Boyfriend/Anxiety/Vicious Cycles

I’ve been waiting on something extraordinary to happen, so I could fill the world in with what new “adult” like things I have learned. And not to say that I haven’t learned anything noteworthy, rather it’s just taken me an incredible amount of time to understand these lessons.

I searched a long time for inner peace. I worked really hard at being comfortable with where I was in my life despite some of the “uglier” things that I didn’t like. I was good, life made sense and I had my shit together.

And then all of a sudden life didn’t make sense. And I didn’t have my life together. I met a guy that totally flipped everything on it’s tail- and in no negative way at all. Suddenly I was in a place where I “missed” someone. I wanted to tell him things that were exciting or sad or happy or just tell him what I had for lunch. The little 24 year old divorced person became a 24 year old and “holy crap is this guy real” person. And that was a shock to my system.

My weekends were routine, and as were my work days. I knew the desires of my heart, and I knew what my soul needed at all times. And then it changed. My weekends became a delicious blur of two people playing in a kitchen and talking for hours. Work days became sprinkled with funny or sweet texts at the most opportune time and I was *living* for it.

Everything was perfect. So why didn’t I feel like it? I felt like I had met the most extraordinary man, someone who could be the literal definition of perfection, and yet I was struggling more than ever. And then it clicked- I wasn’t protected anymore. The little ice walls I built around myself after my divorce came down quite easily with this new guy. I let the walls come down without a second thought.

Once I realized I really liked this guy and that the feeling was mutual, everything became terrifying. Almost like a “this is too good to be true” type of feeling. For weeks I was overanalyzing things that people were saying to me, I could barely sleep, I was having a hard time being positive in my everyday life. It’s like subconsciously I decided that things were going amazingly and that now was as good a time as ever to self-sabotage.

This self-sabotage thing is so common for people to do. And we all do it, in one form or another, all in varying degrees. It basically stems from anxiety, fear and a belief that you are not good or important enough. For weeks my apartment was unbelievably messy. I was behind on laundry, behind with my blog, and just mentally not who I had been. *disclaimer, I was also quite sick for about two weeks during this time which didn’t exactly help the mental state* I was self-sabotaging my happiness, relationships, and even my laundry at that point.

And then, once I realized that self-sabotaging stems from anxiety and that annoying belief that you are not good enough I had an epiphany. Like anxiety and depression, this was a classic case of “vicious-miserable-cycle”. Example- you go home miserably sad and unmotivated and you lay in bed. You look at YouTube or go to sleep and neglect laundry or your responsibilities. This in turn only adds to the list of responsibilities you have and buries you even farther in your miserable state.

The only way I was able to break this cycle (with a lot of Tylenol and open conversations with my boyfriend) was to GET UP AND GO. I had to force myself to pick my room up, clear my email, deep condition my hair, and literally get my shit together. Sometimes we fall so far off of the path because we are sick, or going through a tough time. But it was comforting to know that I was not alone in this. Once I started in on the things I knew I needed to do it almost seemed like I was uncovering myself a little bit at a time. I didn’t let the stress or anxiety of what I was feeling control and dominate my life. Instead I pushed past that. I had to make a conscious decision to act against my anxiety and do the things I feared. Everybody has their ups and downs- but you have to appropriately deal with those low moments in order to truly get over them.

If you find you’re also in this slump, where you’re not depressed, but good lord you are just DONE for a bit, I recommend the following.

Do your most daunting task. And yes, it’s going to suck balls, but if you can get that one thing that’s keeping you awake out of the way, then you will be able to defeat ANYTHING.

Talk with a friend. Lay it all out on the line and just explode in your gross reality and listen to them when they say it will be okay.

Eat some good food and drink tons of water. You’re already dealing with stuff emotionally/physically so at least try to make sure you are trying your best to deal with your blood sugar and hunger pains.

Get out and go for a walk or a hike. Fresh air will do wonders.

And of course, always feel free to reach out and share how you have dealt with hard times too.

