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Mental Health

Hey everyone, I’m back today. I’ve been in the kitchen a lot for the last few weeks, working on new recipes and spending a lot of time in the garden working on growing food for my family as well as working on my mental health.

The last few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster, and in June I felt like I was hitting a wall with all of the stress. I’ve been a blogger for a long time, and there are moments in that journey when I’ve felt like maybe I should walk away from it all.  This was one of those moments.

Being a Creative, I feel like we feel things deeper and internalize things.  This reflects in my work, my writing, and my energy level.

The emotional strain became almost unbearable.  My professional life is online, and it is nearly impossible to turn off social media while maintaining that professional connection.  However, the news and the images of people dying and the injustices were heartbreaking. 

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“If You Don’t Know What To Say, Then You Need To Be  Educated.”

Sometimes I am completely at a loss for what to say. So I chose to be quiet, but for some critics, my silence wasn’t a good thing.

To be honest, I got some cruel advice that sent me into a mental health spiral. I cried… a lot.  Ugly, mad tears overwhelmed me, and I was faced with trying to figure out how to manage my emotions.

The blogging community can be cruel.  Women can be sinister. And as the anger of the social injustices boiled up, the blogging community began to turn on each other. I belong to a few online blogging communities, and I watched in horror as some of those “support groups” became pits of cruelty, and some blogs, even this one, became targets for hate.  My crime was for a recipe labeled “Matzo Crack Recipe.”  It was targeted for being insensitive.

Maybe it is.  I did not mean to be insensitive to the plight of families who have been torn apart by drug abuse. Instead, it was passing down a family recipe.  But after some time and heavy thought, I know that I have a lot to learn.


When Life Hands You Lemons

I took some time to get offline and get into the garden. I battle anxiety and a little bit of depression, so when I found myself sinking, I pulled myself off the internet, and I knew I needed to spend some time working on my mental health.

Instead of getting bogged down in schedules and routine, I allowed myself to sleep in later, practice yoga, and meditate more.  In addition to working in my garden, I spent time reading more about the struggles that POC have faced.  I gave some energy and time into trying to understand the protests and how I can help.

I’m not saying that I don’t still have a lot to learn.  I have so much to learn, but I’m ready to come back to this platform, feeling like I have a better understanding of how to be a better ally for those who need my support.

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.

I spent some time in my hiatus learning how to make more from what we have. Literally, I learned how to make a better fresh lemonade recipe, a concentrate using garden-fresh strawberries, lemons, and how to preserve it for later.

This time was really what I’ve needed for a while; I needed time to find a better focus on how we can proceed in this uncertain time.

There is no shame in taking a “Time out” to get yourself together.

The reason I am sharing all of this is to say that I want all of my readers to embrace that sometimes all of us need to take time to focus on our mental health.  There is no shame in saying you need help, or you need to step away so you can heal.

I sought help from a mental health therapist who has been able to do video sessions with me since we are still avoiding outside contact due to Covid-19.  And if this is an option for you, I highly recommend that you take advantage of the opportunity to speak to someone and gain insight.

Here's What I Did On My Mental Health Break:

  • I took a gardening class by “Gangster Gardener” Ron Finley and learned why Urban Gardens are so important and how ridiculous it is that the police have actually given tickets to citizens for trying to feed the hungry.  Then signed a petition to end injunctions against public gardens. 
  • I worked on my “Victory Garden” and did a lot of reading about canning, preserving, and herbal remedies. 
  • Gardening,Mediation and Yoga became my morning routine.
  • Practicing social distancing, friends joined me in the garden for brunch. 
  • I found a mental health therapist doing counseling with telehealth.
  • I read a LOT of books.
  • I discovered some amazing new CBD Bath Bombs that are sooo relaxing. (I'll do a full post about them)

Thank everyone for sticking with me.

I also want to thank all of our return readers who have stuck with me during some crazy times. I know that it takes effort and time to read a blog post.  And maybe the post isn’t all that interesting, like this one. Or it doesn’t have a cool recipe, like the lemonade recipe that I’m about to write next.  But you are here, and you are the reason that I’m back in my office trying to write out better content for the next time.

Those of you who leave comments with your thoughts, you give me navigation on what to write next. When you tell me that you want to see more recipes, that’s what energizes me to write those recipes.  When you say you want to know more about Lyme Disease, I am always happy to write something new for you too!  Your comments and suggestions are what helps Dancing With Fireflies to grow.

So, thank you.  I do appreciate you.

~ Crysta

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