CHRONIC DIARIES: How I Manage My Anxiety Day-to-Day

I remember after attending a conference in Providence, I had gone to UNO’S with my classmates. Suddenly, I had developed a massive panic attack. I had absolutely no idea how to deal with it, then, other than “deep breathing.” I knew that wasn’t enough for someone like me, who has had an acute anxiety disorder basically since I was born. But I can tell you that I have more effective coping mechanisms than I ever did, even when I had worked with a cognitive therapist.

I wrote 2020: the year people will (hopefully) understand mental health and let me tell you, it took a pandemic just for people to understand what dealing with mental health is like. I’m not undermining anything that people went through during lockdown, but this was where my mindset was in early 2020. I had utter fear of my future and the USA’s future. On top of that, I was finishing college and I was dealing with quite the alcohol addiction.

Now, here I am, coming face to face with my anxiety disorder once and for all. I’ll give you one example of an anxiety trigger of mine: finances. I had gone through this money-mindset transformation stage with Brooke Ritchie during “Path to Freedom” and one of the ways to get out of our limiting beliefs about attaining money was through tapping. (No, I am not referring to sex.)

  1. Tapping

EFT Tapping is essentially, according to HealthLine.com an alternative treatment for physical pain and emotional distress. It’s also referred to as tapping or psychological acupressure.” It’s been used for people who’ve dealt with anxiety and PTSD.

I’ll link to Brad Yates’ most popular video here, to give you a sense. But once you start doing it, there’s no going back. Tapping uses the fingertips to quite literally “tap” the focal energy points. The most common set-up for a tap session is “Even though I [insert something negative that you’re trying to cure here] I choose to completely love and accept myself.”

2. Metaphorical Rinsing Into The Roots

If you’re standing up, or have the opportunity to stand up, plant your feet firmly on the ground and say “I let go of [whatever is triggering you]” and imagine your body is rinsing that negative anxiety down through the bottom of your feet and into “roots.” It’s as if you’re watering a tree! In this case, you are the tree that doesn’t wilt just because it feels anxious.

Make these non-negotiables for you, as they’ve been for me. You will get your stride back, and you will be motivated once again.

How To Activate Your Goddess Potential Part 2: Believing You Are Worthy

When I was a junior in high school and going through bouts of depression, my mom had sent me a quote by someone whom I cannot remember now. But the quote itself said, “My favorite Disney character? Daisy Duck. Because she goes after what she wants and deserves.”

I was on a call two days ago with a woman who was trying to recruit me for a coaching program. As she was asking me questions, she asked me what it is I wanted to do with these degrees I planned on getting in the future (masters and eventually doctorate). I told her straight up, “to get credibility in what I do.” That is actually the first time I was stopped to think that maybe I was going for them for the wrong reason — to have myself go into debt that was not smart, to have control over basically no outcome and to just work for someone else for the rest of my life. I knew I did not want that. Some people pursue an advanced degree because they want accelerate in their career, which is the right reason. The “science” behind the fact that I wanted to pursue something “science-y” just to prove to my freshman-year-of-college self that she CAN “do” science — not a good reason. Also, I convinced myself that my writing career was going nowhere — not true. I wouldn’t be continuing this blog and this series if I still believed it [my writing career] was going nowhere.

Yesterday I made the mistake of putting my size-8-foot in my mouth by announcing I was, in fact, going to [insert ivy league school here] to rekindle my master’s degree. That can’t happen for another year, unfortunately because I then realized, “there’s no way I can afford it right now.” However, if I didn’t believe that I was worthy of a possible degree at [insert ivy league school here] or any of them for that matter, would I have gone for it? I talked to a good friend of mine (hi Katarina!) and she told me that setbacks are good for redirection. Slowly but surely, I am reprogramming my mind to thinking that I am in fact worthy of any degree, even if I choose to go back to Emerson to pursue an MFA instead of finishing the MA. Katarina then asked me, “what are you hoping to gain?” And I told her, I gained this particular mindset.

So, my point is, if you’ve always wanted to do something but never believed you were worthy of it (e.g., a law degree, a PhD, or any advanced degree, anything at all!) Another fact is, you don’t necessarily need one degree on top of another just to feel worthy or credible. This woman who I spoke to two days ago made me realize that, and it almost brought me to tears because it took me God knows how long to realize that I am in fact, credible as is, as a coach, as a writer, as anything at all. I am worthy, and so are you, my dear, regardless of how you identify.