Exhausted Because I Am Growing A Hippocampus

No but really it’s true. In my psych class right now we are studying all sorts of strange things. One project is a case report on a 7 year old girl. Now I suppose I could pick issues out left and right with the textbook by my side and I could diagnose this child with a million things. But one, morally that feels quite strange, and two… she’s 7.

So in reading pages upon pages and doing so much research I found that we have a hippocampus (okay, I already knew this exhisted, but bear with me). The hippocampus is largely in charge of aggression, emotion and memory. The hippocamps regulates emotion. So it’s kind of an important thing, right?

Well turns out it develops with you until you are about 285 when it is fully developed. So *basically* we have been making decisions with only have a brain for the first 25 years of our life. I feel like this explains so much.

All jokes aside, it was a interesting moment when I realized that we are still physically and emotionally developing. Maybe this gives excuse to our crisis break downs at 20 and how we can’t logically think through some tough areas in our life.

The hippocampus, though located in the limbic system therefore associated with emotions, memory and motivation is most highly involved with our memories.

Let’s do math. Memories + Under Developed Emotional Capabilities + Stress= 20 year old life crisis. This explains so much.

This explains how it is possible to be so emotionally exhausted. We are searching for answers our brains don’t even have yet. Working with undeveloped organs.

Even though we are adulting and kicking asses and taking names- we are still tired. It takes a lot of work to grow a hippocampus (I mean, probably. Not a scientist or anything). Just think about these things the next time you’re pissed because you don’t know why you feel a certain way or why you can’t emotionally work through something. And then blame your under developed hippocampus.

Where I’ve Been

If you’ve been here a while you will know that I am usually quite active on my blog. The past three weeks or so I haven’t done anything with Adultish. Not because I want to quit or because I am over it, but because I am in an area of growth. Almost like when you have a baby and they go through a growth spurt and they need extra cuddles and sleep and they get cranky. Yes, it’s exactly like that. I have been really introspective lately and just trying to search deep for what it is I feel I am missing. Sometimes I feel like I am just missing coffee, and other times I have to stop myself from driving to Canada when I am supposed to go to work. We are going through some things, that is for sure.

I wrote this a while ago, and while searching for whatever I felt I needed at the time, I found this draft tucked away when I was thick in my feels. Interestingly enough, I am in the same state even now, weeks later.

“I’m putting my life on Do Not Disturb. Not that I am saying “don’t talk to me”. But that I am saying “slow down”. I woke up and I listened to the birds, I felt the cool morning wind on my face and it was exhilarating. I watched bunnies pop around with their white tails and I just sat in complete peace. I have been learning how to be in the “now” as Eckhart Tolle explains in his book, The Power of Now.

It’s the concept of transcending the worry or the pain in your body and being fully present- something he explains far better than I can. It’s magical- the ability to transcend what seems to be hanging over you.

On a hundred roller coaster rides that terrified me, I was able to reach a state of nothing. I know maybe that sounds so stupid, but it was amazing. If I am upside down three hundred feet in the air and can be “nothing”, what’s stopping me from doing that with emotions and physical pain? My spine is bruised from ten hours of roller coaster rides with BK. I have a headache from being dehydrated and that “sun poison” feeling you get when you’re out too long and close to death. But I am nothing.

Nothing- but not in the way depression makes you feel “nothing” but rather the ability to almost be out of body a bit (I know, total freak) and control what I am spending my mental energy on.

I am on Do Not Disturb- I simply can’t be disturbed. Sure, work disturbed my zen like state, but only when I let it.”

This resonates with me as I just came back from a vacation and just walked back into reality. I am still learning how to be okay with things that I can not change. I wholeheartedly believe that your reactions to situations can change everything. If you are okay on the inside and at peace you are more able to positively react to what is going on in the outside. Every situation has both positive and negative potential, and your reaction makes that determination. Being in a zen like state, or choosing happiness in your life sets you up to react in an edifying way. So while we can’t put our jobs or relationships on do not disturb, we can mentally decide what we allow to have hold over us.

