Musings · personal

Being Creative – Writing About N.

Creativity is an outlet for me. It allows me to flow through my body, from my mind to my heart, through my soul and outwards. It reminds me to ground myself, and focus on the things that truly matter to me.

I’ve been wanting to write a zine or book about N for quite sometime. It was originally a summer project that was pushed to the bottom on my list of priorities. Since I’ve been starting to feel some minor symptoms of burnout, I’ve really been wanting to truly dedicate time to working on it, as a way of self-care that helps me focus on the people in my life that I love.

I’m planning on writing a mini book of poetry, just for his eyes. I’ve been slowly working on it, although only writing when inspiration hits. Often times, when I’m running around campus or on the bus, it doesn’t. I’m thinking about scheduling time during my short breaks on campus to write. It’s difficult to get anything school-related done during short breaks anyways.

He’s the love of my life, my ultimate supporter, and the main reason why I’ve completely changed my life. He’ll be my forever muse.

Anyways, enough about that (because my parents follow my blog… Hi Mom! Hi Dad!)

This is just a little thing to keep me accountable to my goals.

Hope you’re doing things that keep you well!

Advertisements
Musings

The New Segal Family Health Centre!

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of attending a guided tour of the new Segal Family Health Centre! The Joseph and Rosalie Segal Family Health Centre is near VGH, and is replacing most of VGH’s mental health units, as well as one of UBC’s.

IMG_0898
A view of the patio that includes a meditative labyrinth, garden (for patient gardening in the future), picnic tables (not included), and beautiful view of Stanley Park & Vancouver (not included)! 

Having been a patient in a few units and hospitals, it was refreshing and encouraging to tour such a beautiful, healing, and welcoming space. High ceilings, large windows, artwork, everything! There are multiple balconies, a huge rooftop, and exercise room – all for patient use! The board members that were in charge of designing the building took extensive input from past patients and peers. Also, this health centre will feature something new! Peer lead activity groups! (Peer = individuals who have experience accessing mental health services)

It’s difficult to explain what a psychiatric ward can feel like to individuals who have never been inpatient, but I’ll try. They’re often old, dark, sometimes dingy. Everything (including furniture, clothes, food) is very minimal and ‘for the patient’s safety’. They can be intimidating, cold, and promote physical safety, but not healing. Often times, you can feel mentally sicker in a ward, but know that you’re physically safe. It’s a hard cognitive dissonance to struggle with.

I’m hoping to stay in touch with this centre in whatever way I can, whether it be through work or volunteering. I’m interested to see how it is received by patients, and hope to be a voice for patients if things go wrong. As a patient, your voice oftentimes goes unheard, or is dismissed.

I have hope that the future of mental health care in Vancouver will be one that promotes healing and peer empowerment. It feels like we’re going in the right direction!

Musings · My Growth

Why 30 is not the new 20.

(My friend, D, recommended this TedTalk!)

I watched it over breakfast this morning and really enjoyed it! As I approach my 20s (I’m turning 20 in October!), it’s easy to get sucked into the hive mind mentality of ‘putting things off until you’re 30’. It’s easy to disregard a whole decade of your life, thinking that you have time, when in-fact, you don’t! Regardless of where you are in life and how old you are, I think it’s important to always strive for growth. Of course, a downside that can also result is that you’ll end up never being satisfied. That can be deterred by reflecting upon your growth, documenting your gratitudes, and just being grateful in general!

Jay mentions 3 things that every 20something should hear.

  1. Gain identity capital – do something that adds value to who you are, and invest in who you might want to be. Mindless exploration that does not count is procrastination. Identify capital begets identity capital.
  2. The urban tribe is overrated – spending time with like-minded peers limits who you know, what you know, how you think, how you speak, and where you work. Maximize on weak ties – friends of friends of friends. New friends, bosses, relationships, often arise from weak ties.
  3. The time to start picking your family is now – be intentional with love. Consciously choose who you want, and what you want. Who you pick now, is who will be in your family later. Don’t settle down at 30 with whoever you’re currently living with or sleeping with.

Anyways, I just thought it was really nice to ponder on the things she said! Of course, because I’m 19, I took in all the advice she gave. For those that are 30 and over may have a different view! I’d love to know your thoughts. 🙂

 

 

Musings · personal

Gratitude.

This morning, I woke up with an immense feeling of gratitude and love – for today, for where I am in life, and for my loved ones. I am so darn lucky to wake up every morning to N’s sleepy smile and begin my days with him.

