me to need them (though I am in the best place right now and I am happy) . I try my best to see it from their point of view but how can I be fully successful and independent on the road to recovery if people aren’t letting me grow or do things without them knowing (again, I know it’s cause they cared and I worried them)? I feel like because of this, this is why I doubt myself . This is the reason that I believe I can’t do things or that I can’t be on my own. I am so use to being kept in this protective circle or safe blanket that to go out side the boundaries is almost terrifying. This is one of the biggest things holding me back from moving forward.

Another thing that is holding me back from officially moving forward is my anxiety and overthinking. It’s so completely hard to deal with sometimes. I make assumptions and then go from one point to another .. it’s a never ending cycle of this horrible doom-like thinking. It’s a huge web! I try my best to use methods like the ABC METHOD, when it comes to my overthinking/bad thoughts and feelings.. it’s seems to help bring me back to rational thinking.

I have a habit of living in the past. Sometimes I find myself at war with staying in the past versus moving forward. I feel like if I move on and look to the future, I will forget about certain things or people – this is a huge fear of mine. I also tend to think what may have previously happened in the past will happen again (this goes for the bad). I use to believe that I didn’t deserve anything good or to be happy because I was living in the dark place for so long. As soon as I would see some light, it faded away. I know that this, of course, is not true but I still find myself sometimes getting myself to believe this again. It’s a work in progress.

Lastly, I am really scared that I will end up back at rock bottom and I am really worried that I will fail. Self doubt is a dream killer. I need to remind myself constantly of everything I have achieved and more. I know what I have done and I know what I am capable of .. I just tend to forget this when I need to remember it the most.

Recovery is a long journey. I am trying to be patient and to keeping learning as I go. As long as I stay on the happy road, I am good to go. As I always say, I am falling back in love with life again and it feels amazing.

Love, Sarah.

I fear your special days..

I play the days that remind me of you over and over again in my head. I reminisce about previous days like that when you were here. I think about the first special days without you, how hard that was.. we realized how broken we were without you. I assume how I will feel about these special days until the actual day. I fear being sad. I’m scared I’ll miss you so much that I won’t be able to stop crying. What if I can’t get out of bed that day ? What if everyone is emotional that day.. I mean of course they will be. Will it ever get easier ? But if it does get easier, does that mean I don’t care ? Does that mean that I don’t miss you anymore ? Does this mean I am forgetting about you? I think about how I will feel if your special days as no longer are emotional to me.

Your birthday is coming up , Jay. K is counting down the days, reminding us that your day is coming. It brings tears to our eyes just even thinking about it; you loved your birthday. Mom and dad are planning how they will celebrate you; you know they release a balloon every year for you, with beautiful, heart felt messages to you. I’m sorry that I have never been strong enough to participate in that, I’m scared to do it. I guess also in a sense it will mean that I am at peace with you leaving this earth.. and I am not. Its weird I know I “need to move on” but I also don’t want to.

It makes me emotional in so many ways. I get sad just thinking about how much you loved your birthday; how excited you would be on that day and the very many days prior to it. You would tell us what you wanted weeks and months in advance and let us know where you wanted to go for your birthday dinner. You would want to celebrate and invite your friends. You would wear that smile alllll day. This makes me sad, I feel like it should make me happy when I remember the positive things but it doesn’t. It just further reminds me again and again that you’re not here and my heart breaks over and over again. I get emotional when I think about the fact that I will never experience that excitement again…This all then leads me to think about all the other specials days without you. Thanksgiving, Christmas, our birthdays, rahkri (Sikh Holiday – it’s about the bond between brothers and sisters) and even Easter. There’s always going to be that empty seat at the table. I’m always going to think something is missing and it’s hard because I know that missing piece is you.

I miss you so much it hurts. I know you’re somewhere beautiful. I love you. 🖤 R.I.P. Jay.

Love Sarah

I’m calling in sick..

