Tag Archives: Anxiety

The Never-Ending Siren of Worst Case Scenarios

I’m a super positive person. That’s just kinda how my boat floats. And yet, I love to complicate that perspective–or part of my personality, rather–by, at the same time, also instinctively assuming the worst case scenario about everything. I touched on this a little bit in a previous post, but today, that realization has just been on my mind. As such, I’m going to write about it some more. Bonus for me for using a blog as an outlet for all my emotional shit, potential negative for you having to hear/reread the same rants, anxieties and fears over and over again.

But, luckily, if you have no desire to listen to me talk about this again, you can close your browser now, no hard feelings and no judgement whatsoever.

Still here? Lovely. Let’s talk about ridiculous minds.

Specifically, my ridiculous mind.

It doesn’t take much for my “worst case scenario” siren to signal in my brain. Today’s most pertinent example comes from where it often does: my love life. A tad bit complicated by yours truly, but in the simplest terms, I’ve found a really amazing man who I’ve fallen pretty damn hard for and cherish a ridiculous amount; to the point where I’m really, really not a fan of the idea of me not being in a–dare I call it–romantic relationship with said man. Because he’s really important to me. He means a lot to me. And I think my life improves wonderfully with him in it.

So, when I don’t hear from him at all today, guess where my lovely little mind goes?

Image result for frodo it's over gif

Um, obviously not.

Having an entire day or an afternoon not talking does not mean that a relationship is suddenly over. It does not mean that someone suddenly hates you or that you made a mistake. Hell, there doesn’t even have to be an explanation for it, at all. So you didn’t talk for a day. So you didn’t see each other for a weekend. So X didn’t happen and Y changed. Those things don’t mean that suddenly, something you care about and cherish so utterly has transformed into something you dread.

Yet that’s where my mind goes. The poor man has dealt with this worst case scenario situation multiple times, dealing with plenty of late night crying sessions that could have been avoided if I didn’t panic at every little thing. He’s a keeper just for putting up with that, amongst other things.

Unfortunately, he’s not the only one who gets to deal with that, because it’s not just my love life that I assume the worst. Let’s quick shoot some examples.

Scenario: When one friend I haven’t seen in a while hangs out with another friend and I wasn’t invited.
Brain: They both suddenly hate you, they don’t like you, you fucked up and you’re never going to see each other ever again because you suck.
Reality: Conflicting schedules, friends wanted 1:1 time, they simply forgot…so many potential reasons.

Scenario: Wrote a book and entered it into a contest and I didn’t win.
Brain: Wow, you’re really still trying this writing thing? You realize that not only did you not win this contest, but your books are never going anywhere ever again. You’ll always fail, because exactly what just happened.
Reality: Book wasn’t ready, didn’t click with the other party, subjective tastes, unlucky, book didn’t need the help that was offered, plus a thousand other reasons that don’t entail me being a shitty writer.

Scenario: You want to take a day off work to do this fun thing but you already took a day off work last week to help parents move.
Brain: If you ask off work, they are going to think you’re lazy and you’ll get fired.
Reality: Why are you even stressing out about this? If you have the time available to take off and get it cleared with your boss, then you’re fine.

It’s not just major things, either, that trigger this kind of response, like relationships. It’s the “little” things, too. Like how I got a new tattoo last week and it secreted fluids for four days and I immediately assumed it was infected, when it was just doing what it always does and needs to do: heal. Or when I got my IUD implanted and then my cycle changed, so I skipped my period and I immediately assumed I was pregnant. Or how I ate that Snickers bar last night and when I weigh myself on Monday, I’m obviously going to have gained 10+ pounds.

I know, I’m absolutely ridiculous.

Related image

The two main ways I’ve combated this unnecessary and over-imaginative worst case scenario response have been recognizing that I’m over-thinking or talking these conclusions through (though usually, it’s a combination of both). Realizing that I’m being ridiculous at least makes me aware that my conclusions are convoluted or exaggerated, so maybe I shouldn’t focus on them so much. Talking it out and hearing someone else tell me the same thing is also really helpful. Yet it isn’t enough to make me stop resorting to this response immediately with every given situation.

I’m not sure if there is any sort of “solution” in order to do that.

So thank God for the understanding and patient humans I’m lucky enough to have in my life, who don’t toss me to be curb after I repeat the same fear or concern for the nth time and remind me with only mild (instead of extreme) annoyance why I need to turn my brain off and just breathe. I’m not sure how I got so lucky, but it sure makes navigating this experience that is life more enjoyable.

Oh, and chocolate.

Cheers.


A Punch from the Brain, Retaliation from the Heart

If someone has a magical solution to help a person stop overthinking things, I, personally, would love to learn more about said solution.

Because it’s exhausting, friends.