About a week and a half ago, N and I bought new Five-Minute Journals (with D’s employee discount!). Both N and I have used journaling as a way to explore thoughts and practice gratitude, as well as done versions of the 5 Min Journal in our own ways, but it’s the first time we’ve shared the commitment with someone else. The 5 Min Journal contains a template where every morning you write down 3 things you’re grateful for, 3 ways to make the day great, and a daily affirmation. In the evenings, you reflect upon the day with 3 amazing things that happened that day, and how you could have made the day better. It’s a grounding way to start the day and helps me to live with intention. My favourite part of this habit is that N and I share what we’ve written with each other. Often times I am a part of his gratitudes, or his 3 amazing things, and vice versa.

I’ve finished 2 weeks of my work training, and it’s been great! I’m so lucky to be surrounded by such kind, soft, understanding, and self-aware people every time I go in. We praise each other for discovering ourselves, learning, and being softer in the world. It’s probably the most supportive group I’ve ever been in. Going in, I was pretty nervous. I’m always afraid of ageism, and feeling inadequate because of my age. Fortunately, my peers are all wonderful and everyone gets room to speak, share, and grow during sessions. Yesterday, our training module focused on self-care, preventing burn-out, and setting boundaries. Research shows that those working in health care fields or similar, experience the highest rates of burnout. We went through the signs of burn-out, how to properly take care of ourselves, and setting boundaries with our future clients. I was most appreciative for E though. E is a case manager for the team who has previously worked as a peer support worker. She told us that open communication between SW and case managers is key and essential to the success of the team. She urged us all to be open about our needs, limitations, and boundaries regarding work and our future clients. At my current job, I’ve been VERY lucky to have someone who knows of my story, and schedules my hours accordingly. She has been very flexible and understanding, and without her, I 100% wouldn’t have been able to keep my job or work during school.

It’s settling and humbling to give thanks and gratitude to those who fill our days with joy and love, even if they don’t realize it. I encourage you all to reflect on those who make your days just a little more manageable and pleasant, even when things are difficult.

And of course, a quote.

“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.” – Brene Brown

 

 

Musings · My Growth · personal

Competing in Powerlifting?!

I’ve been exploring the 3 main lifts (squat, deadlift, bench press) of powerlifting for the past 5 months. It’s been a life-saving experience and now I’ve decided to become more serious about it!

There are a few barriers that I’ll need to overcome before competing:

  1. Training more consistently/stricter
  2. Incorporating accessory lifts/exercises
  3. Diet/nutrition
  4. Proper club
  5. Gear
  6. Coach?

Last week, I messaged a powerlifer I really respect. She gave me some pretty helpful tips that I’ll ponder on below!

Overcoming barriers:

  1. Currently, during a good week, I go to the gym 4 times a week. I’m definitely not giving my 100% every time though, nor am I going in with a solid idea of what I want to work on. I’ll need to either follow a specific strength-building program, or start experimenting and building my own around what works for me. I’ll also be switching gyms and training at one that is far less busy/has cooler equipment, but is also more expensive and farther away. After weighing the pros and cons, I realized that my success/progress matters more!
  2. For individuals who only train their 3 main lifts, they hover around (and plateau at) 300-350 wilks. I’ll be incorporating more front squats (and accessory compound movements in general), machines, free weights, and etc.
  3. So far, I’ve been eating whatever I want (within reason). I don’t follow a strict diet of any sort, except minimizing the amount of processed food I consume. I’ll likely need to start counting macros to make sure that I’m consuming enough fats/proteins/carbs. This’ll help with my energy, muscle growth and recovery! I think N will be able to help me out with this though!
  4. At UBC, there’s a proper powerlifting club. I’m not sure how it works, but I think they go to the Bird Coop a few times a week to train and work on technique. They also host a sponsored meet in January every year! I’ll be joining in September and hopefully meet some people who’ll take me under their wing/mentor me!
  5. I’ll hopefully receive some gear recommendations from the people I meet through the club. I’ll be needing some proper powerlifting shoes for squats (my ankle mobility isn’t 100%…), as well as a belt/knee wraps if I start going pretty heavy, which I hope to do!
  6. The woman I messaged for advice said that getting a coach was the #1 thing she’d recommend. Currently, I’m hoping to become more comfortable with all my lifts and have my numbers be at least in the 200s before I look for a coach. This’ll be an extra expense (and although it’ll be worth it), I’ll need to be smart about it!