You know when its Sunday night and you are dreading Monday morning and when it comes.. you lay in bed wishing that there was a day in between Saturday and is the worst. Am I right or am I right? Imagine having that feeling every single night, every single day, all day. That is exactly what people who struggle mental health, especially depression and anxiety, feel when it comes to waking up and going to work.

With the lack of energy and motivation, the last thing you want to do is go to work. I set my alarm to wake up earlier than I need to because I know there’s a chance I will press ‘snooze’ several times OR lay there and think of every possible reason not to go to work AND every possible excuse I could give. I then contemplate actually calling in sick because I have convinced myself I am way to tired or that the day is going to get worse if I leave my bed. This is what waking up with depression is. This doesn’t happen to me all time or as often as it use to, but when it does .. it’s an overwhelming experience.

I start to self-doubt and think … “great sarah .. you’re suppose to be on your way to recovery”… this then leads me to thinking even worse things. It’s a continuous cycle.

I have had some issues when it has come to work attendance and performance versus my depression. Want to guess who usually won ? My depression. My anxiety also tag teamed in. It’s hard thing to deal with. I wish it was as easy as “just go to work and you’ll be fine”. I usually would push myself and do what I had to do.. but those off days .. I just couldn’t . Not wanting to be there led myself to procrastination and busy thoughts, which led to lack in job performance. I would get into an even worse mood because I knew I could do better. I end up beating myself up and making myself feel even worse. When I would call in sick, I end up beating myself up for not going and regretting it , then oh look… I feel worse again. Either way it was a continuous cycle .

It’s so hard to inform your work place of what you’re going through. There will always be stigma or the fear of it. There will always be judgement and lack of understanding . There is the constant fear of that of occurring . Though the law is on your side and a workplace cannot fire a person due to mental illness .. you’d be surprise that it happens more often than you think. It’s happened to me . I can vouch for that.

I realize now that this is not a reflection of me, as a person. I am at war with myself versus depression. I know that nothing was my fault. I know that when I am fully there, I can do whatever my job may be.. very well.

I could type out and give you all these tips in order to get you out of bed but to each person it is different. I will say though it takes a lot of will power, which can be so exhausting in itself. Find what works for you. Stick to it. Remember, it’s up to you at the end of the day, what you decide to do… it’s just the fact of whether you win that war with your mental illness or not that day. Sometimes I just shoot up right out of bed. Sometimes I really do have to just get through the many alarms and snoozes. Some days I lay there. I wish I had ideas for you other than to make a plan or have a routine every morning but that’s not entirely going to help you get out of bed. I even have held myself accountable to someone, having them wake me up and make sure I get out of bed but this isn’t always possible and you can’t do that forever.

Remember you will get through this. This isn’t forever . It’s not your fault. You got this.

Do you have any ideas? What do you do to get out of bed or to get yourself motivated ?

Love, Sarah 🖤

What’s different this time around ?

A popular question that I tend to be asked in regard to recovery (or treatment , I know some people don’t like certain terms) is what motivates me or what keeps me going. It’s actually a pretty good question. Like what’s different now ? What’s happened in my life that made me change things around ? Why this time around am I all of a sudden so sure that I will stay on the positive path? What do I feel that I didn’t feel before ?

If you have been following my blog from the beginning, in my first few posts I talk about my past and what has happened and my issues with mental illness. For those of you who are new here or have read bits and pieces, I am currently living with anxiety and depression while seeking treatment and this past summer, I tried to take my own life (it wasn’t my first time but it was my last time). A lot has changed in my life in the past 7-8 months. It has done a complete 180! But for the better.

