Saturday, June 23, 2018

Bullet Journal Therapy

How Something So Simple Has Kept Me Going

Bullet Journal - Katrina Roets
My Bullet Journal
That little black book is my bullet journal. It's also been the salvation to my sanity a few times lately and I wanted to share it with all of you. For those of you who don't know what a bullet journal is, check out this link and then come on back. Don't worry, I'll wait for you.

Back? Yay! I started mine back in May. I'd heard about them but every time I saw one, it seemed so beautiful and so expensive. I saw people talking about the huge orders they'd put in, etc. I live penny to penny around here so there just wasn't the funds to invest like other people seemed to be doing. Plus, I have ocd which leads to perfectionism which leads to "omg, I'm going to mess something up and then what?!?" Somehow though, I talked myself into just going down to Walmart and picking up whatever I could find. They didn't have the fancy dotted paper notebooks so I bought an artist's sketchbook without perforated pages. It was plain so I slapped some jeweled stickers on it and ta-da! my bullet journal was born. 

My Bullet Journal Keys - Katrina Roets
My Keys
 My first big task was to create the key. I spent a lot of time fussing over this before telling myself to just put pencil (and then pen) to paper and create it. If I hated it later, I didn't have to use it.

Bullet Journal Habit Tracker & When Did I Last Pages
May Habit Tracker/When Did I Last
 Then, I decided that I didn't really want to do a monthly calendar. I use a Google calendar and I'm very much in the habit of checking and updating that. However, there are some habits that I really want to enforce, so I created a habit tracker and then on the opposite page, a page that lists things that I should be doing quarterly. When I do them, I can add in the date to help me to keep track.

Bullet Journal - Weekly Layout - 19 Before - Katrina Roets
Weekly Layout and 19 Things Before 2019

I do like the idea of a weekly layout though. It's a place that I can put all of the appointments but also add little things like...graduation stickers to celebrate my oldest's high school graduation. The 19 before 2019 is simply a list of goals that I'd like to achieve by the end of the year. I admit that it's coming along slowly and something I need to look at more often.

Bullet Journal - Weekly Layout - Katrina Roets
Another Weekly Layout
 This is another one of my weekly layouts. As you can see, there is a ton of blank space. That was bugging me but I did have fun adding stickers and even starting to doodle a little bit.

Bullet Journal - Writing Blocks - Katrina Roets
Writing Blocks
 Some of you may know that I'm a writer. I have a series that I've been working on with Nick Davis called The Tether Saga. Right now, I'm writing the last book in that series while also working on another book. I created these pages to keep track of my progress as well as any important notes that I needed to keep track of.

Bullet Journal - Habit Tracker - Katrina Roets
June Habit Tracker
 For June, I wanted to go with some kind of theme. I've seen some absolutely beautiful ones but I'm really not much of an artist. I found these ladybug stickers and decided to go with that along with a red/white/black theme. As you can see, I have some areas that I really need to work on but I'm getting better in others. I know it will take time and I'm trying to be patient with myself.

Bullet Journal - Savings Tracker - Katrina Roets
Savings Tracker
 Even though I have next to no income right now, I do have things that I really need/want to get. The one item that should be on here but isn't is new memory for my laptop so that I can keep posting and writing. That's $70. Anyway, I thought that a tracker might help keep it in front of me so that when I did have a few extra dollars (or someone donated to my Ko-Fi), I could set it aside to go towards one of these things.

Bullet Journal - Weekly Layout - Katrina Roets
Weekly Layout

See my ladybugs? I really enjoy this theme and even tried to do a bit of doodling by adding laundry to that laundry basket.

Zone Cleaning
 Some of you know that I have hoarding issues. I think I've written about it here. I decided what might help me to become less overwhelmed is to come up with a zone cleaning schedule that I could put into place once I'm done de-junking the house. This is the first two pages of it.

