Over the past few months, I’ve been under a considerable amount of stress, which, in essence, leads to anxiety
and depression. That’s the bad news. The good news is that over the years, I’ve found a way to deal it; some things I found through external research, some things I’ve come up simply through life.

Listen to relaxing music. When I was a junior in college, my neighbor played this music that put me in the most-relaxed mode without much effort. I had no idea what this “music” was, but it was the bomb for my mood. It literally helped me feel light-weight. Years later, I found “nature” sounds were great to help me relax. I started with a CD. Now I have a nature station and a white noise station on Pandora. I highly recommend these stations if you’re having a hard time sleeping, worked up, or anticipating an anxiety-producing experience, listening to relaxing music is a great .

Music, in general. I’ve found that music is a great way to dictate the mood. I learned the power of music again during my junior year in college. Music can support, or even alter, your mood. If I’m dealing with a breakup – or just guy issues, I listen to music that expresses my emotions. If I’m feeling a little angry, I listen to music that helps me let out both virtual and real screams. And Gospel has a way of reminding me who I really am – Rebuild by J. Moss is specifically one that speaks to me

Workout. I don’t work out a ton. So, if you see me on my treadmill, watch out. I may be in a bad mood. The good thing is that it’s a healthy alternative, and my butt and legs get a small boost.

I blog or journal. I’ve found that writing has been a great outlet for years. I once heard a pastor say to just write without rules. Though, he was speaking about writing out his prayers, I believe limiting the rules allows a person to be free. Forget grammar rules. Forget spelling. And limit how much you think about who’s reading it.

I write poetry. Most of my poetry is pretty dark. That’s because it’s birthed out of a dark place. It doesn’t mean I stay in a dark place. It just means it’s a way to let it out.

Twitter, and it’s associated sarcasm, is my friend. You have no idea how much steam you can let out in 140 characters or less. Note: you may want to be ambiguous depending on the subject and who may be viewing…or, better yet, create a private account that’s meant for letting it out. I’m not gonna say I have a few friends who have such accounts – and I used to have one myself.

Pinterest boards. Create a funny board and a cute board. When something that fits these categories come across your Pinterest feed, pin it to these boards, and when you’re feeling “in a mood”, go to one or both of these boards. You’d be amazed at how something so small…and free…can life your mood.

I let it out. I find someone who I can talk to about what’s going on and I just let it out. I don’t always need a resolution. Sometimes – many times – I just need a listening ear or someone I can commiserate with. It makes a world of difference.

Call “uncle” and say “no”. I realize that I’m only one person, and there’s only so much I can take. Just this week, I’ve had to call “uncle” and say, I can’t do it anymore. I raised my hand and said, I need help. Instead of allowing the “what if I’m perceived as weak” stop me from communicating my reality, I let those who could make a difference know that I needed help; that I was no longer smiling. And I finally started pushing back with direct answers… it’s said that it’s when I get to my breaking point that I finally truly discover the “I don’t care” gene and begin saying “no,” but at least I start saying it.

I cry. Just like needing to let it out verbally, there are times I just need to cry. Bottling the stuff up isn’t healthy…and trying to “be strong” is killing you…maybe more literally than you think. I’ve been known as a cry baby pretty much my entire life. Why should that change now. Crying is a way to express an emotion…and since I’m emotional…enough said.

I dance. I LOVE to dance, and I don’t look to dance as just a form of performance. I connect emotionally to the dances that I do. Hip hop, lyrical, praise dance are all forms of dance I love to do to release stress. I don’t need a dance studio or mirrors. The only things I use is music, some speakers, and me, myself, and I. And it’s on. Tamia’s Stranger in my House has seen its fair share of imperfect dance routines.

Humor works. I’ve watched stand-up on Netflix as a way to eliminate loneliness (wow that sounded really desperate) and release stress. I’m also a self-proclaimed comedienne…and may be a bit funnier when I’m angry. Many times, laughing is the alternative to crying. And boy can I produce a laugh. So either take in a laugh or produce a laugh. Either way, just laugh.

I pray. Times of stress, anxiety and depression can be some of the hardest times to pray. The good news is that you don’t need say a long prayer. A simple “God help me” works and may be all you can muster up.

I find other people to be around. I find a friend, a guy person of interest, or my family to be around. Though I’ve known this for years, I recommend the book Play It Away for more details around this.

I’ve been going through a very trying time; both at work and personally. To put it mildly, my stressIMG_0006 level has been on 10. From managing a potential relationship to dealing with parental issues to working on a pretty intense project, the concept of fun and games has been pretty low. Add a wedding that’s less than 30 days away, a bridal shower that just passed, an upcoming bachelorette party, and surviving a car accident that happened literally 14 days ago, and you’ve come across a pretty frazzled chick. BTW…I had no idea all this stuff was going on in my life. And the list doesn’t end there until reflecting while writing this. But I digress.

And with stress comes a couple more things…depression and anxiety attacks. And if any of you are like me, you may have silent anxiety attacks. At least that’s what I’m calling them. They’re the attacks that don’t paralyze you. You barely even know they’re happening. But when you stop to think about it, you realize you’re having an anxiety attack. Yep…totally had one of those today…accompanied with internal shaking and anger.

One thought. Meds and sleep.

But I took a different route.

I hit the treadmill. I was determined to literally work out the aggression.

30 minutes. Aggression still there.

41 minutes. Anxiety and anger still there.

And it wasn’t torture. I even started dancing on the treadmill. (Don’t try that at home.) I took pics, recorded a video, and had a couple of conversations via text. And let’s not even talk about my Twitter timeline.

Then I wrote my mom, “I want to back slide.” I totally wanted to revert to old habits – at least the one where potty mouth was in effect. Swearing was my thing prior to living for God. And boy, could I go in. I told her I needed prayer and holy oil plugged into me via IV.

She responded with the most profound comment of the day:

“OK, just hooked up the prayer iv line up; I think I found a good vein and there flows the blood of Jesus.”

My goodness. Those are shouting words (as we say in the black community). I mean…do you get it. The blood of Jesus is available to me. He took stripes, suffered, and died specifically for this. And now, I have access to this grace freely. My goodness. Or should I say His goodness! (SMH)

***I have to stop just for a moment of praise. God is so good!***

I tried to do so much to make it right, but God…

Anyhoo…to the title of this. The reality is some things have to go. Toxic relationships are an example of things that need to go, especially when you’re living in a fantasy.

So, today, I say farewell to a fantasy. Sorry, guy, but i have to let you go. (Not the guy I referred to in my last post.) You have to live your life and I have to live mine. I love you, but it’s doing more harm than good. I now realize I am whole. I have a perfect life. And I’m okay with the way it came out. The experience was enlightening and definitely worth it – and because of it, I now have another story to share…to uplift and shine light on situations like mine.

I realize the experience had its purpose. But a fantasy is just that…not real. Thanks for all you’ve done. I will now go on with my life. Whole and a pretty darn cool chick.

In the voice of Kirk Franklin, “I smile.”