Tag Archives: advice

Not the War

I can’t breath. 

I can’t breath. 

This space is so small. 

Make it stop. 

The world is crushing me.

Everything, all the Earth’s energy, is closing in.

I can’t get out. This space is too small.

I can’t breath.

Please.

Make it stop.

Panic attacks. They’re not fun. If you’ve never had one count yourself lucky.

Today I had one for the first time in a long time. Well, a few months. For me that’s a success. It wasn’t a bad one. Well, they’re always bad… but I’ve seen much worse. 

It was one of those days where my anxiety was like a dog yanking on the leash to run ahead of the owner. All day I felt the edge ever present. It was what I call a 10 second day- a day where I use a trick I learned from Kimmy Schmidt. You break life down into more manageable time chunks… 10 seconds.

My will could only hold the leash for so long, because the anxiety dog was inevitably let loose at approximately 8:30 PM Eastern Standard Time as I was shampooing my hair. 

The long day of feeling like I was screwing everything up had caught up to me. The day where I feared parts of the future would be off alignment with what I had planned (something that seems so much worse than it actually is to an OCD riddled mind) had done its toll. The day of feeling overwhelmed had finally reached its peak, and due to some wonky brain chemistry that left me with an anxiety disorder- my body unnecessarily went into flight or fight mode. I had a panic attack.

Now, as I lay in bed trying to calm myself down as I write this, I feel disappointed in myself. I’m upset that I let my anxiety make my day worse than it needed to be, and made me act strange. I’m upset I had a panic attack today, when I’ve survived far more nerve-wracking situations unscathed. I’m upset that I’m not over it as I type this. 

It won. My anxiety won. And that, above all else, is what upsets me.

But, the more significance I give this loss, the more that anxiety’s victory is worth. I’m only human, I’m not going to win all the time. No matter how hard I try, there is only so much I can combat with medicine and coping mechanisms. I’m human, and therefore flawed and cracked. Through those cracks my anxiety might find an edge.

However, those cracks can be subsequently repaired, lessening in number over time. So long as I keep my healthy characteristics, and actively repair the cracks, I can’t crumble. If I don’t crumble- I’ve won the war. Who cares how many itty bitty cracks in strength my anxiety exploits to win a battle if I’m still standing and still fighting. 

So to my anxiety I say this: You won the battle today, but you haven’t won the war. I’ll see you tomorrow.

An Open Letter To Those Who Feel Things More Deeply

Don’t let people pigeon hole you. You are so much more than an over thinker. So much more than a sensitive soul. So much more than a dramatic. You can be hilarious, deep, light-hearted, serious, profound, lively, and anything else simultaneously. Just like any other human, you are complex and layered. Even Shrek had layers.

You are not weak. It takes a great deal of strength to repeatedly open yourself up to the world around you. To not harden and build walls. Allowing your emotions to be powerfully raw and continue on in spite of their impact takes courage. You’re letting life affect you while you live it.

Take care of yourself. You should be proud of who you are, deep feelings and all, but don’t be afraid to withdraw when needed. Your abilities allow for extraordinary euphoria all the way to depressing despair. You need the latter to appreciate the former. Experiencing the scale is experiencing life. However, just experiencing despair is not. Do not allow the negatives to become so consuming you miss out on the positives.

Take a breath. What you’re feeling, no matter how encompassing, will pass.

You are passionate. Feeling connected and affected doesn’t have to bring you down, it can motivate you. You care. Use that care and concern as a catalyst to change your surroundings for the better. Your qualities can make you, and your world, better.

You are compassionate. Having felt deeply and truly,  you have experience and therefore an understanding of more emotions than the average person. This lends you to be more empathetic to those around you, as you can relate. Maybe not exactly, but to an amount that allows for true connection.

You experience more of life. The depth of your sentiments allows for you to see a greater range of the human experience. This lends itself to great thought on the matter. You’re in line with the poets and saints.

“EMILY: “Does anyone ever realize life while they live it…every, every minute?”

STAGE MANAGER: “No. Saints and poets maybe…they do some.”

Thornton Wilder, Our Town

You are you. Be proud.

 

Say What YOU Need To Say

Already back at it?! Saw whaaatttt?!?! Well I thought I’d give this short post a a little twist using song lyrics instead of book quotes.

There’s that study a while back about what people regret most. What most participants said is that they regret what they didn’t do, not what they did. Isn’t vocalization an action? Could this philosophy apply to what we say in our lives as well?

“And all those things I didn’t didn’t say, wrecking balls inside my brain “

~Fight Song, Rachel Platten

We’ve all been there. Left our words inside our head instead of saying them out loud or even typing them. Or perhaps we didn’t phrase our statement so that it reflected what we were trying to say. I consider myself a fairly unfiltered individual and even I can relate. Just because I usually say what I’m thinking doesn’t mean that what I’m thinking is organized in a manner efficiently reflective of what I’m feeling, or trying to prove. Additionally everyone, including myself, has topics that make the brain stutter.

So what does this all mean? We can’t go back and tell everyone that was ever in our lives what we meant. We can’t change our goodbyes. We can’t stand up to insults more poetically retroactively. However,we also can’t continue to lose a second of sleep over wondering. What helps me is remembering that no matter how eloquently you said what you meant, it doesn’t mean it would have been taken that way.

