Rumination is the Enemy

Enemy #1 when dealing with anxiety or depression in my mind (and experience) is Rumination. Rumination is the repetitive thinking and loops that our minds get stuck on, 99% of the time it is a negative thought or story we made up that we just can’t seem to shake.

Let me paint my rock bottom rumination picture for you... Last month I was living with my parents and one day I was left alone at their house for less than an hour. It only took me 15 minutes to go from blindly watching TV on the couch to "I am going to die". I was pacing the house, hyperventilating, and staring out the window like a dog waiting for its owner to come home. At one point I remember my loop of thoughts getting so bad that I just layed on the floor in the hallway and bawled my eyes out. I. Was. A. Slave. To. My. Mind. (and it sucked). I was on a cycle of "anxiety is going to kill me" "I am a worthless bitch who deserves this" "you can't do anything about this" "the rest of your life is going to be miserable" and my personal favorite "you did this to yourself".

When we get stuck on these thoughts we are training our brain that this is what normal thinking is like. While the brain doesn’t necessarily like it, it just goes along with it anyway. The brain is like that one friend you have who is down to do just about anything they is told (like hey I know it's 1 am but we are going out). The problem with this is each story line we have in rumination and each painful memory that it brings up is stored away. The brain remembers them even if you don't.

Our memory is a slave to our mood. When we ruminate we unlock a box of anxiety and depression that holds every other rumination and painful feeling we have had. We get access to it and our brain doesn’t want to close it. Studies have shown that after 10 minutes of thinking the same thought the law of diminishing returns kicks in and any repetitive thought is no longer helpful. So my rock bottom made sure that box stayed open and those thoughts stayed accessible to me for the next miserable few weeks.

One way I was taught to think of it is like a test. Remember when you were told that if you don’t understand a question or a problem move on and come back to it or else you will never finish the rest of the test. Rumination is getting stuck on problem #1 and screwing us over to even have a shot at passing the test (or life however you want to think about it).

So what do you do?

I find myself most prone to rumination when I am 1) alone and 2) doing nothing or have no plans to do anything. While I am just sitting and watching TV or doing the dishes or even walking Stella these thoughts and loops can come up for me – often in the form of “I will never get better” “This is miserable so I am miserable” or “I am not good enough and therefore I feel like crap”.

CLEARLY, none of these are helpful so I think of it in two ways – the first is like a pop-up ad. These thoughts are the little shits that pop up when I am trying to watch my illegally recorded TV shows on the internet or that little box that wants me to put my email in before I can shop on a website. In real life, you don’t sit there reading the “sign up here!” line over and over. No, you click X and move on with your dang life!

If that doesn’t work the second method, I found helpful is to change my thinking in the smallest way. When I am having a thought I can’t shake or don’t like I say to myself “I am having the thought that ______” so instead of thinking “I am such a bad person” I say “I am having the thought that I am such a bad person”. It makes it less concrete and easy to acknowledge and then X out of quicker.

I know this was a lot but this really have been one of THE most helpful tips and tricks I have learned. The more I practice this the more my anxiety drops and I am able to handle day to day situations and life! Even people without anxiety or depression can benefit from eliminating rumination in their life! But if you can take one thing from this post let it be this: just because you have a thought doesn't mean it is true, if fact if it is negative I can almost promise you it isn't. Don't be a slave to these lies like I was - it will get better!


Zac by Zac Posen has my <3

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If you guys saw my last few posts you know that Zac Posen let me shoot some of their amazing Fall collection and even keep a piece (eep!). This skirt (shop it here) was one of my favorite items. It was the perfect weight that would get you through fall and winter. I paired it with a fun little top I actually bought from an instagramer (Karissa Marie you can follow her here she is so cool!) and my Eartha bag you have seen here and here. Hope you guys are having a good week I've missed talking to you on here and I am really excited to have a good heart to heart Wednesday so come back and see what I have in store for you :)

P.S. Did you see my last post? Check it out lets make anxiety a dinner table conversation 

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Anxiety is a B*#@%

Sorry for my language but guess what guys? Anxiety is a major B*#@%. You may (or may not) have noticed that I have been more than a little absent from my blog and Instagram this summer. There is a simple (yet so complicated) explanation for that and that is anxiety. If you have been following me for a while or have read my blog before you may know that I have little filter and really have no problem sharing every detail of my life - not for attention or pity - but for awareness and to start a conversation.

Mental health has been a struggle for me in the past but this year it really ramped up. Without too many details - to put it frankly this year sucked. I know every year and every day I am given isn't going to be amazing and 100% but this was like one of those years that fits a movie scene where the main character is getting his ass kicked and he finally falls on the ground and just gets socked in the face one more time for good measure - that was my sophomore year of college.

At the beginning of June, so much change took place in my life at one time and I knew I wasn't ready for it. It was like knowing a hurricane was coming but putting yourself in the middle of the damn street to have it happen anyways. I felt like my body and my mind detached and started living their own lives. My panic attacks tripled and I got these horrible headaches and jaw pains to go along with it. Four trips to the hospital later (yes FOUR) and I realized I hit rock bottom. I was laying in my parent's bed tingly, numb, crying and realizing my life is not worth living like this. 

SOOO what did I do? What any logical person in that situation would do - I asked my therapist to put me on a 72-hour hold and get me locked up with the rest of the "crazy" people because I was NOT functioning. Taking a breath of air in was hard and for someone who can be a bit (a lot) dramatic at times, this was no exaggeration. 

I spent three days in a psych ward where every 15 minutes somewhere checked off on a clipboard that yes you were still breathing and yes you hadn't tried to hurt herself by shoving a pencil into her eye or down your throat (I heard stories guys). The doctors in the hospital switched my meds (did I mention this is the fourth switch I've had in three months? NOT fun) and I was released. I didn't feel any more whole, any less broken, but I did feel like that was rock bottom and things couldn't get worse which in a weird way was a ray of hope for me.

Fast forward two (three? I am losing count these days) weeks later and anxiety is still a bitch. I know this wasn't the ending you were looking for but there is a bright side! I am currently in a program that teaches me new skills, new perspective and gives me a whole bunch of people just like me to lean on. I go every day and I think it is starting to get somewhere for me. I am not longer waking up wishing my eyes could be glued back closed. Mental health is a long journey. It is a path with crazy highs and the lowest of lows that you could ever imagine, but what stands out to me the most about it is NOBODY LIKES TO TALK ABOUT IT.

Sorry for yelling but guys, lets get real here. Nobody is perfect - not even the girl behind the instagram feed you follow and may think trading places for a day would be cool. Behind every sponsored post or tripod taken selfie is a major battle happening in my brain to take back my life. So from here on out this blog is fashion, videos, beauty, lifestyle AND mental health. Welcome to my new category and thanks to a suggestion from my killer boyfriend I am sharing this journey with you guys in a post once a week EVERY WEEK. Every tip, every struggle and hopefully one day a success story about how I kicked anxiety's ass.

Maybe not for good, but for now

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