Current Upper Body Workout Routine!

Hi guys!!! 🙂 Happy Tuesday wherever you are in the world!

Today’s post is going to be a continuation to my current workout routine. If you remember, back in April I did a post solely dedicated to my leg day workout routine (which I will leave linked here in case you guys wanted to check it out), so now this will be completely dedicated to my upper body routine. I will be going into detail about the different workouts I do for upper body, how many sets I tend to do, the weights I use, etc. and using demonstrative images for how (for the most part) the movements for each workout should be looking.

But before I get started, I just want to remind you guys that I am in no way, shape or form a trainer and/or fitness expert, nor am I trying to be. I googled a lot of the technical terms mentioned just to be able to make sure that I named everything correctly but also put in parentheses (a lot of the time) the basic terms for what I was saying. This post is simply meant to show/explain to you guys the workout routines that we (Diego and I) have been sticking to recently.  If you have any questions for anything directly related to the workouts or our progress with doing these workouts, please feel free to leave a comment below with it OR reach out to me on any of my social media platforms and I’ll be more than happy to answer them 🙂 !

So let’s get into it already!

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For starters, we tend to divide our upper body routines between focusing on chest or shoulders (we’ll do one of each on each upper body day we have which is typically 2 throughout the week).

If you remember from my leg day routine, we like to start off all of our workouts with a compound movement that will pretty much work all of the areas that we’re trying to focus on for that day, while also working as a warm-up for us for the rest of the workout.

On the day that I’m posting this we’ll be focusing on chest mainly, so I’ll start with that.

  1. Bench Press

Bench pressing is a core fundamental exercise in developing a person’s upper body strength. It’s something that not only works your pectorals (chest), but also anterior deltoids (shoulders), triceps, and latissimus dorsi (your back). Like any other workout, I like to start off warming up on somewhat of a low weight, so I’ll normally just start off with the bar.

Barbell_Bench_Press

I typically tend to do about 3 warm-up sets (with a different, slightly heavier weight each time), and then 3-4 actual working sets (while being consistent with one particular weight at that point); so roughly 6-7 sets in total, although a lot of people don’t like to count warm up sets, I do. 🤷🏻‍♀️

The amount of weight that I add and/or maintain depends on whether it’s heavy week for us or not. So, since my leg day routine post I based it off when we were in heavy week, I’ll do this one when we’re just maintaining good weight for reps of 7-10. So my sets will look a little something like this:

1 set of 10 on just the bar. 1 set of 8 on just the bar again. Then I’ll add weight to the bar with 10lbs on each side (65lbs total) for 7-8 reps. I could do more reps on this weight because it is really light, but the purpose is to do enough to meet the set ‘requirement,’ but also to not completely tire myself out on my warm up before my actual working set. My next set will most likely begin my working sets which, as of right now, would be 20lbs on each side (90lbs in total). Recently I’ve been able to do 4 sets with this weight and (almost) easily hit 8-9 reps, but it KILLS afterwards lol (in the best way possible).

2. Shoulder Press

The next compound movement we do when we’re focusing on shoulders, would be barbell shoulder press. This is a great workout to do to stabilize your core. Although the majority of your power from doing this is coming from your deltoids, you’d also be working your rear deltoids, upper pectoral muscles, triceps and traps (upper back).

Standing_Barbell_Shoulder_Press

I typically tend to do more or less the same amount of sets for this as I would do if I was benching. Weight-wise though, this is a little more difficult and I haven’t been able to go TOO heavy (yet 😉 ). So as always I’ll start off with the bar to be able to warm up for a set or two, so it’ll be like: 1 set of 10 on just the bar, then another set of maybe 8-9 on the bar again. To bump up weight, I’ll just add 5lbs on both sides to start off (55lbs in total) for about 7-8 reps. And then finally for my working set I’ll put 10lbs on both sides (65lbs in total), for about 7 or 8 reps, or just as many as I could push for honestly. It’s a tough workout to master, but it’s honestly become one of my favorites for working shoulders.

