Feminine February Recap – Visualization and the Way We Feel

So, Feminine February has come to an end. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take daily photos of my outfits, but I wore skirts all month long! I went on an impromptu trip back home to Los Angeles where I definitely got sidetracked and didn’t keep up with it as much as I would’ve like, but keeping the concept of Feminine February in my mind definitely allowed me to hold a space for that caring, compassionate energy. There were a couple hiccups here and there, times where I wish I would’ve been softer and kinder; and now that I’ve come out of those experiences and realigned my masculine and feminine energies through mediation and self-love practices, I feel more capable of making those changes stick.

One of the things I mentioned in my Feminine February video was about giving life. Obviously cis gendered men can’t carry a child inside of their bodies, but they can manifest / create life in different ways. For instance, I talk about manifesting and visualization. This is a way for all of us to be nurturers and lovers – we are simply nurturing and loving our energies and the energies of those around us, of the collective,  and of the energies of Mother Earth. Check out my latest video on how we can focus on what we feel in order to get the things that we want and desire. Also, check out the journal prompt to get your desires onto paper!

5 Tips for Staying Sane During the Holidays

5 Tips for Staying Sane During the Holidays

The holidays are approaching fast, and staying sane is hard in and of itself. Life presents a ton of obstacles – from financial stress, to relationship problems, to mental health issues and more. We’re busy people, and when the holidays come around (and they always seem to come around WAY too fast) it’s even harder to manage our families, our work, and most importantly our health.

One of the staples of the Holidays is good food. Although I’m all for indulging in a 2500+ calorie meal for the occasion, I definitely notice how sluggish it makes me for a pretty extended amount of time beyond the holiday festivities. One thing I have found to counteract this type of sluggishness that manifests both physically and mentally, is to be sure I’m taking great care of myself prior to the chaos that will inevitably ensue.

Here are my top 10 tips for staying sane, and most importantly healthy, during the holidays.

Maintain Healthy Nutrition

One thing that will certainly keep you sane during the holidays is maintaining a healthy diet prior to getting into the thick of holiday eating and cooking. Stay mindful of your nutrient intake, and if you live in a place where it snows and can be quite gloomy like I do, make sure you’re taking Vitamin D supplements or eating foods rich in Vitamin D like salmon, cheese, and whole eggs. Check out this great egg bake, or this breakfast burrito here for some delicious breakfast ideas.

Shop Early or Shop Online

If you’re planning for Christmas, shop early! No need to wait for the Black Friday rush, or the week-away rush that gets your blood boiling and sends your stress level through the roof. Getting organized and doing your shopping early, and doing the majority of your shopping online, will save lots of stress and sometimes will save you even more money. Check out this post on how to navigate Black Friday deals so you aren’t wasting time or your precious mind.

Stay Fit

Working out is always good for your mental health. In fact, I have a post about how it literally changed my life here. Staying fit not only gives you more energy, but you’ll feel much better about yourself which will likely trickle over into when you’re actually eating all of those filling holiday foods. Your mental health is impacted greatly depending on your physical health, and you don’t need to stress or be guilt-ridden over eating so much if you generally maintain a healthy lifestyle. I have a great simple workout that I like to call the Triple Threat – it can be done at home with zero equipment and it’s a good cardio workout to get done without much trouble. It’s the perfect workout to build your strength back if it has been awhile!

Meditate

Meditation and mindfulness are two lifestyle aspects that I practice on a daily basis. Mindfulness and Meditation are a bit different in that one is a more organized, formal practice; the other is a practice that you can work on no matter what you’re doing or where you are. Mindfulness is the informal practice of meditation, of which I use frequently. When I get caught in my head it’s the one thing that gets me out of it and allows me to engage fully in the present moment. Something as simple as paying attention the every step you take; the way your feet feel on the ground, the way they feel in your shoes. Or focusing on what you touch; the cool of the doorknob, your cat’s soft fur. The goal is to focus on these things without judgement. Just be there, in the moment and you’ll realize that all of those negative thoughts just drift away.

Take Time For Yourself

Make sure you take time out of your busy routine to have some self-care time. Along with eating well, meditating, and working out – take some time to do something nice just for you. Go see a movie by yourself, have a glass of wine and a bubble bath, indulge in a tasty treat, or that dance class you’ve been wanting to take. When all of your focus is on your family, cooking, gifts, and getting ready for the holidays – it will make those tasks much easier when you take a little bit of that focus and place it on you.


So there you have it! My top 5 tips for managing Holiday stress and keeping your mental health in check.

xo

Brooke

check out these holiday recipes!

