How to Help Yourself

(a work in progress, but aren't we all?)

* I DO NOT RECEIVE FINANCIAL COMPENSATION FOR ANY RESOURCE ON THIS SITE. *

There is no shop, no merch, no sponsors, no affiliate links.

* THIS LIST IS HERE ENTIRELY TO HELP. *

 

I am so grateful you are here.  Life is a dark and scary place, full of suffering, struggles, and strife, but life is also full of people overcoming that darkness.

 

Please know that you are not alone, but in order to overcome the dark, one must face it.

 

Facing your own darkness is not easy, but the only one who can save you is you.  Thankfully, there are countless tools put out by others to help us all find our way.  This site is one of them!  Below is an ever-growing list of the resources, tools, and steps that have helped me pull myself out of incredibly dark times.  As of right now, this list is exclusively the resources I personally utilize.  Eventually, I might include suggestions from others, but not yet.  No person or company has influenced this list beyond its original author and I DO NOT receive compensation of any kind for any link on this site.

 

It might help to know that for most of my life, I refused to even consider some of the steps below.  I rolled my eyes and refused to accept that anything so simple could be helpful.  It took strength I didn't know i had in order to keep an open mind.  These things have helped me change and grow in ways that have shown me that we are all capable of great things and there is no limit to what we can accomplish or struggles we can survive.

 

I believe in you.  I know you can do this.  You are not alone.  You got this.

Mental health care is just as important as physical health care and it needs to be taken care of all day, every day.  You eat and sleep because you know your body needs those things to survive and you need to tend to your mind just the same.  After incorporating mindful practices into your life, you will find it becomes part of your routine as second nature.

 

The resources and tools on this site are for EVERYONE, period.  Regardless of age, affiliation, beliefs, gender, orientation, race, religion, financial status, etc. 

 

These resources are what personally help me survive dark days and make my light days brighter.   I hope they help you, too.

Start Here
 



SELF REFLECTION (draft)

Wellness Check


Note: I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice - it's based on experience and is what helps me.  

First, take a deep breath and know you are not alone.  Take another deeeeeep breath.  Trust me on this one.  

When my mother passed away (she literally took her last breath as I held her), I was thrown into a new darkness so deep, I thought there was no escape.  It was my breath that saved me.
 
When I was growing up, Mom would quote Drew Barrymore in a movie called Ever After when she said, "just breathe."  I regret to say that instead of listening to her, most of the time, I stifled an eye roll and just said "ok, Mom" or "Mom, what are you talking about... I am breathing."  But we all make mistakes and that is one of my biggest.  Turns out, I had been breathing wrong all along; I wasn't breathing deliberately.

Deep intentional breathing is essential, imperative, and non-negotiable.  It is also free, it brings near-immediate relief to a sufferer, and it has been proven to have significant physical benefits, in addition to the magic it does for your mental well-being.

Deep intentional breathing is where your exhale is longer than your inhale. This triggers a parasympathetic response in your nervous system that tells your brain to go from "fight-or-flight" to the safety of calm.  For more information on the science behind it, the National Health Institute knows far better than I do.

 

There are many variations and ways to practice deep breathing.  One of the simplest, that you can do anywhere with nothing more than your body, is to take a long slow deep breath in through your nose.  As you inhale, take notice of your body and what happens to your belly, chest, nostrils, etc.  Notice your breath and how it feels moving through your nose or mouth, how it fills your lungs, how the moving air sounds, what it looks like for your belly and chest to rise and fall with each breath.  Can you feel the air push throughout your entire body?  Exhale slowly.  Keep noticing the sensations.  And repeat until you feel calm. 

 

I am so grateful for my breath.  And yours.  

