Tag Archives: mental health

MENTAL HEALTH | how does anxiety feel?

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MENTAL HEALTH | how does anxiety feel?

ever since i figured that what i’d been feeling pretty much throughout my whole life was this nasty thing called anxiety, i’ve come across a certain problem uncountable times. many people just cannot grasp what suffering from anxiety means, and let me tell you, it ain’t that easy to explain.

i tried writing down some feelz i often have that which i blame anxiety for, but, see, that’s the worst thing about it – i don’t even know if it really is anxiety anymore. is my paranoia caused by an actual reason or not? do i really have zero friends or do i just distance myself from everyone? am i a bad writer or is it just self doubt? etc etc etc. i can’t fucking tell. meh.

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so, how does anxiety feel?

sometimes it feels like being physically sick, like having a neverending flu, your body sore, your muscles weak; when all you want to do is sleep but don’t feel rested even after more than 12 hours of sleep

sometimes it feels like waking up with your heart, lungs, and guts all tangled together

sometimes it feels like drowning; drowning in paranoia and worthlessness and abundance of emotions

sometimes it feels like being paralyzed

sometimes it feels like you will never be able to stop crying, without even knowing why you’re crying

sometimes it feels like no clothes fit you; no matter what you wear, you feel stupid and uncomfortable, and then you have an angry sob in your room full of scattered clothes, feeling like a bratty posh kid

sometimes it feels like literally everyone around you—especially in public—is incredibly annoying; your hearing is heightened, everyone is too loud, moves too fast or too slow, and you just wish you could hide in the dark under the ground

sometimes it feels like everyone hates you, or uses you, or doesn’t wanna spend time with you, and you are and always will be left alone

sometimes it feels like something awful will happen to you in large crowds or unknown places

sometimes it feels like you’re not good enough to text your friend, e-mail your co-worker, call your doctor

sometimes it feels like you cannot focus on a single thing because of the constant worrying

sometimes it feels like not being able to eat anything, or feeling like puking after each meal, or losing taste completely

sometimes it feels like everyone is plotting against you; like an endless paranoia

sometimes it feels like you’re about to shatter to a million little pieces

sometimes it feels like everything is incredibly overwhelming and you just cannot cope

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often, it involves a lot of shaking, sobbing, feeling nervous, feeling alone, feeling worthless.

MENTAL HEALTH | care-and-safety-for-everyone kit

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MENTAL HEALTH | care-and-safety-for-everyone kit

“self-care” has been the it-word for years now, and something that has become heavily commercialized – companies have figured that it’s a great way to increase their profits by targeting people going through hard times because, heureka!, we’re made to feel great yet short-lived satisfaction from spending our money on things that don’t really help our health anyhow. think face masks, fancy candles, body oils, ice cream tubs, fluffy pillows and blankets, what-have-you. self-care kits are a big deal. shameless vanity is now hidden behind the word “self-care”, again, only available to those privileged enough (while it has been proven that the lower the social class, the more common mental illnesses are).

but i don’t wanna slam the whole concept of self-care here, not at all. self-care is INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT (but shouldn’t require spending half your savings), no doubt about that. i think it’s great the fact that each person needs to step back and asses their own abilities, boundaries, and general state of mind is getting more and more discussed and encouraged, it certainly is a huge step toward wide acceptance of the reality of mental illnesses.

however, i don’t think it’s that good that we’re only focusing on the “self-” when it comes to caring. sure, it is important to finally let go of the societal pressure to be always 100% on and perfect and never allow yourself to fail, but only going for SELF-care is, um, selfish. imagine if we all only put our own needs to the spotlight and stayed completely ignorant to those of others – ugh, right? the world would be a horrible place (not that it’s not already). i believe that, just like it’s important to acknowledge one’s own limitations and seek comfort and safety, it is incredibly important to offer the same to the people around you. you know, just like that “no man is an island” bullshit – we oughta help each other. and care for each other, because only that way you can be sure that it will eventually be cared for you too.

