Unspoken Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Unspoken Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

I recently realized that I subconsciously haven’t wanted to speak much on my bipolar disorder because of the huge stigma that it carries. Once I realized that I’d been avoiding it, my first thought was to make a post because that’s why I created this blog – to erase the stereotypes and stigmas that mental health disorders have.

I want to start out by saying that not all people with bipolar disorder are “crazy”. In fact, when I told my friends and family, they were in genuine disbelief. Even I was confused when I’d first received the diagnosis. But as I learned more about the unspoken symptoms of bipolar disorder, I started to understand.

But before I get into the more unspoken symptoms, I want to address the common assumptions of bipolar disorder. A lot of people believe it’s rapid mood swings, super impulsive decisions, risky behavior, unwarranted overreactions, or someone possibly wanting to hurt themselves or others. I’ll be honest with you, these are symptoms of bipolar disorder. But when these symptoms are stated, people assume the worst situation possible. For example, when people hear “impulsive decisions” they assume something like crashing a car or maxing out a credit card. But for some of us, those “impulsive decisions” can be saying something without thinking first or making last minute plans to go out instead of doing homework.

The point of explaining this is to let you know that society portrays mental health disorders as much worse than they typically are. Yes, it’s possible for someone with bipolar disorder to crash their car, but it’s not common. It’s an extreme example of the disorder. You can still feel or seem “normal” when you’re bipolar.

Now that we’ve discussed that, I want to share how bipolar disorder affects my life. Even though I know other people with the disorder who experience the same things, I will not speak for them. But as you’ll see, my responses don’t really fall in line with the common assumptions of bipolar disorder.

My most “severe” or overwhelming symptom is my changed motivation levels. I have weeks where I want to spend every waking moment doing something productive. After that, I have weeks where I never want to leave the couch. Basically, I’ll spend a few weeks accomplishing double of what I should be, and then I crash for the next few weeks and do the absolute bare minimum.

My motivation is basically all dependent on my changing energy levels. When I have a lot of energy, I sleep a lot less to get more done. I wake up early to get a good workout in. I can focus a lot better on work, so I try to work as much as possible while I know that I have the motivation. But when I don’t have the energy, I skip the workout. I procrastinate on the work. I become a couch potato.

I also find it very hard to remember things. I have the worst memory out of anyone that I know. Not being dramatic, I wouldn’t be surprised if I was told that I had short term memory loss. Here’s a few examples..

  • I’ll be in the middle of a sentence and completely forget what I’m saying and never remember.
  • I completely forget about things that happened the day before.
  • I can’t ever tell a story because I leave out huge details (because I forgot).
  • I have to take notes on every reading and bring them to every lecture because I know that I won’t remember what I read 5 minutes later.
  • I lose things frequently. (ex: where I park my car, the phone I had in my hand 2 minutes ago.)
  • I can’t trust myself to remember anything important – due dates, personal details about friends, instructions, etc.

I really struggle with this. It’s really frustrating to not be able to trust yourself with important information, especially when it affects other people as well. Luckily, basically everyone that knows me is aware of my situation and knows how to work around it. They’ll text me things that they’d like me to remember or just remind me themselves. For me, I write down everything that’s important and frequently set reminders.

I think one of the main reasons that I can’t remember things is because I can’t concentrate. I have so many racing thoughts going on in my head 24-7. I just have so many different emotions, thoughts, and worries about things that my brain never shuts off. I have literally never just sat down and thought about nothing in my entire life, even when I’m trying to sleep.

On a different note, I have depression and anxiety but sometimes I have unexplained sadness and/or anxiety for longer periods of time, which I contribute to bipolar disorder. I don’t know how to explain it to someone who doesn’t experience it themselves, but it’s almost like a different type of depression or anxiety when I hit a bipolar low. The symptoms worsen, but for no reason, like nothing happened to cause it. When I hit bipolar lows like this, I undertake a lot of physical tolls like headaches, stomach aches, and jitteriness.

One of the things that I hate most about bipolar lows is my change in appetite and weight. In the past, I’ve always coped with feelings by eating. It’s something that I’m improving at this point, but I’m not out of the woods yet.

I also feel guilt – like I can’t do anything right. I feel weak because I’m sad and anxious for absolutely no reason. I feel angry and upset that I don’t have the power to control it and move on from it. I also get upset because I usually don’t accomplish anything while I’m in bipolar lows.

I’ve also noticed that being bipolar really affects my social life. When I’m happy and energetic, I want to hang out with other people. But when I’m not doing so well or I’m super tired, I don’t want to see anyone. I am a suffer in silence type of person, so sometimes I’ll want to go days without seeing people.

Irritation/anger has also been a symptom for me. I don’t personally believe that I portray that to others because I would never want to project onto someone else, treat others poorly, or even let people know that I’m upset. But when I’m in a bipolar low – so many things irritate me. It’s extremely pitiful if I’m being honest. I can get irritated by a little things like a comment that someone says (that I’d normally easily excuse) or by freaking dropping my pen. It’s weird.

Lastly, and probably least importantly, I can’t ever make a decision. I can’t decide where to go to dinner, what time to go to the gym, what outfit to wear, where to live after graduation, etc. I know that most of those things are very little decisions, I honestly just couldn’t think of more important ones.. You get the point though.

Whew.. I feel like that was a lot, but I just wanted to express that being bipolar isn’t always a scary or crazy thing. It can apply to very normal situations and people. Which one surprised you the most??

Also somewhat in relation to bipolar disorder, I took a social media/blog hiatus. It feels good to be back and sharing important things! I know a lot of people wanted to see this blog post to get more informed on bipolar disorder, so feel free to reach out to me on Instagram (@carmenreynolds) or Pinterest (@thesopblog) with any questions! Other than that, have a great week! 🙂

9 Inspiring People to Follow on Instagram

9 Inspiring People to Follow on Instagram

Social media will give you the result that you ask for. And what you ask for is determined by who you follow. 