 

A few quick thoughts:
         > Shallow breathing (like what you make happen when you suck in your stomach) causes anxiety.  
        > One great way to take a few mindful deep breathing moments is to include a stuffed animal.  Lay on your back and put a stuffed animal on your belly.  Watch as it moves up and down.  Feel the soft material on your fingers.  Watch the direction of the fur as you glide your fingers across the plush material.  Stuffed animals never were just for adults (ask the grandmas with teddy bear collections!).  Stuffed animals also make great snugglers and I recommend them wholeheartedly, regardless of age or gender.

         > Other suggestions to help include children in deep breathing: have the child match you breath for breath.  

    Are you hungry, thirsty, or tired?  Are you sick, in pain, or uncomfortable?  All of these things contribute to your ability to handle your mental health.  Take care of yourself, no matter how impossible it feels.  If you struggle to eat, nutritional shakes are great alternatives to keep up energy.  Water is also a magical thing - and keeping hydrated is necessary to survival.  These are easy to forget when depression, anxiety, or stress have taken control.   One way to assess yourself is the acronym HALT: 

H - Hungry

A - Angry

L - Lonely
T - Tired


   Are there people in your life who are impacting your well-being negatively?  Lots and lots and lots of info coming soon on Narcissism, Mental Abuse, Red Flags, and more.  One day, I intend to have an entire website dedicated to just this information and seek to give strength to those ensnared by the clutches of narcissists.  More info: RED FLAGS

    Unlearning  - This is not something that can be done instantly, but rather it takes time.  It also requires keeping an open mind to the idea that things you were taught might no longer be valid (or never were), that you might be wrong about things you "know," and that we can all grow and change.  Being able to re-frame your thinking and to think positively are both imperative to reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.  

 

One of the greatest tools I've used to go through my process of change and growth has been guided meditation, introduced to me by an app called Shine.  I used to think that meditation only meant sitting on the floor repeating "ohmmm."  But yet again, I was wrong!  There are actually countless types of meditation (and no wrong way to do it).  For me, guided mediation has been life-changing.  Guided meditation is where a gentle voice helps you step back and evaluate yourself, your experiences, and your situation in ways that feel like a conversation with a friend.  The Shine app provides a daily guided mediation that leads you through a concept of self-reflection.  Each recording is around ten minutes long and cover a variety of topics.

 

The presenters often suggest you close your eyes, but I absorb the information best by doodling and writing some of the key concepts onto paper.  I've known others who can't sit still so they move around or listen while on hikes, and another person who lays flat on his bed during the short recorded meditation. 

 

[safety tip] I personally do not recommend listening to music, podcasts, or meditations while on hikes for a number of reasons -- the biggest reason is that it is not safe to be unaware of your surroundings.  There are bad people in the world -- lots of them.  Be smart, be safe.  The second reason is that you will miss out on the sounds of nature - the wind in the trees, the birds with an infinite variety of songs, wildlife bustling in fallen leaves and water if you're lucky.  That is a meditation in and of itself (seriously, it's called nature bathing and is a different sort of meditation altogether).

It is my experience that guided meditation is not necessarily calming.  It can be quite painful - but working through that pain is completely worth it.  It is not easy to reflect on who you are, what you've been through and are going through, and to unlearn lessons you hold firm.  But once you let go and open your mind to endless possibilities, self-reflection can help you find purpose, to better yourself, to help you help others, and more.  The free version of their app offers quite a bit, but I find it sooo useful that I opt to pay for the annual subscription even though I am poor (it is that helpful).  Please note that I get no kickback and have no affiliation with this app; I just genuinely and wholeheartedly support their mission.  [PS - They often offer their subscription at half price and I do not regret my purchase (I've had it for over two years now!)

The Shine app introduced me to Jamila Reddy, an inspiring woman whose calming voice and get-you-to-think meditations helped me when I was a shell of a human.  When I could only get out of bed to take care of my kids and nothing more, Jamila was a friendly voice encouraging me to face my fears and over come my crippling self-doubt.  She has since moved on to her own projects, but thankfully her meditations are still available in the Shine database and she can be found on her own website as well as Instagram.  As a place to start, I recommend her post about using fear as fuel.