I overthink to the point where I only focus on the negative outcomes. My immediate reaction is to assume the worst, because my mind easily twists and warps things to fit into that equation, where the only solution is the one my overthinking brain creates. Until that worst case scenario is proven false or doesn’t come true, I just assume that’s the reality, the truth of what’s to come. And then once it doesn’t, I feel like a fool, because everything obviously pointed to things being okay or things working out, yet my brain couldn’t help but distort those signs, those facts. I tell myself, See, you didn’t need to worry? Don’t put yourself through that again.

I’m sure you’re not hard-pressed to figure out what happens next.

 insomnia GIF

I’ve been doing this a lot lately in terms of my evolving friendships and undefinable love life. It can be the simplest things, from not receiving a text for a while to not being called a pet name to putting in all the effort to being left out of a hang out session. I over-analyze, I replay conversations, trying to pick up meanings from inflections and word choice and things left unspoken. I become hyper-focused, always worried that my reality is actually going to become what my brain tells me it will–and it’s never good. And life is good, right now, and who am I to deserve that? How long can it last before I mess it up; then, once doing so, how long will I spend regretting that one confession, that one crying session, that one time where I admitted too much or became too vulnerable and fucked everything up?

These thoughts and fears and scenarios birth in my brain and then worm their way into my emotions, twisting me into a sour mood where I either don’t want to talk to anyone at all or I become needy, desperate for affirmation and confirmation that these fears are heedless and merely vicious to my own subconscious. Suddenly, my desire to be productive diminishes, and even writing and reading become chores when they should be exciting. If it’s really bad, the emotions will manifest into physical pain, in my chest or my stomach, a throbbing pain in my temple.

 girl pink head explosion universe GIF

And all the while, the scenarios don’t stop replaying in my head, pointing out exactly what went wrong and how I caused it.

This sucks. It makes me seem like my brain isn’t exactly all there. That I’m emotionally imbalanced or the most needy human. It makes me seem like…a bit much, maybe too much to handle or perhaps not even worth the trouble, even for the good times; for the times when I have my brain under control and I don’t give into every seed of doubt, every change, every fear. How can the good times be worth it, for my family and friends and partner, when they also come with moments of the bad, which occur more often than I like to admit?

I can’t make a case for why, but I like to believe I’m worth it, anyway. Even though it’s not the most enjoyable part of my personality, being an overthinking worrywart is a part of my personality. A part I’d like to lessen, a part I’d like to be more in control of, but it’s a part of me nonetheless. So yeah, I have a lot of anxiety and I overthink way too much. But that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to me. That doesn’t mean that those demons are right and I’m going to ruin every aspect of my life, to my family to my friends to my love life to my writing career.

So thanks to those of you who stick by me, despite of this.

And also? A little note to that overthinking brain of mine?

Yeah, I’m in a point in my life right now where I have a lot less friends than I used to, so the few I’ve held onto, I’m suddenly so paranoid I’m going to lose them for good and my life will become nothing but working and coming home to an empty house; a routine never broken up by coffee dates to catch up, weekly 1-1 sessions, long conversations or tears caused by laughter. I’m at a point where I am falling hard for a man who is scared of commitment, so we might never have the type of relationship I’ve always dreamed about, and he’s become so important to me, I’m so nervous he’s going to disappear from my life and not only will I be alone again, but I’ll also no longer have him as a constant presence, support and light. I don’t want to lose him. I’m at a point where I’ve been struggling to write and I’m scared I’ll never get over that, but I’m also scared of the books I have written never going anywhere, never being loved the way I love them. I’m at a point where I feel like my financial status is dominated by bills and I’ll never catch up and feel ahead or financially comfortable, so of course I’ll either always live paycheck-to-paycheck….or worse.

But you know what, my lovely, over-energized, never-ceasing brain? All of those things could happen, all of those fears could come true, and I will still be okay. 

I could lose every friend I have and see no one. I could get my heart shattered by this man. I could have every book I write get rejected. I could lose my job or live paycheck-to-paycheck forever. One or all of these things could happen and yet I will still make it. You wanna know why?

That’s calling living.

That’s life.

If I didn’t have these fears; if I wasn’t putting myself out there and risking my heart, risking my hopes, risking my dreams; if I wasn’t so attached to people and passions and things; is that the kind of life I want to live? Sheltered, comfortable, safe, complacent, routine?

No, I don’t think so.

Some days, you win. You make the inside of my head a living nightmare. You exhaust my friends when they have to remind me, again, that they aren’t going anywhere. You make my family’s foreheads meet their palms when I repeat the same mantra of, “But what if X? Can’t you see Z?” You give me anxiety, you make me fear, you add unnecessary stress, you steal sleep, you absorb will, you cause pain. And I hate you for it.

 the lord of the rings our merry return of the king elise GIF

But other days, I win. I take risks. I follow my heart. I create art. I enjoy the little things. I run miles. I laugh with friends. I get overly excited about dogs. I nerd out. I go on adventures. I work. I live as a hopeless romantic. I do whatever I can to break up the monotony and mundane aspects of life.