3. Bend Over Rows

This is another one of those great compound movement workouts, because it pretty much works every muscle in your back, rear delts, and even biceps. And if you’re doing the workout right, you’ll feel the burn from this almost immediately.

bend over barbell-rows

I believe the heaviest I’ve done with this is actually 95lbs in total, and I can do a consistent 7-8 reps with it. So I’ll pretty much start off with 10lbs on each side (65lbs total) for 10 reps, then jump straight to 95lbs and be consistent with that for my next 2 sets. 95lbs is still pretty heavy to me with this movement, so I’ll ultimately just try to push for as many reps as I can get done.

4. Lateral Pulldown

This is DEFINITELY a favorite of mine for working out my back. This one is good because it not only works your back, but also your biceps and forearms in the process. Personally, I love doing workouts where I’m targeting several different muscles at once.

content_wide-grip_lat_pulldown_bar

For the most part, everything after our main compound exercise, I’ll stick to doing only 3 sets of. My first set I’ll start off on 35lbs for about 10 reps, just to start feeling the movement. Then for my next 2 sets I’ll either maintain one particular weight, just doing a different amount of reps (or as many as I can, again), or I’ll do 2 different weights while also hitting the amount of reps necessary to complete the set. Recently, I’ve been sticking to the same weight just to be able to get used to that one weight, so that once heavy week rolls around, I’ll be able to be and feel stronger to go higher in weight. So for my next 2 sets I’ll bump up the weight to 42.5lbs for 7-8 reps more or less.

5. Barbell Curls

For the next 3 workouts, we move to the free weights section, starting off with some good old fashion curls. This exercise is what’s known as an isolation type of exercise which means it’s an exercise that “involves only one joint and a limited number of muscle groups.” You’re primarily working your biceps here.

Barbell_Curl

I do three sets of these, pretty much maintaining the same weight throughout all of the sets, just mainly focusing on doing as many reps as possible. So I’ll pretty much do a set of 10, a set of 9 and a set of 8 on 35lbs.

6. Tricep Extensions

These are legit one of my FAVORITE arm workouts to do. It’s similar to the barbell curls in that I maintain a certain weight (which in this case would either be 22.5lbs or 25lbs depending on how I feel and whichever weight is available when I need it lol), while doing as many reps as I can.

tricep-extension

I’m pretty good with this workout in particular, so I can normally push myself to do 3 sets of 10 or even 12 reps for them all, but I’m weird so every set I do needs to be a different number of reps haha. 🙃 Also, personally, I tend to do this workout while I’m sitting down instead of standing up like in the photo. I’ve never really tried it standing up before, so I’m not really sure if you feel much of a difference in the movement, but I’m pretty sure it really just comes down to personal preference for how you do it.

7. Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Ultimately, this is the same thing as doing the shoulder press with the barbell like how I mentioned earlier, the only difference is that you’re using the free weights for it and doing each individual arm to make sure you’re developing the muscle/strength in both arms evenly (does that make sense? I hope so).

one-arm-dumbbell-push-press

I’ll do this workout for three sets, and just like the 2 previous workouts, I’ll maintain a certain weight which, in this case, would probably be 20lb dumbbell weights for 8-10 reps, or just as many as I’m able to push through.

8. Tricep Pulldown

Another absolute favorite of mine which is EXTREMELY similar to that of tricep extensions. Honestly, they’re pretty much the exact same thing (I think), and you’re working the exact same tricep muscle; the only difference is the way you’re doing the movement. One of them you’re raising the weight up, and the other you’re pulling it down. But the results are or should be (hopefully) the same thing, which is gaining muscle and strength in your triceps.

tricep-rope

I do three sets of these, for the most part all different weights. I’ll start off with 25lbs and do 10 reps of those. Then I’ll bump the weight up to 30lbs, and do 7-8 reps of that. Doing that second set and seeing how I feel after it will really determine whether or not I’ll bump the weight for that third set or just maintain and try to push to get the set done. Some days I can bump the weight up to 35lbs and be okay, and then there are those days where you just don’t really feel it, and just end up maintaining the weight you just did, you know?

9. Seated Low Rows (A.K.A. Lateral Rows to me and Diego lol)

This is a GREAT back workout. Definitely one of my favorites. You end up working your trapezius muscles, latissimus dorsi, the erector spinae, rear deltoids, biceps, biceps brachialis, and forearm flexors….. pretty much your entire back area to dumb it down a bit lol.