Nikita Gill - I first found Nikita Gill's poetry shortly after my mom passed away.  Her powerful words saved me from drowning in sadness and grief.  Now, I soak up every word of hers.  Her poetry has since helped move me out of darkness time and time again -- after the loss of my job, the loss of my home, surviving sexual assaults, braving single-motherhood, caring for chronically sick kids, being a target for narcissists, and right now, while living through homelessness.  She has helped open my mind to an unlearning that has helped reshape who I am.   I will be forever grateful.  As such, she has become my favorite author (which says a lot if you knew how much I love to read).  The world would be a better place if everyone had the compassion and understanding of Nikita Gill's poetry.  

Nikita uses her vulnerability to connect with her readers in a way that gives strength.  Her words often focus on hard-hitting topics that are necessary and timely, and she presents them in a clever style that makes you think.  She has inspired me (and I know I am not the only one) to become empowered, to take charge of my life, to view the world differently, and to no longer remain quiet.  When I became homeless and could only keep with me my most valued treasures, her books made my list without hesitation.  Because of the open space her poetry allows, I have been able to self-reflect and become a better person.  You can find Nikita on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.  I also recommend searching for her name on Pinterest to find powerful examples of her work, completely free.

Bay Care Behavioral Health CHAT Team's *FREE* weekly mental health webinars have been an incredible help to my mental health.  CHAT stands for "Community Health Activation Team."  The BCBH CHAT Team gives two kinds of webinars that I know of - ones geared towards adults and the others geared towards adults who want to help children.  They have covered a variety of topics including, but not limited to: anxiety, communication, goals, and the power of no.  Some upcoming topics include self-forgiveness, bullying, and controlling anger.  Each presentation is emailed to participants and is full of great resources on each topics.  The presenters encourage participation and "give their all" regardless of whether the chat has four or 34 people in it.  These webinars are offered completely free, courtesy of Bay Care, and they do not ask for money, neither to donate or buy anything.  This helps me take away even more value so I do not have added guilt from not being able to support financially (though, I would if I could - these chats have been invaluable to me).  On days I am struggling, I have used an alias and simply logged in to listen/follow along (there is never pressure to participate, just the offer) - yet other times, I find that I am able to participate or add thoughts, quotes, etc.  Their webinar schedule can be found on Eventbrite.  Also, Sandra Soares with the chat team encourages emailing questions to her at sandra.soares@baycare.org.

DAILY & WEEKLY PICK-ME-UPs

 

Tut - Tut is a free daily email with a short inspirational insight.  Each day has a different focus, but the overall goal is the same: to remind you that anything is possible because you are the only you. Mike Dooley has a way with words that truly inspire.  These emails have uplift, inspire, and offer a unique twist on motivational quotes.  It can be helpful to refer back to these emails,  To sign up, visit www.tut.com.

 

52 Frames - On the surface, it looks like a photography group (with thousands of participants, mind you), but a deeper look shows that it is a community that supports and encourages each other.  The premise is that a new topic is given each week to help inspire a photo.  The rules are simple: you can only submit one photo each week and it must be taken within the seven day time frame.  Even if I do not submit my photo (though I currently have a streak!), I have found it helpful to have it as an anchor point each week to come up with an idea within the chosen topic.  52 Frames founder Yosef Adest gently encourages participants to post each week, no matter what, even if it is a "filler" photo that is not your best work.  This philosophy of embracing imperfection is something that has helped me live boldly in all areas of my life, and I am very grateful.  One of the best parts is that it is completely free to participate!  There are definitely ways to support them financially, but it never feels pushy and they are open about where the money goes (they moved to their own site, for example).  This group can be found at www.52frames.com.  Update - I never would have thought I'd find myself learning lessons (outside of photography) from a photography group.  But I was wrong.  It is because of their philosophy of embracing imperfection and pushing yourself to post each week no matter what that I was able to see that I had the capacity to accomplish a big goal.  This has been a big push in getting me to publish this website.

