Finding calm in Brussels

As I’m sure most of you know, Brussels (my current city of residence) was struck by a horrible terrorist attack last week, March 22nd. The city is slowly getting back up on its feet, and people around me are trying hard to go on with their day-to-day lives. I am not going to elaborate on terrorist attacks, the media, or anything related to these events (because a quick google search will get you immediately caught up), but I would like to reflect and expand on the fellow humans that surround me.

I am currently sitting in a popular coffee shop that is only about half-occupied. On any other day before the attack, this place would be packed, but alas, empty chairs are a-plenty on this particular Tuesday. Up on the speakers are the soothing and uplifting sounds of The Beatles, and around me I can hear various quiet conversations. Some people are quietly discussing current events, and others are deeply consumed by their books and lap tops.

It’s very easy to get consumed by fear. Take it from a girl with generalized anxiety disorder (I am also prone to panic attacks) – the easiest thing to do right now would be to lock myself up at home and feed into dark thoughts. But alas, that isn’t what I’m doing, and I can see that my fellow co-habitants of this city are also resisting the urge to do so. Most people around me seem hopeful. There’s a glimmer of hope everywhere, from the baristas that are managing to keep a smile on their faces and are brightening everyone’s day, to the quiet boy who is blatantly cramming for exams. Life just keeps going.

Recently, I have started dedicating chunks of my day for guided meditations. “Insight Timer” is a free app that my best friend just introduced me to. If you’re a meditation pro, or if you’re a newbie like me, you’re going to love this app. It has an awesome community component, so you can see how many people in the world (or even in your city) are meditating at the moment, and you can message people and thank them for meditating with you. I couldn’t rave about it any more if I wanted to. I wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone, especially all of you great people that are prone to getting sucked up by your own thoughts.

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To my fellow people of Brussels, there are plenty of peace-loving humans around you that are going out of their way to create more harmony in this crazy world. If you’re reading this today and you desperately need to get out of your home and to a safe place, there is a mindfulness meditation session at Bon Jour Bruxelles tonight. I’m including the facebook event riiiight here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1695174040754650/
With thoughts of love and peace, I sign out today.
-PositivelyCurvy

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Anxiety and Depression: Neither here nor there

Do I have a loaded post for you today. Oof.

Hello, hi! How are you? I hope you are doing well. I, myself, have been in a sort of “funk” lately. It’s not really fair to call it a “funk” because it kind of diminishes the seriousness of what’s going on. I was diagnosed with depression when I was twelve years old. I really can’t even fathom the fact that that was ten whole years ago. I was on anti-depressants for three years, and have officially been off of them for seven. I generally cope well with life, and thus, not many people around me know that I have suffered, or let alone that I continue to suffer from depression. Something I’ve written continuously about on this blog (maybe not written per se, but definitely scattered around) is the fact that I have also been battling fairly severe anxiety for the last six or seven months.

It would be ridiculous to claim that I know how anybody who’s going through a similar situation to me feels, so I’m going to talk to you about my experiences of dealing with depression and anxiety simultaneously. To put it shortly – it blows. I’m always stuck with a weird pressure in my chest, which feels anything but physical. A lump in my throat that I can never really get rid of. Everyday feels like an internal battle that’s even harder to fight than the day before. I want to be active and productive, but most days I can’t. For instance here how this morning went:

8:00am Wake up
9:30am Still in bed
10:15am Get up, make coffee, accidentally put too much Stevia in it, dump it out, back to bed
11:00am Fight myself on whether or not to get up and do something productive. I’ve resorted to going into coffee shops to do my work because otherwise there’s no way I’d be getting anything done. Guilt myself into getting up because otherwise I feel like a worthless human being.
11:20am – 12:00pm Get up, brush my teeth, start to apply make up on, get dressed, put shoes on.
12:05pm Lose all of the will I’ve amped up and sit down on my bed for “a minute”
12:10pm Kick shoes off and go wrap myself in my blankets, being careful to not get a lot of my make up on my white sheets.
12:35pm Feel so awful about not being able to push through, that I drag myself out of bed, put my shoes back on and leave the house before I have to change my mind once again. I walk to the cafe, thinking “Damn it, I should have stayed home”, but I keep going because I know that this is just another destructive internal dialogue.
1:08pm I’m here, and I’m so glad I am because otherwise I would have still been in bed, fighting the urge to cry (which happens fairly frequently).


And this, my friends, is the norm. My condition, mild as it is, is weighing me down immensely. It’s like doing a balancing act between constant anxiety, racing thoughts, racing heartbeat, all the works, and a field of nothingness, as far as the eye can see. I’m not always sad, but I am constantly battling whatever this is. I’ve found that getting into a TV show and binge-watching it gives me an escape of sorts. Sadly, it’s a fairly unhealthy escape.

Have any of you had any experience with mental illness? Let me know in the comments.

-PositivelyCurvy