the untethered soul, the journey beyond yourself

hello lovely people, long time no type… thanks for sticking around with me while the consistency of my blog is not my forte. nonetheless today, i have something to share!

one of my goals of 2018 is to read more often. specifically i want to read at least 2 novels a month & i’ve been super into the self help genre i have recently just finished the first book i chose for march. i have not read a book that shook me as much as this one did in a long time. the untethered soul, by michael a. singer blew my mind and i would recommend it to anyone who is on a self improvement journey through spirituality to enlightenment.

as someone who struggles with mood swings, i am constantly waking up and wondering what mood i’ll be in. wondering if i am going to fly off the deep end or be able to relax in a happy state. the constant thoughts and emotions in my head are a struggle for me on a good day, so when this novel suggested to me that we are not the voice inside our heads, we are merely our consciousness watching the thoughts that come in and out of our minds the theory stuck out to me because there has been so many times my thoughts have been so dark i thought that they can’t possible be coming from me.

over 19 chapters singer give us the universal steps to self realization. his theory suggests that as our consciousness we are just observing the thoughts that pop in and out of our head. if we pay attention to the thoughts we realize that they never stop, we are never at peace. our thoughts are constantly chattering at us with saying what should and should not be trying to create our own perfect reality. just because we are watching our thoughts that does not mean that we have to participate with them. we can just notice and let go of our minds constant struggle for a perfect world. we have the right let go of any disturbing energies.

discovering this awareness and letting go of the toxic thoughts that take up our energy makes room for more love, happiness and joy to enlighten you. the novel teaches that when you choose not to interfere with your thoughts you are completely emerged into your higher self.

after finishing the book i have become much more conscious of the thoughts that enter my head, and working double time on not participating with the negative thoughts that pass through my mind. this read has made a huge impact on me, and i am on my way to calming that constant chattering of anxiety and worry thoughts that pop into my head. i would recommend this book to anyone. singer has done such a great job of simply breaking down why we are the way we are.

image1.jpegif you’re looking for a new book to read check it out, and i would love any novel recommendations from you as well.

happy blogging,



ode to panic attack


it’s been a hot minute since i’ve updated my blog, but hey what better time is there than now? anyway, i wanted to talk to y’all about a dream i had last night.

last night i dreamt that i was killed. specifically that i was shot in the face. i am a person who dreams very vividly, my dreams feel very real. i woke up with the most uneasy feeling in my stomach, my first few waking moments this morning i honestly believed i was dead.

the dream started off very ordinary, i was in my old high school. i walked through the same old halls that were now new and bright. i wasn’t there for school, i was working. the next bit i remember it was time to go home. i asked a few different co workers to give me a ride home as i didn’t want to walk…  (even in my dreams i attempt to put off exercise LOL) unfortunately there was no one that was able to get me home, i had to walk. when i walked outside the world was pitch black. the moment i stepped into the blackness i felt uncomfortable, i turned to go back inside, but the doors were now locked. so i started walking, as fast as i could. then i heard a familiar voice, one of my brother’s childhood friends. i felt so uneasy outside alone, so i asked if he minded me walking with him and his buddies! of course this wasn’t a problem, so we walked and chatted for a moment. everything was a-ok right? think again. after walking for a few minutes my brothers friend yells out RUN. i didn’t know know what we were running from, but i ran. we ran as fast as we could, practically flying down the street in the blackness. then i hear a car pull up beside us, it’s lights illuminate the world around us. there is nowhere to run now, five large men with guns jump out of the car. the guys i was walking with happened to have guns on them as well, so now everyone has a weapon drawn except for me. i can feel adrenaline pumping through my veins, i’m terrified. then my brothers friend starts shooting, i try to yell stop but i can’t make a sound. as one man falls to the ground another man points his gun straight at me. i only have a second to think of a plea for my life, but i didn’t get a chance to open my mouth. i watch him pull the trigger and in 3 seconds that felt like an eternity i knew i was going to die. then my mind goes blank, and that’s when i woke up. like i said earlier, i thought i was dead.