The Truth| Adultish

This wasn’t the blog I planned to put up this week, but when life gives you lemons… you call your mom-thing and cry. When I started Adultish I wanted everyone to be able to gleam a  bit of wisdom from my mistakes, follow my journey and only experience the lessons and none of the hardship. I wanted to learn the shitty things and then tell you all how to better deal, or avoid those situations. I put so much focus on maintaining goals, being “adult”, having your shit together… being “perfect”. And while I do believe that growing up and paying your bills is undeniably important, I don’t think the way I have been doing this adulting thing is very realistic. Let’s rewind, shall we…

When I was married I was a totally different person. Very in my feelings and emotional, very pity-party and not really fun. I didn’t have my license, didn’t try too hard to get it, and I didn’t really strive or work towards anything at all. I counted on my husband very intensely, and that’s what “worked” in our relationship. Until, it didn’t work anymore. This all happened, probably, when I started to realize there was more in the world than what I was doing. I wanted to run again, and read controversial things, go to friends houses…  I think I was starving for something new and exciting and that was not the person my husband married. Now, of course, I don’t know if this is why I went from married to homeless, but I am sure it probably played a pretty significant role. I don’t think I will ever know the reason why- but I do know I was starting to get very restless with the same thing everyday.

Now I have always been extremely hardcore. For most people there is black, white, and gray. For me it’s black and white. I either master something or totally screw it up. When budgeting I will either not spend a dime for 27 days, or spend an entire paycheck in an hour. I really have zero middle ground. . When I was married I was super dependent. And now that I am divorced and on my own I am stubbornly independent. The moment I moved out a switch flipped and I told myself I couldn’t screw up again. I felt like I had a second chance to do things and make something of myself. It’s like I got so scared of ever depending on someone or messing up that I made a vow to only count on myself and work my tail off. I honestly think if I was on fire I wouldn’t ask for help some days. It’s annoying, even to me. I think all of these responses to life trauma are extremely normal…

So let’s come back to the present moment where I am newly 24, divorced for about a year and my day dreams occupy an incredible amount of my time. I am obsessed with trying to save money, finish my degree, excel in my job, keep my place clean, trying to sleep 8 h/night, get A’s in my classes, keep up with Adultish, and be a nice person. All of these things are incredible, and absolutely imperative to work on in order to be a functioning human being. But I had a conversation that shook me to my depths.

*set the scene: me in tears (because I had lemons for lemonade but someone had better lemons… or something like that)*

Me: “But I am just agitated! I am working so hard, trying to do all of these things, and I’ve only made it this far!”

Magical Human: “You have only been on your own for a little over a year. You got a car, your license, saved, started school, moved into your own place… You’ve done the best you can with what you have… I mean what is it you think you are missing or lacking?”

And boom, like a ton of bricks crashing into my mediocre lemonade it hit me- I have some severely unrealistic expectations. In trying so hard to better myself and work towards the next thing, I have starved myself from reality and being appreciative of where I am. I really do remember crying and hurting because I wanted to have some money saved, and I wanted my own car, and the freedom a license brought. Now I have that, and so much more but I am only looking at what’s next. All I can think is how I want to advance in my job NOW, and move into a bigger place NOW, and get my degree NOW. But when we become so consumed with what we don’t have, it mentally destroys us.

I have a whole time line in my head of how things will work out, but most of these things take a considerable amount of time, like saving X amount and finishing my degree. These are excellent long term goals, but I need to focus on short term goals that help me get to the long term ones.

Of course I still totally believe in the importance of bettering yourself and getting your shit together. I will always be the person to try and make everything perfect- that’s just who I am. I will always rearrange my place 6 times a month and need to buy a new pair of shoes to spruce up my life. It would be a cold day in hell the day I didn’t want to update, organize or better something.

If you take anything from all of the tears and hydration I lost learning this lesson, it’s two things…

One- Long term goals are great. Short term goals help you keep your sanity.

Two- Sometimes the ability to see where you are versus where you were is the lesson it’s self. Always be grateful for where you are in life- even if it’s still miles from your goal.