RX to Self: Please Slow Down

RX to Self: Please Slow Down

It’s been 12 years since I started this path. Mental illness wasn’t the problem. The struggle was how to regain my confidence and self-esteem after the first onset of symptoms. 

In retrospect, I felt like an observer. I was aware of my surroundings and the people around me. The constant struggle to try to belong to the scene that was right in front of me. Family reunions, going out with friends, going to a concert. Anything social was uncomfortable to me. 

More importantly, I felt I wasn’t my true self.

When I’ve moved to the US 10 years ago, the idea of being an observer started to fade. I became careless about it. I was happy to start a new chapter in life where I could be more independent. I’ve lost school years during my time in Mexico, and I was determined to never let that happen again. Until my symptoms started to take a slow and tender grip on me.

And there I was, going to school with the best intentions to not breakdown. I had the will to not surrender. I had to prove myself that I could do it, that I could belong to the group. Instead of being an observer, I’ve became a witness of my own thoughts. I’ve started to become anxious about others being witness of my symptoms. 

The daily inner battle lasted for several years. I’ve started to evolve with it. Faking that nothing was happening with me. I became desensitized of my needs, and it took a toll  on me from time to time. By this I mean going to the hospital several times because I couldn’t take it anymore. 

Stigma is real and I believe that mental illness is a topic that not many of us like to discuss. Perhaps is lack of understanding, or simply lack of sensibility. 

What if instead of talking about mental illness, we reframe the context to mental wellness? The emotions and ideas portrayed by the word ‘illness’ and ‘wellness’ are diametrically opposed. However, these two terms are interwoven, they are connected. You cannot have one without the other. 

I’m a human being that’s working towards that balance. I tend to overextend myself when I’m doing something that I love. It may be when I’m working or studying, being with friends, being in a relationship, or making music. These are things that I tend to have trouble to keep in harmony.

I’ve got the opportunity to recover my path after a recent hospitalization. I’ve moved the start of my graduate program for the spring, and I’m working on getting more experience on the field of psychology and mental wellness. What I’ve noticed about this, is the way I’m experiencing it.

I’m becoming more aware and attuned to my body through meditation. I’ve been doing it more often, and now I’ve got the opportunity to join a group of guided meditation. I’m learning to regain my attention and focus on what’s around me. Sometimes is hard to practice it, but I try my best on every chance.

I haven’t played much music, nor composed anything. I just don’t feel ready for now. I’ve been writing on my journal, and talking with family and friends. Trying to pick up my pieces together after my resent episode. I’ve been applying to different jobs and trying to reconnect with myself, once again. 

Taking stock on how I’ve dealt with my relationships with people I love is something I’m working on this morning. In order to that, I need to slow down.

Thank you for reading.

On Wellness,

-Ernesto  

It’s Not Your Time

It’s Not Your Time

It’s a way that sadness manifests itself. A depressive period where you’re trying to make yourself feel anything else other than you. Coping skills are what define you during this moment.

Please know that it won’t last forever. What you do during this period might do, however.

Continue reading “It’s Not Your Time”

Thank You (Letter) | New Single

Thank You (Letter) | New Single

This song was written as a reminder to myself. To be thankful for people that I welcome to my life. To be aware of who I let to hear my story.

It turned out to be a lesson for me.

Thank you for listening. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments or the contact form.

Mondai nai,

-Ernesto

Falling Gently

Falling Gently

This post is about self-awareness. I was on a funk for some time. Now, things are different because I think about them differently.

Its perspective.

As I’ve discussed on my last post update, I took a break from digital distractions. I realized in a few days how much time I had to do things that brought me joy. I’m working on song ideas after challenging the assumption that I’m too busy for music.

In reality, I wasn’t focused. 

Distraction took a toll on me.

The funk I experienced was a byproduct of how I was spending my time. I was feeling unproductive, without energy. I felt that I was heading towards a period of depression. I knew I wasn’t my usual self.

My mind and body were giving me the signals that I wasn’t living, but surviving. I wasn’t sleeping well. I was eating poorly. I was reactive instead of proactive.

I was falling gently into the vice grip of depression.

I had this feeling that I was sabotaging myself. I made the choice to be alone for some time to think. Taking stock on what I was doing, the story I was telling others and to myself. 

I parted ways with my now ex-partner. That turned out to be the catalyst for inner growth and self-improvement. It was a moment that gave me clarity. 

I learned that I can’t save others from themselves. I had to lose my self in the process to understand it. I had to take the fall. I just wished it wasn’t that gently, but I had to live the process, too.