Powerlifting is one of the most empowering things I’ve ever taken on in my life. The fact that it’s fun, healthy, and lets me meet new people are just wonderful bonuses.

Being able to compete in anything requires a lot of discipline, structure and hard-work. I’m hoping that as I work on the details to overcome the 6 barriers I’ve listed above, the rest of my life (work, school, relationships, etc.) will also benefit.

Anyways, just a brain dump of what I’ve been thinking about for the past few weeks!

But of course, a quote!

“Powerlifters spend time looking in the mirror. Not in the sense that body-builders do, but more to observe the total structure. More to observe the tremendous power that resides within.” – Unknown.

P.S. If anyone has any helpful tips, I’d really love to know! And I’d really appreciate it! Currently going into everything blind and just following my passion.

Musings · My Growth · personal

Self-Limiting Beliefs.

I start training for my new job tomorrow and I spent part of my counselling session today exploring my self-limiting beliefs.

At times, I forget that I’m very young. Although I don’t live with my parents, nor do many things that “normal” 19 year olds do, I still feel very 19 at times. I have my insecurities, immature worries, as well as naive, bold dreams. At my new job, I’ll be working with a large age range, and the youngest of that range will be 30. Why would a 30 year old want to listen to me? Why would a 30 year old take lessons and want to be mentored by me?

This reminds me of when I first received my acceptance to UBC. Although I received a Major Entrance Scholarship, awarded to less than 1% of incoming freshman, I still didn’t feel ‘worthy’ of attending UBC. I still don’t feel worthy. The imposter-syndrome is very real.

My psychiatrist says that I’m a very internal person. Someone who owns situations, but also tends to put too much personal blame and responsibility on myself too. I say ‘should’ve’ a lot during our sessions. That I ‘should’ve’ done this, and ‘should’ve’ done that. When in reality, there’s no way I could have known that in the moment that was the proper thing to do. I’m not sure how I define my self-worth, but I do know that it’s based off of internal qualities, and that I’m working on building it.

I suppose my self-limiting beliefs do protect me at times. If I do poorly on an exam, I can believe that it was because of my lack of studying, rather than the fact that it may have been a hard exam. But most of the time, it’s a self-sabotaging belief. A belief that twists my thoughts and makes me feel like I am less worthy of opportunities and/or successes than others.

I hope that as I grow older and explore more things that have meaning to me (like my future career(s), relationship(s), etc.), I’ll also explore my dimensions of self-worth and learn to define it for myself.

And of course, a quote.

“Sometimes the hardest part of the journey is believing you’re worthy of the trip.” ― Glenn Beck, The Christmas Sweater

Musings · personal

How One Person Can Make All the Difference.

I’m an introvert who recharges their battery alone and enjoys doing most things alone. But during my times of extreme struggle, being alone was the worst possible situation I could’ve put myself in. After being conditioned for so many years to depend on myself, asking for help was the hardest skill I had to develop.

Asking for help and advocating for myself is still a work-in-progress for me. Yesterday, with my psychiatrist, we discussed about this specific issue I struggle with. We came to the conclusion that the action of asking for help, for me, was so much greater than just the help I received. It was about building human connection, sharing insecurities and allowing myself to feel vulnerable in the presence of another. Whether it was with loved-ones or health-care professionals, it was the same.

When I left the hospital in December 2016, I made the difficult decision to move out. Was I financially ready? Kind of. Was I mature enough? Sure. Did I need to move out in order to be well? Definitely.

I ended up moving in with my boyfriend Downtown. My parents were initially skeptical. I had been dating my boyfriend for 2 months before I moved in. And it’s taboo in Asian communities for a 19-year-old to move in with their significant other. But after speaking to my boyfriend, and seeing the difference he made in my life, they agreed.

I owe the success of my healing and progress to my boyfriend. He taught me, from square one, how to take care of myself. From the basics like cooking and nutrition, to more difficult tasks like going to the gym and advocating for myself. Fortunately, I learned from watching him day-to-day, living his life of healthy habits, which meant that it wasn’t taxing nor a burden on him to teach me. During this process, we also developed our relationship, as well as communication skills. I learned to be mindful of my mood, symptoms, and needs, and he learned to be an active listener. Overall, it was the best possible way to grow, together.

Now, because of his help, I am a functional, happy adult who lives a life of meaning and love. I experience the simple joys of life daily, as well as keep myself open to new opportunities.

