Song for the world weary

Friends, I’ve started blogging again at a new address: facetofacewiththesky.com. Below is a sample post. Posts will still be dedicated to mental health, with more of a focus on spirituality. Spirituality and mindfulness have been essential to my healing and learning to cope day to day with anxiety and depression. I’m ready to share that part of myself with you all. Follow me at facetofacewiththesky.com if you’re interested in sharing the journey. I miss you all and would love to get back in touch. Peace be with you, Jenna

face to face with the sky

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When your bones are heavy
Willing to sink to the earth,
Walk now to a quiet place
With plodding footsteps; go slowly
Into the place where the world will not overcome you.

Sometimes my place is the woods, where
The voices belong to birds
And the trees listen with infinite understanding.
Sometimes my place is a keyboard by the window
And my fingers weave a spiderweb of words.
Sometimes my place is the couch because my heart
Is simply heavy as a stone and refuses to budge.

All of these things will pass.
Your thoughts and feelings—your
Aches and pains, your heartache.
All of it will dissolve someday,
Replaced only by light.
Your decision lies in the dissolving.
Will you hang on bitterly
To the sinking stones, or will you swim—
Even if you must kick and gasp—
To the surface, to the light,
And let that which does not…

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Gone Fishing!

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Howdy all,

First, to anyone that’s left me a comment in the past couple months (0.O) that I haven’t answered: thank you, and I’m sorry. The short explanation is, life happened.

Some things happened externally: I got another (better) job. I moved. But some things happened internally too. A lot of soul searching. I surprised myself: usually I write while I’m soul searching. But the last couple of months, I’ve just been wanting to read, and journal privately.

I hope you all are well, and writing your hearts out. You are all so talented. Your words bring light to a world that desperately needs it. Even if your words are full of pain, trust me, they mean something to others who read them and see a reflection of themselves.

I’m not quite sure what the future of this blog will look like. If the muse comes to call and I get inspired to write again, I will. In the meantime, I’ve gone fishing. Your job is to just keep swimming.

Be well…💙🌟

Jenna

What Happens When I Let Go

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"when I let go of expecations of where I should be, sometimes I'm delighted to find myself where I am."

We put so much pressure on ourselves to be in the right place at the right time. To be exactly where we think we should be, right now. Whether it’s a physical place or a place in our recovery, we are full of “shoulds.” I’m working on letting go of my expectations of where I “should be,” physically, mentally and emotionally. Don’t get me wrong, not all moments are delightful. Many are a real struggle. And I have memories of moments I don’t care to relive, nor would I wish them on anyone. But sometimes, when I let go, I come to an awareness in the present moment that even though it’s not perfect, I’m perfectly content. And those moments are the moments I live for.

Wishing you well,

Jenna ❄️🌟😊

P.S. This is my first post in a couple weeks. Between work and the holidays, things have been really busy. I’ve definitely missed writing and connecting with everyone. I’m making an effort to clear space in my schedule to keep up with the writing and blogging 🌟💙

P.P.S. Follow me on Instagram @wishingwellblogger 🙂

 

Guest Post: To My College Roommates Who Shunned Me For My Self Harm-Thank you

*Trigger Warning: Contains descriptions of self harm*

Self harm is a difficult topic to talk about. Yet now more than ever, we need to have the conversation. According to Time magazine, anxiety and depression are on the rise among young people. In 2006 the estimated number of teens in the United States who had at least one major depressive episode was 7.9%; in 2015, that number had reached 12.5%. And experts believe nonsuicidal self harm is also on the rise, though it’s “hard to quantify” because the behavior is “deliberately secretive.”

I myself have never self harmed, though I know people who have. I remember two girls in high school who had razor-thin scars up and down their arms. One I went to Sunday school with as a child, and yet in high school, I had no idea how to reach out to her. On WordPress, I see many bloggers who describe their urges to self harm. On Instagram, the #mentalhealth feed occasionally contains an image of someone’s self harm that they’ve chosen to post. My heart goes out to people who experience this, and so in that frame of mind, I’d like to introduce my guest blogger, Kate Branciforte.

