#Lessonslearned This Depression is Hitting a Little Different

I am so happy mental health is becoming more of a priority,because depression is real. Honestly I feel like the black community can still do better with supporting going to therapy.  There’s so much trauma we deal with on a daily basis. You are probably thinking to yourself “We all have our issues”. Let’s be clear, certain things hit a little differently when you have over 500+ years of trauma in your DNA. Oh but that’s not it my friends, let’s add to the daily stress of being pulled over by the police, living, walking and breathing without having the cops called on us, oh and on top of that the stress of just being a human, yeah if you don’t get it now then you won’t EVER get it. Depression is just too regular and unchecked.

With that being said, my depression and anxiety are on a complete over freaking load. I honestly have no clue what’s really going on. I’m working out at least 5 times a week. My husband is the greatest, honestly I couldn’t ask for anyone else. Things are okay overall, nothing that’s really out of the ordinary, besides trying to monetize this blog and the podcast. I just know for the past week or so I have had 2 panic attacks and I just don’t want to leave the house. I have missed to events so far why…..because I just couldn’t do it.

Instead of letting this ruin another week I am going to employ some techniques from my therapist:

Manage my time

For the next thirty days I am going to put myself on a better schedule so I can be more productive. I’m usually pretty good, but I notice I lose time just doing nothing. While I’m doing nothing, my brain is definitely free to think the dumbest, most self destructive thoughts it can possibly think. So tonight I am officially on a new schedule, what really helps is that I have some conferences and a professional development that I have to take care of for work. Now outside of work I plan the schedule the HELL (like literally) out of every day for the next 30 days. Yes you can expect a blog post almost everyday. Yes the podcast will continue as scheduled AND I am going to make sure the book is formatted and released at the end of those 30 days.

Social media monitoring

Look I stay on social media because I have to share relevant content, continue to keep my followers/subscribers informed and gain new followers. Truth is I find myself scrolling mindlessly more so than anything else. For the next 2 weeks I plan on monitoring my time on social media. I have to, I think it is also attributing to my non-productivity. Just going to make sure while managing my time, I am only going to go on social media 4 times a day. Also going to schedule it during the times my insights say I get the most traffic. I’m hoping to get my time spent on social media down to just that, to get out of this rut called depression. I guess I’m going to pull a Lebron and go #zerodark30

Wait IKYFL….not more pain

Upping my cardio will add to my pain lol workout pain that is. I guess my workouts aren’t helping me release enough endorphins, so I’m either going to chase it with the stair master or running. I hate cardio with a passion. If I could get away with eating steaks everyday and maxing out on every single lift I can. But I think adding cardio will add a little different mix with my workout will help me hit a different type of high, which will help stabilize my mood.

Silencio por favor

This is the hardest one, 10 min of silence. WTH am I thinking? Oh yeah that’s right, I’m thinking about my mental health. I always have some thing in the background to stop my brain from thinking the crazy negative thoughts. Instead of that I am going to quite my mind to bring some focus back in my life.

You can still keep up with me by clicking my link (buy a t-shirt while you’re there). I’ll keep most things up to date and relevant. If you want to check on me just text, call or email. I do know this 30 day sabbatical is going to be filled with a lot of prayer, work and rest.

 

#lesssonslearned Why I Started A Podcast

My podcast video

 

Hey my loves!!! Long time no hear from. Honestly it’s my fault. I’ve been trying to get other things off the ground and I am totally excited. The first thing…I actually finished my book. That’s right, a whole entire book. Actually I’m going to get started on my second book and that makes me even more excited. Second thing make sure you are following my Instagram and Facebook account for the launch of the the MERCH website (lol). Yes, there are things that advertise the blog and podcast BUT there will also be #lessonslearned collection and and affirm yourself collection. So go like, follow, share, buy and take selfies, I promise I will repost you looking amazing in my stuff .

Updates

So if you haven’t noticed I started a podcast in January based on the blog. You can click here to catch up on episodes. But yeah that really happened and it happens biweekly on Wednesday nights. The episodes can be found on major listening platforms as well as YouTube for the live replay. Honestly I still don’t feel like I am totally in my groove but I’m extremely happy that I started.

 

Why did I start a podcast?

