Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Rut and Fighting My Way Out

It's been a while- my apologies.

To be frank, shit has been hard. A reality many have to face daily.

I'm not exactly happy with my current situation. Actually scratch that- I really really dislike my current situation. I'm a recent college graduate with an awesome degree and a pretty rad employment history but right now, and I mean right now [read: this & past few months] has been a muddled mixture of trying to figure out my plan after everything crumbled and managing my anxiety so it stops interfering with my efforts.

Don't get me wrong- I have come an extremely long way and I am overall "happy". Not my peak happy, but in general, I know things will work out and I still have amazing love & support from friends and family. I've been seeing a really great guy who has helped a lot too. However, when I focus on paying off student loan debts/my career I have to stop myself from falling into a panic attack almost every time.

This is when my dear frenemy anxiety has a damn hayday. It sees the wheels start turning in my head and jumps in with the gumption of a 5 year old in a ball-pit. It speeds up those wheels and mixes shit around, making it hard to concentrate and figure out my situation. It takes me down paths that aren't conducive, aren't healthy, and ultimately a slide to dark places I once lived that I would like to never visit again.

And even worse, people around you rarely get it, let alone sympathize. For those that have escaped anxiety disorders, its hard for them to fathom the gut wrenching feeling of panic, and that it comes for no conscious reason. They don't realize that you do want to progress in life, and that you're not a lazy P.O.S. making excuses as to why its so hard to get your butt out the door and into society for work. And worse yet, they don't realize that people with anxiety beat themselves up daily for the seemingly unprovoked shakes, panic, and jitters we have that impede our daily activities.

Just an update that I am here, and trying. I am struggling, yet still prevailing. I may be on a "side-track" but I will not let my anxiety stop me from getting back onto my real path.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Dear Anxiety,

What triggered it this time? I was sleeping. I don't even remember my dream. I only remember the pool of sweat my body was drenched in when I suddenly woke up, soaking from my feet to head, heart pounding out of my chest, short of breath, that small incessant buzzing feeling throughout my body. These mornings are the worst, so please explain what was it this time?

And why, after 9 years of asking this question have you still yet to answer me?

That's not to say I haven't become well acquainted with you and your behaviors slowly over these past 9 years. We have gone through a lot together, consciously or not, and piece by piece I am figuring you out.

Like, the fact that I keep realizing your appearance in my life may have come much earlier than I originally thought. That you have been creeping up my spine for years, making your mark, and building stronger. The other day I remembered how when I was little, I would have stomach aches all the time for no reason...no reason?

There was always a reason, but you were subtle enough at that stage for me and others to ignore it.

Then came tragedy, and that seemed to be the stage you were looking for to make your grand appearance. And still, I somehow missed a ticket to the show.

After my father's death, now looking back, there was a noticeable change in myself. I became a much more pessimistic, negative young adult who just wanted to grow up and move on. I coasted through high school, subconsciously faking it and somehow making it. You were like a parasite at this time, slowly eating my insides, myself unknowing to the damage being caused, ignoring it until it rose to the surface.

I had always been a natural explorer and traveler so it was easy to piggy back on the idea of hope after I was accepted and moved away for college. And this worked to get you off my own back. For once, you shut up! New people, ideas, experiences, friends, loves, and teachers. It was enough to occupy my fast paced mind and feed me everything I wanted, while being my favorite thing- independent. You weren't there to steal that.

Unfortunately, I had no idea that you didn't leave me. Instead, like a bear, you were only hibernating.

And again, you piggy backed tragedy. Only, I had a ticket to this show, and so did others.

You knew of my emotions, and their innate sensitivity. You knew I was on a high, not ready or expecting a low. You knew the exact way to make me spiral and come undone. This time, after two years of learning myself and opening my mind I was finally able to realize you were a "thing". I wasn't sure exactly what but I knew it was 'something' and not a good 'something'. And as much as you fought me with racing thoughts, constant jitters all over, daily bouts of a racing heart, fearing, worrying, fighting...I won.

It was hard, long, and one of the worst processes I've had to go through, but I won.

I won't tell you my secrets but I found some of your triggers that never made any sense. I saw you for what you are and not what you do to me. I learned techniques to properly fight you and come out stronger. I've learned how to do these things every day.

Four years later this is still the reality for us. I begrudgingly accept your existence in exchange for creating a stronger self in the long run. After nine years of this I've realized you are here for a while and hoping that you just disappear. Would it be ludicrous to think I, the landlord of my body, cannot kick out the worst tenant- you, anxiety?

