a small note on depression

We often hear that it’s best for depressed people to speak up, and we decide to take the role of the ‘listeners’ without keeping in mind the impact of our listening and how much difference it will make. When we ask depressed people to seek comfort in us and talk to us, we are not required to listen and nod. The depressed will not magically be cured if we open our ears, and nod when the topic is over.

The point of listening is not to give advice or offer a shoulder to cry on. The point of listening is to guide the direction towards a treatment-seeking process. The listener should be able to do three things:

  1. Understand and accept whatever the depressed is talking about, and acknowledge to him that his thoughts are real though they don’t define him,
  2. Remind him that it is worth it to be in the present moment and that the future is ambiguous and the past has already gone and we cannot change it, and
  3. Understand that depression is a journey some people go through and they can’t get off it without treatment, so they should offer help in this process of finding an expert, accompanying the depressed and comforting them with deep trust and listening.

Another very important note, you should never tell someone to take a vacation or 2 days to relax. The depressed doesn’t need a few days away from the real world to empty his mind. That is what a stressed person needs. It can be easily confused. Leaving a depressed person alone will only magnify the overthinking they are going through, which they obviously cannot control.

One last note: Depression is chronic and is often not associated with one specific incident. Clinical depression can last for years and sufferers typically cannot pinpoint the reason they are feeling what they are feeling. Unless you have truly suffered from depression, don’t tell your loved one that you understand. Though you may want to, you simply don’t. Educate yourself on this illness and acknowledge that it’s in the head of the depressed. Treatment is essential, and this is what every listener should tell the depressed.

Before encouraging the people we love who are struggling in silence, let’s take a moment to be part of the solution, and not just an ear.

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when it crumbles, and when it blossoms

Play this while reading:

 

When everything crumbles at your feet, you tend to think it’s the end of the world.
You take a few days to absorb the truth after the breakup.
You take a few days to understand that those who once took up a good deal of your time are now elsewhere.
You wonder if they’re happier without you or sadder, you wonder if they’ve lost their appetite or quite the opposite, you wonder if they’re losing sleep or if it’s now very comfortable that you’re away.
You wonder because you remember perfectly – now that it’s still fresh in your mind – how it was just a few days ago.
You ask yourself if they think it’s all okay now or if they’re upset about anything – other than you.

When everything blossoms around you, you tend to think it’s the beginning of the world.
You take a few breaths and sighs in appreciation.
You feel privileged, blessed and grateful for the universe.
You wonder if they’re just as excited for this, and it takes a few days to adjust to the fact that someone – new – cares.
You wonder if it’s going to go just fine, you wonder if life really is taking a new turn.
YOu ask yourself if things are going to be like that, happy beginnings everywhere.

Truth is, everything is habitual. It’s up to you to get used to your ‘new’ life without them, the same way you got used to it – whether by choice or by force – with them.
Truth is, we’re not staying here for long. How old are you? If you’re lucky you have twice as much to live.

As cliche as I am sounding, make use of every moment in this life.

As cliche as I sounded, I didn’t add anything new to your knowledge. I just stated the obvious, to serve as a reminder to me and you.

on love – part 1

How do you fall in love?

Fast.
One day you’re involved in your daily routine, then someone suddenly shows up to tell you that they’re actually attracted to your broken pieces, that they continue your sentences and that they care about the real you and not the version of yourself that you put up for everyone to see.
That someone opens your eyes to something you’ve been missing out on for so long, and you can instantly tell because we’re all familiar with one form of deprivation or the other. That someone holds your hand and traces your fingers like each one of them is a being on its own, reminding you that so much blood is running in the veins of your palm. That someone looks at you like you’re magic, and like you’re their sanity; like they have no idea what they would do without you even though they were only surviving without you for their whole life. That someone finds meaning in what you say, memorizes how you like your coffee and which biscuit brand is your favorite, even though to you that may be the shallowest thing on earth to store in your memory. That someone reaches out to you, and only to you, because they trust you, suddenly, and fully, with their life.
That someone is right there, and that is my story with him.

my funny anxiety and me

2017 is about to end, and boy wasn’t it terrifying!