Ummm…..because I felt like I needed to step out from behind the keyboard and let my extra country voice be heard. I wanted to actually be the face of what I type because well I look like the majority of my audience. Being a semi-young, educated, middle class, AFRICAN AMERICAN women, who takes pride in wearing graphic t-shirts and glasses that are not needed. I am very expressive with my body when I talk and a cuss word may slip out if I’m not really being really careful about what I am saying (yes….judge ya mama, oh and this is a shirt, go buy it lol).

I love creating and I love sharing what I create. Even though before each episode I am extremely nervous, probably have a migraine and my eye is twitching, I absolutely live for the thrill of discussing how to build a better relationship with yourself and hearing my guests chime in. I try to keep things unmessy (is that even a word) but you know things happen and well you gotta talk about them.

It feels great to create. Some times being in your field it’s hard to veer into an uncharted area. As a teacher I don’t have much freedom to create because everything is geared toward your students and how they learn. In this realm I am free to do just about whatever I want. So to all my return readers/subscribers thank you for sticking with me. To my new readers just know I will always tell my truth no matter how hard it is for me to write or speak it. 

#lessonslearned: 5 ways I stay motivated

Look sis…..this month has been crazy. I am a TEACHER in May and let me tell you I am on edge. I’m not focused, I am just trying to get my students to finish out the school year  and ON TOP of I’m trying to get this business off the ground. I’m overwhelmed and under motivated. Here are some ways I make sure that I can stay motivated and continue to be productive.

1. I schedule my month

I have learned to schedule my months. Since I am now an entrepreneur and work full time, I have to have some way of staying afloat. Planning out my month helps me know what needs to be written, what needs to be posted, and what I need to do for my actual job. I can look at it as a guide and know if I’m falling behind. Currently….I’m falling behind.

2. I randomly ignore that schedule (lol)

Yep sometimes you have to step away from that beautifully organized schedule. Of course I know it’s full of motivational quotes, positive affirmations, little doodles of flowers and stars and hearts, but it can still get overwhelming. Which brings me to my next point…..

3. I look at the big picture of the project and attack the smaller tasks.

You have to step away when you get frustrated. Look at the end result of what you are trying to accomplish. Take a look at your checklist, see what small things you have done and can do. Attack those smaller things that don’t need a lot of thought. Creating graphics, writing a thank you email, etc….these are things that don’t usually take a lot of thought and can be completed to meet your end goal.

4. I step away when I get frustrated or stuck.

The project will be there but you need to get a refresher. There are those whose mind can be productive for a certain amount of time. It all depends on the person. But if you’re feeling frustrated, take a break. Step away, go workout, go eat….do something that has nothing to do with your project. Your brains has become overwhelmed and you need to remove yourself for a little bit.

Maybe, as my Nana used to say, you just need to take a nap. On episode 003 of my podcast we talked about the importance getting rest. When things get confusing just take a nap, it helps your body and mind restart. Who knows you may even get inspiration from a dream that will help you become more motivated.

5. I check in with someone about my progress

I love to have people I can confide in about things I am doing who are GENUINELY invested in what I am trying to do. When I run my ideas by them they will give good advice and that’s what I need them for…good advice.. They can tell me if I’m on the wrong track, if I’m about to knock it out of the park, or if I need to tweak something to fit my idea. There’s nothing wrong with using your support circle, that’s what they are therefore and they should keep you motivated.

This is how I keep going with everything else that is happening in life. Sure I may ignore one aspect fro a little too long but that is why I have a support system that helps me get right back into place. When it’s all said and done it’s still my responsibility to continue to stay motivated and move forward.

#LessonsLearned: I Want My 90s Television Back

Hey…Hello…Hi!!!

Welcome back to the red couch. Come on in and take a seat. Now we aren’t going to watch regular television. No, no, no….I hate that trash. I’m tired of seeing beautiful black women and men on television shows that encourage dissension, bitterness and utter chaos. Nope that ain’t me. I can’t tell you the last time I watched a Love and, Housewives, True… etc. All of it is garbage….like seriously I can only watch so much before I feel all that fake negative energy creep into my peace.

