Life after antidepressants: the truth.

Book, coffee cup and white square plate with a pink doughnut

Hello, dear readers! If you have been following my blog for quite a while, you might remember my previous posts about panic attacks and depression. If not – here is a quick recap. I have been on and off antidepressants for several times since I was twelve. For quite a while I was on Zoloft which should have made me more calm and not so emotional but made me feel suicidal instead, even though I never really considered taking my own life before. Later my therapist changed my medicine and prescribed me Venlaxor which had to increase my productivity, energy level etc. I ended up feeling like a sleepy, emotionless robot instead, who could not focus on anything. In June 2017 I realized that I am done with medication, it made things worse instead of making them better, so I decided to quit. Not right away because you can not just stop taking your medication without experiencing terrible withdrawal, so I gradually decreased the amount until I finally stopped taking it. Am I proud of my decision? Yes, I have not swallowed another pill ever since. Is my life struggle free now? No. And that is what I wanted to talk about today.

Living with depression and not relying on medication is still tough. Some days seem good enough: I am spending time with my friends, laughing and enjoying the moment. On other days I feel empty, unproductive and just want to sleep, hoping that one day I will wake up but it is not how things work. Even for those, who do not suffer from depression, some days are better and some days are worse. Now, imagine, how it feels for a depressed person. Good days might be just as good but bad days are worse. Sometimes those bad days follow one after another. I can barely get out of the bed, even making myself a cup of tea seems like too much work. I would rather stay in bed and keep sleeping because that is the only activity that does not require energy and any emotion. On my bad days I feel helpless. Going grocery shopping and cooking is too much work, I would rather starve for a little longer. Going out to see my friends takes too much energy and effort. And… are they even my friends? I hate that in adult life it is normal to talk to people you call your friends just once a week or less. In my eyes that makes them turn into acquaintances. Friends are those, who are with you through good and bad times, not those, who you resist to call because you feel like such a meaningless person in their lives.

Since January of this year something terrible has been happening to me. Or I should probably say that something happened and I have been living with consequences ever since. Someone that I just started seeing and getting to know, really let me down. He lied to me about something very serious and then had the nerve to tell me he has nothing to do with it and it is all my fault. We have not talked since and I was left alone to deal with the situation. I am still dealing with it. Still feeling anxious and getting panic attacks because of it. It is the worst thing that has ever happened to me and it sucks to feel alone in this situation. I have talked to my family and few of my so-called friends but it still hurts. It feels like physical healing is way faster than the emotional one because I am still crying about it until this day. Maybe in the future I will talk about this even in depth but right now I am just not ready for this.

So I keep living: breathing, writing and trying to function like a normal human being. Sometimes I fail and sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I spend most of the day in bed with my laptop or simply sleeping. Sometimes I get out of bed, go to work, meet my friends and actually manage to be quite productive. I have not given up. As long as I am breathing, I am still trying. Sometimes I fail to take care of myself and get drunk or sleep all day but that is okay. Living without being on medication is not easier but it is worth it overall. Even if I do not write or play the guitar every day, I am still more inspired to do it than, for example, two years ago. Even if I do not feel happy every day, at least I have emotions instead of the dull, empty feeling that was caused by antidepressants. Even if all I can manage to do in a day is do my laundry, cook some pasta, shower and clean the bedside table, it is better than sleeping all day and not caring about my surroundings.

This is my recovery – it is messy, unpredictable, with its’ ups and downs but it is happening. If you are in a similar position right now, you are not alone. Stop being too hard on yourself. Stop expecting fast recovery but know that it gets better.

Love, Porcelain Doll.

 

5 things to do when you’ve hit the rock bottom.

Brunette in a brown coat and brown knitted hat, looking away from the camera.

Hello, dear readers! Growing up feels a lot like leveling up in a certain game – challenges get harder with every level. In some days you feel like you have it all figured out and you know, how to “play this game” but at some you feel like you are failing completely. Maybe you just got broken up with, fired, manipulated, lied to, lost your best friend, lost the money, got cheated on, faced sudden and serious health problems – whatever it is, sometimes it feels like you have reached the rock bottom and there is no going back. However, if you are in that mindset right now, I’m here to help you to dig yourself out of that hole. There is a way out and it’s only too late when you’re dead. Here are five things you can do when it feels like you’re in an incredibly bad situation and it feels like it won’t ever get better.