So, if you’re constantly asking to see the successful and beautiful women who edit their photos with a fancy preset, only show the highlight reels, and pretend that life is all sunshine and rainbows – that’s the unrealistic standard that you will subconsciously set for yourself. 

But if you ask to follow women who post pictures without makeup, show you their fat rolls, tell you when they’re having a bad day, and give you tips on how to improve your life – you will let go of the unrealistic standard because you’ll finally see that people don’t always live the glamorous lives that they portray to live.  

If you constantly follow content that makes you feel jealous and unworthy, that’s what is going to stick with you. But if you’re constantly following inspiring and uplifting content, that is how you will feel. So, choose wisely. You get to determine how social media affects your mindset. 

I’m going to give a large variety of people to follow. There are accounts for overall self development, business, body positivity and self love, faith, and more. In upcoming posts, I’m going to niche down and pick one topic, like body positivity, and give a larger list.. But I need more time to get my thoughts together for that. So, we’ll go ahead and get into it. I will share every person’s Instagram handle in case you’d like to check them out! 

Rachel Hollis, @msrachelhollis – 

If you are a regular reader of mine, you probably know that Rachel Hollis is my queen and forever role model. She is a motivational speaker, author, host of a podcast, blogger, mama of 4 kids, and so many other things. I don’t know how she does it all. I found her by randomly deciding to read her book, Girl, Wash Your Face. It motivated me to get down to the root of my mental health issues, love myself, create healthy habits, stay motivated to accomplish goals, and work hard AF. Since reading her first book, my life has genuinely changed so much. I have now read her other book, Girl, Stop Apologizing, followed her on all socials, attended her online “RISE” personal development conference, and more. If you don’t follow anyone else on this list, just make sure that you follow her. You won’t regret it. 

Dave Hollis, @mrdavehollis –

You guessed it, Dave Hollis is (well.. was) Rachel’s husband. They recently divorced. Nevertheless, he is one of my greatest role models as well. I’ve also read his book, Get Out of Your Own Way. The book was basically about his journey of personal growth and all the lies that he had to stop believing before he could truly grow. The book was written for people who are/have been skeptical of personal development, because he was at one point too. Following Dave on social media has really enforced me to stay motivated to accomplish goals – especially when it comes to working out. Also, he posts the CUTEST freaking videos with their adopted daughter, Noah. I am obsessed with her.   

Jenna Kutcher, @jennakutcher –

Jenna Kutcher is many things. Mainly, she is the definition of a boss babe, and holds titles of a business coach and entrepreneur. Jenna has her own blog, podcast, e-courses, and more. So if you are a small blogger/influencer, she’s definitely one that will have some free resources for you (and some great paid ones as well). Aside from her business coaching, she talks a lot about body positivity, self love and growth, relationships, mom-life, and more. 

Mik Zazon, @mikzazon –

I followed Mik on Instagram recently and haven’t done much research on her otherwise. But, I added her in because I love her Instagram. She is extremely real about mental health, body positivity, and loving every single part of yourself – no matter how many pimples, scars, or rolls you have. You won’t find any of her photos with any retouching or without an extremely genuine caption. It’s been a breath of fresh air to see something so real on Instagram. 

Ashley Graham, @ashleygraham –

Ashley Graham is a plus sized model who wants everyone to feel comfortable in their own body. She created a podcast (which is also a show on YouTube) called Pretty Big Deal, where she talks about confidence, beauty, and self love. She has a lot of celebrities on the show that co-host and help her change the narrative on the standards that society has set. 

Cathrin Manning, @cathrin_manning –

Cathrin is a YouTuber that talks a lot about content creation. She gives so many tips for getting more viewers, creating a unique brand, cultivating a genuine audience, and more – no matter what niche you are in or what platforms you use. She’s also been really open about the struggle as a small influencer (before she hit fame), which has been super helpful for me because I’m still in the small influencer stage, and it’s been nice to know that my feelings are valid and that I’m not alone in feeling them.  

Savannah & Cole Labrant, @sav.labrant & @cole.labrant – 

I paired Savannah and Cole together because I mainly admire them for their relationship and the way they lead their family. Sav & Cole are young, famous YouTubers that vlog about their blended family life, christianity, etc. Before the couple had met, Savannah got pregnant at 19 in an unhealthy relationship where she felt unworthy. She then had Everleigh and raised her as a single mom. Eventually, Sav met Cole when she thought that no one would want to date her because of Everleigh. But, Cole embraced it and treated them both like freaking queens. I was introduced to them by their wedding video that went viral. It was so beautiful that I was left in tears. Now, I mainly watch them to learn how they keep Jesus at the center of their relationship, family, and life. But also, watching them has also shown me what a healthy relationship and/or marriage can look like at my age. Quite honestly, I think it’s been important for me to watch them so I don’t lose sight of what I deserve or how I want my future family to look like.  

Morgan Harper Nichols, @morganharpernichols – 

MHN is an artist and poet that shares her original and personally drawn quotes. She is overall just a bright and uplifting spirit that speaks truth through her writings. I am in awe of her talent lyrically and artistically. 

Long story made short, these are the handful of people that inspire me on a regular basis! Making social media a positive learning space has really changed how I view myself and the concept of social media in general. I’m always looking for more people to follow and learn from, so if you have any favorites that I should check out – let me know! xoxo

What To Know When It Feels Like Jesus Isn’t There

What To Know When It Feels Like Jesus Isn’t There

I’m going to admit it, I have a hard time with being a “conditional Christian”, as I like to call it. Meaning that I’m only really diving into my faith and Jesus when I need something from him. It’s not on purpose, I just get extremely swept up in day-to-day life and I forget about the relationship I’m supposed to be creating and maintaining with him, quite honestly because I can’t physically see him. 

In being a conditional Christian for basically all of my life, I’ve questioned if Jesus was there from time to time. I’ve also gotten upset with Jesus for “not being there” when I thought he should have been, but I couldn’t feel it. 