With that being said let me grab this wonderful Fire-stick remote so we can watch some 90s sitcoms. I’m not talking about Friends or The Nanny. Nope,

Sitting drinking my wine watching my 90s sitcoms
This is the way I watch my shows ❤

although it was great programming, they did not shape my wonderful preteen/teenage brain. I want to see television shows like A Different World and Living Single come back (and not just a reboot). I want shows that show brown men and women in a positive light. Shows that give us a better representation of what we can and should be.

Here are my reason’s as to why they need to come back:

You could see a person of color on television that wasn’t a criminal or just struggling to get by.

Of Course Tommy on Martin didn’t have a job, but you didn’t see him struggling. I loved Black 90s sitcoms for the simple fact that they showed people of color (P.O.C) thriving. They weren’t worried about living check to check or catching a case for doing something illegal. The characters in these shows were making their way. They were positive representatives of the community. They gave us younger generation a better norm to follow. We could now strive to be successful and not fall into the stereotypes that society was placing upon us.

We saw positive relationships between people of color the majority of the series.

From Whitley and Kim on A Different World to Khadijah and her girls on Living Single, we saw the characters supporting one another and offering sound loving advice. Even the men in these sitcoms showed true brotherly love. If you never watched an episode of Martin or Living Single, you are missing out on good quality brotherly love. Even through the goofiness and punch lines they showed that these characters genuinely cared for one another and wanted to see each succeed.

They supported being an entrepreneur, going to college, and even having a trade.

From Maxine Shaw attorney at law to Kimberly Reese the budding medical student, we saw a spectrum of what we could do to be successful.

It didn’t always have to be the traditional route, Khadijah James (Living Single) started her own magazine after graduating and doing odd jobs to raise capital for her investment. Overton Wakfield Jones (Living Single) graduated from trade school and became an independent contractor (handyman), Martin (Martin) became a talk show host after starting out his career as a radio DJ.

These characters helped us see there was more to being successful than just going to college. They helped us understand that no matter what you do, hustle, put in hard work, and things will happen for you. You can tell because most of us 80s/90s (early 90s like 90-93 lol) have been pushing through trying to make something of ourselves in this Orange fool’s ‘Merica. We are apart of the “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop” generation who believe in getting things done by any means necessary (well most of us).

They presented social and political issues on television

My goodness, the first time I heard about rape or date rape was on an episode of A Different World (season 2 episode 20). I saw innocent naive Freddie go out with Garth and he ignored her NO. It put me on alert. It helped me to understand my words should be respected whether I am on a date or at someone’s house. My NO will always mean NO and that was the final story. They also covered apartheid, AIDS awareness and combating the stereotypes that are held against black men and women.

Honestly, I don’t want a reboot of any of these shows. They fulfilled their purpose during their time. I just want to have more shows that focus on the Black issues in this day and age. Shout out to the writers of Insecure, Black-Ish. Boomerang, Grown-ish and Dear White People as well as various others who are trying to bring that vibe back to the mainstream.

Don’t forget to sign-up here to join the email list. You can keep up with new blog postings and podcasts.

#lessonslearned: I’m Tired….

Hey yall!! Hope this first full week of May is treating you well. For me….I’m tired. I’m at a point where I want to dig a hole and just go sit in it. At some point people will stop asking me things or expecting me to do things and handle situations that I didn’t create. I honestly have cut down a bunch of obligations (including that big pile of laundry in my living room) because I know for a fact that my anxiety just can’t handle it. Self care is so much of a priority right now for the simple fact of my survival. But here are some things that are giving me joy.

1. The Podcast

I’m having fun developing the podcast. I have enjoyed creating content and presenting it. I’m having trouble marketing and getting it to my audience like I want to. I know I just started, but I gotta keep pushing for the 2, 200, or 2000 that are listening. Yet I’m STILL tired

Looking tired
My sister friend Sunshine and I on the latetest episode

Click here if you want to check it out

2. The BlogConfessions from a red couch podcast logo tired

I love writing, promise I do. I have been giving my readers a clear view of my thoughts for almost 4 years now. Y’all have been with me through heartbreak and triumphs. You’ve been an audience to my innermost thoughts and frustrations.