Sometimes, you just need that one person who makes all the difference. A person who makes the tough seem not so tough.

I hope you all have support systems in place in your lives! Whether you have extensive supports, or like me, a very small team, we all need an arm to lean on at times.

And of course, a quote to ponder on.

“Life is not a solo act. It’s a huge collaboration, and we all need to assemble around us the people who care about us and support us in times of strife.” – Tim Gunn

Musings · My Growth

Living Softer, Kinder, and More Gentle with Myself.

Not too long ago, I’d wake up every morning filled with dread, despair, and anxiety. Today, I am so blessed, grateful, and just plain darn lucky to wake up every morning with a heart full of calm, peace, and love.

A shift occurred after my second hospitalization. Both of my month-long hospitalizations were for suicidal ideation and tendencies. Despite the fact that they’ve thouroughly disrupted my academic goals, I’ve come to peace with both of them. Why was I hospitalized? I wanted to die. Why did I want to die? I felt hopeless. Why was I hopeless? I felt alone in my goals and wasn’t able to achieve them because I was so sick. My depressed brain told me that the only logical thing to do was to kill myself.

Thinking back, the feeling of despair is more familiar than I’d like it to be, but I’m learning to become more comfortable with it.

Before, when I was sick, I had a very career and goal driven mindset. If I didn’t achieve what I set out to do, I was a failure. If I wasn’t able to juggle a part-time job, full time course work, and 10 hrs of extracurriculars per week, I was a failure. Now, my attitude towards my life and journey is much more well-rounded.

I only have (generously) 100 years on this planet. I am but a visitor. I am one in 7 billion, but only 1 of the many, many people who have lived before me. In the grand scheme of things, what I do doesn’t really matter. I can make the worst of it, or the best of it. I hope to make the best of it. To use my time on this planet to experience the most I can of love, fear, and light. To love overwhelmingly, boldly, unapologetically, and vulnerably. To leave a positive impact on the planet and my loved ones, in whatever way that manifests.

Experiencing every day with the mindset I’ve shared above, has allowed me to be much more compassionate with myself and the world that surrounds me. As long as I go to sleep every night knowing that I left an impact and experienced love, I am content.

Of course, the “grind” is still very important, and I should take advantage of my “golden years” to educate myself and pursue my seemingly impossible dreams. But beyond that, I am just a visitor on Earth, experiencing the greatest vacation of all time.

 

Musings

Sweet Summer Solstice Shift.

Although I’d call myself a spiritual person, I’ve never experienced a shift of energy like I did yesterday (Solstice Eve) and today (the Solstice).

Yesterday, I woke up feeling groggy and took a nap shortly after waking up. I thought it was going to be another one of “those days” (aka tougher days). After waking up from my nap, I went to the gym. I wasn’t expecting much from the gym, as it had been almost a week since I last went. Which is a very long time for someone who usually gyms almost everyday, but work/life got in the way. I ended up being able to do all my lifts as usual, and even hit a deadlift personal record. Even more wonderful, I had not just 1, but 2 (!!) people come up to me to say that my lifts were impressive and well-done! AND, someone had anonymously put up incredibly kind post-its around the gym during my time there. I almost started crying.

After the gym, I went to a Summer Solstice meditation at Granville Island, hosted by Andy Zaremba & Mike Zaremba, the founders of Float House. I’ve never meditated as part of a large mass before, and it was a very vulnerable experience. We meditated for about 30 mins, which is a personal record for me! Then I explored Granville Island with my Love who also meditated with me, and got a late dinner afterwards.

This morning, I got a haircut – something pretty uncommon for me. I was a tad nervous, as I was visiting a new salon, and getting a pretty big change, but I trusted the universe! My stylist ended up being the sweetest woman, and I’m quite fond of my short hair. MUCH more easy to manage and tie back.

Then, about an hour ago, I received a callback for a job position I’m VERY passionate about. I spent hours crafting a focused resume and cover letter, and it’s such a rewarding feeling to know that the organization recognized my hard work.

In some ways, I believe in the Law of Attraction. I don’t think it’ll help me gain any material item no matter how much I imagine it, but I do take responsibility for the energy I put into the world. I do trust that the energy I put out, as well as the opportunities I want, will come to me if I am able and ready.

I don’t know what it is about the summer, but I definitely feel a brighter, warmer, softer energy in the air. I hope this lasts for as long as it can.