Recently, I decided to start doing my daily devotional journal again. I’d stopped and started a million times before because I couldn’t keep a habit to save my life – but I’ve done a lot of growing and enforcing routines since then, so I figured that it was an attainable goal this time. I also decided to start sharing the devotionals on Instagram to help others, but mainly to keep me accountable. 

Anyway, I read something a couple of days ago that I will never forget. It was the answer to why I felt like Jesus wasn’t there. I’ll get to that in a minute, but I have a few things that I want to share first. Here’s what I’ve learned over the years as a conditional Christian: 

1. Jesus is patient, kind, and loving – and he will always welcome you back in with open arms. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or how long you’ve been gone, he’s going to forgive and love you anyway. 

2. A relationship with Jesus is like a relationship with one of your friends. Yes, he is Jesus – but the relationship concepts are the same. You will receive the effort that you put in. You will grow closer, but only if you spend more time together. You won’t always see eye-to-eye, but that doesn’t mean that you will stop caring for one another. 

3. Just because you are having a hard time, doesn’t mean that Jesus isn’t there. Jesus doesn’t always give you what you want, but he gives you what you need. And you may not realize his purpose (or what you need) in that moment – but you have to learn that he always has a plan. Think about every hard situation you have ever been through – hasn’t at least one good thing come out of it? I can promise you, at the very least, that you left the situation stronger than you went into it. 

Okay, now that I’ve gotten those things out of the way – here is the key thing to ask yourself when you feel like Jesus isn’t there: Have you been actively pursuing him? 

The more you pursue Jesus and search for him in everyday life, the more that you will feel his presence and be reminded of him. The more you seek him out, the more you will understand what he is doing in your life. Jesus is always there, rooting and working for you behind the scenes.. But if he isn’t even on your radar until the second that you need him, of course it’s going to feel like he isn’t or hasn’t been there! It’s because you haven’t really let him be there for you and your emotions – because you haven’t opened up a conversation with him, or maybe even thought about him. 

The more you actively try to think about things, the more they will stay on your mind. The deeper you dive into your relationship with him, the stronger your connection will be. But just like any other relationship, you have to be willing to put your time, energy, and care into that person. So if you feel like Jesus hasn’t been there, start trying to grow that connection with him. You won’t be disappointed. 

If you’re interested in getting the accountability and reminder to pursue your relationship with Jesus on a regular basis – follow my Instagram (@carmenreynolds) where I share my devotionals every day. Steal them and use them as the prompts to get a jumpstart or maintain your relationship with him!

How to Become Time-Efficient & Productive at Work

How to Become Time-Efficient & Productive at Work

“Work smarter, not harder.”

Time management is a huge factor in working smarter. It doesn’t matter how much motivation you have.. If you can’t learn how to optimize your time, you will always be working harder. 

Here are the two scenarios.. 

1. You are super driven and motivated. You want to get a million things done in a day. You have so much on your mind that you can’t decide what to do first. So, you spend a lot of time twiddling your thumbs trying to figure out what’s next. Or, you go back and forth between tasks more than you should, and you get whiplash from running around everywhere. 

2. You aren’t naturally motivated. If you don’t have to do it, you won’t. You prefer to chill and not do much, so when you do decide to give your time to something, you want it to mean something. 

Either way, people want to make the most out of their efforts. So this blog post is all about directing those efforts into something useful and productive, so you can be able to move onto the next task or return to the couch as soon as possible. Let’s dive right in.. 

Having to-do lists. These lists are essential for differentiating what’s most important,  remembering all the tasks you need to complete, planning, and staying motivated to cross things off the list. 

Planning ahead of time. Planning is literally the most important factor of being time efficient. Having a plan gives you direction for the day. You aren’t guessing what to do next or doing things out of order because you already know what needs to be done and when. Planning can look different for everyone, but here are most of the things that I like to plan on a very regular basis.. 

  • Goals for the week: What I’d be proud of myself for accomplishing at the end of a week. How am I going to get these done? 
  • Tasks for the week: What I have to do and when.  
  • Daily tasks and schedule: More detailed schedule of what I’m going to do and when.
  • Content calendars: These are the major “projects” that I work with, but you can adapt this to whatever job you have. 

Creating outlines. Especially if you work in the social media world, this is essential. Have outlines written for your blog posts ahead of time. Have a basic format/background to the photos that you post on Instagram.. Again, you can adapt this to whatever you work with. Basically just have a guideline of the components that you want the project to have. 

Eliminating distractions. You hear this all the time, but for a good reason. If you’re playing on Facebook, talking to your co-workers, staring at the wall.. You aren’t getting anything done. Don’t procrastinate, it’s going to have to be done eventually. 

Have time limited tasks. Maybe you don’t have a boss telling you when a project is due, but you should be giving yourself those guidelines. Having a deadline gives you a timeline with a specific amount of effort involved to get it done. If you don’t have any goals, you will most likely take 2 times as long as you could, just because you don’t feel like you have to.  

Do the most important thing first. Doing the most important thing first allows you to have all the time that you need to complete that task without the rush. 

Don’t try to multitask. Like I said, trying to do a million things at once is harder because you have to switch gears and think differently about each small project. Just knock out one at a time, so you don’t have to catch yourself back up.

Do things ahead of time. Rushed = poor quality. That’s all I’ll say about that. 

Frequently assess what’s working and what’s not. Something that may work one day, may not work the next. Be able to learn what works best for you in that moment, and then adapt. It’s not a “one size fits all” situation. 

Figure out how to motivate yourself when you don’t want to work. Even if you are the most motivated person on the planet, you won’t be on your best game every single day. There will be times where you just won’t want to do it – so figure out your game plan for convincing yourself to pull through. I always say “If I finish ___, then I can do ____.”

