20s · anxiety · awareness · blog · depression · honesty · life · meditation · mental health · self care · self help · Self-Care · self-harm · Suicide · twenties · Uncategorized

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Sometimes in life, you have to ask yourself the big questions. What do I want to do with my life? How do I want my career to look? What’s important to me? Should I stay or should I go? No, actually, should I stay or should I go now. It’s not just a reference to a great song by The Clash off their 1982 record Combat Rock, recently made famous again thanks to Netflix’s Stranger Things. Not for me anyway.

I started asking myself if I wanted to stay or go around the age of ten. I was fourteen the first time I tried actually to go. Yes, I said the first time. I took half a bottle off Advil pm and polished off nearly a half of what was two liters of Bacardi; which I found in the stash of liquor my parents kept above our beach towels in what we lovingly called the ‘mud room.’ I got high off the feeling that my death was imminent; after getting dizzy and feeling somewhat sick, I fell asleep for what I thought would be the last time.

I woke up several hours later with a terrible headache and almost didn’t make it to the toilet in time to vomit, due in part to the fact that I couldn’t proximately make out where I was, and the room around me wouldn’t stop spinning. As I stumbled to the bathroom, I couldn’t tell if I was grabbing onto the counter or the towel bar. I got my answer when the towel bar, towel and all came violently out of the wall and crashed down on me at whatever early hour it was. The details about how the towel bar first came out of the wall have been something so shameful to me; it will be in writing this that my father finds out the truth of that story. The towel bar, and subsequently some of the drywall around it, was never the same and needed replacing several times afterward. Back to that night though, I clung to the toilet for what seemed like hours and vomited up the worst tasting concoction of Bacardi, Advil, and bile. I was almost surprised that I had a headache with all the Advil I had consumed. What I was more disconcerted about however was the fact that I wasn’t dead. This one solid fact almost miffed me at first.

I ended falling back asleep that night, waking up the next morning, and going to school. My uneasy, constant feeling of rootlessness and unease came to school with me, my anxiety packed itself neatly in my book bag as always, and my depression lurked over me like a cloud only I could see. My life went on.

I often felt like I had no sense of belonging, almost as if I had no face; like I was made of paper, and the slightest breeze could take me away. Simultaneously I felt held down by demons which I had no weapons, means, knowledge or energy to fight off. I think part of what made me so uneasy was that I always felt like I was a contradiction. All of this left me with the overwhelming feeling that I just wasn’t meant to be here. I call it the puzzle theory. If everyone is a puzzle piece, everyone around them in their life creates one, big, beautiful puzzle. Seems simple enough. For me, though I always felt like my puzzle was somewhere else like something had gone wrong at the great big puzzle factory, and I had been put in the wrong box, and I was surrounded by puzzle pieces I just didn’t quite fit with, no matter how hard I tried.

I also constantly felt like I was fighting against my mind. I had panic attacks which I’ll talk about further at a later date, and I didn’t know it at the time. However, I was also disassociating. I was thirteen when chunks of my day started to disappear. It was terrifying, and embarrassing, especially in high school where I already felt like an outsider to “wake up” crouched under a biology lab hutch where the chairs were stored not even having remembered getting out of bed and ready for school that morning. What scared me, even more, was that I was always angry, it’s still something I work on daily, often put to the test by Los Angeles drivers and traffic. I was always worried that I had unknowingly hurt someone or something during these blackouts. I never did apparently. I just went through life like everyone else; I just didn’t know it. It still creeps me out, to be that aware and yet so disconnected.

So you might think that fourteen is young to be considering taking one’s life, and you would be right. Having come much further now, I think it’s always too early to take one’s life. At the time though, it made sense to me. I couldn’t picture my life to continue the way it was. I was in high school. I was sleeping on the floor of my parent’s bedroom some nights because my panic attacks were so bad. I felt so uncomfortably out of place, feeling as though I had been misplaced. I was disassociating without even knowing what it was, and my anxiety kept me from taking so many chances I wish I had taken. I was a mess. My biggest regret, however, was not talking about it. It had seemed so difficult at the time to speak up; to say: “I have anxiety and feel depressed.” Or even to ask “Does anyone else feel like this?” since now I’m finding out that I wasn’t alone in some of those feelings. No, not all my friends tried to kill themselves at fourteen, I had gone through some life experiences beyond my control I’ll also get into at a later date that probably aided in my quest for premature eternal rest. I do wish I had talked about it more though. I am realizing now more than ever that it’s still difficult to talk about. I still have a lot of shame around it. I don’t know why I’m still figuring that part of myself out. I’m figuring a lot of myself out still. Aren’t we all constant works in progress?