but all this you-gotta-love-everyone-and-help-each-other is still actually not the point of my article. after a solid year of having anxiety, i’ve figured that i could ease the symptoms of an approaching/full-blown anxiety fit if i was equipped with things that could make the situation more bearable and less threatening. a list of things i always need to have in my backpack wherever i go to feel safe and prepared for anything that might happen. and then, at this year’s Black Lives Matter march, i realized that this little kit doesn’t always necessarily have to help me only, but can offer needed support and comfort to those around me, just like when my friend was feeling anxious and needed water to calm down, or when another one got hungry midst-march and i was able to pull up an apple and whole pack of cookies.

you know, we keep on talking about making public spaces safe(r) and meeting needs and demands of everyone, so why not transfer that to everyday life? why don’t we try to make all around us feel safe and cared for – and even if carrying a few things in your bag might sound stupid and not that important, trust me, such simple gesture of being able to offer someone in need something that can help them can go a really long way.

well, if you’re still reading this, congrats, you’ve finally gotten to the point of this post! as you can see above, i’ve selected a few items that are a must-have in my care-and-safety-for-everyone kit: 
bottled water – an obvious one, right?
snacks – anxiety and stress can often be linked to hunger, so make sure to pack some energy bars, cookies, fruit etc.!
tissues
antibacterial gel
mints/chewing gums
tampons – even when you’re not menstruating. even if you physically cannot menstruate. please always have a few menstrual products on you! (i’ve switched to the cup months ago but still always carry a few tampons in my cosmetic bags for all the menstruating cuties in need!)
pain killers
power bank – i love these little magical devices! there’s nothing worse than feeling a panic attack approach and realizing you only have a few percent of battery left, which makes you panic even more, because what if you won’t even be able to call someone for help? nah, it’s good to know you can have access to all important contacts no matter what
pepper spray – you never know. there’s too much violence in this world. duh.

this little set can help both you and your friends/family/colleagues/whoever you’re with in (almost) any kind of situation.
it’s time we update the cheesy saying to “being prepared and sharing is caring”, what do you think?

MENTAL HEALTH | sharing is caring

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MENTAL HEALTH | sharing is caring

it’s 7 years since i started writing this blog, and over the time, it has transformed into something completely different that what i had originally intended – in a good way. since the very beginning, i’ve been very open and quite straight-forward about many details of my personal life, and in recent years, i kind of bared myself online, both in the literal and metaphorical sense.

if anyone told me 3 years ago that i’d be openly sharing information about sexual preferences/experience, the state of my mental health, and other super-intimate stuff i publish here or on my Instagram, i would probably laugh and say that i am not that stupid to share so much personal info i’d become quite unemployable. the thing is, now we’re here with tons of images of my body parts flying around, and a great abundance of articles and descriptions chronicling the lowest lows of my adult life, and i feel great about it. sure, it might make me unsuitable for certain jobs, but i guess i wouldn’t want to work at a place where the topics i discuss are stigmatized anyway.

even though it can be incredibly scary to share such intimate information online—and trust me, it still feels like it with some topics (just check the second Glowimin podcast when i’m introducing the topic and talking about our dislike of penetration, look how much i’m blushing!!), even now—but at the same time, it kinda feels amazing. first of all, here’s something i have discovered in the past few years: if you’re worrying about something, saying it loud—or publishing it in the online sphere—kind of makes the problem way less bad. i mean, the problematic thing will stay the same, but your approach will change – by having to formulate it and think through it all, you realize what really might be at its core and how to, perhaps, solve it. furthermore, as you’re not bottling it up inside you any longer, you feel relieved, and can look at the situation from a whole new perspective. and, of course, sharing it with someone else means the person will most probably help you with it all, and that’s something i cannot stress enough (but should learn to practice more): asking for help is not a sign of weakness. amen.

in my personal life, i have learnt that sharing what bothers me with other people, being it either about my relationships with other people or about my own issues with my mind and health, is thousand times better than keeping it inside and overworrying so much you turn a tiny issue into an avalanche of stress that might crush you completely. it might be scary to take the first step, but really go out of your comfort zone and tell people what you think. being open about your feelings is probably the best way to keep healthy relationships with yourself and others (now that’s something i always say – i will rather have a fight with someone and discuss all the shitty things even though it might hurt than keeping it inside until the moment you totally snap).