Writing this has been one the few things in life that has consistently giving me joy. It has helped me chronicle my journey up to this point. Am I going to continue? You damn right I am. Why wouldn’t I? Things get hard, bulls**t is bulls**t, but, this no matter what happens with it, will continue to be my favorite outlet. But guess what I am….TIRED

Check out some of my old post here. I hope you find some thing worth your time.

3. My Friends

My friends are freaking amazing. They support and cheer me on. I think they forget I don’t absolutely fit into one category. Yes, I love to be the friend that twerks and gets the party started. I might just be that petty friend that can make an observation that has everybody cracking up. As of recently I haven’t been that friend, and it’s heartbreaking that I can’t muster enough energy to do it. You have to always check on your friends that are always smiling and joking. Most of the times we are drowning……and just plain old TIRED

Other than that yall…..I’m mf tied. Marriage is hard work, life is hard work, managing my personal self care has been trash. I fight daily just to carve out time for myself. Most days it doesn’t happen because I’m fighting some outside bs that honestly has nothing to do with me. I just want to see that person I was about 3 years ago…..she was happy.

Marriage

#lessonslearned: Top 5 Newlywed Mistakes in Marriage


Marriage

 

Look I’m new to this thang but I peep game. As much as I never thought I would be happily married….here I am being happy AND married. These are the top five things that are actually helping me steer away from certain marriage pitfalls. Also check out me and my husband on the 7th episode of the podcast Confessions From A Red Couch, make sure you subscribe and like the video

Trying to hold onto complete independence

Biggest lesson I’m still learning is that it’s not him taking care of me or me taking care of him. We are taking care of each, the weight is not solely on one individual. I have to fight daily to understand this concept, because I’m accustomed to taking care of everything by myself for myself. Now I constantly have to shift my thinking from ME to WE. There’s no more just put your head down and power through it.  Now we have to talk about certain decisions….which leads to the next mistake.

Communication is key AND Comprehension is crucial

It’s one thing to hear someone and another thing to listen. In a new marriage it is important that you listen to each other. Listen to you spouse’s words, emotions, message. Don’t just hear to respond. Don’t hear and interject your feelings. What they are saying has absolutely nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. It may not make you feel great hearing it and you may not even agree with it, but you have to listen. Effective communication and comprehension is key to keeping a marriage healthy and thriving.

Agree to disagree…..

You were two different people who lead two different lives before you got married. I know people sell you this idea that you *wILl FiNIsh eACh OthErS sEnTEnCeS* and be simpatico (excuse me while I gag). Y’all that’s all apart of a fairy-tale that DOES NOT EXIST. Stop putting that pressure on each other. You will not agree on everything and that’s okay. What’s not okay is to keep an argument going because you can’t let it go. Remember you married that person because you loved them for who they are, not because y’all agreed on everything. Let things go and come to a compromise so you can move forward in a loving life together.

Marriage is serious but I’m going to need you to laugh

Who ever told them marriage isn’t fun lied to you. My Nunny Bear and I literally crack each other up on a daily. Why? If I can’t laugh at the person I’m going to be with forever then what’s the freaking point? Like seriously, I would hate to be in a marriage when all we do is argue and frown at each other all day. I’d rather be single and happy then deal with that bullspit. Yes there will be times where you have to handle serious situations (health scares, finances, death, job loss, etc) but they should never steal the joy you have on your bond.

Sex is for more than procreation…..I DON’T CARE!!!

SEX IS IMPORTANT AND FUN!!!

I have no clue why people are lying about this.  And the men and women who are living this lie and using the bible…..didn’t read the whole book. They stopped too early, and I’m talking about Genesis early. Who hurt you so much that you don’t sex feels good…..NEW FLASH: IT’S SUPPOSED TO!! It’s how partners connect. Yes you can do it without physical touch, but it’s supposed to lead to that.

I’m not an expert by any means but I will say I had a lot of great examples in life. But also remember, I am the woman who never thought she would have had this amazing life changing experience. I’m not perfect and he isn’t either but we both fight to make this work in a positive way for as long as we both should live.

#LessonsLearned I Failed at….

