Dear Depression

This time of year is weird for me…most of my major break-ups or “almost” break-up have happened around this season, and they have left deep imprints in my subconscious. Guess summer lovin’ is really a thing. reaperEven so, those periods were really dark and disheartening times filled with inconsolable crying, loss of appetite, and an insatiable love for sleep. Now, even though every thing is right in the world, I cannot help but feel incomprehensibly sad, almost as if Depression was an old friend that has returned to Her winter home in my heart.

Is emotional PTSD a thing? I don’t mean to diminish the mental illness that many suffer through without relief, but that’s honestly how I feel. The same, familiar permeating sadness has settled in around me once again, confining and claustrophobic. I cannot stand it, but I also cannot shake it.

I need to do something. I don’t have time to be in a funk. Wait, let me try that again: Ain’t nobody got time fo dis s***! So I definitely need to do some analyzing because it’s been proven to help before –

Well here goes. Let’s start with WHY – why am I feeling like I have been dragged into a dark tunnel that has been sealed off on both ends yet again?

I think at the crux of it all, I’m scared. Everything feels just like it did when my world was crumbling – the temperature of the air is colder, sunny but with a nip (ironically, my favorite weather); the days are shorter; and my schedule is erratic due to the back to back holidays. So if all of these parameters are the same, why shouldn’t the outcome be just as similar? At least that’s what my brain is telling me. So really, while everything is honkey dory right now, I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

But let’s go ahead and assume that happens…hypothetically, let’s just imagine J suddenly decides to end our almost 3 year relationship out of the blue, and I’m forced to pack up all of my things, take my dog and run with my tail between my legs. Yes, it would be so extrecryingmely painful to let yet another dream slip through my fingers, and I would probably do all of those same things like a rerun of an old romantic comedy – cry, eat ice cream, scream, sleep, and cry some more.But then what? The world doesn’t actually crumble into tiny, irreplaceable pieces. If anything, with each passing day, I grew just a little bit stronger in the Dark Days. Looking back on those times, they were actually so important and really healing periods that forced me to learn so much about life and about love and about myself.

Looking at it that way, what in the world do I have to be afraid of? Pain? Psh! That’s temporary. If anything, I now have the benefit of having “been there and done that”, so I’ll be even more than just okay. I know there’s another side; the road doesn’t just drop off into nowhere. In fact, it often dumps me right where I needed to be all along.

Well will you look at that! You thought you had me beat there, my dear Depression, but think again. I’m not the same, scared little girl who doesn’t know her own strength. I’m here to fight, and if I do go down, I’m taking you down with me.

pink-boxing-gloves

Guess I just needed to “talk it out” with my WordPress family. I know that I’ll probably have to remind myself about this process and revelation tomorrow when all I want to do is snuggle under the warm blanket and let the day pass me by, but it’s a start. And that’s really all I need.

 

 

 

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Thankful for Thanksgiving

Worry

Most people have heard this saying before; at least, I know I have…a multitude of times. Yet somehow, I can’t turn off my brain and simply stop worrying. It doesn’t work that way. So instead of stressing even more about why I can’t be “normal” and just get over my anxiety like some people, I will instead focus on being thankful for all of the awful scenarios in my head that didn’t happen. No use worrying about things I can’t change, right?

For instance, in my previous post I talked about my social worries regarding J’s family and unfamiliar situations. Weeelll…Thanksgiving #2 with his side was absolutely wonderful. I met a sweet aunt and a silent, but kind uncle and their two amazing kiddos; I ate the most delicious, American cultured meal that was extremely different from Thanksgiving #1 with my Filipino family; and I bonded with his sister (who J loves dearly). There were no moments of awkward silences or uncomfortable interactions. It was truly like a big feast with my own kin, and I am so incredibly grateful.

Thanksgiving #1 was also fantastic. My grandmother and I spent the day together cooking, which she hasn’t done in a very long time. Her sharp mind recalled all of her tips and tricks as she passed her knowledge on to me, patiently teaching me her magical ways. Her weathered fingers fumbled, but that’s what I was there for…to open cans, stir pots, and lift the heavy bag of white rice. She was the brain and I was the brawn. Gosh, I never thought I’d say that! My family gathered in her tiny apartment and J had the opportunity to try a traditional Filipino Thanksgiving meal the way I remember it growing up. The whole experience meant a lot to me.

I love Thanksgiving. It really is my favorite holiday. And while some Negative Nancy may look upon the festivities and criticize how Americans need one day to set aside and be grateful, I scoff at her (or him). See, the reality of life is that it is so easy to get blindsided by routine, swept up by business, and turned upside down by every day thoughts and activities. There is no need to deny this fact. Thus, I am so extremely thankful for Thanksgiving because Heaven knows I need the reminder. I need the established holiday that forces me to pause, turn my eyes inward and reflect on all the good things I’ve got goin’ on. Yes, the goal is to make this a part of each day, to be grateful every morning and every evening, but I’m not there yet. I am still roller coasting through life imperfectly. Thus, I am thankful today. I am thankful for Thanksgiving. And I’m not going to stress beyond that.

Now excuse me while I tend to my food baby.
Always,
Freedom

Unraveling (The GOOD Way)

Back when I was in one-on-one therapy, I was given extremely useful insight that has stuck with me to this day…

I had entered my session feeling overly anxious for unknown reasons,scribblehead and I iterated this to my therapist. She said, “Freedom, anxiety in of itself is not a single emotion. It is a mixture and jumble of other emotions that are snowballing into this pit in your stomach.” From there we began to unravel the convoluted hairball that was consuming both my mental and physical wellbeing. Turns out I was worried about my mother’s health, overwhelmed with my caseload at school, and angry at my boyfriend for something or rather. Being able to label exactly why I was feeling the way I was feeling was an emotional breakthrough for me already. Plus, it gave my therapist a starting point for our session that day.

