When it comes to make important life decisions, it’s almost never black or white for me – I always look at a very wide spectrum of grey areas in between. However, even though I’m able to see all my grey areas, I often see other people labelling the decisions I make as either black or white.

Four years ago, I was feeling joint pain that started limiting the activities of my everyday life. So I went to the doctor and after some tests she said she couldn’t really give me a name for  what I had, and that I was in the grey area of connective tissue diseases, which fortunately also meant that I didn’t fit into any type of arthritis or other more serious diseases. 

My medication took a long time to work, and it was not the only thing I had to do to get better. I think the most important thing in my recovery was running, but I know that running wouldn’t have been even a possibility had I not taken my medication.

Four years later, I am now taking half of the dosage I started with and I can happily say I’ve never been this energized and active in my life. However, I recently had a conversation that made me feel a little judged by someone I care about because she doesn’t really trust medication. Her comments made me feel a little hurt because I felt that she wasn’t considering all my grey areas, she was judging my decision with a black or white mentality: are you taking medication?, yes or no?

It felt like the rest of the efforts and things I’ve done to feel better didn’t matter at all, to her I’m still doing this one thing that she thinks is wrong. After that conversation, I really wanted to write this post because I can imagine that people taking medication for anxiety disorders or depression get judged much more harshly and frequently.

Mark often gets asked about medication for OCD, and I really like his take on the subject:

When people are making decisions about medication, I encourage them to not frame the question as: “Should I take medication?” but instead as: “What supports are going to empower me to make the healthy changes I need to make to be healthy and happy five years from now?” It helps to make treatment decisions around where you’re going and what you want to build.Whether somebody takes medication or doesn’t take medication won’t change the fact that they need to make healthy changes in their life if they want to improve their mental health and prevent relapse in the future. If a person takes meds, they still need to make those changes. If a person doesn’t take meds, they still need to make those changes.

When it comes to health, there are no yes or no questions, you really do need to take many things into consideration and make the decisions that will work for you. Find the grey area that will make you healthy and happy, and try not to get too hung up on the fact that your shade of grey might still look black or white to someone else. But it needs to work just for you, do the changes that matter to you.

-Daniela

Photo credit: Fernando Pichardo Ríos

“History never repeats itself, but man always does.” 

I still remember my 6th grade history teacher opening our first day of class with this Voltaire quote. At the time, I didn’t understand it quite well. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to understand that *history* is really something that we’ve made to study the past. When it comes to us, we can be habitual, and repeat mistakes if we don’t learn from personal or common experiences.

With so much happening in the world lately between disasters, wars, violence, and how the media portrays them, I’ve become reminded of how complicated things truly are. In any conflict, there’s often the idea that there are “two sides,” or black and white. While there’s often two opposing sides, there are usually many other sides that get seldom attention. Things are often portrayed as a battle between two sides because it’s easier for us to understand. And when these sides start to blur, we get more confused. 

Things are not always as simple as they may seem, especially when people are involved. Over the last couple weeks, I’ve tried to calm myself and take a moment to think about my views on big issues. While I disagree with how some things are being treated in those situations wholeheartedly, I know that all of these situations have delicate weights on the societies involved. All of these societies involve people, and everyone has their own views, whether they support a cause or not. I never expect fast, impulsive decisions during these times to turn out well. Perhaps if we took more time to look into our history, we could come up with new answers.

It can be hard to look at our past, both individually and as a society. But taking the time to understand why we go through things, and how we overcame them to get where we are today—has always been a vital part of my life. Whether it was books, the internet, TV, films, or being involved with great non-profit organizations—they’ve all created a personal sense of responsibility to help the people around me. Because even if the world isn’t so black and white, I can be mindful of our history—and try not to make the same mistakes people have made in the past.

- Matt

Usually when we hear or read something new, we just compare it to our own ideas. If it is the same, we accept it and say that it is correct. If it is not, we say it is incorrect. In either case, we learn nothing.
 Thích Nhất Hạnh (via purplebuddhaproject)

(via purplebuddhaproject)

naomiealexhappinessproject:

everybodyhasabrain:

Maybe you really believe with every ounce of your being that you can’t do the things you’re afraid of. You’re just not that person. You’re just not ready. There’s other stuff you need to take care of first. The anxiety is too much. People don’t understand what it’s like to struggle with this. You have reasons! There are so many things that could go wrong! 
But chimp buddy knows better than to listen to what your brain thinks.

this is awesome, i thank some of my friends who’ve helped me like chimp buddy

Indeed. Thanks to all of the chimp buddies in our lives that pull us on to awesome things!

naomiealexhappinessproject:

everybodyhasabrain:

Maybe you really believe with every ounce of your being that you can’t do the things you’re afraid of. You’re just not that person. You’re just not ready. There’s other stuff you need to take care of first. The anxiety is too much. People don’t understand what it’s like to struggle with this. You have reasons! There are so many things that could go wrong! 

But chimp buddy knows better than to listen to what your brain thinks.

this is awesome, i thank some of my friends who’ve helped me like chimp buddy

Indeed. Thanks to all of the chimp buddies in our lives that pull us on to awesome things!

Being an adult was something I was always anxious about. I thought I would be terrible at it as I was anxious about most things. Recently, when my OCD and other anxieties were too bad and I decided to look into help, I felt so childish. I was dependent on others, I had no job, I was done with school. I started to yearn for independence and “adulthood.” 

Finally, I got a job and have started to be able to support myself. Suddenly, all the things that gave me anxiety growing up were exciting. Little things like walking into the office with coffee in the morning or buying my own groceries and clothes are oddly relaxing to my anxieties.

maryroses.tumblr.com/

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When I was a teenager, I used to fantasize a lot about the future. I envisioned myself doing certain things as a grown up and I romanticized them a lot. 

Some of those “grown-up” moments did happen in the exact way I imagined them, some were even better, and some were completely different. One of these last was leaving my home to study abroad. 

I used to fantasize about moving out my father’s house as one of the key moments of growing up, and it looked something like this: 

It’s a sunny summer day, girl packs stuff in luggage bag.  Girls’ family drives her to airport, she’s very excited and promises to call often. Girl hugs everybody one last time, enters the gate and waves goodbye with a huge smile. She plays "Inní mér syngur vitleysingur" by Sigur Rós, her future awaits.

However, the reality of what actually happened that day was completely different:

It was dark at 4 am, girl struggled to move her two oversized bags. Girl’s family drove her to the airport, she couldn’t stop shaking and said that if it didn’t work out, she had at least tried.  Girl hugged everybody 15 last times, entered the gate and didn’t look back because if she had she wouldn’t have been able to keep walking away. She played "Samskeyti" by Sigur Rós on a loop, and she felt like puking during the whole entire flight.

Sometimes we create a very specific image of what we want to be when we grow up, and while this is a good thing, we shouldn’t feel disappointed if the picture doesn’t quite match with reality.

Even though I still fantasize a lot about the future, that memory of a scared nauseated girl hopping on a plane, reminds me that even if things aren’t exactly how I imagined them, I’m still growing. Everybody’s path is different, and we should try to be flexible with expectations, including our own.

- Daniela.

Especially if you’re playing hockey or life.

(via finding-happiness-in-the-dark)