#30PostsBefore30 Day 19: There is No Shame in Seeking Help

Seeking professional help is a strength, not a weakness. Image credit to Stuart Miles of freedigitalphotos.net
Seeking professional help is a strength, not a weakness. Image credit to Stuart Miles of freedigitalphotos.net

Seeking help from others should never be shameful: after all, one person cannot be expected to do all things on his or her own. Seeking advice from peers, colleagues, friends, mentors, etc. should be expected.

My post today though is not about the idea of generally seeking help from others: it’s more specifically about seeking professional help for mental health. As a society, this is still somehow shunned and looked down upon. If you’re seeing a “shrink”, there must be something wrong with you!

But trust me, there is nothing wrong with that: in fact, I believe that if you have the power and strength to admit that you need to talk with a therapist/counselor/psychologist/social worker, then you are stronger than many others out there who refuse to get the help because it’s “shameful”.

I might have needed talk therapy a lot earlier than I did, but I wasn’t aware of this available resource until my senior year of college. At that point, I had a roommate situation where the actual RA of our floor lived with me and she was the problem. We did not get along but we also refused to work on compromising; I tried to keep a strong front up, but I felt this stress eating away at me every time I came home. So I sought out counseling for the last semester of school to learn skills to cope with and overcome the stressful situation in a healthy way.

When I moved to San Francisco, I sought out counseling there as well because of the transitions I was going through with the move, work, and building new relationships in a new city. Counseling always felt to me like a sanctuary, where I knew that whatever I talked about at each session was private, just between us. I was comforted knowing that I had a neutral party to vent to about the struggles I was going through.

Over the years, I have had several different counselors since I have moved around the country a bit. I have enjoyed each session with each therapist I have seen: it’s nice to see how each of them have their own style. I feel that I have become much stronger and better at handling my emotions because of counseling. Granted, I had also been on antidepressants for four years and that had also helped me better handle day-to-day life.

In the end, I feel like we all, as a society, can benefit from even just a bit of talk therapy: we need that neutral, third-person view to help us gain clarity and improve our lives. We should never shame ourselves or others from seeking out professional help; after all, it does save lives and helps our society ultimately thrive.

#30PostsBefore 30 Day 18: Don’t Rush!

Don’t rush! Leave yourself some time before your next event to relax! Photo thanks to stockimages on freedigitalphotos.net

As a society, we’re always rushing around to the next job, the next event, the next anything. It’s no surprise then that I am one of those people who feels rushed to get to the next thing. I’ve been conditioned to be in a rush, but I have also been conditioned to give myself the time to get to wherever I need to get to without any rush.

Since childhood, I have been an early riser, or at least one who knows to wake up with enough time to eat breakfast, get dressed and be at school before the bell rang. I’ve followed this ritual even after college: when I worked in San Francisco, I made sure to give myself a couple hours before work began to get up, work out, get dressed, eat breakfast, and commute downtown with time to spare. I made sure I was always early to work, giving myself some buffer time to relax a bit and get into “the zone”.

Even though I now work from home, I still make it a point to wake up with enough time for breakfast and get myself prepared mentally for my work. I do my ritual even when getting ready for events I attend, making sure I give myself enough commute time before the beginning of an event.

In the times where I lose this buffer time, I find myself panicking about being late. I don’t know where this panic originated from in my past, but I always feel so anxious when I know I am running late to something. Oftentimes, though, when I finally do arrive (albeit a few minutes late), I see that there was no real reason for me to stress out…that no, I didn’t die because I was late. I may have been embarrassed but no, nothing dramatic happened.

Many times I still have to remind myself to not stress out if I am running late to a place, although I still make sure to notify the interested parties about my tardiness (if necessary). No, the building won’t burn down, and pretty much, if the other party is empathetic enough, they’ll be fine with the tardiness…well, as long as it’s not past 15 minutes late…that’s another rant for another day.

Life’s too short to spend stressed out rushing around, so remember to give yourself some time beforehand to get to your destination and then unwind!

#30PostsBefore30 Day 17: Only I Know How to Run My Own Life

My first business, TAOpivot.
My first business, TAOpivot.

Today I attended my first Bible study in quite awhile and we studied Psalms 108 during our meet up. When the group discussed the passage, one thought stuck out to me: “Others’ opinions about me is none of my business.”

This got me thinking about some recent things happening, such as someone remarking about my financial instability over the years due to my entrepreneurial dreams; meanwhile, this person has had trouble keeping a job. There are other examples of others pointing out my “wrongs” that I have made in my life over the years, while frankly, the ones making the remarks don’t exactly have stellar lives either. We all know or have encountered people like this.

My point is this: stop the criticism of others and examine your own life. Why are you doling out advice if you yourself don’t have it all together? I understand that many of us want to feel like we’re helping, but that’s a fine line to walk upon.

None of us have the exact same paths in life: what works for one person might not work for another. Just because I am entrepreneurial and working on my third business does not mean that I fail as a “regular 9-to-5″ person. It’s just not my path in life. Respect that as I respect those who admit they themselves cannot venture out on their own and start up a business.