Yes it was a joyous ride, yes I learned, yes I grew and yes I loved and lost and fell and got up, and ranted and cried, and created and laughed and traveled and wrote.

But one thing is still with me, my anxiety, and now we’re better friends than we were. Now I know when it’s happening, I know what might trigger it, I know why it keeps me awake and I know what to give it so that it leaves.

I don’t know if it ever will, I don’t know if I need to accept it more than I already do, but I know for sure that it feels like I’m being threaded, like I’m foggy, and like the roof is closing in on me and everyone is sad that I died. And all of that is not funny.

Play this before you close the page – we will reflect more on 2017 in another post soon.

one year older

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Everyone loves you for their benefit except family; they’re the only ones who love you unconditionally.

You can’t trust people because they are close to you; some of them are now strangers wandering with your secrets in their pockets.

Whoever calls you bro will not necessarily defend you or prefer you over their real brothers and sisters. Again, only family loves unconditionally.

Your dreams are yours only, no one will accomplish them for you except yourself.

Every day, you are one day closer to your dreams but also to death. Be realistic about death, it’s our inevitable end.

Everything can end in the blink of an eye; your reputation is the only thing that will live after you’re gone.

Sympathize with the ill, but learn the lesson that you shouldn’t only express your true feelings when someone else is obviously vulnerable or emotional.

Express love every day.

Kindness makes every single human being prettier, and if you’re not kind, eventually your friends will leave too.

Practice being genuine. In your opinions, in your talks, in the way you discuss things. There is always a nice way to say the truth of what you think.

Stereotyping is bad, and so is racism, and you will never know it unless someone discriminates against you. Don’t despise people because of their nationality, sexuality, race, accent or even beliefs.

Complaining is never the ideal thing to do. You either take action or you don’t. Complaining doesn’t solve it, it only makes you look less mature about the reality of things.

It’s you who gives your life meaning. If you feel like your life is meaningless, you are obviously doing it wrong.

Make one person happy everyday. Life isn’t a movie, you need to have a plan.

Everything is valuable because everything ends. Hang on to the present moment.

i want it to stop

Dear Universe, I am currently writing to you to make things better. I am alone with my thoughts, decisions and emotions, and cup of coffee. I know I am not the exact person you were waiting for a letter from; … Continue reading

my favorite Instagram accounts

I’m a huge fan of Instagram; I don’t just love the app, I also love their own Instagram account and their Weekend Hashtag Projects (a.k.a WHP if you’re Insta-savvy). It’s the app that uses my data the most, and I am not ashamed or regretful; it took me a while though to jump from Snapchat – where it is a burden to follow people without any social links from any other app, which I understand is easier because of the Facebook Instagram relationship that dates back to 2012.

When I am scrolling through my timeline, here are the 14 accounts that always capture my attention, with my – almost – favorite photo from each.

  1. Symmetry Breakfast which is too gorgeous to eat!
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  2. Haya is Reading where the name says it all.
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  3. Rani The First who is not a photographer but better than most of them.
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  4. ibird art which is the cutest and most creative sketch of the most talented human I know.
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  5. Beau Taplin whose quotes hit right where it hurts (in the heart, for the funny ones out there…)
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  6. Movement Watches for Women with the most beautiful captures of their watches.
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  7. Playground Tattoo for all her tiny and super gorgeous tattoos.
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  8. The Manki whose motivation is a killer (warning: he runs).
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  9. Best Vacations. No explanation needed.
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  10. Father of Daughters because he has four and he is the funniest dad out there.
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  11. Coffee Cups of the World which has brilliant creations!
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  12. Stance Socks because they’re always super amazing and I’m always super jealous.
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  13. The Knot and the cheesiest though cutest wedding photos – awesome ideas for centerpieces and themes, too.
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  14. The Bucket List Family whose members just travel around the world…
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  15. The Yellow Socks. It’s me. Yey!
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PS: If you noticed I did say the 14 accounts that capture my attention because the 15th would be unfair to be among them – it’s my own!

seven things I learned from working at a digital agency

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People love lists, and it’s so easy to come across clear and brief when you list items rather than write a full paragraph. I’ve been working at an agency for three years now, and my experience is rather shy. I’m pretty sure many colleagues can have a richer input; but the below comes from a social media specialist’s perspective.

