Out of your mind and into your body

Hello world!

I just wanted to share a little something on here that I feel could be helpful for other people who may have gone through or are experiencing the same things. This is not an easy subject for me, or for most people, to talk about but it is highly relevant and nothing to be ashamed of and I want to shed some light on the subject as well as give my heart over with advice and reassurance that you or whoever is going through this is going to be all good. So. Here we fuckin’ go.

ANXIETY.

I am going to start by saying that I never truly experienced what it was like to feel anxious in large doses until about a month ago. Of course, there were times where I would feel momentarily anxious, especially before heading on stage or making a big decision, but that feeling would almost immediately dissipate. Most of the time, I am feeling pretty calm, I enjoy my solitude, and I also enjoy being around people!

Not this time.

Long story short, I made a very big decision that landed me back in NYC in a crazy situation with no job and the heat of a humid, smelly, New York Summer. On my way back, I thought that my shit was going to be on lock. I thought that a job was gonna roll on through, that I would start working on a show, and that I would immediately gain back any momentum that I had sneakily tried to trick into thinking that I hadn’t thrown it off. But alas, it was not as unnoticeable as I thought. The universe had plans to toughen me up, and boy did it shake me. Hard.

THE SYMPTOMS

Well, I have always had a little bit of a tendency to overthink, but that was never really accompanied by much and left on its merry way because usually, I make sure to weed it out. However, this time, the overthinking came and it would. Not. Stop. It would go in circles, saying crazy things that weren’t even remotely true about myself and making me feel like a failure. It got to the point where the stress was so intense that I began to experience physical symptoms. For about 2 weeks straight, this was the reality of the day to day struggle with mental health:

  1. waking up to my heart racing/ heart racing throughout the day
  2. shaking
  3. losing sleep
  4. gagging/vomiting/nausea
  5. wanting to be alone but also needing someone there
  6. the evil loop of doom going on in my brain
  7. tension headaches
  8. Feeling inadequate or stupid, like I couldn’t hold a conversation (even though that was never an issue for me before)

I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I had never experienced anything like it. I did everything I possibly could to alleviate the constant torturous thoughts but it was still a very real and very scary struggle.

Here are some things that helped me to get through that time. I’m still coming out of it and learning to manage anything that may come up on the daily, but for the most part I am thankfully feeling back to myself. I just want to let you know that if you are feeling anxiety, you are not alone. Most people experience this in heavy doses on a regular basis, or at least once in their lives. I know it can feel like you are transparent, like everyone knows, and like your personality and well being are being hijacked, but believe me when I say that it will pass. It doesn’t have to be something that rules you. YOU rule you. So, here is what I did that has really helped me along the way because let me tell you, I was terrified, but I knew that there were ways to help myself.