Vegan Delicata Squash Recipe
Winter Soup
Roasted Romanesco and Butternut Squash with Bacon
Thanksgiving Side Dish for the Holidays

Low Carb Chocolate BrowniesChristmas Brownies

My Misplaced Neediness

I am a notoriously needy person. Not all the time, though. Really, my neediness and clinginess is only apparent in my intimate relationships, and occasionally my friendships. One of the biggest symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder that I struggle with is an intense fear of abandonment – whether real or perceived. I fall into a panic induced spiral at the mere thought of being left by the partner I love, and due to my being undisciplined when it comes to my mind and my thoughts, that spiral leads me to lash out and accuse my partners of trying to leave me, even if there is no proof that they are going to.

Being in therapy and talking about my neediness has brought up a lot of awareness about my childhood and how all of the fear I have around being left is due to the inconsistency in how I was raised. Because of my initial disposition, my experiences with the caretakers around me, and the subsequent structure of my brain – I’ve been convinced that not only are my thoughts, interpretations and assumptions real, they have everything to do with my partner. And in reality, they have nothing to do with my partner. Really, it could be anyone and I’d still feel exactly the same. At least for awhile. (I do believe some growth can be done in a relationship, if the other person is at a place in their life where they can deal with the stressors of loving someone with BPD)

Society is also really hung up on the idea that two halves make a whole, and while that is mathematically correct, two whole people equal one healthy relationship. My inclination toward latching on and society’s reinforcement of that unrealistic ideal, has all accumulated to my symptoms getting progressively worse. Now I am letting go of the fantasy world and realizing the limitations of the people in my life and creating a cohesive sense of self throughout it all.

I’m not clingy or needy in any other aspects of my life. I’ve run businesses, I’ve been an actress since I was a child, I’ve written a book and I’ve created amazing entrepreneurial endeavors out of nothing in the blink of an eye. I’ve always been strong, ambitious, and creative; I’ve always been able to compartmentalize to get stuff done. This is the one thing in my life that I feel so intensely that it’s hard to ride that wave. Although I know that the feelings will pass, my compulsions and impulsive actions tend to get the better of me. The more I allow that to happen, the worse my symptoms get. The more I work on resisting the urges to lash out, the better everything will be.

Here’s to remembering that we don’t need anyone but ourselves. We aren’t needy, helpless children anymore. We’re strong, capable, incredible adults.

xoxo

Brooke

 

My Trouble with Alcohol

Alcohol and I have a strange relationship. It has evolved into something I never thought it would, and amidst the damage it has done I believe it’s something that also saved my life. When I was at my lowest points in my late teen years and early adulthood I leaned on it to get me through the moments I believed I’d never survive sober, and I honestly believe I wouldn’t have made it without the social drinking component that allowed me to connect with so many other broken people. It kept me from resorting to other, more destructive forms of coping, and allowed me to open my eyes and socialize with the hurting people I probably wouldn’t have socialized with before.

Now alcohol is very different, especially since I’m in the process of recovering from Borderline Personality Disorder. It has become a source of escape, yes, but it has also become a source of comfort when I’m feeling good. That has many implications; one being that I can get too drunk when I’m feeling really happy and spend lots of money on clothes and other things that seemingly enhance my sense of self and identity in a vain aspect, and two being when I get too drunk when I’m feeling happy it then affects my mood negatively and I become depressed via the affects alcohol has on my body chemistry, rather than from any emotion itself.

I decided to stop drinking recently, and I’ve had a couple slip ups. Both were with clear intentions, and neither of them ended with me being wasted and puking on the side of the road – just a couple drinks to get some writing done, to spend some time with my brother, to allow the creative juices to flow. On the other side of those reasonable, well -intentioned justifications for drinking lies a bit of shame. A little bit of shame and guilt for going against what I said I’d do; for not being able to resist the pull of alcohol and the way I enjoy the effect it has on me.

I keep looping back around to intention because I believe intention has a lot to do with behavior. I believe intention, as long as you are being honest with yourself, can determine your behavior and how you relate to the world. If your intentions are clear, do you need to shift your behavior simply because you said you would? And if you don’t, does that mean you lack integrity? Or does that mean you’re living in the present moment, day by day deciding what suits you and your life and where you’re at in that moment?

This is something I’m struggling with in regards to a lot of my behaviors, because I’m at this turning point in recovery where I’m figuring out who I am and what I believe in.

This is a legitimate question I’d like to pose, because as we all know many creatives lean on drugs and alcohol to gain inspiration. With my being a writer, does that mean it’s okay? Or am I risking too much by allowing myself to slip up without any consequences? And does it mean it’s okay because the consequences I once encountered no longer occur? (drunk driving, etc) Or am I tempting fate, and it’s just a matter of time before I slip up entirely and endanger my life and possibly the lives of others?

