Time Outs are Not Just for Toddlers

I get it, we all at one point in our lives have lived with someone who we sometimes can not stand. Maybe it’s your super conservative grandmother who comes and visits your family every summer and her old fashioned beliefs turn to insults that make you bite your tongue while you are silently fuming inside.

Or maybe it’s your roommate who criticizes you for leaving a shirt on the ground when they barely even bring their own dirty dishes to the sink, let alone wash them.

You know them, the one person that you just can’t stand sometimes; but no matter what, you are stuck because of your living arrangements with them, at least for now. Unless you’re the rich and famous, one can not just pack up and leave in one night.

At any rate, living arrangements can be quite difficult. Chores, curfews, cooking, bathroom space, they all come with challenges. Challenges and disagreements that can lead to arguments, which can lead to anger. Anger itself, is a secondary emotion, and is built on other feelings. Maybe the anger came from frustration, sadness, guilt or maybe a combination of more than one emotion, depending on the circumstance.

Everyone responds to anger differently, but for me personally, I tend to not rationalize my thoughts well when I am angry. I can also get quite self destructive when my anger is built off of guilt and shame, so I take out the anger on myself. Guilt-anger can be quite unhealthy, and at times dangerous for me, so I’ve found it is best to escape from the situation as soon as possible.

The simplest and most effective solution I have found is something many believe are only for bratty young children, time outs.

Time outs in this situation would be leaving the heated argument or situation for a set amount of time for the purpose of cooling oneself down. The time length could vary from ten minutes to an hour and this can be done in several different ways, depending on the person. Exercise, listening to music, cleaning, writing in a journal, watching a funny movie, praying, going for a walk outside or maybe just taking a nap.

The importance of calming down, I have found, is very important when anger is sparked from a very strong emotion. The least effective way to solve any issue with someone is when you are all high strung and upset. Simply stating that you “want to take a time out” and will be back in half an hour or so, should be enough of an explanation to give to someone who you are in a heated discussion or argument with.

Getting along with others you cohabit with can be very challenging at times, but finding coping mechanisms can help tremendously.

So what are some of your emotional coping strategies you have found work well for you? Let me know in the comments below!

My Bra Dilemma

So recently I’ve cut back on a lot of my purchases. I’ve basically stopped buying new clothes and new books. Those were the two big things I would spend my money on.

I’ve completely stopped buying clothes from Roots, my old favourite clothing store. I still love their styles, but c’mon, 60 dollars for a shirt?!  I suppose I’ve really come to the point in my life wear brand names just don’t matter to me. I now buy all my books second hand, and doubt I will ever go back to buying a single book for twenty dollars, I can get five now for five dollars or less, it’s just common sense at this point.

I have now come to a screeching halt with the realization that I need new bras, as I’ve gone down a size. Shit.

I happen to have quite a small ribcage, so no department stores in my city carry bras in my size. (Trust me, I’ve checked.) Because of this, I used to get all my bras at Victoria Secret. Thinking back on it, it seemed absurd that I would spend 55 dollars a pop on a single bra. Do I really want to spend all my hard earned money on a fancy bra?

I thought more about my whole bra dilemma, and began to wonder why I even wear them. I’m not an exceptionally busty gal, and not wearing them feels fine to me. Plus there is that French study that found bras to be quite useless to most women.

Part of me wants to go all hippy and not even have to think twice about this or care what others may think. The other part still has the social expectations instilled in me. “When you develop, you have to wear a bra,” my Mom had told me when I was about twelve years old.

Ugh. So should I try cheap sports bras, stop wearing them all together, or slave my way back to VS?

It’s stuff like this and that time of the month make me wish I was a guy.

Top Questions I Get About Being a Child Stroke Survivor

I live in a small city, or for the most part it feels like it.

Generally, when I meet somebody new, especially anybody that my parents know, I get the same questions. “So how are you doing now?” Or, the braver ones ask what they are really wondering about, “So, what was it like?”

“It” equals the stroke.