Take breaks. Taking breaks still improves your productivity. Think of yourself as a battery. It needs to recharge to be able to work efficiently. Have a 5-10 minute break every 2 hours. Take your eyes off the computer, drink some water, grab a snack, take a little walk.. Give yourself a refresher. 

Fuel yourself efficiently. I’ve been the girl who shows up rushed and running in at the last minute with no sleep, the monster I drank that had so much caffeine I was shaking, no breakfast, etc. That’s NOT the way to go. Sleep a good amount, eat before you come to work, wake up early and get some exercise to put your body and brain in motion, etc. You will thank yourself later. The productivity difference is shocking when you are fueled correctly. 

Alright, so there are all my tips for staying super productive in the workplace. These are all habits that I’ve adopted over the years, meaning I did not do them before. I used to be a freaking mess. But being prepared and planning have made the world of a difference! 

Planning is literally the most important factor of being time-efficient. Having a plan gives you direction for the day. You aren’t guessing what to do next or doing things out of order because you already know what needs to be done and when. Planning can look different for everyone, but here are most of the things that I like to plan on a very regular basis.. 

My Supplement Routine for Weight Loss, Acne, Hair Growth, Energy, & More

My Supplement Routine for Weight Loss, Acne, Hair Growth, Energy, & More

Yes, I am a Plexus Ambassador. But I’m not just here to promote my business, I promise. I use plenty of other supplements outside of the Plexus family that have done wonders for me as well! I’m just feeling good and I want y’all to feel your best too! So basically I’m just going to share what the supplement is, what it claims to do, and the honest effects that it has on me. 

I’m starting with Plexus products because after posting my progress picture I’ve received a lot of questions about what I’m taking and how I got to where I am, and I just want to be able to have the story all in one place! I’d just like to go ahead and say that this is not me just trying to make a sale, these are my honest thoughts and experiences. I value being real and trustworthy over possibly receiving a new customer anyday. 

Plexus 

Metaburn

https://plexusworldwide.com/carmenreynolds1/product/plexus-metaburn

Claims: Burns stubborn fat (especially in abs, hips, and thighs), improves metabolism, and supports mood, focus, and energy. 

Personal Effects: I’ve only been taking metaburn for a week or two now. For the entire time that I’ve been taking it, I’ve been eating terribly. I’ve been extremely busy and I’ve just eaten the foods that I can quickly warm up so I can get back to work. So in all honesty, I haven’t seen it’s most true effects. 

Even though I haven’t seen it’s best effects, I still think that it’s helped. I have more energy and have been in a much better mood over the past week. I’ve been way more motivated to work out which is a freaking miracle for me because I am absolutely never motivated to exercise. In all honesty, I haven’t noticed any fat burn but that’s because I’ve been eating like crap over the past few weeks. But in my opinion, I still feel like it’s doing a good job because I haven’t gained any weight or felt my pants getting super tight.

Balance

https://plexusworldwide.com/carmenreynolds1/product/plexus-balance

Claims: Maintain healthy blood sugar levels, reduces the absorption and glycemic index of carbs and sugars, supports weight loss, and helps reduce caloric intake. 

Personal Effects: I think that this product has been my saving grace over the past few weeks. Most importantly, I haven’t had sugar cravings which I usually have on a daily (if not hourly) basis. Frankly, I’m still in shock that this has worked this well. Additionally, I really do believe that the carbs are somehow diminishing because I’ve never been able to eat the way I have been without gaining at least 5-7 pounds, while looking like it too. I also feel like it’s given me a lot of relief when it comes to dieting/weight loss, because it still allows you to have those sweet treats too. I’m no longer feeling like I have to skip the desert as long as I have a primarily healthy diet. 

Bio Cleanse

https://plexusworldwide.com/carmenreynolds1/product/plexus-bio-cleanse

Claims: Kills gas, bloating, and discomfort. Clears out your gut by taking away the unwanted microbes and substances in your body. Helps promote regulation and improved gut health. 

Personal Effects: This is TMI, but I said I was gonna keep it real.. So, here we are. Before taking this product, I had a really hard time going to the bathroom which always made me feel SUPER bloated because I basically wasn’t getting rid of anything.. So it just kept building and building! I also really like this product because it doesn’t keep you on the toilet 24/7 like a laxative or detox tea/pill. It just clears you out on a daily basis to make sure that there’s no buildup in your gut. After I started taking these for about a week, my pants truly fit SO much better. I also lost 8 pounds.

Probio 5

https://plexusworldwide.com/carmenreynolds1/product/plexus-probio-5

Claims: Helps keep intestinal yeast in balance, supports a healthy intestinal tract and healthy digestion, improves natural response to imbalance, and promotes healthy bacteria counts and pH levels in the gut. 

Personal Effects: I honestly couldn’t tell you the noticeable effects that this product has had on me, aside from clearing up my face. I honestly didn’t know that was a main effect of this supplement until I had done some Google searching to see what it truly does. I saw amazing improvements so I truly believe that the probio 5 is the solution.  I have battled cystic acne my entire life but once I started taking this, the overall tone of my face (redness) improved and I wasn’t getting a bunch of little bumps all around my face anymore. 

Slim

https://plexusworldwide.com/carmenreynolds1/product/plexus-slim-hunger-control

Claims: Clinically demonstrated to help you lose weight and reduce hunger, supports healthy glucose metabolism and enhanced satiation and satiety, and increases hydration.

Personal Effects: This has completely curbed my hunger. At the start of taking this product, I literally had to force myself to eat multiple times a day. I’ve been an overeater for my entire life, so this has really been a game changer for me. I’m also super picky with the way things taste, but this tastes like pink lemonade so it’s been super easy to drink. I also think that the sweetness helps curb the sugar cravings because I feel like I’m already getting some by drinking this. I think this was also a large contributor to me losing 8 pounds.

Other Products

OLLY Flawless Complexion Gummies

https://www.target.com/p/olly-flawless-complexion-dietary-supplement-gummies-berry-fresh-50ct/-/A-51657181

Claims: Regulates hormones to give you clear skin. 