 

Brass Ring Daily aka Kara Cutruzzula - is another free daily email with quick-to-read insightful thoughts and stories, as well as fun links, cute pictures, and other recommendations.  I've come to look forward to her perspective and have found a lot of encouragement from her words.  She writes in a personal way that feels like a friend.  Her unique motivational book is listed in the Book section!  For more information and to see what else she has going on, visit - www.karacutruzzula.com

 

 

GROUNDING TECHNIQUES

Deep breathing.  It's that important, I'm mentioning it over and over.   Learn more and find ways to practice deep intentional breathing at: ComeSoFar.org/justbreathe

Mantras and Affirmations - These are positive sayings that you repeat (out loud, in your head, on paper, in your art) that help re-train your brain.  See the MANTRAS page for more, but here is a start: "Thoughts become things," says Tut's Mike Dooley, and "the mind is a powerful place and what you feed it can affect you in a powerful way." - NF.  I believe them both and use these ideas to train myself to be positive and verbalize the goals I have.   

Calming kit / Care kit.  This concept is something of a mental first aid kit to help you during times of distress or mind.  It is best to put together this kit when your mind is well, in preparation for when it is unwell.  Since we are all unique, everyone's kit will look slightly different.  There are no rules, so you are able to create this kit in whatever way works for you - and then redo it if you find something that works better. 

In my kit, ideally:

a book to read (poetry books, quote books, motivational books -- the list of books I recommend is HERE)

a book to write in

a book to draw in

a coloring book (adult-themed or child-themed, I'm not picky)

markers/pens

stuffed animals

blankets - lots of blankets

a photo of my mom

a handwritten note from my sister

a folder on my phone of funny and inspirational photos

playlist of music that I find helpful in dark times

dark chocolate

mocha chai

Practice gratitude for all you have overcome and how far you have come, for the people in your life (including yourself!), for having survived every day - good or bad, and for having the courage to "do the work" to pull yourself and keep yourself out of the dark -- even if it feels like you're still in it.  You can do this!  You are not alone.

Take care of yourself!  I mentioned this above, but let's reiterate: You cannot be at your best when you are not rested or nourished.  Eat as best you can and get as much sleep as you are able.  When I feel unable to eat or have no appetite, I have found that Ensure nutritional shakes help give me some energy (the only flavor I can stomach is vanilla - and it is best drank cold, in my opinion).  Also, making sure to drink water even when you are not hungry is important.  Dehydration will only add complications and not eating will make you feel even more tired.  Reversely, when I find that I cannot stop eating, helpful ways to avoid unnecessary eating include chewing gum, having lollipops, and drinking lots of tea and water.

Remember:

   Our thoughts shape our reality.  NF articulates it well: "The mind is a powerful place and what you feed it can affect you in powerful ways."

INSPIRING PEOPLE

Learning about the inspiring lives and wise words of people who have helped shape the world has helped me gain strength, motivation, and wisdom.  A few of those people and words include:

Audrey Hepburn - Oh what a light on earth, Audrey Hepburn has always been one of my favorite actresses (I'm a sucker for films from the 50s and 60s), but she became one of my idols when I learned how she used her pain, influence, and wealth to become a philanthropist and humanitarian, helping underprivileged children and mothers worldwide through UNICEF.  She herself was aided by UNICEF as a child after surviving WWII.  She also had a husband who was unfaithful - a trauma all its own - and she had the bravery to divorce him in the 1960s, when divorce was still in the 20%s.  All of these testaments to her strength and resilience help remind me that trauma does not have to define you, but it can shape you into something beautiful.  