What I have learned is that it’s okay not to be okay. There is nothing wrong with taking a moment to ask yourself the big questions. What do I need? Am I okay? Do I need help? Because I’ll tell you one thing I know for sure, help is out there. You aren’t alone. However faceless you may feel, you matter to someone. It’s important that you are a part of the narrative of this world because your contribution is unique, no one else has your voice, so it’s imperative for yours to be heard.

20s · anxiety · awareness · blog · Borns · depression · honesty · life · meditation · Past Lives · self care · self help · Self-Care · twenties · Uncategorized · Walking Dead

Prison Mind Break

For her 2016 New Years resolutions, Kylie Jenner published a YouTube video where she said that she felt the energy of 2016 was really going to be about “realizing stuff” and that she and her friends were really realizing a lot of things.  Sounds like she and Rick Grimes have been spending a lot of time together doing stuff…and ‘thangs’,
but, I digress.  giphy

When the video first came out she revived a lot of backlash for it, now looking back probably somewhat a little unfairly. Backlash, however founded or unfounded, is something I’m assuming the Kardashian/Jenner clan is pretty used to at this point, that however isn’t my point. Realizing things, is.

Have you ever met someone in your life that you instantly connected with?  You just felt like a deep connection with them? As if you had known them your whole life, or maybe in a past one? It’s happened a couple of times to me, and this past week it happened to a point where it made me almost uncomfortable.  I hadn’t known a lot about this person prior to our meeting other than what their face looked liked, however, mere hours later I found that strangely our lives ran this weird parallel.  Not exact or perfect obviously, but enough to where upon first meeting this person I felt like they could see through the usual exterior blockades I put up around me to keep myself safe.  To keep people away. And they could, by the way, see right through those walls.  They stared at me for a unnervingly long time before speaking after initially meeting before hesitantly, and very quietly asking if I’d like to take a walk.  I wasn’t about to say no to this person, what I wasn’t expecting was to learn so much, not only about life, but about myself on said walk.

While walking, I started to ask a question, and this person put both arms out to stop me.  He placed his hands gently on my shoulders and said: “Just try something for me. Breathe, in through your nose, out through your mouth.  Don’t talk, just walk, absorb the world around you and think about what you are going to do today to take care of yourself.  What is your self-care going to look like today?

Self-care is something I learned a lot, well, I thought I learned a lot about during an extended stay in residential treatment back in 2012.  This was a whole new lesson. “It can be anything.” He continued: “…a song that grounds you, brings you to reality, stopping to experience a moment, listening to live music, taking in a good smell, it doesn’t have to be a huge gesture, just always make time for it, every day.” The person talking to me is the kind of person you not only can’t help but be drawn to look at, but be drawn to listen to.  I wasn’t sure if it was his calm, quiet, demeanor which for some reason felt as unsteady as my own, or what, but everything he was saying I agreed with.

It was noticed at some point, that I was getting uncomfortable. I’ve always been good with the kind of self-care that looks like laying in bed and watching Netflix all day, but then it hit me.  That’s not always self care.  Sometimes, that’s depression, and God knows I’ve struggled, no, battled with that. So what was my issue with self-care? Why was it always easier for me to focus on “fixing” someone else, or helping someone else with their problems, or just ignoring all problems and responsibilities completely and not even taking the time to take thirty-seconds in the silence to center myself?  I know it sounds silly, and trust me, I thought it was too until I actually tried it.

I realized that I was running into this wall, a huge brick one, with the word ‘self’ painted on it.  I’ve never been that great at prioritizing myself, because, well, my self-worth isn’t exactly what I would call stellar.  It never has been.  As someone who has battled addictions of all kinds, anxiety, depression, PTSD, self-harm, and eating disorders of several varieties, I fall pretty low on the priority totem pole. So, having someone make me practice self-care made me uncomfortable, because they reminded me within minutes off meeting me, just how worthless I sometimes felt to myself.  What was even worse was that when I looked at them with this discomfort, I could tell that they knew! They knew exactly what I was feeling.  What wasn’t bad was that after some conversation, looking at them, I knew that they had been there too, something I hadn’t known I would encounter in this person, and something I definitely didn’t expect.

