I’m putting everything from my January in one convenient place: right here. In this post you’ll find what I’ve been doing, watching, thinking, reading, writing, cooking, and beyond, with an important update on my mental health. Mostly this is a way for me to journal and reflect on my month. So, take a look at my January journal. Enjoy!
Adoptions for my rescue puppies started this month. Initially I had a lot of reservations about starting the adoption process. I love these puppies so much, and I knew how difficult parting with them would be. To my surprise, I’ve actually enjoyed adoption interviews and meet-and-greets. I love meeting people who love dogs! A majority of the puppies have been adopted, and I plan to continue interviews during February.
Who Rescued Who?
On the first day of puppy adoptions my husband surprised me by scheduling an adoption interview. He adopted Chris, now named Leonard Quinto; in honor of my favorite Spock actors. Additionally, the mother wants to stay with me. For now I’m calling her Vanessa; in honor of Deadpool’s significant other.
Meal of the Month
Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili, Pioneer Woman Magazine
My featured meal this month is one of my first ever slow cooker meals. I’m new to slow cooker meals, and this one was a wonderful meal to start with. I made White Chicken Chili from Pioneer Woman Magazine and it was absolutely delightful. I was nervous to try a slow cooker meal — relinquishing control and letting a slow cooker do the work was absolutely stressful — but I’m glad I did it. Find the recipe in The Pioneer Woman Magazine, Holiday 2018.
Books I Loved this Month
Deadpool #20 (2015), Writer: Gerry Duggan
This is my favorite comic book, I revisit it very often. I read it several times this month. In this comic Deadpool is confronted with a suicidal character, and he uses his humor to help the character overcome their struggles. In this comic, Deadpool says something that I truly love; “You gotta remember: no matter how bad things get… that life is fluid. There’s always the chance that something great is waiting right around the next corner.”
Turtles All The Way Down, by John Green
In many ways, I feel like John Green reached inside my mind, and wrote what I feel like inside this book. Like me, the main character has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, her compulsions are somewhat different from mine but her thought process is exactly the same.
Top Cinema Trips – Spoiler Free
I loved GLASS, and I thought it was a perfect culmination for this amazing film trilogy. In my opinion, GLASS was flawlessly weaved into the storyline of Unbreakable and Split, and I loved the way the GLASS played off the other two films; even giving us some flashbacks that we didn’t have before. I was also very impressed by the cinematography and directing, the camera angles made me feel like I was inside a comic book, and I LOVED it.
A Dog’s Way Home
I’m a huge fan of W. Bruce Cameron’s books, so I was extremely excited for this film adaptation. I truly loved this film. A Dog’s Way Home was phenomenally casted and beautifully portrayed on-screen. A Dog’s Way Home was a phenomenal and entertaining film, that also raised awareness of really important social issues. This film addressed these important, and sometimes hard to talk about, topics with true grace; Veterans, therapy, homelessness, stray animals, animal laws, and much more. I left this film feeling happy and full of love.
Blogs in January:
Normally this section serves as an outline of the blog work I’ve done over the month. However, I didn’t write many blogs this month. My inspiration was lacking. I published two blogs this month:
Barks and Recreation: One Last Ride: A two-month update on the rescue puppies, with new information and progress photos. In a way, this is my series finale with these amazing puppies.
How I Care for My Mental Health on Good Days: Many people only talk about caring for their mental health on bad mental health days. In the past, I was one of those people. Not anymore. I’ve finally realized that caring for my mental health on good mental health days is vitally important. In this post I share how I care for my mental health on good mental health days.
I didn’t publish much blog work this month, but I shared a lot of art to my social networks. So, I’m adding an “Artist Feature” section this month. Here are some of my favorite artworks from this month, how I felt about them, and links to the artists who created them.
Humans and Trees
This art by Jang and Fox is perfect. I sincerely love trees. I love trees of all shapes and sizes. I live on a farm, surrounded by trees, and they are all different and beautiful. I appreciate trees as they are. I wish I could see myself the way I see trees. I’m trying. I’m improving. My self-love is growing stronger, daily. [View my original post and caption on Instagram.]