 

 

Happy April!! I have missed you guys since the last post. But here we are back together again. I want to talk about something that very few of us like to talk about. Failure!!! The big F word. I wrote an earlier post about recovering from failure. Failure can be a driving factor to succeed or to do nothing. Most of the times we run from failure because it’s not fun to say we didn’t get the desired outcome. failure is the biggest teacher in life. It has taught me so many lessons, most were quiet and no one really noticed. Some were public and embarrassing. What I have learned is this, when you fail it’s not the end of the world. So here are some areas where I royally blew it and how it taught me to succeed and do better.

Failure at Explaining myself

A long time ago I felt it was necessary to explain my intentions. I wanted people to hear why I did xyz and what my emotional, physical and metaphysical reasoning for a decision that had nothing to do with anybody but me. I felt I needed the world to know my intentions for my every move. You know what happened…..I was still misunderstood. People would still get their panties in a bunch or twist my words to seem negative.
So I stopped. I started making moves without answering others questions. Writing this blog, my move. Starting a podcast….my move. It was liberating. I stopped worrying what people were thinking about my decisions and actions and just started living. It helped me to make important without asking for permission. I guess this leads into the next one…..

Failure at Living up to others expectations

Lord knows I tried my hardest to fit into boxes others molded for my life. I really did, but it wasn’t comfortable. It always felt a pair of shoes that were ill fit. Just felt odd, like I was wearing a mask. It wasn’t until one day I looked in the mirror and cried because I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror. I was uptight, stressed, and closed minded. How could I love anybody else if I didn’t love myself enough to be myself?
I began to take suggestions about how and what I should have been doing with a grain of salt. Sure I have the degrees and titles but what would be the purpose of acting like I was better than anyone I was trying to serve? So I began to make sure that I was happy with who I was to myself and others. Did I care if I met others’ expectations…nope. This is my life to live not theirs, and I am going to live it being true to myself.

Failure at Checking and responding to email

This one may not seem as deep as the others but let me help you out. Important information comes through my personal, work and business email daily. If I don’t check either one with consistency AND follow up it could mean loss of a sponsor, missed parent/student communication, missed opportunities, and the worst missed money. I actually lost a job because I didn’t follow up with an email. Yes missed money all because I didn’t take the time out to read.
Now I check my email three times a day. I make sure I follow up with my school’s administration, my parents, my readers/listeners, and other opportunities. As of now some of those don’t pan out but the majority of the time they do. So I make it a point to employ a 24 hour rule when it comes to email communication. I flag unanswered emails and make sure they are priority. The age we are in now, email is a vital part of effective communication. I will never drop the ball like that again.

What have you failed at that has made you more successful now? Please comment the lessons you have learned from failure. I love to know what you have done to progress into a better person.

 

#lessonslearned Guide to Ending Toxic Relationships

Hey kids!!! Welcome back to another session on the red couch. To my faithful readers, I thank you once again for returning for more of my ramblings. To my new readers I would like to say welcome and thank you for reading. Now let’s take this ride together and see what happens.

Toxic relationships,no matter how much we try to avoid them, happen. Whether it’s family, friends or a significant other we have all encountered at least one toxic relationship. But here’s the truth you don’t always hear…..YOU DON’T HAVE TO STAY IN IT!! You have an absolute right to make sure your peace is never disrupted and no one EVER has a right to take that away from you, doesn’t matter who it is (stop letting your mama/daddy drive you crazy).
Here are ways to identify a toxic relationship

  • You are always the one giving in the relationship: You are giving the rides. You are paying for everything. You are giving emotional and physical support. You do all the giving and they suck it all up like a vacuum cleaner, never giving you anything in return but fake compliments and a raggedy thank you….sometimes.

  • They never show up when you need them: Got something special you want them to come to….well it ain’t happening. They will give you every excuse in the book why they can’t support you and it’s mainly because they can’t make it about them.

  • Can we say issa NARCISSIST?!?!! If it ain’t about them then it doesn’t matter.

  • Never ending drama that’s never their fault. So you start to notice their stories are always filled with drama about how someone did them wrong? They always make sure they look like the innocent one in the story, which means they leave out what they did in the situation.

I’m pretty sure you can identify at least one person that you call a friend, family member or significant other that has taken you on the toxic rollercoaster. I’ve been on that ride a time or two, but I realized that I didn’t need any of that foolishness in my life. So I began to reevaluate the relationships and took steps to get out (I stopped casting my pearls to the swine).