You still manage to make your presence known, even with all my nifty tips and tricks, therapy, and medicine. And the fear of being forced to buy a ticket to a show I hate can be debilitating at times. My mind still races to a speed where I cannot catch up. My heart still pounds for "unnecessary" reasons, panic attacks occurring for no apparent reason. However- they are less frequent, less powerful, and less apparent as I fight forward.

I didn't think or understand for a long time that mental illness could or ever would take this long to not only recognize but strategize, deal with, and cope with.

That, and I never realized just how many of us are ignoring these things. We've all been through shit and could use some help on our way through life and that should never make you feel inferior to others. We could all benefit from it in the end. Life is tricky as fuck and throws you through the ringer you deserve someone to be like "it's chill, lemme help you dude".

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Valley Between the Mountains

This quote simplifies not only every day struggles, but also mental illness. It exemplifies the roller coaster battle. Reminding us for every valley, there is an ascent to a mountain; for every mountain, a descent into a valley. 

I have to constantly remind myself of it, mostly when I'm in the valley, wondering how I got back down there when so recently I was ascending to a peak.

Mental illness can take a long time to figure out, analyze, get to know, and find ways to survive through. It takes trial and error...many errors. It can become so daunting to fail at figuring it out so many times and to constantly wonder when it will be better (forever). To understand that it might not get better forever is a realization many don't want to face, including myself for many years. 

I wondered what the fight was for if I was going to be in battle for so long. What was the point of continually agonizing over the way my mind worked if it couldn't be fixed? I hated it. I hated my mind. I hated the way it made me act, and feel, and respond to others around me and situations presented. 

Don't show me paradise if it's only going to be burned down...over and over again.

But this battle is being fought, and each peak I reach feels better than the last. Each climb brings me more strength than I had before, and each time I find myself descending into a valley I remind myself there is another mountain always waiting to be climbed and conquered, and the views at the top are always worth it.

I'll say it again- the views at the top are always worth it.

Mental illness is controlling, it can cloud the brain like a dense, dark fog. This fog may seem impenetrable but the fact is that it is not. Your eyes and soul are a flashlight if you choose. They can lead you through it to the other side to find the trail back to ascension. 

If you don't believe this, it only means you are lounging in the valley. It's plush, dense, tangled in a mess. But if you keep walking, you'll approach that mountain side and see the incline. It's daunting, it's challenging, and likely will take much effort on your part, but again:

the views at the top are always worth it.

Each step up the incline you take, you are telling your mental illness that it does not have the power you once thought it did. You are telling it that you will prevail, amongst all odds. You are growing, with each step to a better you. The pain of the ascent will only make reaching a peak even better, it will make the views take your breath away and make you happy you are alive to see it, because, yet again,

the views at the top are always worth it.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

'Scuse me while Im absent

That incredibly mixed up feeling in your stomach when you feel too many emotions at once and want to run or puke.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Mountains and Nature

Ever since I was very young, I had an affinity for nature, or so my parents told me. As I grew, so did my curiosity and fondness for the outdoors. It wasn't until I reached high school that I started looking inward and exploring the reasoning for my pull towards the mountains and forests, rivers and oceans, rocks and fauna.

Me @ Great Smokey Mountains N.P.  (2013)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Orgaic Travel Essentials (PART 2)

Vitamins & Supplements

Travelling is a very time consuming and mind-occupying activity that disrupts our typical routines (in a good way), but can often lead us to not pay as much attention to our food intake/supplementing our body with nutrients.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

An Ode to People Who Pick Themselves Up

Life can be wonderful. Absolutely blue-skied, soft-breeze, I-feel-damn-good wonderful.

My version of "F yea, life!"

But life can also be utter and complete shit. It will pick you up to a height you thought you'd never be scared of, and drop you in a blink. And as you fall, life sometimes finds it humorous to grow trees for you to hit and bounce off as you descend to the ground.

It's at that rocky, cold, hard bottom that you learn the most about yourself. It won't seem that way when you're down there, but oh it is.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th of July to the Fighters

No, not just the many men and women who fought and continue to fight for this country's independence and freedom (though we owe them many thanks as well)...

This is to the many Americans who have navigated the rough waters of social justice throughout this country's existence to fight for the rights and happiness of humans.

Those who have fought for love rather than for revenge with hearts full of hate.

Those who demanded respect for humans who were not deservedly receiving it.

Those who stood up against faulty powers to speak truths and uncover lies.

And especially to those who never gave up in the face of abuse and hatred.

This celebration is for you,

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Organic Travel Essentials [Part 1]

This is Part 1 of of a mini-series I'm doing on organic travel essentials. I will be doing a 2-3 week roadtrip around the West starting next Friday and have been doing a lot of research on organic outdoor products and various ways to ensure health while travelling. Thus, I wanted to share the products I ended up choosing!