HELPFUL PLANS OF ACTION

  1. Talking to someone. Whether that is a friend, family member, or therapist, take the time to express your thoughts out loud to another human being. It may feel like you are burdening someone with your own thoughts and issues, but that’s not the case. The truth is that even just one true friend who is there to listen and give you advice through the hard times will be ten thousand times more valuable than keeping it locked up in your head.
  2. If you feel you aren’t ready to speak with someone, write it down. Get angry, get real, let the word vomit flow. Just get it out of your head.
  3. Do your best not to isolate yourself. Even on those mornings when I would be getting sick and was shaking like a leaf, I knew I had to make an effort to be around other people. Even if it’s one friend every other day, it makes a difference and will help you to stay social and take your mind off of things for a time.
  4. Make sure you are eating. I lost about 7 pounds during this process. It was not something I was excited about and it freaked me out because I love food and have maintained a steady healthy weight all of my life. If something like this is happening to you, make sure that you focus on getting your three main meals of the day in, even if you want to gag. Your body needs the nutrients. And make sure to drink a lot of water as well! Also, if it gets intense, please be sure to see a doctor. I ended up going to get everything checked out and make sure that it wasn’t something else.
  5. Spend time with yourself. Get to the root of the issue. I immediately knew that the reason why anxiety came to visit was because I made a major life change without much of a back up plan and it was scary not having a routine and feeling like everyone else had it together. (No one really has it together, and that’s ok!) Find out why these feelings are coming and investigate them deeply. Watch videos that are helpful and inspiring to keep you moving in the right direction. Do things that usually make you happy, even if you lack the motivation to do so.
  6. create a routine. If your week is a blank canvas, that can be daunting or it can be a week of opportunity! Even if you are broke, there are things that can be done to better yourself. Read a book, start a new hobby, write out a routine for exercise, bring your laptop to your local cafe and write, make plans with friends or family, plan a trip, make lists of things that make you happy or things your want to accomplish, explore in nature, go for a drive, go to the beach, do anything that will help to get you out of bed and out of the house. Out of your head and into your body.
  7. Cultivate gratefulness and be kind to others. I know this is part of everyone’s guidelines, but its true. Take the time out to be thankful for the friends, family, shelter, jobs, passions, etc in your life. If you put your issues on the table with some others, you would most likely wanna take yours back. Be kind to strangers and genuinely focus and listen when you ask someone how they are doing. Make a list of gratefulness right after releasing all of the negative bullshit and trust that it will get better. It always does.
  8. Finally, accept it for what it is. The more that you try to fight against anxiety, the stronger it becomes. The more you psych yourself out, the more your insecurity grows. If you are “off of your game”, spend time with friends who wont judge you for it. You don’t have to impress anyone right now or ever, really. (People pleasers like myself can find this to be a difficult concept to grasp, but you don’t always have to be ON for people to like you for you. You aren’t one dimensional. You are human.) Please, give less thought to what other people think. That is a main theif of happiness.Take a step back from friendships that you think won’t be helpful at this time. Take time off from social media if you have a habit of comparing yourself. Work on YOU and your heart and your mind and spirit. Spend time looking up people you admire and know that they, too, have probably gone through this before. I would not wish anxiety on my worst enemy, but it is manageable and you can and will make it through. Please let me know if there is any specific information that you want. Also, below are a list of some books and material that helped me to focus in and face this beast head on.

BOOKS

Get Your Sh*t Together- Sarah Knight

You Are A Badass- Jen Sincero

Failing Up- Leslie Odom Jr.

How To Relax- Thich Nhat Hanh

Big Magic-Elizabeth Gilbert

PODCASTS

Oprah- Super Soul Sundays

TED Talks

The Positive Head

Earn Your Happy

Any material you can find with Mel Robbins. She is KILLER.

 

This is not easy, but it is possible to persevere and get back into a healthy mindset. Accepting it for what it is and knowing that when it passes, you will be stronger and more self aware in a healthy way will be such a wave of relief that you may even forget about what it feels like at all. And should it rear its ugly head again, you will know how to handle it better. Cultivate love, trust, and strength within yourself and you are unstoppable. Easier said than done, but it is possible and will happen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Adventure Sharing!

One of the things that motivates me most in this life of sin is the fact that traveling is a thing. Like…actually going out of your comfort zone, plunging into a world of languages that you will likely be foreign to, and learning about the different walks of life that are happening simultaneously with our every day routines blows my mind in the best way.

So I have set a goal for myself! Ever since I lived in London for 2 months, I knew that I wanted to get far, far away from the beautiful yet somewhat daunting lifestyle of being an actor in New York City (typical, I KNOW) and explore new lands outside of the U.S.A at least 2 times a year! So far, I have kept up my promise and am excited to plan the next adventure!

What I realized, though, is that I have not been writing down and sharing with the world the wonderful experiences I am having and little tips and tricks I learned along the way. I would like to change that! So here goes nothin’:

Part 1 CAPRI

I made my first trip of the year this past May when I finally made it over to Italy. Sweet, sweet Italy. Land of unlimited pasta, gelato, and pizza. (This is not an understatement these are basically the only menu options and I was pretty happy about it.) I met up with my friend Nikki (whom I love dearly) over at the airport in Rome. She flew in from California and I from NYC. Seeing her was strangely calming; I was expecting to jump on her with glee and freak out, but we saw each other and just warmly embraced and began our journey. It was like a really great calm before a beautiful fuckin’ storm.

After traveling 8 hours on the plane (uh…many more hours for her coming from Cali) we promptly hopped on 2 trains, a ferry, and a very small, pretty terrifying bus to the island of Capri. Here is where our journey begins.