No matter how hard you hit, no matter how many punches you throw, I’ll come back swinging just as hard. It may take hours, days, weeks, before I retaliate. Before my positivity can make a comeback and prove more powerful than my anxiety. But know this, anxiety. Know this, my overthinking, over-analytic, obsessive, cynical, hopeless mind.

I will never stop fighting.

And I will conquer you.

Cheers.


Running Anxiety

I’m not sure how long you could actually label me a runner, but I’ve had runner’s anxiety for as long as I could remember.

It’s a really stupid feeling where you’re worried about what everyone else thinks concerning your own running style.

For the longest time, this anxiety was so intense, I would actually avoid running at all costs. I couldn’t run at the gym because it was always so crowded, everyone could see me, everyone else running would most likely lap me and inevitably everyone at the gym wouldn’t be focused on their own workouts or striving to achieve their own goals; no, obviously they’d be too focused on watching me and judging me. Running outside was off the table, too, because even though it’s less crowded, you never know when you’ll pass another runner and then you spend the rest of your run worrying about their impression of you.

Stupid, right?

Yet that fear was so real. For a very long time. So I wouldn’t run. And because running was my favorite form of exercise, this meant I just wouldn’t do any physical activity at all. I was too concerned with what everyone else thought. About my running form and whether I was doing it properly or not. About my physical appearance and how I was “too big” to run, how you can see my thighs jiggle or my arm flab shake, how my face gets really red, my breathing labored and my entire body just becomes a sweat bucket. About my running speed and how when I claim to be running, I’m actually jogging or fast walking at a really quick pace (which translates to running at a really slow one). On average, it takes me between 14-15 minutes to run a mile. Not very fast.

For years, I let all these concerns of fleeting judgments and the opinions of strangers stop me from achieving weight loss and strength building goals surrounding my own body that I had for just as many years as I did the anxiety, if not even longer.

But then last November, my heart was a little confused and a lotta hurt by this guy who ghosted on me. I’d cried too many tears, yet a mix of emotions was still raging inside of me and I just wanted to be rid of them, and crying wasn’t doing the trick. I had no idea how to release them. So I went for a run.

And for the rest of that day, felt amazing.

 running dogs puppy parade GIF

Not all of us can be this cute when running. Or smile and run at the same time. 

Granted, my heart still hurt and my body was sore as hell, but I experienced something I hadn’t in years, the main reason I love running in the first place: that natural, endorphin-driven high you get after running, i.e., the runner’s high. I didn’t realize how much I missed that feeling. So I kept running, for five weeks straight, before winter’s cold kinda ruined my groove. And though I haven’t had a streak that long since, I have been running more consistently since November, even if more consistently is only one or two runs a week.

It’s July.

If you read last week’s post, you’ll see there has been some progress made in my self-love journey thanks to that change. Progress that could have been made years ago, if I could have ignored my anxiety and pushed forward anyway. Because honestly? That anxiety was really pointless. Nine times out of ten, any other runners aren’t thinking about you at all when they pass you on the trail. If they do, the thought or judgment is fleeting, at best. At worst, it might be a comment like, “I saw this slow runner on the path today” they bring up to their family at dinner, but hopefully, it’s followed by a positive spin like, “but I was really impressed that I saw them on that trail. It’s obvious they were trying.”

Because here’s the thing, friends. So what if I’m a really slow runner? So what if my body jiggles when I run? So what if I don’t pump my arms enough or my strides are short instead of long? The only point is: I’m running. I am trying. Sure, a 15-minute mile isn’t exactly impressive generally, but for me personally, all I care about is that I completed that mile. And then ran another (and if I’m feeling really motivated, even a third mile in one run). It’s about completion, not speed.

The most ironic thing is, any time I see a runner, whether while I’m running, too, or just out on the street while I’m driving by, I’ve never once judged them. Usually, my reactions spanned from being super impressed, being super jealous or feeling guilt that I wasn’t out there running, too. Quite frankly, the larger the person, the more impressed I was, because I understood how difficult that was for them, yet they were doing it anyway. Who knows how many times I’ve motivated a stranger to push a little harder or impressed someone because I was out there running? Not to mention the number of waves, smiles or thumbs up I’ve gotten from other people during running. Or how amazing I feel afterwards. It’s gotten to the point that, when I didn’t run at all last week, my mood actually blackened and depression kinda took a hold of me again. That’s how important running has become to me.

