Actually it does matter: Not dismissing your emotions.

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When I get upset I tend to tell myself “it doesn’t matter”. When people get angry they tend to tell themselves that the people they’re angry at “don’t matter”. When big things go wrong in our lives we tend to say “it doesn’t matter”. As if saying this over and over again will make it true, like it will take these things that obviously do matter and make them cease to.

It might seem harmless, but pretending things don’t bother you doesn’t make them stop bothering you, it just suppresses them so they can come back and bite you later. It’s why people bring up long past arguments in fights. Those things were never resolved, and yes, they’re still angry about them, even though the person they are fighting with has long since forgotten them. It’s a surprise to them, which normally makes the fight deteriorate at a rapid speed.

So yes, it does matter, it all matters. If you’re trying to dismiss something because you don’t think it should matter, that’s still something you need to dissect. If it shouldn’t be a big deal you need to figure out why it still feels like a big deal to you. Maybe you don’t need to get the other person involved, maybe it has nothing to do with them. If it is you, you should adjust, but if it’s them, or even a little bit of you both (which it normally is) you need to talk about it. Notice that I said talk, not scream, it’s normally best to calmly discuss things so you don’t end up attacking instead of resolving.

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On Purpose: Leaving the world better than we found it

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“Each of us has a unique part to play in the healing of the world.”

– Marianne Williamson

There is a lot to say about having a purpose. When you have a purpose you have direction, you have something to work towards. You have something to pour yourself into and you have something that will ultimately fulfill you. Having a purpose is important, and I personally think we have a lot of different ones, and as multidimensional humans we shouldn’t settle for just one.

But there is one that everyone should have, and it’s to do good, to leave the world a better place than you found it. It sounds like an overwhelming thing, to change the world for the better, but that doesn’t have to be overwhelming at all. Little actions change the world. Being loving to your neighbors, doing random acts of kindness, not being the cause of someones pain.

There is a lot of dysfunction in our world, by simply not contributing to it you are helping heal it.

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Who is Anna? Where is Down South?

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I haven’t written a post introducing myself in well over a year. Most my posts include little details about me, but few of them show the big picture. It’s a hard task, because there is a lot to me. Here are some lightning facts:

  • I started riding horses in third grade. I finally got my own at 14. I named him D’Artagnan. It’s pronounced Dar-tan-yon. It’s from The Three Musketeers.
  • I got bit by a horsefly and came down with Lyme Disease immediately after my college graduation. At least I didn’t have to drop out!
  • I majored in my learning disability! I’m super dyslexic and dysgraphic and I majored in English. As they say, if there’s a will there’s a way!
  • I barrel raced all through my childhood, but stopped when I got busy with college, I’m going to try to start again this spring. I’ve missed it.
  • I’m a writer a heart. I once thought that a Youtube channel would have better reach than this blog, the the truth is I’m not a graceful speaker. I’ve always loved words and spilling my thoughts the old fashion way.
  • I was bullied to attempted suicide in 8th grade and was diagnosed with bipolar at the age of 6, both of these things have to do with my love for exploring mental illness and restoring mental health.
  • I’m a Christian. I was raised one, but I lost my way in the teens, college brought me back to having a healthy relationship with God. I’ve been working hard to keep it since then.
  • I’m a Marketing Specialist at my day job. It’s my only job actually, it just happens to be during the day.
  • I write novels in my spare time. Mostly fantasy, but I dabble in everything. I have thought about trying to get one published, but I’m in no rush to pursue it.
  • I was raised in a very loving household and still aspire to be my mother when I’m older. I know that my parents are where all my morals come from, even as they’ve shifted and grown as I’ve gotten older.
  • Not to be a typical millennial but I met the love of my life on Tinder when I was 23. He had Lyme too, oddly enough. His is in remission though.
  • I was born, raised, and educated in North Carolina. I’ve traveled a fair bit, but it hasn’t changed the fact that this is home. I always end up wanted to come back.

I think that’s enough to a least get a better grip on who is behind this blog. The Anna to the Down South. Tell me a little about yourself in the comments! I’d like to know you too.

Loneliness: How to try and beat it.

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I saw someone post about being jealous of the characters on Sex and The City for having a close group of friends, it had well over 500 likes, under it were a lot of comments and jokes about being lonely. I see posts like this often, I hear comments about it in person too. People talk about how isolated they feel all the time. They talk about the fear of losing deep and meaningful connections and settling for quick chats. There’s been articles published about the loneliness ‘epidemic’ sweeping across the western world, and debates on if social media makes it worse or better.

I understand it, not because I would define myself as lonely, but because I can see the type of connections I used to have verses the types of connections I have now. My boyfriend excluded, I don’t have a best friend, I haven’t had one since I was in high school. I have friends, and I love them all dearly, but I don’t have one that I rush to talk about almost everything, and I certainly don’t have one that I talk to everyday. Maybe this is part of growing up, maybe we’re meant to trade some of these connections in for ones of a different kind. After all, we get busy, we’re working, we get in romantic relationships, we might just not have the time or energy to be buddies like we were in grade school. I honestly believe this is true, but I also believe that there is more going on here than just that.

