~hiatus time~

Hey guys! This is honestly really not as big a deal as I’m making it out to be, but I just wanted to let you know that I won’t be posting on Monday. I’ve been trying to keep up honestly a somewhat ridiculous level of productivity, throughout the course of a year and a half now, and although I love this blog, it does get to be a lot.

I’m going to be having a sleepover with a friend this weekend, and I’ve decided that I really need to take a weekend off, so that is what I will be doing. I want to be able to really just enjoy spending time with her, without having to constantly be only half in the moment because I’m trying to keep up with deadlines and post on Instagram or whatever.

Your normal posting schedule will return next Friday, and I might be releasing a little secret project I’m very excited about pretty soon as well, we’ll see. You all are amazing, and thank you so much for all the support you’ve given me. I’m not giving up on this blog, just taking some time away from it. ❤

Lots of love,

dragonwritesthings

How to support a loved one with mental illness

I recently received a comment on one of my posts about if I had any advice on how to support loved ones struggling with their mental health. And although I’m not an expert, I think that having resources both for people who are struggling themselves, and for others to support their loved ones are equally important. So I thought, as someone who struggles with anxiety, dysthymia, self-harm, depersonalization, body image issues, and just a whole slew of other mental health issues, I’d would give my best advice on this topic. That being said, I am not a doctor or a professional in any way–and obviously not representative of every person who has ever had a mental health issue ever, so keep that in mind. 🙂

Help me fix myself

One of the hardest things I’ve seen for people to accept, and one of the hardest things even for me to accept when it comes to supporting friends with a mental illness is that… I can’t fix it, or control it–that ultimately, healing from something is in the victim’s hands.

No matter how many times you tell them you love them, that you’re there for them, that they’re beautiful just the way they are, it isn’t going to fix the fact that the majority of the time, they might not be able to believe those things themselves. For that reason, as hard as it is,the most important thing for the both of you to accept is that although you are there for them, and will support them no matter what, it’s not your job to recover for them.

You can’t control their suffering, and trying to mostly just comes off counterproductive.

Listen to me

If I had a dollar for every time someone had used my anxiety, depression, or any other mental health issue I’m struggling with as an excuse to invalidate my opinions… well, I’d be pretty rich. Often, told people I’m concerned about something, and they’ve told me I’m just being anxious. Which can, for obvious reasons, be really harmful.

Even talking about other people with mental illness that way–as though because of their illness they’re automatically incapable of advocating for themselves, making their own decisions, and generally be full, independent human beings, doesn’t exactly send a great message, and honestly, it’s just a really shitty thing to do. Which brings me into…

Consider your words

Honestly, most people who care enough to be looking up online how to look a post like this up aren’t the type of people who need to hear this point. But it’s really important to me, so I wanted to make it anyway.

What people have said, even about strangers on the street has really affected me (especially when I was hearing these things as a child) . When you make a comment about someone’s weight while grocery shopping, or how lazy and useless your relative with depression is at a family dinner, at least for me, it’s almost as bad as if you had just said that to me yourself. (For the record, both of these things have happened to me before, more than once and at pretty young ages.)

Often when I’m gauging whether someone is a safe person to talk to, I’ll sort of bide my time in terms of talking to them about my mental health, and observe how they treat other people. If I get even the slightest hint they might not be an accepting person to talk to, I won’t do it, and I’ll just keep it to myself, even during a crisis.

Give me space

Sometimes, you just need to process things on your own. Especially with anxiety, sometimes you being there isn’t what the person needs. And mostly, they just need to curl up in their room, and be alone for a little while. (At least for me.) Of course, checking in on someone is totally okay, but I guess what I’m trying to say here is: respect their space, but make sure they know you’re there when they’re ready to talk.

That being said, if your loved one is in a crisis, and you believe them to be at risk of harming themselves, this tip is obviously not applicable and in that kind of urgent situation it is vital to make sure that they are safe, and contact whatever mental health support they need.

Advocate for me

I know this sounds cheesy, but despite how hard it’s been, getting help has changed my life. Am I perfect? No. I still struggle, obviously. But the amount of growth I’ve experienced since reaching out is amazing.

However, getting that help is a very difficult and lengthy process. Mental health care is only funded in my area in a very limited way, and seeking private help is too expensive for my family to consider, which left me essentially bouncing between limited free service and limited free service. This is a huge issue, and something I believe needs to change, but… well, that’s another post.

