Let’s Talk Tuesday | What’s Beyond Your Comfort Zone?

painRecently I moved for graduate school and as time progresses I find myself yearning more and more for the comfort of my undergraduate city in the region of the state that I was born and raised. So a little background before we move along… I was born in Nashville, TN and raised about an hour NW of there in Clarksville, TN. My Alma Mater is SE of Nashville in Murfreesboro, TN, and all of these places reside in the Middle TN area. Therefore my entire life (with a couple of exceptions) was spent in this one area of the state.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am a pretty well-traveled 23-year-old woman, but I’m used to a more “urban” scene than where I am now. I now reside in NE TN about 2 hours north of Knoxville. When I tell you that I am currently experiencing a major culture shock, do believe me. I am surrounded by small towns that don’t exist on a map, mountains, very little minority presence, and a lot of nothingness (or rural life as it is properly referred to). Never in my life did I imagine that I would be in a city like this, and as I find myself missing home terribly I realize that the reason I am here is because it is out of my comfort zone.

We all have these little imaginary boxes we live in. No matter how adventurous you are or how willing you may be to try things, there is always a something that you’re “uncomfortable” with. I put that in quotations because I feel that feeling is manifested by fear. Humans are naturally weary of the unknown so obviously being in a situation which you feel you cannot predict brings feelings of unpleasantness. For me this feeling comes from the preparation of wanting to live in extreme urbanism (NYC) to actually ending up in a city like half the size of where I grew up and went to college (which is pretty small).

Oddly enough it is more difficult than one would think. I’m still a broke college student so even if there was a ton to do I couldn’t afford it, but there really isn’t much to do in this area. I imagine you saying, “But wait, you’re a student, study.” Well my answer to that is… there’s only so much studying a girl can do. So now as I find myself homesick more often and in need of comfort, I have to venture out, meet new people, find new hobbies, and make a life for myself here. In this place that I couldn’t have mustered in my wildest dreams.

Moral of the story: I was obviously accepted to this program because it was meant to be. I have no idea the higher meaning of this outcome and I don’t really care because I plan to live my destiny out here and continue to grow into an amazing woman and professional. This is a splendid program and university with tons of opportunities that I know I wouldn’t have been afforded anywhere else. The lesson here is to recognize that the best things for you are often outside of that box that your fear has created for you to live inside of.

 

Peace and love.

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Motivational Monday|I’m Off to Grad School!

I heavily apologize for my lack of presence. I legitimately overbooked my life this past school year; but, I am back with fantastic things to share with the world!

As some of you know from following my other social media, not only did I graduate from my undergraduate institution,  I got accepted to an MPH (Master’s of Public Health) program and I will be continuing my studies this fall. On top of that I also received a graduate assistantship position which will cover my tuition and provide me with a stipend. 

I am beyond excited for this next journey because I was honestly so worried about what was ahead of me after determining I was not ready for medical school immediately after this undergrad work. I feel so blessed to have all this transitional support as well!

Currently I’m still working at my Alma mater, but I already bought a car (my very first big purchase!) and secured an apartment (again, a first!), so that is all set. I am working towards getting furnishings and such now, but I believe it will all fall into place in due time, so I’m trying not to worry.

If you look back over some of my old posts and witness how much I have grown and how much I have overcome, you will understand just how exciting this is for me and my supporters. Though I may not be where I thought I would be at this point, where I am is a very good place to be. If you’re feeling in a funk and you don’t necessarily feel as though you’re going to make it, just remember that it takes time to get anywhere. Don’t compare yourself to others because everyone’s journey will be different. Just enjoy your journey for what it is… road blocks, detours, and all.

Let’s Talk Tuesday| Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression

 

Disclaimer: I'm going to preface by stating that this is going to be a pretty long post; but, this is something that I have been wanting to write and express my feelings on for some time. Also, I don't do negativity. While I do respect that everyone is entitled to an opinion, I feel there is always an appropriate way to express that opinion.

Disclaimer: I’m going to preface by stating that this is going to be a pretty long post; but, this is something that I have been wanting to write and express my feelings on for some time. Also, I don’t do negativity. While I do respect that everyone is entitled to an opinion, I feel there is always an appropriate way to express that opinion.