My guest blogger today, Kate Branciforte, has experienced self-harming behavior; however, she is now celebrating one year harm free. Kate’s story upholds my commitment at The Wishing Well–it is honest, and at the end, shares her message of hope.

Her story does contain graphic descriptions of self harm–so for those that are sensitive to it, please be mindful. However, her message is ultimately uplifting. With the spirit of facing the truth and sharing hope, I now turn it over to Kate. -Jenna

In Kate’s Words…

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To My College Roommates that Shunned Me for My Self-Harm: Thank You

I’ll never forget how I spent my 21st birthday. Unlike most, it wasn’t spent hung over in bed reliving the epic tales of the night before. Instead, it was spent hung over in the psych ward of Jacobi Hospital in the Bronx, in a room with cinderblock walls and plexiglass windows. I shared this small space with a severely mentally ill young woman and her bored caretaker. This troubled woman was constantly banging her head against the wall, moaning, and throwing things while her caretaker sat there on her phone ignoring her. I sat in the corner, watching this. I have never felt more alone.

Rewind to the night before, a night that was supposed to be full of booze and celebrating, ended up being full of tears, shame and self-harm. After a long night at the bar and too many gin and tonics, I ended up in my apartment and crashed on my couch. Not long after, my roommate and our mutual friend came home and sat in the kitchen talking. I was in that half awake, half asleep drunken state, but I will never forget the conversation I ended up over hearing; the conversation that triggered this entire debacle.

The friend that was over was a guy that I had previously hooked up with, a guy that I had a huge crush on. While they were talking, my name came up when my roommate asked our friend what had happened between us. His response? “That was a huge, huge mistake”. When I heard this my heart stopped. And not because it was confirmed that this guy didn’t like me or want to date me or anything like that. I get it, I’m not everyone’s cup of tea and I’m fine with that. But the thing that got me was his words confirmed the thoughts I had constantly been battling: that I didn’t matter. I was a mistake. I was unimportant. I didn’t belong here.

After hearing this, I snuck to my room, found the razor I had hidden and went to town. This wasn’t my first encounter with harming myself. I had started that summer and it had been consuming me ever since. After I had enough, I tried crying myself to sleep but my roommate returned and asked what was wrong. In a cry for help, I turned on the light and revealed my bloody arms and legs. My roommate was confused and left, and proceeded to call her mom, who in return called the school.

The next morning I woke up to a whirlwind of RAs, EMTs, and police officers in my apartment. They were going through my things, questioning me and telling me I had to go to the hospital. I refused. A police officer then told me that if I didn’t cooperate, he would “put [me] in handcuffs and wheel me out of here on a stretcher so everyone can see.” Just what a suicidal girl in crisis wants to hear, right? Needless to say, I obliged. I was put in an ambulance and driven off to the hospital alone.

I was in the hospital for six hours. My parents eventually picked me up and to my shock and surprise, my roommates had come to the hospital and sat there all day waiting for me. When I got back to campus, I was told to pack a bag because I wasn’t allowed to live on campus until I was “stable” enough. That meant no class, no rowing, no going out on the weekends. Nothing. My life was seemingly just getting worse and worse. Long story short, eventually everything was figured out. Things shortly got back to somewhat normal with my friends and I finished out my junior year. Over the summer I battled depression and self-harm, but I made sure no one knew about it this time, except my therapist.

Senior year comes along, and again, I had another very memorable birthday. I don’t remember at all what happened or what triggered this bout of cutting, but all I remember is coming home crying and drunk, going to my shower, taking my razor and repeatedly cutting my arms and legs. I just hacked away until I felt better. I then lay down on the bathroom floor, crying and guilty when one of my roommates walked in. I’ll never forget the look of horror on her face. But instead of coming to me and comforting me, she turned and shut the door. I then proceeded to hear her talking to my other roommates and then heard their bedroom door shut.

