Choosing our Baggage

Choosing our Baggage


“You can only help people feel better about their life, but you cannot take on yourself their struggles because that’s not your load to bear.”

I’d like to take a moment to be mindful. Without my own struggles I wouldn’t have the strength to know that I can push through at the end. To begin with requires being aware that you are struggling. You can live in survival mode for an extended period and not realize you are struggling and get accustomed to it. On the other hand, you are in a hopeless situation with no future and find out too late, like it happened to me not long ago.

You might think that being in a negative situation is normal. Almost expected. When someone arrives in your life and shows you the other side, or when someone leaves your life to show you how different and positive life is without them, that’s when it hits you. It hit me hard.

Noticing that change is possible, that it can be a decision -though, sometimes difficult- is already half the battle. Bringing it to awareness is already a catalyst to make that move. To go all in, or all out and leave. In my case it was the latter.

Often, I’ve been in situations where I’m too caught up in my own narrative that it is hard to change perspective. Usually, it is my body who is the first to tell me to take a break. To remove myself from the equation I thought I had to be in to get an answer. An answer to a question that wasn’t mine to begin with. Your body might send pain signals, uneasiness, stress, anxiety, lack of motivation, energy, or sleep. These last two are the most common to me. I felt drained.

To be brief, I experienced a situation where I was sharing a space with someone who was experiencing a tough time. Initially, I was there to help that person out. It was what friends do. Sooner than later, I was already working from there and eventually living there. As the quote illustrates at the top, it took me time and pain to realize that I didn’t want this to be my life.

And there I was. Thinking about doing something right and I overdid it, putting others before me, trying to play hero where the battle wasn’t mine. It was my choice to be part of it, and it showed me how I can disguise myself as doing good when it was to fulfill a subconscious desire.

Perhaps, the idea of being needed and being able to provide for someone. I’ve been thinking long and hard about that. I know that I may have helped, and, in the end, caused pain and disappointment when I left.

I feel sorry about it. And I have reached out and asked for forgiveness.


In the end, I had to protect my wellbeing and sanity. Had to ask myself if this is how I wanted to live life. The answer was that I needed to surround myself with individuals who want to grow, that have ambition and want to find themselves.

“Don’t push a boulder uphill just because you can”

-Ernesto

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”

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

Angry Hurricane – Lyrics

Angry Hurricane – Lyrics

I was feeling frustrated
I was not alone
And I just needed space

But I did not told you so
I chose to keep silence

And there I was, faking that I was fine
A hurricane of anger
But still, I made you a nice breakfast
Two eggs, sunny side up, fresh spinach and ham, with some coffee as well

I did not mention that I was furious
That I had a hurricane that was destroying me from the inside out
It was a hot summer morning
And I was feeling nothing close to warm inside

I became a frostbitten silent man
A speechless entity that was sharing breakfast next to you

I resembled more of a statue than a friend
I just did not wanted to be in me own skin
Mi silences started to speak by themselves
My body was screaming in desperation

I still do not know why I did not explode at that moment
I really wanted to release all of this

It seemed like a good idea to do it so by washing the dishes
And there I was, doing some occupational therapy

Until you noticed that the therapy that I needed was to leave me alone with my thoughts

You hugged me, and I could not hug you back the way I normally do
You left me alone, and I felt relief

I thought I handled it pretty damn good
I did not told you anything negative, nor insulting

I kept my thoughts and anger, and this hell of a hurricane inside of me as usual. As I always do.

This is just some wishful thinking
I wanted to believe that you didn’t notice
But I know you did

I know that you know my anger, and my silences
I forgot that tomorrow was your birthday

And here am I, creating havoc and hurricanes because I do not know any better

The Question I Ask When I’m Feeling Anxious

The Question I Ask When I’m Feeling Anxious

I had an anxiety attack while getting ready for my internship. To be honest, I don’t know what triggered it, it just happened.

I was doing well for several days. This episode served me as a reminder and a learning experience, too.

Continue reading “The Question I Ask When I’m Feeling Anxious”

The Tree that Cried

The night brought the moonlight
Caressing the tree, with patience
Erasing the darkness around it
Giving it life among the dead

A garden full of murdered dreams.

Dreams that never came true
Dreams that waited an eternity
But the eternal has an end here
Infinity can stop on this garden

The tree couldn’t understand why
Why it was alone, surrounded by death
Entrenched in nothing bud sadness
Even its roots were flooded with anhedonia

A garden full of empty emotions.

Emotions that once were vibrant
Like the tree once was
A memory that is fading, slowly
All that is left is silence

The horrifying desperation of being alone.

The tree had nothing but the moon
That gave its light to it
Without questioning, without reasons
The tree didn’t wanted to know either

When everything around you is dead
Without dreams and hopes
Full of anhedonic creatures
Only your silence gives you company

All that’s left are the fading memories
Of what you used to be
The tree couldn’t help itself
It started to cry

The fear of nothingness arrived
The garden grew and expanded
The moon kept giving its light
Comforting the tree

But the tree was still alone.

I Remember

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“I remember the blood on the walls. The painting on the wall, it was her, the maiden with the black dress. It was her gaze, her black eyes that looked at me. The red was everywhere. I can’t forget it. I was laying on the floor, anxious and paranoid. And then, I saw hell on the tv screen.

I rise myself  and go to the bathroom. I looked at the mirror and my face wasn’t there. It was the head of an animal, with two long horns. My hearth stopped. I couldn’t look at the mirror. I didn’t wanted to see my inner demon.

My thoughts were rising. Everything was a spiral in my mind. Then I saw a letter that said that sometimes I hallucinate. That my mind was gaining control of me. The tears dropped on the letter. I felt guilty without apparent reason. All I knew was that the letter didn’t lie. Someone special sent it to me on my last day of transformation.

With such innocence, anyone can tell you the truth. That these were my last days of mental freedom. I became colder with my loved ones in one way or another. Since that day, people who knew me didn’t looked at me at the eyes the same way. Yet, I can see my weakness in their eyes. As if I lost a game and the consolation price was isolation.”

Eleven Years Ago: In Retrospect

Eleven Years Ago: In Retrospect

This past Friday, October 12, was my anniversary. When darkness happened. When the first set of symptoms triggered. When darkness arrived. I was 16 years old. I still wonder why.

The only worry I had is to get good grades. Making friends wasn’t necessarily a priority. I was a lonely guy. I didn’t mind. I preferred silence. My classmates used to call me “the silent one.” I used to wake up, go to school, ask questions during class, and go home. I had a few friends in my neighborhood. That’s all I needed. 

Then it happened.

Continue reading “Eleven Years Ago: In Retrospect”

Outlier

Outlier

“You’re an outlier,” she told me. “You’ve achieved so much compared to others,” she added. I couldn’t hold it. My eyes started tearing. My voice was cracking. I couldn’t reply to her. I’ve heard that before. Continue reading “Outlier”

Anxiety’s Cycle – A Reflection

Anxiety’s Cycle – A Reflection

scenic view of forest during night time
Photo by Hristo Fidanov on Pexels.com

The day and night cycle. For some, days with anxiety feel longer, and for others nights can be unbearable. On the other hand, there’s good days where you wish wouldn’t end. Nights that were too short. Memories that are here to stay, for better or worse. And then, there’s this bittersweet feeling that anxiety will show up again, uninvited, like the day and night cycle.

In a way, this gives me hope.

Continue reading “Anxiety’s Cycle – A Reflection”