mental health

Re(Pro) #50: Lisa McLaughlin

Lisa McLaughlin

So excited to share part 2 of our WorkitHealth women in entrepreneurship duo, Ms. Lisa McLaughlin! You met Robin McIntosh in part 1; now meet her business parter and friend, Lisa. These women have set out to change the world of digital recovery - and their blog features some of the biggest recovery movers and shakers (Olivia Pennelle, Lara Frazier, and yours truly). Thank you for all you do, Lisa!

xo,
Laura


 

Name: Lisa McLaughlin

Age: 38

Location: Ann Arbor, MI

Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness): 4/10/2002

Creative niche:
Entrepreneurship and writing. I am a co-founder at Workit Health and spend most of my time designing the future of recovery through Telehealth with my amazing business partner Robin McIntosh (we met in the room in Oakland in 2009) and out incredible team. At Workit I do a lot of public speaking and recovery advocacy work. I mentor other women entrepreneurs in my spare time. I write daily but don't publish as much as I should.

If applicable to your story, drug of choice:
Cocaine, but really I didn't discriminate. I was a nineties raver so mostly ecstacy, opium, meth, hallucinogens, alcohol, marijuana, and an unfortunate quantity of whip its.

Recovery story in a nutshell:

I started drinking and using drugs when I was 15 and spiraled fairly rapidly. I'm Irish-Italian so the genetic setup was there. My addiction was largely driven by social anxiety that emerged in adolescence as I moved away from a deeply religious upbringing in the Baptist Church to a wider social network of kids from all over the world at a large public high school.

Being numbed out and less anxious was a total win for me in the beginning. I had a rough run from 15 to 22, most of which was spent blacked out in warehouses in Detroit dressed in jnco jeans taking whatever I could acquire with whichever low quality skateboarder boyfriend I had at the time. By 22 I had been hospitalized for alcohol poisoning (turned blue, resuscitated), gone temporarily blind for six hours in a k-hole, had multiple run-ins with the law, and experienced a lot of exposure to violence and trauma.

My bottom occurred when I was high during a mental health crisis my brother had (he has schizophrenia). I wasn't able to be fully there for him during a terrifying turning point in his life when he really needed me to admit him to the hospital. I realized the extent of my spiritual bankruptcy when it seemed like a good idea to leave him and "go back to the club."

I got sober through court-mandated AA, a decade of therapy, and a lot of love from women in recovery. Its been an odyssey. Here's 16 Ways my Recovery has Changed at Year 16: https://www.workithealth.com/blog/16-years-recovery-lisa-mclaughlin


Top 5 Recovery/Wellness Tools: 

1. Meditation / Breathwork
2. Cardio
3. The Workit App
4. Daily Social Outreach
5. Writing


WorkitHealth.png

Connect with Lisa.

Website: www.WorkitHealth.com
Facebook: @Lisa.Mclaughlin | @WorkitHealth
Twitter: @Lmclaug | @WorkitHealth
Instagram: @Lmclaug | @WorkitHealth

Re(Pro) #47: Paula Hoss

Paula Hoss

I love Paula. She's amazing, inspirational, gorgeous, and just beacon of light. I've been using her skincare line, CLN&DRTY and ZOMG it's like my own personal spa. Share in the comments what your favorite item of hers is from her line. If you haven't tried it yet, go on an Easter Egg hunt in the post because there are a couple of links to shop with a 15% off coupon.
 So like I said, I love Paula. You will too. Read on.

xoxo, 
Laura


Name: Paula Hoss

Age: 34

Location: Massachusetts

Recovery date (turning point for substance use disorder or mental illness): 1/21/2008

My own bathroom countertop.

My own bathroom countertop.

Creative niche: Skincare Entrepreneur
[Shop CLN&DRTY for 15% off with coupon code SOBER15).

