Odd woman out

One year of blogging!!!!

Holy moly cannoli can you believe its already been a year!?!?!

A year ago, I knew this blog would create uncomfortability and an inward angst among the Asian community. I was (and still am) ok with that. I am not here to be a hero – or shero. I didn’t begin this work to be loved by all. If you know anything about the Filipino culture you KNOW that what I am doing goes against all cultural norms. We’ve been taught to stuff down our feelings and pretend everything is ok. Well I’m tired of pretending. I am over silencing my struggles. I’ve made my peace with being the odd
wo-man out. It was time to shed a light on the mental health epidemic even at the expense of my vulnerability.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the amount of support and like minded 1st and 2nd generation Filipinos that supported this journey. When I made this social media presence, I was floored by the amount of direct messages I would receive thanking me for being brave enough to share my story and create space for others to share theirs. I am so thankful for this community and all that it has given me. 

If we’ve had direct message conversations and we’ve never met before in IRL – I’m so proud of you for reaching out to me and being vulnerable. Keep reaching out!

If you’ve never reached out to me, just lurk, and get inspiration from my posts – Hi! Hello. I’m Maryann. Thanks for being here! I’d love to know what you enjoy about my blog and my social media platform. HMU let’s support each other.

If we’ve had IRL conversations where we cry, hug, laugh, and pray together – Hey thanks for being brave enough to talk in public with me. As you know, I’m extremely emotional in person and the fact that you braved all of my facial expressions and tight hugs means a lot.

I hope you continue to vocalize and support each other in our struggles. It is the only way we are going to heal ourselves, our community, and the world. Your voice matters! Thank you for being here. I appreciate you!

Accomplishments

I had no – zero – zilch – expectations for The Filipino Mom blog when I started it. I truly believed that the only people who would read my content would be relatives – to see if I was talking about them. Chismosa! The fact that I have been able to collaborate with so many amazing people and communities in a short amount of time is mind blowing. I am extremely humbled when people reach out and give me a platform to share my story. 

Outward

Many measure success by outward accomplishments. I am absolutely floored by what has been achieved by this blog in such a short amount of time. These stats absolutely humble me in the deepest parts of my heart. The fact that this blog can reach anyone and everyone means that anything is truly possible. 

Here are a few stats that I am extremely proud of for this blog:

Inner

I am most proud of the inner work I have overcome in the past year. While inner work is not an observable value others can visibly measure, my personal growth has benefited my everyday life in ways that extend farther than just myself. Conscious inner transformation is releasing old belief systems that I held on to since my childhood. I learned these survival strategies decades ago and as an adult, they no longer benefit my current life goals, aspirations or help me become my true self. While isn’t been a difficult few years of creating a new inner narrative. Once I was able to release the old beliefs, strategies, and tactics, I was able to accept a new belief system based upon facts and not my feelings. 

Confused on what in the world I am talking about? I know it’s hard to explain without vocalizing my thought process. Here is an example of one of my biggest belief system that held me back from doing- anything new. 

Does any of this sound familiar to you? Do you resonate with this mental obstacle I had? I’d love to help you talk through your thoughts about yourself. You can schedule a FREE 30 minute clarity session with me! I’d love to support you in moving towards your best self. You can also download my free Ebook to help you look at your life from a birds eye view. Its a great first step to creating a more impactful life.

Unconditional Support

Last but absolutely not least, I am extremely thankful for my group of family and friends who have supported me this past year – and really my whole life.

First and foremost, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Thank you for never leaving me or allowing me to stray too far. Holy Spirit, thank you for knudging me towards things that I would not normally do and blessing my life (and my family’s lives) with so many wonderful people. I’m humbled by your renewing grace for and pray to be as selfless as you. Amen.

Thank you mom for being open and accepting of this journey of mine. I appreciate all the pep talks and words of wisdom you give me when I am at my lowest. Also thank you for being an amazing caregiver to dad.

Thank you dad for showing us what true perseverance looks like. Even at your most trying times, you have encompassed strength and determination.

Thank you to my sisters! I don’t think I would be who I am today without you. You have been my constant stream of support for as long as I can remember. While we are all living in different areas on the west coast. We still support each other with the help of technology. I appreciate you both sooo much and hope I make you equally as proud.

Thank you to my amazing friends, near and far! You have accepted me with unconditional support and open arms. I appreciate how you’ve put up with my crazy texting rants, uncontrollable tears, and loud laughter.