When I was ten years old I suffered from a rare form of a stroke on the left side of my brain. While I was in a coma for a few weeks, my parents for some reason, decided not to keep my medical condition much of a secret.

It has been nine years now since it all happened, and it still amazes me that some people continue to ask about it. I can understand their curiosity, what are the chances a perfectly healthy kid suffered a massive stroke? How did it happen?

I figured outlining the top questions, and next time someone asks I can direct them to this blog post. I’m not offended by the questions, I’m sure I’d wonder about what it is like to have cancer, I’m just too shy enough to ask a cancer patient about it.

1.) How did it happen?

I’m not a scientist, I actually suck at science, so I’m just going to boil it down to the basics.

There are a lot of different kinds of strokes, the most common happen in older people. My type of stroke was not the same kind that older people have.

The best way to explain my type is, it was a birth defect. The way my brain was wired from birth, it was like a ticking time bomb. Due to the arrangements of my brain vessels, they were going to burst eventually due to the defect of their positioning. Hence, causing my rare “birth defect” stroke.

2.) How did it start?

It started off as a mild headache. Then the headache got worse, and worse. As the night progressed it got to the point that it was unbearable and I started to throw up and pass out.

3.) Do you have any permanent effects from it?

I am blind in the bottom corners of my eyes and my right arm and leg are number than my left side. Apart from that, you can’t tell just from looking at me that I had a stroke.

4.) Did it hurt?

The brain itself, did not hurt. The human brain actually does not have any pain receptors, which is really fascinating. Regardless, it was the most painful thing I had ever experienced so far. The best way I can describe it as imagining the worst headache you have had, then multiply the pain level by five and add to the fact that you are losing the ability to speak or walk.

Those are the most common questions I get. I don’t mind talking about my experience, as I believe it is very important to spread awareness that anybody at any age can suffer from a stroke. The kind of stroke I got was obviously, incredibly rare, but all the same, I did not know children could have strokes. Hell, my parents didn’t even know.

If you have any other questions at all, feel free to leave them in the comments below. 🙂

My Cute Underwear Addiction and Confidence

It was only a couple of years ago that I walked into my local Victoria Secret just to browse; and that was how my underwear obsession began. I had only been to VS a couple of times before for bras, as I have an unusual bra size so I can never find cheap bras from Walmart or Target that fit me.

Anyways, I came across the panties bar for the first time, and boy, was that the beginning of an addiction.

VSyo

It began to get to the point where every single time I was anywhere near a VS, I had to buy the 5 pairs for $27 deal. It isn’t a bad price, until you end up with over a hundred pairs of underwear.

I’ve never really counted how many undies I actually have, but I am positive I have at least 90 pairs.

So why oh why do I love buying new underwear so much? (No, I don’t sell my worn undies to creeps on Craigslist, you assuming pervert.)

The truth is, cute underwear gives me confidence! That is it, that is all! I feel very feminine and pretty when I wear lace trimmed undies in pretty colours and patterns. Obviously, this is a confidence thing that comes from within. I don’t go outside wearing my undergarments over my pants and tops to show my new VS purchases off. I don’t buy a bunch of lingerie for guys to see or for some striptease, I buy cute undies for myself. (Now if only my mother could understand this logic….)

But for those out there who buy cute underwear for stripping or flaunting their goodies, more power to them! Sexual liberation!

sexualfreedom

Of course, I’ve cut down on my undies addiction. I only go into VS or La Senza if I need something, (which as of right now, I don’t, and probably won’t for a while, so it is a good rule of thumb for me to go by.)

I am sure loads of women, men, genderfluid, agender or other non binary folk, have had their confidence beaten down so many times by the beauty and fashion industry. I know I have, and I am working on learning to love myself and my body; and that will certainly take a hell lot of time.

For now, I just love finding little things that give me confidence, whether it be lace undies or some crazy hairstyle I will try one day.

So what gives you confidence, or what makes you feel feminine? Let me know in the comments below!