If applicable to your story, drug of choice:
Alcohol & benzos

Your story in a nutshell:


I began suffering from symptoms of bipolar disorder when I was 15 years old and around the same time started to self medicate. I got sober for the first time at 18 and was able to stay sober for 3 years. I was active in the hardcore music scene, so I saw my sobriety more as straight edge rather than recovery.

At 20 I found myself in a highly abusive relationship, 400 miles away from home and isolated from my friends and family. The relationship ended with assault, kidnapping and terroristic threat charges against him, and I was left with severe PTSD and my bipolar disorder was acting out in full force.

Soon after, I picked up drinking again. I remember taking the first drink after those 3 years of sobriety and just feeling the whole world lift off of my shoulders. I felt like all of my fear, my anxiety, all of the trauma was being lifted away.

I was 21 and quickly spiraled into regular blackout drinking and substance abuse within the year. I again isolated myself from friends and family and moved to a city where I could live alone and drink and use without anyone's intervention.

At age 24, I hit rock bottom. [Editor's note: Me too!] There wasn't an arrest or an overdose, but rather a 6 month period where I would wake up every single morning, swearing that this was the last time and then would pick up by the evening.

I woke up on January 21, 2008 and felt more empty than I had ever felt in my life. I felt worthless, numb and depressed beyond belief. I crumbled on the floor and started sobbing and praying. I knew that I would either have to get sober or I would be dead within weeks.

I'm proud to say that I've been sober since that day, for over 10 years. In the early years, I was incredibly active in AA. I did the 12 steps, had a sponsor and sponsored other women. I got active in a young person's community and those people truly saved my life.

Further into my sobriety, I became a wife and a mother. I shifted my understanding of a Higher Power to a relationship with Jesus Christ. I began attending a non-denominational church and since my problem was no longer active drinking, but rather the shame and pain that went along with my lifestyle, I started connecting with and mentoring women of all backgrounds.

Part of my platform as a business owner is telling my story of surviving mental illness and substance abuse. I'm passionate about showing women that no matter where they are, no matter how far down they've gone, they can redeem themselves. That every single awful thing that they've done (because if you're reading this, I know you have that list in your head: the terrible moments that you pass off as party stories but you know in your heart that you are so ashamed of) can totally be wiped clean.


Top 5 Recovery/Wellness Tools:

1) The Big Book of AA
2) The Bible
3) Someone who is further along in sobriety than you
4) Someone is younger in sobriety than you
5) God


 
Click above to shop Paula's CLN&DRTY store and get 15% off your order!

Click above to shop Paula's CLN&DRTY store and get 15% off your order!

 

Connect with Paula.

Website: CLNandDRTY.com
Instagram: @CLNandDRTY
Etsy: @CLNandDRTY

Re(Pro) #42: Rynda Laurel

Rynda Laurel #42

I'm beyond stoked to bring you our #42 (meaning of the universe) on pi (π) day, Ms. Rynda (rhymes with "Linda") Laurel.

I feel like I've known this amazing woman forever *and* when I think about it, it's only been less than a year. Last July, I saw Rynda's face on Ryan Hampton's Twitter feed, sharing her 25 year sobriety anniversary. So immediately I was like, what skin care products does this gal use and where can I get some because unless she stopped using substances when she was 10, I was NOT believing that she could celebrate a quarter century of recovery. As it turns out, she was 24 when she got sober (same age as me) and in July (also same as me). I come to find out her birthday is May 18th (same as ME!). Then we got to talking about depression; I was struggling terribly after being the victim of an elaborate emotional scam (will write about this soon) and wasn't sure if my feelings were just situational (to be expected, duh) or part of larger feelings of sadness and general blasé. Rynda told me about amino acids and what worked for her own depression and thus began our friendship and professional collaboration/partnership. There's so much more I want to say but you have a lot to read, my friends. So get started and I'll sign off in 3...2...1...

xo,
Laura


Name: Rynda Laurel

Age: 49

Location: Joshua Tree, CA

Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness): 7/10/1992

Creative niche: 
I've been working with musicians, artists and writers as a creative executive in development, management and marketing for most of my life! I'm also a traditional film photographer, sometimes writer, and entrepreneur.