To my crazy bunch of kiddos, man you guys drive me bananas. Thank you for allowing me to grow along side you and figuring this mental health stuff out together. I pray your bravery heals your generation and the generations to come. Keep doing the right thing even if its hard. I love you guys!

To my church family, in California and Arizona, I don’t think I would have survived the last five years without you all. Your unconditional support, unceasing prayers, and tight hugs have given me the strength even on my darkest days. I appreciate each and everyone of you. I pray I’ve helped you just as much as you’ve helped me.

Last and certainly not least, my husband. You have picked me up off the ground while I’ve been in a puddle of tears. You’ve coaxed me out of bed on days when I wanted to disappear from this world. You love me despite the times I hate myself. I appreciate all that you do for me, for our family, and for yourself. I love you forever – and a day.

Moving forward

While I don’t want to share too much, I want you to know that there are so many things I have planned for 2020. More collaborations, more mental health talks, more real life struggles, and even more Jesus talk.

I hope you join me! I need all the help I can get.

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A worried mind

In a world where we can get information at the swipe of a finger, it is easy to give in to your anxious thoughts. Ever changing news stories, fake news, and incorrect information creates a sense of panic especially in the current situation we are in. Even before this pandemic, the Holy Spirit was prompting me to write about worry. I believe my pre-existing blog content calendar was a huge nudge from The Spirit to dive into The Truth. He knew this would be beneficial for believers and non-believers and I am just following suit.

As a person who suffers from anxiety and has kids who also suffer from anxiety, The bible has so much wisdom when it comes to worry. As the world around us is acting on their fears, we, as a family, are trying our best to focus on truth, facts, and His Word. This is definitely not easy, kids have lots of questions, and most of the time we don’t have all the answers. I am thankful that I serve a mighty God and I can lean on His Truths for our lives.

Worry

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” – Philippians 4:6-7

This is a very popular verse about worry and its straightforwardness allows Christ followers to redirect their attention to trusting that God is in control. I can remember hearing about this verse as a child and never really understood why it was so important. Now as an adult, this verse is a cornerstone to helping me not focus on my ever present worry.

How is that possible when the world seems in a state of panic?

Know that not everyone believes in a higher power. Also understand that as humans, we tend to depend on our own willpower when it comes to overcoming struggles, obstacles, and fears. While we are able to stand strong in our own power for a short time, our own desires, struggles, obstacles, and fears usually take over again.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. – Proverbs 3:5-7

Christ calls us to trust in His ways and to not our knowledge of how the world works. Believe me, this is such a hard thing to do BUT if we look at life through His Word. We know that we aren’t supposed to know all the answers. Moreover, sometimes knowing all the answers is more harm than good. Hence everyone’s current state of panic. We “know” everything with the help of social media and the new, so we are reacting to all that we “know.”

Thoughts can be deceiving

If I truly trusted my thoughts and emotions, I would have ran for Antarctica by now. Surely COVID 19 can’t spread in that environment. My mind is a very scary place, as I tell my husband often. It has the craziest thoughts moving through it all the time. It is easy to give into what our mind tells us but know thoughts and feelings aren’t facts.

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.
– 2 Corinthians 10:5

Yes, read that again. Thoughts and feelings aren’t facts. I will dive into that in my next post but for now, the only things that are true right now are scientific facts and God’s word. Know that while your mind is swirling with anxiety, worry, and fear – those feelings are not God given. Those feelings are from the Devil and it is his goal to steal, kill and destroy. He wants us to believe his lies and not the truth of Christ’s Word.

Turn your worry into worship

When the news stations are spewing ever changing information and I become overwhelmed by all the new statistics, I turn it off and listen to worship music. I’d love to share my latest favs.

Do you have a favorite worship song? I’d love for you to share it with me!

Virtual check ins

If you need help talking through your feelings and emotions, know that I am here for you. It is not easy to be in a mindset of peace but know that He can give you peace in the midst of the chaos.

Praying for you. Please pray for me and my family as well. We need all the prayer we can get.


Self Injury

If you are easily triggered by discussions around self injury, self harm, self mutilation, or suicide.

Please skip this post. 

Were you aware that March is Self Injury Awareness month

I’m just going to be really upfront and say that this subject triggers me in the most stressful way. I hate talking about it. It is probably the hardest thing for me to talk about and even write about. So why do I bring it up? Why put myself through something so immensely uncomfortable?

