Life Update + Mental Health

In this blog post, I am writing about my personal journey involving mental health. I am writing to shed light and truth on the unfortunate reality that mental illness is real, it is hard, and it is not a reflection of who you are or who you are not.

At the beginning of my freshman year of college, I was diagnosed with mild depression. I had gone to see a counselor in the last two years of high school, but my problems, struggles and feelings kept overwhelming me more, until I felt like I couldn’t handle them, even with the love and support of others around me. In the summer between my senior year of high school and my freshman year of college, I wasn’t myself. I didn’t want to leave my house, didn’t push myself to try new things, and I was terrified of having to leave home and go to college.

After going to see a psychiatrist, I was prescribed an anti-depressant. While things did not get better immediately, I felt different and more like myself than I had in a while. In my sophomore year of college, I was diagnosed with anxiety and I started taking a new medication that helped me have a better handle on both of these illnesses.

These last couple years have been a battle with mental illness. I’ve gone in and out of periods of being completely fine to having tendencies where I feel like I am about to go into that downward spiral that I fear once again. Sadly, these last couple weeks, and maybe even months, I identify with the latter option.

In the last couple weeks, I’ve felt unproductive, restless, exhausted and disconnected, but I’ve attempted to push past it and encourage myself to keep going. I attempted to “pull myself up by my bootstraps” and try to be the person who I wanted to be: fearless, busy, productive, and present. Despite all these efforts, the other day, I broke down. I realized that I wasn’t okay. I realized that I was terrified of being depressed again and of facing my emotions. I also realized that I haven’t been very kind to myself, as I haven’t properly “checked in” with myself in the last month. I also realized that I haven’t been following my own advice, which is to schedule in times of rest.

I realized that something had to change. 

And something already has: I let others in and I told them how I was really feeling. I am proud of myself for doing something in these last few days: reaching out to others and asking for help. A close group of friends comforted and loved on me in my time of need and my mom dropped everything to come into town and stay with me for a night. I’ve scheduled some appointments with doctors and with the help of others around me, I know that things will get better and that this (whatever “this” is) is not my fault and it is not something I can fix by my own efforts. 

I’m writing this post to update you all on my life, while also saying that it is okay to not be okay. To be completely honest, I can’t do everything I normally would like to do right now. I haven’t blogged as frequently as I would like, I haven’t hung out with as many people as I wish, I haven’t been as productive as I desire myself to be, because I don’t have it in me right now. I’m learning how to say no, even if it disappoints others. I’m learning how to say yes to putting myself and my physical and mental health first.

And man, oh man, it is one of the hardest things that I have ever done and I’m absolutely terrible at it, but I am attempting and trying to say no to others and opportunities for the sake of my health and my future.

If you would like to talk to me or read more posts from me about mental health, feel free to reach out to me. Know that you are not alone in this broken world and that you are not defined by mental illness.

Love,

Jennifer

One of my favorite verses, that gives me hope in the midst of pain and uncertainty:

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good, so that your youth is renewed like the eagles!” Psalm 103:1-5

 

30 reasons I am FAR from perfect

On my journey towards mindfulness, I am learning to embrace the messy and the moments that I may not be so proud of. A good place to start is acknowledging my imperfections, and what better way than to share them with you! (Plus, you can get to know a girl quickly if you know her short-comings.)

  1. I get “hangry” really quickly.
  2. I hardly ever make my bed.
  3. Either my makeup or my hair is done–never both.
  4. Sometimes I forget to say I’m sorry.
  5. I say sorry too much.
  6. I am at least 5 minutes late to almost everywhere I go.
  7. I compare myself to others.
  8. I’m selfish.
  9. There are at least 5 clothing items on my bedroom floor at all times.
  10. I don’t remember things very well, even if they happened last week.
  11. My first inclination is to judge a book by it’s cover.
  12. I do not like math.
  13. I have to actively choose to love others, each and every day.
  14. I do not always love others well.
  15. I feel the most like myself when I have had coffee.
  16. I can’t sit still for very long.
  17. One of my pet peeves is when people do not listen to what other people say.
  18. I forget to wear sunscreen a lot.
  19. I don’t, and will never have, the “perfect summer body.” Whoops.
  20. I spend a lot of time planning out what I want to do rather than actually doing it.
  21. I do not know what I am going to be doing next week, let alone after I graduate.
  22. I really like being independent, but I love when others care for me too.
  23. I’m more sensitive than I should be.
  24. I can waste a day easier than I’d like to admit.
  25. My mind is often on things of this world, and not on things above.
  26. I am impulsive, especially with my money.
  27. I try to “do it all” and it never works.
  28. I get bored and distracted easily.
  29. I forget to text people back all the time.
  30. I seek out others’ approval.

