1.  Holiday gift pack of Jeni’s Splendid that you can share while watching Bridget Jones’ Diary for the millionth time
  2. Michele Watch which I’ve been eyeing for over a year
  3. A care package of her favorite Asian snacks because shrimp chips > Lays
  4. Monogrammed coffee mug
  5. Headphone splitter so you can finally both listen to Kanye at the same time
  6. Trendy workout leggings for the Equinox class she loves
  7. Gold rimmed agate coasters
  8. A piece of art from Society6 that she can liven up her room with
  9. A cool pair of silver sneakers
  10. Away carry on that she can use every time she visits you (which you wish was every week)

 

  

Zara coat, Zara Scarf, BDG Jeans, Matisse Loafers, Quay Sunglasses

    

Since being diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder about three years ago, I’ve become almost consumed by the idea of anxiety. I’m constantly checking to see whether or not my chest is constricted, whether or not my heart is racing, etc. This past week, I decided to ban the word anxiety for one month (sans for this blog post :) I realized by constantly discussing my anxiety, I was actually making things worse. Even my boyfriend noticed that it wasn’t until he started dating me that he ever even thought about anxiety. And just a few weeks ago, I wrote an entire post on it.

Let me tell you, it’s done wonders. It’s enabled me to focus on the positive moments in life, like

  • the bliss of seeing my baby nephews this weekend
  • the satisfaction of cooking my favorite Thanksgiving sides (six sticks of butter included)
  • the comfort of spending a whole day watching Netflix in our home theatre
  • the joy of finally visiting the Renwick Gallery in DC
  • and walking around Georgetown when it’s a crisp 61 degrees (my idea of perfect weather)

Now whenever I find myself feeling anxious, I stop myself from saying it outloud and force myself talk to about anything else. At first it was hard to not acknowledge my feelings, but after a few days, I found the time between noticing a twinge of anxiety and changing the subject to something else getting shorter and shorter. I’ve become more accustomed to letting a moment of anxiety pass rather than letting it overwhelm me.

One time, due to the extreme emotional mood swings I get when I’m PMSing and on birth control, I cried at work because my breakfast place gave me potatoes with my eggs when I specifically said no potatoes. That pretty much summarizes my experience with the pill.

Crying because of potatoes, feeling bloated and gaining weight, and suffering from really bad anxiety when I’m PMSing have still never stopped me from taking that little monster of a contraceptive everyday for almost the last 8 years. Why? Because no one likes condoms.

(I obviously use them if I’m not in a monogamous, trusting relationship but that has been rare.)

So when I saw an ad for an app that relies on the calendar method, which I thought was literally guaranteed to get you preggers, it felt like God finally heard the prayers of me and all of womankind. Based on a study of over 40,000 women, Natural Cycles proved their app is just as effective as the pill. They give you a thermometer to more accurately track whether or not you need to use protection on a certain day and the chances of getting a “green” day when it’s actually “red” is less than .05% (even better than the pill in fact).

I did a lot of research before signing up since the consequences of this thing failing are obviously massive, but the evidence really does show that the app works. So much in fact that it has been approved by the European Union as a reliable form of birth control.

All I can say is Hallelujah. Praise Jesus. Amen.

        

We spent most of day two on the Buda side, which is known for its monumental castles, fortresses, and bathhouses. Highlights reel includes:

  • Fisherman’s Bastion and St Matthias, two great examples of Budapest’s beautiful architecture. The Bastion also provides stunning views of the Pest side of the city
  • Varbazar, which I believe is a church? Not really sure but it was a nice sight to walk past on our way to the bathhouse.
  • Gellert Bathhouse – Budapest is famous for its pretty bathhouses where you can relax in hot water for hours. We mistakenly took this pool to be the hot bath and it took us only 30 minutes of swimming in lukewarm water to realize the hot pools were in the back of the building.
  • Central Market Hall – Another rookie move was thinking we could eat lunch here when it’s really just an indoor’s farmer’s market with lots of fresh produce, butchers and spice shops. It’s a cool stop if you’re walking across the Liberty Bridge to get back to the Pest side but not a must see if you don’t have the time.
  • Hungarian Parliament Building – We took a boat tour at night and got a gorgeous view of the Parliament Building. By this point in the trip, I was pretty sick of Hungarian food (can I just say SO much stew aka goulash) and happily treated myself to McDonald’s. I stuffed my coat pockets with cheeseburgers and fries like the classy girl that I am, and while my friend was super embarrassed by me, I gleefully enjoyed the satisfaction that comes with simultaneously eating McDonald’s and looking at the pretty sights of Budapest light up at night.

I read this interesting article on The Cut the other day about the physical woes of anxiety. My therapist tells me that oftentimes the body is the first to recognize anxiety. Sometimes I don’t even have anything stressful on my mind and yet it feels like:

  • my chest is super tight, like my lungs are being squeezed in someone’s hands
  • my breathing is shallow
  • my hands are tingly and numb
  • and my head is heavy yet dizzy at the same time

I’ve heard from people who are less aware of the physical symptoms of mental illness that it’s all in your head, but what about when it’s not just your mind? What about when your body feels it too?

That’s why when I think about mental illness, I picture that the brain is not functioning at its healthiest capacity. Just as our world has blood disorders, liver disease, etc, it seems logical that the brain – the most complex organ of them all – wouldn’t work properly for every individual, right?

Maybe if we focus on how physical “mental” illness can be, the lucky ones without it might better understand why telling a depressed person to stop being sad is like telling a person with diabetes to lower their insulin levels. Maybe we should stop calling it a “mental” illness altogether and treat it with the same care and sympathy we give those with Alzheimer’s and other brain disorders.