So back to the questions I mentioned above:

  • Even though I have internally struggled with ideas of suicide and attempt, this time around… its not a private matter anymore (instead of only being kept within my immediate family). This time around, people found out – and it was something hard for them to keep private (I would like to believe they did). This time I felt like I needed people to know. I think I have become so tired of pretending to be this “happy all the time” person that I finally reached that point of extreme exhaustion and I needed to be myself but I felt like I couldn’t. How can I be myself if people don’t know the truth ? My journey with mental health is shaping me into the person I am today and who I will be in the future.
  • I have attempted suicide three times now. I at first felt extremely pathetic but then I came to the realization that it was clearly not my time to go and I needed to explore that and find out why I need to be on this earth and pursue that.
  • Even though I have been struggling with depression for the past 6 years, I realized I have never actually fully accepted that. I use to feel “how can I be depressed, I am a psych student” or I feared the label, though I have been educated very throughly in mental health. Why did I hold a stigmatized view of mental health for myself but not for others ? I preached seeking help and staying on track and not to fear the mental health stigma – I started to practice what I preached.
  • Acceptance of my mental illness (depression) has lead me to taking my treatment seriously. Previously, I either tried to pretend my depression didn’t exist or when I did attempt suicide before … I rested a few days, got put on anti- depressants and then pretended it didn’t happen.. and then I eventually went cold turkey as soon as I felt somewhat better thinking I didn’t need them anymore. This time around, I have stuck to actively seeing my counsellor, taking my medication everyday and at a similar time. I am exploring issues and memories that I have not dealt with and breaking down walls I have built so securely over the past 6 years. I am exploring new ways to seek or aid in treatment.
  • I am making changes though changes scare me. I have changed up my work situation, I have said goodbye to friendships that were no longer serving me in a positive way anymore; I reflected and made some tough choices but I am happier now because of it and less stressed. I am working toward changes every single day. I am making sure that I am doing things that are also fun. I changed my routine. I am changing me and this is not a bad thing.
  • I am making long term and short term plans and goals. Before, I only focused on the short term stuff, long term never even crossed my mind. Example : I would say to myself “okay, just get through this semester of school” but wouldn’t focus on the possibility of graduating. Today, I am making plans. I want to move on in my life and make something of myself . I want to be better and do better in every way possible. I want to help people. I want to bring awareness.
  • My blog has been so freeing for me. I am speaking openly about such “taboo” or subtlety spoken about topics. I am challenging the norms and pushing the boundaries, just like other fellow mental health bloggers. I feel like I am apart of something important and I KNOW THAT I AM HELPING PEOPLE.
  • I shocked a lot of people as they have found out. I have hurt people. I have worried people. I realized that I am loved and wanted – this has always been a doubt of mine. I don’t want people to worry about me. I don’t want people to fear that I won’t wake up one morning. I want people to trust me with my own life and the only way to do that is to keep moving forward.
  • I am now at a peaceful place with being alone. I can be alone physically and emotionally. I don’t fear the quiet anymore. I have laid off a lot of the social media- I use to constantly check everything : Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter. Now, at least 75 percent of what I do on social media is when I post for the blog/instagram and check in, in the evening. The other 25 percent, I usually do in the evening as well.. we alll love to look at those silly memes and maybe post a selfie once in a while ahaa
  • I am focusing on keeping me happy and not others. I am focusing on self care and self love. I am saying no.

I feel beautiful, inside and out. I accept my body as it is now, though I want to be healthier. I feel that I am doing good things and I have a lot of things to offer . My counsellor has been a huge reason why my journey has been so positive and continuous. I will forever be grateful to her.

This time around, I have people , not just my immediate family but others. Friends and even acquaintances from years ago like high school and old friends and coworkers. I have received so much love and support from people. It’s been so motivation. My fellow bloggers, I want to thank you for making me feel like I am not alone. I value your words and your creations and expressions. I am grateful for the comments and private messages (yes, even though you are stranger). You and I are going through the same thing that a lot of people will never fully understand. Thank you, thank you.

So.. these are my answers for now. All I know is this time, I have this want to be here. I have this feeling that I have not felt in almost 6 years – I am truly happy. As I have said before, I am slowly but surely falling back in love with life again and myself – it’s amazing.

Love, Sarah 🖤