Bullet Journal - Zone Cleaning Layout - Katrina Roets
Zone Cleaning - Cleaning Quotes
 This is the second page along with a page of quotes. I love the fact that I did all of this by hand and even the untidiness of the quote page has started to grow on me. It was my first real challenge of just doing it without drawing it all in using a pencil first and while it's sloppy feeling, I kind of love it.

Bullet Journal - House Projects Layout - Katrina Roets
House Projects Layout
 So, to be able to get to use the zone cleaning layouts, these are the tasks that have to get finished inside of the house. As you can see, it's not a small list, but I've broken it down into what I'm hoping are manageable sections.

Bullet Journal - Outside Projects Layout - Katrina Roets
Outdoor Projects Layout
 As you can see, I have a ton of outside projects that really need to happen as well. I'm hoping to find a couple of days soon where neither of my boys have to work and the weather isn't too terrible so that we can go out and tackle that barn. It's a huge one but it will also make a huge difference.

Bullet Journal - Weekly Layout - Katrina Roets
Weekly Layout
 Just another weekly layout. I discovered that my stickers were too puffy and it was messing with the pages so I drew these ladybugs. I think they turned out okay.

Bullet Journal - Daily Routines and Social Media Tracker - Katrina Roets
Daily Routines - Social Media Tracker
 Routines can be really helpful once I get into them and stick with them. Just ask me what I'm doing on Mondays and the answer is always the same. I've gotten into that habit/routine. Now, I'm working on building up my morning and before bedtime routines to help find more stability. The other page is to track my social media goals. Connections are so important to me not just because as a writer, I need readers, but also because they remind me daily that I'm not alone in this world or on this journey.

Bullet Journal - Self Care Layout - Katrina Roets
Self-Care Ideas
 I know that we've all heard how important self-care is. I also know that when you probably need it the most is just when you can't think of a single thing. So, on a good day, I made this layout with different ideas of things that I could do. It actually came in handy today when I saw it and reminded myself that it was okay to spend some time offline and curled up with a book.

Bullet Journal - Random Acts of Kindness - Katrina Roets
45 Random Acts of Kindness
 At my son's graduation a few weeks ago, the keynote speaker talked about Return on Investment and how it's important not only to invest in ourselves, but perhaps, more importantly, in others. This really struck a chord with me because it's important to me to make this world a better place for those around me. It's part of the reason that I write about my own struggles. I want others to see that they aren't alone. These are 45 acts of kindness that I want to complete far before I turn 45.

Bullet Journal - Healthy Snacks and Movies to Watch - Katrina Roets
Healthy Snacks - Movies To Watch
 As part of my "I really need to take better care of me" thought process, I thought it'd be good to make a list of healthier snacks. Don't get me wrong, Doritos are delicious, but they probably aren't what I should be eating on a regular basis. On the other side of this, I posted a question on Facebook asking my friends to name one movie that they think I should see. Then, I put them onto the little movie tickets and as I see each one, I'm coloring it in.

Bullet Journal - Vertical Weekly Layout - Katrina Roets
Last Weekly Layout
Remember how I said that I felt like my other weekly layouts were leaving just too much blank space? This week, I've tried this layout and I like it so much better! It gives me space to create weekly goals and to jot down notes and even things that I need to pick up at the store! I think I'm going to stick to this style for a while.

Bullet Journal - Books I've Read Layout - Katrina Roets
Books I've Read
I've always been told that a good writer should read as much as they write. I probably read a good bit more than I write (I need to work on that!) but I've always been a voracious reader. This layout gives me a chance to keep track of what I've read throughout the year. I need to add another couple of books to it and then draw in some more blank ones.

That's my bullet journal so far. I know that this is one looooong post so if you made it this far, thank you! I hope that you can see the different ways that I'm using my journal to help with not just my daily life, but the bad days that sometimes come along with PTSD and Bipolar 2. I know that there will be days when I just want to give up because it feels impossible. I've had one or two of those since I started working on this and when I've flipped through this book and realized that I've done this..I doodled and spent hours with a ruler and came up with this ...it's been a great reminder that if I can create this, maybe I can keep going and create something a little better for me and those around me. 