Only I know how to run my own life, and God has a special plan for me and for every other individual out there. Don’t think you know better than I do about what to do with MY life. Do I know what’s best for YOUR life? Probably not, and you’d probably be resentful if I tried to give you life advice on things I know nothing about.

Now, this post isn’t to say that I won’t take or give advice anymore; just when people start to give unsolicited advice about what they think is best for me.

#30PostsBefore30 Day 16: Homemade Kombucha

My first batch of kombucha in April 2012.
My first batch of kombucha in April 2012.

I don’t remember when I first tried kombucha, but I know I enjoyed this slightly bitter and bubbly drink after the first time. In early 2012, I became curious about brewing my own kombucha at home; coincidentally, at that time I was a member at Creative Density, a coworking space in Denver, and another member was very much into brewing his own kombucha. We got to talking about the whole process and then he offered to give me one of his parent SCOBYs and his recipe.

After that, I dived into the world of homemade kombucha, following the guy’s instructions on how to brew my drink. I bought mason jars and hand towels to hold my kombucha: the brewing process took about 3-4 weeks in order for the tea to fully ferment. When I tried my first batch, I was hooked!

So all summer that year I made my own kombucha; because the SCOBYs grew “babies” each time I made a batch, I started to accumulate way too many SCOBYs. I knew my acquaintance didn’t need any more SCOBYs since he probably had an excess of them as well, and I didn’t know anybody else who was brewing kombucha. Sadly, I had to throw away a lot of the SCOBYs since I couldn’t keep them all (my fridge was getting too full).

My passion for brewing kombucha slowly tapered away as I grew tired of waiting for each batch to be ready; I had also moved into my second apartment in Denver and had limited counter space to store the kombucha, so it became inconvenient.

I remember one of my last batches: I sipped the finished batch to taste it and it was highly acidic. At that point, I wasn’t sure if I had botched up the brewing process or not; however, I also took that as a sign that I was now finished with satiating my curiosity on the home brewing process of kombucha. So I threw away the last of the SCOBYs and stopped making my own kombucha.

These days, I don’t drink kombucha as much as I used to, but I am thankful for the opportunity to learn to brew my own kombucha back in 2012. After all, now when I do have some kombucha, I am much more appreciative of the hard work put into the process.

#30PostsBefore30 Day 15: Love Really Will Sneak Up On You

Our first photo together last January.
Our first photo together last January.

Today marks one year since Ryan and I started dating. Before I met Ryan, I had only been in one other relationship where, although we said to each other daily, “I love you,” the relationship was anything but that with mental, emotional, and sometimes physical abuse. Maybe I was in love then, but it was twisted love.

After the previous relationship, I was very hesitant to try dating again since I was hurt by the mistakes I had made in that relationship. I took some time off from dating so I could reflect on my choices in relationships, to think about what I really wanted out of a life partner.

In my past, I had the tendency to be the pursuer, not the one pursued: growing up, I had many crushes and, after summoning enough courage, I would tell the crushes that I liked them, but to no avail. None of them felt the same way for me, only wanting to be friends. That long tail of rejections followed me throughout college and my early 20s, with me wondering “What’s wrong with me?”

I remember talking with my sister-in-law about relationships and my hang-up over my less-than-stellar dating life. Why hadn’t I found a great guy yet? She knew about my history of being the pursuer, and gave me this piece of advice:

When you find the right guy, he will pursue you: when he says he’ll call you, he’ll call you.

She told me this probably back in 2012 when I was venturing back into the dating scene again post-breakup. That year, I was seeking a better relationship than the one I had had before, but the guys I briefly dated came up short (or had some drama attached to them). After that venture, I decided to pause my dating adventures again.

Most of 2013 I spent focusing on other parts of my life instead of relationships, despite still pining away for a great guy to be with. At the beginning of 2014, I decided on a whim to jump back into dating again with no high expectations: just see where it went and go with the flow.

When Ryan had first messaged me on the dating site we were members of, I remember I had just been virtually “dumped” by a guy I was to meet that weekend but that guy had anxiety over “all the women who were messaging him” and decided to take a break from online dating. I was disappointed, but didn’t feel too hung up over it–oh well!

Ryan’s first message to me was talking about my date idea, trivia night, and, despite some grammatical errors that we still laugh about to this day, I found his message sweet and thoughtful. We made a date to meet up the following week at trivia night and had a great first date answering silly trivia questions and getting to know one another.

After that date, I remember I was so anxious to possibly hear back from him regarding a second date. He had said to me, “I will call you in a couple days” and I took that as a sign to test out my sister-in-law’s theory. When the days passed and I hadn’t heard from Ryan yet, I lost hope and cried to my best friend Katherine about my dismal luck with men. Little did I realize that later that night Ryan would message me, and we did end up going on a second date, which would seal our fate as a couple.

Over the past year, we have had many wonderful moments together, exploring Colorado and going on our special “photoventures” around Denver. We’ve joined a church in town and volunteer regularly in the worship band and guest services. We also go to the gym regularly and are now working on running a few races this year.

Ryan has been my loving support this whole past year and I couldn’t have asked for a better man in my life.