i’m quite obviously not dead. if i was dead i wouldn’t be writing this blog post. after a few moments i regained my grip on reality, i was having a panic attack. drenched in sweat, head clouded curiosity of dissociation, my heart was racing, i was shaking and my breathing was labored. and then the most magical thing happened, something that has never happened to me before. i feLT GRATEFUL THAT I WAS HAVING A PANIC ATTACK!!! I WAS ALIVE! I AM ALIVE! as someone who holds a DSM-5 diagnosis of panic disorder i can tell you that i never expected to ever feel grateful to have a panic attack. usually i dread them, i’m fearful of them. i’m embarrassed of them. dare i say i usually HATE panic attacks? but the magic didn’t stop there. WHAT STOPPPED WAS MY PANIC ATTACK. that was the moment i felt an overwhelming gratitude to be alive. still sweaty, still shaking, but smiling from ear to ear. i started to cry. i snuggled with my kitty and hugged my boyfriend. i feel blessed.

i wanted to share this with you because i have a strong belief that gratitude can change your life. it changed mine this morning when my panic attack ended. call me naive, but i really think gratitude is life changing.  a deeper appreciation than feeling thankful, gratitude allows us a connection with something larger than just ourselves. over the past few months of recovery i have been practicing gratitude in different ways. expressing my gratefulness to the beings in my life, and through journalling. i think that the regular practicing of writing and speaking what i am appreciative of is what helped me use the practice after my dream this morning.

gratitude shifts your attention. it places your attention on the positives helping to increase mental strengths. it focuses on what you have opposed to what you do not. gratitude acknowledges your accomplishments rather than your short comings. it gives your thanks to the little things, when you sometimes forget. gratitude is beautiful, it allows you to see the miracle of your life and not take it for granted.

i want to invite you to take a moment to think of what you have to be grateful for, it doesn’t have to be big, anything at all. even if it’s to me thankful that you woke up with a heart beat today, after all we are not entitled to this life, it is a miracle. congratulations, you just took the first step on your gratitude journey. now, write your gratitude down. practice it. believe it. allow gratitude to inspire your life. i dare you. i promise you wont be disappointed.



“But from one survivor to another, there were a couple things I wanted to shout out into the big internet void, hoping maybe the right person will read them.”

I’m hoping the person who needs this will read it.

via For The Mentally Ill Folks Who Didn’t Think They’d Make It This Year — Let’s Queer Things Up!

DBT Update: Is it worth my time??

Hey Everyone, thanks for clicking on my blog! Today I want to talk about DBT! Specifically how my experience has been so far, and for anyone who is following my group therapy journey I’ll be posting what we went over in weeks 3 and 4 at the end of the post!

I asked on Instagram if you guys had any questions, and I want to address them here.


What is DBT?
Dialectal Behavioral Therapy is a therapy developed by Marsha Linehan. Is a multi component cognitive behavioral treatment, with a focus on mindfulness that helps to transform negative thinking patterns and destructive behaviors into positive outcomes. DBT goes over 4 core components: mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness and emotional regulation. Originally, DBT was developed to help treat people living with borderline personality disorder, but I have faith that the skills that are learned in DBT would be helpful to anyone. DBT is now recognized as the gold standard psychological treatment for our population.

What is “dialectal”? 
The definition of dialectal is: concerned with or acting through opposing forces.
Dialectics remind us that there is always more than one way to see a situation, and more than one way to solve a problem. The universe is filled with opposing sides and forces, and two things that seem like opposites can both be true. Everything and every person is connected in one way or another. Change is the only constant, and each moment is new; reality itself changes with each moment. What we do influences our environment and other people in it, just as they influence us. Change is transactional.

I’ve heard this program takes forever. Is DBT worth my time? 
Maybe this seems like common sense, but it is only worth it if you give it your all. You get what you put in. I have in learning DBT since late July this year, I can 100% say yes it is worth the time. There is A LOT to learn and you have to be willing to put in the effort. When I started DBT I strongly felt that it was my last option, I was putting in 110% effort because I was fighting for my life. I know now that there is never a “last option” BUT I will continue give all my effort because I can feel a difference in myself. I believe in this treatment, and I am striving to be the best version of me. I may not be where I need to be yet, and that’s okay I’ve accepted that. I am moving forward, and I know that it takes time.

Why are you so open about your mental health? 
I want to break the stigma surrounding mental health. I want people to know that it is okay to call in sick to work if you are having a panic attack. I want people to know that they are not alone. I want people to recognize that EVERYBODY has mental health, and we all need to take care of ourselves. Beyond that, I am open about my mental health journey for myself. I find sharing makes me feel better. There is a special kind of power in being open and vulnerable.