If applicable, drug of choice: 
Depends on the year! Alcohol, stimulants & opiates.

Recovery story in a nutshell:

 My RecoVRY story -- Rynda here, figured it was about time I told my story.

nutshell.jpeg

I was born 9 months after the Summer of Love in San Francisco so I guess I’m lucky my name isn’t Starchild or Moonbeam - Rynda is just fine by me! One of my favorite childhood tales is that my music loving young Mom went to see The Doors at the Fillmore while she was pregnant with me. I always joke that it explains everything as I’ve spent most of my personal and professional life in clubs watching incredible bands with an iconic frontman.

My late teens and early twenties were a whirlwind of great times, booze, drugs and a career in the music business that allowed my addictions to flourish without much repercussion. From Punk Rock Fullerton with Jack, Jim and Crystal (that’s whiskey and crystal-meth-amphetamine) to cocaine laced Hollywood Burning Tree soup on the Sunset Strip to New York downtown on Avenue A copping dope, it was a cornucopia of wild adventures. At first I just wanted to have fun and to drink and snort my courage, because deep down I had feelings of inadequacy and fear, then I didn’t want to feel the shame and heartbreaks, and then I simply just didn’t want to feel - anything. Heroin can do that, make all those pesky feelings go away, for a little while anyway. It also caused me to become an empty shell of a person. Worst of all, at some point it just STOPPED WORKING and by that time I simply could not stop.

I’d make every resolve, try every trick and I WANTED it with every cell in my body and I’d still find myself down in the avenues seeking relief. At 24, I was wondering around in a grey world, stuck between complete darkness and seeking the light. I was miserable and I felt broken and hopeless. I had hit bottom. I had the number of a detox memorized from an advertisement in the subway that said “When You’re Ready, Call Us.” I can’t tell you what made that particular night the night, but I picked up the phone and made the call. I dialed each number with desperate intention. A man picked up the phone: “My name is Albert - how can I help you?” In a moment of clarity, I heard myself say, “I’m Rynda, I need help.” I could almost hear Albert smile on the other end of the line and he simply said, “It’s time for you to surrender, Rynda.” Open the floodgates, years of trying to do it on my own simply didn’t work and at that moment I knew intuitively that there was a ray of hope in the darkness.

The next morning I checked myself into detox. After a few weeks clean, a move back to California facilitated by some insightful gentleman in the music business, some bumps and emotional bruises and a “one more time” with a head full of 12 step, I got high for the last time and finally did surrender. That was July 10, 1992. Instead of running away from people and places I went in full steam ahead and stayed in the music business. I was in clubs and bars nightly for my work during my first 15 years of sobriety - for me I needed do know I could still have fun and have a LIFE. I built a strong support system in my 12 step program and I was lucky enough to find a group of musicians and friends that were on the path of recovery as well - many of them still sober to this day. That was what I was searching for all along, to have great friends and to feel alive.

Even though I was highly functioning in my career, for many years behind the scenes I still struggled with deep periods of depression. Desperate after about 3 years sober, I went on doctor prescribed medication. I share this because it so common to still have mental health issues in recovery that I believe no amount of spiritual work and community support can remedy if your body and brain are not functioning properly. Meds did the trick for a bit (after the laborious process of finding the right one!) but like many drugs they stopped working and I wasn’t willing to up the dose. Also, the more I learned about pharmaceuticals and how many actually stop the brain’s normal function, the more I wanted to get off of them.

I started doing research, A LOT of research, years in fact. I read gazillions of books on nutrition, neuroscience, and biochemistry, took multiple online courses, attended workshops, worked with functional medicine doctors and tried a myriad of healing modalities. I was constantly searching for an answer to feel better. The utter fear of crashing and rebound depression crippled me for a long time, but after all of the work I did I knew I just had to support my entire body and it would be ok. Three years ago I was house sitting at a recording studio in Joshua Tree and I made the decision that it was time. I followed a specific nutrition and supplement plan that I had devised through my research that would replace and support the function of the exact medication I was on. Guess what, IT WORKED. The doctor says “clinical depression in full remission”; I say I’m simply not depressed like that anymore!

