Posted in Personal, religion

On Relaxation: Some Ways to Help Calm Unwanted Thoughts

After the stress of my last post, I’ve been experimenting with things to help me out when unwanted thoughts are invading my mind. By unwanted thoughts, I mean thoughts that have no benefits to me at all such as me thinking that I’m worthless and that I don’t deserve anything because I have mental and physical illnesses that aren’t easy to deal with. I’ve found that breathing meditation doesn’t help me unless it’s to help with my panic attacks. In fact, for some reason, if I do it with other things besides my panic attacks, I’d go into rage inducing moments the moment I would stop the breathing exercises. I had to give up on that one. However, there were a few that have worked out for me so far. It’s a combination of the three in the end that have helped me the most:

  1. Count numbers. I came across this idea on reddit. The idea, as far as I understand it, behind it is that you can’t pay attention to unwanted thoughts and something else that you can focus on. I’m not a big fan of math, and I’ve found that it helps to immediately stop the thoughts. Eventually the thoughts return, but in the heat of the moment when I’m starting to get lost in flashbacks or anxiety, counting numbers helped break me out of it once I realized what was going on a few times long enough for me to do something else to calm down.
  2. Listening to music and singing along. This goes along with the idea behind counting numbers. It gives me something to focus on. Sometimes the lyrics match my mood as I seek it out; other times, I look for music that would help to lift me out of the mood I’ve found myself falling into. I’ve been listening to Michael Bolton’s Go the Distance. It’s old, it’s great, and it’s Hercules. Listening to music and singing along gets me in a mood to just jam out sometimes, which can get really fun for a while after being lost because of my thoughts.
  3. Praying silently or aloud. My rosary helps ground me as I meditate and give prayer to God. It helps me not get too lost in my own mind even when I’m praying. Having the rosary and praying as both to help in connecting with God creates a focus.

I came across this prayer (the mystery of sorrowful Tuesday) while wanting to learn more on praying using a rosary: “My children, never seek your comfort in anyone but God. In your times of loneliness, in your times of depression, in your times of doubt, have recourse to prayer. When you go to the Father, offer this mystery for those who are in doubt: those who do not know where to turn to: those who are depressed: the mentally ill: the emotionally ill. Pray that as the Father sent an angel to comfort my Son, the Lord in His mercy will comfort them and enlighten them.” Meditating on it, I found some comfort. For someone I feel as unworthy as me, I pray that the Father’s mercy will comfort and enlighten me so that I may heal in mind and spirit, as I lay my allegiance to my Lord God.

Overall, it’s been hard. My teeth have been grinding again too. It’s easy to be exhausted when mentally and physically you’re not feeling well. In a way, I think I’ve quieted down these past few days. I’m so tired. I’ve honestly lost count on how many times I’ve said: “I’m tired” this past month. I’ve hardly been able to relax this past month. A short-term goal for the rest of the month is to relax and work on not letting the anxiety, depression, and stress take over. It’s a tough road, but I hope as I continue to fight off these mental illnesses that I’ll eventually overcome them.

Keeping the faith can be hard, but it’s something alongside hope that helps to keep me going at times.


Sources:

http://www.catholic.org/prayers/mystery.php?id=2#1

 

Posted in Personal

Lost a Part of Myself

Sometimes the depression, anxiety, and stress are so bad that it affects me physiologically. I get intense nausea, sometimes short of breath, and even what seems like streaks across my chest sometimes almost like a panic attack. I’m kind of lost at the moment. I’m not quite sure what to do anymore. I think this past month, I lost a part of myself with all the stress. I’m not sure how to gain it back.

One of the things that’s been helping me are my prayers, but the feelings of anxiety always return. I’m tired of feeling like this. I’m tired of crying. It’s a strange mixture of feeling tired of both wanting to live and die. I’m so tired…

Posted in Learning, Studying, Reading, religion

Praying Aloud + Bible Study

Praying aloud helps to calm me. It helps to give focus back into my life rather than a chaotic whirl of frustration and stress. It’s important to remember that God is good. Every time I pray aloud, I feel a slow calm wash over me as if God is slowly embracing me as I pray to him for whatever it is that I’m praying for/about. I’m always so grateful to Our Father in Heaven. In Him I gain strength even when I don’t think I can go on. Hope and faith in Him who loves us helps carry me on when times are hard.

I’m trying my best to go about trying to figure out my way of studying the Bible. I recently finished Jen Wilkin’s Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds. I’m also going to be starting William W. Klein’s Introduction to Biblical Interpretation (Revised and Updated).

In addition, one of the things that I’m having trouble deciding on is if I should read the Bible in chronological order as I start to get to know the text or if it would be fine to hop around and read the books of the Bible in random order. Also, who should I look into for scholastic work on the Bible? Who would you recommend to read about the history of Christianity or even further back to including the history of Judaism? I’d like to gain knowledge on a broad overview of the history of the Hebrews.