another thing, and that’s something i’ve noticed throughout all the years i’ve been writing about stuff not so many other local bloggers were discussing, is that even though it might expose you and your own issues, it helps several other people. and, i have to say, that’s exactly the reason i keep on doing this. i’ve received uncountable supportive messages saying how much a shitty 3-line description on Instagram helped someone with their own issues. people would be glad i talked about what they also experienced. people would be glad someone addressed how others treated them badly in certain situations. people would be glad someone showed that everyone was vulnerable, and that it was ok to admit that. i’ve been told i’ve made people believe they were not alone, and i’ve been even told i have saved lives, which is something that’s still quite impossible to grasp for me, because, um, i haven’t really done much more than just writing about my own reality.

and it worked the other way around too, because, even though i would like everyone to know that i am always there to help, i sometimes need someone to hold my hand too. i would get advice and supportive messages from strangers which instantly made it easier for me to cope with hard times, and at the same time, it even helped me finding new friends through this online connection (now that i think of it, i met most of my currently close friends through my blog/online activism). what’s more, given i live far away from most of my close friends and relatives and i cannot really explain how i feel to everyone constantly because of time or even willpower, saying it online made the information available to quite anyone who cares, and much easier for me to express it as i can think about it for a longer time without being pressured or questioned, while i do not have the feeling that i’m just trying to desperately get the attention of a close person and ditching all my burdens at them (see, i really have to work on improving my ability to ask for help without hating myself).

all in all, even though i sometimes do feel weird about publishing so so much online, knowing that stepping out of my comfort zone has helped several people, and also made me grow personally, i have to say it is totally worth it. because, in fact, the reason why we are afraid to share information about certain topics is just the pointless stigma attached to it anyways, and maybe it’s just about time to get over all that, huh?

MENTAL HEALTH | productivity x poor mental health

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MENTAL HEALTH | productivity x poor mental health

let me tell you something – mental illnesses suck. i mean, that’s no surprise, but they suck to an extent some cannot even imagine. they’re not just temporary cases of sad feels that will go away once you take a hot bath and eat a tub of ice cream or go for a 30 mins long run. mental illnesses can literally suck the soul out of you. while some make you manic and reckless, others turn you into a tearful mess unable to leave the bed. one way or another, they make it pretty difficult to focus on all your responsibilities and plans, which—guess what—sucks big balls.

in my case, my anxiety can make me listen to the same one song on repeat for 1 hour, not really doing anything but that. it can make me feel absolutely hopeless about simple tasks as washing the dishes or getting dressed after taking a shower, so i sit there, in my pile of mess, with old, running make up, a wet towel wrapped around my body, staring into the wall and crying because all these tasks are so overwhelming i feel physically sick. some days i break down after interacting with people i don’t know that well, even via email. it makes me starve for hours because i cannot get myself to the kitchen, and cooking seems like an unbelievable effort anyways.

unfortunately, the responsibilities won’t wait until you feel better, and who know when that will be, right? well, even though i can barely reach the level of productivity i used to execute on daily basis a year ago, i have figured there are some things and measures that can help me finish what’s needed in an acceptable time. not saying this will solve everyone’s mental health issues, it’s just a bunch of tips i have found helpful myself. let me know if there’s something else that helps you, thanks!

adjust your plans according to your health 
do not overdo it. be realistic, and admit that you perhaps cannot do as much as you used to. if you really hit the rock bottom, start slowly. it’s ok to take things at your own pace, don’t worry.

stay organized
that being said, try to keep strategic in your work. make lists; break it down to the tiniest tasks if you have to. i often write that i need to straighten my hair or wash the dishes, because it literally makes me feel better to tick off things of my list, and my memory tends to get awful on bad days, so it’s better to have it written down.

step by step, piece by piece
as i’ve said before, take it easy. so you’ve found yourself sitting in a pile of mess, surrounded by dirty dishes, clothes thrown on the floor, and a hungry stomach. what to do now? take one clothing item, put it into the wardrobe. then the next one. and then again. you can make it. it’s just a bunch of little steps.

do the worst things first
even if it’s incredibly hard, try starting with what feels like the biggest pain in the ass. in my experience, the longer you try to postpone something, the more you resent it, and the harder it is to start. and then, after a month of stressing out about it, you finally get your hands on it, and realize it’s actually not that bad at all. grit your teeth, take a deep breath, and try to delve into it as soon as you can.