Personal Effect: This is one of the greatest finds I’ve ever made. As I said earlier, I have battled with cystic acne my entire life and this product has been a saving grace as well. While the Probio5 helps my skin tone and smaller acne, this helps get rid of the cystic/large acne. They don’t taste great, but definitely worth it for the effects. 

Elderberry Gummies

https://amzn.to/30hykwR

Claims: Has vitamin C and Zinc that helps support your immune health. 

Personal Effect: Since Corona, I have wanted to do everything in my power to build up some immunity! I don’t feel a huge change but my favorite thing about them is that they taste like candy.. So good!

Biotin Gummies

https://amzn.to/2PaiLAX

Claims: May help support healthy hair, skin and nails in those deficient in biotin. Biotin also supports carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism.

Personal Effect: I literally just started taking these about 2 days ago so I can’t really commit to any statement right now. I wanted to make the hair grow around my forehead so I’m hoping this will help! I’m also liking all of the other claims it’s making.. So I’ll come back with an update on this one. Just wanted to mention this because it’s super cheap and also tastes amazing!!

Lastly, we have my antidepressants. They aren’t a “supplement” but they do help my mood, energy levels, motivation, and more. Can’t say enough good things about them, and will answer any questions you may have! 

Alright, so that’s all the supplements I take in a day! I spread them out throughout the day depending on the claims that it makes. For example, if I know one will give me energy (Metaburn, antidepressants) then I will take it in the morning. But that’s everything I have on the list. 🙂 If you have any questions, feel free to DM me on Instagram (@carmenreynolds)! Also, if you were impressed with my honest review and interested in trying Plexus or becoming an ambassador, feel free to reach out to me on there as well. I will answer questions, recommend products, and find you some discounts!

Invalid Excuses for Not Going to Therapy

Invalid Excuses for Not Going to Therapy

Therapy is a great decision for anyone. Even if you are a happy and healthy human, I still recommend therapy. It’s not just talking about your traumatic experiences with a stranger, and you don’t have to be depressed or crazy to want to go.

You can go to therapy to learn how to create good habits or quit bad ones. 

You can go to therapy to learn how to be more productive. 

You can go to therapy to learn how to manage your relationships better. 

You can go to therapy to learn how to show up as the best possible version of yourself.

So, I assume if you clicked on this, you’re debating therapy. You’re probably wondering if your reasons are valid enough to go. I’m going to stop you right here and say this: If you have to debate or even question going to therapy, your reasons are valid enough to try it. You deserve to feel your best, and you won’t ever be able to do that if you keep cramming things back down. 

I put therapy off for a really long time. I’ve always been an advocate for it and I’ve always told myself that I should go, just like I think everyone else should go, but I never made it a priority. But deep down, I knew that I needed to go. I just didn’t want to admit it to myself because I had so many other important things going on in my life. During those years, therapy was always in the back of my mind. But as I said, I was just so wrapped up in other things and I just pushed it to the side. I would push the feelings or thoughts away and I would get by for long periods of time. And when I say “get by”, that’s literally all I could do, never better. And every once in a while, I couldn’t even get by. I would go into extremely depressive stages where I wouldn’t leave my bed unless it was a necessity, didn’t want to talk to anyone, cried a lot, etc – and couldn’t stop for weeks at a time. In those occasional periods, I knew I needed therapy and I would start to seriously consider it, but the second I started feeling better, it was pushed back again. 

So now that you have a little bit of backstory, here were my excuses and why I no longer believe in them:

I said that I never had the time. One thing that I’ve recently learned from personal experience, is that we make time for the things and people that we truly care about. A few months back, I was in school and working on my blog. I told myself that I never had free time, which was true, I really didn’t because I devoted every bit of energy I had into those two things. But fast forward a bit, I’m now in school, working 2 jobs, running the blog, and 2 other platforms. All of those things were important to me, so I made time for them. 

Therapy is also important to me. Nothing should be more important than my wellbeing, so it’s time that I make the time for it. To make it easier on me, I’ve decided to do remote therapy to save time on getting ready and making a trip somewhere.. The little things do add up! 

I didn’t really want to tell people. I never really admit when I’m not doing well. I usually wait to talk about it until after it’s passed and I’m doing better. It’s not that I’m embarrassed, scared, uncomfortable or whatever else – I just genuinely don’t want people to worry. Most people know about my disorders (for those of you who don’t know: depression, anxiety, bipolar, OCD), and I think it just kinda adds on an extra scare when I tell people I’m in a tough place. So, I usually like to keep it to myself. Since then, I’ve realized that I can’t keep myself in an unstable place just to allow other people to not feel worried. 

I only felt extremely low on occasions, so I thought I could handle it. I’ve always been pretty good at solving personal problems, and it’s only been rare occasions where it was beyond me. But like I said, those rare occasions are still terrible and can last weeks. I don’t want to just “get by” anymore, I want to actually be happy and fulfilled.  

I was scared of what I’d discover in therapy. I was scared that I would come to some really hard realizations about myself or my life, and I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I knew that I was on a slippery slope with my mental health in the first place, and I was scared of adding something else in the mix because I didn’t know if I could handle it. But if my experiences have taught me anything, it’s that I’m one of the (mentally) strongest frickin people that I know. I say that as humbly as I can, but it’s the truth. I know that therapy is going to be hard, but I’ve lived through all of my darkest days, and I know I will continue to do that until it gets better. 

I was scared that I wasn’t going to like my therapist. I know it sounds dumb, but I actually have good reason for worrying about this. Quick story time: To get the wonderfully long list of all my disorders, I had to meet with a psychologist multiple times. Mind you, I had NO idea what was about to hit me. I was there because I thought I had ADD. Anyway, throughout our sessions, she was incredibly insensitive to the (highly sensitive) information I shared with her. She had no compassion or understanding, she was only there to check off the boxes and leave. She also made me feel extremely dumb during every session that we had together. So, with that being said, I do have a bad past with a mental health care professional. But, obviously a psychologist and a therapist are two completely different jobs and people – and I cannot base my opinion on the entire mental health care field off of one bad experience that I had. 

