House Buying Tips: Part 1

So this content is a little different from my usual mental health related ones. One of my lovely subscribers asked if I would share some tips about the home buying process since my boyfriend and I just bought a house in late August. I’m going to do things in chunks so that it’s not a ton of information at once.

Tip 1: Get Your Money Sorted

Before even starting to look at homes, you have to make sure your finances are in check. Whether it’s just you buying your house or you have a partner/spouse, figure out if you have enough saved to make a half decent downpayment. Because we were first time homebuyers, we put down 3% but typically they want you to put down 20% of the cost of the house.

We both had a few thousand dollars saved so we only had enough to do the minimum downpayment at closing. If you do 20% you don’t have to pay mortgage insurance either. We aren’t doing that because we got a really good deal.

Also consider how much of a mortgage payment you can afford now. If you are doing well with the amount fo rent you’re paying, try to find a house that would allow you to have a similar payment.

Tip 2: What do you want?

Once you begin looking at houses online (we used Trulia and Zillow) have a list of some non-negotiables you want your home to have. For us we without a doubt wanted off-street parking, a yard and central air conditioning. When you have those essentials in mind, you won’t be wasting your time looking at places that don’t work for you and your family.

Also of course the location of the home is important. We looked in four different towns in our area for homes but luckily bought ours in my favorite neighborhood in my hometown. I spent my first four years in a house two blocks away and used to work at the Wendy’s nearby (which is now sadly closed).

Tip 3: Price Range

Since you have all your money sorted, figure out your price range. We were looking at house $100,000 to $130,000. Stick to your budget, you don’t want to end up in a house you can’t afford.

Tip 4: See As Many Houses As Possible

See lots of houses. By seeing a lot of different places, you’ll get a better understanding of what is best for you and want will make you and your family happy.

Ok that’s it for this! The next post I will talk about the worst part…mortgages. GASP! The part that had me so anxious my hands were shaking on a regular basis. I got blood work done it was so bad I thought I had a thyroid issue.

I hope you found this helpful 🙂

 

 

Telling Depression to Piss Off

This morning I was almost out the door for work when I got the empty pain of depression. It sits in my chest making me feel hollow inside.

As I got in my car and began to drive to the office the feeling was still very present. Nothing had happened this morning or last night to make me depressed but sometimes we don’t get to choose when we are depressed. Depression can engulf me anytime it feels like it.

Nagging thoughts kept pushing on my mind about how my boyfriend doesn’t love me and that I’m a worthless human. These thoughts were quiet but I wanted to confront them before they got louder.

I said aloud, “Hey depression, piss off!”

I rarely verbally confront my mental illness like this but I had been feeling good for the past 12 hours and I want to keep it going for longer.

I continued to tell my depression that what it was telling me isn’t true. I know that my boyfriend loves me even when my brain tells me it’s not true. I see his actions and I hear his words that contradict my depression and anxiety.

Instead of letting my depression kick me down to the ground, I am fighting back today.

So to help me keep fighting today, I’m going to do a little list of things that are going well and what I’m looking forward to.

Things going well:

1. My boyfriend and I are doing very well
2. I’ve been keeping up with doing my nails (having my nails painted makes me feel better about myself)
3. I’ve been feeling close with my mom lately

Looking forward to:

1. Therapy on Thursday
2. Getting my windshield replaced today (it has like a foot long crack in it for some reason)
3. Doing yoga after work

I hope that this inspired somebody on this Earth to stand up to their mental illness!

Worries Ahead

This is another post about PMDD and periods so if that doesn’t interest you, check out a different post of mine! There are some other good ones 🙂

Today begins the week before my period which can be just as miserable as actually having my period. Last month, I was living a nightmare with how bad my mental health was.

Last month I was constantly on the verge of tears, I couldn’t shower or get out of bed and I honestly felt that I was not worthy to be on this planet. It was such a difficult time that I am afraid of it happening again this week or next week.

Somebody left me a comment last month about how I should prepare for this time of the month. That I should create a plan to catch myself before I fall too deep into my own darkness. And if I collapse and hit the bottom, I can have soft pillows there to cushion my fall.

I’m already a highly sensitive person so I feel that I have to tread even lighter than normal when I’m PMSing or on my period. I’m going to care for myself as if I am a fragile butterfly.

