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Religion vs Spirituality

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “180 Degrees.”

When I read this prompt, I immediately thought of religion. I have a feeling that a lot of people have done 180s when it comes to religion or spirituality. I think it’s a very complex topic that takes a lot of soul-searching and thought, and I think very few people ever come to a definite answer of where they stand.

My family has never been a “religious” family. I have never gone to church, we never prayed, etc, but my parents did teach us about a “God”, something up there that was all-powerful. So, I kind of grew up not really questioning it but just assuming there was something up there.

In my teen years, I learned about Christianity and I think that I needed it at that point in my life. I was struggling with anxiety and depression, and having a loving, perfect being to always talk to and take comfort from was really appealing to me. I began to consider myself a Christian and went to Christian events, etc.

Once I hit nineteen or so, I fell away from the Christianity bubble. I was learning more and more about Christian history plus problems that are going on today with all forms of religion.

Now, I would definitely say that I am a spiritual person but not a religious person. I feel that religion is a man-made concept that is full of rules and laws that exclude certain types of people. I definitely believe that there is a spiritual force that governs our lives, that we are all connected through this force, and that there must be a higher power. But that is all. I would never say I am a Christian or any other religion. I don’t feel I need to have the answer right now – about knowing exactly what or who is up there or what will happen after death. And I think that is okay.

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Internet Privacy (or lack of)

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Do Not Disturb.”

I actually think a lot about online privacy. I would say I am a bit paranoid about people gathering specific information about me that I don’t want to be public. I would say I am a pretty private person, but when it comes to opinions is when I’m a bit more open. That’s why I like to blog about my thoughts and opinions, but I feel very uncomfortable writing about very personal things like my name, where I live, what school I go to, what job I have, etc.

I try to keep anything I put on the internet as non-specific and general. Any identifying information I like to keep to myself. I only want to share my thoughts and feelings and opinions. I find it very difficult to keep myself private online. I feel like every app and site we go on nowadays is somehow accessing our private information without our permission. That really frustrates me and I try my hardest to keep my information out of these people’s (or computer’s) hands. Anything/anyone that takes my information without my explicit permission, I do not trust.

The internet is so wonderful in allowing us access to information and the ability to spread ideas, but it definitely has its downfalls and lack of privacy is definitely a big downfall of the internet.

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Me as a Parent

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Childhood Revisited.”

I feel like every person, once grown up, sees things that they wish would have been different in their childhood. No parent is perfect and no childhood is perfect, and so there are always going to be negative events or harmful situations. It’s life.

Now that I’m a bit older and past my adolescence, I have realised that I had a pretty good childhood. In my teen years, I was pretty tormented and angry. I wished that my parents would listen to me. I felt isolated, not listened to, and just really sad all the time. I didn’t understand why and my parents acted like I was either making it up, exaggerating, or just “being a teen”. Now that I am past the situation and understand a bit more about life, I realise that I was dealing with depression as a teen. My parents, though, did not understand that and continuously pushed me and my problems under the rug.

I also know now that my parents were going through their own things at the time, and just because they were adults, they didn’t have all the answers. I think I expected them to know everything and to understand everything, but of course they didn’t.

I think if I ever have kids, I would want them to know that I don’t have all the answers but I will always be there to support and care for them. I want to be open and honest with them, and take all of their concerns seriously as well. I want to have open communication with them about everything, and not make certain things forbidden or “wrong” to talk about. I hope I remember that they are individuals as well with their own beliefs, opinions, and traits, and I hope that I always respect that.

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The Struggle of OCD

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “A Mystery Wrapped in an Enigma.”

Something most people probably don’t know about me is … that I struggle every day with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). I find it terrifying to have to lock up my home on my own and leave as I am constantly convinced that I didn’t lock the door properly or shut it properly (and thus, my cat will be harmed or my boyfriend’s stuff stolen). I have massive anxiety when taking pills (which I have to every day) because I am convinced that I somehow dropped some (and thus, my cat will eat them and die). I have a difficult time driving alone; I am always sure that something toxic is on my hands and will harm me, my cat, or someone else; on and on.