Today, I continue to do all the things that kept me clean and sober in the first place - 12-step meetings, community and spiritual connection. I focus on staying mindful with a lot of cognitive self talk to keep me in check and some meditative breath work. Just as important is the addition of light exercise, a fine-tuned nutrition plan and mood balancing supplements that was a game changer for my mental health. It was so life changing in fact - that became the spark for my new company VRYeveryday and its support site Supplement Your Recovery. Now, my entire mission is to help other people struggling with addiction and mental health issues find real relief with natural remedies, because I know they can work. It’s hard to condense 25+ years of recovery into a short story, but let’s just say compared to the grey cold world of addiction, recovery is in vivid Technicolor! Even with bouts of depression and life’s roller-coaster ride it’s worth every single moment.

My name is Rynda, I surrendered. I went from a life of addiction to recovery to Happy, Joyous, and Free - and so can you.

Use code  WeAreSober  at checkout for a special Sobriety Collective discount!

Use code WeAreSober at checkout for a special Sobriety Collective discount!

Top 5 Recovery Tools

1-BUILD A FOUNDATION
I built a solid foundation in 12 step work and circles. It is still my main source and basic staple for recovery. Meetings help with the connection and community necessary for recovery.

2-PHYSICAL SELF CARE
Physical self-care, nutrition and supplements were a game changer for me. If I'm not supporting my body and brain in a healthy manner depression and anxiety creep up and I isolate and that takes me farther away from the path of recovery. Also, newest level up practice is using the Pranayama breath-work ios app by Saagara.

3-CONNECTION
My close circle of friends and sober sisters. I've really worked hard to cultivate deep and lasting friendships, people that I can count on, and can count on me. That has meant letting some people out of my life as well.

4-STAY CREATIVE
Stay creative. It's imperative for me to stay creative, even if I'm working on a project that doesn't seem "creative" I approach it creatively. I also try to go to community events and engage with creativity in all that I do - part of that is spiritual. 

5-READ BOOKS
There are many books that have helped me along the way, I often go back and read chapters out of them when I need to be reminded or need more insight. I have a partial list here.


Connect with Rynda.

 
VRYRynda
 

Re(Pro) #39: Amy Dresner

Amy Dresner RePro

It's this beauty's 5 year anniversary today so can we get a FUCK YEAH!? Long ago and far away (sometime last spring), Amy gave me her own "eff yes" when I asked her to be one of the next Re(Pro)s. We were going to time my clicking "publish" around her own book launch date in September 2017 for My Fair Junkie: A Memoir of Getting Dirty and Staying Clean. But, life happened. I got catfished (and had to report the whole debacle to the FBI - I'll be writing about it soon, now that the dust has settled). And so my life was upside down and then I admittedly forgot to post Amy's profile, especially since I hadn't had a chance to read her magnificent memoir. I'm still working on it (honesty! progress, not perfection!) but I couldn't let her 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY go down in history without this little gift.
So this is from me to you, Amy.  Happy 5 years*!

xoxo,
Laura


Name: Amy Dresner

Age: 47

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness): *1/02/2013

Creative niche: 
Writing. I've been a contributing editor to addiction/recovery mag TheFix.com since 2012 and I just had my first book published by Hachette, an addiction memoir called "My Fair Junkie: A Memoir of Getting Dirty and Staying Clean".

If applicable, drug of choice: 
Crystal meth and IV cocaine although I was an equal opportunity abuser: pot, booze, mushrooms, Ativan, Oxycontin. At the end I really enjoyed Four Loko cuz I’m classy like that.