We stayed in Anacapri at an airbnb that was absolutely beautiful with a very sweet, very adorable older couple who spoke little to no English. Thankfully, Nikki studied Italian in school and was able to translate and speak to our hosts pretty darn well! While we were in Capri (we were there for about 3 days), here is some of what we got to do:

-Swim into the Blue Grotto

-Hike down to the natural arcs and sit on the small cliffs next to Fontelina beach

-Visit the gardens of Augustus

-Take the chair lift up to Monte Solaro

-Visit the lighthouse and have wine and pizza at sunset

-Met an insane man named Antonino (Who is basically like the mayor of Capri)

-Walk through a thunderstorm and duck into a seemingly small cafe only to find that it was a huge, magnificent garden covered by a massive bamboo umbrella. Here we had an amazing dinner, got free dessert, free drinks, and even a ride home! haha

These are just a few highlights from the trip to Capri. It was the perfect amount of time to spend there, as it is an island.

Some tips/things we learned:

-Most of the things to do in Capri can be free! Not everyone gets to swim into the Blue Grotto, but that is only because it is very tucked away and it states that swimming is “Stricktly” (the signs spelling, not mine) prohibited. And, to be fair, the actual look of the grotto is pretty intimidating. There is just a small deck next to it that doesn’t allow you to see into the cave itself. Once you jump in the water and swim over a bit, you can see that there is a chain that you can hold onto that will guide you into the grotto (which looks pitch black but once you get inside it is glowing ELECTRIC blue!) Luckily, we met some locals who convinced us to go swim into it when we didn’t even know it was an option and it was definitely one of the highlights of the trip! The only thing on the list above that actually cost money was taking the chairlift up the mountain, and that was pretty cheap. And of course, we bought our own wine and pizza which in total was about 8-10 euro!

-Capri is not really a party place! Thinking it would mostly be on “island time”, the actual town of Capri was very, very quiet at night. There were about 3 major nightclubs, 2 of which were closed and 1 which had no one in it! To be fair, we were there on a Thursday night at the end of May. And after midnight more people began to roam the streets. Perhaps there is more that happens that we weren’t able to come upon!

-Always be open to meeting new people and making conversation! They will have great tips and advice on where to eat, what to see, and things to do that are free of charge.

-We stayed in Anacapri and that was something we were worried about at first thinking it would be far from everything, but quickly learned that it was a brilliant idea! It is a maze-like town that has very friendly, warm people and is actually a lot closer to Capri’s main attractions such as the Blue Grotto and Monte Solaro. Also, it is a lot cheaper and has many corner stores and shops that sell a delicious variety of pizzas for about 2-3 euro and massive bottles of water for .70 euro!

-If you like hiking, there is plenty to explore and see here! I think it’s a great option to start off with on a trip to Italy because you only need a few days there, it’s actually fairly affordable if you are using airbnb and splitting with a friend (it only cost me about $127 for 3 nights! Not 2 shabby)

-Something that is not a bad idea if you enjoy traveling is to take a credit card out specifically for when you plan on making these sorts of trips. I planned my trip a couple of months in advance and paid for my flight and both airbnbs using my debit card so I wouldn’t have to worry about those things being taken care of. The credit card comes into play when you are actually overseas! I took out some Euro, but mostly used the card to pay for any transportation, meals, and extra little things I wanted. Be aware that they don’t really take Discover card over seas at all. I don’t know if this is fairly common knowledge, but I learned that the hard way in France when I ran out of Euro and couldn’t use my credit card. Give yourself a fair limit that you know you will be able to pay off over a couple of months.

I am really excited to share part 2 of this trip, which was when we ventured back up the coast and went to Rome! I feel like I have so much to share and don’t want to overwhelm, but should you have any questions feel free to reach out! Also, follow me on Instagram to see some sweet pics! @katie_lugo

Discourse

Let me lend you my heart for a moment.

Cup it in your hands and feel the warmth it is providing

as the blood pulsates quickly throughout, frantically like a

busy city street teeming with irrevocable force.

Hold it close to your own.

Let them touch through the thin fabric of your shirt.

Remember that even in moments where things seem

in the full swing of discourse,

We all share this.

 

 

Touch of Rain

Sometimes life forces us to fly head first into situations we had never hoped to find ourselves in and leaves us feeling pretty barren, worried, or just plain weird. Recently, a lot of craziness has been happening in my world which has included loss of a loved one, having to move abruptly, and a job situation that I can no longer be giving my time to.

