My Love Affair with Music

My relationship with music is probably the healthiest life long relationships I’ve ever had. I honestly don’t know what I would do without it. I listen to music as a way to process both the bad and good things that happen in my life. Music is one of my favorite coping mechanisms I have when I’m having strong emotions. I have a playlist for almost any kind of mood or emotion you might be having: Feeling Sexy- I have a playlist for that, Feeling like a Bad Bitch -I have a playlist for that, Feeling like Your Heart has been shattered in a million pieces and you’re gonna be alone forever- I have a playlist for that too. I like to listen to music first thing in the morning to get my day going. I also listen to it throughout the work day to break up the monotony of the day. Sometimes I even spontaneously serenade my coworkers with my horrendous singing-haha. Music has saved me on numerous occasions from the bad and intrusive thoughts I do have from time to time. I also love to listen to super loud music when I’m power walking and jogging. I listen to all kinds of music from gangsta rap to mainstream pop to boleros. My favorites artists are usually singer songwriters like Taylor Swift, The KID Laroi, Shakira, and Alejandro Sanz. I am super fortunate to be bilingual so I have a huge music catalogue to choose from. No matter what happens in my life, music has always been a way to either help calm me down when I’m angry or perk me up when I get in one of depressive moods. I will be sharing some of the playlists I listen to depending on my moods. Below is a link to posts about a few of my playlists.

Luis Miguel, Olivia Rodrigo and Easy E

Playlist: For the Brokenhearted: Sad Edition (the one where you cry)

Playlist: Self Love-My Love Affair with Myself

Playlist: Let’s Get Sexy

Playlist: Self Love-My Love Affair with Myself

This playlist I’m sharing is called “Self Love-My Love Affair with Myself”. This playlist is filled with songs about feeling empowered after life gets you down because of a job loss, a break up, or maybe even just a bad day. It’s about getting your strength back and remembering who were in the first place and getting ready to conquer the world. It’s about finding yourself after losing your spark. It’s about feeling like a bad bitch again. I’ve put in bold my favorite songs from this playlist.

1.Confident- Demi Lovato

2.7 Rings- Ariana Grande

3.It’s Like That-Mariah Carey

4.Build a Bitch- Bella Poarch 

5.Everything I Want to Be- Save Ferris

6.Lose Yourself-Eminem

7.Independent Women Part 1-Destiny’s Child

8.Make It Happen- Mariah Carey

9.Moments-Tove Lo

10.Good Thing-Kehlani

11.U.N.I.T.Y- Queen Latifah

12.Look at Her Now- Selena Gomez

13.Truth Hurts-Lizzo

14.Brave-Sara Bareilles

15.Express Yourself- Madonna

16.None of Your Business-Salt N Peppa

17.Most Girls- Hailee Steinfeld

18.Free Your Mind- En Vogue

19.Good As Hell-Lizzo

20.THAT BITCH-Bea Miller

Below are the links for your listening pleasure:

Here We Go Again: Delta Edition

So I’ve been in denial for the past few weeks. I haven’t been keeping up with the COVID numbers as I usually do and have been ignoring the news about this new Delta variant of COVID. Last year, COVID basically consumed most of my life since I was an essential worker for the Department of Public Health and Kroger. 

me in April 2020

It was basically an adrenaline rush that kept going strong with constant policy changes at both jobs until October/November  and there was peace and almost going back to normalcy until late December when the COVID vaccination phases started. During this time, this took a toll on the mental health of me and my fellow coworkers. There were times that were so dark for me, that I wondered on some mornings if it  would be the day I would be committed to the psych ward.

me in August 2020 on one of my worst mental health days

However, I was super fortunate to have support from friends and my then supportive partner during that awful time.  I was also seeing Mr.Toxic who was my pandemic buddy who I would freak out with every time something new happened with the virus. Up until a few weeks ago, things had basically gone back to normal at both my jobs. Masks were basically a thing of the past (well for us that are fully vaccinated) and I wasn’t getting any calls about Covid. 