Trigger Warning: I will be discussing my experiences with anxiety and depression including some very particular details of how I felt at certain times. If this can be a trigger for you, I ask that you please refrain from reading this post. Hearing about my experience is not worth the sacrifice to your own well-being.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is defined as “a psychological disorder characterized by excessive or disproportionate anxiety about several aspects of life, such as work, social relationships, or financial matters.” Yes, we all worry to some extent, but people with GAD are often EXTREMELY worried about everyday things even when there is no reason to worry. It is diagnosed when a person worries excessively about a variety of everyday problems for at least 6 months.

On to my personal story… I don’t know when exactly the worry took me over, but I can tell you that for at least the past year it’s been beyond noticeable. I can literally get keyed up and anxious about something as simple as dinner plans or what I’m going to wear for the day. At first I just blamed it on stress because I mean hey, I’m a full-time college student, pre-med, working like 3 jobs, with an ill parent at home. I assume many of you would chalk it up to stress as well.

I started going to counseling trying to work on some behavior modification and work on eliminating the things that I felt were causing me undue stress. It worked a little… for a little while. Then it was like I wasn’t doing anything at all again. I was going once a week, keeping a journal, using my planner, de-cluttering. I felt like I was doing everything I could, but nothing was helping. I constantly felt overwhelmed with things. My focus was lapsing, and I didn’t have the motivation or energy to do things I once loved to do. My enthusiasm for school was starting to wane. Honestly, I was running out of hope.

That’s when it occurred to me that something wasn’t right and something had to give. I went to student health services on my campus (because I am lucky enough to be uninsured), and got a referral to counseling services on campus. Granted their services are short-term, but I was happy to finally be getting some answers. After two sessions of evaluation with both a clinical counselor and a Psychiatrist. I walked away with an official GAD and recurring depression diagnosis.

Now, there is a lot of negative stigma when it comes to mental health disorders. I too used to think, “Oh, they’re just using that as an excuse to ___.” Let me tell you though, until you have lived in the shoes of a person with a mental health disorder, you have absolutely NO RIGHT to judge or criticize them for what they are going through.

Often times I have to force myself to leave the house because I feel so down and worthless and helpless that I honestly don’t care what happens to me. I have panic attacks. I take medication. I have to journal to get my feelings out. I worry everyday about every little thing. I worry about things that people tell me make no sense because it’s irrelevant. To me my worry is valid though. If I don’t maintain a schedule and a plan and stay organized, I’ll freak out.

I was sitting in the hospital waiting for my mom to finish an appointment and got so anxious about what her diagnosis “could be” that I had a panic attack. Had to wait like an extra 20 minutes to calm down before we could even leave to head home. In my mind I was thinking of the worst possible thing that could happen, and it triggered me.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but living with this is no fun. It’s a struggle everyday for me. I want to live my life avoiding anything that could trigger me, but then what life would I be living? This road is not easy, but it’s the path I was pushed on, so I’m dealing with it. But again, I implore you to think before you assume, judge, or criticize someone who has a diagnosed mental condition.

Peace and Love,

Gabriell Anna

Yesterday I Wanted to Give Up

Honestly I feel like I have been in a whirlwind of crazy life events since I started high school, and every time it seems things may be looking up some other tragedy strikes. Well, this year alone, I can tell you I have faced a few things that could serve as my tribulations for the year (in my opinion). But yesterday something happened that just made me feel like giving up. I’m at a point where I’m tired of hearing motivational mantras, and those “it’ll get better” speeches are completely outdated and useless for my drive. Yesterday I can honestly say I felt that I was being stomped into the ground while I was already down. Now, that’s not to say that I’ve never wanted to give up before, because I have; however, this particular instance was just the final straw for me.

Have you ever been so let down, beat up, and overwhelmed with things coming your way that you didn’t know which way to turn? That’s exactly where I was about 24 hours ago. But then, I started thinking… If you feel that this is rock bottom, then this is the worst, right? And if this is the worst then if you keep working, pushing, and striving for your goals it can only get better. I made the decision to get some sleep and revisit my feelings today.