Image result for seated cable row

My three sets of this will usually start off with me doing 10 reps on 35lbs, which I’ll usually end up having to push through, but not in a bad way. It’s like a healthy push, not like I’m struggling to hit 10. For my next 2 sets I’ll usually bump the weight to 42.5lbs, and on this weight it’s a little more of a struggle, but I can usually push myself to hit 7-9 reps for both sets.

10. Kettlebell Pull-Ups

I’ve been saying this for like the majority of the workouts I’ve spoken about, but this is one of my top 5 favorites!!! 😂. The main things that are being worked with this work out would be your back muscles, posterior deltoids (your shoulders), and biceps.

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This is a favorite simple workout, which I tend to stay very consistent with in the weight I use. Lately I’ve been doing 3 sets with the 26.4lbs kettle bell. On that weight, depending on how I feel since this would normally be one of the, if not the, last workout I do for upper body, I can do anywhere from 8-12 reps for all of my sets.

And finally, to end my workout as a whole, I’ll typically do some cardio. Just like I mentioned in my leg day routine, we typically try to hit cardio AT LEAST 3-4 times a week (if not more) after our workouts. I’ll do the treadmill, sometimes Diego will do it with me and other times he’ll just do the stair-master. Depending what time it is by the time we finally finish the entire workout, will determine how long we do cardio for. Now I’m able to do cardio anywhere from 30-45 minutes without any issues, which would typically allow me to burn anywhere from 300-450 calories, if not more, depending on how high the speed and incline is (which, I keep at 10.5 incline, and 2.8 speed).

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inspo

Well there you guys have it. That’s my entire workout routine that Diego and I have been following for quite some time now. There’s been a few new workouts that we’ve incorporated to both our routines lately, but being that they are all fairly new still, I didn’t think it was that necessary to speak about them yet since we’re both still getting used to them. But all of the ones that I mentioned are what we consistently ALWAYS do. Hope they were of some type of help to you guys.

Also, once I figure out how (or if I really want) to incorporate videos on my blog as well, I would love to do a more demonstrative sort of updated version of these routines, just to show you guys how I do the movements, how their supposed to look, etc.

Stay tuned to my upcoming posts, they’re gonna be some fun ones! 😀

*I do not own any of these images, they were all taken from Google.*

-Xoxo, Leo Girl ❤

Current Leg Day Workout Routine! 🏋🏻‍♀️💪🏼

Hi Guys, Happy Monday!

Today’s post is going to be a fitness related one. Every time I put up pictures and/or videos on my social media accounts about me working out, I always get a ton of questions about it with my workouts, where I go, who I go with, etc. So this will be the perfect time for me to address all of that!

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First and foremost, I am in no way, shape or form a health or fitness expert nor am I trying to be, so everything I’m going to mention are things that I’ve found which have been working really well for me.

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For those of you who don’t know, I’m a member of Blink Fitness (don’t ask me why I go here as opposed to anywhere else because I just kind of randomly picked it about 3 years ago). I’ve been a member since about 2015 I would say, but never used to be consistent with it. It wasn’t until about 3-4 months ago that I got REALLY serious about going to the gym and working out. I try to go to the gym at least 5 days a week. I give myself one day off in the middle of the week to be able to recover a bit and come back feeling ready to kick ass for the rest of the week. And then I take off Saturdays because that’s usually when I run errands or Diego and I go out for date night.

During the week I go everyday after work, and on Sundays, Diego and I will usually start our days off by going to the gym then doing whatever else we have to do afterwards.

Almost always if you see me in the gym, I’m with Diego and our good friend Genaro. I love working out with them because we all motivate each other and keep up with one another, they don’t take it easy on me because I’m a girl, if anything, they push me harder because of that.

And pretty much the way we do workout is that we break our workouts up into particular days so that everyday we’re doing something different and keeping it fun/exciting. We separate our workouts into leg day, upper body day, full-body workout days (which is normally only once a week, IF that), and simply just cardio.

Aside from breaking our workouts up into specific days, we also break it up between heavy week and light week, and since this post is going up today (Monday), that actually starts our heavy week off with this.

Keep in mind that we take our time with workouts and end up spending about 2-3 hours in the gym to make sure that we hit each part of the workout not only properly, but completely. Also, our workouts as a whole are really not at all that bad or intense, it’s just something you have to get used to overall.