If anyone has any questions about DBT, BPD, or myself feel feel to leave them in the comments, or send me a private message on Instagram or Twitter. If you’ve been following my group therapy journey I apologize for the delay in updates. I missed the third week, and had to take a moment to get my self caught up.

For week three and four the course focuses on distress tolerance. The goals of distress tolerance skills are to:

  • Survive crisis situations without making them worse.
  • Accept reality; replace suffering and being stuck with ordinary pain and the possibility of moving forward.
  • Become free of having to satisfy the demands of your own desires, urges and intense emotions.

Distress tolerance skills are helpful for when you are if you are experiencing an intense pain that cannot be helped quickly, you want to act on your emotions but you understand that it will make the situation worse, you are overwhelmed and have demands to be met. These skills are meant to help you in a crisis, they are not for everyday problems.

First we go over STOP and TIP skills, to help us reduce extreme emotion mind quickly.

Effective Rethinking and Paired Relaxation, Step by Step
1. Write down the prompting event.
2. Ask. What are your interpretations and thoughts about the event that cause you distress. Write these down too.
3. Rethink the situation and it’s meaning. Write down as many effective thoughts that you can think of to replace the stressful event.
4. When you are NOT in the stressful situation – practice imagining the event. At the same time, while breathing in say to yourself an effective statement. When breathing out say Relax – while intentionally relaxing your muscles.
5. Remember that this takes time, and keep practicing.

Distract yourself by focusing your attention on something other than the painful thoughts, feelings, memories, impulses. Use wise mind “ACCEPTS” as a way to remember these skills.

Pushing Away

Self soothe by creating neutral or positive events or feelings in the midst of experiencing negative ones. Do something that will improve the moment your in with imagery relaxation. Focus on just that moment. Something that helps me is having a self soothing kit on hand. It doesn’t have to be a lot, having a group of objects set aside specially for soothing is really nice, and I  find it extremely helpful in a distressing situation. Make sure you incorporate all 5 senses in your kit! There are various ways you can work on improving the moment, remember “IMPROVE”.

One Thing at a Time
Encouragement and Rethinking the Situation

The final focus of the last two weeks was Radical Acceptance. In short radical acceptance is recognizing and acknowledging what is actually going on now… when your situation cannot improve, accepting the fact that this is the way it is right now. It is accepting in your mind, heart, and body with totality. I intend to go write a more in depth post about acceptance so keep your eyes peeled for that.

So to wrap this up, yes I think DBT is 100 percent worth it, and I also think it is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Thank you for reading, if you are struggling please don’t hesistate to reach out for help it was the best thing I have ever done for myself.

Thank you guys for reading,

lots of love

Ashleigh Leanne

healing is not linear.

“Wounds don’t heal the way you want them to, they heal the way they need to. It takes time for wounds to fade into scars. It takes time for the process of healing to take place. Give yourself that time. Give yourself that grace. Be gentle with your wounds. Be gentle with your heart. You DESERVE to heal.” Dele O Lanubi

yesterday was a really difficult day for me, the day before was even worse. neither day went as i had intended them to go, but does life ever go as planned? without getting into too many details let’s just saw i was struggling with my moods swinging, and ended up melting down into a puddle of my own insecurities. waves of discouragement and frustration crashed over me has i hyperventilated between the tears. i felt so hopeless with myself that i thought about giving up. i thought about throwing my recovery out the window. my inner voice was fighting me, telling me that there was no point in trying, i am always going to feel worthless.
i tried to type this post few times over the last two days, but i couldn’t get the words just write (haha get my pun lmao) but, in all seriousness i was feeling like shit.  i was so discouraged at myself for having this set back, especially after holding it together for so long. but, like i’ve said before: recovery is not linear, neither is life. but let’s get real, often times it is really easy to get caught up in your emotions when things are not going how you had planned. it makes you feel insufficient as you try to reclaim your life from your illness. but that is not the point of this post.
my point is to remind you that healing takes time. the point is to remind myself that healing is a process. recovery by definition is to return to a normal state of health, mind or strength. to me, recovery is the hardest thing that i have ever done. this post is to remind you to be gentle with yourself, you are always doing the best you can at any given point in time. although sometimes it may feel like you are taking one step forward and two steps back, just remember that it is OK to have a bad day, a bad day does not mean that you have a bad life, or that you are back where you started. you are strong enough to face it all, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.
when you are having a low moment, i want you to remember that you have already survived your darkest days. you are a warrior. you are beautiful. and you are worth it. if you are having a moment please be patient with yourself. and lastly remember that there is so much to be grateful for. you are alive and breathing. that in itself is a fucking miracle. be kind to yourself, you are doing the best that you can.