If you missed the previous blog post, read it here. And keep a lookout for a brand new podcast episode every Tuesday and Thursday!

xoxo,

April 💕

Get Out Of Defense Mode And Into Beast Mode

More often than not, we are clouded by limiting beliefs. However, we need not to be. For example, when I was in Punch Drunk Soul’s Path to Freedom coaching program, we had weekly meetings with Brooke Ritchie (who is a real life GODDESS!) who changed our limiting beliefs around money.

I’m not going into my money story, but I’ll tell you I’ve never had a strong relationship with the value of dollar. Some people have the belief that money is only accessible if you are rich — not totally true. Anyone can be rich, it’s just a matter of getting out of the defense mode and actually working toward your goals.

Let me give you another example. I’m often compared to Miss Carrie Bradshaw, who is coined as the “ultimate single gal,” until she marries Mr. Big (RIP — IYKYK). This is where I get personal (and a tad sappy). I met my boyfriend of one year on Bumble last summer. Oddly enough, it was shortly after I wrote Dear Future Husband… If I Ever Meet You. When I introduced him to the blog, (which is when I know it’s real), he read that particular post… a couple of times. Before that, I had my view that relationships were more physical than emotional, and even more so that I didn’t even deserve love. And Mark kept his word that he’d show me what an emotional relationship is like and I’ve never been happier to be so in love.

But why did I think that relationships were supposed to be more physical rather than emotional? That was purely based on a past experience with an ex who didn’t find me “sexually attractive,” despite dating for over a year. Since then, I was in “defense mode” and afraid of true love and especially afraid of getting severely emotionally battered and broken. And I need not to be that way anymore.

Walking on the moon seemed impossible, yet it was done anyway. Even the top chess player in the world had the slightest thought that they would lose a match, but they immediately got out of defense mode and into beast mode and ultimately won their game. Do you think there are billionaires out there who were born rich? Yes and no. But some had to climb their way to the top, despite what their limiting beliefs were about money. That’s why you find all of these books about people who started from the bottom and became who they are today.

Go make it happen. Do it scared you-know-what-less and go for it. Don’t listen to what people think you should do based on their limiting beliefs. Those aren’t yours to take on and make your own. NO.

xoxo,

April 💕

“I hate my thighs”

As Charlotte York once said, “I hate my thighs.” In the same episode, she said “fruit has a lot of carbs.” When did carbohydrates get such a bad rep, in the first place?

Moreover, in 2017, I looked at a picture of myself visiting Central Park, and I couldn’t believe how large my thighs were.

I looked at another picture of myself in Bristol in 2018. I remember how large my thighs were and the lower half of my stomach, as well. Ironically, I was seeing a personal trainer. However, I couldn’t keep my workout routine consistent outside of training. I wasn’t putting in the time because I thought I didn’t have the time. My excuse was “I have homework,” which was true! But still, consistency is key. 🔑

I used to love my curves a year ago, but I can’t help but love them even more now that I’m working out consistently and eating clean. I love my thighs now more than ever, and I’m only going to love them even more as they get more toned and muscular.

When you’re investing in something, too, you must stay consistent with it. I held off on making YouTube videos because I wasn’t too too sure of what I was doing with my life.

Being a nutrition coach, it’s my job to show up for my clients and followers. It’s also my job to make sure my clients grow to love themselves, too.

You’re Not A Failure, Everyone Starts Out As A Novice

I’ve never told anyone this because this is still roughly fresh in my mind, but I didn’t completely graduate with my masters degree… yet.

My diabetes diagnosis became a day job for me, as opposed to my schoolwork. I had to take three incomplete courses because of it and couldn’t handle any of them. I wound up withdrawing from Emerson.

ABBA sang it best, “Mamma Mia! Here I go again!” If you know me, you know I intend to go back and forth between what it is I want to do. This morning I felt so drained because I thought I wanted to go back to being a writer. Why do that when I committed to getting my MSAN – Dietetics at UNE? Emmett from “Legally Blonde” said it best to Elle when he said, “what if you’re trying to be someone you are? The hell with Callahan, stay.” And that’s what I say to myself: “the hell with imposter syndrome.”

