Courage Comes in All Forms

Today is my last day in Barcelona. I will miss Josefina and Namo, as well as their cat, Tom. Tom, who is only a year old, finally lets me pet him without scratching and biting me! Tonight they invited me to have dinner with them. I am so incredibly grateful for my time here. It really worked out quite perfectly. If anyone needs a recommendation to stay in Barcelona, PM me anytime 🙂 It is hard to leave, but I know Tarragona will be a fantastic experience as well. I get to watch horses, chicken, dogs and cats over the next 2 months!! Chewy is doing good as well. He really enjoys adventuring, I think. Whenever I dig out my large suitcase, he jumps up and down with anticipation. It’s like he’s saying, “Where are we going next??” I truly couldn’t be happier about his excitement. Although, he had a day where he had a sharp pain in his neck. If I even tried to move him he would yelp in pain. He has had this about 4-5 other times during his life and has seen 3 separate Veterinarians. I did get a diagnosis, but there is little I can do. Usually he just sleeps all day and then is better by the evening. It makes me so sad when this happens though. This must be similar to how parents feel when they can’t communicate with their babies or small children when they are screaming in pain and looking at them to fix it. I feel so helpless. Fortunately, he seems totally fine now and we just enjoyed a marvelous day in Park Guell. This is like an outside museum/park with unbelievable buildings designed by Antoni Gaudi. His motto was, “There are no straight lines or sharp corners in nature, therefore buildings must have no straight lines or sharp corners.” His architecture certainly follows this from the late 1800s to early 1900s. I’ve included a few pics but much of it was under construction. A quick google will leave you amazed. Thank you, Bradley for the great recommendation!! If you are ever in Barcelona, this is a must see experience!
A topic I have finally made a decision about today is something I have been contemplating over the past couple of months. It is to slowly become chemically free from any type of outside mood stabilizers. Since I have already quit all forms of drugs and alcohol, right now the only thing this means for me is that I am finally titrating off Prozac. Depression and mental health discussions tend to make people uncomfortable. Even people I have known for years will dodge or fidget uncomfortably when I bring this up in person. But this is such an important part of my growth and development. I couldn’t possibly have a blog without openly talking about these subjects. If this is a trigger for you then please bypass this paragraph and continue on to the next. But I may still challenge you to think about why. Why is mental health such a provocative topic? Does it make people more conscious of themselves? It seems to be getting more widely accepted especially in the younger generations who seem to be much more open about mental health. I don’t know if these populations are more at risk or if they are just more accepting about treatment. Eventually, we need to talk about this candidly as a society because suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Almost 45,000 Americans die each year, this is compared to the 800,000 that die worldwide. Once I learned this, I look back and think it’s mind-boggling that it took over a year of persuasion to get me to take an anti-depressant when I started therapy 4 years ago. I was so resistant to it. I’ve never been very good at taking pharmaceuticals for medication. I thought anti-depressants would numb me and make me a mindless zombie. I thought they would make me conform to apathy and in a way it felt like giving up. I wanted to still feel and be myself! What I learned was that all of these beliefs were completely untrue. I am very grateful I eventually had the courage to be on Prozac for over 3 years. I set my own stigmas aside and emptied my cup about the topic altogether. This decision saved my life. Unfortunately, I tried stopping this cold turkey a year ago. This was a really bad decision! After discussing with a physician, I am going to make sure I do it safely and the right way this time. Luckily it’s not hard to acquire medication in Spain. I simply explained my situation and the pharmacist was very helpful and only charged me 5 euros for a 3 month supply and plan. Wow, medication is cheap here! I know very well that this means I need to up my coping mechanisms and get very centered and honest with how I feel everyday. I am ready! More importantly, I know to get help if something doesn’t feel right. Thank you for listening.
Now I begin yet another new chapter. One that I have been ready for for quite some time now. Before I hurry to go pack, I would like chat about the number 2 reason for why I travel, the food! The first is making connections with other people. But a close second is definitely trying new, old, exotic, ordinary, pretty much all types of food in existence. I have enjoyed so much food these past couple of weeks. I have definitely made up for not eating out in Norway very much at all and it was worth the wait. I have enjoyed paella, sushi, asian, Catalonian – which usually contains fish and/or delicious sausage, and veggies galore. I’ve enjoyed the food so much that I probably need a bit of a detox soon as gluten and dairy have been bothering me quite a bit lately. It’s hard when there are at least 4 ice cream/gelato shops in my current vicinity. I can bypass them couple of times but after the 16-17th pass, I eventually cave in and indulge. I’ve had so many different types of cheeses and breads. It’s incredible. I even went to Hard Rock Cafe one afternoon. Mainly due two reasons, the first is this is one of the few places where I can get iced tea without sugar and the second is I really miss Mexican food!! It was a strange yet amusing experience. I was sitting next to Billy Idol’s jacket and listening to Blind Melon through the sound system. I had iced tea and nachos and it was quite exquisite. I’m sure I haven’t been inside a Hard Rock in about 15-20 years, but I will never forget this visit. I got the nachos with black and pinto beans, not the common local, Heinz bean variety. This was the real deal with guac and jalapeños to top it off. It’s funny to think I am surrounded by the most delectable food in the world and yet the warm comforting feeling of tasting a little bit of home = Priceless. Indulge in your desires, even if it feels silly at the time.

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