Find a Better Word


Do you know what’s crazy? That people are still using the word crazy! In this episode, Andrea and Alicen discuss why we need to find a better word and why Crazy Ex-Girlfriend owns the word and manages to be one of the greatest shows ever.

Theme song by Tyson Kerr.

 

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Favourite People and Splitting


This week we get very real and Alicen tries to fight her self stigma as we discuss two parts of Borderline Personality Disorder: Favourite People and splitting.

Theme song by Tyson Kerr.

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The Year of Rejections

Last year I read a tweet about a woman who decided to get rejected 20 times the year she turned 30 and it taught her a lot. After all, you can’t expect to have success if you don’t put yourself out there. Since it was almost my birthday when I read the tweet, I decided to get rejected 12 times the year I turned 24. It hasn’t been quite a year, but I’ve made 13 attempts and have been rejected 12 times. 

My first attempt was an article I wrote and submitted to HelloGiggles. I don’t want to get too in detail about what it was about since it’s now irrelevant, but I spent so much time working on this personal essay and didn’t hear back from HelloGiggles for months. By the time I finally heard back, it was too late and I knew there was no way I would ever let the article see the light of day. REJECTION 1. 

My second, third, and fourth attempts were all screenwriting competitions I submitted a pilot to. I went to school for screenwriting and hadn’t done anything with the tv pilot I wrote while I was in school for ages despite it being my passion project. So after a couple more edits, I put it back out there and didn’t even place in the competition. REJECTION 2, 3 AND 4. 

Last fall I ended up sitting alone at a soccer game. Do I know anything about sports? No. Do I care about sports? Also no. However, I ended up texting a friend all my reactions, which were golden enough that I decided to write them into an article: attempt 5. I put it on Buzzfeed, (which I can’t find now, but you can read it here) but it was rejected as a featured post. REJECTION 5. 

Attempt 6 wasn’t putting myself out there as much as it was me doing a challenge that would either become a personal success or failure. This challenge was NaNoWriMo, also known as National Novel Writing Month. You can read my full blog post about my NaNo experience here. I didn’t think I’d be able to write 50k words in a month, but not only did I accomplish that, but I also did it in 22 days. SUCCESS 1. 

Then this year I wrote a blog post about BPD (which you can read here) and along with posting it on my own blog, I submitted it to The Mighty. However, it was rejected. REJECTION 6. 

Along the same lines, I also recently applied to write for the upcoming mental health publication ”The Breakdown”, and didn’t get it. REJECTION 7. 

It’s no secret that I’ve been struggling financially lately, and so attempts 9-13 were part-time job applications. I applied to Spool of Thread (cause you all know how much I love sewing), two front desk reception jobs, and two sales associate jobs. Well, I’m still broke and I didn’t get an interview at any of them. REJECTIONS 8-12. 

You might be wondering what the point of me writing about all this is since out of 13 attempts I only had one success. I’ve previously written about how you can learn more from failure than from success, and I really believe that. I learned so much putting myself out there. If I hadn’t have submitted my abandoned script to screenwriting competitions, I wouldn’t have fallen back in love with it and rewrote it as a novel for NaNo. Every rejected article has made me a better writer. I’ve learned I need to be more aggressive when I apply for jobs. These are all really valuable lessons. I’m no longer as afraid of failure as I used to be, and I can’t wait to have more rejections (and successes, of course) in the future. 

Borderline Personality Disorder


In this episode of NES, Alicen gets personal as she talks to Andrea about Borderline Personality Disorder, a highly stigmatized and misunderstood mental illness. 

Theme song by Tyson Kerr.

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Anxiety

This week Alicen and Andrea tackle anxiety. What’s the difference between fear and anxiety? Find out here.

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My Journey with Depression

In our first episode of Not Enough Spoons, Alicen talks about her experience with depression. Also, if the title of our podcast confuses you, never fear! It’s all explained here!

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Introducing Not Enough Spoons

I’m sure anyone who follows me on Twitter already knows this, but May is mental health awareness month. I used to keep pretty quiet about my own mental illness, but it’s never going to be normalized if we don’t talk about it. I’m not ashamed that to quote a friend of mine, I have a bunch of letters and acronyms that follow my name. Alicen Ricard, sufferer of GAD, OCD, BPD, and depression. Not as good of a title as Daenerys Targaryen, but I own it. I am not my mental illnesses but I do have mental illnesses and I’m not afraid to talk about it.