Well, today I went to a leadership summit on campus, and as usual, I put on my facade before I walked out of the door. Fake it until you make it, right? As the day progressed and I listened in sessions and listened to the keynote, I realized that everything that is going on is just preparing me for greatness. How can you truly appreciate finer things and a rewarding life if you have no idea what struggle looks like? What I am facing is the storm before the rainbow. What I am looking forward to and working toward is that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

I have worked so hard to be where I am today. And although I may not be exactly where I thought I would be, or may not be where others thought I would be… I am in a good place. I’m where I am supposed to be to get me where I plan to be. It was amazing to be reminded today that these small road blocks are just a part of life. While my road blocks may be more demobilizing than those of others, I know that as long as I remain motivated and determined I can and will overcome anything that comes up.

Yesterday I wanted to give up, but today I am still fighting because if rock bottom was yesterday then it can only get better from there.

Gabriell Anna

The Most Influential People I Never Thanked

thank-you-quotes-sayings-meaningful-short-cute_largeOver the years I have been blessed to have many great influences in my life. Specifically I have had many great teachers and instructors who went beyond the call of duty to not only show me the way in the classroom, but also to provide me with life mentor ship. And while I know exactly who these people are, I don’t think they have any idea because I never took the time to show my gratitude. Today, I am going to rectify that.

For as long as I can remember school has been my refuge. Not that my home life was particularly rough or anything, but school allowed me a freedom, so to speak, that I have never been able to find in any other environment. To this day, being on campus is the one place that I feel most comfortable and relaxed. But it is not necessarily because of the work I put into my education, but rather the people providing me with the tools I need to succeed. Oddly enough all those things my middle and high school teachers used to tell me about the real world are true. Who would have known?!

No one is going to babysit you, and excuses get you nothing. If you want something you have to work for it, and if that means working full-time overnight to survive while you go to college full-time in the day, you do it. Life is not a joke although it may seem so when you’re in your early to late teen years. Now that I am approaching my college graduation, I am faced with many realities that, up until now, I had not been forced to face. While I know that I am beyond prepared to conquer anything I need to, it doesn’t erase the fact that I’m scared to death about the future that lies ahead of me.

It’s odd because i remember being taught in marching band to adjust to things that may go awry during a set. I never imagined that small lesson would be so useful for the rest of my life. Small things like being involved in yearbook and being forced to communicate with others on the spot taught me how to command a space and take charge. The skills I learned at 16 years old are now getting me opportunities that I never imagined possible at 23. For those that played a role in my life at that time, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. For those of you who hugged me, prayed for me, took care of me when my mom was ill, reminded me to love myself for who I am, please know I am forever in your debt. I can never repay everyone who has made me who I am, but know that each of you hold  special place in my heart.

I look back on the girl I was when I first left home and compare her to the young woman I am now to find that I am awed at what four and a half years can do to a person. Though I didn’t believe in myself back then, I fully believe in myself now. The confidence I now boast is because of all the wonderful people who reminded me that I could not give up, and that I was worth whatever reward that is at the end of my journey. When I reach the end of the journey, I will share as much as I reap.

Peace and Love.

Gabbye.

Here’s to Another 6 Month Hiatus | Am I coming back?


So I’m sure If you are one of my dedicated followers, you have noticed my lack of presence on this blog. I greatly apologize! For those who don’t know me personally, i am Miss Overcommitment/Save the World. Among the things on my plate this semester, I am taking 3 upper division science courses (all with labs), running an organization on campus, trying to prepare for graaduate school applications, volunteering with other campus things, and working three jobs (two of which are on campus). To say the least, I don’t have time to think or have a day off, let alone run my blog and online presence. Rest assured though, I plan to return when school slows down.

While I am making the time to write, I will share something that has been weighing heavy on me lately.

Over the summer I met some young women who I thought at the time were “a blessing” to me.That’s not to say that they did not serve as a blessing for the short time that they were a part of my life. One of them started some commotion before the summer was over and i felt it best that I distance myself from her because the things being said were not only untrue, but unnecessary. However, I remained acquaintances with the other young lady because we had no problems and she brought a positivity to my life that I did not have in very many of my other local relationships. Well, fast forward to about two weeks ago, she and I were planning to hang out since we do not have any class overlaps, but she kept blowing me off. Now, I understand fully not having money, or not wanting to be bothered, but on more than one of those occasions I noticed on Instagram that she was out having drinks or partying with other friends. I did not say anything. next thing I know she’s texting being all shady and rude, then something tugs at me and I realize I haven’t seen her on social media… She’s unfriended and blocked me on Insta and Facebook. I want to be wounded, but I’m just so annoyed that as soon as I open myself up to someone, they do things like this. She’s not the first and probably won’t be the last, but dealing with this when you’re already having a difficult semester… Just, no.