Nutshell

Recovery story in a nutshell: 
I was a late bloomer and a chronic relapser. I didn’t drink till I was 19. Smoked pot at 21. I tried meth at 24 and it immediately opened up some terrifying voracious vortex in me. Thus began the cycle of rehabs, psych wards, suicide attempts. Twenty years in and out of the rooms. I’d have periods of sobriety and then just eat sand again. It was awful. I tried to stay away from booze because it made me violent and naked which I enjoyed but others…not so much. Things culminated when I was arrested high as a kite on Oxy for felony domestic violence and went to jail. I lost everything: my marriage, my sanity, my financial security. After a few more relapses and yet another suicide attempt and stay in treatment, I ended up spending two and half years in a women’s sober living, doing 240 hours of court-ordered community labor. That’s what it took for me to finally take full responsibility for my life and the consequences of my addiction. I did a major attitude overhaul thanks to the steps, my newfound poverty and my humbling penal labor and finally grew up in my 40’s. Been sober ever since.


Top 5 Recovery Tools:

1. Writing (what a surprise!)
2. Humor
3. Running my idiotic ideas by my sponsor
4. Service (in and out of the rooms)
5. Sleep (When I feel totally nuts, I unplug and take a nap.)


Connect with Amy.

My Fair Junkie

Re(Pro) #30: Megan Lawrence

I love Megan. 

Thanks to Alicia Cook, friend/writer/HuffPost contributor/Instagram poster/recovery ally, I got connected to the lovely Megan. And then I find out she's in recovery and knows my gals Lara and Sasha (and more). And I love the small crazy beautiful perfectly imperfect world we live in. This woman gets it. I'm proud of this mental health/recovery advocate/writer FRIEND of mine, and excited for all the accomplishments she's made and will make in her life.  

xoxo,
Laura


Megan Lawrence

Name: Megan Lawrence

Age: 25

Location: Tampa, FL

Recovery date (turning point for mental illness or addiction): 8/10/2015

Creative niche: Writing

If applicable, drug of choice (or *not* of choice):
 Alcohol, Amphetamines, Cocaine

Recovery story in a nutshell:
I never knew the extent of my problems until I found myself in a hospital bed trying to explain the suicide attempt I (fortunately) failed in August of 2015. Looking back now, I am able to admit that I have always battled addiction, but was never willing to say out loud that I was ever out of control.

I started doing drugs at the age of 14, and over the next 9 years, I would dabble in a handful of different ones, with Adderall, alcohol, and cocaine, becoming so much more than your occasional usage. I would have to say that college is when my bad habits took a turn for the worse, mainly because I didn't have my parents watching over my shoulder, and college meant that I was finally an adult, able to live however I saw fit. For the first two years of college, I would say that the one thing that kept me somewhat together was college soccer. My partying was considered "typical" college behavior, and I never saw what I was doing as harmful.

I actually took a break from drinking once I got my fake ID taken away from me, and I developed a love for weight training. It wasn't long before that turned into an addiction as well. Sometimes training 2-3 times a day, and still having soccer 6 days a week, I had started overtraining, and I was becoming sicker by the minute. My athletic trainer was worried about me because I had dropped down to 5% body fat, and warned me that I would not be able to play soccer until I gained my weight back. Naturally, my first instinct was to defend myself. I was okay with how my life was going, because to me, working out was a healthy thing. Oh how wrong I was. To please my trainer, coaches, and my now worried friends, I stopped working out as much. For fear of gaining the weight back that I lost, I started tracking my calories (putting my body into starvation mode), and I became addicted to amphetamines (Adderall), which allowed me to never get hungry.

The first time I was ever willing to admit that I had a problem was when I experienced a drug overdose from staying up for a consistent 96 hour period of time on nothing but drugs. My body was shutting down on me, and my drug use had caused me to stop caring about what was important. I failed to show up to soccer practices on time, and eventually I stopped showing up all together. It was then that I was forced to part ways with my collegiate career as a soccer player, and a couple months after that, I found myself in jail for a DUI. It was then that I decided something had to change, and I cut amphetamines out of my life forever.