  • "Beauty is being the best possible version of yourself, inside and out." - Audrey Hepburn 

  • "Living is like tearing through a museum.  Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering – because you can’t take it in all at once." - Audrey Hepburn

  • "Taking care of children has nothing to do with politics. I think perhaps with time, instead of there being a politicization of humanitarian aid, there will be a humanization of politics." - Audrey Hepburn

  • "Nothing is impossible.  The word itself says 'I'm possible.'" - Audrey Hepburn

  • "Most of us live on the skin – on the surface – without appreciating just how wonderful it is simply to be alive at all." - Audrey Hepburn

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - Oh what a man!  One of my greatest heroes, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an activist an minster who risked (and tragically lost) his life to free an entire race of people. His fearless actions and willingness to take a stand remind me of the importance of not keeping quiet or sitting idle about difficult topics that need to be addressed.  A few of my favorite Dr. Martin Luther KIng, Jr. quotes include -

  • "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." - Dr. Martin Luther KIng, Jr.

  • "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • "The time is always right to do what is right." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'" - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Oprah Winfrey - Oprah is a powerhouse of a person, her work in philanthropy is only a part of what has made her one of my greatest role models.  I recite her words every day to empower myself, a strategy that has been vital during the difficult times in my life.  Some of my favorite Oprah quotes include:

  • "The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Oprah Winfrey

  • "Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough." - Oprah Winfrey

  • "Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher." - Oprah Winfrey

  • "Where there is no struggle, there is no strength." - Oprah Winfrey

  • “You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.” - Oprah Winfrey

  • “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” - Oprah Winfrey

  • “I trust that everything happens for a reason, even when we're not wise enough to see it.” - Oprah Winfrey

Roxane Gay - Her website lists her as "an author... a professor, editor, and social commentator," but she is so, so much more.  Brave, bold, and brilliant are words I would use to describe this woman.  I love her so much for speaking out about hard-hitting topics, like her rape, about why she kept it quiet, about insecurities, expectations, and thoughts she had, and and and I could go on and on.  She writes and speaks out about other necessary topics like feminism, lesbianism, and her experiences as a woman of color and a larger woman.  I find her incredibly inspiring.  Her website is https://roxanegay.com and she can be found on Twitter

  • “There is a before and an after.  In the after I was broken, shattered, and silent.” - Roxane Gay

  • "People who are placed on pedestals are expected to pose, perfectly. Then they get knocked off when they f*ck it up. I regularly f*ck up. Consider me already knocked off." - Roxane Gay

  • “In our culture, we talk a lot about change and growing up, but man, we don’t talk nearly enough about how difficult it is. It is difficult.”  - Roxane Gay

  • “I have been broken, so I am prepared should that happen again... You have no idea what I can take.” - Roxane Gay

Emily Dickinson - A poet born almost 200 years ago whose words continue to inspire to this day.  She taught herself to read and write in a time women were not supposed to be book-smart.  Despite criticism that her poetry was worthless, she kept on writing.  Unfortunately, it was not until after her death when her sister published her poems that people appreciated her work.  One of my favorite quotes helped inspire my company's philanthropic mission:

  • "If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain; If I can ease one life the aching, or cool one pain, or help one fainting robin unto his nest again, I shall not live in vain." - Emily Dickinson

  • "That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet." - Emily Dickinson

  • "A word is dead when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day." - Emily Dickinson

Charlie Chaplin - A b&w film actor, comedy genius, and activist.

  • "Let us strive for the impossible. Remember the great achievements throughout history have been the conquest of what seemed the impossible." - Charlie Chaplin 

  • "We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other's happiness, not by each other's misery." - Charlie Chaplin

  • "Nothing is permanent in this wicked world - not even our troubles." - Charlie Chaplin 

  • "I always like walking in the rain, so no one can see me crying." - Charlie Chaplin 

  • "You'll never find a rainbow if you're looking down." - Charlie Chaplin 

  • "Imagination means nothing without doing." - Charlie Chaplin 

Brené Brown - A motivational author and speaker who helps people embrace their vulnerabilities. 