Me in May of this year when Masks were no longer mandated at my second job

That changed this past week when once again the numbers are rocketing out of control with the Delta Variant. I also started getting calls again about Covid at my DPH job and once again masks have enforced for all employees at both of my jobs

August 2021-Here we go again

At this point I’m honestly anxious about quite a few things:

  1. How long before school goes remote? I’m particularly worried about my 10 year old who is a social butterfly and hates remote learning. Also, all of these constant changes and transitions from in person to online learning cannot be good for the kiddos. I imagine therapy will be needed at some point for some of these kids.
  2. I will be facing this COVID surge without the support of a romantic love interest this time around. I’m kind of anxious about how I will cope but then again I really have no choice in this matter. Idk. Then again, I am lucky in having a great support system with my friends and my family and now my therapist. I’m also more determined to turn to my set of healthier coping mechanisms (DBT, journaling, exercising , writing, etc.) which I hope helps me stay away  from my usual unhealthy coping mechanisms (alcohol,binge shopping, dating apps, etc). 
  3.  Will there ever come a point where COVID does become like the flu or will this stupid virus keep mutating and keep getting more contagious? Will we as a society ever get back to a sense of real normalcy?

It will be interesting to see how all of this will play out with the new surge. I hope that the new administration will be way more proactive than the previous one. I also hope that mental healthcare  ends up being more accessible to the general population because a lot of us will need it. 

Below is the link for the COVID related post from last year:

A New Diagnosis: BPD

Me at 16

It was April of 1996 and I had just broken up with my boyfriend of 3 months after he had grown distant from me. I was in a world of despair and teenage angst and longed to no longer exist. I was feeling this rush of intense sadness as I was walking home from school. I looked at the cars on the street and thought about how easy it would be to end my sadness if I got run over by one. As I was alone in my thoughts, I stopped paying attention as I crossed the street and wasn’t aware that a car was coming. It stopped within inches of hitting me and the driver honked at me and yelled at me. I continued to walk in shock of what had just happened. I didn’t know then but I would be walking into many more BPD episodes like this one.

Fast forward to the summer of 2021 and I’m 40, the mother of 3 kids, work 2 jobs, and have a complicated love life. I decide to go back to therapy due to some recent trauma and driving anxiety. I do a 3 hour assessment and when the feedback comes back, it’s there on my concept map: I have Borderline Personality Disorder. I expected the driving phobia but the new diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder was definitely unexpected.

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

According to Mayo Clinic, “Borderline Personality Disorder or BPD is a mental health disorder that impacts the way you think and feel about yourself and others, causing problems functioning in everyday life. It includes self-image issues, difficulty managing emotions and behavior, and a pattern of unstable relationships.

What are the signs and symptoms?

  • An intense fear of abandonment, even going to extreme measures to avoid real or imagined separation or rejection
  • A pattern of unstable intense relationships, such as idealizing someone one moment and then suddenly believing the person doesn’t care enough or is cruel
  • Rapid changes in self-identity and self-image that include shifting goals and values, and seeing yourself as bad or as if you don’t exist at all
  • Periods of stress-related paranoia and loss of contact with reality, lasting from a few minutes to a few hours
  • Impulsive and risky behavior, such as gambling, reckless driving, unsafe sex, spending sprees, binge eating or drug abuse, or sabotaging success by suddenly quitting a good job or ending a positive relationship
  • Suicidal threats or behavior or self-injury, often in response to fear of separation or rejection
  • Wide mood swings lasting from a few hours to a few days, which can include intense happiness, irritability, shame or anxiety
  • Ongoing feelings of emptiness
  • Inappropriate, intense anger, such as frequently losing your temper, being sarcastic or bitter, or having physical fights

Causes for Borderline Personality Disorder:

  • Genetics. Some studies of twins and families suggest that personality disorders may be inherited or strongly associated with other mental health disorders among family members.
  • Brain abnormalities. Some research has shown changes in certain areas of the brain involved in emotion regulation, impulsivity and aggression. In addition, certain brain chemicals that help regulate mood, such as serotonin, may not function properly.

Risk Factors include:

  • Hereditary predisposition. You may be at a higher risk if a close relative — your mother, father, brother or sister — has the same or a similar disorder.
  • Stressful childhood. Many people with the disorder report being sexually or physically abused or neglected during childhood. Some people have lost or were separated from a parent or close caregiver when they were young or had parents or caregivers with substance misuse or other mental health issues. Others have been exposed to hostile conflict and unstable family relationships.

Source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/borderline-personality-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20370237

Learning about this disorder has been overwhelming and also life changing. Some of my friends didn’t think it was possible for me to have BPD because I’m too nice. I was also kind of in denial at first until I did the research and thought damn, my life finally makes sense to me. I’ve been coping with intense emotions since I could remember and have a pattern of risky and impulsive behavior and sometimes self sabotaging my own success and romantic relationships. One minute my mood can shift from happy and joyful to full on anger and sadness if I am triggered by feelings of rejection, abandonment, being criticized or judged. I also have a tendency to villainize people if I feel threatened by them. Also, when I feel like my life is “too normal” or “too boring”, I seek out an adrenaline rush and create chaos.