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Personally in order for me to feel like I’m going to have a kickass workout, I NEED pre-workout. And yeah its not good to rely on certain things like that and blah blah blah, but it just always gives me that extra little boost of energy I need to get things going. Plus, I really don’t rely on it as much as I think I do, I think I just tell myself I do because there will be times that I don’t take any (mainly because I ran out, not necessarily by choice) and will still have a pretty great workout.

For those of you who don’t know, pre-workout for the most part is a supplement that ultimately has caffeine in it to give you an extra boost of energy, pretty much the same concept as a Red-Bull and/or Monster, but it’s a lot better for you than that. The one that Diego, Genaro and I use is from this website called Bare Performance Nutrition . Their products are a bit pricey, but we definitely like them and think their worth it.

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So the other day I took a poll on Instagram to see which fitness routine I should write about first and the vast majority of you voted for leg day, so here it is!

Now, if you’re anything like me, you love a good leg day. Personally, I like to start each week with leg day (whether I’m going heavy or staying steady) because that helps me get pumped for the rest of the week. With that being said, let’s get into the actual workout routine I always do!!

If you’re a beginner and even if you’re not, of course its always ideal for you to spend about 10-15 minutes stretching, especially if you’re going to be attempting to pull heavy weight. Again, I’m not an expert but I’ve been finding that for me personally, I don’t always need to spend a great deal of time stretching in order for me to feel good and ready for my workout. Sometimes yes, but not always.

The first thing I always start my leg days off with is squats.

  1. Squats

With each workout we always start with our compound movement, which is pretty much an exercise that hits/targets more than one muscle, which in the case of leg day would be squats. While squatting you work your glutes, quads, hamstrings, core and even your back a bit when you have the bar on your back and tighten it.

barbell_squat-300x300

Altogether I roughly do about 7 sets of squatting, and 3 of those are pretty much just for the sake of warming up. The difference is that for heavy week we always pretty much use that time to test the weight to see how far we can go with it and what our “max” is. Ultimately we keep the amount of reps we do with each set low so that we don’t tire ourselves out too quickly and are able to actually reach some type of PR. So it looks a little something like this:

1. 1 set of 10 with just bar.

2. 1 set of like 6-7 with just the bar again.

3. 1 set of about 6 with the bar while adding 10lbs to each side, which would be a total of 65lbs.

Once I finish with that, it’s relatively light still for me to feel comfortable enough that for the next set I’ll be able to bump the weight up to 25lbs on each side for the final “warming up” set before my actual working sets start.

4. 1 set of 4-5 with the bar while adding 25lbs to each side, which adds up to 95lbs total.

After that set I’ll bump the weight again, but at this point the amount of weight I add on will depend on how I’ve been feeling after the past couple of sets I just did, while also taking into consideration the last time I squatted (more so during my heavy week), so I’m basing it right now off what I’ve been doing recently which would be either 115lbs (35lbs on each side) or 135lbs (45lbs on each side). My max. right now is 135lbs and I was only able to do that for 1 rep 2 weeks ago, so I’ll probably just try that again or bump the weight down to 115lbs to be able to complete my working sets (which would be about 3 of them).

After squatting I’ll move on to the seated leg press:

2. Seated Leg Press

45-degree-leg-press

From here on out I’ll keep all of my workouts to 3 sets each. So with the leg press I’ll start off with 180lbs total (2 45lb plates on both sides).

  1. 1 set of 10 on 180lbs. For the next one I’ll bump the weight up another 10lbs on each side, for a total of 200lbs.
  2. 1 set of 6-8 on 200lbs. And finally I’ll bump it up to 25lbs on both sides along with the 180lbs that was already on it, for a total of 230lbs which is the heaviest I’ve gone on the leg press.
  3. 1 set of 4-6 on 230lbs.

      3. Good Girl, Bad Girl

After the leg press, I move on to what is known to me and Diego as ‘good girl, bad girl’, lol it sounds weird, but honestly it’s one of my favorite workouts to do during leg day.

 

 

The purpose of both for the most part is to pretty much entirely work the hip area of your body. So the first one you’re spreading your legs/knees open, which will work the abductor muscle groups on the outside of your hips. You’re supposed to push out against the resistance. Whereas with the other machine (hip adduction), you’re doing relatively the same motion, but the opposite, meaning you’re pushing against the resistance to CLOSE your legs together which ultimately works the muscle groups on your inner thighs (hence Diego and I calling it good girl, bad girl). Trust me, it’s killer but in the best way.

