Live your mental health with pride

This one if for all the fellow “sufferers” of mental health. “Sufferers”, because I don’t really like the word. Yes, it’s a challenge living with a mental health disorder or illness, but “suffering” reminds me of pity. Plus, there are many undiagnosed people out there that for their own reasons haven’t seek help yet, and this one is for them as well.

I’m all about talking about mental health and creating even the slightest awareness about it. And I talk quite openly about my experience with OCD as well. Recently, I broke up. It was a relationship with a person who was very supportive with the everyday issues created by my OCD, but in the end the reason he used (I say “used”, because there were a couple of issues regarding himself that led to his decision to break up, that I guess he didn’t want to express) for his decision was my OCD. So, he told me that my OCD would never get better and things would keep going from bad to worse and he wouldn’t be able to handle it. When I heard the words coming out of his mouth, for the first couple of minutes, I felt that my obsessive compulsive mind was right telling me for months that eventually he was going to leave me because of my mental health problems (my mind was telling me all these when in reality there was no indication of any of it). For those moments, my mind started telling me that it was right, that there would be no one to be able to handle my OCD in a relationship; ever.

And then I said to my mind “no!”. And I also said “no” to my now-ex-boyfriend as well. No, having OCD isn’t a sentence for life, my OCD taking a turn for the worse doesn’t mean that it will be like this forever. OCD is a part of who I am basically.

For the past couple of days now, I have been thinking how society and people around us perceive mental health and other people with mental health issues. And that’s when I knew I wanted to write a few words to all of you out there…. so I can also read them from time to time, when in doubt!

  • It’s not your fault.

We were either born this way, or either shaped this way from situations and people (or both). There is NO way our mental health issues are our fault, no way at all!

  • It can get difficult for family and friends to deal with your mental health, but always keep in mind that the person that has it the worst is you.

Living life with a brain that doesn’t cooperate, a brain that makes everyday activities harder, a brain that may even create a parallel reality, a brain that won’t shut the fuck up, a brain that’s strong and exists inside your head? Come on, we’re warriors living and battling our own brains basically. Let’s keep up the good and hard work!

  • Wear your mental health with pride.

You might not want to talk about it publicly in a blog, or on social media, but do you. Either way we must be proud in our everyday lives that we keep living our life with its ups and downs and fight (some days more, some days less, it’s ok).

  • Never forget, even when things are bleak and unbearable, that mental health has ups and downs. And that brighter days await for you in the future!

A mental health journey isn’t only black and white. There are many shades of gray and pinches of all the colors as well. Just hold tight because we’re experiencing that color prism while riding a roller coaster.

  • Love and take care of yourself, always.

It’s easy to have issues with yourself when you have mental health problems, but it all begins with loving yourself, your body and even that weird brain of yours that’s creating the problem. Feeling conformable in your skin is a good base getting better!

So, that’s all for now. Take care until the next one!

Angelina

Diary

After a break up, the hole that the person leaves in your life seems so big. And it becomes a little bigger before starting getting smaller again. I’m in the smaller phase now. Still one step at a time. It helps that I believe that the right people are going to stay in your life, I don’t believe in great loves that got away. If someone left, they weren’t your human or the great love of your life!

And there’s my 1-year-project, in which I’m trying to improve things I don’t like in my life. This is also going well. I’m improving my body, I finished my script, I keep making art and I do A LOT of  brainstorming about my next moves and goals in my plan/year/life.

The best news of all is that I’m back in medication for my OCD (I was planning this for months now, but there were some technicalities that were eventually solved). Things are going very well, I’m going to wait a little more and write about my second round of medication treatment on a seperate post. Until then, I can give you a hint: I’m writing this post being triggered and I’m not in any hurry to have a shower!

Take care until next time,

Angelina

The one year project

As I have mentioned before, I’m in a phase of my life that practically nothing goes well.

My OCD is on its pick. I live next to my grandma and her husband (one with dementia, one bedridden), which comes with responsibilities for their care. My home still needs a good decluttering and a do-over. There are issues I have to deal with my family. I’m not so happy with my body right now. I love my art, but it’s not so successful up until this point. And my personal life got back to zero after my recent break up.

And all these on top of the past couple of years which definitely didn’t work in my favor!