Essentially, in November 2018, my panic attacks at school got so bad my mom suggested medication. For a while, we considered some natural alternatives, but in the end decided not to go for them. I ended up then going to the doctor, asking for medication. He sent me to an anxiety specialist, but the specialist wasn’t accepting new clients, so then my doctor told me to go to the local health clinic, and speak to a psychiatric nurse, who sent me to a government funded counselling service, where I was then on a six-month waitlist, and in the meantime, used my mom’s work benefits, and, with some wheedling and persuasion, got fifteen sessions paid by that, before finally getting forty more sessions government-funded after a very long wait. Having someone to support you through the nightmare that is the healthcare system is really helpful, rather than having to brave it completely alone. Even if all you do is sit in the waiting room while your loved one talks to the doctor, at least for me, it means the world.

Take care of yourself

Even if you might not struggle to the degree your friend or family member does, everyone has mental health, and everyone needs to maintain it. So do whatever you need to take care of yourself. You’re not their therapist, and it is not your job to fix them, just to support them and love them as best you can along their own journey. Often, I can get really wrapped up in my friends’ issues, to the point of going to therapy and just talking about my friends’ problems and how worried I am about them for half of a session, which is something I’m working on, and I’m not really sure where that balance is, between caring for other people and caring for myself, but it’s something I’m working on, and something I think it’s really important to be able to do.

I hope these tips were helpful. Thanks so much for reading 🙂

Lots of love,

dragonwritesthings

How I cope with bad days

Hello my lovely artichokes! I hope you all are doing okay, although if you’re reading this post, you probably maybe are not. Which sucks.

During this whole pandemic, and as well just due to a lot of personal things going on, I’ve been having some major ups and downs. I don’t know how to fix it, but I have learned some tactics that help me cope.

However, often when I’m in that really dark place though, I can’t remember those things, and not only don’t really want to feel better, but don’t know how I would go about doing that even if I wanted to, hence this post, which I hope can just serve as a little reminder of some nice things you can do for yourself, even if you’re struggling. Obviously, none of this is going to cure your mental health issues, but I hope that maybe these ideas can help you get through a bad day. ❤

Read a book!

Often, my response to feeling bad is to just spend a lot of time watching Netflix. Obviously, screen time is not inherently evil, but after a couple hours of just watching TV and not really doing anything, you start to feel pretty terrible. Usually I get a headache from fixating in one place too long, I start to beat myself up for just sitting on the couch all day… and all around, it sucks. So sometimes, just swapping to some form of entertainment that you can hold in your hands really helps me cope, and take my mind off things in a little gentler way. For me, reading is really good–sometimes all I need is to just focus on something simple and calming for a couple hours, and I don’t know; it usually makes me feel at least a little better.

Drink some f*cking water

Okay, say it with me kids: COFFEE IS NOT WATER. I tend to just tell myself that, like, because something has some traces of liquid in it, it is therefore the equivalent of just drinking a glass of water. (Eating an apple? Water!) (Eating watermelon? Even more water! Look at me being hydrated!) Um, which is kind of the dumbest thing, but, well, I do it anyhow. Often I’ll just drink two cups of coffee on a really hot day, and then wonder why I feel terrible. (Apparently coffee can be dehydrating.) Obviously, drinking water is not going to cure your anxiety and depression, but even if you mentally feel terrible, not having to in addition deal with the fact that physically, you kind of want to throw up and/or pass out at least makes it easier to cope.

Talk to an actual human being

I know not everyone can physically see a friend right now, depending on how/if restrictions are loosening in your area–and not everyone has someone to turn to. But if possible, just spending time either in real life if it’s safe in your area, or having a FaceTime call with your friends can be a really good way to get out of your head for a little. It might not fix things forever, but just having half an hour of being with people who make you happy can be good as a way of shaking off some of that empty, pointless feeling. Often when I’m worrying about something, just surrounding myself with the actual reality of my life, rather than this myth I’ve built up in my head can help dismiss some of my worries.

Take a shower

I don’t know if this is something that bugs other people as much as it bugs me, but feeling clean is really important to my mental health. On days when I don’t change out of my PJS, don’t take a shower, I just sort of automatically slide into feeling really numb and placid and sorry for myself, which can easily escalate into a full-blown breakdown, which is why maintaining some level of basic human hygiene is really important to me. Even after you have had that breakdown, taking a shower, washing your face, etc. can feel, to me, like putting those bad feelings behind me, and giving myself a fresh start. Again, it doesn’t solve all of your problems, but it’s a little thing that helps me deal, and a good habit I feel like to get into.

