04/12/2016

MENTAL HEALTH | aromatherapy & anxiety

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i have always been opposed to the "mindful", "positive thoughts" movement and all its advice on mental health, as they seem to portray these serious problems as something one can change with a simple daily routine and a bit of will power. well, the reality is a bit different. mental illnesses are illnesses, not bad lifestyles which can be quickly changed into an more agreeable, Instagram-friendly routine. now, i'm not saying any of these tips don't actually help at all—and, as you've guessed, i'm actually going to praise one of them right below—, but they simply cannot eliminate all mental health problems. they can help ease some of the symptoms, but that's about it in most cases. so, please don't believe this false reality such articles and people promoting them preach, and don't feel bad if any of those tips don't work for you at all. and please, don't feel ashamed to reach out for medical help, often it's 100% better than all those positive articles combined.

anyway, let's get to the point. some time ago, i found myself at dm, a cosmetic/household store, having quite a crazy anxiety attack. all sweaty and disoriented, i found myself aimlessly cruising through the aisles of that crammed shop right off Potsdamer Platz, surrounded by tons of people in pre-Christmas craze, feeling like i was gonna lose it right on the spot. then i found myself standing right in front of the section with candles, home scents, and essential oils. at this point, my anxiety has been bad for several weeks, so i felt like the 2 euros spent on an essential oil could be quite a good investment. i wanted to go for eucalyptus oil, which i had often used before to help me doze off at night, but decided to go for orange instead. when i successfully managed to get my deranged mind and body back home, i poured a bit of the oil on a small plate and put it on my radiator. minutes later, an incredibly relaxing, fresh, and mind-freeing scent filled my room and, however sceptical at first, i had to admit that it really did help me with the anxious, panicky feelings i was experiencing. they did not magically disappear with a blink of an eye, but i could feel my muscles and my brain loosening up, and slowly i could start breathing again.

later on i realized how much scents in general actually affect how i feel – how much i love putting on perfume or using this special soap from Lush when showering, and concluded that that might be the key to helping me out on the tough days. ever since, i'm all about scented candles and oils, which i use all the time at home, and if i happen to be outside, i reapply body scents that make me feel comfortable (for example, i love my jasmine perfume, but it's a bit too strong when i get anxious, so i prefer to add a bit of my cashmere-scented natural deodorant, which has the sweetest smell of the softest, warm freshly clean clothes).

most articles will recommend lavender, bergamot or eucalyptus scents, but i'd say it's absolutely depends on each person's own preferences. as much as i love the smell of anything floral (most of my cosmetic products are either jasmine & lily or rose scented), i cannot really stand them when i get nervous, which is why lavender would never work for me, even though i love it. on the other hand, fruity smells help me, as well as sweet, soft and warm scents. orange oil helps me overcome panicky moments, peach makes me feel more content and nice. vanilla candle makes me feel all homey and cozy.

it really depends on each person, but i guess smells can really evoke certain pleasant feeling which can help one with coping with difficult moments. it's all about trying, i suppose. but as i've mentioned, you don't need fancy diffusers and aroma lamps to start your own aromatherapy project, a tiny plate and a few drops of essential oil are just enough. take it easy, be nice to yourself, and treat yourself a bit. it's all about self-care.

this is not a medically-backed article claiming that aromatherapy will cure any mental illness. it also does not want to encourage anyone to experiment with their own health. if you're experiencing severe problems with your own mental health, please do not hesitate to search for help. your mental health is not a DIY project.

27/11/2016

ANALOG | oct/nov

some leftover pics from the last two film rolls. meanwhile, my beloved [mju:] broke down (again), and the last film was pretty much destroyed (hence the few grainy photos). life sucks, eh. here are some saved photos from Berlin, Prague, and my CZ hometown, with a lots of my friends guest-starring.