Not soon after, an RA came into our apartment, talked to me and called my parents in the middle of the night. Before I left, I went to my roommates’ door and knocked, profusely crying and apologizing, begging them to open the door. I just wanted to see them, to tell them I was sorry, to make sure everything would be okay. Well, all I got was nothing. Silence. My parents dragged me away from the door, sobbing. From that day on, those girls, ones who I considered to be some of my best friends, never spoke to me or contacted me ever again. I moved out shortly after and commuted for the rest of my college career.

Now, the point of this story isn’t to bash these girls, or to look for pity from people. It’s actually to thank them because if it wasn’t for what they did to me and how they treated me, I would never, ever be where I am right now.

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If I never went through this storm, I surely wouldn’t be the person I am today. I would have never gotten my first job, which truly shaped who I have become. I would have never started Crossfit, where I met some of the most amazing people I know and who have become incredibly close friends. I would have never had the opportunity to meet coaches and athletes who have pushed me to my limits, helping to define my character. I wouldn’t have strengthened my relationships with my five best friends, who continually and constantly love me no matter what; the ones who were there for me even though they didn’t understand why I do what I do. I wouldn’t have discovered the sport of weightlifting, which has given me a new sense of purpose, and again, introduced me to some really incredible people. I would have never found the strength I have found to keep living.

If it weren’t for those roommates who slammed the door in my face when I needed them most, then the doors that have opened to me over the past four years would have remained closed. If it wasn’t for their rejection, I may have stayed at school, fostering toxic “friendships” and stuck in a cycle of depression and self-harm. Who knows if I would even still be here?

Today, I am still suffering from depression and anxiety and recovering from my self-harming ways, but I am the happiest I have ever been. I haven’t taken a razor to my body in just over a year. I rarely, if ever, have suicidal thoughts anymore. I am able to cope with my stress and anxiety most of the time without spiraling out of control.

So, to those girls who locked their door and their hearts to me: thank you. Thank you for shunning me when I needed you most. Thank you for cutting me out of your life so easily. Thank you for not being there for me. You unknowingly changed, and perhaps saved, my life. You showed me who my true friends are; the ones who have helped me rebuild myself from the ground up. You’ve made me realize that I am not a mistake. I am important. I matter. I have a purpose on this earth, although that still remains uncertain and unknown. But now, instead of being worried and scared of that fact, I now revel in it.

Life is so uncertain, but the one thing that has remained constant for me is that everything happens for a reason. And that closed door was the best thing that ever happened to me.

And for anyone suffering, anyone thinking of harming themselves, or taking their life, listen to me: YOU matter. YOU are important. YOU have a purpose. YOU belong here. YOU are NOT a mistake. You may not see it now, you may truly believe you never will, but I promise you, you will. Keep going. Weather the storm and when you make it out, you will be stronger. And there will always be another storm…that I know all too well. But you will always make it through. Find your support system, cut out the toxic people, do something you love. And know, one closed door may be exactly what you need to open the next. I love you so much.

Kate Branciforte is a 27-year-old from the United States celebrating one year harm free. She enjoys olympic weighlifting, writing, eating and naps. Feel free to reach out to her in the comments. 


If you are interested in guest posting on The Wishing Well, send me an email or leave me a comment and we’ll touch base. I can’t promise I’ll take every submission, but I am dedicated to sharing stories of recovering from mental illness with honesty and an uplifting message. 🌟


Source: Schrobsdorff, Susanna. “Anxiety, Depression and the American Adolescent.” Time. 7 Nov 2016: 44-51. Print.

Image Credits: Images picked out by Kate.

pretty-woman-happy-young-female by jill111, CC0 Public Domain

sunflower-flower-nature-plant by Unsplash, CC0 Public Domain

Reblogged: Don’t let people talk you out of your happiness.

This post by the awesome Dr. Andrea Dinardo meant a lot to me, and features a message that many people need to hear. I’m still learning to accept that what makes me happy means going against the grain, and that’s okay. Take a minute and check it out!