I bring it up because I have experienced thoughts of suicidal ideation. I have a child who has expressed suicidal ideation. I have a relative that took their own life. So YES this subject affects me because I have experienced it in the most intimate ways possible. I never want anyone to experience the pain I have felt. So I will talk about it until it is no longer hard to talk about.

What is it?

Self Injury Awareness Month recognizes that self harm happens across all genders, races, beliefs and ages1. As per Doorways an Arizona counseling clinic, here are some common questions surrounding self injury. 

What Forms Does Self-Injury Take?2

There is a variety of ways to inflict self-injury. The most common methods are skin cutting (70‑90%), head hitting or banging (21-44%), and burning (15-35%). Less common ways of inflicting self-harm include scratching so that bleeding occurs, punching objects or oneself, breaking bones purposefully, inserting an object into a body opening, and drinking a harmful liquid such as bleach. Most individuals engaging in NSSI hurt themselves in more than one way. For instance, many “cutters” also suffer from an eating disorder.

What Causes Teens and Young Adults to Injure Themselves?

People who self-injure report a variety of negative feelings—they may feel one or more of the following: empty inside; lonely; bored; fearful of intimate relationships; unable to resolve interpersonal difficulties; unable to express how they feel; misunderstood by others; under or over stimulated; afraid of responsibilities. Read this National Institutes of Health (NIH) report entitled Nonsuicidal Self-Injury in Adolescents.

Physical Pain and Psychological Pain

Self-abuse is used as an outlet to relieve psychological pain. It may also be regarded as a means of exercising control over one’s body when you have no control over other aspects of your life. Unfortunately, relief is only temporary, and without appropriate treatment, a self-sustaining cycle often develops with urges to self-injure growing in frequency and becoming harder to resist.

Self-Injury and Suicide

While those engaging in non-suicidal self-injury do not mean to commit suicide, they may bring about more harm than they intend and end up with unanticipated medical complications. In severe cases of self-injury, the sufferer may become so desperate about the addictive nature of their behavior and their inability to control it, that they carry out a true suicide attempt.

What are the Warning Signs of Self-Injury?

If you are a parent, the appearance of unexplained or inadequately explained frequent injuries such as cuts, burns, or bruises, should definitely trigger concern. Don’t simply take at face value “I fell” or “The cat scratched me.” Be aware that your adolescent will attempt to conceal these physical signs of self-abuse with clothing, so pay attention if they start wearing inappropriate clothes such as pants or garments with long sleeves in hot weather. The physical symptoms will go hand-in-in hand with one or more of the following: low rate of self-esteem; difficulty handling feelings; avoidance of relationships; relationship problems; poor functioning at home or in school.

What is the Treatment for Self-Injury?

Effective treatment for self-injury sufferers usually takes the form of a case-appropriate mix of cognitive/behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and medication. In difficult to treat cases, other treatment services may be necessary. These could include partial-inpatient therapy of several hours per day or even hospitalization under a specialized self-injury hospital program. Services for accompanying problems such as eating disorders or substance abuse should be integrated into the treatment, depending on individual needs.

Seek a Professional Diagnosis

A teen or young adult who engages in self-injury should be evaluated by a mental health professional. Self-abuse behaviors may be symptomatic of other mental disturbances such as personality disorders (especially borderline personality disorder), anxiety disorders (especially obsessive-compulsive disorder), bipolar disorder, major depression, and psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts or plans of self harm, reach out to someone you feel safe with immediately and call 911. 

If you can not think of a person you can trust, here are resources for you to get immediate support you need. Self harm is not the answer – EVER. There is hope even if it doesn’t feel like it.

  • Call your local law enforcement  or dial 911
  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255
  • Lifeline Chat
  • Veteran Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1
  • Veterans Crisis Chat 
  • Hospital Emergency Room
  • Mental health facility 

Out of the Darkness

Last year was the first year I’ve fundraised for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – Out of the Darkness Walk. I was extremely emotional that day but I had to walk in person because I knew others needed to know they were not alone in their suffering. I walked in honor of my relative who took his own life. I still have my beads and bib from that day. It actually hangs in my closet where I can see it to remind me why I am so vocal about mental health.

I am walking again this year because it is important to me, my family, and to our community. If you would like to join my team or donate to AFSP, here is my donor page. My goal this year is $750! I’d love your help with donations, prayers, and getting the word out. 

Resources

If you want further information surrounding mental health, substance abuse, or self harm. I have linked some very informative sites. 

Remember – It is ok to NOT be ok. Tomorrow is a new day!