With all the information available from trained professionals and humans sharing their lived experiences, I’d like to think folks are gaining a deeper understanding of themselves and others. However, with all this information and reflection, I am growing concerned about one term that has been on the tips of people’s tongues, and that’s the word “toxic.”
“I don’t recognize you anymore.”
Her words floated across the table, making their way to my ears, clashing with the sound of rain hitting the tall windows of the cafe. We haven’t even said hello, I thought to myself. I sat silently for a moment, stirring my coffee, carefully making sure the spoon didn’t hit the edges of the mug, a brief distraction. Dark gray clouds were parading across the sky, dimming the natural light shining through. Rain could be a good sign; rain is healing. I pictured this scene many times in my head, mentally preparing for the conversation that would inevitably take place. With a deep breath, I looked up to meet her eyes, “Hello, mother.”
I used to feel so torn apart by the idea of friendship because it never seemed like I was doing it right. How could I form these connections and still feel like something was missing or off? What’s wrong with me?! I wasn’t nurturing the very first friend I made, myself.
Imagine a demon hag with sunken eyes, a deep black hooded cloak, and long boney fingers following me around, sounding alarm bells, and making me second-guess my every move. That’s how I pictured my anxiety and our lopsided relationship. Something needed to change.
Healing is uncomfortable.
The decision to participate in the vaccination process did not come lightly. Truthfully, I am currently balancing on a tight rope of gratitude, privilege, health anxiety, and fear. There’s still so much that is unknown about the vaccines and the virus itself. As an early recipient, I wanted to share my experience openly and honestly. The purpose of this is not to convince you to receive the vaccine or not. As someone that is just like you, fearful, skeptical, concerned, and a host of other feelings/emotions, I want you to have an account from a real person.
I may not have been able to travel this year, but I found myself exploring places in my mind that I had not ventured before.
As a therapeutic exercise, I wrote a letter to my younger self, offering career advice and kindness on the long, professional road ahead that would await them. It was a reminder to myself to be compassionate about my choices and to keep my mind open to the possibilities we have yet to encounter.
An apology is usually reserved for some form of wrong-doing or disrespect, intentionally or unintentionally. If you’re not doing anything wrong, then there’s no need to apologize. If you’re like me, you know that’s much easier said than done. There are a lot of reasons you may be an over apologizer, but it doesn’t have to be a life-long identity.
If you have ever experienced a crisis, which looks different for everyone, you may have experienced an overwhelming loss of control. The heaviness of everything weighing on you prevents you from being able to think, speak, feel, and act as you would if you were well. Your family and friends, who may or may not know your behaviors, also do not know how to act. It’s very isolating and scary. Developing a crisis plan is a tool to assist yourself and your loved ones with managing your care in the event of a crisis