Take on a small task (if you have the energy)

So, I’m a total hypocrite with this one, since as I write this my bed is unmade, there are clothes thrown around all over my floor, old mugs teacups scattered around my room, a curling iron on the floor, and in general I’m a bit of a mess. But ignoring that part–Often just dealing with small things that have been stressing you out–like cleaning your bathroom counter, or doing laundry can at least help relieve a little bit of the background stress in your head, and give you a feeling of productivity and accomplishment, which if you’re like me, is really important. Often, I’m either too anxious to focus on those kinds of things, or too tired and sad and just generally indifferent to have the energy, and especially when I’m feeling depressed even little tasks can leave me feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, so this isn’t always a good idea. But if you can handle it, it is helpful in some cases.

Get some fresh air

My house is lit terribly–there are so many trees in or yard, and the windows are placed in the absolute worst locations, which means usually my house is pretty dingy and dark, and obviously artificial lighting is just not the same thing as actual birds chirping and real sunlight. Often when I’m really getting into a bad place, I just get deeper and deeper into this little reality in my head, where everyone hates me and my life is pointless, and maybe I should just give up on all my hopes and dreams because I am an awful person… you get the idea. Going outside tends to have this way of snapping me back into reality, and just gets me to kind of get out of my head, and focus on more simple things, like the wind in my hair or the rain on my cheeks. Just not thinking for a while is nice I guess, and getting some exercise, even if it’s just going on a walk, I have found helps me feel less anxious or depressed.

Do something for yourself

This is something I’m still really figuring out, but sometimes on bad days, just doing something soley for myself helps. I guess it’s kind of a way of contradicting all these really hard thoughts I usually have, about not being worthy of anything, because in doing things just for me. Obviously it’s different for everyone, but for me some activities that work are:

  • Baking or cooking something just for myself, either comfort food I’ve had a million times before or a new recipe
  • Writing something just for myself, rather than just because I want someone to like it, and just having fun with it
  • Trying a new activity just for fun. My friend taught me how to skateboard a couple days ago, which I’ve never tried or liked before, and it was seriously the happiest I’ve felt in ages. It’s really hard for me to do something without the intention to monetize it in the future, and I guess it was nice to just do something because it makes me smile, even if I’m terrible at it. Some things you could maybe try are: drawing, origami, doing something new with your hair/makeup, doing a craft, knitting, sewing or playing around with an instrument/trying to learn it if you feel like it.

Let it out

Sometimes, you just need to get it out, and that’s okay. Whether that be by letting yourself cry, screaming into a pillow, writing/drawing it out if you’re a creative type like me, or talking to someone about your feelings, often I just need to get that weight off my shoulders. So never be afraid to do any of those things when you need to. Obviously, allowing yourself to have a full-blown breakdown is never fun, but afterwards often I do feel a whole lot better.


This is just what I’ve found works for me, but I hope it can be helpful for you too. I hope your bad day gets better soon, and that you know that… you deserve to be happy. Say that out loud. I deserve to be happy. I know it’s not as simple as some stranger on the internet telling you that, but I hope someday you can believe it to be true.

Lots of love,

dragonwritesthings

so… i have a face!

Hey guys! So this honestly is nowhere near a big enough deal to warrant a whole post in its honour, but here I am, making one anyway, because, I don’t know. It feels somehow like a pretty huge milestone to me.

Yesterday on my Wattpad, I did a face reveal–because I’m at the point where, I don’t know, I’m tired of being ashamed or embarrased of my appearance, and the things I do online, and because this summer I’m planning on just working really hard on growing this platform and making not just more content, but different content, more quality content, maybe starting a more typical YouTube channel with vlogs and book reviews and all those things–and probably by the end of the summer starting to run this platform under my real name. This is just a first step, but it means a lot to me, and it’s taken a long year of working on myself and this site to get there. So without further ado, here is my face! (ft. terrible lighting, and very frizzy hair but oh well, at least I tried)

And of course, no face reveal would be complete without the 1am work selfie I don’t actually remember taking ft. my room

Anyhow. I guess…. that is it? Wow.