So here’s my plan:

  1. Do not push myself beyond my limits: I have a fine line to walk when it comes to pushing myself beyond my limits. Sometimes I can handle taking on more while other times I crumble inside. My mental wellbeing needs to be a priority so I plan to gauge what I am up to from situation to situation.
  2. Exercise: Sometimes it takes a lot of energy to get me to exercise even though I actually enjoy exercising. I think I categorize it in my mind as a task and not as something fun. I almost always feel better afterwards so it’s worth doing!
  3. Eating actual food: Getting nutrients in my body instead of solely eating garbage is always a good idea.
  4. Take time to find reality: I will go into my head and got lost in there. I totally lose all sense of reality. Using a stress ball, smelling essential oils or taking a moment to breathe can sometimes bring me back to Earth.

Guys, let’s cross our fingers that I can survive this week and next week!

Getting Back to “Normal”

My period is over so I’ve, for the most part, returned to my “normal” self. All of my emotions that were at a peak have calmed down.

I met with my therapist this past Thursday and I cried the entire time. It felt so good to have a safe place where I could discuss my fears and cry with somebody who knows me.

Sure I pay her to hear me sob but it is worth every penny.

She helped me to rationalize some of my worries and put everything that had been frantically flying around in my skull into some sort of order.

By the end of our session I felt relieved. I calmed down before I left and set a session earlier than I normally would have if I was doing fine.

Yesterday and today I have been productive enough to make up for last weekend when I couldn’t get out of bed or shower. My mood is up and I’ve been eating vegetables instead of solely carbs, ice cream and chocolate.

It is such a whirlwind to be feeling like I want to end my life in one moment to feeling relatively content the next. There are so many ups and downs that it gives me whiplash sometimes. And I’ve had whiplash and it’s not enjoyable!

I am hoping that I can keep my depression and anxiety in check this week despite work being busy. In my two weeks of hell from my PMDD and period, I have found some new coping mechanisms! I’ll share them with you in case you are looking for some fresh ideas.

  1. Keep Items with a Happy Memory Close — I don’t think I thought about this before but having something that has a positive memory attached to it can lift your spirits. For example I put on a bright blue nail polish that I bought in Florence, Italy when I was on coach tour across Europe. I look at my nails and think of the amazing time that I had which gives me a little boost.
  2. ASMR — When this whole ASMR thing got popular, I thought it was kind of bullshit. But what I found was that I enjoy ones where they are cooking especially if there are crunchy vegetables being chopped up. What I’ve been loving is Peaceful Cuisine, it’s a Japanese guy who makes vegan food. Since I’m learning Japanese, it also helps me to read the ingredients in the language.

I hope that two little tips can help if you’re in a pickle jar right now. I’ll keep you all updated on how I fair this week!

Stay strong, everybody!!

Curbing Self-Harm Urges

When you’re in one of those intense waves of depression, it can be difficult to think clearly. I’ve struggled with this countless times, there were times where I thought the only way to calm down or feel better was to self-harm.

For seven years I’ve been faced with the decision on whether to cut or not. I have chosen to act on that desire more times than I will ever admit. They are scars I never want to count. Turning this into a positive, I’ve said no many more times than I have said yes.

Coping mechanisms and rational thinking have helped me through this tough journey. Here are a few things that have helped me:

Rubber Bands and Hair Ties

One of the first coping mechanisms I learned about was snapping a hair tie or rubber band wherever I wanted to hurt myself. This really hurts depending on how hard you snap it. It has helped me and of course there are no scars left afterwards which is a plus.

Find a Distraction

Finding something to take your mind off of the urge to self-harm, anything positive or makes you feel better. My most often technique is to play a video on YouTube that I can really pay attention to. I will watch very intently to push the desire to hurt myself back down into my brain.

Sometimes I’ll combine this with knitting, covering up with fuzzy blankets and dabbing essential oil on my wrists to engage more of my senses. I’ve learned the more senses I can engage, the easier it is to distract myself from my own thoughts.

Leave

Wherever you’re at try and leave that place even for a couple minutes to clear your mind. Go to a different part of your house/apartment, go to Target (that place has healing powers), walk around your block or sit in your bathroom for a moment. A change of scenery can sometimes put me in a different state of mind.

Think of Someone You Love

This can be a sensitive topic for someone with mental illness because so often we are told by our depression that there is nobody who loves us. My brain has screamed that at me for so many years that it can be difficult not to believe it.

Let’s push the possibility that depression is right out of the picture; there is someone who deeply cares for you. Think about that person before you hurt yourself. If that person was in the room with you, what would they say? If you showed them the marks, how would they respond?