While I decide how I’ll go about with my personal Bible Study and more academic Bible Study by figuring out secondary sources to go along with those reading, I’ll been listening to audio version of the NRSV of the Bible in the meantime. YouTube is great for this. Sometimes I like to follow along with the texts, other times, I like to listen to the Bible while doing chores that take minimal amount of thought so I can focus more on the Bible. There’s no rush to learning God’s Word. In fact, I’d rather take my time so that I may immerse myself in His Word. I look forward to my Bible Study.

Posted in Learning, Studying, Reading

Using the Arts to Learn

“Funny how a beautiful song could tell such a sad story.” – Sarah Dessen, Lock and Key

Listening to the musical Hamilton’s soundtrack often sends me into a whirl of emotions. I’ve been listening to It’s Quiet Uptown by the original Broadway cast as well as the Kelly Clarkson cover for the mixtape version of the musical for the past week – both are amazing. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve cried whenever I put it on. It still hits me in the feels when I hear it. I encourage you all to listen to It’s Quiet Uptown. Truly a lovely song. It’s truly unimaginable to me what they might’ve gone through with Philip’s death and the circumstances as to why it happened in the first. Dessen’s quote is perfect for It’s Quiet Uptown. The song is a beautiful song, and yet it tells such a sad story.

Lyrics enhanced by music can make for great storytelling. Hamilton is one of the many examples of people using the arts as a medium to tell a story. Thanks to Hamilton, I learned the story of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton and a little more on Alexander Hamilton. I had researched Alexander Hamilton when I was a little girl so I could faintly recall some details such as his affair and that he was important as a founding father, but the musical helped to tell the story of him and his wife to a broader audience who may or may not have known anything about Hamilton beyond that he’s on our $10 bill. Having listened to Hamilton’s soundtrack and watched a bit of the musical from YouTube, I sought to learn more on my own because it interested me to learn more.

When I learn about history, I typically like to learn about politics and wars, but lately I’ve been seeing opportunities to learn more about great women that did things on a domestic level like Hamilton’s wife Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton who was an amazing woman who did great things such as establishing New York’s first private orphanage, which now operates as family services called agency Graham Windham. I’m filled with admiration for a woman who suffered such setbacks in life, but still pushed on forward to do great things with her life. Eliza is a heroine in her own right. It’s touching that Eliza would spend a good portion of her life after Hamilton’s death to preserving his legacy in good faith, and that even when she was suffering from short-term memory loss, Eliza could still remember her Alexander vividly (1).

Posted in Learning, Studying, Reading, Personal, Uncategorized

On Learning: Impatience and The Process of Taking a Rain Check

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” – Heraclitus

I can be impatient when it comes to learning. I want to understand everything that I’m learning about immediately. But that’s not how it works, unfortunately! I have trouble with recalling information, which makes utilizing what I learn hard, but I’ve been trying to compensate by doing rote memorization for things such as vocabulary building (Memrise is pretty fun for this) or memorizing the routine of household chores so I don’t forget to do a chore which has happened on multiple occasions. It also called for emergency scrambling because of how unprepared we were, and I end up a mess with my lack of emotional regulation (which I am working on!). It’s a tough life being unmedicated as an ADHD person after having been medicated for a while – I can tell the difference from the days when I was medicated and when I’m not – but it’s livable as most things I’m actually required to do can be done unmedicated. It takes a lot of patience, which God bless my SO has been showering me in, and most things end up a success with the combined powers of my SO and I. I truly feel blessed by God with having my SO. I’ve learned so much from him, and what works for the two of us. Learning never ends.

I also take the time to think deeply on subjects that I’m learning about, especially when I’m willing to read and note-take (and sometimes application) for hours on end about whatever it is that I want to learn. Those days can be fun as a few times I get into flow mode. Other times, it’s more deliberate learning.

Overall, you just have to enjoy the journey, not just the end results. It’s hard sometimes to be so wanting to understand something but for some reason, it’s just not clicking. You go through all the steps leading up to it, and yet something is still wrong, but in the massive number of steps taking, you don’t even know where you went wrong. Those are the days where I need to stop, put it off for a while, and then come back to it and rinse and repeat. Eventually, even if it’s years later, if I’ve been revisiting enough and each time putting in genuine effort and perseverance, I start understanding more and more even if I never fully understand everything. Each time I picked it up and tried again, especially in foreign language, gets me a little further in understanding each time that actually sticks.

Going back to Heraclitus’s quote, I identify with it with the way I learn. I do sometimes feel that when I’ve reread a book after having not read it for several years. Metaphorically, for me at least, neither the story nor I am typically the same as the first time I’ve read the book, and that’s why I identified with Heraclitus’s quote. I’ve reread books that I’ve remembered the general plot, but the narrative itself struck me differently as I noticed and examined the book more closely than I did the first time around. This taking of a rain check of promising to come back later and revisit what I originally wanted to learn is something that happens enough times that I’ve come to appreciate how much it works for me in attaining knowledge that I’m persistent enough to chase throughout my lifetime. Learning never stops; learning never ends. Even if you have to set it aside for a while because you’re not getting it and returning to it later may cause a considerable improvement. It took me years before I gained a basic understanding of reading Shakespeare despite having to read him throughout high school. It wasn’t until my last two years in my undergraduate study in English Literature that I had some kind of breakthrough of being able to think more critically on the Bard and his works, and even now there’s a lot that I can still learn. The journey is still on-going – it’s fantastic.