get over with it asap
as i’ve said – n o p o s t p o n i n g. even when it comes to little things. come home and hang your clothes straight away instead of leaving them lying around. do the dishes right after you finish cooking/eating. etc. etc. the sooner you do it, the less you will stress about it.

plan in advance
if your plans involve a lot of running around the city, especially if you have to go to unknown places that make you nervous, make sure to plan your way before so that you minimize any uncomfortable, stressful situations. there’s nothing worse that being lost or disorganized, right? make a good use of Google Maps and similar to make your trip smooth and to make yourself feeling prepared and ok with doing it.

ask for help
you don’t have to be alone in this. and don’t assume no one cares. i know it can be scary. i know it can be defeating. but try getting someone to help you. maybe someone can help you with cleaning your room, or help you structure that awful thesis you need to write, do your groceries or go to the bank or post office or wherever with you – just try and ask!

drink a lot of water
water is good. water always helps. being dehydrated would only drain you more.

don’t forget to eat
food is also good. i know it can get hard to find the time or the will to cook or the appetite in general, but try to get some fuel into your body. stock up on healthy, nourishing, easy-to-prepare meals—for me, that’s hummus and carrots and nuts and a fruits and veggies for smoothies—and keep yourself replenished. also, if you need to run some errands outside, don’t forget to bring some snacks – anxiety can get really bad when you’re malnourished!

keep self-care props on hand
if you need to get into a situation you know can or will potentially make you uncomfortable, make sure to bring some little helpers to ease you through the situation. now, that’s gonna be different for everyone; i sadly have to admit it’s cigarettes for me, because they make me feel a bit more confident in such situations (please don’t start smoking, it sucks. it will eat your heart and wallet out. do not start.), but you can also go for pleasant scents or roll-on essential oils or candy or anti-stress toys to keep in your pocket or whatever that can make the stressful time a bit more easy to cope with.



turn it into pleasure
you know, it all doesn’t have to be such a dreadful chore. surround yourself by nice things as you work; make yourself a good cup of tea, buy a snack, put on a nice essential oil,… anything that will make it less of a pain. nice and soothing. warm and cozy.

reward yourself
once you manage to tick off all your tasks, make sure to treat yourself! do whatever you want/can; being it putting on a face mask, lighting up a candle, masturbating, cooking your fav food, buying yourself something if you can afford it,… whatever makes you happy, my dear.

don’t punish yourself
so what, you didn’t finish all you had to. there’s still tomorrow, and the day after, and like million other days after that. you are not lazy. you tried, and that’s what matters the most.

MENTAL HEALTH | self-help

TW: mental health, depression

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MENTAL HEALTH | self-help

i am sick of all those super-mindful articles about how to overcome feeling depressed which all tell you to stress less and maintain healthy sleeping patterns. sure, everyone would love to do that, but there’s this little thing called mental illness that prevents many from doing so. no, saying “don’t stress” to yourself when your heart is racing and your whole skin is covered in sweat will not make the anxiety disappear. of course, 8 hours of sleep each day would be brilliant, but it’s not that easy to influence, right?

unfortunately, a lot of self-help articles repeat those—in my opinion—slightly stupid and not that helpful tips. however, the reality of mental illnesses is much different. of course i’d love to follow all these steps and live a blissful life, but i also want to listen to the same sad song 20 times on repeat and cry on the floor for several hours. and knowing that i am both mentally and physically incapable of fulfilling them makes it even worse, in fact.

and because my own mental health has been quite a shit show lately (which is why this blog has become so quiet), i decided to make my own list of tips that can help me and—if you want—you too with surviving the dark days. it is more of a checklist of what to do to keep up with being a person when you hit the rock bottom. when you’re lower than low, and just the idea of being alive is a bit too much. (or, not just a bit. it’s overwhelmingly, terrifyingly too much, and you have no idea what do with it, and would rather hide under the blankets until it goes away.)

so, here’s my absolutely most important self-help things to do shortlist:
– drink water
– eat at least one proper meal*
– get out of your bed**
– take a shower and wear clean clothes
– take all the meds and vitamins you need
– breathe

*i know eating tends to be incredibly difficult, and sometimes you feel like throwing up straight after you wake up. by “proper meal”, i mean anything that can fill you up a bit, if it’s hard to imagine yourself eating, try a banana or oatmeal, for instance. or try disguising a lot of good vitamins in a smoothie – it’s a drink! it’s not a meal! it’s easy to swallow! (frankly, banana smoothies were the only thing i could stomach when i was experiencing the worst physical depression of my whole life) also, if the only thing you’re craving are fries or instant noodles or kebabs, just fucking go for it. people often laugh at me for consuming so many instant noodle soups, but hey, i’m eating at least! just get some nourishment into your body in any way you can, deal?