Mind > Body

It was a warm July day a couple of years ago when I biked to my new doctor’s clinic for my very first adult annual checkup. I was seventeen at the time, so I still had a paediatrician; but finding family doctors that was taking in new patients were hard to find, so when my mom found a doctor down the street from her work that had space in his practice, I figured it was best I jump on the chance.

Everything started out normally but as I feared, I was lead to the dreaded scale. I didn’t have a scale at home, and I rarely checked my weight at my gym’s scale.

“You are right now, just about 154 pounds,” the chirpy nurse announced.

This wasn’t really a huge surprise, last time I weighed myself I was about 148, and that was a while ago. As nice as my doctor was, there was no delicate or pretty way of him telling me I needed to lose some weight.

This bothered me, sure, nobody likes someone to say to them that you should lose some weight, but I didn’t drastically bike to the gym and work out for four hours or chuck out my favourite caramel n’ cheese popcorn.

Come September however, was when things really changed for me.

I had been diagnosed with general anxiety and social anxiety since I was sixteen, so my shrink had been suggesting that I look into antidepressants to decrease my anxiety. I spoke to my doc about it, and he prescribed me prozac.

Many medications like mine, do not produce the same results for everyone. People react differently to the medication. Some people may not react well to the medication, or maybe the side effects they got from the medication were too extreme to handle. While on my first few weeks on prozac, my hands would uncontrollably twitch and shiver, the only real physical side affect from the prozac that I could detect. As weeks went by though, it took me a while to notice something else, my entire appetite had decreased.

As months went by I continued to lose weight, and by the time summer came around again I was 115 pounds (which is still in the healthy range for my height.) It was really the summer when people, especially my family, noticed my weight loss.

And all the while, my anxiety had decreased dramatically. I was able to go up to a sales clerk where they carried their sunglasses, instead of hiding and avoiding eye contact from sales associates that were there to help me in the first place. I was able to say hello to strangers on the streets instead of constantly worrying if that person was snickering at my dorky shoes. Prozac didn’t turn me into the life of the party, that is for sure. I was, and still am, the shy, quiet and nerdy introvert. I’m fine with that really, I am just incredibly happy I found something to help me while I continue to work on my social anxiety and depression.

I still get comments and questions at family gatherings. “You look so good, what magical exercise did you do all summer?” I can see where they are coming from, physical changes are always more noticeable than mental ones. And then they ask what my trick is.

“Honestly man, it’s my meds, it’s how my body reacts to my medication, that is all, that is it, and everyone reacts to antidepressants differently.”

It was my Mom that was mostly concerned. “You have lost so much weight, you better not have an eating disorder!”

Ugh.

Really, in the simplest terms, I never starved myself to achieve a certain weight loss goal or over excised to burn a certain amount of calories. I never counted calories or addicted to pro-eating disorder web forums.

Like anything else, assumptions are never the best way to get an answer out of someone. And above all, while working on your physical health is important, mental health is equally important, maybe even more. I am happier not because I went down a few dress sizes, but because I’ve been seeing improvement in myself with my mental illnesses with prozac has an aid.

You are not your body, you are your mind.

Outpatient Day Hospital: Week 5 (Final Week!)

I’m done, I finished the program. I honestly can’t believe it.

It really went by super fast. My last week was on the topic of self esteem, something I was looking forward to. The main assignment of the week was writing a love letter to ourselves and we had to read it out loud to the rest of the group and the therapists. It was pretty nerve racking…how often do you read a love letter out loud, especially to yourself?

I’ve made some awesome friends from group who are on Facebook, even though that is against the rules. Two other people started the program on the same week as me, so we finished at the same time. We got each other cards and little presents, it was really sweet.

So what next?

I have an occupational therapy appointment next week, and the results from that will help determine where I want to go in terms of school and jobs.

I’m glad I finished this program, and it was totally worth it. I’ve learned so many skills, now i just have to apply them and work on my thinking patterns.

Right now, I’m feeling very positive and proud with myself 🙂