Every day.” He repeated to my still somewhat uncomfortable self. I tried to hold back a damn of tears that had been building up, and did so quite unsuccessfully.  I had met a complete stranger who had started a shift in my perspective.  I had gone into the day subconsciously thinking that I wasn’t worth taking care of.  I knew, of course that wasn’t true, I’ve been told it’s not, I’ve been told to take care of myself, and maybe that’s the thing.  I’ve always been told to do it, and I’m never good at it, and I might not be this time, and here I was being told that that too was okay, as long as I acknowledge that for that day, my self-care was no self-care and being honest with myself about that.  I came out of the day with a little bit more confidence in myself, with a glimmer of hope that maybe I was worth taking care of, and after all, as the person who knows me the best, I’m probably the best person for the job.  I’m not naive enough to think that it happens overnight.  That I’m going to wake up tomorrow loving myself because I found a friend in this great person, that I was taught a lesson, that I was open to it, I know it takes time to break out of the prison of your own mind.  Especially if you’ve been stuck there for a long time.

So, I ask you, what does self-care look like for you today?

Next week, just forewarning…tough questions, honest answers.

20s · Alice in wonderland · anxiety · awareness · blog · depression · honesty · life · self help · twenties · Uncategorized

I’m Fine

I don’t like the term “adulting” although I am guilting of using it because in some joking contexts it just works and can be funny. In all reality, however, it’s a term I’m not particularly fond. And yes, I’m about to tell you why.

Everyone seems to have this idea about growing up. That they know what it means: “Oh I got my car serviced today! #adulting!” The truth is, that is just life. That doesn’t make you an adult. Which of course, brings about the bigger question: What makes you an adult? Our government, at least in the United States of America, says that at the age of eighteen you are legally an adult. I can tell you from experience that at eighteen, much like Jon Snow, you still know nothing, and are therefore not an adult. Now, again in the US, eighteen only gets you a lottery ticket, and in some states, they have even raised the legal age of being able to purchase cigarettes to 21.

So what makes you an adult? Does anyone have the answer to that question? Or is part of being an adult being okay with not always having the answers to life’s big questions? I don’t have the answers. Trust me. I wish there were some magical pill I could take that would enlighten me as to what I’m supposed to do with my life, why I’m on this planet, what my purpose is. Or do I? Maybe part of this great adventure is just living it. Perhaps, and work with me on this one, part of growing up, and being an adult is realizing that it’s okay to not have your life together every moment of the day. Sometimes it’s okay to fall apart, to take that moment on the bathroom floor with the water running to just sob and ask those existential questions. Again, it would be almost annoying to know all of the answers, part of what makes life worth living is remaining curious; and I’ve found that the more I surround myself with curious people, the more interested, and inevitably happier I become.

I have days where I feel like I know who I am. I will feel like I am finally starting to come into my own and that maybe, just maybe, I’m over the awkward hump. Other days I look around at a stack of bills, a list of things undone, my curtains shut against the light, and I wonder if it is possible ever to get one’s life together. I will say this: I’m someone people come to for advice, and I have no idea why. I just always have been. I have a lot of older friends who often ask my opinion about their lives and personal problems, and I give them my advice. Again, not sure why since I’m not a therapist, and I am in no way licensed to provide any information. They always tell me how mature I am for my age, how I’m such an old soul, and my personal favorite that I said the other day: that I’m “such an amazing vessel of wisdom.” What? What does that even mean!? I take the compliments to heart. Truly. I am highly flattered. Something weird always happens when I end up giving friends my advice though. I hear myself saying the words and my mind starts to scream at me “Are you listening to yourself? Are you listening to what you’re saying? LISTEN TO YOUR ADVICE! FOR ONCE!”

I feel like this must be a standard issue if Lewis Carroll wrote a similar quote himself. So is that it? Is that part of being an adult? Taking one’s advice? Asking for a friend.

I will say that during a conversation with my mother when I desperately asked: “What does being an adult even mean?” even she answered with “I don’t know, does anyone?” Probably not.

So, this whole concept of “adulting” really irks me. So you lived your life like a million other people did today and do every other day? Good for you. And if you didn’t ‘adult so hard’ today, that’s okay too, because what does it mean? Even my computer doesn’t recognize it as an actual word. As far as I’m concerned, and granted, my concern may not mean a lot to you, what’s important is this: being honest with yourself. This past week I’ve had to do a lot of that. It makes for a battle bloodier than most Game of Thrones episodes between the head and the heart. I’ve also realized that sometimes your head and heart don’t have a whole lot to do with it, at times it’s a gut feeling. That gut instinct that a lot of us have that tell us this is right for me, or this is wrong. Listening to that is important. It’s important not to get caught up in the instant gratification of what might feel good at the moment, but what is good for us, what’s healthy. We know what it is most of the time, it’s just not always easy. No one said life was easy. Life, however, is precious. It sounds cliche, and it totally is, but finding good little things during a day can help you get through a bad one. No feeling is permanent, good or bad. So yeah, sometimes you get stuck where you feel like your life is that one episode of Friends: The One Where Ross is Fine. Just remember to use oven mitts when you’re pulling those very hot fajitas out of the oven, and I promise you really will be fine.