I am fairly open about my struggle with OCD, but I do not talk about the specifics. Very, very few people know how much I compulsively check seemingly insignificant things, obsess over “what if” possibilities, and convince myself that I have done or will do something terrible by accident. When I talk about it, I feel insane, crazy, messed-up, broken…

It’s so difficult for other people to understand when they have never experienced it. They constantly ask “why can’t you just ignore it?” or say “but it’s not true, so why stress about it?”. All I can say is, it’s real to me and my mind does not let me ignore it. Every single thing I do is a stressor, and yet I cannot allow my anxiety to coop me up in my house and isolate myself. I did that for a few months and it only made everything so much worse.

We must fight our anxiety every day and force ourselves to live. It’s the only way.

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My Experiences Created My Passion

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Baggage Check.”

I think my past experiences influence every aspect of my life and I think my experiences have been incorporated into my personality. I give them huge credit for how I am. So what was my last major decision? Hmm…

Well, growing up with depression and anxiety issues really impacted my choices of career choice. I’ve had anxiety since I was born and I’ve struggled with depression since my teens. I didn’t understand my feelings when I was in my adolescence and I didn’t feel accepted or understood in my family or with friends. So, that drove me to look to the internet for explanations. I ran across the DSM and descriptions of anxiety and depression that seemed to explain everything I was feeling, and that sparked the passion that has driven me ever since.

Over the years, I have realised how important it is to me to study and expand the knowledge (and acceptance) around these disorders but also to help the people suffering from them. That has influenced my choices around my career path, such as choosing to study Psychology in university and to work in the mental health field. I hope to continue my education and I hope to increase the knowledge and acceptance of mental health and its issues for the rest of my life. That is my true calling.

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Everything Happens For A Reason

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Nightmares.”

I guess my nightmares could be described as kind of boring and simple. The last uncomfortable dream that I had was maybe a couple of weeks ago and involved me trying to re-connect with a lost friend of mine and having it fail massively. I have this dream every few weeks, since I lost the friendship about a year ago. Another dream that I have repeatedly over the past year that is sometimes mixed with this friend dream involves Home Depot, where I worked for a year and a half.

The friend dream usually goes along the lines of us running into each other unexpectedly, me getting ignored by her, me attempting to talk to her and understand why she stopped talking to me and having that fail, etc. I hate how clingy and desperate admitting this makes me seem, but I do truly feel like I’m not the crazy one here… Who hangs out with someone every day and says they’re best friends and then one day just stops responding to messages/phone calls/texts, everything?

The Home Depot dream, I have had literally over a dozen times in the past year, and usually involves me going back to work there casually as they really needed help, the shift going extremely badly, and then me walking out and realising I will never go back.

What do I think these dreams mean? I think they show how I put all of myself into everything that I do, and when it’s not returned to me or it fails somehow, I find it very difficult to let go. I do not allow many people into my life or my mind, I do not have many friends, and I have not had many jobs. I am learning that nothing lasts forever, that people, jobs, situations, etc, will come in and out of my life forever and instead of clinging to the memories of what was, I need to focus on what they all brought me, acknowledge their gifts, and then move on.

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Bars and Me

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Fill In the Blank.”

Three people walk into a bar, then two more, and then four more. People keep piling in through the bar doors while only a handful trickle out. I stand there and watch them and wonder what the appeal is. I have never been in a bar … and I’ve honestly never had the desire to. I went to a pub once which was alright, but it was basically a restaurant experience except with beer.

Instead of going in, I always turn and leave. I go home, crawl into bed with my kitty and boyfriend, and watch awesome tv shows or movies. I get obsessive over movies and shows so it’s always a fun time for me to watch. I don’t even regret missing out on this “essential experience” as it doesn’t feel very essential to me.

What is it that pushes me away from bars? I think there are a lot of reasons … but I think it mostly fits into two reasons: 1. I don’t like being around crowds of people as I get very panicky and 2. I don’t like being around people who are under the influence of something. That may make it seem like I am some stuck up or terrified innocent, but truly it’s just about preference. Would I rather surround myself with people who are drinking or would I rather lie in bed with only my boyfriend and cat? That’s a pretty easy question.