It has been several weeks since then. What’s interesting is that my schedules got more demanding. I’m doing two positions at my job, plus my weekend internship, and my classes. I’m doing twice as more before the pre-onset of depression.

And you know what? I actually feel better. There’s power on time constrictions. Its making me get my act together, and start doing instead of focusing too much on my story. 

What I mean by the above is that I’m realizing how much our inner voice and what we say to others matters

If I keep thinking how miserable I am, and keep telling my story in that way, well, my perspective and belief system starts following that idea, too. I started to change my perspective and be mindful of how I tell my story. 

I started to be more aware with whom I was spending my time with. More importantly, to whom and to what I was giving my attention to. I started to break free from those self-imposed burdens.

I feel different since then. I feel that I’m reaching a different level of consciousness and awareness. I’m calmer, less reactive. My friends and colleagues tell me that I look different, happier, and at peace. 

I’m changing my story. I’m changing my environment and relationships. I’m not surviving for now, I’m living a different story. I’m confident that more challenges and set backs will come.

I won’t let them take me down gently when it happens.

Thank you for reading.

Mondai nai,

-Ernesto

Rx to Self: Part Two

Rx to Self: Part Two

This post is part of a series of experiences on healthcare. From realizations, patient navigation, and the implications of being divided by a border.

Symptom: Not having health insurance

I didn’t really had an idea how to find, and be able to qualify for health insurance for my grandpa in Mexico. My intention at this stage was to get him on the healthcare system. I looked for options online to find possibilities on the private insurance sector. 

It turned out unsuccessful. 

My grandpa didn’t qualify for those insurances because of his advanced age and his now pre-existing heart condition. Also, for the couple of insurances that didn’t have an age cap, there was just not enough information to make a decision on them. Mainly because there were new.

I looked at binational health insurances that were tailored for individuals that cross the border on either side to get healthcare. Again, while they provided great services, prices, and co-pay options, my grandpa couldn’t qualify for them either.

By this point it was believed that he needed a pacemaker, therefore, surgery was necessary. Without proper health insurance, this procedure was too expensive given our socioeconomic status. 

I had a feeling of emptiness and few options. 

I managed to get both of my grandparents government insurance as a last resort. However, I was lost on how things worked.

Thankfully, there were people giving us their wisdom, time, and expertise. 

I was clueless, but not alone anymore. 

Rx to self: Think about your longterm health, and the health of your loved ones, too

Rx to Self: Part One

Rx to Self: Part One

This post is part of a series of experiences on healthcare. From realizations, patient navigation, and the implications of being divided by a border.

Symptom: I was taking the health of my loved one for granted

This idea applies to myself and to my loved one, my grandpa. For instance, just because I’ve never seen my loved one ill, it doesn’t mean that nothing is going on inside. Its like a great looking car, and assuming that runs fine. 

Until the car starts giving you signals that something is wrong.

 Along the way, you realize that the car its a classic, and that it has been on the road for quite sometime. And because it never really had any problems, you rarely gave it service other than gasoline and oil change.

You realize that taking anything or anyone for granted is in itself wishful thinking, to the point of believing that things shouldn’t change too much in life. 

Rx to Self: Question your assumptions

I’m talking about the impermanence of life. The first time you experience your own memento mori. The moment of awareness of your own mortality and its almost unpredictable end.  

After my own first attempt, I realized that it didn’t take much for me to do it, and with no hesitation. However, when someone you love and care about deeply is showing signs that life is compromised, the story is different. 

I felt the necessity of being present in the moment. I wanted share and experience life with my grandpa before it was too late. After all, he was the one who raised me and took care of me during dark times. 

It hit me hard when I got notified that something was wrong with him, and that there wasn’t a clear answer at the time. The uncertainty was nerve-racking.

Also, I felt guilt because at the time I wasn’t visiting him as much. 

My excuses were many. For instance, that I’m over-scheduled, that I have to cross the border back and forth in order to see him, and that in itself made me anxious and could trigger symptoms.

All of that bullshit vanished after knowing that he was ill. It was time to take action and prepare for the unknown. I wanted to be part of the process and provide help. It was my way of giving back.

This happened during the winter break. 

I never felt so focused, motivated, and with a courage that I didn’t even know I had.

It was time to get my act together and help my grandpa have a better quality of life. I wanted to do it, and that’s all I cared at the time. 

The problem was that I had no clue on how to navigate a healthcare system that wasn’t the USA. 

I had a lot of unanswered questions.

Time was running out.

Angry With A Choice

Angry With A Choice

Choosing how to react when something happens to you is a skill. I’ve been practicing it during the winter break. It’s knowing that you are in control of your reaction, regardless of the emotion being present.