Here’s some bloopers for you too 🙂

Alright, so I was vulnerable–now it’s your turn. What are some of your short comings and are you in the process of coming to accept them?

Love,

Jennifer

 

What I want this blog to be

I started a blog in hopes to portray a sense of reality and everyday life in the fashion blogger sphere. And right now, I think that I have failed at achieving that initial goal of mine.

Sure, I could stand in front of pretty walls and take pictures of my outfits and accessories. Sure, I could write a few words about my outfit or about certain trends I am loving and call it a blog post, but where is the reality in this?

I want my blog and my Instagram to be an accurate representation of my life–my messy, mundane, chaotic, fun, hilarious, IMPERFECT life. 

If that means less followers, so be it. If that means I will never “make it” as a blogger, so be it. But at least I will be publishing an accurate version of myself.

I don’t think that I haven’t been myself on my blog or on my insta, but I do think that I have withheld information. I have withheld the struggles, the boring parts of the day, the life in between the posts; AKA the things that too many people withhold from others, especially on platforms such as blogs.

So what action will I take to make these goals a reality?

  • Of course, I will continue to take photos of outfits I am wearing and loving, but furthermore, I will choose to write more personal information about my day and my current life in my outfit blog posts, rather than just talk about the pieces of clothing that I am choosing to wear.
  • I will start a new blog series called, “Truth-filled Tuesdays,” where I talk about a current struggle or a thing that I am learning. This will encourage me to think and write about things on my heart every week. (Today’s will be the first!)
  • I will follow more blogs that have my same vision–the ones who want to include their whole lives onto their blog, not just the highlights.
  • I will post more “blooper” photos on my insta and my blog. (Honestly, though, I have a TON…)

Thank you for reading this and I hope you will stick around,

Jenny

P.S. if you have any ideas of what you would like for me to discuss on my new blog series, Truth-Filled Tuesdays, let me know! I have a couple ideas, but could always use more 🙂

Life’s a Balance

“Life is a balance” is a phrase that my dad has stressed to me and my siblings over the years. I didn’t fully understand this phrase, nor did I believe it was true, until I got to college.

Currently, I am navigating what it looks like to balance personal and physical growth while being content with where I am at currently. (Disclaimer: if you are looking for a way to find that perfect balance, you got the wrong blog post.)

Lately, I have been saying blanket statements about things I want to improve upon. To be more specific, I can give a few examples that have been on repeat in my head lately:

  • I want to go outside more and be physically active more often.
  • I want to further develop and improve my blog and Instagram.
  • I want to save money.
  • I want to cook healthier food more often.
  • I want to spend more time with people I love and care for.
  • I want to get more involved in my church community.

Don’t get me wrong, these are all good things that I hope I always strive towards. But notice that, all of these things are not specific goals. I just tell myself, ‘I should do all these things more than I am doing them now, or I should have more success at them than I am currently experiencing.’

Clearly, I am never going to fully reach these unattainable, ambiguous and unspecific goals. It would be impossible, because no matter how much I do these things or how much success I will have, I will always want more. 

J. Paul Getty, founder of Getty Oil, was named the “richest living American” in 1957. After gaining an enormous amount of wealth and success, he was posed the question, “how much money is enough?” He answered, “Just a little bit more.”

That is the all-consuming trap–the trap that prevents us from being content, leaving us even more unsatisfied than before.

To avoid or get out of this trap, an attitude of thankfulness has to be adopted. This can be done by writing down a list of things you are grateful for, acknowledging things that you have accomplished during the day, or reflecting on how much progress you have made in the last year or so. Additionally, consider making a clear and specific plan on how you want to move forward. Instead of having all these unspecific goals, consider setting specific times for each thing that you wish to accomplish.

At the end of the day, I believe that it is more significant to be content with where I am now than to always be striving towards something. 

Here is a book that I am currently reading that has helped me navigate some of these thoughts and I would highly recommend it: “Telling Yourself the Truth” by William Backus and Marie Chapian.

Sincerely,

Jenny

Real Talk

There is a difference between jealousy and comparison.

Jealousy: “She looks like she is having a lot of fun because of her picture on Instagram. I wish that my day was going better and that I could have that much fun.”

Comparison: “She looks like she is having a lot of fun because of her picture on Instagram. I must not be very fun to be around because I am not having a good time with my friends.”

As from these somewhat elementary examples, it is clear to see that jealousy and comparison are not synonyms.

Jealousy is wanting something that someone else has, and maybe holding a grudge or some anger against the person who has the desired thing. Comparison results in feelings of inadequacy in one’s character, ability and/or appearance. It could also result in someone thinking of themselves as being above another person.

Either way, jealousy and comparison are toxic.

However, they are everywhere and seem to be inescapable. To be honest, this past week has been hard, as I have compared myself to other people in my life, whether it be because of how they look, how they can relate to others, or how successful, in their own unique way, they are.

