Tuesday, August 18, 2015

I have ______________.

I suffer from _______________. While technically according to my therapist we can fill that blank in, it's a double edged sword for me. On one hand it's a relief: yes, there is something wrong with me, it has a name. Let's use that name, take ownership, and do something about it, X, Y, and Z. 
On the other hand it makes me want to cry. Not in a, "Woe is me, I'm broken," sort of way. In a way that procrastination is part of my problem and this feels like an excuse. 

This article explains procrastination as a mental handicap. http://waitbutwhy.com/2013/10/why-procrastinators-procrastinate.html 
It resonates very deeply with me, as I am currently, and what life was like for me in high school and college. 
Coupled with undiagnosed depression and mild anxiety, you can make the (correct) assumption that college was rough for me. 

Trying to explain my mental state feels like a Ferris wheel or a merry-go-round, except not fun (depending on your interpretation of fun I guess). But I will try to explain:

My depression manifest itself 1. Physically; This book (http://www.amazon.com/The-Mood-Cure-Program-Emotions-Today/dp/0142003646) explains biologically what is happening in your body in terms of lack of specific nutrients that help you get going and feel good. This book has helped me, but as a reoccurring theme across my different mental states, I feel frustrated that it takes more for me to feel "good" then a so called "normal" person (of course my self guilt then chimes in saying that everyone suffers in their own way, I'm not special, this is part of being an adult, etc.). 
Exercise is supposed to help boost your "happy chemicals"; I have had a love/hate on/off relationship with running my whole life. I was great at it in school and excelled in the organized sport. However, I booby trapped myself, which will be a reoccurring theme in my life, and quit because I "didn't like it". More on self-sabotage later. 
So I try to eat correctly, take vitamins, and run. Easy enough right? It helps if I write these things down in a schedule to remind myself of the track I need to stay on. Do I do that regularly? No. Why? Not really sure. 

During my first visit with my current therapist, we did a little written test to see where I landed on a scale for certain issues. I came out scoring high on "self sacrifice" and "unrelenting standards". 
This means I will bend over backwards to work hard for someone else, at the expense of my well being. It also means I hold myself up to extremely high standards (which is why I fail to start many things, for fear of not being good enough, or the best). 
That is why I am seen as a hard worker; when it comes to helping other people or my job, I'm in 150%. And when I get praise and am acknowledged for a good job? Oh boy, does that feel AWESOME. On the other hand, when something doesn't go right, when I receive criticism, when I didn't come in first, well, I might as well go perform Harakiri. 
This, paired with procrastination problems with immediate satisfaction (see article: http://waitbutwhy.com/2013/10/why-procrastinators-procrastinate.html) is why I tried a bunch of different activities in high school but failed to stick with something long term and practice. This is why I have piles of art supplies and musical instruments but don't produce anything. This is why I have bounced around from one romantic relationship to the next. 

In this day and age we have these wondering things called Facebook and Instagram which is a nightmare for someone like me. It is a black hole where you judge yourself and others and fester in loathing of what this person is doing or has done, all while whispering to yourself, "you can do that, that's easy, let's try that later, yay!".
It's very false encouragement from the immediate satisfaction monkey. 

So I can keep going on about different aspects of my wavering mental capabilities, but I'll also touch on things that help. **note: while I am in a much better place then I was, say a year or more ago, these things help, but depression never goes away. It's always there, and it sucks**

Read: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. 
This book is about mindfulness and being present. I have read half of it, and had gotten to a really good head space. Then I stopped reading and have told myself I will finish reading it for the past couple months, then felt bad at the end of of the day I didn't do it, but told myself okay tomorrow, we're gonna do it.
(Side note: I used to be a lot more, as you will, 'hippie dippie' and happy-go-lucky about life, which made a lot of holistic approaches to self help resonate with me deeper, i.e. Reiki, yoga, kundalini, raw diets, crystals. I don't know what changed along the path, but I have since become more jaded, and it makes really believing and feeling those things hard. Which is kind of sad)

Read: The Mood Cure by Julia Ross. This will legit make you feel better ASAP (because it tells you what specific amino acid supplements to take and boy, do they work). Problem with this is that it is expensive and time consuming if you don't have a regular, responsible eating schedule (which is hard for most younger single people's). 
But it also gives great insight into the biologically mechanics behind different forms of depression.

Go: to a therapist. Seriously, I think everyone should, at least once (But really for a couple months). It's hard; costs if you don't have health insurance, if you don't jive with the first person you see, it can be frustrating. But they say the first and hardest step is actually going. I was luckily enough to find a therapist who works great with me as a team. She's wonderful (although she says I do all the work), and I have made worlds of progress in the past 6 months in making healthy choices pertaining to work and romantic relationships. 
Another side note: here's some irony for you: I'm currently spending my days procrastinating studying for the GRE to apply to grad school for a consoling program, (my Dad says, the blind leading the blind, haha Dad). Although I suffer more days then others, awareness and information about self help being more readily available is wonderful and I think we need more of it. It's something I'm passionate about, and want to learn more of, so isn't that what we're supposed to go to grad school for and become a career? Right? Hi, more loans!

There's something else that I consider myself lucky (#blessed) to have: supportive family and friends. My family was there at my worst. I'll leave it at that. 
I also have amazing friends. Along the way I had to learn that sometimes people aren't good for you. That doing certain things to fit in, just aren't worth it. These things coalesced over the last couple years (finally), and while I believe part of it is just about growing up, it can be hard to do so in a city and time where you don't have to grow up and unhealthy life styles are celebrated. 
There are like minded people out there for you. You may find them on the Internet, or if you start hanging out in places you truly enjoy (and not just because it's the cool place to be). A lot of my friends are now spread across the country living their lives and doing awesome things, but the times when we do reach out and touch, no matter how much time has gone by, are wonderful magical moments. 

One of my biggest obsessions of my young life was boys and finding a partner. It was extremely distracting and took up a lot of time and energy. I also found myself in many a unhealthy relationship, or disrespecting my body and myself while desperately seeking love and approval. This is something hard to look back on and will one day elaborate.

I consider myself lucky (#blessed) that I have found my boyfriend, who is a wonderfully supportive partner on this journey of self help. Together we are stumbling along, trying to figure it out, falling down hills and building back up mountains. We don't have it all figured out yet, but we are going down the same path, holding hands. 

There are some things I mentioned here and will do my best to elaborate on later in other posts. Also, excuse shoddy typing and grammatical errors, I'm writing this up on my phone.