Looking back at all the anxiety I felt–which was very real, but not very logical–I could almost laugh, but I mostly just shake my head and wish I’d conquered my own mind a little bit sooner and didn’t wait until running was my last resort and only option to release some pent up emotions. I can’t lie and say there aren’t times when I’m passed by a really fit runner or I’m just having an off-day, that anxiety doesn’t creep up again and whisper in my ear.

I’m pretty jazzed that I’m now able to tell it to shut up and keep on running.

Cheers.


Frankly, I Have No Idea What to Title This Post

There’s a line from Twenty One Pilot’s “Migraine” that says, “Sometimes to stay alive you gotta kill your mind.”

I really love that line.

I also wish they gave advice on how to do just that.

I’m an over-thinker. A worrywart, as my companions and parents growing up dubbed me. I’ve always been this way. I know I’m not alone in this, but sometimes, that knowledge doesn’t help me deal with my incessant need to look at every angle of a situation–and often situations that haven’t happened yet, but are possible–and then fixate on the worst possible one, causing anxiety, stress and depression to set in as I then obsess over this outcome. Which, nine times out of ten, doesn’t even come true.

But let’s not keep this simple. Let’s include the heart into this, add another layer of complexity.

I’m a big believer of following your heart. It’s why mine is so scarred. I’m not afraid to chase what it wants without abandon. Some believe that’s foolish. Yet that’s not something I’m going to change. I’m sure it comes to no surprise that often, the heart and the mind conflict, even to the point where the mind overrules the heart and makes it confused on what it even wants, which makes it even harder to come to a decision about what to do in X situation.

Hold on, though. Still not complicated enough. Then add in the need to please others and the reliance on your fellow’s good opinion and approval.

Now we’re getting somewhere.

Welcome into the mind of Nicole.

‘Tis a confusing place.

Of course, I have a specific conundrum in mind: my love life. It’s complicated and confusing and conflicting, which I think is the most difficult thing to deal with. At any given moment, my mind will tell me to do one thing and my heart will agree. The next, my mind and heart splits. Another second passes and my heart has completely changed its tune, but now my head is questioning. And then you add in the opinions of everyone else I value–and don’t forgot the overthinking mind that doesn’t fail to look into every possible solution into every possible scenario, and frankly?

I’m just at a loss.

Here’s the situation (you might have gathered inklings about it from this postthis post or this post. Sorry my complicated love life has taken over this blog. But this blog is my outlet and I’ve never been confused like this before. Ergo, a lot of emotionally-charged posts).

Entered into a FWB relationship which actually felt and was treated like more of an actual relationship, just in secret. Not surprising that, on my end, feelings developed and complications arose. I “left” and then came back, twice, before finally deciding to leave the “benefits” side of a relationship and trade it for a “just friends” side, so I could move on emotionally and find someone who’d be capable and willing to meet both my needs and my wants. It’s been…hard, but I’m getting there. What’s been the hardest, however, is being plagued with one question:

What if? 

Because while I left because I needed more stability, more commitment and more certainty, I’ve been lost in this realm of uncertainty ever since. Because though the “relationship” is officially “over,” there are some small seeds of hope that it could still actually blossom into something real. So we could, potentially, still have a chance at having a relationship. Or I could say no, if that question was ever asked. Or it could never be asked and I could find someone else. Or I could find no one. There are so many different ways this could pan out and there are plenty of What Ifs to accompany each route.

What if we date and everything is as amazing as I always thought it would be? What if it’s everything I ever wanted? What if we completely fall on our faces and the relationship crumbles? What if everyone thinks I’m an idiot for giving him another chance? What if everyone hates him? What if I miss out on the guy “meant for me” because I gave him another chance? What if he is the one meant for me and I gave him up too early because it took a little work beforehand? What if I end up alone forever (but kill it as your ultimate dog lady)? 

Yeah, sometimes, my mind sucks.

There are just so many elements in play: my emotions, my feelings, logic, the opinions of others…all of which conflict and fight each other on a daily basis, which isn’t exactly comforting.

You got the feelings I have for the guy that everyone I care about tells me “didn’t treat me right” and constantly reminds me that I can “do better and deserve better,” yet part of me still wants to try because he does mean so much to me and I know he could treat me exactly the way I “deserve.” But then that raises logical questions, like, why hasn’t he already? What made him take so long to chose me; which, in turn, brings up some questions regarding trust. Yet he’s also made me happier than any man before him. Doesn’t that count for something?

Then I look at all the relationships I’ve ever known. All of them have had some sort of conflict, at one point or another. To varying degrees of complexity and difficulty. Some started great and got rough in the middle, only to become stronger. Some started out difficult and took work, but made it in the end. And very few have been really solid throughout it all, hardly a hiccup in sight. And sometimes, when people tell me that I can “do better,” I want to point out that every relationship is different and maybe this one is just experiencing the rough patches at the beginning. I want to ask not to be so quick to judge, even though I know everyone is just looking out for me and wants me to be happy. And I haven’t been happy, recently. So I understand that. It just adds another level of complexity.