If you create one for yourself, please leave me a comment or track me down on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. I would love to hear about it and see pictures!


Monday, June 4, 2018

Depression is...

Depression is... - Katrina Roets - Welcoming Weight Loss
Quote Courtesty of Brainy Quote

Sometimes I like to just sit and look at random quotes and images on Google. Some little thing will blip into my brain and I'll spend a while just looking at things related. Today's thing was, "I thought I was okay..." and somehow in my flipping through, I came across the image above. It hit me like a ton of bricks and I stopped everything else that I was doing to just stare at this image.

You see, earlier today, I took a good, hard look around my house. It's a disaster. Actually, disaster might be an understatement. It looks like a good foundation for an episode of Hoarders. I wish I were joking. Part of me was shocked. I thought I had been doing okay on a brain level kind of way. Sure, emotionally, I've been off due to some life changes, but even though I knew there was a small struggle there, I thought overall I was doing okay. I mean, my bullet journal is almost current, I'm only weeks behind in reading/studying, and there's peanut butter, raspberry preserves, and bread in my kitchen. I've been eating. Oh sure, I haven't been eating well, but I've been eating. I've even drank some water!

Yeah...I thought I was okay, but I'm not. Every day that passes is a day closer to a future that I seem completely incapable of figuring out. Whenever I try, my anxiety skyrockets and I just want to sleep. Nothing is getting done because to get something done would mean that I'm actually taking steps towards that same future.

Every time I look around, I see the trash and the stuff and I know I should deal with it, but at the same time, my brain reminds me that all of those things need to be dealt with so that I can possibly move in a year's time and so it sits because I can't imagine a year from now without completely shutting down.

I tell myself that I don't advertise myself as a proofreader because of how other's have treated me. Recently, an author who I thought had hired me for a regular job told me he didn't know when I'd get the next batch of books. He had very valid reasons so I'm not upset with him, but it took the tiny future plans that I had managed to make and squashed them. Without that needed income, I'm stuck. Yet, I don't have it anywhere on my author site that I offer proofreading as a service. I don't mention it on any of my social media descriptions. Why? If I had the money, I would have to start making decisions which is something I seem incapable of.

Depression is the inability to construct a future...and that's right where I am. I'm incapable of constructing any kind of future beyond the day that I'm currently in and because I can't see a future, I've become numb to my surroundings, no matter how unhealthy they've become. I have moments of "omg, I need to do something about this" but it seems that I can only manage to survive in the hopes that someday soon, the fog will lift and maybe this time I can make things right again.


Friday, May 25, 2018

This Is Me


This is me and me is a holy mess today. My oldest son is graduating this evening and it's brought up more emotions than I know how to handle. I'm so proud of him for the work and effort he's put in to get to this point. When he received his cerebral palsy diagnosis, we were warned that he may never get higher than a certificate. He worked hard though and he did it.

Then, there are all of the negative feelings swirling around....


  • His stepmother has worked hard at leaving me out of everything major especially since he got to high school. I missed 4 years of homecoming dances and a year of prom because she wouldn't give me the details. Even his graduation...she told me when and where his open house would be. She left me out of all the planning, the making of the photo boards...everything. She sent me an invitation to my own son's open house. I only have the digital copies of his senior pictures because I stole them from the internet...
  • ...and as if that's not enough, she shows up to things like banquets and basks in the glow of the praise of how great a kid she is. She takes credit as if she's been his mother for 18 years, as if she's the one who drove 30 minutes each way each and every day to help him with homework, as if she developed serious "bleacher butt" from every sporting event over the past four years. 
  • Other parents give her that credit as both her an my ex-husband pretend as if I don't exist, which leaves me feeling like an outsider within the school community. 
  • I'm alone. I sat for 2.5 hours at honor's night. Everywhere around me, families sat cheering on their seniors. Not me. I sat there all by myself, nobody to turn to say, "Hey, look what he did! He just got a scholarship!" Nobody to snap pictures or to squeeze my hand. No family to share this with. No partner. Just me. Alone.
  • I decided to clear out my phone today so I could take video and I came across photos of the man that I desperately love but will probably never have any kind of future with and since I'm so vulnerable, it was like an arrow through the heart, taking my breath away. 
....and this is perhaps the "silliest" ....Graduation is a special event, one you don't show up to in jeans and a t-shirt and yet, the only dress clothes that I own is a black dress, that I bought for a special night out that I was to have with the above mentioned man. It's never been worn and I can't bring myself to wear it now. Yet, I know that the stepmom will show up dressed to the nines and looking amazing because she always does. She's everything that I'm not and today I'm feeling that. 