**even if it’s just for morning/evening hygiene rituals and going to the bathroom. that’s still great!

ok, if you manage to go through these 6 things, you are amazing. you are alive and trying. you are clean and taking care of your body. that is just enough.

now, according to how brave you feel, try incorporating these activities to get back on track:

first of all, sort out what really needs to be done: have you replied to important emails and messages? is there any important project you need to finish? (if yes and you’re absolutely incapable of working on it, try splitting the work into small parts, starting with what’s the most urgent) have you washed the dishes or is there a huge, disgusting pile of plates with week-old leftovers? do you have clean clothes or do you need to do laundry? when was the last time you took out trash? do you have food in your fridge? (if you’re unable to go outside, order it online, or get someone to bring it to you. do. not. starve. yourself.)
i know all these tasks are the most difficult in such times, but try get done with them. take your time, plan a reward system, whatever you like. it’ll feel like a little victory when you manage, trust me.

now, make yourself feel good, or at least relatively ok, again:
go for a walk. if you cannot really face being surrounded by people, do it at night/early morning. if you’re physically exhausted or incredibly anxious, just go outside of your house (or perhaps take out the trash) and go back. slowly increase. cook or bake something really nice, or just ok. clean your room. or just the surroundings of your bed. take a long, long bath. do some kind of wellness, like a face mask or peeling or mani or whatever. draw. write a journal. read. watch your favorite movie or TV series. take naps. light candles. sing to your fav songs. pretty much anything that feels soothing to you.

remember to take baby steps. don’t overpush yourself. you and your wellbeing is the most important thing here. it is okay to admit that you cannot do certain things (just yet) because you are not healthy enough. there’s no shame in that.

you are allowed to cry. you are allowed to complain, and hate, and scream. and feel like everything is shit and the future is bleak. but please, do not give up trying.

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this article is like a little reminder to myself how to keep on going when it gets tough. i am no specialist, so, if you’re experiencing severe problems with your own mental health, please do not hesitate to search for help. your mental health is not a DIY project.

MENTAL HEALTH | depression awards

MENTAL HEALTH | depression awards

back in spring, i somehow came to the conclusion that doing my semester exam, moving out of my dorm, moving to Berlin and starting my internship all within a matter of two weeks is absolutely manageable. nothing to worry about!

turned out it wasn’t. the last weeks of May and pretty much the whole June were the worst days of my life, in terms of how i felt at least. it was a very turbulent time which, obviously, wasn’t the best for my (non-existent) mental stability. my depression intensified so much simple everyday tasks were the biggest struggle for me. the only thing i wanted to do was sleeping; and i did, around 12 hours a day, only to feel tired again a couple of hours after waking up.

during those times, executing the simplest tasks felt like a victory. cooking lunch, washing the dishes, taking a shower, replying to my boss’ email – all that was an honourable act.
that’s why, on one of the better days, i drew these little awards/badges; to reward myself for the hard work. and trust me, that was hard too.

if you feel the same now, remember, it will eventually get at least a bit better. you’re a great, wonderful and strong human being and you can live through this, even though it’s difficult. ♥

MENTAL HEALTH | fuck ‘staying positive’

MENTAL HEALTH | fuck ‘staying positive’

let me tell you one thing:
i fucking hate this whole ‘stay positive‘ philosophy.
fuck ‘think happy thoughts’.
fuck ‘don’t worry be happy’.
fuck all these inspirational quotes that make you feel like you failed at living if you’re not a happy & cheerful optimist 24/7.


now let me explain you why.


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1) escapism won’t solve your problems
in my opinion, it is simply impossible to stay 100% positive your whole life considering the world / society we live in. thus, staying positive all the time seems like a lie to me. it’s an act of escaping from the problems; it’s running away, hiding and pretending nothing is happening. that won’t solve any problems though, quite the contrary actually. it will all hunt you down again. it could be the issues you’re having with your partner which you pretend do not exist, or the anger you build inside yourself while living the everything’s perrrfect life. it will eventually get back at you; at least that’s my experience.