I think that as a whole our society is becoming more isolated. I believe that as with most everything, most of this is our own doing. Sure it’s hard to meet people, but I think the real problem is that once we meet people we never get close to them. So how do we change that? How do we move on to being more social?

  • Change your idea of social events: It’s becoming more common to be an introvert than an extrovert and I’m not surprised. We’ve made all social gatherings a production. It’s parties and concerts and shopping, but it doesn’t have to be that way all the time. It can also be two people sitting on the couch catching up or making cookies at home. Social events don’t have to be energy draining, and when they aren’t, we tend to make more room for them because they aren’t taking up our down time but rather adding to it.

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What my chronic illness can teach those who are healthy:

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I backslide in my treatment over the last few months.

Not a ton, mind you, but any backslide is still a regression and it wasn’t one I was happy about. But there was still a lot to be thankful for. I still feel way better than I did when I started treatment over two years ago. One more antibiotic is annoying and it makes my stomach hurt, but it’s still less than I was on. I’m still able to work and go about my daily life, and that’s a big deal, because two years ago I could hardly move from my bed to the couch. Plus, now that I’m taking it, I’m starting to steadily make back the ground that I had lost.

But there’s an important thing to point out. The antibiotics are important but, I only feel like they’re working when I’m taking care of myself. It’s a tricky thing, but finding health with Lyme is a fine balance of taking care of yourself and taking your pills. I find that the pills allowed me the ability care for myself by helping reduce my pain and my fatigue, but without the diet, the exercise, and natural treatments, I might as well still be sick.

It brings me back to all the lessons on health I had learned before Lyme Disease.

We push aside daily wellness when we’re healthy enough. When we don’t have a chronic illness, when we don’t have a disease, or a disorder. Our bodies are functioning and that’s enough for us, we don’t feel like we need to do all the extra work for them to be at their best, because good enough is good enough.

It has a lot to do with our own laziness, our own gluttony, and all the pleasure we find in things that aren’t very healthy to us. It really dawned on me after a few weeks of giving this lifestyle my all so I could get better. I thought “when will I be better enough to stop all of this?”

That’s right, I wanted to know when will I would be better enough to stop being healthy.

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Mental health medications aren’t supposed to be a prescription for shame

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I want to talk about the shame that comes with being on medication for mental illness. It’s why so many people avoid talking to doctors and getting the help they need. It’s a common phenomenon, but that doesn’t make it less harmful and dangerous.

Before I start this post I need to say that I got diagnosed at six and I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t taking pills. You might wonder if I’m really the right person to talk about this subject, but I think that it adds another layer of understanding. I know it added another layer of protection. I got to learn my valuable lessons in safety while I was still being actively cared for.

I remember in grade school telling my mom that I wanted to be normal and that I wasn’t going to take my pills anymore. Since she was with me 24/7 she decided not to fight it and let me stop them. It only took two weeks for me to come to her with the bin of pill bottles and ask what I was supposed to take. I needed those pills not to be miserable, I understood that then.

It wasn’t a particularly long lesson, but since I was pretty dang bipolar it didn’t need to be. It kept me from questioning the need for medication again and it was a blessing that it happened as a small child, not when I was suicidal in middle school or swinging in and out of depression my senior year of college. I had a safety net, which isn’t something most people have as they sit in the doctors office unwilling to share their needs because they’re depressed, ashamed, and scared. So they go home, untreated, and things don’t get better.

That’s when it gets dangerous. That’s when it gets harmful.

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OOTD: Tackling what a lifestyle blog means to me

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( Jeans: Banana Republic Factory // Shirt: Loft (similar) // Booties: Steve Madden (similar) // Sweater: J. Crew (similar) )

This is my first Outfit of the Day post in a little over a year, and that one was posted with the same disclaimer to why it had been so long. I stopped posting them because I got frustrated that those posts were doing better than my posts on serious topics like mental illness. I’m not a fashion blogger nor did I have desire to be, I added the OOTD because I thought how we present ourselves is a great part of lifestyle and this blog is supposed to be a lifestyle blog. That’s changed a little, and I didn’t really mean for it to. It started when I published “I’m Not Offended by my Bipolar Jokes. You Shouldn’t be Either.” I was really unsure when I published it, I thought it was going to go over poorly, but I was wrong, it did well and I felt amazing having published it. So, more serious posts started getting mixed into my blog. Posts on my personal relationship with suicide mixed with photo diaries of my horse. It felt good, then I got more invested in the serious topics, and as you might have noticed, they started to dominate.

It’s not a bad thing. The topics I’m writing about are important, at least to me, and I feel like they need to be talked about. That’s what a blog is supposed to be, isn’t it?

But I’ve strayed a little to far from where I started. I need a little lightness in these posts too. I need to include the everyday joys, after all, life isn’t just about the serious topics, and it definitely isn’t just about mental illness and other hardships.

So here is my outfit. Here is my smile. Here is a picture of me in my everyday life.

Anna Down South is about me as a whole, that includes seriousness and it includes happiness.