The ugly drinking years. [editor's note: trust me, I've been there. It's not glamorous.]

The ugly drinking years. [editor's note: trust me, I've been there. It's not glamorous.]

Although strong enough to make me say goodbye to Adderall, my arrest was not the final rock bottom I had waiting for me 2 years, and 4 months down the road. Within that time is where my drinking really started to take a hold of me. My black outs were occurring every other day, and I kept finding myself in compromising positions. Becoming more and more self-destructive, I had lost grip on reality, and who I was as a person. Self-medicating was how I dealt with every day life, and this works, until it doesn't. It is not a means of healing yourself. Self medicating is only temporary, and until you face the root of the evil, you will only put off the rock bottom that will inevitably happen.
And that is what happened to me.

After my fair share of cocaine benders, and cracking my head open in the last month of my drinking, my last drink landed me in the hospital, and at the age of 23, I decided that I would live the rest of my life in recovery. Sobriety was the only option for me, and when I am asked, "So you don't think you will ever drink again?" My only answer for them is no. I found out early what I have a problem with, and I will be forever grateful for that. When I drank, I never knew if I was going to like myself by the end of the night, or where I would wake up the next morning, and now that I am sober, I never have to worry about that. I love who I am all the time, because I am finally in control of myself.

This is what recovery looks like, people!

This is what recovery looks like, people!

There are always going to be days that are hard, but there are always going to be reasons that make my sobriety worth it. It is a powerful thing to be in control of your own actions, and I enjoy being able to remember the things that happen in my life. I am a firm believer in everything happening for a reason, and I by no means regret anything that has occurred in my past. We are not who we were, we are who we become because of that. I wake up every day and make the choice to remain sober because I have finally shown up for my life, and I no longer numb the parts that are harder to deal with. I just deal with them, and put a smile on, because despite where I have been, I am excited for where I am headed.

Top 5 Recovery Tools:
 

 

1. Writing.

Without it, I would still be struggling to figure out who I am. It helps me silence that 'voice' in my head, and before writing, my thoughts were overwhelming, and loud.

2. Exercise.

I have been involved in athletics my whole life, but the need for it changed once I became sober. Natural endorphins are incredibly powerful, and I enjoy being physically strong just as much as I enjoy being mentally strong.

3. Family & Friends.

Now that I am sober, the relationships in my life have been able to grow into something of deeper value. Speaking my truth, and no longer hiding who I am from those who care about me, has helped me remain sober, and has helped rebuild the damage I have caused in the past.

4. Helping others.

Talking, and connecting with others has provided my life with such purpose. When I am able to inspire others to become the best versions of themselves, it reminds me of why I choose to remain sober, and it provides a type of happiness that alcohol and drugs tried to take away from me.

5. Reading.

 I love finding books that help me understand myself more and more. There is nothing better than finding a book that you relate to. It is proof that you are not alone, and it is small reminder that there are people out there who feel the same way. I find such peace in that.

 

Connect with Megan.

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Re(Pro) #13: Vero Higareda

Re(Pro) template vero.png

If you look closely at the clouds, you might see a familiar face, wearing the #OCD spark bracelet.  

If you look closely at the clouds, you might see a familiar face, wearing the #OCD spark bracelet.  


Super excited to bring you our latest RePro by none other than Ms. Vero Higareda of Spark Bracelets.  This young lady (editor's note: wow, I feel old) is changing hearts and minds and challenging us all to #sparkaconversation about mental health through her beautifully designed bracelets.  10% of every sale goes to her Spark Fund--read more about that drop of golden philanthropy here.  Thank you, Vero, for showing us that mental illness is not a life sentence--in many ways, it's a gift.  

xoxo,
Laura


Name: Vero Higareda

Age: 22

Location: U.S./Mexico, here and there    

 Recovery date (turning point for mental illness or addiction): 6/9/20111

Creative niche (art, music, writing, entrepreneurship, etc.): 
I design bracelets that represent different mental health issues in order to raise awareness and Spark conversations about mental illness. I also like to paint (although, being honest with you, I am very bad at it.)