“These words are my diary screaming out loud, and I know that you’ll use them however you want to”

~Breathe (2 AM), Anna Nalick

Communication is a complicated process of encoding and decoding messages that takes at least two parties. How the message is received, though influenced by how you deliver it, is essentially on the other person. So you can’t wish you said something solely for a specific reaction out of someone, because that reaction is not in your control.

 You have to speak for you, when you need or want to get something off your mind, not because you want a response. You can’t change the past but you can learn for the future. So, by all means, this blog is making me more motivated to tell the people in my life that I love them, stand up for myself, and make more jokes even if they’re lame- but I realize I have to do it for me. I’m going to make that lame pun if it makes me happy, but I won’t be counting on laughs.

“Decide what to be, and go be it.”

~Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise, The Avett Brothers

Everything Won’t Be Alright, And That’s OK

I won’t lie. I’ve always been a bad liar. Everything is not going to be alright. Everything will not get better.

But some things will.

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”

Robert Frost

In the depths of despair it is hard to believe such reassurances as “it’ll all be ok”. Coming from someone who’s been there, an element of this doubt is the overwhelming and crushing negativity that makes climbing out of the hole you are in seem too great a feat. Another element, however, is the strong logic that  such a generalization can’t be true.

Many illnesses, including my own, can’t be cured. Loved ones won’t come back from the dead. Things won’t always go back to the way they were. There are some wounds that time can only scar over, but never truly heal.

By no means does this mean to lose hope. By no means does this mean to give up. By no means does this mean life isn’t a beautiful thing. It just means we need to stop expecting it to be perfect, flawless, and smooth. It will never be this, at any given point.

“So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.”

Stephen Chbosky, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

Life isn’t a paved road that has unmaintained and rocky sections. Life is field. A meadow where any square inch is full of good things and bad. For example, you just stepped somewhere that was cushioned by grass, but home to a fire ant  that is capable of biting you. Life is complex, oversimplifying it is just setting yourself up to be disappointed.

If you expect a time to be “the best years of your life”, if you expect every aspect of your life to be going smoothly, if you expect pain to be wiped from your slate completely- you will be disappointed. Not everyone or everything’s agenda is the same as yours. There are bound to be clashes. There bound to be sorrows. And if you aren’t expecting them, they hit that much harder.

That’s why it’s important to know that not everything will be alright, and know that’s ok. Because, these sorrows don’t have to negate the good. As was said in a movie I watched this summer, you have to be happy with being sad. And just as inevitably as bad is bound to happen, so is something that makes you smile. Those moments of happiness, those moments of euphoria, those moments of human connection; they make the bad times worth it.

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”

Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

It won’t all be ok. Accept it. There might be many moments in the future where things are not ok. But inbetween, I promise you, something will be ok. Something will make you grateful. Something will make you happy to be alive. Cherish it, whether it’s big or small. It’s what makes everything worthwhile.

pic

Falling Short

You’re your own worst critic.

Stop being so hard on yourself.

You’re doing the best you can.

“Most important thing in life is learning how to fall.”

Jeannette Walls, Half Broke Horses

You can’t please everyone, that is a lesson of it’s own. But what about yourself? What happens when you can’t reach your own goals? Your own standards?

I’ve been there. I am there. In more ways than one.

One area is school. I’ve always identified as the smart kid, the nerd. School was the one area of life I could receive praise for a really long time. Regardless, I had to be good at school to afford college. Academics was an escape. I want to make a career out of it, I want to be a professor. At the moment, however, I’m falling short.I’m not failing. However, I’m not the star, straight A student I was. I’m burnt out and overwhelmed. This isn’t the first time, but this is the more noticeable time.

It’s as if all my energy is currently going to just existing. In terms of Spoon Theory- a person only has so many spoons, each symbolizing energy. Tasks require varying amounts of spoons, and once that spoon is used it doesn’t reappear until the person has recharged. It’s as if I used to start a day with dozens of spoons, and currently I’m trying to live off 5. There simply isn’t enough energy to thrive.

“Doubt is an uncomfortable condition, but certainty is a ridiculous one.”

Voltaire

I have trouble accepting that it’s okay. That everyone has periods of falling short and that I am in no way worth less or less capable in the future because of where I am now. I feel like I’m letting myself down. Like I’m not reaching my potential, despite having some hefty obstacles currently in the way. I start to fear I won’t reach my dream of a career in academics because I start to doubt my own intelligence and proficiency. And if this one area that I had consistently shined in is taken away- who am I?

If there’s one thing I learned this summer, it’s that I can’t let these thoughts get me down.

“You never know what’s around the corner. It could be everything. Or it could be nothing. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one day you look back and you’ve climbed a mountain.”

Tom Hiddleston

A high achieving colleague let me in on a secret one afternoon tea as I opened up about these worries. About how I wasn’t feeling good enough to succeed. He simply said: no one has it figured out. Everyone feels as uncertain as I do and everyone is faking it until they make it. It’s normal to experience doubt, and no one is perfect, so It’s normal to have off times. So long as I keep going, and keep projecting confidence, I can move onwards and upwards despite falling short occasionally.

As long as you have the will, you can succeed. You just need to keep going, keep trying, all the way through the periods of doubt, and you can learn along they way how to make it.