2) one size does not fit all
perhaps i should say ‘one way of living does not fit all’ instead. if you enjoy living your life with an extremely positive mindset, well, i’m glad for you – but don’t try to shove it down my throat and force me to live the same way. the thing is, some people, including me for example, are quite happy with their negativeness, bitterness, pessimism, what-have-you. there’s no need for converting them to your ‘religion of happiness’. don’t tell anyone to smile, don’t tell anyone to cheer up, don’t tell anyone to ‘think happy thoughts’ – they’d do it if they wanted. and if they don’t want to, it’s none of your business.


3) anger, sadness or bitterness are not always a bad thing
many people are ostensibly trying to avoid any negative emotions, simply because being nice and easygoing is what is considered ‘the ideal personality’ in our society. (but we all know that all those ideals are bullshit, right?) but why should everything that’s negative be bad? first of all, it’s a very good way to cope with situations that are overwhelming in not-the-best-way. it’s natural. it’s how our bodies react. fighting against it just does not seem logical to me. furthermore, you can always turn the negative into something, right? i mean, i totally believe that ‘anger is an energy’.


4) some people just can’t stay positive
so, there’s this really nasty health problem any of us can get and it’s called mental illness. you’ve probably heard about that, right? well, surprise, surprise, people suffering from this illness just cannot stay super-happy 24/7. there is a certain, overwhelming thing in them which simply does not allow to be like that all the time – and it is really, really important to understand that. if you keep this in mind, perhaps you’ll also understand how inappropriate it is to say ‘cheer up!’ or ‘don’t be so depressed all the fucking time’ to someone suffering from any kind of mental illness. in a sense, it’s a bit like telling someone on a wheelchair to ‘at least try’ climbing up a staircase – absolutely inappropriate.
i like how the author of this article called Is Positive Thinking Oppressing You? puts it:

‘Moreover, for disabled people – as for any group of marginalized people – these kinds of messages can become oppressive, because they feed into the idea that if only we tried hard enough, or had a good enough attitude, we could single-handedly make our lives better. For disabled people, this way of thinking can take the pernicious form of being blamed for the state of our own bodies, as though we somehow caused our disabilities with poor psychological habits and could somehow cure them with the proper way of thinking. It leads away from self-love into self-blame.’



5) it’s okay not to be okay
this section is essentially why i decided to write this article. the fact that there is so much pressure on people to live the perfect lives nowadays has already been addressed as a negative factor on our psyche in academical papers, articles etc. perhaps that’s the reason why we’re using antidepressants and visit therapists much more than ever. the stay positive philosophy teaches that if you’re not staying positive all the time, you’re not living your life properly.
but having negative feelings, such as anxiety, grief, being stressed and so on, does not mean you’re a failure. as i’ve said earlier, all of these are your body’s / mind’s natural reactions to certain unfortunate events and they actually help you with coping them, therefore you should not try to suppress them. it’s okay to fuck up, it’s okay to cry, it’s okay to scream at someone.
it’s human.
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i’d sum it up with an excerpt from a brilliant article by Toni Bell:
 
‘Several articles and books have been written on the negative aspects of positivity. In 2013, Tori Rodriquez wrote an article entitled “Negative Emotions are the Key to Well- Being.” In 2009, renowned author Barbara Ehrenreich published Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America. Both writers dismantled the illogic of the cult of positive thinking. This need for positivity is a bizarre form of denial that reeks of a more pervasive and unattainable goal – the desire to control everything. The reasoning goes something like this: If I control my thoughts, I control my reality and everything that happens. And I must control my thoughts to make them positive all the time. Therefore, my reality will be positive all the time – forever.
 
That line of thinking doesn’t benefit anyone and is delusional.
 
Allowing oneself to feel the full gamut of emotions is what it means to be fully human. Forcing oneself to live in positivity isn’t positive. It creates a muted existence that lacks vibrancy and expression. So, when you’re happy, feel that in every fiber of your being. When you’re angry, use that to set your boundaries. When you’re sad or grieving, allow yourself to weep. Feeling it all is what’s truly all good.’