  1. Brainstorming doesn’t work for everyone, but everyone should be there.

You may not be the enthusiast with all the sticky notes and highlighters and research mentality, all ready to burst ideas and challenge others in a brainstorming session. Some people listen and take notes, and share their feedback or research conclusions via email a few days later. Others are intimidated because of their junior position or the nature of the project. Brainstorming needs a fresh mind, a bit of research before the session and the ability to play both roles, the devil’s advocate and the client. In the creative industry, it is trickier: every client expects you to come up with the next viral idea, and they are righteous, they are paying you to come up with it anyway. You have to read a lot, keep an eye on what’s going on regionally and globally and ask questions to your seniors to research efficiently.

  1. It’s an agency, there are many faces. Stand out.

You don’t have to wear a green hat or huge glasses for that. The trick is to have the curiosity to memorize faces and names behind accounts. Memorize them, they memorize you. Use the account manager’s name when you address them, say the designer’s name after your cheerful “good morning”, type the developer’s name when you email him. When you’re at a business meeting, make eye contact, sit up straight and keep the clients’ business cards in front of you. When you’re at a networking event, shake hands, repeat the person’s name after they say it and make sure you memorize one feature in them you won’t forget..

  1. The brief is not brief but it’s your compass.

Do not start without a brief. You will be stuck in a loop of “am I doing the right thing?” for a full day, and then you’d notice you have nothing written to get back to every once in a while. In the digital industry, it’s easy for someone to divert off-brief; you’re researching and one click leads to the other, especially if the topic is interesting. Briefs organize projects and highlight the scope of work – yes exactly the SOW – that everyone working on the project loves going back to when the client acts dramatic over what they were expecting and what they received.

  1. The best pitch wins, regardless of the hours it took to come up with it.

This is the equivalent of work smart not hard. A pitch doesn’t necessitate you show up at the agency in your pyjamas ready to pull an overnighter to get it done. A perfect outline, a logical flow of slides and data to back up the strategy are the building blocks for that document you’re going to stress about presenting until 30 seconds before you begin.

Read the RFP carefully and check what material the potential client has sent. Follow the brand guidelines, under-promise and over-deliver, and make sure everyone on the pitch is aligned on the expectations of that potential client.

  1. Be proud of the outcome you produce; it reflects how good you are.

Start every project and every account with the intention of delivering your best, regardless of the awful brief or the typicality of the client. Pour your heart into it and give it your all. But watch out, the client will come back with feedback from the laundryman in the same building as the wife of his second cousin’s stepmother. You can cater to this feedback, and you can be firm about your submission. Should you choose the first option, make the best out of it. Should you choose the second option, explain thoroughly why you think your touch is correct, be it UI/UX, or a line of code, or a fancy description in the About Us on the Facebook page.

  1. Don’t fall for generalizations; it’s never the same anywhere.

Numerous are the people who work at agencies, and all of them love writing. Sometimes, they contribute to a magazine in a column or add their thoughts on an article, and suddenly, this becomes the new status quo. Really? Six signs you are a creative person with one of them being that you have a cluttered desk. Four ways to tell that your co-worker is a developer with one of them being that his headphones are large enough. Ten books you need to read to seal the next advertising deal with one of them being Sophie’s World. Writing is relative. Opinions are relative. The titles I trust the most are the ones that include a first person voice, that way you are prepared to read something subjective, from the point of view of a writer. Same thing applies to what you hear in those ‘networking’ parties about the ‘head of creative’ being a stylish creep with all colors of pens on their desks or whacko hair.

  1. Digital is a lifestyle.

Open yourself up to lots of different and new experiences. When I started out in digital, there was a huge temptation to try and fit in with the others. I paid more attention to the digital world around me: apps, websites in both their desktop and mobile versions, social platforms and advertising on them, algorithms, new features and technological updates. It’s a package, and it’s not as simple as knowing the brand of your mobile phone. Digital is a 360 scheme and needs open mind and eyes always on the look for advancements and changes.