A Positive Post
This art by Positively Present is absolutely true. There are times when I’ve been drowning in depression, but I’ve posted a happy photo. I’ve been riddled with anxiety and crying in the floor, but I’ve posted a fun foodie photo. I’ve posted photos that make it look like I’m out-and-about, but in reality I haven’t left the house in weeks. I’m proof: what you see on a person’s feed isn’t always a fair representation of their actual life. I’m growing and learning more about mental health. I’m accepting who I am. This is helping me be more real online. The more real I am, the more people I can help. But sometimes the desire for connectivity causes me to post happy things when I’m actually not happy. Please, remember this, for yourself, and for others. If this is you, remember: you are not alone. Be gentle with yourself. Be gentle with other people. You never know what’s going on through the window of a phone or computer. Be kind to others. Be kind to yourself. [View my original post and caption on Instagram.]
More Than Pain
I need this advice from Recipes For Self-Love. Sometimes I allow myself to become my pain. I let myself be defined by the things that cause me pain. But, I’m so much more than my pain. I’m more than depression. I’m more than bipolar disorder. I’m more than obsessive compulsive disorder. I’m more than the pain that I feel. I’m more than the things that have happened to me. I’m more than the struggles I have experienced. They are all a part of me. But I am more. Recipes For Self Love posted; “It may be a part of you but your pain does not define you.” And I absolutely agree. [View my original post and caption on Instagram.]
This art by This Thing They Call Recovery really resonated with me. I write about my experiences with mental illness for two main reasons; to educate people who don’t understand, and to show people like me that they are not alone. I feel like I’ve been successful so far. Although I still need to grow as an advocate and friend. This is what I’m working on right now: being supportive without necessarily offering advice. A lot of people (strangers and friends) come to me with problems, and I’m sincerely glad they do, but I feel like I offer too much advice sometimes, in lieu of support. My goal is to be more supportive. Sometimes people don’t want advice, they just want support. They want and deserve validation. When I offer an outpouring of advice, I take some of the support and validation away from them. I’m growing. [View my original post and caption on Instagram.]
Bonus Art – Steve Dash, by Eric Puckett
In December Steve Dash (known as the original Jason Voorhees) passed away. My husband loves Friday the 13th, and Dash is one of his favorite actors, so he took Dash’s passing pretty hard. An artist and friend of ours, Eric Puckett, had just finished a painting of Dash from Friday the 13th Part 2, so my husband purchased it. Art can be amazing therapy, for the creator and the buyer.
My Mental Health in January – An Honest Update:
My mental health update is at the end of this post for an important reason: I want you to see all the things I did before you read about my mental health. Mental illness is invisible, what you see on a person’s social networks isn’t always a fair representation of their actual life, or mental health. As you can see, this month was fun. So, you might be shocked to learn the status of my mental health: Functionally Depressed and Anxious.
I’ve been stuck in a depression slump for months. During November and December I accepted it, but during January I’ve been making small adjustments that will help me come out of it.
I set a mental health goal for January, and I achieved it. My goal this month was to complete Sober January: a solid 31 days with no alcohol. I accomplished this goal, and I intend on continuing in February. Alcohol has a negative impact on my mental and physical health, even one drink can make me sluggish and dehydrated, which feeds my self-doubt. The elimination of alcohol has helped my mental health this month.
It’s nice to feel functional again. I must say, though, I haven’t done it alone. I have an amazing support system. I have a husband who loves me and constantly works to make me feel loved. I have a best friend who always checks on me and makes me feel safe. I’ll admit, finding this support system wasn’t easy and it didn’t happen overnight. It took a lot of work, many years, a lot of trial-and-error, and a lot of accidentally pushing people away. But I’m endlessly thankful to have them now…
I’m ending this month very hopeful, and I’m excited to move forward.
I’ll see you in February.
Sincerely, Elizabeth – Uncustomary Housewife