Sunday, April 24, 2011

Adventure Bowl
Guide for New Readers * How it Began & How it Works

Dear BlogHer readers - I have marked below in PURPLE where the blog picks up from where you read it on BlogHer.

A friend recently sent me a link to BlogHer and asked me why I don't write some blog posts there.  I thought it was a sweet suggestion.  She felt that many, many women have moments of their life where they go through depression and maybe they might find my experience of overcoming it (though I am always aware it might come back), helpful.

I wasn't sure which one of my blog posts to post on BlogHer - maybe I thought if I started at the beginning, the cause of my depression - which started on the day I found out my cousin was murdered.  It was then compounded because within a matter of months I lost my job as a comedy writer, ended my relationship with my boyfriend and my Mom went through such a long illness (er, um... nervous breakdown after my cousin's trial) that readers might think my life was... hmmm, what's the expression...

"A colossal bummer."

So I started my first blog on BlogHer with an Adventure Bowl story that glossed over my depression and went right to the fun part (I'm such a good Catholic like that).  I talked of how I finally decided that laying in bed, day after day, was just not working for me.  I didn't mention that at the time, I was rounding the 2 year anniversary of my cousin's death and thought it would be a really crappy way to honor his memory by being stuck in bed, the covers pulled over me, a bag of Doritos for lunch... you know, just like yesterday, the day before that and all the days before that.

So I decided I would take action.  Everyone had been telling me to read, "Eat Pray Love" and I did.  It INFURIATED me.  How was THAT book supposed to help ME?  I could barely shower myself or make even a bowl of cereal for myself - how was I going to travel three countries for a year.  Um... and with what money???

But I did respect the author's desire to take action.  Okay, I could "take action," too.  I did want out of this depression and I wanted out BADLY.  I had already lost so much.  "Okay, take action... I'll do it."

BlogHer readers - The Post picks up here!

I would put, in a bowl, which I named the Adventure Bowl, all the fun things I wanted to do.  It started with 20 suggestions and I could ad as many as I wanted, whenever I wanted.  The only rule, pick one a week - and no backing down, no excuses.  At first, I started off small - get a pedicure.  Go for a picnic in the park, eat a cupcake like I'm a little kid again (pure joy!), go to a fancy hotel and walk the grounds.

Basically, I was going to "Eat Pray Love" within a ten mile radius of my house and for under ten dollars.

I started to find the old me on these little adventures.  Find my smile.  Feel... happy.  I started to get more daring in what I would ad to the bowl - go paddle boarding, save up and go for a massage, test drive a Porsche, crash a fancy hotel pool.

It was these more daring adventures that boosted my confidence and helped me conquer fears.  When you start doing that, it carries over into other aspects of your life:  soon after (many months) I lost twenty pounds, I landed a dream job (I became persistent because I was ready to go after what I wanted - another great aspect of these adventures).  Additionally, I was becoming more social and I found myself standing up for myself more.

I still do the Adventure Bowl each week.  My favorite one so far?  Going jet skiing with one of my best friends and my sister.  I conquered a few fears - the ocean and the idea of losing control.  My sister swore I would be too scared to go fast on the jet ski but it was she who was begging for mercy when I was ripping through the water, and she who was clinging for her life to me :)

I was shocked by how many women on BlogHer read the post.  I know that going through a depression, for me, a situational depression, and working hard to overcome it, would resonate with a lot of women - I get so many amazing comments here and in the blog's email.

But when I saw today, that over 800 women has read that post, I was shocked.  But thrilled, too.  And many of those readers have come here - many reading this blog for over 2 hours at a time.

I just want to say thank you.  It really means a lot to me.  I like the thought that maybe it makes someone reading this blog, going through a hard time - feel less alone.  A single mom wrote me, she just wanted to get under the covers.  She's scared if she does, she may never come out.  I know what that feels like.  

While she enjoyed reading my story and thought the Adventure Bowl sounded awesome, she felt like I did when I read "Eat Pray Love" - who has the time or money for this?  

That's why I wrote today's post.  To clarify how I started off doing "adventures" that no other person, except one going through a depression, would consider an adventure.  If you are not getting out of bed because you are depressed, going for a pedicure, going to lay under a tree with a good book IS AN ADVENTURE.

Start off slow.  The only goal in the beginning is to get out of the house.  To put a smile on your face.  To remember the old you.  And to work slowly and gently to getting back to her.

I also explained that giving yourself these little adventures would give back to her family 100 fold.  Never feel guilty about taking time for yourself when ultimately, a happier more joyful you, makes your family happier, too.

I hope many of you will try an Adventure Bowl for your self.  I'd love to hear about what Adventures you would add to your bowl.  Also, if you have any questions, please let me know.  I would LOVE to answer them.  Thanks for stopping by :)