What happens in Ölüdeniz is blogged about

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Landing there at 6AM was not the ideal thing, nor was it the worst thing on earth, but when you’re traveling and tight on time, you’d rather sacrifice a night’s sleep than a beautiful morning.

Lea and I had been wanting to take a vacation together ever since we worked at the same office; landing on Ölüdeniz in several searches sounded so ideal. Tons of things were on the list for that vacation. Should we visit Pamukkale? Will we have time to paraglide off Babadağ mountain? What about the Butterfly Valley? It was too much, and we knew with only 4 and a half days, we had to do what we really wanted.
Step 1: Check-in, explore the neighborhood and memorize the hotel in fifteen minutes.

 

Day 1: Beach, fish, beach

When you’re on a vacation like that, you have to be well prepared for a loaded amount of sun and a bit of fatigue at the end of the day. But also, when you’re on a vacation like that, you have to make sure you visit the most beautiful spots before time runs out. We had a quick breakfast at Help Bar, whose staff are friendly and helpful; they mainly suggested how to squeeze a perfect vacation in a few days, what we cannot miss and what we should do as soon as we can. Breakfast was good; basically any meal would be helpful after not sleeping any minute all night long; an average of 40TL per person makes perfect sense.

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Next stop was the beach. The Blue Lagoon is something I cannot describe to you. It’s something you have to see, hear and feel. It’s so beautiful, so calm and so inviting you can hardly resist the landscape and the relaxation that comes along. It’s a marvelous place to nap, talk, read, or even enjoy a calm drink. Two beach beds and a beach umbrella can be as low as 30TL.

The first night there still went by smoothy and we were still sleep-deprived but energetic, so we decided to hit the fish market! We took the bus (5TL per person) there, and mind you the buses are convenient, air-conditioned, and accurate. The fish market is an experience of its own, and it’s a lovely one indeed. Choose your fresh fish from the market which is in the middle of the open area, and take it to nearby restaurants to cook it; by “nearby” I actually mean the restaurants around the center. The fish is fresh and the ambiance is lovely; a few musicians drop by to play Turkish tunes that customers dance to while they dine. It’s very well known that you can easily argue for the price anyone gives you in any market anywhere in Turkey, so you’d better get a 1.8kg fish for 30TL max! The restaurant will charge you for the salad and the service, and anything else you order. We had  salad, drinks, marinated octopus and fried calamari rings (yum!) for 60TL.
PS: The last bus passes at 1AM, don’t miss it; check the info here.

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The night ended at one of the several beach bars there, it’s called The Beach Bar and you can identify it from its lanterns, two surf boards, tall wooden signs and lit bar. We had a glass of white wine (which we later noticed that bartenders fill entirely, unlike in Beirut it’s half a glass actually), and an amaretto sour, which were both good, for a total of 35TL. You should know, however, that being on the beach there means that you will hear and spot dogs, so if you’re scared, keep an eye. The team are friendly enough to play the song you request and they occasionally drop by the tables and bean bags, with a smile and a high-five and a little touristic chat, just as you’d expect.

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Source: The Beach Bar Oludeniz Instagram Account

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Day 2: Beach, walk, party

A good night’s sleep was all what we needed, and the second day we were ready to explore another beach, something rather private with a few bungalows, a casual eatery and several beach beds and umbrellas: Sugar Beach Club. I don’t usually drink beer but who goes to Turkey and doesn’t have an Efes? I later figured that the place is touristic and not many locals were going there; possibly because there are other places they would rather explore which I would second. A day well spent in the sun, the calm scenery and a one-on-one talk with Lea were really what made it all worthwhile.

09Next stop was a walk by the coast, with the vibrant touristic taste of things. You can hear the people laughing and see the kids running, it’s easy to sense that either everyone is on vacation or everyone is really happy. After all, you’re on the coast and everyone there is also having a special time. Our walk was long, during which we were deciding whether to go to Hisarönü, the area famous for its several clubs, or to stay by the beach. The decision was made, and we took the bus to Hisarönü to explore the other things there.