  • “We don’t have to do all of it alone. We were never meant to.” - Brené Brown

  • "Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen." - Brené Brown

  • "Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change." - Brené Brown

  • "We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions." - Brene Brown  (This quote demonstrates one of the many reasons I found alternative ways to treat myself beyond pharmaceutical medications.)

  • “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” - Brene Brown

  • "Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness." - Brené Brown

  • "What we don’t need in the midst of struggle is shame for being human." - Brené Brown

   More of my favorite quotes:

      "What you are going through will soon be what you went through." - Unknown

      "If you are going through hell, keep going." - Winston Churchill

      "There is only one you and that is your power." - Mel Robbins

      "Just breathe." - Drew Barrymore, Ever After

      “The greatest glory in living lies not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail.” – Nelson Mandela

      "I didn't come this far to only come this far." - Unknown

      "I am not the opinion of others." - @HumdingerDarling

      "You bring to this world a uniqueness all your own." - HumdingerDarling

 Activities to Bring Light into Your Life (These little things have enormous impact)

Clean up litter- safely - with gloves and grabber (currently $1 at the Dollar Tree in the US, or a better one on Amazon for $10ish) . Please note: bees like to go inside trash and might sting if disturbed (which is why I recommend the grabber).  Some benefits to this include helping the environment, getting outside, and grounding yourself in the moment by having a mission on which to focus.  For more tips, visit the Protect Our Planet page

Create - color, draw, paint

Dance - and do it unabashedly

Deep Intentional Breathing - (click the link for more info) Intentional breathing is on this page for a third time because its benefits are amazing - it is free, it is incredibly helpful, and it can help almost instantly.

Go for a walk - not just any walk, but a walk where you actively look for awe-inspiring beauty.  Or talk a walk in the woods.  Studies show that both of these dramatically improve mental health. 

Learn - a fact, a song, a new language

Play a game - board game, card game, video game

Play dress up - Whether dressing black-tie, cosplay, or other costumes, have fun and don't forget to selfie!  

Self Expression ! (click the page for more info)

Send letters, cards, or post cards to loved ones, sick kids in hospitals, or people in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.  Even more benefits to making them yourself!

Sidewalk Chalk Notes of Joy - This gets you outside, it gets you creating, and it helps others when you write motivational notes like "You got this" "Smile" and "There is only one you."  

Spread joy, volunteer, or help others (see Volunteer page here)

Take pictures - Both cell phone cameras and regular cameras count.  Get weird angles, create stories with your photos, and do not be afraid to look silly to get the shot.  Mindfully having to focus on your shot helps ground you in the present.  

Teach someone something - how to bake, how to dance, how to do a craft like painting or papier-mâché

Volunteer - (click the page for more info) There are opportunities for endless causes , both for introverts and extroverts alike!

Write - blogging, journaling, guided journaling, poetry, letter to a loved one

APPS - APPS - APPS - APPS - APPS - APPS  - Click to be taken to the page

Airbrush - creative photo editing app, good for both mindless and mindful times.  Free, but paid version is even better if you are a creator.

Canva - creative design app I enjoy.  Free, but paid version is worth it if you have need/desire/ability to invest in digital art creation.

Google Primer - A free app from Google that offers lessons on finance, business, and more

Google Rewards - A free app from Google that pays you for taking occasional surveys that usually take a minute or less.

Keep Notes - Free app to maintain checklists.  Has a widget to "pin" to home screen for convenience.

Pedometer Step Counter - This app helps give a visualization of steps taken, with graphs and stats daily, weekly, and monthly.

Pinterest - Use this free app to peruse and save quotes, crafts, recipes, photos, and more.  Pinterest can be both a mindless escape or it can help with mindfulness, or used as a search engine or portfolio / gallery.  Pin your own ides / photos or look through millions of others.

Pokemon Go - fun free game that can be played with friends all over the world.   Mindless escape. Free, but has in-app purchases. 