Thriving Under Pressure

I love you just the way you are.

If you are lucky enough to find joy in the course of a day.. keep it to yourself..

At least until you find the courage to radiate, illuminate, and enjoy your life.

No matter how. No matter when.

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Skip through the streets. Watch netflix on repeat. Eat kraft dinner. Swing in the park. Start a blog!

Whatever it is that makes you levitate, makes your heart skip a beat.

Whatever it is that makes you smile, makes you giggle, makes you dance in the streets.

Don’t let people talk you out of your happiness.

The world needs your joy. The universe needs your light.

It is time to silence the happiness critics in your life.

At least in your mind. Forever in your heart.

We all need your unique, quirky brand of happiness.

Now. More than ever. Be brave. Stand tall.

I love…

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Guest Post: Working Against Yourself

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Have you ever felt like you can’t get out of your own way? I know I have. Luckily my friend Sharon at Curious Queendom has generously shared her wisdom about tackling this feeling. This moving post is one I know I’ll reread again and again. Sharon is a delight in the blogging community. Her witty words of wisdom are renowned throughout her Queendom! Read on, cyberspace traveler.


In Sharon’s Words…

There were times in life when I felt that each morning I started my day by walking into the bathroom with a gun aimed at my reflection. I’d pull the trigger, and my reflection would break into a million pieces, each piece containing a little reflection of me. They would cover the ground until I swept it away.

It was dramatic as I’m sure you can see, and I didn’t even mention the soundtrack: nothing but the violin… that plays itself… no one to love it.

It’s not as if the image in the mirror was the problem. Even when I was far from
confident, I was a little vain.

My soul (which is located somewhere behind my eyes) was the problem. She stared
back at me with such longing and desires to actualize. She reminded me of all the things I wanted for myself and was insufferably cheesy. She would take to saying things like, “But we can do anything we put our minds to,” and “You’re special; you really are.”

“Shut up. Just STFU,” I would say. I was kinda abusive to my soul back then. I don’t think I would ever treat anyone else the way I treated her.

I wanted to believe her, but I think our souls are immune to the pressures of society. She could never understand what it felt like to fail and have everyone watching.

Despite the way I treated my soul, I desperately wanted to feel comfortable in my skin. So I made a bargain with myself: I would earn the right to be myself by building up a strong foundation on people pleasing. If people liked me enough, I could do whatever I wanted without worry of retribution.

Needless to say, I was wrong about that.

Did you know that there are people out there who are unapologetically themselves, all the time, REGARDLESS OF WHAT PEOPLE THINK? I wanted that. I needed that.

So I decided to confront the girl in the mirror. And of course, she had her arms wide open to receive me, a welcoming smile on her face, her stupid smiling face. It was the smile that broke me down in the end. As I cried and thrashed about, she held me.

She showed me how I’d been working against myself for so long. She taught that I
had the ultimate say in the course of my life and that I would never achieve anything as long as I was in my own way.

You get in your own way when…

1. You have goals but find yourself doing everything but tackling them.
2. You beat yourself up.
3. You think negatively about yourself.

None of those things will serve you. All of those things will obscure your path.

I can confidently say that today I’m a more comfortable in my skin than I’ve ever been, and it’s all thanks to a few soul lessons.

1. Find yourself. If you’re getting in your own way, it’s probably because you don’t know who you are, or you forgot somewhere along the way. The confident you is buried under all that insecurity. Start looking at your insecurities as something separate from you because guess what: insecurities are separate from you. They are something you possess not who you are.

2. Treat yourself with respect. It’s pretty sad how badly we treat ourselves. Yes, it’s good to be honest with yourself, but you shouldn’t beat yourself until you’re paralyzed. And beating yourself up is paralyzing. It scares you into never wanting to feel such shame again.