There are two things we noticed: 1) the area is crowded at night, which is good, and 2) the clubs are not actual clubs, they’re just loud pubs. I know that according to Lebanese standards, clubs like White and Skybar are in the cities where nightlife prevails, but our experience wasn’t so bad (photos below are in Lebanon). We went to Barrumba Bar where there was – awkwardly enough – an Arabic one man show with all the songs that sounded not familiar but legit for any tourist to enjoy the night. Next, we visited Grand Boozey and  passed outside Revolution. The list is long and the places are nice, and if you’re planning a massive night out, you should sure check everything in this list. (Average drink price would be 20TL, nothing more)

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Source: Beirut Night Life

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Source: Beirut Night Life

Day 3: Paraglide, beach, drink

I don’t know where to begin expressing whatever I felt before, during and after I did this. But I know one thing, choosing Deep Blue team to do this with was very comforting. From the moment we booked till the day we left, they were supportive and friendly all along.

18For those of you who have done this before, please note that paragliding off Babadağ mountain was – for me – terrifying long before I took the bus there. For those of you who haven’t done this before, a 2000 meter mountain is much different than a 1000 meter one.

In the bus, 6 passengers and their 6 pilots took the ride to the top of the mountain, got ready, and flew. All what I remember now is that Osman – my pilot – was very well aware of how much terror was present in those moments. He kept reminding me to relax and enjoy the view, occasionally cracking a few jokes and making sure the whole experience would be memorable. The first 15 minutes were above the clouds, and I have never ever been more scared in my life. Every time I tell this story, I remember a new moment during which I got scared. The remaining 20 minutes of the ride were above the beach, and it was too beautiful to think of anything else. 19

The existential crisis was when I looked around and found that Osman and I were tied together with two metallic pieces, and the parachute that held us together was merely strings. No motor, no window, nothing. I reminded myself, and he reminded me constantly, that we weren’t going to just die like that or detach and fall to the ground. The ride ended safely and when we landed I was more than happy to put my feet on the ground and lose the floating feeling. The ride was for 200 TL along with photos and videos on a beautiful CD after the ride is over.

It took me a while to get over the feeling and to get back to normal, after which we went to the beach just to lie in the sun and talk over and over again about the experience, Lea being the braver one.

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The night ended with a walk on the beach, a lovely talk, a delicious strawberry daiquiri at Help Bar, and more serenity of the waves and moon after 2AM.

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Day 4: Boat trip, drink

Part of the magic is the distance your sight stretches at. We went on a boat trip – also booked with Deep Blue – to the 12 Islands. The tour was from 10AM to 6PM, with a lunch on the deck and a few stops for swimmers to jump and cool off.

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You feel so tiny and your problems feel so insignificant, and Lea and I were projecting the whole time: How hard life is becoming in Lebanon, how little we can do to change the corrupt system, how hopeless it seems even though we’re fighting to see it half-full…

08.pngI remember clearly the last few minutes before we reached the port. I remember how much I was thinking of every unhappy person I knew, and how much I wished to bring them all to that moment, to those five minutes, to that simple piece of mind only 2 hours away from the mess they’re in. I couldn’t help but feel so content to be there yet so sad for everyone I loved. Everyone is frustrated in Lebanon, I cannot even begin to explain to you in which ways and in what forms… It’s like I wanted to shake the misery off everyone’s shoulders but I couldn’t.

21.pngThat night, I recall clearly all my emotions as Lea and I went walking to The Beach Bar.
I recall how nice of a feeling it was to see a happy face for more than once on the same vacation, and to ask the same person how are you and know how they were a day before. I recall how nice it was that after four days, we actually had familiar faces we could wave “hello” to. We started counting down; not knowing how to say goodbye was the first feeling ever.

 

 

Day 5: Waste time, fly back

How do you waste five hours when you have checked-out of the hotel and your luggage is in their lobby? You go to the mall! We shopped till we dropped and ran the last minute checks on our to-buy lists. I also took Lea to Kahve Dünyasi, which is one of my favorites, for chocolate treats and tons of caffeine.