Then Professor Stromwell said to Elle in the beauty salon, “if you’re going to let one stupid prick [in my case, imposter syndrome] ruin your life, you’re not the girl I thought you were!”

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t putting my all into this blog either, even after I monetized it. (After six years, I thought it was time.)

I must’ve said it a hundred times in the 150 blog posts that I’ve made, but imposter syndrome really is a huge b**ch. I remember feeling this overwhelming sense of it after “graduation.” But that amazing feeling you get after a really intense spinning class, or any workout, is the same feeling one gets after helping someone accomplish their goals. I became a nutrition coach, and am in the process of getting my nutritionist certificate and I get to have my OWN PRACTICE via Therapute! How amazing is that!?

Here’s the thing, and the overall message of this post: how are you going to help others if you don’t feel good about yourself? Think about it. Even my therapist seldom follows his own advice. Even when I first started my pharmacy technician job, I felt like a failure because I had this one pharmacist tell me I ostensibly “didn’t listen” when I hadn’t been trained in something.

When I withdrew from Emerson, I felt like the biggest failure. But why? I was doing something that was going to benefit me in the long run. Besides, I get my second chance at another master’s program in a month and I’m already so excited. 😆

I watched a Facebook live hosted by a friend from high school (hi Ali!) and she touched upon mindset around food, particularly carbs. Then she said, “imagine you’re trying to push a boulder up a really steep mountain.” Essentially, the message was that you could either give up because it’s “too hard” or “strategize.” I wish I could’ve given myself that pep talk when I was nearly failing the sciences freshman year of college.

Here’s the secret: it is with strength, mental endurance, and courage even when we don’t feel like our best selves that we carry on. Cry the tears if you must, just don’t let them drown you into a rabbit hole.

You’re not a failure. You’re a novice. Everyone starts out as a novice at first. Don’t listen to those stories about composers like Mozart who started playing a tune on the piano when he was just two years old. In a perfect world, that would be realistic. It’s not.

Go Little Rockstar: It’s Ready, It’s Yours, You Did It

I tell this story a million times, or at least I think I do, but when I first published on The Odyssey Online, with my first two articles in the queue. Mind you, my boss at the time put all his trust in me and thought I- I was qualified to be Editor-in-Chief of my campus chapter. I took it because there wasn’t a chance I’d have that again… until now.

It’s been years since that breakthrough phone call. But as of recently, I broke through, out of my own personal “gate” to be my own boss. I remember vaguely, when I was eight years old, I told my mom I wanted to be a pop star and to perform in my very own concert. She said, “it takes a really long time.” It does. It does take a really long time. Some people wait a lifetime, like Van Gogh when he sold his first painting. I don’t know if anyone realizes, but I am a huge of Van Gogh and his background. I don’t know what led him to asylum, but I know that he and I both coped with art. Poetry for me, painting for him.

It took a really long time, but I found what I was meant to do. I rewatched Katy Bellotte’s “An Honest Video,” (again) only to be triggered by the same emotions that led me to my hospitalization in 2017. I’ll be honest when I say I nearly gave up on my purpose, due to anxiety. But it was only growth that was making my soul itch. Growth is notoriously uncomfortable.

So, little rockstar, what were you meant to do? I strongly believed I was put on this Earth for a purpose: to inspire. I’ve had publishers tell me that relentlessly. I believed them. As Katy says in the beginning of her video, “ignoring your passions is slow suicide.” She came to the conclusion in her Italian language class that she wanted to go into graphic design. She went from working at L’Oreal in social media to being her own boss at Katy Bellotte Designs.

It’s no secret that I’ve held countless jobs and internships this past year alone. I also believed that I had it all; I have a man who loves me (hi Mark!), family, friends, food to eat, and a roof over my head. I just wasn’t satisfied with my career. I knew a few years back that I was meant for more than journalism. I tried my hand at marketing– what a bust. I tried to run my own business, then COVID hit. Now, things are looking up. I’m so excited to reveal I became a trauma healing, spiritual health and wellness coach! That’s right, I chose courage over fear; faith over doubt; being present instead of brooding on the past.

I talked a bit in my last post about fearing the future. But now, I live by the mantra, “I needn’t worry about the future anymore. It’s bright, it’s here, it’s mine, I did it.”