3. Be present. Looking too far ahead can also be paralyzing. You see the
destination as so far ahead of you that you wonder if it’s worth the effort of
trying. I know that this is hard to understand, but you CAN NOT predict the
future. I’m sorry to break it to you. All you can do is live in this moment. You
neither exist in the past nor the future. You are now. You can only exist in the
present.

4. Realize that you’re untouchable. You have complete say of what you allow
into your system. You control the way everything impacts you. When you are
feeling ashamed, it’s not because someone is making you feel ashamed. It’s
because you are making yourself feel that way.

5. Don’t quit, cuz this process is not for the weak at heart. You have to be willing to get it wrong sometimes and still get back up to try again. Because you’re gonna get it wrong… A LOT. Accept it and get back up.

Lastly, don’t forget, you can do anything that you put your mind to, and you’re
special; you really are.


This post was written by Sharon Yvonne at www.curiousqueendom.com. When asked, she says, “I’m a writer/ space queen infiltrating the Earthlings in hopes of establishing diplomatic relations.”

For more space adventures you can find her at..

Twitter: https://twitter.com/QInquisition

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CuriousQueendom/

Bloglovin’: https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/curious-queendom-14773683

Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+SharonYvonne/posts


If you are interested in guest posting on The Wishing Well, leave me a comment and we’ll touch base. I can’t promise I’ll take every submission, but I am dedicated to sharing stories with honesty, humor and heart.♥︎


Image Credit: black-and-white-hands by Pexels, CC0 Public Domain

Chelsie Dyed Her Hair Purple, and Here’s What Happened

The second Chelsie from You, Me and Emetophobia told me she had purple hair, I wanted to hear the story. Thus this guest post was born. Dying your hair a radical color requires courage and the dedication to live a bold, colorful life. It requires the courage to be true to yourself no matter what other people say or think. And that, my friends, is what recovering from mental illness is all about.

Here’s the story, in Chelsie’s words:


2016 was my year to break boundaries. I wanted to do things I had never done before, accomplish goals I had been saying for years but never finished. I wanted to make a bold statement, tell the world that this year I was going to be unstoppable.

So you know what I did? I dyed my hair purple. Yup, purple. Bright, neon, indigo purple with hot pink underlights.

For those who know me, I don’t think the purple would come as a surprise. I’m a pretty loud, happy person, so obviously deciding to dye my hair my favorite color made sense. But I think it came as a shock to me. Even though I’m a happy, outgoing person, I’m actually also pretty shy.

Drawing attention to myself makes me uncomfortable, so why in the world would I decide to do something like this? Well, instead of just telling you, let’s recap the important moments leading up and following this life changing decision:

Three Months Prior To Dye Day

I was casually browsing hair colors on Google when I decided to get daring: “purple hair.” Woah, I know, you’re probably thinking slow down there crazy lady, but hang with me.

So I mention to my husband that I’d love to do purple hair at some point, because I’ve never seen someone with purple hair (or any bold color for that matter) who isn’t super confident and radiant and wonderful. At this point, the strangest thing I’d ever done with my hair was dye it a kool-aid red at a pity party in high school. It was dreadful, my mom was pissed…You know, the whole nine yards.

When I looked at my husband and mentioned it might be cool to do that he replied: “Sure why not? I bet it’d look nice.”

Challenge accepted.

Dye Day

I walked into the salon, excited and nervous. I had pictures ready to show my stylist, and we went to work. We bleached my hair out to this disgusting yellow blonde, then went on with the color. I told my stylist I wanted it to be a surprise.

Inside, throughout the entire process I was screaming a variety of things…

WHAT IF I DON’T LIKE IT?! WHAT IF IT TURNS OUT BRIGHTER THAN I WANTED?! WHAT IF MY HUSBAND DOESN’T LIKE IT?! WHAT IF I LOSE MY JOB?! OR WORSE, I CAN NEVER GET ANOTHER JOB?! WHAT AM I DOING, WHY DID I DO THIS?!