Today,  I am no longer attending therapy (though  I tell myself everyday that I need to go back), but I still use that technique of “peeling the anxiety onion” whenever I feel turned upside down with worry.

What brought this up? Well, I woke today up with an all too familiar feeling in my tummy – churning, gurgling, nausea- and I employed my unraveling tool.

Here is today’s list of anxiety provokers:

  1. Again, I am worried about my mother’s health. She has had 4 episodes in the past few weeks in which she experienced extreme disorientation – forgetting where she was, why she was there, and who the people around her were. Hearing this, my warning bellswarningsign went off, and I immediately encouraged her to make an appointment with her doctor. However, my sweet but sometimes stubborn mother has given me the excuse that she is waiting for insurance yaddah yaddah to come into effect. I am struggling with my Codependency in regards to this…guess its ugly head is just inescapable in my life. I’m not sure if I am supposed to just go on and make the appointment for her like everything in me is screaming to do, or if I simply need to let her go through the process on her own. I go back on forth on this every hour minute second.
  2. As I mentioned yesterday, I have this new job that has an extremely steep learning curve, and I am feeling discouraged after my first week. Though my supervisors and the schIcantool staff I work with have all expressed their deep gratitude for my work, I cannot help but feel that I am in over my head. Trust me, I know that these thoughts are typical for someone starting out in an entirely new field, but the fact is, I still have ’em, and they are NOT nice. I have my first solo session tomorrow with sweet Jack (name has been changed for confidentiality purposes), and I could not be more nervous. Add that the the core of my anxiety mush.
  3. I have to register for school on Monday the 30th, and the main class that I need has only 6 spots left. DARN ALL YOU PEOPLE WHO HAVE JUMPED ONTO THE SPEECH PATHOLOGY TRAIN. PLEASE SWITCH YOUR MAJORS NOW BECAUSE THERE IS NO MORE ROOM FOR YOU AT CSUN. PLEASE AND THANK YOU.
    Golemn
  4. Finally, it is the week of Thanksgiving, and I will be thrown into the mix of potentially socially challenging situations. I have discovered lately that I have some form of social anxiety (yes, yes, I know I need to go back to therapy…), and it has caused me some pain in particular settings.While I absolutely ADORE J’s immediate family and feel very comfortable in their presence, I will be meeting an entirely new set of faces that will be in town for the holidays. Pl
    ease be still, my dying heart. I know I’ll get through it, I just pray they like me. Oh, hello again, Codependency…

As you can see, I have quite a bit on my plate, but let me tell you, even just writing it all out has made me feel slightly better. Thank you WordPress for being the silent ear that I need.

What are your anxiety makers today? Go ahead, give the unraveling a shot! Just be warned, once you start pulling, it’s hard to stop. But that’s what blogging is for. So let it go, see what happens. Oh, and if you feel up for it, share your results; it’s freeing! I would know 🙂

unraveling.jpg

 

 

Freedom 2.0

Sigh…

Looking for inspiration

I have sat here with the cursor blinking on a blank WordPress page for about 10 minutes now, just thinking of how to begin this post. Over and over I would type a few words, laugh at my lack of creativity, erase everything and delve in complete mental silence all over again. It is the most frustrating feeling to have all of these thoughts pinging around in your head and to have no inspiring opening lines.

So I guess, I’ll just begin.

I quit my job! Ha, I think I should have just started with that news. I’m not quite sure if I mentioned what exactly I did, but it no longer matters. Just know that it was extremely boring, mindless work that was unchallenging in every way. Now, I have found myself in the midst of the opposite field, one that has a steep learning curve but a dynamic and rewarding payoff. Friends, I am now a Registered (almost) Behavior Technician (a.k.a Behaviorist), specifically working with children with special needs. In the span of 2 days, I went from imputing data into a computer to implementing behavior modification techniques both in home and in school environments to the most amazing kiddos. It is such a promising opportunity that has put me on the ground floor of my future career aspirations as a Speech Pathologist.

Blocks

To be honest, it is this job that has motivated me to pick up blogging once again. Confession time: I am a notorious, serial project-abandoner. Ask any one of my family members or close friends…I sincerely struggle with maintaining and/or finishing the random, creative outlets I take on. I have half-knit blankets, partially written songs, and squeaky clean exercise gear lying around the house. Thus, it is unsurprising to me that I have drifted off of the face of the WordPress planet over the past few months. Please understand that I am not justifying my behavior as a positive attribute, but it is simply a part of me that still needs some serious work.

Anyhoo… after my first week at the new job, I honestly felt so emotionally drained. I had a difficult time adjusting and felt both overwhelmed and disheartened all at once. Overall, I knew I needed an outlet for the pent-up emotions that were brewing (and I’m sure will continue to brew). So here I am. I need to write to keep my sanity. I am working with extremely emotional little people, and being extremely emotional myself, I will need a safe space where I can vent and cry and grow and reflect and learn all at once. From my past experience, blogging is just the perfect medium.

Overwhelmed

For those who have been on this journey with me from the beginning, things are going to look a little different around here. I definitely need to get back to Codependency introspection, but for now, that will be interspersed between my everyday vent fest. I am going to focus on growth and learning in general, and should Codependency topics rear their heads in the midst of that, so be it. Altogether, though, I just want to focus on the new path that I am on (mainly because I am so excited about it), and not be too harsh on myself in the realm of change. Instead of forcing it, I’m just going to let it be and love myself through the new process.

So for now…Freedom has a new face!
Love it or Leave it.