So my sets will go something like this:

Hip abductors (pushing out)- 1 set of 8-10 on about 130lbs; 1 set of 8-10 on 150lbs; and 1 set of 8-10 on 170lbs. The reason the weight may seem really high is because of how used to it I am and that’s when I’ll feel the most resistance (in other words that’s when I feel the workout the most).

For hip adduction (pushing in)- it’s relatively the same, however I will say this is slightly more difficult for me, so the weight isn’t as high as it would be for the other one, so I’ll do 1 set of 8-10 on like 90lbs; 6-8 on 110lbs; and 4-6 (or as many as I can push through) on 130lbs.

      4. Leg Extensions

After good girl, bad girl I move on to seated leg extensions which is a great machine/workout to work on your quad muscles.

Seated_Machine_Leg_Extensions_F_WorkoutLabs

In my opinion this is the best and worst leg workout. It’s the best because it’s an amazing way to work on your quads, but its the worst because I find that it’s a lot more difficult to do when your legs are shot from just finishing your squat session. But because of that, I’ll tend to start off on somewhat of a low weight, then work my way up.

So I’ll do: 1 set of 10 on 70lbs, 1 set of about 6-8 on 90lbs, and then try to do about 4-6 on 100-110lbs (depending on how I’m feeling and how the other 2 sets went).

Following Leg Extensions comes another favorite of mine which is calf extensions.

      5. Calf Extensions

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This is really similar to leg press, the only difference is your whole foot isn’t flat on the plate surface. Your feet are at somewhat of an angle where they’re in a tip-toe kind of position so you’ll be pushing off from that.

I normally start off at about 70lbs and depending on how I feel, work my way up from that or stay at a steady weight. So 1 set of 10 on 70lbs, 1 set of 6-8 on 90lbs and a set of 4-6 on 100lbs.

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At this point I’m normally pretty content with everything I’ve done and could pretty much end my workout here after I finish with my calf extensions, but lately I’ve added 2 more workouts to my routine. Sometimes I get to do them and sometimes I don’t, it all depends on how I feel after all this and timing, how late or not it may be.

The first one is leg curls:

      6. Leg Curls

Lying_Leg_Curls_M_WorkoutLabs

This is an amazing workout that will completely work your hamstrings. I prefer doing this to work my hamstrings than anything else really, I don’t know there’s just something about it that I love, and I feel the burn of it almost immediately whenever I complete a set. So for this, my numbers aren’t all that great, weight wise, but they are enough that like I said I feel it as soon as I’m finished.

So I’ll do, 1 set of 10 on 50lbs, 1 set of 6-8 on 60lbs, and for my final set I’ll push for 4-6 on 70lbs, or as I said earlier, as many that I can push myself to do.

For the most part that’s my entire workout. Occasionally, if I have the time I’ll do one more exercise to work predominantly on my glutes, but I really don’t always have time for it so I don’t really think it’s worth mentioning.

HOWEVER, once I do all of that, I tie everything together and close out the night with a good cardio session (again depending on time determines how long I’ll be able to do it for). On average I always tend to do AT LEAST 30-35 minutes of cardio 2-3 times a week, this amount of time usually allows me to burn about 300+ calories which is fine for me. On days where I happen to have more time and am feeling ambitious, I’ll push to do 45 minutes more or less which allows me to burn 400-450 calories. During our heavy week workouts that isn’t always too ideal though because that’ll tend to burn out a lot more of our energy on top of what we already are doing, which is why sticking to 200-300 calories in cardio is a lot better for us.

When it comes to doing cardio I think that everyone has their own opinions and preferences on it, what they consider good for it, what they don’t, etc. But for me, I always stick to the treadmill. So long as I have a high incline and at least 2.8-3.0 speed, that’ll be enough to hit my calorie goal for what I want to burn. Diego does the treadmill with me most times, but overall he prefers the StairMaster. It all depends on what you like and prefer.

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Well guys that’s it. That’s my entire leg day workout that I always stick to and has been working really well for me. It’s really not as much or as intense as it may look or seem. It just all comes down to pushing yourself and getting used to it.