Still, I'll go and I'll clap and I'll cheer because this is my baby and I wouldn't miss it for anything. He's my miracle baby and I am so insanely proud of him. I always will be, no matter where he goes in this world.

So why this title? I'm watching The Greatest Showman and this song never fails to bring me to tears as I struggle with who I am. Somehow, today, as I struggle with all of my emotions and with knowing that somehow, perhaps despite of who I am, I have raised one amazing young man, it just seemed to fit.


Monday, April 16, 2018

Impostor Syndrome

Impostor Syndrome - Katrina Roets - Mental Health Matters
Image Courtesy of iamwire.com
Do you know about impostor syndrome? Impostor syndrome is a belief that you’re an inadequate and incompetent failure, even though evidence shows that you’re skilled and quite successful. It's something that every single one of us suffers from at one point or another. It's something that I'm dealing with right now when it comes to my writing.

I have a couple of friends who text me multiple times a week to ask me a question about writing, editing, or even publishing. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why they'd ask me. What do I know about it? Someone recently pointed out that I'd helped write 2 novels, wrote a filler novella length "journal" and all three of them are available in print and e-book formats on Amazon. Even then, I shrugged and said, "Yeah, well that was mostly Nick. He wrote the original books and he did all the work to get them up on Amazon."  It doesn't seem to matter that it was pointed out that I did a ton of work on the books to correct and improve things or how much time I've put in studying how to properly do these things. I just can't seem to feel like anything but a fraud when it comes to my writing and what I do/don't know. 

So, what do you do when you're struggling with this? According to The Muse, there are some steps that we can all take. I'm going to post them here, but please click the link above if you'd like more information on any of them.

  • Identify what's shaking your confidence.
  • Tell someone about it.
  • Remind yourself of your achievements.
  • Remind yourself that you didn't get to where you are on accident. 
    • I tweaked this one since for me my impostor syndrome isn't specifically related to a job.
  • Take a risk and keep going.
  • Take a look at your language and update it. 
  • Write down your story as if it's an introductory bio for someone to read.
  • Mentor someone else.
  • Know that impostor syndrome is actually a sign that you're doing something right.
What's shaking my confidence? The fact that I haven't written a single word on book 3 in about 6 weeks. That's a really long time and it's gotten to the point where I've become afraid I'll never be able to find the words again. Somehow telling all of you about this helps. I've been living under this cloud of guilt and impostor syndrome and telling you lifted some of that weight off of my shoulders. 

That's steps 1 and 2. I guess answering texts is a bit like mentoring people, right? I'm going to add another step that isn't listed above. Breathe. Don't be afraid to stop and take a few deep breathes. It's so easy to get overwhelmed. Now, I think I'll get brave and open that file....even if I don't write a single word, it's a step in the right direction...




Sunday, April 8, 2018

My Brain Feels Full

Bipolar Brain - Katrina Roets - Welcoming Weight Loss
Image Courtesy of RD.com
I'm going to warn y'all that it's late on a Sunday night and I haven't had near enough sleep for probably the past couple of weeks. This could turn into the most ridiculous, rambling post ever or it could turn out okay. Nobody will know until I write it and y'all read it. So...here we go.