  • I affirmed my decisions to leave that person alone. Look at some point I knew if I wavered then I would get stuck in the same toxic cycle. I allowed myself to be okay with letting it go.

  • I set boundaries. Honey when they tried to come with weak apologies and empty promises I countered with what I wasn’t EVER going to allow them to do. Call it an ultimatum if you want but I knew they couldn’t stand up to those boundaries. It helped me to protect myself and my peace.

  • I had an understanding that things were ending with that individual because it was about me and my peace and not about them or their feelings.

  • I made sure I was less dependent of that person and their lack of support. I could support and love myself so much more than they ever could.

  • I surrounded myself with positive individuals that I knew would support and love me just like I would support and love them.

Toxic relationships are real and they do affect the majority of us. The key thing to do is to identify the toxic relationship and get out of it as soon as you can.

Thanks for reading!! I hope this helps you or someone else you know. Make sure you follow me on social media to get access to the live podcast that records biweekly. This week I will be talking about this exact subject with my good friend and guest Kimbrella ❤

IG: @RedCouchConfessions

Facebook: @confessionsfromaredcouch

Youtube: Confessions From a Red Couch

 

#Lessonlearned Confessions from the life of a Former Control Freak

Hey kids!!! I’m back from one of the greatest experiences in my life. I married my best friend and gained even more amazing family. Goodness the amount of love I felt on that day was just indescribable. It’s funny that it was only about 3 years ago when I thought I could never feel or would never allow myself to feel the love that I feel every single day now. It took some time, work, and prayer to get me to where I am today. Please believe I am so happy I’m here.

Okay, for all this “growth” let’s talk about where I came from. Not because I want to dwell in the past but I want to remember where I never want to go back to.

My life as a control freak or the politically correct term “type A personality” was absolutely full of umm stress and anxiety. It was utterly exhausting trying to control every single thing around me. At times I knew I looked like a crazy woman. Always trying to control my family to do what I wanted. Always wanting my students and athletes to be the best EVEN if it meant not giving an inch to let them actually have fun (well not my athletes…I made sure they had a good time 🤷🏾‍♀️ call me biased).

I knew changes had to be made and fast. Things were so bad that I couldn’t control my emotions. I could never have the appropriate emotional response to situations. I would laugh when I should have been sad. Instead of expressing my anxiety I would become enraged or just flat out break down. It was so bad I couldn’t even celebrate joyous occasions, always thinking the worst would happen instead of just enjoying the moment.

So here are ways that I began to deal with the control life:

1. I stopped thinking I knew how others would react. The dumbest thing in the world is trying to predict others reactions. You are not them (I had to scream this to myself in the mirror). Everyone is not you and you are not them. How you react to a situation is not the same way someone else will. Stop thinking you can control people’s reactions.

2. Stop making up situations in your head. It’s not reality its your own imagination. If you have a negative way of thinking then chances are EVERY situation you come up with is going to end horribly. For me this is so I wouldn’t get my hopes too high if things didn’t go my way which is utterly ridiculous because nothing has really been a life ending experience. Might not have felt good going through some things but I’m still here.

3. You can’t control people’s feelings about you. I have written a post about not being everybody’s cup of tea and there’s nothing you can do about it. And guess what most times you can’t change it, but it has nothing to do with you. You have to be able to keep on living regardless of the thoughts others have about you.

4. You can only control what you have direct influence over. Your thoughts, your actions, your emotions and your response. That’s it!! You can’t control anything else but this. So why not make sure all of these are filled with positivity, genuineness, truth and love. That’s all you can control.

Once I began living a this truth my life started changing for the better. Do I still have to remind myself of these things….umm yeah. It’s easy to fall back into the same pit falls but I don’t stay in them. I keep moving forward one day at a time.

Life with Him

We did it lol ❤

Catching up…..

Hey kids!!! I hope all is well. Sorry I have been a bit absent lately but getting ready for this wonderful day has driven me a tad crazy….but not completely. My fiance has been amazing during this process and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with him.

I’ll be back next week with a new entry: How to Stop Self Abuse. Love you guys have a great 3 day weekend and pray hard for me…..like really hard.

Issa WHOLE Bride 😊