Let me know in the comments if you guys do anything similar or completely different for your leg day workouts. Let me know if you found this helpful at all, wasn’t all that descriptive, or just a general comment about what you think about my workout and stay tuned in a couple of weeks for my other post about my full upper body workout!

-Until then,

Xoxo Leo Girl ❤

Hi, I’m Fine.

 

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Hi Guys,

It’s been a while. Hope everyone had a good, productive week and are ready to kick back and finally enjoy the weekend!

Today’s topic is something that is really personal to me, and many others I’m sure. Something that is severely overlooked in the day and age that we live in, and hasn’t been taken nearly as serious as it should. It’s the topic of mental health.

As always, I’m going to start off with my personal experiences with my mental health, then go into my general thoughts on the topic.

mental health immage 2

My Story

This is something that very few people know about me. I’ve really only told a hand full of people, because it’s not exactly something to brag about; however, it is something I feel that I want and need to shed some light on at least once, in depth.

It’s something I think I’ve actually dealt with on and off for a number of years, maybe 4 or 5 years actually; but it wasn’t until about a year ago that it got really bad, and I realized I had a problem, which is what in particular I’m going to be talking about today.

There were so many different things going on with myself internally that I didn’t understand how or why it was happening. But I’ve been dealing with Anxiety and depression for some time now. Now, thankfully neither of these things are or were ever to extremely serious extents. And what I mean by that, because I know many people when they think depression, their thoughts immediately turn to suicide; so thankfully, it has never gotten to that extent, or even just suicidal thoughts, for me,  and both are somewhat mild I guess you could say.

Many of the most common symptoms for depression are agitation, irritability, social isolation, excessive sleepiness as a result over-sleeping or lack thereof, excessive hunger or lack thereof, lack of concentration, excessive weight gain or loss, hopelessness, constantly feeling insecure about yourself, and loss of interest or pleasure in activities (name a few), all of which I had.

As I said earlier, I was going through a lot of these things (i.e. always feeling down, over-eating, isolating myself, etc.), and didn’t understand a lot of it because I never used to be like that, and all of it had been sort of accumulating over the years. But during my last year of college was when I noticed how immensely it was actually effecting me. It got to the point where I was skipping days upon days of classes and coming up with the most insane excuses for my professors because I literally had NO motivation to go and/or do anything. I would spend days in my room and whenever I didn’t have or didn’t go to class, or when I was off from work, I would only come out to go buy food or something. In all my spare time all I would really do is eat, sleep, and watch T.V., literally all day long.

Some people would say that I probably did all this to myself, and I probably did to some extent, but I also have other reasons that I know played a role in it all. There were things going on with family, school, my health, and work that were not only wearing me down, but also left me feeling like I was stuck in such a repetitive routine that I absolutely hated.

As I’ve mentioned before in previous posts, school wore me down a lot. That played a big role in the way I was feeling. It was odd though, because I loved being able to dorm, especially in the apartment that I was in, it gave me a huge sense of independence that I absolutely loved; but I hated the classes part of it, which I know obviously I could not have one without the other.

Another part of me feeling the way that I did was how much I was working. As I mentioned in my Health & Fitness post, my last year of college I was working at The Cheesecake Factory, which in my opinion, working in a restaurant was FAR worse and much more time consuming then working retail, although working in a restaurant could be considered retail in a sense, but I’m talking clothing stores and such.  If you read my Health post, you know that I was working pretty much everyday of each week, and they would be ridiculously long hours. People sort of joke all the time about getting slaved at work, but working at Cheesecake was the purest definition of that. Monday through Thursday I would have classes, and typically end up working from 4 or 5pm- to 9pm if not closing at 11pm. Friday through Sunday, I was working 11:30am (opening) until about 9-10pm sometimes later. Now don’t get me wrong, to an extent I liked it, they were giving me all of those hours all the time because they liked and trusted the way I worked, and in the long run it looked great in my paychecks, which was great, but after a while it did wear me down tremendously. I was exhausted 90% of the time, and it got to the point where I had no motivation to go to school or work, because any type of little free-time I had I just wanted to sleep; OR I would try to create my own free-time by not going to classes or calling out of work.

It was bad. My tiredness and lack of motivation got to the point where I was having more bad days than I was good ones. I was getting so freaked out about what was going on with myself. I just truly felt hopeless overall, and like I didn’t know what to do with myself anymore.