My brain feels full and I might know why. A few weeks ago something happened that has become life changing for me. I'm not good with life changing but this is a change that has to happen because to stay in the situation would be beyond toxic for me. Still, my instinct is to just stay put. I'm fighting with myself which means that nothing is getting done. I haven't written a word in that time. I've started and stopped numerous house projects. None of them have been completed. I look around the house and I'm frustrated to see things half done or things that were half done are now more like a quarter done.

My brain feels full and yet under the exhaustion and "stuffed brain", there's this tiny, flickering flame that says, "It's okay. You can do it. Just pick something and do it. It's not going to be easy, but you can do this." I want to listen to that voice but I think there's also a fear. If I finish the project that I really and truly should finish, it will mean that life changing thing happens. It means that what feels like my one "solid" connection to someone I care deeply about will be severed. It means taking huge steps of faith...faith in myself. It means me doing more than telling a few people that I can do this. It means actually doing it. It means trusting in myself enough to conquer my fears or at least face them.

I know that it's why I flit from project to project around here, never finishing any of them. I know it's why I even start other projects when I know what I should be doing. I'm procrastinating facing my fears and trying to move past them. Tomorrow is my only day this week where I don't have to go anywhere and will I work on the project? No. Instead, I'm going to finish another half finished project. I'm going to do my weekly Monday work. Then, I'm going to take some deep breathes and look at the upcoming calendar. I need to try to formulate some kind of plan. Maybe if I break it down into "unscary" chunks, I can start taking those steps.

For now though, I'm hoping that I can balance my emotional self. I feel almost like an onion with all its layers (No, I'm not an ogre, I promise!). On the surface, I feel almost manic and that really won't help right now. I'm already sleep deprived. Under that is a solid level of anxiety, then depression, and somewhere deep down, there is a tiny germ of excitement. I need to peel back those layers and find my way to the excitement and make that work for me.  I know that what's coming is a lot of work but the theory is that I'm smart and capable and the only thing standing in my way.  I need to learn to put all of the garbage into a trash can and out to the curb so that I can take those steps forward.

I can do this. One tiny step at a time, one tiny project at a time, I can do this. If you feel stuck and like your brain is full, I know that you can do the thing you need to do too. It's hard but not impossible. Deep breathes and small steps and we'll get there.


Monday, March 26, 2018

Back to Basics

Image courtesy of M Corp
Hi all! I hope everyone has been doing well. I've been a bit up and down lately but that's par for the course. I did have a huge upset last week though and that's the "inspiration" for this post.

A couple of weeks ago, my coolant temperature light came on while I was taking my youngest to a performance. We were right by the venue, so I parked and when we drove home, it didn't happen. In fact, it didn't happen for another two weeks. This time, however, it happened driving home and then again the following day. I stopped and added coolant. A week later (my car wasn't driven during that time), I took my car up to the mechanic who told me to make an appointment at another shop to have a dye test run on the system. Fast forward to Tuesday of the following week when the dye test showed that I had a badly blown head gasket. Cost to repair? $2000.

If you know me, you can only imagine my emotional and mental state after hearing that. Money and being without a car are major panic issues for me. I called my own mechanic and he said that I should scrap the car. It had 183k miles on it and it just wasn't worth the investment. While my brain agreed, the rest of me was freaking out. I have to have a car. You can't live where I do without one. The closest grocery store is at least 15 miles away.

After doing some research, the decision was made to replace the car. I sat in my HHR and I cried. I loved that car. I also get very emotionally attached to things like cars. I don't know why. It's just how I am. We spoke to the guy who owns the shop where I go for repairs and he said he had two cars available that he'd be willing to finance for me: a Dodge Caliber and a Chevy Aveo. I was interested in the Caliber and decided to go down and look at it. Just before I pulled out of the driveway, I got a phone call. They had taken the Caliber down to be washed and smoke came out of the dash. It was obviously no longer available. That left me with two choices: hope and pray that I could keep driving the HHR and not end up stranded on the side of the road somewhere or get the Aveo.