Lots of love,

dragonwritesthings

tips for coping with isolation/studying from home from your local homeschooler

Hey guys! So, since I am a homeschooler, who has been working from home on a computer, and doing my work, for the most part, remotely, for a pretty long time, and somehow managed to maintain my sanity, I thought I would give some advice from my Ye Olde Homeschooler self, because seeing the entire world work from home is a little like watching my sixth grade year play out on a national scale, for every person ever–and it is… very gratifying, honestly.

What my homeschooling normally looks like

Okay, so first off, let’s get into how my homeschooling works to avoid any further confusion. So… how does Dragon stay home all the time and kind of function? How does she do it?

Um, okay, all jokes aside through, I am not as put together as I try to come off on the internet. In all actuality, I am a steaming hot mess who kind of read the Five-Minute Manager when she was seven and also could probably do your taxes and is slowly turning into a sad housewife, but that’s, um…. another story. I’m not perfect, and I don’t mean for this post to come off like I am, or make you feel like you’re not doing good enough. This is hard for everyone, and that includes me too–and if you’re struggling to be productive due to the virus or any other reason, that doesn’t make you dumb or lazy or whatever, it just makes you valid, and human.

Anyhow, I started homeschooling around what you Americans would call middle school years, and I call elementary school years–grade six and seven–and then I entered high school in eighth grade, and the whole system changed from mostly paper-based, mostly self-directed with my parents doing some of my marking to having more than a single teacher and a place I could actually get work done at in the local high school. As I got older, I started to use that space more and more, and for a while took an early morning class at mainstream high school and almost died, but anyhow, I still work two to three days at home pre-lockdown, and during my tween years worked 100% from home.

I don’t know how any other of my homeschooler pals out there do things–but that’s how I roll. So with the lockdown, academically speaking I know all of the ropes of doing things via DL with no direction from anyone, including my parents, from a distance, via computer and paper too–even though this is taking a huge toll on me emotionally and is also just really frustrating.

Know your learning style!

So, I think working from home can go really well for some people, and really poorly for others? I don’t know, for me I do my best work independently–but for other people, it’s just not ideal. It’s just very specifically formatted, unintentionally, for a very specific type of person.

I’m an auditory learner, personally–like, a very strong auditory learner, which I guess is why I tend to lean towards audio and audio production? When something is in audio format, it just clicks for me somehow. So I know this is gonna make you roll your eyes, but knowing your learning type can really help you figure out how to make working from home tolerable for you.

As well, knowing yourself in general is really important, since ultimately in a homeschooling/ distance learning situation, figuring out what works for you… is up to you.  So for some people, working with a strict routine works best–but for other people I think just working when they feel like it is probably a lot better. So experiment with different setups and see what works for you is my best advice in that regard, I guess.

Anxiety and self-doubt

So here’s the tea: anxiety and homeschooling are really not a good combination. (Very ironically, since I think so many kids homeschool due to anxiety or some other mental illness.) And that is especially true when you first start, and if you’re already going through a stressful time, which I think so many of us are now. So I guess what I’m trying to get at here is that it’s natural if you’re stressed or scared, whether or not you have anxiety or any other mental illness–so yeah. If you’re wondering whether suddenly having to manage all of these things you’re used to having help with is scary, the answer is yes. Absolutely.

I don’t really have any tips for dealing with this, because honestly it’s still really hard for me, even after all these years doing this. But just know you’re not alone in it.

Screen time

Okay, so I know this sounds like something you’d hear in a health class, but hear me out. With normal school, it’s like, you get home from school where you’ve been mostly off a screen all day, and then you unwind on a screen, watching YouTube or a TV show, maybe see your friends, etc. And then you’d do your homework on a computer or something. Which is reasonable. But with homeschooling, and especially during the lockdown… pretty much your whole life revolves around sitting on the couch, staring at various different screens.

Which is a lot.  And I know it seems great for a little while, but pretty soon you’re staring at a screen having worked eight hours with no break in a semi-dissociative state pondering whether or not man exists separate of the machine with stomach cramps and a tension headache. So if you would like to prevent that from happening, which trust me you do, I recommend:

  1.  Printing out your work as much as possible if you have a printer—aside from anything else, I’m 90% sure my mom read a study a while back that you retain information better when it’s on paper than on a screen, although that might have been a fever dream—and plus allows you to not lose your mind, and also doodle on the edges of the paper and crumple it up when you finish reading it, so honestly everyone wins.
  2. Take breaks and regularly go outside if possible. You know what I mean—read a book, doodle, honestly even doing chores for an hour can help, just anything physical you can touch with your hands. Going on a walk, depending on the lockdown restrictions of your area, and getting some exercise also really helps me clear my head–or if you’re not allowed outside, go into your backyard if you have one, or out on the balcony of your apartment. Even cracking open a window and just watching the world go by for a little I think would be good.
  3. For me even just doing a different task on my computer helps a little if you’re too busy to take a small break and work on another project.