Posted in Learning, Studying, Reading, Personal

On Learning: Foreign Language

❝The limits of my language are the limits of my world.❞ ‒ Ludwig Wittgenstein

Are you trying to learn a foreign language? What language(s) are you trying to learn?

One of the things that I’m interested in learning throughout my life is language. In fact, I’d like to learn as much as five different languages with reading fluency before I die. Right now, I can read and speak my native Hawaiian Pidgin English and American Standard English, but I’m hoping to at least learn German (this is currently my main focus of my foreign language learning), French, Latin, and possibly conversational Lithuanian as well as to long-term goals in language learning.

I took foreign language courses throughout my education in school starting from high school where I studied Japanese for two years and then in college where I studied Spanish for two years. I can remember bits and pieces, but I remember not being interested in it because it was a requirement, and I didn’t really take those languages because I was interested in it to do more in those target languages. More so, at the time that I took those courses, I don’t believe I understood at all about language learning. I barely understood English grammar more than on an instinctive level. I didn’t really understand what declensions were and I barely understood conjugation and tenses even in English. It did take starting to learn a foreign language to start learning English on a more instinctive level. Ironically, for some reason, these types of knowledge didn’t really click on any level until I already graduated as foreign language learning remained one of my hardest subject in university. It’s funny how that works sometimes.

I’ve recently started using Memrise, Mango Languages, and random sites on the internet and some resources that I get from my local library to look for foreign language learning materials. There’s a lot of resources out there to help you learn many different languages. One of the things that I’m coming to realize that it’s truly all about the time and effort you place into learning. I’ve started using a casual sense of the Pomodoro technique for language learning so I know I’m at least setting aside some time and dedicating it all to my learning. It’s been useful to make sure I study at least 30 minutes a day. I like using the Memrise app on my phone. Even simply the process of sitting down and setting aside time helps to bring a productive mood out, which I feel has helped to retain enthusiasm into learning more.

Learning a foreign language is something that I’ve been trying since I was a little girl, but I never stuck it out with the consistency. Now that I’m actually comprehending what I’m learning and trying to make it fun, hopefully I’ll stick it out much longer than I’ve done so far.

Posted in Personal

Discipline Over Motivation

“True freedom is impossible without a mind made free by discipline.” – Mortimer J. Adler, How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading

How reliant are you on motivation? Do you practice discipline more than motivation or vice versa?

When it comes to most things, discipline typically is much better than waiting on motivation to strike. You build upon yourself with discipline as you force yourself on even the tougher days to continue your projects and assignments rather than procrastinating and hoping that motivation will happen and you’ll find your mojo to do your thing.

Per dictionary.com, discipline can be defined as an: “activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training.” Discipline becomes a habit over time. It’s important to make discipline a habit because its primary use is to train yourself in a skill. Discipline is a part of self-improvement. To self-improve, it takes a lot of hard work. That work will include times when there’s nothing more you want to do is quit, but you won’t because you want to be better. Discipline helps push you through, and it’ll be because of you and not some in the moment motivation that suddenly inspired you. No, it’ll be because you put in the time and effort to create hard work through your habit of utilizing discipline to attain true freedom by improving or developing whatever you focused your discipline on.

These past few weeks, I’ve come to realize how much I depend on motivation, especially in regards to how I feel emotionally. When I’m too stressed, I can’t function. I cannot think. I need a break. But one of the hardest things to do is to communicate that I need a break without lashing out. Emotionally, I am now practicing to feel my anger, but never let it overtake me as much as possible. Anger is draining, and it definitely hasn’t added to my life these past few weeks.

To cope emotionally, one of the things I’m working on is to become better disciplined in that even when I’m not feeling entirely good, I’ll still take the time to do my studying. It’s a work in progress, and there’s much improvement to be done, but I’m getting there. As yesterday has showed me, studying helped to take the pressure of stress off for a little while because it was something productive being done at the same time. Despite the stress, I managed to do something else, and that’s a good start compared to how I obsessively would think on the stress and completely overwhelm myself with thoughts alone. Sometimes taking things slowly one at a time is what you need rather than charging straight ahead and doing everything at once.

Remembering God and my faith is important as well. God is great, and continues to be great. He has helped me more than I feel I deserve, so through discipline I seek to become a better servant of the Lord. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, Both now and always, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.


Sources: “Discipline”. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 4 Jun. 2017. <Dictionary.com http://www.dictionary.com/browse/discipline>.