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Source: reklamazzi.com

Everyone was so friendly – and sometimes too friendly – and so smiley and so fine. I tried to imagine what it would be like for all those faces to be stressed, or upset, or in different contexts. I wondered what it would be like to be one of them, and not one on vacation. So many questions, and so many memories, and so many beautiful things squeezed in a short period of time!

You can follow the adventures as they happened on #TravelBuddiesDiaries!

Teşekkür ederim, görüşürüz!

 

first date terrors

Play this as you read.

I haven’t ever gone out with anyone more than three years plus older than me; that alone made me feel scared of all the pre-built expectations in his mind – he’s in his early thirties. I tried to remind myself of all the good and funny chats we have had previously and to relax, and luckily two of my colleagues were there to remind that it’s just a date and the worst that could happen is me coming off like a total idiot and running away.

What in fact consumed my energy was the highly possible difference between him and I. I don’t know about him, but I definitely know about me. Why do those thoughts surface because of something as simple as a date? Because I liked him – even though I hadn’t met him yet – and wished he would stay for a while. I kept thinking about my anxiety and how hard it is for anyone to be with me given all what I go through, how many relationships, dates and outings it has accidentally ruined, how more did I have to endure because of it and whether I should start looking for serious ways to treat it.

Prior to the date, we had chatted a lot and both of us were very excited to meet. We did, and he wasn’t only charming, he was also someone who knew how to talk and what to say. Regardless, my anxiety kicked in, my palms got sweaty and I still had to focus as he was talking about something – I think it was related to Spain. I was so afraid to show this side of me that to me is now normal but to a stranger might seem like the least thing they need to deal with. That was the long story shortened.

What was really going on in my head was a mix of fear of how much we have discussed what we exactly wanted out of all of this, versus how emotional I know I am. This sentence was roaming around in my head “you cannot blame a wreck for being a wreck when it has known nothing but ruins its entire life.” This is hard to explain to him, so here it goes, I explain it to all of you instead:

I have daily highs and lows, and words get to me. I find letting go difficult. The sound of the fingers clacking on the keyboard makes me feel annoyed. The texture of foods between my fingers doesn’t put me at ease. The water droplets on a cold and sweaty cup irritate me. I don’t like people wearing the color red to go out with me. I feel scared whenever my phone rings regardless who’s calling. All the things I went through made me who I am, just like everybody else. All of those plus, I am very loving and emotionally generous, I can easily feel attached to words and hang on to dreams no one drew but me, I don’t like losing people over nonsense, I don’t like feeling smothered either, I find it difficult to be anything but me, I don’t know moderate loving, I can’t handle a heartbreak perfectly, I need time to get over a simple incident that happened to me, I stress over what seems to be meaningless for anyone.

Now reread this: What was really going on in my head was a mix of fear of how much we have discussed what we exactly wanted out of all of this, versus how emotional I know I am.

When I usually go out on first dates or meet someone alone for the first time – especially if we don’t have that much friends in common, I choose the place and I take someone with me or ask someone to join and sit on the other side of the café or pub; the last thing I need to add on my emotional wreck is a public humiliation or a situation I couldn’t escape because I was on my own with a somewhat stranger. Last night, I asked my colleagues to be there as well, and indeed they sat on the bar, with their back to us, not seeing or hearing a thing, but within a walking distance from me if I needed anything. I gave them the green lights to go and that I was feeling good, and they did, and I didn’t feel less safe after that.

His eyes had a small twinkle and his jokes were funny, he was not a complete mess but he sure showed how much he cannot handle mess. His was articulate, rarely falling short on adjectives. He was not like anyone I’ve gone out with before though he typically isn’t special – I’m sure people his age are similar. He’s not planning on staying for long, and it shows, and as long as I am fine with it, I cannot complain.

So now cheers to me, for being able to get along with the whole intensity of the situation – intensity being a very relative word please, and for the possibility of a second date.

At the end, first dates are supposed to be all about seeing whether you two get along.

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