  1. Cry it out and pour a glass of wine. Bottling up emotions has never done anything good, so let it all out. You can ask for a friend to come over. Wine is optional but sometimes it helps to get your thoughts out, feel good and relax.
  2. Realize what makes you upset, what caused this unpleasant situation and figure out, if you can do something about it. For example, you just found out you have an STD. What caused it? This time it was a dishonest partner, who you really trusted. Did you had “the talk” before you decided to have sex with them? You did. How could you knew that they weren’t honest with you? You couldn’t. What can you do? Get a treatment, if there is one and talk to your partner about it. What if there is no treatment? You do your research on how to live with it and connect with other people, who are in the same situation as you are to receive some emotional support. What if your partner denies everything, puts the blame on you or simply vanishes? As painful as it is – you have learned the lesson that it is not the type of person you want to be with. You can’t return to the past and change what happened then but you can figure out all the ways you can make your future better. Remember: you are not defined by the mistakes you made.
  3. Accept the fact that healing takes time and be gentle to yourself. It’s okay to make mistakes and no one is perfect. Everyone in this world has screwed up some way. Most people have learned from their mistakes and moved on. For some moving on is easier, for some harder but it is possible. Be gentle to yourself, putting blame on yourself doesn’t help to change the past, even more – it ruins the future, if you keep living with this negative vibe forever.
  4. Dry your tears and brainstorm for ways on how to get better. The fact that you have been in an abusive relationship, doesn’t mean that every future relationship you have will be the same or that you won’t be able to be in a relationship at all. The fact that you have went to ten job interviews and got denied on every single one doesn’t mean that you will never get a job that you like. Usually you have to reach the rock bottom to see the light at the end of the tunnel soon afterwards. Sometimes good things happen when you least expect them, so keep trying.
  5. Take the next step. It’s not easy to go on with your life after a huge downfall but that’s the way life is – ups and downs are inevitable. However, looking from the bright side – if you would never experience any rock bottoms, you would never know, how good it feels to reach the top. Also, the problems that we face, the mistakes that we learn from – it all makes us stronger at the end. Practice doesn’t make us perfect but it definitely makes us better. Life is like an improvisation – you might not know what is going to happen next but you can learn to adapt to different situations and get back up faster, when you fall down.

That’s it for today’s blog post on Dolls Have Hearts. Wish me luck on finding a great summer job and I’ll see you next week when hopefully I will be already employed.

Love, Porcelain Doll.

How smartphone is ruining your life without you even knowing it.

Blonde girl sitting near the fountain with a phone in her hand.

Hello, dear readers! Today I am sharing with you more of an essay type of post about the topic that has been on my mind for quite a while. Without any further intro, let’s dive in.

“What a shiny, little thing!” You think to yourself as you open the box and unpack your new smart phone. It is beautiful, without a single scratch, works incredibly fast and offers a lot of opportunities. You are excited about being able to stay in touch with your friends 24/7, sharing a lot of interesting things on social media, playing games… You feel like you will never get bored again. There’s a whole world beneath your fingertips and instantly you get hooked, forgetting about the fact that your old phone was just the same way when you bought it but turned into laggy, slow and boring device months later.

First month of having a new phone feels like a honeymoon period. You are still exploring it’s options and don’t go anywhere without it. It responds to all of your wants and needs so well. It doesn’t really matter, how often your friends text you because the internet is full of opportunities. You will take that flawless selfie for Instagram, you will tweet non stop, you will post updates on Snapchat, trying to make your life seem more interesting that it actually is. You will anything to gain those followers on each social media platform because the more people follow you, the more influence you have… right? Wrong.