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Yves Tumor at winter Creepy Teepee
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hometown
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Olympiastadion
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Klinikum am Urban
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Yves Tumor
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Charité
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me and my pup
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Klinikum am Urban
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vegan langoš by my grandma
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18/11/2016

MENTAL HEALTH | self-help

TW: mental health, depression

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i am sick of all those super-mindful articles about how to overcome feeling depressed which all tell you to stress less and maintain healthy sleeping patterns. sure, everyone would love to do that, but there's this little thing called mental illness that prevents many from doing so. no, saying "don't stress" to yourself when your heart is racing and your whole skin is covered in sweat will not make the anxiety disappear. of course, 8 hours of sleep each day would be brilliant, but it's not that easy to influence, right?

unfortunately, a lot of self-help articles repeat those—in my opinion—slightly stupid and not that helpful tips. however, the reality of mental illnesses is much different. of course i'd love to follow all these steps and live a blissful life, but i also want to listen to the same sad song 20 times on repeat and cry on the floor for several hours. and knowing that i am both mentally and physically incapable of fulfilling them makes it even worse, in fact.

and because my own mental health has been quite a shit show lately (which is why this blog has become so quiet), i decided to make my own list of tips that can help me and—if you want—you too with surviving the dark days. it is more of a checklist of what to do to keep up with being a person when you hit the rock bottom. when you're lower than low, and just the idea of being alive is a bit too much. (or, not just a bit. it's overwhelmingly, terrifyingly too much, and you have no idea what do with it, and would rather hide under the blankets until it goes away.)

so, here's my absolutely most important self-help things to do shortlist:
– drink water
– eat at least one proper meal*
– get out of your bed**
– take a shower and wear clean clothes
– take all the meds and vitamins you need
– breathe

*i know eating tends to be incredibly difficult, and sometimes you feel like throwing up straight after you wake up. by "proper meal", i mean anything that can fill you up a bit, if it's hard to imagine yourself eating, try a banana or oatmeal, for instance. or try disguising a lot of good vitamins in a smoothie – it's a drink! it's not a meal! it's easy to swallow! (frankly, banana smoothies were the only thing i could stomach when i was experiencing the worst physical depression of my whole life) also, if the only thing you're craving are fries or instant noodles or kebabs, just fucking go for it. people often laugh at me for consuming so many instant noodle soups, but hey, i'm eating at least! just get some nourishment into your body in any way you can, deal?

**even if it's just for morning/evening hygiene rituals and going to the bathroom. that's still great!

ok, if you manage to go through these 6 things, you are amazing. you are alive and trying. you are clean and taking care of your body. that is just enough.

now, according to how brave you feel, try incorporating these activities to get back on track:

first of all, sort out what really needs to be done: have you replied to important emails and messages? is there any important project you need to finish? (if yes and you're absolutely incapable of working on it, try splitting the work into small parts, starting with what's the most urgent) have you washed the dishes or is there a huge, disgusting pile of plates with week-old leftovers? do you have clean clothes or do you need to do laundry? when was the last time you took out trash? do you have food in your fridge? (if you're unable to go outside, order it online, or get someone to bring it to you. do. not. starve. yourself.)
i know all these tasks are the most difficult in such times, but try get done with them. take your time, plan a reward system, whatever you like. it'll feel like a little victory when you manage, trust me.

now, make yourself feel good, or at least relatively ok, again:
go for a walk. if you cannot really face being surrounded by people, do it at night/early morning. if you're physically exhausted or incredibly anxious, just go outside of your house (or perhaps take out the trash) and go back. slowly increase. cook or bake something really nice, or just ok. clean your room. or just the surroundings of your bed. take a long, long bath. do some kind of wellness, like a face mask or peeling or mani or whatever. draw. write a journal. read. watch your favorite movie or TV series. take naps. light candles. sing to your fav songs. pretty much anything that feels soothing to you.

remember to take baby steps. don't overpush yourself. you and your wellbeing is the most important thing here. it is okay to admit that you cannot do certain things (just yet) because you are not healthy enough. there's no shame in that.

you are allowed to cry. you are allowed to complain, and hate, and scream. and feel like everything is shit and the future is bleak. but please, do not give up trying.

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this article is like a little reminder to myself how to keep on going when it gets tough. i am no specialist, so, if you're experiencing severe problems with your own mental health, please do not hesitate to search for help. your mental health is not a DIY project.