Throughout the years, I’ve leaned some healthy coping mechanisms like journaling, writing poetry or blogging, exercising, mediocre dancing and singing. I’ve also had some unhealthy mechanism like drinking, binge shopping, binge eating, having sex for only validation purposes. I’d like to think that I’ve gotten better with time because I’ve become more self aware of myself and my need to survive not only for my myself but also for my kids.

I’m hopeful that with this new diagnosis of BPD and therapy, I’ve have way better coping mechanisms to become a better version of myself. I’m hopeful that going on this new journey, I’ll not only be surviving but I’ll be thriving. I also hope that I heal the girl in the picture above who was a teenager trying to find love for within the arms of a any dude because she didn’t know how to love herself.

A New Journey

The last few months of 2017 have been a roller coaster of a ride from 3 job changes within a month to issues with my middle son. However one of the good things that happened was landing my current job in October of this year. I’m an administrative assistant for public health. Through this I was introduced to the keto low carb diet. I want to clarify that while the diet was highly recommended and there is a workplace wellness program for it; no employee is ever forced to do it. I researched it ,prepped my meals and started  doing the diet since October 16, 2017 and have gained already a few benefits like 11 pounds lost,loads of energy, and becoming super aware of the harmful processed foods I have been eating all of my life. I hadn’t had my labs drawn when I first started the diet but decided to do so today to hold myself way more accountable. So I had my blood drawn for labs, was weighed, and had measurements done  for the Workplace Wellness program to help monitor my progress on the diet.  I started the diet with great enthusiasm and for the most part maintained myself below 20 grams of carbs a day but lately I’ve been slipping off track due to the holiday seasons and life stressors. I think taking full advantage of the Workplace Program will renew my motivation for a healthier lifestyle the low carb way. I have various reasons for beginning this journey and continuing it that I will only discuss a few now.

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Me last week definitely feeling better after 2 months on Keto. 

My biggest reason for doing the keto diet is my health-both physical and mental. You see, I’ve suffered half my life from anxiety and depression and while I’m on medication and have gotten better at managing it, it’s simply not enough. I’m constantly reading articles on studies about how I should exercise or practice mindfulness or eat specific foods to help my serotonin levels and be “happy” . While I understand that it all can help; for me personally, a drastic change such as changing my diet needed to be done. For me, food was one of those comforts I would seek out in order to help me “feel better” after a bad day. I felt like I needed the white rice, french bread, potato chips, and tacos to help me survive. Obviously,I had a very unhealthy relationship with food and it got so bad this summer that I was at my heaviest at 179 lbs which is pretty heavy considering I’m 5’4. Being this overweight made my depression worst, my energy was drained every single day so bad that it was a struggle to get out of bed and function. I also could not keep up with my very active boys ages 12 and 6.The extra weight  also made my occasional hip pain worse to the point that some days I was limping around.  

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Me at my heaviest at 179 pounds. 

I knew that at this point I was at risk for other factors due to family history, my maternal grandmother has had  diabetes with complications since she was in her 50’s, I remember watching her test her blood sure since I was little and it never looked like something I wanted to do. My paternal grandmother also had diabetes in her 50’s. My maternal grandfather had heart disease as he got older. My father himself has high blood pressure that’s not easy to control. If I didn’t do something fast; I was a ticking time bomb of soon to be obesity and diabetes among other diseases that would shorten my life.

My second biggest reason of course are my three sons ages 19,12 and 6. I want to live long enough to see them through major milestones in their adult lives. I also want to set a good example for them about is a healthy relationship with food. While all three of them have been super hesitant about trying out even certain foods on the diet, I hope that in the future they will consider it as all three of them could benefit from it in different ways. My oldest has social anxiety/major depressive mood disorder, my middle and youngest children are overweight and have a high BMI; I also want to add that my middle child has possible ADHD and emotional problems.

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My three sons ages 12,6, and 19. 

Today the nurse asked me what my goal was and I basically told her I wanted to be at a healthy BMI. My current BMI is 27 which puts me in the overweight category. While I go love myself and my body at 160 pounds, I know I can do better to feel better. I will be sharing different tools and resources I use that I find to be successful throughout my journey.