My head has never been more clear. Go, little rockstar. Keep moving forward. 🚀

xoxo,

April 💖

Is “normal” the new “weird?” | Subtracting bad habits

In less than ten days, here in North America that is, it’ll be the first official day of Spring. I think that when adults think of Spring, they think of cynicism and “oh, watch there be snow in May.” I, on the other hand, was taught to believe that Spring brings new beginnings. Having gone to a Catholic high school, I learned that Spring was the initiator of the Paschal Mystery. What I find “mysterious” about that concept of religion, is that it theology and science go hand-in-hand. Another thing I was taught, is that Chemistry is the foundation of all sciences. Chemistry is more than just mixing strange liquids into a flasks and test tubes. It is the elegance of all that the world is and what we are. Falling in love is a chemistry. You hear terms like “brain chemistry” all the time. And brain chemistry is not a myth. Yes, I started out as a chemistry major and my fourth grade teacher was right; I hate math and I always will, even though it’s inevitable and I practically aced honors Precalculus junior year.

Moreover, I touched upon this in The Correlation of Hummingbirds, Dancing, and Algebra, but this blog post is going to be slightly different. This post discusses Spring cleaning, except, we clean our behavior of the weeds that are bad habits.

It takes a really, really short amount of time to develop a habit. I couldn’t tell you exactly how much time it takes. But I know that even if we commit to doing something 5% less frequently, it could change us for the better. For example, I receive a journal prompt via text message every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday morning. If I go one of those days without journaling at 7 a.m., chances are, I won’t do it at all for a while. Yes, that did happen and I sat my butt down on my bed and wrote in my journal today’s prompt. It just occurred to me that I should also stop swearing so much. A lot of people have a tendency to say “sh*t” under their breath. Personally, I have a tendency to say “ow,” even when I’m not in pain. All it does is just manifest a bad mood and, of course, unnecessary pain. So, I wrote in my journal the following: “I can stop saying ‘ow,’ ‘f**k,’ and/or ‘sh*t’ 5% less for each word, to help myself feel like there’s less of a weight on my wellbeing.” Personal growth is not always about “doing more.” In fact, personal growth is subtracting these bad habits, toxic people, foods, etc.

I mean, really, I’m not always in pain. And even though I also have a proclivity to stress myself out, I can’t do that anymore, for health’s sake. Plus, I’m not always stressed!

However, I can’t help but wonder if stress has become the new “normal” and if “normal” has become the new “weird.” I was talking to a coworker at lunch in the cafeteria last week, and it’s amazing how much she and I have in common! However, the one thing that she and I had in common completely was abnormal for society, and that was growing up in the midst of constant chaos. She even said at one point, “I get suspicious if things seem normal.”

What stops us, in general, from feeling normal? Did the definitions of “normal” and “weird” swap? Impossible. What’s weird is hissing and swearing at absolutely nothing, even when said “nothing” is wrong. What’s weird is having pain where your appendix should be, even if you already had it surgically removed. What’s weird is thinking you don’t deserve what you’ve earned. Have you ever been so happy you were terrified?

Let us “normalize” things that are supposed to be normal! Let’s normalize human tones of voice, instead of lashing out. Let’s normalize being happy. Let’s normalize intelligence over ignorance. Let’s normalize shaking hands when meeting people who aren’t our bosses. Not only are these all completely normal, but it’s good practice for developing good habits. 😊

Confessions Of A Diabetic: I’m Happier Than I’ve Ever Been Since My Diagnosis

A month ago, I nearly succumbed to diabetic ketoacidosis, with a blood sugar level almost so lethal that I could barely walk. I hardly remember anything/everything that night, and honestly, my overall memory is somewhat impaired to this day. I keep saying the line, “some days and even hours are better than others.” But with keeping my diabetes management consistent and a part of my daily routine, I’ve found that I am happier than I’ve ever been since my diagnosis.