And then you get all of those corny quotes telling you to never pick a guy who made you question or made you guess or made you walk away. Then there’s the small excitement of meeting someone new, wondering who is out there for me and the excitement of flirting and getting to know someone; battle that against the comfort of already knowing someone and admitting there are some challenges there, but there is also certain happiness, as well. Then there’s the fear of never finding anyone else juxtaposed with the fear that I already found them, but I’m just giving them up because it takes work and everyone else tells me I should and they are proud of me for finally letting go of something less than what I deserve. But is that really what want?

Yeah, I’d love to just kill my mind for an hour now, thanks.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to two things: choice and risk.

Everything is uncertain. I have no idea if said dude will ever want to try an actual relationship with me. I honestly have no idea if I’m willing to try, if he wants to–my heart and hope scream yes at the same time my mind, my doubts and my fears shout no. I have no idea how I’d meet anyone else or what I’d say if I did. I have no idea about any of this and all this worrying and thinking I’ve done in the past week isn’t really helping.

Regardless of whatever happens, the choice is mine. And though I do recognize that I really rely (a bit too much) on the approval of others, I have to trust that those closest to me will support whatever decision I make. And I need to let myself make that decision, without basing it off the opinions of others.

Even though I’ve been searching for the right answer, through talking and blogging and praying, I think I’ve come to the realization that there isn’t one. There is no right answer. That’s why it’s a risk.

I can’t know that my choices are going to be the best ones. I have no idea how they are going to affect my future or if they are going to hurt me or make me happy. There is no guarantee that whatever choice I make is going to be the right or the wrong one. Because that’s what risk is. It’s making a choice and sticking with it even though you don’t know the end. It’s trying to decipher the feelings in your gut and learning to follow them. It’s talking with those involved and learning to trust them. It’s finding a balance between hope and logic.

At the end of the day, it’s weighing everything I’ve been describing and more, and then finally making a choice, trusting yourself to make the right one. It’s accepting the aftermath and forgiving yourself when you make the wrong one. It’s having the courage to change your choice, if that happens. Or the courage to stay, depending. Or even trusting yourself enough to believe that you made the right choice and believing that everything is good, even when it feels too good to be true.

That realization doesn’t make figuring out my love life any easier. I know that I definitely don’t know what the hell I’m doing, but I’m trying my best to follow my heart wherever it guides me (even if that journey is a bit confusing, at times). I’m doing the best I can and I’ll take a small comfort in that. Because all I can do is try and follow my heart, trusting it to guide me true. Even it it leads to failure and ruin, at least I gave it my all.

Hopefully, when I look back at all of my choices, no matter how many were “right” and “wrong,” I’ll be able to take comfort and avoid regret, knowing that I did the best I could navigating this quest called life; amidst every wrong turn, pleasant surprise, lucky break, difficult choice, second chance, mistake, celebration and achievement, I tried and followed my heart.

Can we really ask ourselves to do more than that?

Cheers.


Non-Existent Eggshells

(Tangent before the post even begins: I totally want to use that as a title, for something. So I call dibs.)

I’ve been realizing lately that I do those closest to me the absolute greatest disservice by treating them like eggshells to be tiptoed around. This is especially ridiculous because they don’t deserve any such treatment in the slightest and I can’t even really explain why my actions lately are to treat every relationship like it is founded on non-existent eggshells.

I don’t have much of a social life. I’ve never really had what you’d probably label as a traditional social life, full of partying and going out on the weekends and drinking. Mine has always been much more low-key, hanging out in living rooms, gorging on chips and talking too much while YouTube plays in the background. And I love it and wouldn’t trade it for anything. Yet as each year goes by, I grow more introverted by nature. I find myself spending more time alone, as my favorite hobbies are all solitary: writing, reading, video games, blogging. I’ve always loved doing those things, but growing up, in high school and in college, there was always something else to break up those hobbies; something involving other people. A club. A class. Meeting the group for dinner. Soccer practice.

Ever since graduating college, it’s been very different.

Go to sleep. Go to Job One, where we are usually too busy to talk to anyone. Go to the gym alone. Shower. Eat and get ready for Job Two. Socialize a bit with my employees, but I usually have to cut that out so I have time to write. Go home. Sleep. Repeat. Though I love my main job, my schedule–working from the early afternoon until 12am Sunday through Thursday–makes it nigh impossible to fit in any socializing throughout the week. Then, my weekends, which consists of Friday evenings and Saturdays, are always jammed packed to the brim, trying to fit in time with the few friends I still have and my family, putting me in a constant struggle of trying to have enough time to see everyone I care about on a consistent basis.