20s · anxiety · blog · depression · life · self help · twenties · Uncategorized

See, I’m Writing My blues away

Many times people tell you how hard your twenties can be. In fact, they start telling you how hard life is just before high school. They say at first that high school will be the most challenging years of your life. Then, you hit your twenties, and you learn the harsh truth: Your twenties are tougher. This is coming from someone smack dab in the middle of them. Being in your twenties is like this middle ground, more like a battle ground, where you’re caught between professionalism and not having your shit together. It’s terrifying. It’s a roller coaster worse than the last thirteen seasons of Grey’s Anatomy.

Of course, I can only speak from my experience. However, as I was scrolling through Facebook the other night at 2 am, when I couldn’t sleep (anyway I can cash in on all those kindergarten naps refused?), I noticed that not only had some guy I had a crush on in high school was now married, and his wife was also expecting a child. While I was grappling with this whole “Am I being socially left behind?” and “Should I be married and pregnant?” I realized that I had left clothes in the community dryer…for almost a week. Which promptly answered all my questions for me: If I can’t keep track of my laundry, there is no way I can take care of a human life, husband or infant. I’m still impressed I manage to bathe myself some days and feed my cats. I’m making myself sound a lot more depressed and a lot less self-sufficient than I am. I do know how to take care of myself. It’s just moments like that where I realize how different we, as humans all start to venture out on our paths.

I’m a self-proclaimed workaholic and addict of almost everything, who has said multiple times, much to the disappointment of my mother, that I’m just not sure marriage or having kids is in the cards for me. I’m sure I’ll write more on that at a later time. Marriage and whether or not to have children seems to be a huge topic of discussion with millennials; how to balance work and family, in particular for women still trying to break the glass ceiling. The word millennial holds a lot of weight in and of itself, both negative and positive, and I fully intend on finding out why. Just because of technology? Yes, maybe. Are millennials lazier than Gen-Xers? Some people say so. Is all the technology, all the instant gratification laziness or initiative? Maybe? I mean the invention of Postmates was probably born from either not having enough time to get one’s food or simply being too lazy or too busy, to get it. Either way, I think many agree it’s been a useful addition to the twenty-first century.

What I’m saying is this: People in their twenties don’t get enough credit for their mad navigation skills. I’m not talking about how to get through Los Angeles traffic successfully, although I, myself have become a pro at that as well. I’m talking about a much more important subject, and that is navigating through life. Anyone who has reached thirty has made it through their twenties, good for you. Seriously. As far as your twenties go, for those of us still navigating them, it’s kind of like the second coming of the terrible twos.

I think people discount how much your hormones are still raging in your system, and you look old enough so that people expect you to have your business entirely together and yet mentally, a lot of the time still have no freaking clue who you are or what you want. I mean sure, some days you know who you are. Am I right? When you’re walking down the street, and you’ve got the perfect song playing on your iPod? You think to yourself, ‘this is it, this is what living feels like, I’m going to be okay, and I’ve totally made it.’ It’s when you get home that night, and your phone is plugged in, the music isn’t playing anymore, and that new episode of Girls is on, and you find yourself wondering ‘what the eff am I doing with my life? What’s the point?’ And most importantly what is this whole “making it” concept that people talk about and how do I get there? Will I know it when I’ve found it? Do the people that I think have it all feel like they have it all or do they have the same questions as I do? Are we all just people with our inner monologs walking around afraid to write them down because we think they aren’t important enough?

I have to trust that at some point it will somehow all come together. Just like Hannah Horvath and her fellow friends on their final season of Girls are finding out. Eventually, you have to grow up. It doesn’t always matter if you’re ready or if you want to. At some point, all those times people told you that one of the keys to life was just starting, is going to ring true, and you’re going to have to get out of bed or fall out of the nest, or what have you. Perhaps one of the worst parts about growing up, and fighting your way through your twenties is realizing that you aren’t as unique as you thought you were. You are more than likely, a lot more like everyone else than you thought. Our problems are no more or less significant than anyone else’s, in some cases, they are much less than significant if anything. Isn’t that somehow also beautiful though? In our so thought “specialness” with all our quips, our fears, and anxieties we or at least I, often felt so alone. That is probably the best thing about being in my twenties, is that I’ve learned to look at me and notice just how much I have in common with everyone else walking on this planet. Some days are hard. There is no doubt whatsoever about that. Some days I don’t get out of bed. If I think about it though, I can probably be comforted by the thought that there is probably at least one other person out there, stuck in bed, in an adult onesie, eating a pint of ice cream as well. Welcome to the human existence.