I was scared about the financial commitment. Therapy is expensive, no lie. But, there are also ways to lessen the blow. Check with your insurance company, school or college, company, etc. Doing research can save you a significant amount, or may even help you find some free resources. Google is your BFF!

Lastly, I just want to talk about a fear that I’ve never had in regards to therapy, but I feel like a lot of others do.. Judgement. You’ve got to stop wondering what people will think of you. You are doing what’s best for you. You’re bettering you – for you. Other people don’t matter. Also, if someone is going to judge you for bettering yourself, what does that say about them? And even if they are judging, are you living your life to impress them? Is that worth it to you? 

One last thing I want you to think about.. Most likely, therapy is going to be hard. You have to be willing to accept the past and learn how to change for the future, and sometimes it’s not a freaking easy process. But what’s harder – going to therapy and working through it, or spending your entire life trying to avoid it and just barely get by?

Addressing Friendships That Aren’t Serving You

Addressing Friendships That Aren’t Serving You

I saw a quote a long time ago and it really stuck with me. It said, “If you are the smartest person in a room, then you are in the wrong room.” Frankly, at first, the quote didn’t really register with me because I’ve never really cared about how smart someone was. But then I changed it up. I kept the same foundation, but replaced the ‘smart’ aspect. 

If you are the most caring person in a room, then you are in the wrong room. 

If you are the most motivated person in a room, then you are in the wrong room. 

If you are the most understanding person in a room, then you are in the wrong room. 

If you are the most giving person in a room, then you are in the wrong room. 

The list goes on, but you replace it with the characteristics that you value.

When I first thought about this concept, I thought it was conceited and self centered. Who am I to say that I’m better than other people? What kind of person does it make me to leave people behind to search for better things? I kept this mindset for a while, but the quote had always stuck with me. 

Eventually, I realized brutally honest truths that I’m going to share with you soon. 

I spent a lot of alone time during quarantine – the most alone time that I’ve ever spent in my life. But the more alone time I spent, the more ‘at peace’ I felt. I couldn’t understand why because I’ve always been extremely social. I’d never gone days without seeing someone. I was actually almost concerned at how content I was with being alone, just because it was so out of character for me. 

I started doing some deep reflection at the end of June. It was a very hard month for me, especially in terms of friendships. I had been disappointed by so many people that I cared about. I think it hurt so badly because I would have never allowed them to feel the way that I did, but they did it without even caring or noticing. To be honest, I’ve felt disappointed with most of my friendships for a long time, but I’ve never had the guts to say anything to fix it. 

I realized that I felt so at peace because I wasn’t surrounded by people that required so much from me, without giving anything in return. I wasn’t around people who made me feel poorly about myself or my choices. I wasn’t surrounded by fake friends who I had to pretend to like. I had no idea how much stress that some of my friendships cost me until I was forced to take a step back. 

You’re probably like, “Boo hoo Carmen. Your life sucks.. Move on.” But there is a point to all of this complaining. Even though I was disappointed, I learned and gained so much more. That’s what I’m really here to talk about. I’m sure that someone else, even if they haven’t completely realized it until now, needs to hear what I’m about to share – so here we go.

Stop putting other people first. You are the most important person in your life. It’s okay to be a little bit selfish! I always think of the saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” Meaning that you can’t help others when you don’t have anything to give. Stop making other people’s needs more important than your own. 

If friends aren’t going out of their way for you, don’t go out of your way for them. Not only was I putting other people first, but I kept putting them first when they didn’t do the same for me. It’s a long, exhausting, and frustrating road to go down. You don’t have to say, “You didn’t do ___ for me, so I’m not doing __ for you.” You can silently just stop putting in the effort until they are able to give back to you. 

You are not selfish for changing or evolving out of friendships that don’t serve you. Like I said, you have to put yourself first. If you feel like a relationship gives you more negativity than it does positivity – cut it off. I’ve held on to unhealthy friendships for years and I can confidently tell you that 99% of the time, it doesn’t get better.

You do not owe anyone anything. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been friends, if they’ve been a good friend to you in the past, what you’ve been through together, etc. If they are becoming toxic to you, cut it off. You do not owe anything to people for being a good person/friend at a point in time.  

It’s okay to stand up for yourself and your wants. Everyone has the right to do this for themselves. Like we said earlier, their needs are not more important than yours. 

It’s okay to upset other people. Let me repeat: It’s okay to upset other people!!! This took me forever to realize, but it was the most liberating thing. Before I came to the realization, I thought of upsetting other people as equivalent to the world ending. I swear, it never even occurred to me that upsetting someone else was an option. Looking back, I have no clue how that never dawned on me, but I’m so glad it did. 

Here’s what I never thought about: It should not be up to you to make sure that every other person in your life is happy – especially not at the cost of your own happiness. It’s also okay to disagree with people, have different thoughts or beliefs, etc. 

But if you’re like me, you’re probably wondering how you can upset people and it still be “okay”. My advice: It’s all about how you handle the situation. 

Here’s my typical outline for upsetting someone: 

1: Break the news as lovingly and calmly as you can. 

2: Let them know that you understand if they are upset, and then explain that you have to put your wants/needs first in this situation – and you apologize for the inconvenience it may put on them. 

3. If you want to make it up to them in the future, let them know. Give them an idea of how you can make it up to them. 

4. Give them the time and space that they need to come to terms with the situation. Don’t confuse this with waiting for forgiveness, because you don’t need that for doing what’s best for you. You just need to let them cool off and process the way that they need to in order to do what’s best for them.