When the honeymoon period is over, you slowly start feeling like your phone doesn’t excite you as much. You keep checking it quite often to get the rush of endorphins but all you get is disappointment. Endless Youtube and Instagram notifications keep popping up but your inbox is still empty. No new messages. No missed calls. Nothing. Do your friends even think about you? If they are, why aren’t they checking up on you? Oh, look, they posted this picture on Instagram, doing some fun things but… you’re not on it. Are they even your friends? What if you don’t have any friends and all the people you used to communicate you were just pretending to like you? Anxious thoughts start racing in your mind and with every second you start feeling worse.

When messaging apps don’t carry any meaning anymore, you turn to social media apps. Maybe, if you post something exciting on Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat, someone will text you. Maybe someone will comment. Maybe someone, anyone will care. But… what can you post, if no one invites you to hang out anymore? If you post third selfie in row where you’re all by yourself, people will think that you are an antisocial freak. Or maybe a narcissist, who’s only cares about your own looks. You wouldn’t want that, right? So you post nothing, yet keep checking up on all the apps. Day by day you are losing followers on social media sites and the only people, who send you texts are your parents. But that doesn’t really count, does it? They are obligated to check up on you.

It’s been several months since your excitement about the “shiny, little thing”died. It doesn’t look so pretty and new anymore. Your smart phone is covered in scratches and the screen is cracked from that one time you went for a run and dropped it on the sidewalk. Even when you open music player, it takes ages to load and when it finally does, and you start listening to music, your phone freezes. The music stops. This device is nothing but a disappointment. It has made you feel lonely, unpopular and less than you are. Even worse, it has stopped performing the most basic actions it should be able to do – texting, calling, setting up an alarm, playing music…

Can it get any worse? You don’t want to spend a lot of money to buy new smart phone only after a year of using your current one but seems like you have no other choice… Wake up! There is a choice – you can stop wasting your money on smartphones. They are built to break after a year or so. That is how phone brands make money. If you would be able to buy a smartphone that lasts 5 or 10 years, there would be way less smartphone purchases meaning less money for phone brands. Also, do you really want to tie your life and self-esteem to a device? Do you really want to spend your whole life online instead of living in the moment? Do you really want to measure your self-worth in followers and likes? Do you want to live in constant anxiety, wondering why you haven’t received any text messages? Just think about it.

Until next time on Dolls Have Hearts!

Love, Porcelain Doll.

My joy list – source of happiness in bleak days.

two girls standing in top of the mountain with raised hands

Hello, dear readers! As you may know, it’s currently an exam time for me which means that I am very stressed out. And, as you may know, it is so easy to focus on all the negative stuff in your life when you are stressed out. I caught myself putting myself down a lot, having a negative body image, worrying about relationships, losing belief that I could get in my dream school, feeling like I have lost my direction once again… You get the point. So today I decided to do something that might count as an act of self-care – writing down all the things that bring me joy. The reason, why I decided to share this with you is because I am encouraging you to do the same, especially if you are in some kind of routine right now or have been feeling down for a while. Do not skip the small things because every little thing matters. Let’s do this exercise together and try to come up with as many things as you can! So here are all the things that bring me joy in life.

  1. Rainy summer days. (Nothing compares to that refreshing feeling when it’s very sultry outside and finally it slowly starts to rain.)
  2. That moment when I can slowly enjoy a cup of coffee in my favorite coffee shop.
  3. Buying new books and notebooks.
  4. Morning routine in which I have at least 30 minutes to read a book and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea.
  5. My cats. (They don’t live with me right now but I visit them now and then, and their purring just warms up my heart.)
  6. Writing in any form. (Wheather it’s a journaling, writing and essay or continuing my novel, writing makes my mind feel clearer and I feel more calm after writing for a while.)
  7. Taking a warm bath. (Preferably with essential oils.)
  8. Listening to empowering music.
  9. Taking a nap.
  10. Reading inspiring books. (For example, “#Girlboss” by Sophia Amoruso, “Witch” by Lisa Lister and “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegy.)
  11. The smell of freshly mown grass.
  12. Enjoying a glass of wine after hard and exhausting day.
  13. Art journaling.
  14. Spontaneous road trips.
  15. Italian cusine.
  16. Exercising.
  17. Dancing.
  18. Watching movies.
  19. Painting.
  20. The smell of lilacs.
  21. Changing the colour of my hair.
  22. Buying new make up.
  23. Getting ready for special occasions.
  24. Going to concerts of musicians that I love.
  25. Getting tattoos.
  26. Trying out new dishes.
  27. Learning new languages.
  28. Riding a bike.
  29. Cold beer.
  30. Getting a manicure.