Amidst all of this, I find myself worrying that all of these relationships are going to disappear. A lot of my other relationships have disappeared. My group of high school, I have one friend (and she’s a lifelong friend) who I still cherish. A few others I talk to occasionally. And one friendship that I hope is about to rekindle. My college friends? Gone, too. Some I still text occasionally or run into, but most of them have moved away and started careers, gotten engaged or married, talking about starting families. So the few relationships that have stuck it out throughout the change, I cherish more than I ever have before (and I’ve always cherished them deeply). But with that love towards those relationships, there is a new fear; a fear that if I miss one hang session, I’ll piss someone off. If I don’t text someone for a day, they are angry with me. When I try to juggle these relationships over the weekend, that’s when this fear materializes the most. What if, by hanging out with X friend instead of Y friend, Y friend is angry? If I stay home instead of visiting people, will they be angry? Will I lose them? 

These are the non-existent eggshells that I walk on.

Keyword: non-existent.

Non-existent.

You see, to me, these eggshells, for some undefined reason that I seriously cannot pin down, are very real. The fear is there. This fear that all of these relationships I hold so dear are suddenly going to disappear or be ruined by my actions/inaction. Which doesn’t make sense for a lot of reasons. First off, the relationships I have now are the ones that have lasted the longest. If nothing else, these are the ones meant to last, because they’ve already persevered through so much. Yet I’m over here treating them as if they are brand new, to be gently held and tiptoed around, as if they are fragile. They aren’t.

Secondly, I feel it is such an insult to those relationships for me to be questioning their longevity or fearing their end. These people–my best friend, my parents, my sister, amongst a few others–have done absolutely nothing to cause me to question. Sure, sometimes we don’t talk as much as I would like or we don’t get to see one another every week. But hell, that’s life. And when you’re working 60 hours a week like I am, the main bulk of those being worked when everyone else if off, yeah, it’s going to be a little more difficult to make plans and see people. You won’t get to do everything you want to in one weekend. You’ll have to put off plans or have weekends where you don’t make any, just to recharge. That’s my reality now. A change, certainly, but nothing warranting these fears.

So why the hell are they there?

I have no bloody idea.

I do know that I hate it. I hate being so nervous all of the time and so insecure in this area. If there is any aspect of my life for me to feel confident and secure in, it is the relationships I’ve built with those closest to me. The relationships that have battled growth and change and conflict and come out stronger. The relationships that deserve more than my misplace fear; deserve more than to be treated as eggshells that will shatter as soon as I come near them.

I’m not sure why these fears are there. I’m not sure exactly how to combat them, honestly. I’m talking with one of my friends now about it. Though my stomach is still in knots, I do feel better than she knows and understands exactly how I feel–which is impressive in and of itself, considering I’m feeling a load of different things all at once: Loneliness. Fear. Sadness. Stress. Neediness. Anxiety. Guilt. This weekend, I have plans to see almost everyone that I care about the most, which will be really nice and really, really needed. So those things are happening. But at the same time, I’m sort of at a loss about what to do with the jumble of feelings inside of me. I am certain that I don’t like this unease that has crept into me and making me feel so skittish and inadequate and alone. Advice, my internet friends (particularly those 20-somethings like me who are trying to navigate this complicated life known as “adulting”), would be most welcome.

Cheers.


A Sliver of Peace

Overthinking, friends, is a bitch. It’s a bitch that I’ve been dealing with a lot, lately. I won’t bore you with all the fine details, but needless to say, I’ve been overthinking certain aspect of my life lately. A lot. Needlessly. Pointlessly, as there is no point in overthinking all of these things when most of it is out of my control anyway and I should ignore the voice in the back of my head whispering lies and instead just trust that things will work out the way I hope they will; that I’m a person that deserves happiness and is capable of achieving happiness. I know this. I am so totally aware that I am overthinking. Friends, family, both have called me out on it.

Yet I can’t stop.

And today, at work, with the quiet buzz of students working and nothing but a six hour shift to distract me, it gave those worries and anxieties power, as I felt trapped. So much power that I physically felt the stress I was causing myself due to a situation that is partly out of my control. I couldn’t focus on anything. The first hour of my shift was spent looking at everything I needed to do or should be doing–or hell, even wanted to do–yet my body was so pent up with anxiety and worry and fear spawned directly from thinking too much that I was left without an outlet. I was stuck at work, in a public place. I couldn’t escape anywhere else. I couldn’t slip into bed and hope tomorrow I feel better. I couldn’t hide in the shower and let hot bullets of water pelt into my back as I attempt to release my worries through tears safely shed in the comfort of my own home. I couldn’t even go on a run and try to physically rid myself of all this pent up ridiculousness that I shouldn’t be feeling to begin with but can’t help it because I’m so insecure and don’t know what I’m doing. 

Except, there was an outlet. One shiny, glorious and downright surprising sliver of peace: writing a pitch.