Then, the reveal. Boom. There it was, in all it’s glory. This brightly colored new me staring at back in the mirror. I was flooded with compliments from other stylists, and I was in shock. Who was that person staring at me in the mirror? Was it really me? I guess it is. Holy crap, I look fabulous #purplehairdon’tcare

Day One with Purple Hair

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I was self conscious. So self conscious. I wanted to wear a hat, I would sneak into the office building where I worked, hoping not to draw attention to myself (hah – yeah right!), and I would just hold myself less confidently.

Occasionally someone would say, “Oh my gosh, I love your hair!” And that would help. I would, for a moment, be like yes, this was the right decisions. I started questioning why I did it, seeing how my social anxiety was through the roof. I felt like everyone and their grandma was staring at me for the wrong reasons, and I felt like the comments of “wow, you dyed your hair! It’s interesting!” Was actually “wow, look at your hair, it’s horrible. Why would you do that?”

Day Three with Purple Hair

The new person in the mirror is still startling me. I forget that the person who shows up is actually me, despite it looking like a completely different person. My confidence has gone up, despite my constant doubting in the form of questions: “Are you sure you like it? Why don’t other people seem to like it? Do you think I made the right choice? Should it be less bright? What if…”

Ah, anxiety at it’s finest.

I was battling with not being entirely confident in the hair color still, the general anxiety of thinking people were always saying something negative about me, and the quizzical stares of my peers as I explained my hair choice.

Day Fifteen with Purple Hair

I don’t know when it happened but I got comfortable with it. I stopped caring if other people were staring, because chances are they were maybe seeing me like I saw all colorful beings prior to this. I was hoping they saw me as confident, bold and unique. I hope that they saw me and realized that they could do it too. Now that is a good feeling.

Today with Purple Hair

indigo and violet hair

I honestly think I’ve got a problem now. A hair dye addiction if you will. I’ve decided that the next time I dye my hair I’m getting rainbow underlights. Besides purple, my favorite color is rainbow. Yes, it’s a color. Besides all of that, I’m confident and I usually forget my hair is purple.

My social anxiety about having a bold color has subsided. Which I guess is in part to the fact that about a month ago I went from Indigo to Violet, and I feel less like a fluorescent sign and a little more like a regal queen.

My decision to dye my hair, while spontaneous, was also something I dwelled on for months. I knew I wanted to do it, but I was being held back by what ifs and I knew this year I wasn’t going to let what if’s hold me back. Heck, my husband and I had just committed to a cross country move for a job that was riddled with what ifs and I took that head on. So why should I let something as simple as hair color (that could always be changed again, mind you) be the door stopper to my “What if?” free year.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is this: if you always let the what if’s stop you, you will never know what could have been. And to me, I’d rather have done it and realized it wasn’t a good idea than to live with wondering what could have been.

Also, if you’re like me and you’ve never done anything crazy with your style before give it a week or two before you decide you don’t like it. Chances are you’ll probably be uncomfortable and unsure, since it’s so new and so different, but if by the end of two weeks you still aren’t feeling it, go back and change it. At least you tried it!

So that, my friends, was the epic saga of dying my hair, abridged for your reading pleasure. Go forth this year, make a change, do something you’ve always wanted too, and be proud of who you are.

girl with purple hair on bicycle


 

Go Chelsie!! Check out her other guest posts on my blog here:

A Journey Through Self Harm

My Introduction to Emetophobia

If you would like to email Chelsie, you can send any questions, concerns, comments or suggestions to contact@youmeandemetophobia.com. She says, “I will do my best to respond to you within 48 hours, but if for some reason I cannot get back to you in that time frame, I promise I will always respond as soon as possible. Also, feel free to join our Emetophobia Support Group on Facebook. It is a closed, by request only group to help facilitate sharing and support by all members. It is also private, meaning that the posts you and others make will not show up publicly in your newsfeed.”

If you are interested in guest posting on The Wishing Well, leave me a comment and we’ll touch base. I can’t promise I’ll take every submission, but I am dedicated to sharing stories of recovering from mental illness with honesty, humor and heart.♥︎