One of the steps I’m taking in my mission to normalize mental health issues is to start a podcast about it. I’ve been working on it for quite a while and am pleased to announce that the first episode is going to be released next week.

I approached my friend Andrea and I one night and nervously told her my idea and asked if she’d produce it. To my delight, she said yes and the podcast was born.

With help from my co-host/producer, Andrea, I dive into various topics on mental illness and types of mental illness themselves while debunking common stigmas and misconceptions about them.

I’m more than a little nervous about putting my own story and mental illness on the line, but I truly feel it’s important.

Not Enough Spoons podcast will release its first episode on May 21, 2019.

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If you have a topic suggestion for us or want to share your own mental health journey with us you can send an email to notenoughspoonspodcast@gmail.com

Slow the F$&@ Down!

Back in January I had to think really hard about whether I was going to post my 2019 goals and after the shit show that was last year, I decided against it. However, I am going to talk a little bit about my themes for the year. One of my themes for the year is improvement, but we’ll talk more about that in December. Right now I’m going to talk about the year of no.

People who know me know that I have trouble saying no to people. This is how I end up with more projects than I do time. So far this year I’ve designed a cape pattern for myself and a friend, made my cape, made a cloak for a friend, designed and crocheted a Hogwarts blanket (I’ll write all about these projects in a later blog post), designed and started another crochet projects I can’t talk about yet, and done a couple casual cosplays. It’s only the beginning of April. Maybe this doesn’t seem insane to some people, but it’s a lot of projects. I’ve been stressed, overwhelmed, and overtired since the year began. Now I’ll admit that my projects turned out great. I’m damn proud of the capes and cloak and blanket. Was it necessary to run myself ragged making them though?

After my first of three weddings was done this year, my body decided enough was enough and I spent two weeks being sick and miserable. To be honest, I’m still recovering, but it’s been a wake up call. It’s okay to slow down. It’s okay to say no. Hell I’ve said it a few times this week. I can’t say yes to every social engagement and I can’t say yes to every project. I’m only one person and I’m out of spoons.

For those of you that don’t know the spoon theory, it goes like this. So everything you do uses a spoon. Now healthy people have an unlimited number, but if you have a mental or chronic illness you only have a certain number. So if I only have so many spoons and I use one to get up, one to go to work, one to make dinner and then I don’t have anymore to get through the rest of my day then I have to borrow from the next day. So it becomes a cycle. Well, through March not only did I overuse my spoons and not let them replenish, I burnt down the damn spoon store. Someone actually got me a necklace with a spoon on it and every time I look at it, it reminds me that I can only do so much and that it’s okay to take a break.

So have I learnt my lesson? Probably not, but I’m trying and I’d like to say that I have. I’m taking more time for myself, and I’ve limited my projects to a sane number that I can reasonably finish. So if I say no to you, don’t take it personally. I’m just taking care of myself.

“I Suck” and Other Borderline Thoughts

This past year has been a mental health challenge to say the least. Back in October I had depressive episode bad enough that I finally went on antidepressants. Though my depression did get better after that, my struggle was far from over.

Fast forward to January of this year and things started going downhill again. I was medicated, I didn’t have the same stresses I had back in 2018, so why wasn’t I feeling better? It all came to light when a friend mentioned a topic I didn’t want to talk about and my emotions went off the rail. I had a complete meltdown and I didn’t know why. That friend grew more concerned as I pulled away from her and shut off my phone so I could ignore her and the rest of the world.

I had so many thoughts and feelings and the emotions were clearly clouding my judgement. I wanted to immediately go see my friend and hear her say everything was going to be okay, but at the same time I had pulled away, so clearly she hated me now. Right? Wrong! This is just one of the many lies my brain tells me.

Turns out it wasn’t just my depression and anxiety that were kicking my ass. If you follow me on twitter and saw my outburst this month after I had some anon asshole tell me I shouldn’t tweet about such a “volatile illness”, then you already know this, but for the rest of you, I have Borderline Personality Disorder or BPD. Don’t know what that is? You’re not alone.

BPD is commonly mistaken for bipolar disorder, and although similar, they aren’t the same. I could give you some clinical description of BPD but honestly those never make it sound great. I did way too much reading after the diagnosis, as the only things I knew about it were from watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (which is amazing and you should all go watch it!). The reading just sent me into a downward spiral as a lot of books and articles really villainize it. People with BPD are seen as volatile monsters that can’t control their emotions or maintain friendships or relationships.