Drug of choice (or not of choice...): 
Alcohol

Recovery Story in a Nutshell:
It's actually a looong story but I'll try to do it in a nutshell! When I was fifteen I realized that there was "something" wrong going on in my head. This 'something', this very painful, agonizing 'something' led me to try and attempt suicide. Fortunately, I survived and it has allowed me to be here to share my story. I didn't know what this something was until after tons of reading and research and help from my mom. This something is OCD, and in between I've dealt with depression as well. OCD manifests itself in many ways not restricted to cleaning and meticulous organizing. One of those manifestations is having obsessive, self-harming, thoughts, which lead to mental torment and physical compulsions. In my case, the stress caused by these obsessions and compulsions wore me down even physically. It really is something beyond your control and it can become a living hell. I tried around 6 therapists before I found a good match. I found someone who truly cared about my mental wellness and who understood that Citalopram and Rivotril were not going to help me unless I also helped myself. After 7 years of being in therapy I still have OCD but I am now able to live a fulfilling life – despite it. Now this is not to say that it has been easy. I dare to say that recovery from addiction or mental illness is never easy. But it can be done. It takes time, it takes effort, it's a process. I am glad I didn't give up, I hope that if you're reading this you don't give up either. In the words of The Sobriety Collective "sobriety and recovery are everywhere." <

Top 5 Recovery Tools:

1) READING!
 cannot tell you how reading saved my life so many times. At times when I felt that there was noo hope for me, I would find online forums and spaces (just like this one!) and would read other people's stories. It would give me sooo much encouragement because I thought, hey! there is someone out there, right now, who feels just like me. I am not alone. And if they have been able to recover and live well, then so can I! I also started reading a lot of textbooks that talked about OCD, mental illness, addiction, etcetera. I feel that reading and learning more about these subjects helps you give it meaning, and understand that there are things beyond your control but then there are also things which you can do to help yourself. It's also a good distraction, and you learn while you’re at it!

2) SELF-LOVE
 I think this is one of the hardest things to do but once you start getting the hang of it a lil bit, it only gets easier from there. It's hard to love oneself, we are always criticizing ourselves, what we do, what we think, we compare ourselves to others... but once we start shutting off these voices, things start to change internally. When we hear inside our heads "you're ugly" or "you're dumb" and we respond NO, I AM NOT. I think this is where we start self-love. We need to constantly remind ourselves that we are beautiful, that we are loved, that we are meaningful. And if we learn to love ourselves, things start getting brighter and better.

3) RUNNING
To be completely honest, I have NEVER been a fan of exercising. But somehow running clears my mind off. Although, when I get my relapses of OCD, there is never really a time where I have a clear mind, running helps me distract myself even if it's just for seconds. It's also good for your physical health, so there we go, right!?

4) THERAPY
Ahhhhh, if there has been something that has helped me it has been therapy. There is a looot of stigma involving therapy; if you tell someone that you are seeing a psychiatrist you immediately get this, are you crazy? look. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH GOING TO THERAPY. Honestly, I think everyone should do it. I know therapy can be expensive, there have been moments in my life where I haven't been able to afford it. If you can't afford it then please talk to someone you love and that you know that will actually listen to you, and not judge you. Talking always helps.

5) JOURNAL
Keeping a journal has helped me keep track of my thoughts and my emotions. How they have changed, how much progress (or lack of) there has been. It increases your self-awareness and it is nice to have your thoughts laid out, and in a journal you can express how you feel without fear of being judged. You’re also able to track your personal patterns of behavior that help you achieve goals and respond effectively to challenges.


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Connect with Vero & Spark Bracelets.
Website: www.sparkbracelets.com
Facebook: /SparkAConversation
Instagram: @bracelets_spark
Twitter: @verohigaredaaa
Email: sparkbracelets@gmail.com