Although it has been a bit stressful and worrisome, I have learned to really calm down over things that I can’t really control and embrace the things that have helped me to get to this point. A lot of people I have talked to recently have had some major curve balls thrown at them in the start of this exciting new year, and if you are feeling that way, I wanted to share that things will only go up from here! Here are some tips of things that have helped me to feel a bit better.

  1. Reading a new book.
  2. Writing in my journal.
  3. Always doing my best with the given circumstances and knowing everything is going to work out. (And truly believing that!)
  4. Letting go of the things I cannot control but taking action for what I know I deserve.
  5. Being with friends and family and getting out of my head.
  6. Also allowing myself to enjoy solitude in times of panic to get to know myself in that way and what helps to calm me down.
  7. Taking one thing at a time. When you feel like everything is going wrong, it’s easy to start rattling off the things that aren’t too great at the moment. Instead, focus on the biggest thing that you do have control over and be kind to yourself in the process.
  8. BE IN NATURE. Go for a walk. Get away for a weekend. Plan a trip. Anything.
  9. Be active. Even when you don’t want to, simply doing even ten minutes of something active can help to get those endorphin’s running which will help to motivate you.
  10. Be mindful of what you are putting into your body. If you notice you are eating unhealthy snacks or fast food often, cut that out. Everything is okay in moderation, but knowing that these types of foods can have a negative effect on your overall energy is very important.

You deserve the best, and you deserve to be the best version of yourself possible! Despite your current circumstances, you are still you and you have a lot more control over things than you think you do in the realm of your thoughts. Set some goals. Give yourself time to mourn or worry, but remember that this is the one life (as far as we know) that we are given. So why not make the best of even the worst situations and trust that everything will work itself out? Because it always does. 🙂

In Hiding

Somehow you have caught up to me

yet again.

I had shrouded myself in everlasting sunshine

thinking that perhaps you would be warded off,

but we all know that you lurk in the shaded areas,

under tall oaks and twisted brambles,

waiting for a cloud to pass through the rays

to make your entrance.

 

You are not welcome here, but I accept your presence

as I know you come bearing seeds

which will sprout into magnificent creations

that will burst with light

once the sun peers out from behind the clouds.

And it always does.

ART

You gripped the brush

with an unsteady hand,

without much care,

and dipped it into each color of my rainbow.

Lazily, you brandished this brush like a sharp shard of glass

across my canvas

and bloodied it with the once vibrant colors,

saturating the material with brown splotches

of would-be happiness

until it dripped

and drowned.

 

Even when the lungs of the thing

were filled to the brim with water and paint,

it would not suffocate.

 

The black, muddy mixture

seeped out of my canvas

and took you along,

making it impossible for you to

ever

have access to my colors again

or to ever dream of looking upon my art.

For you can no longer project onto me

what you hoped I would be,

what you wished I would be,

for I am art once more

and that is something you will never see.

 

 

 

No One Else

If only for a slight glimmer of a moment,

I was encompassed by a thought;

A horrible, swarming, faceless devil of a thought

that screamed empty truths and scorched my soft skin.

I thought that

what you think of me

Is the truth.

That I have something to prove.

That my every move is being watched

And if I leap to the wrong stone,

I will Drown before all who once knew and believed in me.

 

But my memory saves me

and sends a whispering throughout every inch of my skin.

It gently reminds me that I have

Drowned before.

My heart has pounded and my lungs have almost given out,

But I have gone against the current,

I have smiled through it,

I have cried through it,

And escaped from it without a trace of doubt or pain.

 

So, if you ever feel lost at sea or as though others control

The Tempest of your life,

Stand tall and be humbled by the power that you yourself possess.

Sometimes others may create howling, icy winds

Or what may seem like inescapable whirlpools,

But you are a master explorer.

Only you have the map to your journey,

No On Else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Threshold

Beyond the threshold there is a gathering of lights.

pulsating vigorously and without care.

They are kind and filled with promise,

as they gently caress the air.

To capture even a glimpse in a lifetime is enough to

shake you from the soles of your shoes to the crown of your head,

for those lights will always guide you

you will never be misled.

The depths of a cave nor the shadows of the night

could ever possibly be enough

to shut out the comforting trappings of the lights.