Let me just say, this isn’t true. People with BPD love big. I once told a friend we have so much love in our hearts for our close friends and family that we don’t have any left for ourselves. I personally don’t really seem to have trouble maintaining friendships, but that might be because my friends (especially the select few that know I have BPD) are stubborn and refuse to let me sabotage any of the relationships in my life. The only person I struggle to love is myself, but I’m working on that. Despite the title of this blog post, I don’t suck, even if my brain lies to me sometimes and tells me I do. I’m trying my best.

Struggling to deal with emotions is a huge part of BPD. I suffer from emotion dysregulation and black-and-white thinking (using always and never statements about yourself and others that may be harmful. Example: I’m never going to be able to do this). Add my anxiety and depression into the mix and my brain is a hot mess of emotion at any given point and time. I’ve cried more in the past few months than I ever have in my life. And considering the amount I cried last year, that’s saying something. I use a mood tracker and the vast amount of sting emotions I can go through in a single day is a little crazy.

But back to my point, once I found out I had BPD and cried for a while (followed by listening to “My Diagnosis” from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on repeat), I realized the past year (longer, if I’m being honest) suddenly made so much more sense. Suddenly I knew why I was struggling to “get over” emotional situations.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it, it’s been rough. I’d like to express nothing but gratitude to the people I’ve broken down and cried on because I just couldn’t handle all the emotions anymore. Nothing with BPD is a quick fix. I meditate, do grounding exercises, see a therapist, go to a BPD support group, and do daily Dialectical Behaviour Therapy homework. I work out even when I don’t want to. I journal nightly. I work so hard to maintain my mental health, and sometimes it still fails. But I don’t give up. I’m in this for the long haul.

Now, I’m not saying any of this for sympathy. There’s nothing I hate more. I’m here to break down stigmas. I want nothing more than to spread awareness about a terribly stigmatized but not well-known mental illness. Talking about all this feels like coming out all over again (actually worse, cause I never really “came out” I just started dating women and didn’t care anymore who noticed). This is worse, because I don’t want anyone to think less of me, but the only way I’m going to break that is talking about it. So I refuse to be quiet anymore.

Higher Further Faster: What Captain Marvel Meant to Me

I’d like to begin this by saying that this isn’t a review of the movie and is spoiler free.

Last night I went to see Captain Marvel and I’ve never felt so empowered. For so long we’ve waited for a woman-led Marvel movie and they finally delivered, and it was everything I wanted. However, I’m not going to talk about the movie. I’m going to talk about how it made me feel.

To be honest, I’ve had a rough week. If it could go wrong it has, and on top of that my mental health was so bad this week that I definitely spent more than one day unable to get out of bed. But I’m not here to whine about my life.

Carol Danvers is a fighter. She’s smart, witty, powerful, and yet still so beautifully human. If you’ve seen the movie you know there’s a sequence (and this isn’t a spoiler) where she keeps getting up. The odds have been stacked against her and yet she just keeps getting up.

I had a friend compare me to Carol lately. I was having a particularly bad evening and while I cried on her in her car for the umpteenth time she told me that I’m strong like Carol. That I keep getting up and that I’m a superhero. I normally struggle to believe her when she tells me these things, because clearly she sees things in me that I can’t see in myself. This though, this one I’m going to take to heart.

A superhero is all I’ve ever wanted to be. I’ve loved comics every since I was a kid and I’ve always looked up to characters like Captain Marvel, Black Widow, Kitty Pryde. However, I never thought I could ever be a superhero. I’m not special. I’m just human.

But it isn’t her powers that makes Carol Danvers special. It’s her inner strength. I know that might sound a bit cheesy, but hey, I meditate, do yoga, and light a candle and journal daily, so what do you expect from me? I may not have powers like Captain Marvel, but do you know what I can do? I can keep getting up.

Having a powerful woman superhero for little girls to look up to is so important. I know a lot of white men have been complaining about this movie, but it isn’t for them. They’ve had their movies, and it’s our turn. Every woman deserves to feel powerful, and this movie certainly made me feel this way. I may not be able to fly a plane or fight like Carol, but I can fight for myself. I can keep getting up. She gives me so much hope. That’s why these movies are so important.

Thank you Marvel and Brie Larson for giving us such a powerful film about female empowerment.

Also, if anyone wants to get me Goose, my birthday is in August.