On my To-Do list was writing a pitch for THE RESISTANCE, the novel I’m pitching next week to the Pitch to Publication contest. I opened a document to start writing this pitch at the beginning of my shift, but gave up on it because of the knots in my stomach and the stress caused by overthinking things I shouldn’t be overthinking (which is only made worse being hyper aware that your worries are for naught yet they still exist within you anyway). I ate dinner during my break and came back and opened the blank draft again. And I stared at it for a bit. Eventually, I got a sentence down. And then another. I pushed and wrote and focused on the always difficult task of trying to sum up an entire novel into three paragraphs that make it sound enticing, unique and make you want to figure out the end, while also making sure the hook, the stakes, the characters, the genre, the age group and the word count are all included. And then I finished a draft of the pitch and reread it. And reworked it.

It wasn’t until I was tweaking a third read-through that I realized my chest didn’t feel so tight anymore; my muscles not to tense; my mind not so panicked. Granted, all those emotions are still lingering and fighting their way back to the forefront of my mind, even as I write this post, but for a moment there; for a solid 30 minutes of work, I was able to escape it all when I thought there was no outlet available to me, through crafting a pitch about my writing. Something that I normally loathed to do, because I suck at it. Yet in this instance, it gave me peace, even if it was short lived.

Life can get hard, sometimes. Living with insecurities and anxiety and depression and self-doubt and being a worrywort and an overthinker makes life harder than it probably should be, at times. Being aware of that makes it even worse. And there are so many aspects of my life that I don’t have control over; that I have to trust others with, knowing that things might not always work out, even if I desperately want them to. But I take a lot of comfort in knowing that no matter what life throws at me or what I go through (or sometimes put myself through) emotionally, there is one constant, one comfort, I can always count on in my life: my writing. I may never get published, but that’s not what I mean here, when I talk about my writing. My dream of being an author may never come true and a lot of that I have no control over. But that won’t stop me from writing. I’ll never run out of stories I need to pen or the desire to write. And I don’t think life will ever grow too difficult that writing won’t give me an escape or a chance for peace. I will always have that.

And thank God for that.

Cheers.


An Anxiety-Riddled Weekend

For the first time in a long time, I found myself counting down the days until the weekend was over, hoping that by the time Monday came around, everything would be okay.

It all started with me feeling good, even slightly accomplished. I have anxiety on various levels regarding different things and one of them is talking on the phone. I’m not 100% sure why this is an anxiety-trigger for me, but it is. So one afternoon, after making lunch, I managed to suppress it long enough to call and schedule not only an apartment showing, but also to get recall repairs done with my car (which I had been putting off for a little over a month). I felt accomplished. I felt like I was adulting and doing it well. I have a decent amount saved up in my bank account and I recently applied for a job that, if I get it, would solve a lot of financial problems. Things were looking good.

Cue apartment showing. The apartment itself was cute, albeit small and, since we were being showed a place where a tenant currently lived, trashed. That was a bit disappointing, but I still liked the apartment and thought I could make things work with it. So I started making tentative plans of possibly moving into one around the end of the summer and wrapping my mind around the paycheck-to-paycheck living that would induce. Even looking at the cheapest apartment I could find, bringing in paying for loans and not getting cable/internet, I was looking at $50 extra a month after bills. So not exactly exciting, but with my savings, it was doable.

Fast-forward to Friday, when I took my car to the shop. I’ve always had old cars, so I have massive anxiety when taking them up to the car shop, because no matter what I take it in for, nth number of problems arise and I always owe over a grand in repairs. Luckily, my friend surprised me and we got to go eat lunch and run some errands during the repairs, so I didn’t sit wallowing in anguish waiting for my wallet to drain. We get back and the recall repair went smoothly and they changed my oil. Damage: $33 dollars. The relief is beyond anything I’ve felt in a long time. I skipped out to Smaug–that’s what I named her, with her maroon color and my love for dragons–started her up and left the lot. As I turned out of the lot, I touched the brakes as a car is about to drive past.

She didn’t stop.

I slammed my foot down and the other car swerved as I barely managed to get the car to stop. My entire body shook. Why weren’t my brakes suddenly working? I managed to get her turned around and back to the shop. Of course, this situation only grows worse because my natural response to most emotions is to cry (not to mention my period, at that point, was only days away from beginning, so the waterworks were in high supply and overeager). So I walked back in, found the gent that was helping me, my eyelids brimmed with tears, and tell him my breaks weren’t working. He discovered that not only was I out of break fluid, but there was also a leak. Plus, oil leaks. And advised me to drive really careful on the way home, because it isn’t particularly safe until I get that looked at. I had told him previously I had a friend who was a mechanic that was going to fix my taglight (as, a week or so earlier, I got pulled over for the second time in my life for having my taglight go out) so he suggested that I had that friend take a look at my breaks. And then he left.