I now own the Aveo. I now own a car so far back in the dark ages of vehicle technology that the windows have hand cranks on them. There's no cruise control or electric locks. It is going back to basics.

It got me to thinking though. Maybe, at different points in our lives, we need to go back to basics. We get so wrapped up in so many things that it becomes overwhelming. Maybe if we stopped, took a few deep breathes, and went back to the basics of life, it would be better for us. Recently, I've started taking weekends to not work on work. I hang out with my kids and if they aren't here, I read a book (or two or three) or watch movies that I keep meaning to watch but "never have the time for." It isn't about neglecting anything, but about making sure that I have as much energy and gumption to handle the coming week as possible.

I hate the fact that basic has taken on the almost opposite meaning in today's culture. Listen, folks, I'm all about being basic right now and it has nothing to do with the latest Starbucks drink (though I do like to have a bit of adventure and try them out) or whatever else is mainstream at the moment. It's all about dialing it back, about not pushing myself to the breaking point, it's about taking care of me and taking care of mine.

Have you considered going back to basics at all? Let me know!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Saying Goodbye to the Past

For the past 2.5 days, I've been sitting in front of my laptop skimming, clicking and sighing. I've been clearing out the "everything else" folder in my one gmail account. It's been a task that I've been putting off for far longer than any one task should be put off for. Why? Well, multiple reasons:

1) I knew it would be tedious. Just like I struggle with hoarding tendencies in my non-digital life, I do with things like email. I knew there was a lot of emails in there and clicking on each little checkbox was going to be boring and take a lifetime.

2) This is just one of about four that need to have this done and I felt like if I did one, the next step would have to be moving on to another one.

3) I was afraid of what I would find in there. My past hasn't always been stellar and this account goes back to about February of 2006.  That's a lot of life. That's before my divorce. That's before I moved to New York and back to Michigan. Since it seems I never deleted anything, this made me anxious.

Still, I needed to do it and for whatever reason, I decided on Tuesday to start hacking my way through the 41,000+ emails that were in there. I created some new "folders" and dragged and dropped things. I deleted things, first by clicking 25 little boxes and then by clicking the select all after I'd moved anything I wanted. I got through about 21,000 on Tuesday. It felt pretty good but I could feel my anxiety rising. By last night, each new group of emails was a struggle. I was starting to see emails from or about people who I had once considered good friends who turned their backs on me. I saw Facebook notifications about friends who had died and their posts. Still, I pressed on and today was the hardest. So many emails were like that. I came across an email with the funeral arrangements for a friend, emails from people I love who no longer have time for me, and more. Still, I pressed on and right now, unless an email has come in, the "everything else" section of my account is empty. I still have to go through the "All Mail" section to clean out some things that didn't show up...like everything from before June 2009 which didn't show up. It can wait for another day. I finished the task that I had set for myself.

It was hard. It was harder than I thought it would be. There were times where I'd just stare at a name in my inbox and re-live losing that person. I dealt with the pain of losing friends to death and to losing others to life. I'm glad that I waited until the time felt right and didn't force myself to do this when perhaps I wasn't strong enough to handle it. Now, it's done and while I feel a bit wrung out, I can put all of this behind me and move forward in my life because if nothing else, we should always be moving forward even if it's one tiny baby step at a time.

If you feel like you're ready to tackle something like this, I'd love to tell you what worked or at least helped me. Hopefully it will help you and help you to say goodbye to some not so great pieces of your past so that you can start to take another step forward:

1. Don't open each email. You may be tempted. Don't do it. Don't relive things to that level. Acknowledge it and delete it.

2. Batch delete. Save yourself some serious time and find all of the emails from a sender and if you don't need them, delete them all at once. I deleted over 1,000 from Facebook with a couple of clicks.

3. Be gentle with yourself. If you start to get overwhelmed, it's okay to take a break. It's okay to walk away from it for as long as you need to. I had to multiple times. Remember that during this, you are what matters.

....And always, no matter what, remember that you're not alone, no matter how many icky emails there might be in any account, someone loves you and you always have a place in this world.



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