I never told anyone when I started feeling the way that I did, because I didn’t even fully know or understand what was going on, so how was I even going to attempt to tell other people?

So for about a month I kept it all to myself; the only one who sort of knew was my boyfriend, not because I told him anything really, but because he saw the way I was acting and had a feeling that something was wrong. Then when I started to realize something was REALLY wrong, I did my own research on it all, what I was feeling, etc., (yeah I guess I was self-diagnosing, and they say not to do that, but I needed SOME type of answer at the time), and sure enough I got my answer. So I started talking to him about it, he asked his questions, I would answer to the best of my ability, and we just talked about it all until there wasn’t much left else to say. He was concerned obviously, and I threw around the idea to him about telling my parents, although I was scared about it. He knew how nervous I was about it, and so he advised to think it thoroughly through  before doing anything, and so I did and came to the conclusion that I would hold off from telling them for a while.

I have a variety of reasons for my being nervous to tell them. And everything I say is in no way, shape, form a way to bash them. It’s just my thoughts, and how I felt through it all. My parents are very old-school, so they don’t believe in a lot of things like depression and the like, especially for people my age if not younger. They believe in the whole “don’t think about it, just ignore it and it’ll go away” method. And I guess I don’t really blame them because they’ve never had to deal with things like that before within themselves or their families. They believe that people my age should never be depressed, because what do we actually have to be depressed for? Personally, I think it’s more an ‘in-denial’ thing, that they don’t necessarily want to believe their child is going through that, because they don’t want me to HAVE to go through that, which in itself is understandable of course, but it doesn’t mean what I’m feeling isn’t there, and I can’t just hide it. I mean I had for a long time, but not anymore.

Although I didn’t immediately decide to tell them, I did end up going to someone else in my family that I thought would be really helpful throughout it all, and that was my brother. I went to him because I figure I would be able talk to him about it, especially since he’s a psychologist, so I thought it would help. Sure enough, it did. I spoke to him about it, and his initial reaction was to be expected: anxious, worried, asking me a million and one question, etc. But there was a certain sense of comfort I got from speaking to him about it all. I also talked to him about the idea of bringing it up to my parents, I told him my concerns with it, but also why I felt like they should know. And him, just like my boyfriend, didn’t force me to do it or make me feel bad for having my thoughts about it, he simply just supported whatever I would end up deciding because I’m the one dealing with it.

I figure if I spoke to my mom about it, she would be more supportive and understanding then my dad would be, because although they both had that kind of old-school mentality, it was more him than it was her.

Sure enough, I made the call and started talking to my mom about it all. At first, her initial reaction was extremely frustrating and annoying, she did and said exactly what I was worried about that whole time. She told me not to think about it, just ignore it and it would go away, she told me I’m probably just over-thinking it, I just need to get up, stop being lazy and be more active to get myself out of that. And above all, I felt like she was trying to scare me when she brought up that if I went to a psychologist and everything ended up being true, they would probably end up making me take medication to stop it/make me feel better. I was so pissed off at everything she was saying. Is she serious right now? THAT’S her biggest concern at the moment? I then proceeded to let her know that everything she was saying was exactly why I hadn’t wanted to tell her or my dad about anything, because those were the last things I wanted/needed to hear.

And then I hung up.

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Following that day I didn’t want to speak to her or anyone else about how I was feeling again. With each day that passed she would constantly try to ask things like so how are you feeling? Are you better today? And I would give her the same answer all the time, “I’m fine.”

The way I was feeling would come and go a lot, and hit me at the most random times, so it was hard to give her or anyone a solid answer about how I was feeling, because in that moment I was okay, but an hour later I would feel completely different. A few days later, she told me that I should go see and talk to someone about how I was feeling, but I didn’t know how any of that worked or how to go about even finding someone, so I was super skeptical about it all. I ended up finding out that on campus at Purchase, they had this place called the Wellness Center, which I sort of knew about, but didn’t know exactly the type of programs and such that it offered. After looking into more information for that, I came to learn that it was an entire building for things like what I was feeling and those that are in far worse conditions. So, I booked an appointment to speak to a fellow psychologist.

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Therapy? Really?? Did I really just book an appointment for that? I considered skipping the appointment altogether and coming up with an excuse for why I didn’t go, but then I figured I should at least give it a shot once and see what happens.