Professor Layton - one of my favorite puzzle game series has been turned into an app.  Free if using points earned from Google Rewards.

Shine app - Life changing guided meditation app if you're willing to keep and open mind.  Free, but paid version is worth it.  Wait for a sale.

Tarot Card of the Day - Fun daily tarot-card-style horoscope; a playful twist on the traditional, interspersed w/ helpful life lessons & advice.

Worry Dolls - A free, simple app that has "worry dolls" who hold on to your troubles.  Inclusive of all skin colors and adorable.

BOOKS - BOOKS - BOOKS - BOOKS - BOOKS   (clickable link)

Nikita Gill - Fierce Fairytales

Nikita Gill - The Girl and the Goddess

Nikita Gill - Wild Embers

Nikita Gill - Great Goddesses : Life Lessons from Myths and Monsters

Kara Cutruzzula - Do It for Yourself (Guided Journal): A Motivational Journal

Charlie Mackesy - The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse  WOW Just WOW -- Read this book!

Liz Climo - desk calendar (it is full of sweet comics!)

Patrice Karst - The Invisible String - a sweet book about how we are all connected, always. 

Maya Angelou - And Still I Rise - brave and inspiring 

Sharon Jones - Burn after Writing - a guided journal with a sense of humor

Under Construction (I had a bunch more here and it went away ?  Will need to fix)

MUSIC -

It is amazing how good it feels to have your feelings articulated into words when you are unable to come up with them on your own. Many musicians have a knack for doing just that. Some artists and songs that I have found particularly helpful or have had a profound impact on my well-being include:

Gerry & The Pacemakers "Never Walk Alone" - I grew up in the 90's and 00's, when making "mixes" (mixed-tapes and mixed-CDs) was common.  My mother loved oldies music, so I made her countless mixes.  Over the years, she often mentioned how much she loved the CDs I made her, how much they meant to her, and how many times she listened to them.  The week that she passed away, I was given the neat, organized zippered binder where she lovingly kept all those CDs.  The very first CD I decided to play had this song on it (and I was bawling!).  It was one of the first of many signs I’ve encountered since her passing and is one of the signs I appreciate most.  I listen to this song to feel close to her and to remind myself I am not alone.  

"When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high, and don't be afraid of the dark.

At the end of a storm, there's a golden sky, and the sweet silver song of a lark. 

Walk on through the wind, walk on through the rain, though your dreams be tossed and blown.

Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart and you'll never walk alone.  You'll never walk alone.

Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart and you'll never walk alone.  You'll never walk alone." - Gerry & The Pacemakers

George Harrison - Give Me Love This was another song on the CD mentioned above.

NF - NF is an incredible musician who does not hold back.  With his raw emotion conveyed through catchy rhymes, it often feels as if he is singing from my perspective about my story and experiences.  My playlist is literally called "Are you me, NF?" because of the times I resonate with his lyrics.  His bravery by being open about topics like trauma and mental health has helped show me I am not alone and I am no less of a person because of my struggles. Introduced to me by my now ten-year-old son, NF has become one of my favorite artists of all time.  Some of my favorite NF songs are - The Search, Leave Me Alone and WHY.

  • "We've all got somethin' that we've trapped inside / that we try to suffocate you know hoping it dies / try to hold it under water, but it always survives / then it comes up out of nowhere like an evil surprise / then it hovers over you to tell you millions of lies... " - NF, The Search

  • "The mind is a powerful place / and what you feed it can affect you in a powerful way / It's pretty cool right? Yeah, but it's not always safe." - NF, The Search.

  • "I push away the people that I love the most; why? I don't want no one to know I'm vulnerable; why? That makes me feel weak and so uncomfortable; why?" - NF, WHY.