Alright, I think that’s all I’m going to share in this post. I have a few ideas surrounding the topic of friendship and I don’t want to make this too long, so I’ll save it for the next post! Remember, your goal in life is not to please other people. Your goal in life is to make YOU happy and do what’s best for you – and you don’t have to feel guilty or selfish for doing those things. Have a great weekend! xoxo

Why Network Marketers Have a Bad Reputation + How to Fix It

Why Network Marketers Have a Bad Reputation + How to Fix It

I’m going to be extremely honest with you guys. Before starting my network marketing company, I hated network marketers. I was annoyed every time I got a message from one. I thought that these women would say anything to get me to join their business, so I didn’t trust any of them. I also didn’t trust that you could be successful in these types of businesses. 

Fast forward a few months, I’m working in a network marketing company. I swear, it’s like the last thing on the planet that I ever expected to say. 

I think the main reason that I hated NWM companies was because I had been reached out to by so many women who didn’t know how to market. I’ll give a few examples.. 

They sent cold messages. “Hey girl, I love your profile! I think you’d be great at what I do, would you be interested in hearing more about ____?” 

What pissed me off the most about this was the fact that some girls didn’t even follow me when they sent messages like this. That’s so ingenuine! But even if they did follow me, I’d seen the same message hundreds of times – so I knew it was BS anyway. 

They didn’t take no for an answer. There’s a difference in sharing an opportunity and begging for someone to take the opportunity. If you’re not understanding no, you’re begging for someone to take the opportunity, which turns people off 10x more. 

I didn’t love seeing their products being featured on their page 24/7. What network marketers need to realize is that people don’t follow you to basically see “commercials” for your product. That’s like turning on The Office and seeing 50 minutes of commercials and 10 minutes of the actual show.

So, I think those were the main reasons why I was against NWM. I got a bad taste in my mouth from the women who did it incorrectly. 

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I won’t lie, in the beginning, I was also too excited to make money. I was extremely excited by the Plexus compensation plan, so I spent a lot of time sending cold messages. I didn’t send messages like most other NWMs so I didn’t feel like I was doing anything wrong (by sending cold messages), but I still didn’t really get to know someone before pitching the business, and I completely regret that. Did I make sales? Yes, a good amount, honestly. But eventually, I did some self reflecting and honest thinking – and I reminded myself that I am a very genuine person who extremely values relationships and good people, and I didn’t feel like I was embodying that in the way that I was reaching out to other people.

Ever since that realization, I made a promise to myself that I’m not going to compromise my integrity, even if I’m not technically doing something wrong. So, since then, I have changed my strategy of marketing. 

So how do we, as NWMs, change our reputation?

Learning. Like I said, I’ve been in this business for a very short amount of time. But I’m always learning, and I think that’s the first step to changing the reputation. Listen to podcasts, read books, or watch videos on how to market in a genuine way. 

Building relationships. Don’t reach out to potential clients just to make a sale. Reach out to people, as a friend, to make a connection with them. If they want to buy in the future, great. The door is open.. But don’t push the products or the business on them. 

30/70 content balance. 30 being the percentage of business promotion you do, leaving 70% for real content that people followed you for. And just in my opinion, this should be the highest ratio that you should ever have. I would normally say more like 20/80.

Understanding that this business isn’t for everyone. I know that it’s frustrating when someone doesn’t fully understand or agree with the opportunity that you want to share with them – but that’s their choice. The more that you try to convince or pester them, the more desperate you’re going to look. 

Staying true to ourselves and values. Don’t let the excitement of money change you into something you’re not. Promote what you truly believe in, be honest with others, do what’s best for others, etc. The more genuine you are, the more appreciation and sales you will get. If you know deep down that you aren’t with the best team or company – make the switch. I know it’s scary, but it’s so much more worth it to be surrounded in a good and healthy environment. Join a company that has good values. Join people who have good values. 

Understand that things take time. You don’t build an empire within your first couple months. If you aren’t seeing the success that you’d hoped for – that’s okay. Don’t result in acting desperate for sales or quitting. 

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Alright, that’s all of my advice that I can share for now. For the people reading this who aren’t network marketers, give others grace. Most of us are good people, we just have a job to do. We’re always learning and trying to do better, but we aren’t perfect. 

Even though I was extremely annoyed when other NWMs reached out to me, I would always be friendly anyway because I wanted to believe the best in people. And because I did that, I have learned from a lot of great women (who are network marketers) about leadership, self growth, entrepreneurship, etc. I have also made some really good friends too. Just remember, they are people too! 

In a future post, I’ll share more about network marketing and my strategies on how to do it genuinely while still making good sales. If you are interested, make sure to subscribe to my email list. I send out bi-weekly notifications with new blog posts, small influencer tips and resources, and more. Have a great rest of the week! Xoxo

What Not to Say to People With Depression

What Not to Say to People With Depression

Depression is a very sensitive topic, and you never know who’s battling with it behind the scenes. I did for 18 years, and people were still severely shocked when I told them. So just do everyone a favor, and avoid saying these things in general! 

For those of you who don’t suffer from depression: I know that most of you have good intentions, even when you say the things I’ve listed below. We know you’re just trying to help, but that’s the thing – most depressed people don’t want your help, especially if you haven’t personally experienced diagnosed depression. Because unfortunately, no matter how hard you try, you will never understand. We appreciate your efforts in trying to help, but we don’t want someone that doesn’t understand to tell us how we should feel. 

To explain why these things are more hurtful than helpful – I’m going to write a sentence that a non-depressed person has said to me (yes, all of these have been said to me), and I will give you my immediate thought response. I didn’t always physically say these things, but this is what I wish I should have said. 

I apologize in advance, I am very sassy and sarcastic.

“You don’t have anything to be upset about”, “You have it so much better than other people”, “You have so many blessings”, or “You should be thankful for what you have”

I know that I am blessed. I have a gratitude journal where I write down 5 things that I’m thankful for every day. Depression doesn’t discriminate – it doesn’t care if you are wealthy, healthy, loved, popular, etc. Think of it like cancer for your mental health – you can have a good life, but you still have a disease that you can’t control or stop. 