Man, people aren’t kidding when they say that shit gets intense.

It was only an hour and a half, and from that, we managed to touch upon A LOT of hidden ground that I hadn’t spoken about to many people. Some of which is a little too personal to bring up in this post right now.

It freaked me out though, and I didn’t like how vulnerable I felt speaking to this woman that I didn’t know for a hole in the wall. She asked me to book another appointment for the following week, and I did, but I never showed up to that follow-up.

The way I was feeling kept coming and going, and it wasn’t like a headache that I could just take a Tylenol and it would go away within half hour or so. Sometimes it would last a few minutes, sometimes a few hours, and sometimes it would last an entire day. It was hard, but I kept taking it day by day. It wasn’t until my graduation that I finally let it known to everyone what I had been going through the past few months in an Instagram post. Yes, I know it was probably weird and cheesy for me to have done that on there, but it was a post expressing my gratitude and what I felt/thought was strength after finally graduating.

What now? 

Things are a bit different, I’m back home and closer to my friends and family, and have been able to do constructive things to keep myself busy to not think about the negatives. I get to read my books whenever I want, I get to come home from a long day’s work and not have to worry about homework, tests, or quizzes, and I just generally have more time for myself. I’m in a much better place now, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t still struggle with the issues that I had, I still have my days where it hits me hard and I just feel really hopeless. And days where my anxiety attempts to get the best of me and keep me from stepping outside and doing the things I have to, but I try to fight through it each and every time to ensure that I live my life the way I want to, not by the things I go through that I know will eventually will pass, even if I never know how long it’ll take next time.

The Purpose

Following my one and only therapy appointment, during the last few weeks of school, I was watching Thirteen Reasons Why. Although I found it to be a really good, it did nothing at all to help me whatsoever, if anything, it made it a million times worse. To this day, I’m not exactly sure why, but all I know is, when I finished watching the show, it freaked me out so much that I couldn’t sleep for like a week. And I think the reason it freaked me out was because of how weirdly relatable it was to me. No, I never thought about suicide, and no I didn’t have thirteen reasons as to why I was depressed, but the way Hannah kept trying at life, with people, work, her parents, etc., and it kept always seeming to fail, got me. Also, how much she thought and expected for her parents to figure it all out and help her without judging her, but they didn’t got me too. There were so many signs there she gave off, the ways she was feeling, and not a single person caught on to any of it.

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It’s heartbreaking because there are way too many people in the world that are going through or have been through similar situations where they’re depressed and going through really heavy/deep stuff and they feel like they have no one to be there for them. Which, as a result, causes them more often than not to turn to the gruesome alternative of suicide.

I’m not writing this post to get any type of pity from anyone, or to have anyone write me after reading this and ask if I’m okay, and if I ever need anything to let them know; I’m writing this post because I know so many people that have gone through some serious shit, that they’ve felt like in the moment of it happening, they have absolutely no one to talk to. They feel like their alone, which as result causes them to handle things alone. It may not mean much for you to see or hear, but YOU ARE NOT ALONE. And I’m sorry that you feel alone right now, or that you did, but you have to know/understand that as cliche as it is, there is ALWAYS someone there, around you, or that you know who cares. Talk to SOMEONE, a family member, a friend, a significant other; someone WILL care. You don’t have to go through anything alone, and if you were like me, that you don’t know how to explain whatever is you’re going through, that’s okay. You can figure it out along the way, someone can help you figure it out. But you have to talk to someone, don’t wait until it’s too late to do or say something.

And parents, friends, strangers: watch out for the signs. There are always signs there. Yeah, sometimes it may be nothing, but other times it could be a whole lot, and they really do need you. Even if you may be wrong with what you think you see, at least you showed you cared and would be there for them. Don’t force anything from their end, but if they’re going to you and talking to you about something, hear them out, whether they’re old or young. They may not be exaggerating like you think, and they could know/feel a lot more than you would expect, and with whatever it is they’re going through, they could use all the love, help, and support they could get. Overall, just be mindful. Be mindful of what you say and do to people because you really have no idea how big or small of an impact you can have on a person, whether positive or negative.

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Food for thought. Enjoy the weekend everyone!

 

-Xoxo Leo Girl.