Those are all the things I can come up with right now but even just writing this list made me feel a lot better about myself and my life. It’s not all that sad and grey as it seemed just a little while ago. Even if it feels like that, those moments will pass. How many things could you come up with? And how many of them you had in common with me? Share in the comments below! 🙂 Until next time on Dolls Have Hearts!

Love, Porcelain Doll.

 

It’s time to stop self victimization.

Blonde woman with flawless makeup black and white photo

Hello, dear readers! Today I wanted to talk about topic that is very familiar to me and might be familiar to you, too. We all had out ups and downs in life but a lot of us have so very serious downfalls. Maybe we were depressed, maybe our parents divorced when we were just kids, maybe we were heavily bullied at school, maybe we had a romantic relationship that shattered into pieces, leaving us vulnerable, sad and… helpless. I have faced three of the four situations I just mentioned and it is harsh. However, for example, after you graduate from the school you were bullied in, the scars still remain. That happened to me and it was ruining my life without me even realizing it. It is normal to be upset about some unpleasant experience in the past but dwelling on it too long actually prevents you from making the most of your life. Recently I caught myself in this state, too and, as they say, admitting that something is wrong is already the first step towards change.

Here are some common signs that you might be self victimizing, too. 

  • You think that everyone else is doing better in life that you are.
  • You feel like everyone and everything is against you, that you are meant to fail.
  • You are constantly putting yourself down.
  • You expect to receive sympathy from others and, when you don’t, it upsets you.
  • You blame other people and circumstances for your failures.
  • You feel powerless when it comes to changing anything in your life.
  • You refuse to consider other points of view when talking about your problems.
  • You keep reliving bad past memories that made you feel like a victim.
  • You think that everyone is trying to hurt you on purpose.

Important thing to know about self victimization is that it’s not always about manipulating others and/or seeking attention. For some of us it is a coping mechanism. There are things in our lives that doesn’t always have an explanation. For example, if you got bullied at school, mostly likely it had nothing to do with who you are. It had something to do with your bullies back then but you didn’t realize at the moment, blamed it on unlucky coincidence. Later, when next bad events happened, at some point you slowly started falling into a mindset that “nothing good ever happens to you and trouble follows you everywhere”. Thoughts like these seem innocent at first but they have huge power over your behaviour. If you constantly tell yourself that bad things are happening to you and there’s nothing you can do to make them better, that’s it – you are officially stuck. Negative thoughts have paralyzed you and you are sinking deeper and deeper into the swamp of self victimization.

When did I realize that I am self victimizing?  Only after several years, spent participating in guitar contests I’ve came to a realization that the main thing that is holding me back from success is my own damn mind. When I was a little kid, I used to love participating in contests. I often got first place and luck followed me everywhere. However, at some point later in my life I lost all belief in myself, all confidence and depression took over my life. I can’t tell exactly what caused it, maybe all the bad life experiences put together did that. I felt terrified, weak and helpless on stage. No matter, how much time I spent preparing, I still kept failing. After some time I realized that problem is not in what I do and it’s not in others either. The problem is the way I think. I listened too much to my former guitar teacher back then, who never cared about my progress and often talked about me, having second place syndrome. From the outside I acted like what he said had no impact me but it did.