lotsa love

coping mechanisms

i’ve been thinking about writing this the past few days, but i couldn’t figure out how to start it. strategically i wrote out an outline just to sit and stare blankly at my laptop screen while i tried to start the blog post. the truth is that i am terrified to share this post. i am scared of the backlash,and i am fearful of being judged. and whilst i sat starring blankly at the screen i realized that those are the exact reasons why i wanted to write this post. the stigma. the stigma surround self inflicted harm. although, it’s considered a very taboo subject it is very important to raise awareness around self injury. raising awareness leads to compassion. it leads to understanding, to less judgement and less people too scared to speak up and get help.

self harm is defined as the intentional, direct injuring of body tissue, done without suicidal intentions. examples include, but are not limited to: cutting, head banging, hitting, scratching, burning, picking at skin, etc. self injury is more common than many people realize. 1 in 10 people will self harm at one point in their lives. people use self harm as a coping mechanism for many reasons, including overwhelming and distressing thoughts or feelings, chronic feelings of emptiness, etc.

 breaking the stigma

because its not openly discussed often self harm frightens people. it is difficult to understand and difficult to digest. the stigma surrounding self harm comes ignorance, and it stops people from getting the help from fear of being accepted, or judgement. educating people is about reducing the amount of people who suffer alone. it’s about teaching those who do not engage in self harm and reaching out to those who do.

self harm is no joke, it needs to be taken seriously. it is extremely hard to break the self injury cycle.

self-harm cycle_1
 (Mental Health Foundation)

it is so important to realize that relief from self harm is ONLY TEMPORARY. this is because the underlying reasons still remain. distress and shame always follow, which only continues the cycle. there many alternative activities that you can do instead.

the reason this post has been on my mind is because i have just had my first long term relapse in quite some time. the past few days i have been very hard on myself. it is easy to fall back into a downward spiral if you have reengaged in self injury, especially if you have been ‘clean’ for an extended period of time. it is important to remember that self harm is very addictive and it is completely normal to experience urges and relapses throughout your recovery. recovery is not meant to be a straight line. since self harm is generally used as a coping mechanism, it is important that we work at understanding the feelings that lead to the problem behavior. life is full of ups and downs, and it is not a realistic outlook that we can live without stress and emotional pain. but, it is realistic to learn from experience, and to work at developing a better coping mechanisms. (keep reading for a list of ideas to do instead of harming your beautiful self ❤ )


most importantly i want you to realize that this is nothing to be ashamed of, like i said, recovery is not linear. instead of dwelling on it, and engaging in negative self-talk it’s important to work on understanding and recognizing the feelings that lead to the behavior. though DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) i have completed exercises called ‘chain analysis’ where you follow step by step instructions to understand a particular behavior. the process is a bit lengthily, but it is so worth it. if you are struggling, promise me you will try it. at least just once, i know you can do it.

steps 1-5: understanding the behavior
1. describe the problem behavior
2. describe the prompting event that started the chain of events leading to the problem behavior
3. describe the factors happening before the event that made you vulnerable to starting down the chain of events toward the problem behavior
4. describe in great detail the chain of events that led to the problem behavior
-actions or things you do
-body sensations or feelings
-events in the environment
-feelings or emotions that you experience
5. describe the consequences of the problem behavior

steps 6-8: to change the behavior
6. describe skillful behaviors to replace problem links in the chain of events
7. develop prevention plans to reduce vulnerability to stressful events
8. repair important or significant consequences of the problem behavior

running through these steps can help you understand your mindset before the relapse, and it can help prevent more relapses in the future. and my gosh, whatever you do, please, if you can help it, do not keep a relapse secret. as embarrassing as it may feel, it is so important to speak up. self injury thrives on secrets. find someone that you trust, someone that you can talk openly with. talking = healing, i promise.