This is really just what works for me–but I hope these tips are, like, somewhat helpful.

My lockdown experience

I don’t know about your personal experience with isolation, because everyone is different. But I thought I’d talk a little bit about mine, just in the hope of… someone connecting to this or finding this comforting somehow. I don’t know, when I see people I know and people I follow online or even just my friends talking about stuff they’re going through, it really helps me understand myself and feel less alone and it’s just… one of the best things to see in life ever, period, so I try to do that as much as possible online, as is, um, probably evident.  Given my entire platform is built on that premise.

So for me, isolation is turning me into a bit of a hot fucking mess, honestly. My sleep schedule is a mess, I have these weird anxiety/depression cycles where my dysthymia takes over whether I like it or not and just makes me feel like absolute shit, cry a lot, and just feel sad and cold and empty, and then anxiety is over there, being all “you are a literal death potato, stop being sad and go have a panic attack” and then I do, and then I work really hard until I burn out, and the cycle continues. I have a lot of mood swings too, and yeah, my brain is just throwing all of the fun curveballs at me.

I don’t know if this is something that works for everything, but you know the song, “The Next Right Thing” from Frozen 2, and how it talks about just taking things one step at a time when you can’t bare to think about the whole of it? That’s sort of how I’ve been dealing of late, a concept that, sorry to break it to you, my therapist came up with a lot before Disney did, but, um, yeah. I don’t check the news right now, because honestly, I can’t handle it–and honestly,  it triggers the shit out of me. I don’t try to think about how long this is going to last, because the future is unpredictable especially in this situation, and if I go down that path, I am just going to end up in that really dark, empty place again. I never think more than a week ahead. I don’t let myself fantasize about when this will be over in too detailing specifics. And it sucks, and it’s hard… but right now, it’s kind of the only thing holding me together.

Email your teachers, kids!

Keeping in touch with teachers is, like, really important? I don’t know if this is something everyone already knows or not, but if you’re socially awkward like me it’s probably something you struggle with, so, um, yeah. If you have questions, you need to ask them, it is kind of what teachers are paid to do, and I know it’s scary, I know it’s hard, but you have to do what you have to do sometimes, and if you’re having an issue with something or need some information, your teachers can’t read your mind.

And especially right now, when there’s so little certainty, if you have a teacher who you’re close to and feel like you can ask for advice, or confide in, or just stay in touch with even casually, take advantage of that. This makes me sound like such a mom, but a huge part of working from home isn’t just being to a degree, your own teacher, it’s learning to advocate for your own needs and sticking up for yourself, which is something I think homeschooling has really taught me to do that I definitely did not know how to do before I started down this path. A lot of the time, we’re not taught to stick up for ourselves and our needs, and often have a lot of really bad feelings and fears behind that. It feels like moving mountains.

But if there’s any one skill to take away from this post, it’s to practice reaching out, and advocating for your needs, because if you don’t while distance learning, no one else really will.  Which is hard, and scary, and definitely a learning curb, but a skill that has really helped me out in a ton of other areas, both personal and more professional, and that I think is really valuable. 

Habits!

I know every fucking mental health account on Instagram has said this already, but, um, in this case they are kind of right, even if I am getting a little fed up of seeing it on my feed all of the time.  Habits are really hard to shake once you let them set–and I know, because I’m working on the outline for this post, like, one in the morning on my laptop with the full knowledge that I have much higher priorities right now on my to-do list and just really need to stop, but, um, anyhow, that is a whole other thing.

Just be mindful about the routines you’re setting up, I guess, and whether or not you want to be living like this for the long period. In the absence of school to determine when you eat and sleep and all that stuff, it’s easy for all of those things to just go out the window, but they’re still important, so… yeah. 

And with these–um–these homeschooler tips from me, who you will now be referring to us your Online School Mom, you are… um… ready for kindergarten kids, I believe in you, off you go–no, that was bad. But seriously, I do hope this was helpful, and gave you at least a little bit of comfort during a really shitty time.

Lots of love,

dragonwritesthings