“Think positively”, “Cheer up”, “Look on the bright side”

I am fighting against my mind’s natural negative state from the moment I wake up until I go to sleep. I’m already trying. 

“My life isn’t fair but you don’t see me complaining”

Probably because you don’t have clinical depression like me 🙂

“You don’t even look/seem depressed.” 

I don’t want people to see me like that. I don’t want to upset or worry them. I don’t want people to give me unsolicited advice that I don’t want. I don’t want people to constantly check in. It makes everyone’s life (including mine) easier if I keep it to myself.

“Believe me, I know how you feel. I’ve been depressed before.” 

Unless you went to a doctor and got diagnosed with major depressive disorder, you do not know how I feel. 

“Are you done being upset?”, “Do you feel better now?”, “Are you feeling better than yesterday”

No. Plus, these are the questions that irritate me the most, so you’ve now made it worse. 

“You really shouldn’t be upset about this because ___”

Do you think saying that is going to make it magically go away for me? Because you, who most likely doesn’t have depression, thinks that it shouldn’t upset me?

“You should try ____” (Exercise, diet, sleep, etc.) “____ is what I do when I’m down, you should try it too”

I already do those things on a regular basis.. Didn’t cure my depression. 

“You don’t need medication”, “Medications are bad for you”, “Medications will mess you up even worse”

I have been medicated for over a year now and it’s the best decision I have ever made. Because of my medication: I no longer take 4 hour naps everyday, I don’t have extreme headaches anymore, I am a happier person, I am more productive.. The list goes on. Medications work differently for everyone, so don’t speak for me. 

“It’s all in your head”, “You can control this”, “You get to decide how you feel”, “You’re letting yourself feel this way”, “You’re fine” 

Obviously not. I don’t mope around for fun. I don’t pretend to be sad because it’s funny or because I see it as a game. 

“Everyone has bad days every once in a while”, “This too shall pass”, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”

Yes, it will pass. I will grow from this. I will probably be thankful for this period of time later on in life because I believe God has a plan – but doesn’t mean that it makes it feel better now. Imagine someone punches you and they say, “this pain will pass”, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, “everyone gets punched every once in a while”. Does that make it hurt any less?

“Can you please stop being so negative? It’s taking a toll on me.”

Again, think about it like you got punched – and someone asks you to stop complaining about it hurting because it’s taking a toll on them. Does that make you hurt any less? 

“Keep yourself busy so you can distract yourself from it.” 

It’s a temporary fix. It always comes back. 

“Why are you always so negative?”, “What’s your problem?”

If I had to guess.. Probably freaking depression.

“I thought you were stronger than this”

Well, I guess you thought wrong. Thank you for making me feel worse. 

Those are my brutally honest thoughts and answers to the comments and questions I’ve received over the years. My advice for all of the people not struggling with depression: think before you speak. If you’re not sure if you should say it –  think about it like you got punched. What questions/statements would irritate you? My general rules are: don’t give advice, don’t pretend like you understand, and don’t downplay or question other’s feelings. 

Again, we appreciate people trying to help. But unless you’re some form of a mental health doctor – we would appreciate it more if you didn’t.

How to Be A Leader in Tough Times

How to Be A Leader in Tough Times

Good leaders don’t put their role on pause when things get hard, because leadership is most important when life gets hard. 

Whether you see yourself as a leader or not, you are. I guarantee you that your actions and reactions have made impressions on other people, and possibly even influenced them to react or act a certain way. Being aware of your actions and doing the best you can during tough times is extremely important. 

Why? When sh”t hits the fan, people instantly look to their leaders for guidance. Even if people don’t physically reach out for help or advice, they’re still observing your actions. 

So how do we remain a positive influence on people? By demonstrating courage and resilience. If you’re demonstrating courage, it gives people comfort. If you’re constantly saying that things will be okay (without question), people will start believing it. And if you’re demonstrating resilience and strength to take on the hard things, it inspires other people to do the same. 

Okay, so how do we demonstrate courage and resilience

Don’t pour from an empty cup. You have to focus on you before you’re able to contribute to others. Your energy speaks for you, so people will notice when you are faking it. Make sure that your feelings are processed, and your words have been thought through before they are said. 

Do not respond out of emotion. As I said before, process and think before you speak. If you’re angry, sad, or scared – you’re most likely going to act out of in the moment emotion. On the other hand, if you wait a while and take time to process things and respond with care, you’ll most likely say something much more appropriate. 

Communicate well and often. Silence can speak volumes. Face conflict, address the hard topics, and have uncomfortable conversations. You not speaking on topics that need to be acknowledged shows where your priorities are, and that will have an impact on others.

Hold people accountable. We learned in elementary school that if we see something wrong, we need to do something about it. Stop putting your ego, reputation, or the need to please others first. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes and acknowledge how they probably feel. If you’d want someone to help you if you were in their situation, be that person for them. Stop letting it slide. 

Hold yourself responsible for your own actions. Again, just like we learned in elementary school, If you’ve done something wrong – apologize. We all mess up, so be willing to admit when you were out of line. And once you’ve apologized, let someone know how you intend to take responsibility and do better next time. 

Be there for others. Be a support system for your people. Check in on them, offer yourself as a resource, go out of your way to offer help, etc. Look after everyone as you would look after your best friend. If everyone gave that kind of love and care, we’d be in a much better place. 

Have a vision for the future. What kind of changes do you want to see in the future? What can we be doing better? What do we need to quit? Once you have that vision, you need to have a plan for how you can embody that image for everyone else and encourage them to do the same. 

Lead by example. You can’t tell people to do something that you aren’t doing yourself. You have to practice what you preach. If you want change, it change starts with you. 

If you take away anything from this post, remember that every action you take will affect and inspire someone else’s decisions. What kind of impression do you want to leave?