When it this year’s guitar contest was near, I almost felt sick. I didn’t want to show up at all because all the bad memories kept hunting me… until something clicked. I realized that I am tired of feeling like crap, feeling like I’m not enough and everyone else will always be better than me. Of course, you can’t stop negative thoughts in a blink of an eye but you can catch yourself in the moment and snap out of it. In this situation you can easily use 5 second rule of Mel Robins (read more about it here: https://melrobbins.com/the-5-second-rule/ ) . Just count from 5 to 1 slowly and imagine that when you get to 1, your mind will be free from all the negative and destructive thoughts you just had. Does that seem silly to you? At first I thought the same until I actually tried it. Stop those negative thoughts here and now. I know that at the moment you might feel like you have no control over your life but you have. Just keep telling yourself that things will get better, you deserve success and push all the negative thoughts out of your head. You can be just as successful as anyone else. We have equal shot at getting what we want. So what differs you from others and why don’t still have the thing you want? Your mindset. Every action starts in our head. Just think about it; human is way more powerful than you think.

So that is all I wanted to share. Today is the day when we start making the most of our lives. Today is the day we claim back our power. Just because something bad happened to us in the past, doesn’t mean we are less worthy and deserve less happiness. Take a deep breath, count from 5 to 1 and take an action – big or small – to change your live at thiis very moment. You can do it, I believe in you.

 

Love, Porcelain Doll.

The true reason why you might feel stuck in a rut at the job you love.

Asian girl with brown hair, smelling pink roses

Hello, dear readers! Few years I was obsessed with the idea that I really want to learn more about psychology. No, not to learn in a professional way but just to understand myself and other people more. One of the things I remember very well reading about was motivation. More specifically, what is needed to keep us going. There were two main components – inner motivation and outer motivation. Inner motivation is the kind that makes you do something because you simply love it and want to become better at it. Outer motivation is something that we get from the world or people around us. It might be a paycheck, it might appreciation etc. In order to function properly, we need both of these motivation levels around the same level. If we lack one or the other, noticeable changes start to happen. Why am I writing about all of this? Because I noticed these changes happening in my own life but I didn’t know, how to explain it properly. That was until just few days ago when I picked up a book by Dale Carnegie, called “How to win friends and influence people”. First part of the book is called “Fundamental techniques in handling people”. The second principle of this part is “Give honest and sincere appreciation”. That’s when it hit me.

A sudden realization came over me: it’s shocking, how often we either confuse appreciation with flattery or forget about appreciation at all. I bet all of you more or less are familiar with the situation in which, if you do something bad or make a mistake, you get criticized (often way more than you should be) but when you do something good, no one says a word. I have faced this situation quite often since early childhood. When I was little and did something good for my parents, I rarely received true appreciation. It was either nothing or a simple “thank you”. Of course, I didn’t expect fireworks and medals but… could they at least be proud of me, be happy about me? Once I asked my mum, why isn’t she happy that I, for example, helped around the house without anyone asking me to and did she even notice. And she simply told me: “It’s great that you did that but I really don’t know what you expected. It is self-evident when a person does a good thing.” Now let’s take a completely opposite situation. I did something bad. Maybe told my parents that I will be studying while they’re away but sneaked out of the house to visit my best friend instead and got caught later. Do you think they were as calm as when I did something good? Not at all. Such a small “sin” caused a huge argument and there were times when one of my parents or even both of them didn’t talk to me for the rest of the day. Those are just childhood events but… there definitely was something wrong with them.

Let’s take another example! Let’s fast forward about 7 years later when I had been studying in musical school for few years. When I was a little kid, I often got praised for doing something very well in my guitar lessons. However, when “the crazy teenager age” came, things started to change. I started to have my own opinion about how I should play and how I shouldn’t play, what I liked and what I didn’t. That was when the conflicts started and I got scolded when I didn’t succeed but when I finally did something well, it was barely noticed, if at all. Those were just two examples from my own life but they can be applied to a person in every age group. The point is – we all feel the need to appreciated. Don’t confused it with flatter though. Flattery is insincere but appreciation is sincere. We need appreciation to move forward and keep doing great things. Like I mentioned in the beginning of this post, there are two types of motivation – inner and outer. Let’s say you have inner motivation, you are learning, how to paint and you love it. However, no matter, how much you try to “get your work” out there, no one really seems to care. They don’t buy your paintings, they don’t compliment them, all they do is take a look and leave. How would you feel? Well, maybe you wouldn’t care for the first day or week but later… You start to feel like you are not good at what you’re doing, there is no progress… So what’s the point of continuing to do this thing at all? You are left with two options then – you can give up or you can keep struggling. What I am trying to say with all of this?