Sidenote: Only after I got home did I think that perhaps the car dealership that did the repairs was to blame for the faulty breaks. I just wrote it off as miraculous timing on my part. I also didn’t even think about asking them to look at my car, as the man made it seem like that wasn’t an option and I just wanted to get out of there before I started truly crying. Not the best situation all-around, in hindsight.

Shaking uncontrollably and braking each time by touching the pedal to the floor and stopping at least 100 feet behind the car in front of me at each stoplight–pissing off all the drivers around–I made it home. Midway through, the dam broke and I’m bawling, yet only out of one eye, I noticed at a stoplight. Still shaking, the skin around my eyes and on my cheeks tight, I run into the bathroom to avoid my brother, lest he see me as a hot mess. I get in the bath and finish out my stress-and-anxiety-induced-crying-session, with one conclusion: I have to bite the bullet and get a new car. I’ve been putting it off as long as I could, fixing Smaug every time she broke down. It was proving too dangerous and too costly to continue doing so. Yet the problem remained:

I don’t have any money. Not enough to afford a new car or a higher car payment, that’s for dang sure. Yet I have to commute to work. And just a few days prior, I was struggling to figure out how to come up with paying for the cheapest apartment I could find in the town where I work; and that was before I had to consider a higher car payment. Plus, my first payment for my student loan comes out next week. Oh, and this all happened on Friday and I was supposed to start back up at work on Sunday. Yet I needed a new car.

Yeah, let’s say I was more than a little stressed out, as flashbacks to the stresses that inspired my Catch-22: My Life Edition post came rearing their ugly heads again. Friday night was spent with a lot of tears in front of my parents as they were both forced to rearrange their Saturdays so they could go with me to the dealership–because even if I didn’t want their expertise, which I definitely did, I don’t make enough to get a new car without a co-signer. I didn’t sleep, riddled with the anxiety of trying to buy a reliable car without money and contemplating selling my organs, plus trying to avoid being conned and ripped off, as is common with places like car dealerships.

We’ll fast-forward through Saturday, as trust me, it doesn’t make for a riveting story. The only highlight of the day was when I sat outside and read Jeff Salyards’ Chains of the Heretic for almost two hours before we left for the dealership–the only ounce of peace I managed all weekend, despite the book not being peaceful at the slightest. Damn Deserters. Left home at four, got home at 11:30pm, but came home with a used 2015 model that had working a/c, a radio that didn’t stop working when you hit bumps in the road, a plug-in for an IPod, plus so many other features so foreign to me, previously never owning a car that was less than 10+ years older than the current year.

Oh, and a car payment double what I had previously.

It’s Monday. I’m back at work. I’m still getting used to having a car that actually functions and trying to get used to driving it (as, of course, I get anxiety driving, as well, regardless of what car I drive). I have a trip to the DMV to look forward to. I didn’t submit the application to the apartments as I need to reevaluate my financial situation. Again. I’m so thankful that weekend is over. I’m thankful for my supportive parents who helped out and dealt with my tears, my frustrations and my anxiety, while giving me support and rides and advice. And I’m stressed out. Like I always have been, money drives me mental and makes me want to curl into a ball and never unfurl. My anxiety has been worse of late and I feel myself unfolding, dangerously, and losing hope that I’ll ever make it out in the “real world,” if I ever figure out what “making it” means.

Yet life is good.

Why? Because for the first time ever, I have a safe, reliable car I can depend on (and a stereo finally befitting of my  hardcore jams). I’m reading a good book that kept me up past my bedtime last night and I didn’t even regret it this morning when my alarm went off at eight. I just started writing a new book about a character I have already fallen in love with, yet I’m only five pages in. My coworkers greeted my return today with warmth. My dog and I have walked for two weeks straight now and I get to take him on a walk when I get home tonight. There are yummy leftovers in the fridge and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies came out on DVD, finally.

Yes, I’m stressed out. Yes, I’m struggling. But a part of me believes that every 20-something, every young professional, goes through struggling and living paycheck-to-paycheck at the beginning; almost like a rite-of-passage type of deal. So I’m going through that rite now (ha, look at that witticism. Look at it!). And a lot of it sucks. But life doesn’t suck. Not having a lot of money and always keeping a tight wallet is a bummer, but it isn’t the end of the world. Life is still great, regardless of those factors. And one day, I’ll make it. Until then, I’ll keep pushing, struggling, stressing and finding the things that make life worthwhile and chokeholding them to remind me that regardless of it all, there are still good things and good people in the world. I desperately hope you had a better weekend!

Cheers.

PS: In case you were wondering, I did already name my new car. She’s named the nickname I wish I was cool enough to give myself, because I think it is just awesome. Her name is Dovahkiin.