What this entire situation has brought me to realize is that I cannot allow those who treat me wrongly to make me shut myself off from the rest of the world because not everyone you encounter will be like that. I’m going to be successful whether people like it and ride the ship with me or not. I may sink a few times, but you better believe I’m going to keep swimming back to shore and starting anew each time. As annoyed as I might be, I will not allow this situation or any other to give me a hardened heart. I will continue treating people with kindness and doing things that will further me academically, professionally, and most important: spiritually.

Motivational Monday | You Are a Product of Your Thoughts

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Mahatma Gandhi

I hate to hear people complain about what they can’t do, as if someone has them on a leash and is restraining them. If you put your mind to it, it can and will happen. It may not happen when or how you want it to, but it will eventually happen. Honestly, I would never have assumed that I’d be where I am in both personal and professional aspects of my life if you had asked me just four years ago entering college. Yes, my plans are a little different now than they were initially, but ultimately I set goals, altered plans, and worked toward the goals that I needed to follow my action plan.

What needs to be understood is that we all face adversities. While some may seem greater or more difficult than others, that is far from the truth because in reality the success in the face of one’s adversity is dependent on their individual determination to overcome their struggle.  What I find to be an easy to overcome obstacle may be the breaking point for someone else. Since we’re all different we will all fight our battles in various ways and we may or may not end up with the same conclusion. Two people facing the same situation will more than likely handle it differently because there is usually more than one way to resolve an issue or tackle a problem.

Also, STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS. Your chapter 5 could be someone another person’s chapter 1. Don’t look at what is happening in your associates life and assume that you aren’t going to get to your goal because they’ve already reached a particular point and you haven’t. What’s for you, is for you. The fact that you haven’t made it just means that life has more to offer and teach you before you reach that particular chapter in your life. It does you no justice to sit around looking at what others have already achieved and harping on what you haven’t yet achieved. Consider all the things you have done, are doing, and plan to do. Learn to appreciate what you already have before you think you deserve more.

You can’t walk around feeding negativity into your environment expecting positive outcomes. That makes absolutely no sense! Find positivity in your situations and learn to speak your goals into existence. Think about the steps you need to take daily, weekly, and monthly to achieve what you want. Share your dreams and positive light with others.

No matter how hard the journey becomes, never forget the end game. If something throws you off of your path, make a new one. Just don’t make excuses.

Let’s Talk Tuesday | An Inspirational End

ac1995e5b8273b5290f13a45b49eb5cfSo today marks the end of yet another year of trials and tribulations, tears, hard work, happiness, joy, and a plethora of other emotions. Greater than that though, is all the things we’ve learned over the course of the past 12 months. Whether you realize it or not, you’re not the same person you were exactly 365 days ago.

For me, I’ve experienced quite a bit of personal  growth. I don’t have the same friends I once had, in fact, my circle is much smaller. I made the choice to cut some people out because we’re headed down different paths. While it’s completely possible that our paths may cross again at some point, I cannot allow them to drag me down in the present. Also, professionally things have improved for me as I got a new job closer to the healthcare field which is what my chosen career path is. I’ve networked and made some great connections to some people who are making sure I get to through the necessary steps to be the best healthcare professional woman I can be.sometimes-you-have-to-give-up-on-people-inspirational-quotes

2013 has brought many ups and downs for me and my mom, but within the wave of chaos that was our year there were many a blessing that brought joy and peace of mind. I could sit around and complain that this year was awful, but what good would that do? I made it through, my mom made it, my closest friends are doing well… While I did not make it through the year with the same circle of support that I started it with, I can honestly say that I love those who are with me at this moment.

My hope is that with this last year of college classes, I can grow even more as a black woman, a friend, daughter, educator, activist, leader, and student. I’ve learned a great deal over the years, but I realize that I have much more to learn in the years to come. Let 2014 be the year that I truly become confident in my skin. Let this be the year that I come out of my shell and show the world all that I have to offer. I have it in me to change the world, and I’m going to let 2014 be the foundation of the many things I want to do within my lifetime to make a difference.

Happy New Year to all of my readers and I hope that the new year brings you much love, joy, and prosperity.

Signed with Love.