Appreciation is important for everyone. If you see that someone has done something good, don’t hesitate to let them know. Sometimes it is incredibly hard to notice the results of your work yourself and sometimes it feels like no matter how hard you try, no one will appreciate it anyways. So don’t hesitate to express honest appreciation. It could change someone’s day, maybe even week or month. American philosopher John Dewey has said the deepest urge in human nature is a desire to be important. Appreciation makes us feel that way. So, go ahead and someone’s day today!

Until next time on Dolls Have Hearts!

Love, Porcelain Doll.

#GirlbossSeries : how to create your perfect evening routine.

Girl, sleeping on the sofa under blue blanket

Hello, dear readers! A little while back on Dolls Have Hearts I talked about, how important is to have a personalized morning routine to start your day the right way. Good news – #GirlbossSeries are not dead and I am back to talk about evening routine – something that most people either do not know about or just forget about. Now, think about, how your evening goes, from the time you get back home until the moment you go to sleep. Do you just walk through the door, throw your clothes on the chair and fall into bed because you are so tired? Do you order pizza and binge watch some Netflix series? If your evening looks similar to these examples, you need to create an evening routine as soon as possible! “But how?” You may ask. “And what should I even include in it?”

The purpose of evening routine is to get few last urgent tasks done and prepare you for a new, successful day. If you spend last few hours before going to sleep in front of your computer screen, it will take longer for you to fall asleep and, if you are anything like me, it will leave you fewer hours of sleep during the night. It is so easy to start watching Youtube videos or TV series and to keep telling yourself: “Oh, just one more episode…” until you realize it is 2 a.m. and you only have about 4 or 5 hours left to sleep. Get rid of this poor habit by creating an evening routine. Here are some ideas that you can include in it.

  • Pick clothes for the next day.
  • Take off your make-up.
  • Do an evening workout or stretching. (Optional, because some people prefer to work out in the morning. Not me, though.)
  • Cook dinner or do some meal prep for the next day.
  • Take a shower.
  • Plan the next day in your planner or bullet journal.
  • Brush your teeth.
  • Read one chapter of a book.
  • Apply face cream.
  • Paint your nails.
  • Write your thoughts in your journal. (Lack ideas for what to write in it? A new post about journal prompts is coming soon on my blog!)
  • Put on some calming music. (Sometimes it makes me fall asleep faster. Check out my “Late night” playlist on Spotify here.)
  • Drink some chamomile tea (or any other tea that helps you to relax).
  • Pack your bag for the next day.
  • Do 10 min clean up. (Even if it means just watering your plants and changing bed sheets or organizing your desk.)
  • Set alarms and put your phone away. (Do not fall asleep with your phone in your hands while scrolling through Twitter!)
  • Meditate.

Bold points in red are the ones I suggest you to do first because later you just will not feel like doing them. When you are already in your bed, reading a book, feeling a little sleepy, you probably will not be feeling like getting up and doing some meal prep. So, set your priorities straight and leave the most pleasant stuff right before going to sleep. Now, when I have told you about how to create your evening routine, I feel like I really should rearrange mine. Getting straight into bed with a cup of tea and binge watching Youtube videos is my a bad habit of mine, especially lately, when I have no motivation for my studies at school. Even working as a teacher seemed way more exciting than studying music. However, as I mentioned in my previous post – there is a light at the end of the tunnel, which is getting into my dream university and starting over almost from a blank page. If you, just like me, find it hard to follow your morning and evening routines, and planning, find your “light at the end of the tunnel”. What are you looking forward to? Why are you going through all of this and what do you want to achieve? Even if that is the goal no one else but you believes, stick with that. There is always a hope. Besides – following your morning and evening routines, and keeping up bullet journaling will feel as easy as one, two, three, if you know where you are heading.

That is all for today’s post on Dolls Have Hearts and I will see you next week with a new, inspiring post! Have a lovely week!

Love, Porcelain Doll.