The Goo Goo Dolls - I've loved this band since I was a girl, but only recently came to appreciate the deep meaning in their lyrics.  One of their recent songs, Miracle Pill, has been an empowering reminder that I am here to make waves despite my doubts and that I can start over even when I feel down.  Other inspriing songs of theirs include: Black Balloon, Fearless, and Iris.  

"I don't want the world to see me 'cause I don't think that they'd understand. 

When everything's made to be broken, I just want you to know who I am." - Goo Goo Dolls

"Some days will be harder than others
So we gotta lean on each other

Hands in the air, Hearts on our sleeve

We’re living in a world unfair
We’re living in a world so scared

I’m gonna be fearless fearless
I’m brave enough to feel this, Feel this
I’m running down my demons, Demons
No doubts around it, I finally found it
Fearless fearless
I never thought i'd feel this, Feel this
I finally believe it, Believe it
No doubts around it, I finally found it

I can’t be myself if I’m hiding
If I’m not living, I’m dying
I can’t feel what I don’t know" - Goo Goo Dolls, Fearless

Tyler Braden

   All the Ways to Miss You - This song is actually about a romantic relationship, but the line "all the ways to miss you" feels cathartic to sing in memory of any loved one lost.  He released it as single track, but for months, it could only be listened to at the 43:00 minute mark on the recording of this live stream.  In the live-stream version, his voice gets a little more raspy and excited* (*not a technical review).   

     If you watch the entire recording above, you can see his humility, how excited he gets talking about his mother and friends (who join the live stream), and the appreciation he has for the firefighters he worked alongside for years. He dedicates a song of his to those firefighters called Brother.  The calming reassuring tone of his voice is amazing. Lastly, his song What Do They Know is an ode to dreamers and creators and can be an inspiration to anyone with a dream.  This site is a direct reflection of the inspiration that song brought to life.

    The Big Infinite

This band is more than just well-written catchy original music, they also openly speak about suicide and mental health.  After the lead singer lost his father to suicide, he and his family created the Ed Lally Foundation, an organization making great strides to end the stigmas, promote awareness and alternative treatments (like guided meditation!), as well as offer resources to help those suffering.  I support their mission so deeply that I have chosen them as the charity to benefit from the line of pendants I made, inspired by Shine, for my niece who took her life.  "I try to overcome / the past that brought me here / the future in my head / built from the worst of my fears" - The Big Infinite, Still An Animal.

 

    Moana soundtrack

 I Am Moana by Auli'i Cravalho and Rachel House - "Sometimes the world seems against you / the journey may leave a scar / but scars can heal and reveal just where you are."

 

    Trolls soundtrack

    Get Back Up Again by Benj Pasek and Justin Noble Paul - "Hey!  I'm not giving up today.  There's nothing getting in my way.  And if you knock knock me over, I will get back up again, oh.  If something goes a little wrong, well you can go ahead and bring it on 'cause if you knock knock me over, I will get back up again."

To Be Expanded on Later:

     Mushroomhead "You don't know peace til you've had suffering."

COMMUNITY RESOURCES - Under Construction

Libraries!  Libraries are incredible resources.  Not only do they have BOOKS and MOVIES, the ones in my area offer free wi-fi, free classes, free activities, and free printing of up to 20 pages a day (this is incredibly helpful if you have no money)

Webinars -  mentioned above free bi-weekly interactive small webinars by BayCare Behavioral Health team.  To find out more, follow BCBH on eventbrite.

Support groups like AA and NA have resources online and their tenants are helpful for anyone experiencing struggle, not just with addiction.  Will add more info and links soon.

Churches collect food and clothing to help the needy.  They have dedicated their lives in service of others and it is not shameful to need their help.  Take a deep breath and ask for help, you got this.

What resources have you found most helpful? 

If they are not on this hodgepodge of a list, please email me at ComeSoFarOrg@gmail.com so I can check them out.

Thank you in advance!

 

   

COMING SOON
Quicklinks for the above info
Tools to Help Yourself - in ABC Order


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