Do you have any similar experiences that you’d like to share?

xoxo

Brooke

My Personal Journey Through Recovery

 


Hi,

My name is Brooke Marie Bridges and I’m struggling with Borderline Personality Disorder. First things first, DON’T look it up on the internet. You will certainly find hateful comments about how a “Borderline Ruined My Life” or how evil, manipulative and conniving those who struggle are. The illness I struggle with is so much more nuanced than that. It’s bigger than just saying that we’re all one way or the other and the majority of us are not narcissistic assholes, we are struggling so deeply with emotions that we were never taught how to deal with. There are 256 different combinations of symptoms that’d label someone Borderline, and I want to share my story and how I fit into this seeming “death sentence” diagnosis.

I feel the need to share for many reasons. For one, the purging that comes with it is invaluable. Being able to get everything out into the open is something that I feel is necessary, at least for me. Some people would say it’s oversharing, and in some cases I’d be inclined to agree – but I’m sharing MY story, no one else’s. I’m speaking through my own experiences, my own process, my own pain…in hopes that maybe people out there struggling with the same issues will be able to find solace, find understanding and compassion, and feel somewhat less alone. It has helped me, so I can imagine it’d help others.

A lot of people think there’s some blanketed way that Borderline Personality Disorder looks, or presents itself. I will tell you BPD looks like me, it looks like the mailman, it looks like your 3rd grade teacher, it looks like your mother, your lover…there is no one face of BPD. And within that – there are people who exhibit stereotypically “borderline” symptoms, who may not – or never – be diagnosed. Not because they aren’t in therapy, but because they don’t meet the “criteria.”

So many people have looked at me after I had expressed my hopelessness, or my emotional pain, or how my life just never felt complete and would exclaim: “Well, you shouldn’t feel that way. You’ve got a lot going for you!” And although I do agree, I also know that I’ve always felt like there was something missing and no matter how many things I succeeded in, how many men told me I was the most beautiful person they’d ever met and gave me all of their love and attention, no matter the family members who had told me I had inspired them…after all of that – still, I felt empty and hopeless and lost without any reason to live. Now that I know what’s up with me and I’m aware of and engaging in the treatments that work I’m realizing for the first time that I have the power to change this. I have the power to break this painful cycle, or at the very least make it manageable. And I also know that I am the only one who can accomplish this lifelong task.

I don’t really know how to word this post, or how to format it, and I don’t think I need to. If you don’t know what BPD is – here is the clinical explanation, diagnostic preview, and the symptoms that go along with it:

Borderline Personality Disorder 

  • Borderline personality disorder is a mental illness marked by an ongoing pattern of varying moods, self-image, and behavior. These symptoms often result in impulsive actions and problems in relationships. People with borderline personality disorder may experience intense episodes of anger, depression, and anxiety that can last from a few hours to days.

Having BPD is like having an open wound on your entire body. The slightest emotional threat, and I fall into a spiral. Everything hurts, everything is raw and can easily become inflamed, irritated, and infected and once it is, it takes significantly longer to calm me down and to tend to my massive wounds. I have found that through therapy, good nutrition, exercise, and support from my therapist and friends – I have found my way out of that black hole. Sure, I’m still testy, but I’m nowhere near where I was.

Receiving the diagnosis was so many things – for one it was terrifying because it brought up a lot of shame, and a lot of feeling like I’m this “crazy person with no hope” and at the same time it explained so many of my behaviors and my symptoms it gave me something to identify with, something to work with. It gave me an explanation and a place to put my feet, and with that explanation comes ways to work through it all. Don’t be afraid of your emotions, don’t be afraid to seek help. Help is not only out there but it can quite literally change your life.

This journey is going to be long, and it’s far from over, and it will shift and twist and be gut wrenching and exciting and beautiful and terrifying and so many amazing, full, terrible, real things. I’m excited that I didn’t give in to the temptation to just let it all go and sink into darkness. To some extent I had wised up, and I could no longer engage in the behaviors that allowed me to hide and avoid. I’m now feeling floods of emotional pain that I’ve hidden since I was a child and I’m facing it head on with very little experience but a mind and a heart focused on self improvement. A soul that is willing to take it day by day, and sometimes minute by minute, to deal with my emotions and work through them to the best of my ability.

If you’d like to open up more and never had the space to do so – here it is; a place for all of us to enjoy community and to celebrate the fact that our emotions, however irrational, do not make us crazy: they make us human. Go ahead and write a comment!

I’ll talk to you all soon.

xoxox

Brooke