lastly, please remember that there is nothing shameful about a relapse. it took me a few days to draw that conclusion, believe me i know it’s not easy. but now that i have accepted my actions, and made a conscious decision to move forward i feel much better. it doesn’t matter if you are on day 0, day 20, or day 2893, all that matters if your decision to keep moving forward, and to keep fighting for yourself.

if you are experiencing a relapse or painful urges here are some self care ideas to indulge in instead 🙂 

-draw on yourself (i actually did this today, and practiced my hand at henna)
-eat your favorite snack
-call a friend
-take a hot shower/bath
-tidy up your area
-practice deep breathing
-journal (if you’re anything like me journaling will help you a lot 🙂
-go for a walk
-enjoy a hot cup of coffee or tea
-ice cold glass of water

these are just some of my favorite ways to practice self care, obviously you can cater to your own liking, the possibilities are endless.

in closing i want to thank you for reading this. please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions i am happy to answer them.  i hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend. much love.

ash ❤

now that i have a clear head

the past week just feels like a haze to me. i’m not going to lie, the last 5 have days felt like hell. yesterday, and thursday in particular could pass for the worst days i’ve had in months. luckily like i stated in my last post i have the right people around me to aid in my recovery. however that doesn’t change the fact that mental illness is real, and although support makes life easier, it doesn’t make the illness go away. recovery is not a walk in the park, ups and downs are going to happen, something i feel the need to remind myself all the time. when depression follows a period of hypo mania it hits me like a ton of bricks. the happiness hangover.

it’s currently 4 am on saturday morning, i’m awake (probably because i slept majority of the day) and i’m just looking over my journal entries and i came across one from thursday that tbh i don’t even remember writing. i’m going to include the entry i wrote, my outlook on life was pretty bleak on thursday, so if you find it makes you uncomfortable please don’t read it. but do skip to the next paragraph because i have a plan to spin this positively. 🙂

september 7th : 7:37pm
when i got out of bed, today it was different. i cared a lot less about everything. i can’t live like this. i don’t stop thinking about dying, it feels like my only way out of this hell. what the fuck is the point of anything. i bring so much bad into this world that is already smoothered in darkness, that i don’t deserve to be here. i want to be dead. i don’t want to do anything that i like anymore. i’m becoming more and more of a spazz. i am a spazz. ashleigh spazztastic. but serioulsy i don’t get life. there is literally no point to it. even if you do “everything that you ever wanted to” do you even feel fullfillment? is fullfillment just a made up concept to keep human beings continuing on this journey through the hell of physical life. i know i’m in this body to experience physical reality, but i just want out of it. reality isn’t even real. i’m just stuck in this stupid physical dismension and i want to go back to where ever the fuck i came from. being human is fucking stupid. i didn’t sign up for a brain this big. i’m stuck in my fucking head all the time. there is literally no way out of my fucking head. even when i’m “asleep” my dreams are the same as “reality”, none of this is fucking real. i am extremely discouraged in myself for continuing to have a broken brain.

after i read that entry my first thought was “wow ash there is something wrong with you” and now that i’ve typed it out i feel a lot more concerned at that initial thought than my journal entry. recovery is anything but linear, and now that i’ve sat with that reminder for a few minutes, i feel much better. there is nothing “wrong” with me. a negative thought popped into my head, which is beyond my control. i’m damn proud of myself for realizing and moving on. i just struggle to manage my emotions and their intensity more than average joe. a few bad days not really a huge deal, right? right. life keeps going, and we keep living the short amount of time we’re given, so we might as well not dwell on the past and keep moving forward so we can experience our best lives possible. and if you need to remind yourself why life on earth is worth living, that’s totally okay. i need those reminders too, humanity is such a beautiful experience, and if you’re experiencing humanity living with mental illness remember that doesn’t make your life any less of a life worth living.


i’ve included a spread from my bullet journal ‘reasons to love life’ where i’ve tried to creatively show case a few of my favorite reasons to be alive. of course the list could potentially go on forever. there are so many beautiful reasons to love your life. remember your life is a fucking miracle, try to make the most of it! comment below your personal reasons to love life 🙂

ps. don’t mind my ‘your’ ‘you’re’ fuck up, it’s now 5:40am and i’m starting to feel sleepy , alright much love, peace out for now
ashleigh ❤