One of the things that has helped me not resort to self-injury is thinking about my boyfriend. I know he doesn’t want me to do that to myself, it has brought him to tears seeing what I have done. So I think of that moment, I think of him because my actions don’t only affect me, they affect him too.

Well that last part got intense for me. I’m going to write a couple more posts about self-harm that I hope can be encouraging/relatable for anyone reading. I’ve been ashamed to tell anyone that I’ve cut myself on and off for 7 years but right now I feel brave enough to share my experience with others.

Stay strong and I hope you’ll all be alright! –Megan

Guilt and Mental Illness

I seem to always feel guilty about stuff. Whenever I make a mistake or mess up in some kind of way, I am overcome with guilt and anxiety.

This happens on a weekly basis. I neglect to do something or I say the wrong thing, my stomach gets tight and my heart sinks to my feet. I lose focus on whatever was going on previously, the feeling of guilt starts to swirl around my head.

Recently I told my best friend from uni that I wouldn’t be going to her party where a bunch of our friends from school would be. Ones we haven’t seen in a long time. I said, no for many different reasons but I felt horribly guilty about it.

I felt like a bad friend even though she had been incredibly toxic to me. I felt like an ass for telling my friends who I haven’t seen in 3 years that I wouldn’t be there, like they didn’t matter to me which isn’t true.

I’m a professional at ruminating on negative thoughts. If you are too, I see you. So for days I thought those things over and over until my stomach began hurting.

Anxiety and depression love to team up and remind me how nobody likes me, I’m a terrible person and all of the shit they’ve said to me since I was a child. Do I believe them? There’s a part of me that really does. Then there’s another that says, “Well Megan, maybe that’s not 100% true.”

Today is the day of her party and I’m writing this blog post from the comfort of my bed. I’m feel a little guilty still though if I’m going to be honest. Instead of ruminating on the guilt, I’ve been enjoying my time off doing whatever I feel like. I’ve let the day take me wherever it may lead, it’s pretty awesome!

So if you’re feeling guilty too, I understand where you’re coming from. If possible try to relax or distract yourself with a coping mechanism. Do something that makes you happy even if you don’t think “you deserve to feel happy.”

Stay strong, my readers! — Megan

Silencing Suicidal Thoughts

In my last few posts, I’ve been focusing on my journey with struggling with suicidal thoughts. This one I want to make a bit more happy and talk about ways that have helped me to silence those thoughts.

**Just because these things have worked for me does not guarantee they will work for you. This is to give you ideas of what could be helpful for you. We are all different with unique likes and needs.**

Aromatherapy

I never really liked smelly things, they usually gave me a headache. During my time at rock bottom, I was willing to try almost anything to feel better. My therapist suggested essential oils to soothe me when I was anxious or having suicidal thoughts. I went to the health food store and picked up lavender (to help me sleep), peppermint (to relax me when I was anxious) and tangerine (boost my mood).

This shit changed my life! The aromas somehow really helped to calm me down and bring me back to the present moment instead of stuck inside my head. I also became a frequent customer at Bath and Body Works, I got lots of scented body washes to make showering less scary and miserable.

Makeup

Ok ok you’re probably judging me right now but yes, makeup was my escape. I don’t know how it happened but I started watching beauty videos on YouTube, it let me go to a happy place where I didn’t have to worry about anything. I watched video after video after video to silence my thoughts.

A special shoutout to YouTubers KathleenLights, Glam Life Guru and Emilynoel89 for creating amazing content!

Maybe makeup isn’t your thing but finding some sort of hobby can be helpful. Watching those videos lead me to buy makeup and use my face as a canvas for art. I love expressing myself through makeup! To give me something to do, I started an IG  @megandoesmakeupxo.

Harry Potter

I have loved Harry Potter since I was in third grade when my teacher read my class “The Sorcerer’s Stone.” He did different voices for each character!

That book series has the power to pick me up and transport me far away from my day to day problems. When I got depressed in my third year of college I picked up the first book at a used bookstore in Old City Philadelphia.

Those books are still my escape. In the world of Harry Potter I am safe and will always feel safe in that realm even though it isn’t real. When my suicidal thoughts would not shut up, I opened my book and dove in.

I hope some of these things gave you inspiration to help with your suicidal thoughts! Find safe spaces (whether they’re IRL, online or in your head) where you can find solitude from your thoughts. Leave a comment below with your tips on silencing suicidal thoughts, I would love to hear them.

Until next time, survivors! –Megan