Part 1- Sun & Bugs
Part 2- Vitamins/Supplements

Friday, July 1, 2016

When You Feel Let Down and Heartbroken

It sucks. Especially when it's from people you once thought cared the most. It's even harder when for whatever reason, you can't help but still care for them.

Being Okay With Being Alone

For a long time I fought my own introverted-ness. I wanted to be an extrovert so badly, I wanted a lot of friends, I wanted to party as much as others, I wanted to go out and not be overly tired by the time I reached the bar. I didn't understand why when I forced myself to do those things it was so exhausting, it took everything out of me.

3 Amazing Organic Skin Care Companies

I'm going to be doing this periodically, for both skin and hair product companies. I have tried all products/companies that I post on here.

  • Organic ingredients
  • Company philosophy
  • Results

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Mindfulness & Staying Present


I was always one who was hesitant on where to begin and with what, when it came to finally tackling my anxiety disorder. With the thousand thoughts swirling around my noggin constantly fighting to make sense, adding another task seemed more dangerous than anything. One day while browsing & testing various techniques, I came across a meditation that took small effort in little time...

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Morning Skin Care Routine

Our water heater is broken ...so this edition is without a morning shower! Not too different, as my face care routine is largely outside of the shower stall.

STEP 1 - Cleanse

  • My skin is naturally prone to dryness AND acne in my problem areas (forehead/chin/nose) due to my anxiety. Therefore I start with French Girl Neroli du Maroc Cleansing Wash ($18). It is very gentle,skin, non-foaming, and pH-balancing that is great for sensitive skin. Aloe, Vitamin E, Tamanu, and Olive oils all combine to make this product work so well.
  • In addition to the F.G. Cleansing Wash I add a bit of French Girl's Rose Facial Polish ($22). With the dry skin, I get a lot of flakes that become SUPER evident when I put my makeup on. Adding this to the cleanser helps scrub off all the dead skin so my face is silky smooth.
*All of French Girl's products are organic/vegan, containing no sulfates, parabens, synthetic preservatives, petroleum, silicone, phthalates, nor fragrance oils.

STEP 2 - Tone
  • I then apply Mad Hippie's Exfoliating Serum ($35). It has Alpha Hydroxy Acids, Apple Stem Cells, and Gigawhite. It helps shed dead, damaged, and discolored skin to reveal brighter, smoother skin.
STEP 3 - Moisturize - a.k.a my most expensive part
  • The most important part for my skin! For all day protection I need a deep moisturizer that doesn't make my skin feel heavy or oily! I have fell in love with REN Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream ($45). It's their #1 moisturizer and it shows. Most of their products are AMAZING for sensitive skin. Not only does this hydrate & replenish, it uses Calendula oil to calm the skin and Omegas 3 & 7 to repair and protect. Over time is combats natural pollutants and harsh free radicals, while training the skin to become "less" sensitive.
  • MY EYES! My undereye-bags are noticeable and can be quite dark (especially in the morning) so I went ahead and grabbed REN Instant Brightening Beauty Shot Eye Lift ($45). This stuff is amazing at instantly brightening dark circles and lifting the eyes to reduce bags and crows feet.

**AGAIN...I understand my personal regime has products that can be quite pricey. I also make a lot of face products with much cheaper options as alternatives to lower the price if need be. Just let me know and I can give you GOBS of information on other cheaper, effective products!

Have you tried any of these products? How did you like them? What products do you have in your routine?!

Friday, January 1, 2016

The next step...blog about it.

Hey, I'm Kelli


I very slowly started the journey of switching to a more organic lifestyle and as it progressed I began learning & experimenting with various natural ingrediants in my hair care, skin care, and health. I've been through trial (end error) with many of my combinations and have again, slowly, perfected some of my homemade products. I have only shared them with friends and family but would like to expand to help the general population in a hopeful transition to more natural ways of life!

Great Strange Dream logoIf you want to check out the products I have made so far, you can read more about their ingredients/purchase them here:
My Etsy!

Along with my path into natural ingredients for my physical well-being, I am constantly working on my mental health. Around 6 years ago I fell into a depression that developed into a sever anxiety disorder. Though I fought and won the depression battle, it has been an ongoing recovery process the past 5 years with my anxiety. I am constantly looking for/finding new ways in which I can help better process my emotions and behaviors to combat this disorder.

As well, follow me on instagram to follow my continuing journey and product reviews of other organic beauty care items @chinsupbuttercups