Gabriell Anna

VoxBox | Dr. Scholl’s Active Series

It’s been awhile since I’ve had an opportunity to do a review an I’m super excited to be back to it! So a few weeks ago I was lucky enough to receive a pair of Dr. Scholl’s Active Series insoles complimentary from Influenster. As any returning reader knows, I am trying to get back into the grooves of practicing a healthy lifestyle by incorporating more exercise. Well, let me tell you that these insoles are FANTASTIC for any level of activity!

Usually I find that having insoles are a pain. I like my shoes to be relatively flat and I absolutely do not like a lot of cushion in my shoes. That being said, the Active series insoles are not too thick, they have a deep heel cup to absorb shock while running/walking/jumping, as well as a reinforced arch support. For me, the heel cup is an amazing difference from other insoles because that’s typically where I’ve experienced over-cushioning and it’s not comfortable for me. The arch support is made of a slightly flexible blue plastic material which is nice, but nothing extraordinary in my opinion.

Overall these insoles proved to be very effective in supporting the balance points and arches in my feet. They’re soft and just cushioned enough, while providing the enforcement needed to keep me comfortable during any type of workout (weights, walking, running, etc).

Tips:  I don’t have any! Just wear them.

**Disclaimer: I received these items complimentary (for free) from Influenster for reviewing purposes.**

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Wednesday Wisdom | Embrace Who You Are

*Just a heads up, this is a revamped, in-depth version of a previous Tumblr/Facebook post.*

I don’t think I’ve ever truly loved myself for who I am as a whole. Bits and pieces of myself, yes (my intellect, style, eyes, smile, hair, legs,etc), but me as an entity, absolutely not.

Over the years I’ve received many comments along the lines of, “Do you know how pretty you’d be if you lost weight?”, “You sure are pretty for a dark-skinned girl”, and “I didn’t know big girls could dress like that! You look cute!” All of these sideways, ignorant comments thrown my way imply that I am somehow lacking because of my appearance. Not once did it occur to people that they were slowly damaging my self-image; and, it wasn’t until recently that I even realized that I truly had so many issues with myself.

Despite contrary belief, I am not a social butterfly. I am a social introvert, and to quite frank, social situations make me extraordinarily uncomfortable. Can you guess why? I am in a constant state of feeling inadequate. No matter, the situation, I feel like I don’t fit in, can’t possibly be good enough, etc, etc. People are naturally drawn to me, but I tend to push them away in fear that maybe I’m just not as amazing as they seem to think I am.

Since I’ve been in college I’ve gained and lost many a friend, discovered that some of the people who I thought were toxic  are in fact the people I should have in my corner and that some who I thought were “good” are actually the ones that should be removed from my life. There are individuals that cross your path who are not as good for you as you’d like to think. For example, I had a “friend” whom I thought I could trust and depend on. However, when my mom  was put in the hospital 30 miles away from my school and 80+ away from my family, I really needed that person’s support and they were nowhere to be found. We haven’t spoken since my Sophomore year.

I used to hold on to friends based upon the belief that no one else could want me around. The funny thing is, by retaining harmful relationships, I was holding myself back from growth and expansion to better opportunities in life. You can’t expect to have some big epiphany about your life’s purpose if you do not open your mind and allow yourself to discover what life has to offer you. Believe it or not, some people just don’t want to see you get to that point.

Before university life, I also had qualms about failure and what it meant to my chances at success. To put things short, I failed a class my sophomore year when my mom got really sick and I was responsible for her care, my care, school (I was taking 3 sciences), and my student organization. I was initially distraught. After some crying and depression, I got myself together and reconsidered what my failure meant. I would have to work two times as hard to learn the material because I clearly hadn’t grasped it the first time and prove that I have the intellectual capacity to make it out successfully. Ultimately, failure is bound to happen when you’re climbing the ladder to success.

There have been many lessons learned over the past few years; and, among them I’ve learned to begin accepting that I am who I am. Regardless of my faults, insecurities, etc. I am who I am, and there are things that I will never be able to alter about my being. As for the things that are in my control, I can’t just pretend they don’t exist because indeed they do. I also cannot allow those characteristics to hold me back from prosperity.

At the end of the day, you have to sit down and ask yourself, “Do I really accept every single detail about myself?” In order to truly be comfortable in your own skin, you have to love even the thing you despise most about yourself.