Don’t get me wrong, comparison is and has always been an issue in my life, but this week it has been harder. Is it just because I am around more successful, beautiful, intelligent and wonderful people? Or is it because I am not feeling confident in who I am or what I am doing?

I didn’t start this blog post to come to a conclusion on how to erase any sense of comparison or jealousy in my or anyone else’s life. I don’t think it happens that easily. However, I know a few things to believe and tell myself in order to combat these feelings of inadequacy:

  • I am unique from everyone in the world. Even if I tried to be someone else, I could not do it. If someone tried to be me, they could not do it, because we are all different. (Isn’t that so freeing?)
  • Other people’s successes do not lessen my own.
  • Even those who I compare myself to, compare themselves to another. I am not alone in feeling inadequate at times.
  • I have a unique set of skills and experiences that no one else can exactly reciprocate.
  • I can rejoice in the fact that other people are awesome and do awesome things, because that is how I am able to have opportunities and be inspired and grow as a person doing my own awesome stuff.
  • I am constantly growing, adapting, changing, failing and succeeding in things I am doing and in who I am. However, I am and will always be God’s chosen daughter, whom He loves and is pleased with.
  • He has created me to be different from the rest, so who am I to suggest that I am not good enough?

I am never going to be perfect, but neither is the person I am comparing myself to. But, thank the Lord that I do not have to be. He tells me it is okay that I am the way I am, because he made me that way. He tells me that I am as worthy, adored and valuable as the next person. He tells me that I will fall into thoughts of comparison, but to not lose heart, for when I am weak and worn out from trying to be someone I am not, He is strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 

Jenny

 

2017, be good to me.

Although January is almost over, I thought I would share some ideas and aspirations I have for this year.

Here are 17 things that I am hoping to focus on and regularly do in 2017:

  1. explore Arizona (Bisbee, Sedona, Grand Canyon, etc.)
  2. keep a bullet journal
  3. blog 2x a week
  4. hike (at least) once a month
  5. read at least 20 books for pleasure
  6. save $2,000 (hopefully more)
  7. road trip to California
  8. experiment with makeup
  9. workout 5x a week
  10. regularly produce better content on my fashion Instagram
  11. read my Bible every day
  12. only buy clothing that is on sale or at a thrift store
  13. cook at home 4 nights a week
  14. complete the Whole30 program
  15. learn and try various uses of essential oils
  16. volunteer with youth program in Tucson
  17. work at a retail job in the summer

But my primary goals for this year (and all the years of my life to come) are to love myself, to love others more, and to love God most.

Jenny

My Reflection of 2016

I’ve learned that years, as a whole, cannot be fully categorized as being “good” or “bad.” For me, 2016 was a year in which there were really good “good” moments, some crappy “bad” moments, and a lot of average moments. Here are some of the moments that I found to be the most impactful from 2016:

  • I lived in my first apartment.
  • I turned 19. (what does it mean to turn an age, anyway? I was not “turning” anything!!)
  • I got my first desk job.
  • I struggled with anxiety.
  • I was in a relationship.
  • I went zip lining (I even went upside down!!!)
  • I maintained my 4.0 GPA.
  • I asked/reached out for help many, many times.
  • I now understand the importance of and I value daily time spent in the Word.
  • I pursued fashion as a creative outlet.
  • I visited Pearl Harbor.
  • I lived in New Jersey over the summer.
  • I discovered my love/need for coffee.
  • I went kayaking and snorkeling in the Pacific Ocean.
  • I went skinny dipping in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • I learned how to say no, and still be okay with myself.
  • I competed in an A Capella competition in California.
  • I was a waitress for the first time.
  • I got to help third graders with their math worksheets and I got to apply the lessons I learned in my own teaching math class.
  • I struggled with depression.
  • I travelled to some major cities: Vancouver, Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City and Honolulu
  • I spent the summer with 99 other college students, growing in our faith and encouraging others to do so.
  • I went to a lot, though not nearly enough, concerts. (Hillsong, Coldplay, Lecrae, Zella Day, Ben Rector, Switchfoot, etc.)
  • I went to Hawaii for the first time.
  • I ate too much ice cream. (Who am I kidding, I probably didn’t eat enough ice cream!)
  • I realized for the 213894929845th time that I have too high of expectations for myself.
  • I was hurt, but also humbled.
  • I found myself wanting more, only to realize that He is the MOST.
  • I was irritated with myself and others, but my ability to understand and empathize grew.
  • I was challenged, yet rewarded.
  • I struggled, yet I was comforted.
  • I needed rest, and He gave me peace.

Despite the difficulties, this year was needed, as it helped me to discover further who He is, who I am, and who He says I am.

Jenny