I have been needing some change for months now. And after the break up I have more time (and freedom) in my hands to work on my life! I haven’t been in a good place for a long time now, and I’m finally in the right state of mind to move on to better things.

The other day I decided to change everything, work on making things better. And put a deadline on this “project”.

One year: July 9th of 2020 to July 9th of 2021.

Not that everything’s going to be fixed by then, but one year it’s good enough to keep me motivated to do things, while in the same time it’s enough to see results and make real progress.

Of course, I’m going to write about it here!

A break up to-do-list

Did you recently broke up?

Because I did, so I thought of writing about the things I do to get over it.

  1. First of all, when the break up happens, breathe. And call a friend. (Share the bad news, so you won’t go though it alone).
  2. Keep calm, cool , and collected. And give yourself time to process the changes. (In this step be aware that your brain need time to process the new information, the feelings and the change of certain habits.
  3. Keep your routine and your daily schedule. (It works better than pausing everything , even for some days. You’re going to hurt for a long time anyway, so in the meantime don’t pause your life).
  4. Watch favorite movies/series/videos that make you feel good. (Fun and comfort in the same time).
  5. Process your thoughts and feelings, and talk about them with friends/family/your therapist. (It can get really tough at times, but processing things and not avoiding them, is the best choice. It will definitely pay off).
  6. Do things that make you happy in your everyday life. (Small things can ease the tension you feel in every level).

That’s all for now. Take care until next time!

The lives of others

Living with OCD is not an easy task. Actually, it can become really difficult sometimes!

There are moments when I want to do something different than what my OCD tells me to do, but I do what it tells me anyway. And there are so many routines and rules that I have to follow. Even for the smallest everyday tasks!

Which brings me to the point where after almost 14 years of living with obsessive compulsive disorder, there are many times when I’m jealous of other people’s lives. Not in a bad way; I just find it amazing to be able to live your life casually and being more “normal” and relaxed, instead of living in a world of triggers with constant anxiety and stress!

It’s the small things that count: being able to move freely in your own space instead of being careful about where you brush up against or what you touch. Being able to go out without getting prepared for a trigger. Being able to use objects without checking with your memory/brain first, to see if they’re triggered or not.

For the past couple of years things have been everything but ideal for me and my mental health hasn’t been at its best. But for the past year I have trying over and over again to make some progress with living a little more “normal”. There have been ups and downs with this project, and lately I’m on it again.

Always having as my motivation the thought of a more relaxed everyday life!

Progress loading…!

The declutter project

I love my apartment.

Which actually serves as an art studio as well for the past few years.

But the thing is that I have lived 13 years in my apartment; all these years while having OCD.

I like keeping things, but I am not a hoarder, even thought I can seem like one. My problem is that my home is full of triggers, many of which I didn’t hve the courage to deal with up until now. And even if I dealt with some of them, new ones came in.

I decided that it is time to fully declutter my home/art studio! Wheeee!

The biggest issue is the clothing, I wear everything only once amd then I have to wash it. Also, I have to wash everything that’s getting triggered (bags, shoes, etc, etc). As you cam imagine there are quite a few piles of clothes.

So, yesterday I started the process of decluttering clothes, objects, accessories, shoes, things I don’t usually a lot, art supplies, everything!

And for the things that are sentimental for me, that have a stpry behind them and I want to let them go but it’s hard, I decided to tell a short story about them. I am going to take a photo of them and tell their story in a post.

Stay tuned and pardon me, I have to go and continue decluttering 😊

Diary

Summer of 2019 started with my need for rest and relaxation. So, I decided to spend a big part of it with my family, in the house where I grew up.

Well, let me tell you that didn’t go as I have planned. I realized a couple of important things about my family (and the way certain things have eventually effected me), my OCD and I did a lot of work with my art. Hadn’t planned any of it. But things came that way. And in the end I think that in reality I was in the right place at the right time.

So, I have many things to deal with, the project of “living with/out OCD” still in progress, a lot of new artwork done and inspiration to help me create even more.

Tomorrow, I will be back home. And the first thing I’m going to do is a super decluttering! I live in a small flat that’s both home and art studio. I’m definitely a maximalist, and I have many corners/objects that are considered a trigger for my OCD and I keep avoiding cleaning them. And now it feel like such a good timing to do so.