I saw a picture of myself on International Women’s Day in 2021 in my Snapchat memories, when I was heavy drinker, 20 pounds heavier, and a cashier at a part-time retail job that paid minimum wage in Rhode Island (which is lower than any other state in New England). I’m thinking, as I write this, with my cat curled up next to me on my queen-sized bed, and in desperate need of a neck massage, that I was definitely not in love with that life that I once led. Although I had since quit said retail job and found a man who loves me for all that I am, I still had a lingering proclivity to drink and to binge-eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. That ended in January when I chose to start intermittent fasting, which I think had at least something to do with my demise. My nurses in the hospital even said, “you can’t just not eat.” They’re right, it’s not ideal for a diabetic to skip meals.

Another thing: when your physical health is good, so is your mental health. It’s no secret that I have acute anxiety, depression, and PTSD. I often drank to forget about the reality of feeling anxious, only to forget that alcohol is a depressant (and has a lot of sugar and fat content — empty calories!). Since January 2nd of this year, I’ve been over two months sober. The painful acid reflux was still plaguing me, and I was often tired. It was obvious that I had physical ailments that were explained once I was diagnosed with diabetes.

To think I was once so carefree that I completely disregarded my health astounds me, and not in a good way. This is all going into a novel that I’m working on, based on my experience. The truth is, no one can live like Louis XIV, who lived in the lap of luxury at the Palace of Versailles. I am still the foodie I was in my “past life,” I’m just moderating my meals, carb-counting, reading nutrition facts, taking insulin before meals, and measuring my blood sugar four times a day. I actually have the motivation to work out again and I’m leading a healthy diet that’s not only beneficial for diabetics, but for everyone — no matter who you are. I’m still losing as much weight as I was when I was intermittent fasting. I don’t know if I’d necessarily call my diagnosis a “kundalini awakening,” but everything has been working out career-wise, and my manifestations have been coming true.

What’s also almost in divine-timing is that I found out my best friend is dealing with a chronic illness, as is my boyfriend (not diabetes and both separate illnesses). This goes to show that I’m not alone at all. But my family, relatives, friends, boyfriend, and even (some) strangers need not have a chronic illness to be in my corner because I know that they would all have my back either way. 💖 Connections matter!

xoxo,

April

How To Achieve Your Goals In 2022 Without Losing Your Mind

Hi everyone! First of all, happy New Year. Second, I don’t know about you but I *used* to suck at achieving my New Years’ resolutions. But I’ll be honest with you, the concept of a “New Year’s resolution” is crap, and I’ll tell you why; the name in it of itself sounds intimidating and it sounds like something you absolutely have to achieve, simultaneously putting unnecessary pressure on yourself. However, if you turn that phrase into just simply “goals,” it sheds the pressure.

For example, one of my goals this year is to feel better in my body by intermittent fasting and eating foods that are good for me and give me energy. I was worried at first about losing weight because I thought I’d go straight back into unhealthy eating and drinking habits. Oh yeah, and I quit drinking alcohol cold turkey, which was surprisingly easy! But if you change the phrase, “losing weight” into “being healthier,” again, it sounds less intimidating and actually fun to do! I personally recommend the app “Fastic” — it’s a free app that tracks your fasting windows and actually reminds you to DRINK WATER! If you read/listened to Atomic Habits by James Clear, you’d know that even if you start something and stick with it, whatever “it” is automatically becomes a part of your routine. Don’t get me wrong, I never took a psychology class in my life (and honestly wish that I have!) but I don’t need a psychology degree to know that when you switch a phrase, something you’re trying to achieve will actually become a fun process!

Another trick or “life hack” is choosing quality over quantity. Yes, this concept applies to your lifestyle. For example, another one of my goals is to read 52+ books this year. How do I make that sound less intimidating? I choose good books that I actually want to read, including the books I’m reading in my climate literature class this semester (yes, “cli-fi” is a real multigenre, and yes, I recommend it!). I’m not even going to stress out if I don’t make it past 52 books, as long as I’m having fun reading!

Let’s track back to health for a sec; if you’re struggling with a workout schedule, sit down with your agenda/planner/whatever and schedule when your workouts would take place. But only workout if you feel like it. You can’t force your body to do something. Listen to your body. If you work in the morning/afternoon, it’s more likely that you’ll be working out at night. I have yet to get my schedule in complete order, myself.

In summation, the key to achieving your goals is to have fun doing it, even if you have to change a phrase to wire your brain into wanting to do it.

Like always, I wish you folx godspeed in achieving your goals for 2022! Make this year better than the last two years! Commit to the “new you.”

xoxo,

April