This practice comes handy during times when your only option is to be strong.

Continue reading “Angry With A Choice”

Checking-in

Checking-in

Its been a week of poor sleep. I feel as if my circadian rhythm got shifted. I go to bed, and wake up after three hours on average. This is not my usual self. It’s been months since I had an extended period of irregular sleep.

It’s the stress.

I’ve been dealing with situations since I took a break from school and work. These are challenges that I’m solving one by one. They just appeared one after another. As an person that dwells into introspection, this has been tough to deal with to say the least.

I’m not worried of having an anxiety attack, or fall into depression. What I’m worried is to not being able to be objective when needed, especially now. Having a good night rest has been a craving these couple of days.

I know I’ll get there. For now, being in the dark, fully awake is not feasible. What I’ve been doing is to stand up, make some coffee, and listen to Lo-Fi hip-hop. Then I’ll be either reading a book, or writing on my journal.

I cannot longer wait for sleep to get back to me. If I feel awake, I have to stand up and do something. It’s a habit I’ve been developing, and now it feels second nature.

Right now, my mind and body are out of sync. I’m listening to the music inside of me, finding what’s going on, and what I’m doing (or not) about it.

I’ll find my tempo again.

Thank you for reading,

-Ernesto

New EP Out Now

Hello,

I’ve released a new spoken-word, 11 tracks EP in Spanish. It’s titled “Diferencial: Tuvo un Día Triste” (Differential: He had a sad day). 

Diferencial: Tuvo un Día Triste

This EP is composed of poems that I wrote, based on love and heartbreak with the point of view of someone who has a mental health condition. 

It deals with topics of anxiety, lack of emotions, the silences that couples experience at times when there’s much to say.

It explains that sensation when someone you care about tries to diagnose you unintentionally, out of curiosity. 

The music itself is minimalistic. The main focus was on the vocals, which were difficult to record but forced me to be creative with the tools I had. 

Overall, I’m satisfied with this experiment. I’m visualizing more of this, but more guitar driven. 

This EP is also available on Apple Music, YouTube, Amazon, and on most streaming services. 

Muchas Gracias,

-Ernesto

Writing About What Hurts

Writing About What Hurts

“Write hard and clear about what hurts.”

― Ernest Hemingway 

This quote has been inside my mind lately. Most of my writing is inspired by what’s hurting and confusing me. The struggles of trying to give meaning to what I can’t explain to someone in person. Explaining how I feel can be problematic. Sometimes, I can’t emulate to others how I feel at the moment.

I express myself better when I sit down to write. It’s a type of ritual that gives me understanding. It’s a form of meditation that helps me see what’s my problem. The feeling of clarity that I get through journaling is therapeutic. The act of writing about what hurts demands attention. This helps me focus in the moment. The chaos stops expanding, and starts focusing on what’s happening now. 

Looking at yourself can be difficult. You might choose to look to the other side, and that’s okay, too. When I’m in that state of not wanting to see what’s going on, I know that sooner or later I’ll be looking at my reflection. You can only hide pain for so long until your circles start to notice it as well.

Denial can be expressed without words. 

What hurts now is that I can’t hold grudges anymore. It’s been about 20 years since I made a vow to not forgive and to not forget. The moment I lost hope and respect to someone that I don’t even know anymore. I didn’t realize how much anger I had inside, but also how fragile that memory made me feel. I didn’t know that this memory still hurt. That’s why I’m writing today. It’s the beginning of a conversation with myself, and see why I can’t let it go.

Would you feel happy if you weren’t depressed anymore?

What would you do differently if that was the case?

What’s stopping you?

I’ll be thinking about these questions today.

Thank you for reading.

-Ernesto

During the Night

woman sleeping
Photo by Ivan Obolensky on Pexels.com


During the night

I feel them

Coming thirsty

Eating my will and confidence

A thousand hands

Reaching to my mind

Touching my fears

Tempting with my life

A voice speaking

“Good night”

Until I fall sleep

Nightmares rising

Waking alone

Full of marks and scars

Inside my thoughts I’m becoming

An outsider of my own mind.

Guidance

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“Do you believe that I will do the right thing? I don’t have to ask you though, but I need your guidance. Decisions are hard for me most of the time. Everyone says that is fine, and time is being wasted waiting for guidance. I don’t know why my friend, but you seem to be the compass of my life. I’m codependent. You are my addiction. 

You are far from me. My days are not fulfilled without you. Patience is all I have and our good memories. Is just that I miss you. I want to hear your voice. I want to see you smile. Hug you until it hurts. I want to talk to you. Sometimes it seems like you disappeared.

But it was me who left. “