A super decluttering is on the way!

And a new beginnings already happening!

Reinventing happiness: Mac & cheese

For the past few years I have been through some difficult times (disease in the family, mental health issues, etc, etc). All these eventually left me lacking happiness.

It’s not only hard for me to feel happy nowadays, it’s almost impossible. No, I don’t have depression (but I do have OCD). I feel something like happiness, but it isn’t it!

After a lot of thought with myself and conversations with my therapist, I decided what my next step would be.

Reprogramming my brain so it can feel happiness, in some way reinventing it.

Paying attention to small things I like, looking in the past and in the present, giving myself tasks, trying new things.

I’m going to document all these here, starting from something quite simple: a dish (ok, I had 1.5 dishes) of mac and cheese!

And here’s a selfie after having a very good mac and cheese….

Happy!

Health first (a diary post)

My everyday life is quite full usually: I have my two handmade jewelry brands (@daily_art_by_angelina & @psychotrinkets) , my art (@drawing_tales), my photography (@a_mavrogianni_photography), my home/ art studio that always needs something done, my – practically fresh- significant other (we don’t live together, but still there’s quite some time devoted to him), my grandma and her second husband next door to me who are both in their mid 80s and have things that have to be done for them. Plus, I live everyday with my OCD in the background. And for the past 4 months I have stopped (the proper way) my medication which I have been taking, for my OCD, for almost 3 years.

A couple weeks ago I made a decision: to try to chill more and focus on my mental health. Just for the tough period of going off the meds (my sweet little brain has to re-adjust, but until then it shows no particular mercy). A wise decision to focus on my mental health.

I didn’t turn off everything, but I try to do less, so I have time to relax and take care of myself more.

I am a control freak, a multitasker that feels like I’m doing something wrong when I’m not doing something 24/7. But, I realized that I had to somehow take some time off, so I can feel better again, after going off my meds. But, still balancing things.

  • Posting less on social media (main way to promote my work my work).
  • Creating/working less (so, I have a less strict schedule, and more time to relax).
  • Not pressuring myself to do a lot of things during the day.
  • Trying to keep up with my relationships (but not doing so much that I will feel pressured).
  • Doing… nothing (I never do “nothing”, I practically can’t, but I realized that my kind of “doing nothing” is to chill out, do the things that feel good, go through YouTube or Pinterest, not saying to myself “you have to do this and that”, chiiiill; it’s so soothing and relaxing during this tough period).
  • Giving some responsibilities (grandma related) to other members of my family, taking a break for a while from them.
  • Taking a break from things that put too much pressure on me.

In the meanwhile, life happens, and it’s not always easy to keep up with my decision. But, having set the goal to focus on my mental health is important. Each single day, I try to care of myself, my emotions, my mood, and not let go (keep working towards the better days that are going to come). And some days (who am I kidding, most days), it’s pretty difficult, but the bottom line is loving myself and showing myself this love and care.

The world (and everything) will be here even after this tough period ends!

Happiness vs mental health

Adulthood definitely comes with a cost, ok. But what happens when your mental health becomes… let’s say distorted?

What happens when you have mental health issues that end up getting in the way of your life?

I remember that back in the time, before the past years (full of mental health issues, sickness in the family, etc.) happened, my main goal was to be happy.

And here I am, after relationship disasters, a mental breakdown, an OCD diagnosis, caring for sick family members, caring for old family members, realizing that I have never been more far away from that “being happy” goal. Realizing that I have basically spent the past three years surviving and not living, and definitely not being happy.

You see, after two years, it was time to go off my meds and along with great amounts of tears, and endless hours of all kinds of bad mood, one good thing that happens is that my brain thinks kind of clearer. I see things for what they really are, see details I wasn’t able to notice while being on anxiety medication. It’s like being in the middle of a tornado, trying to survive, and then when all the mess stops, you’re left wondering what you’re going to do with what’s left.

Time to pick up pieces of yourself that you left behind, add to your life things that came along afterwards, find new balance.

And for me, there’s something more now, go on to accomplish that older goal of mine, “being happy”! Of course things have changed and I have changed, so it has to be done differently.

Plus, it has to be done while living with a not so cooperative brain sometimes.

I basically have/want to find happiness while dealing with mental health issues…!