Third Times the Charm

The number three is haunting me.

If you’ve been following my mental journey over the past few months, you’ll have caught onto my connection to numbers and the significance the number three has had in my “spiritual awakening” over the last year as I’ve reached what I have assumed is the end of a cycle of learning and growth in my life and prepared myself for the next chapter of my story. This cycle began in 2019 with the loss of my beloved aunt, mother, and best friend to cancer, followed quickly by my brother’s cancer diagnosis.

The last three years were filled with emotional, physical, financial, and mental battles unlike any I’ve faced in my entire life. There were points I did not think I could endure the loneliness, the depression, the hollow ache that consumed my every being and I found myself disappearing more and more as I searched for ways to cope and make it to the next day. It’s taken me so long to find myself after giving away pieces of my soul to impulsive habits that left me empty and broken and people who never intended to nurture and support me in the ways I needed but I’ve somehow found my way back to myself with some intense hard work and a lot of pain, tears, and insurance copays along the way.

I made the decision last month, on the 3rd anniversary of Kevin’s cancer diagnosis, to move out of the apartment I moved into with just one weeks’ notice so he had a place to stay and someone to take care of him during his treatment. I told myself this was the ending I needed. The closing of a cycle. The final chapter of my story with cancer and all it’s taken from me as I set off to focus on my future, my story, my happiness, and my potential family.

Yet here I sit, drained and mentally exhausted from another day spent at Roswell talking to doctors about another course of treatment plan options, tests results and potential outcomes.

What are the odds that not one, but both of my younger siblings would get cancer? That has to be some twisted kind of joke, right? As if the universe is just sitting there having a laugh at my expense knowing my life is like a terribly written soap opera, I don’t get paid nearly enough to be a part of? Three years, three immediate family members with cancer. Three years, three go-fund me campaigns. Three years, three diagnoses and treatment plans. Three years, three times trying to figure out how I’m going to balance my spiraling mental health with my career aspirations.

As I sit here trying to rationalize things or make sense of anything in my head, I can’t help but feel like a horrible sister and question my actions over the years and wonder where I’ve gone wrong. So much of my time after my aunt’s death was devoted to regret for all the things I wish I’d said to or done with her more often, and in many ways, I have similar feelings now. This is my third sibling to go through a traumatic event. I lost my brother to suicide and my heart grieved in so many ways but the biggest was how little I did to help and how ignorant I was to his pain at the time. Our relationship was never as close as it could have been, and I blame myself so much for that and likely always will. When Kevin got sick, that sense of blame and guilt and shame came up again because here I was, off focused on my career and my life while my brother was enduring something so physically awful, and I barely had a relationship with him prior to his diagnosis because of my focus on school and my career. We weren’t close. We weren’t friends. We didn’t say I love you often. Melody and I are the same. I isolate myself from my family in so many ways and then these kinds of things happen, and I wonder how different things could be if I’d let myself give more of myself to people sometimes.

That being said, there are other reasons for my distance and those reasons are to protect me from carrying things that are not my own which I need to remember and honor as well. All that is to say that the mental toll this third stint with cancer has taken on me has been severe and while her diagnosis is not as severe as those in the past, I am going through a lot of emotions and feeling depleted in ways I didn’t realize were possible because of my previous experiences with this kind of trauma. People keep asking how I’m doing, and the truth is I’m not doing well. I’m scared, I’m thinking of my aunt, and I quite honestly don’t want to do any of this again. I haven’t financially, emotionally, or mentally recovered from any of it with Aunt Kim or Kevin yet and I have had plans to focus on myself and my recovery this year and now I feel like that focus is selfish and unrealistic. It’s a hard place to be. I’m sure things will be less intense as the days pass but for right now, I’m just trying to honor what I’m feeling and be honest.

Some have asked what they can do to help, and the truth is I don’t know what I truly need but I can tell you some things I’d love to see people do that would bring me joy. Be kind to others when it would be easier not to be. Do something that would make someone else smile just because it would make them smile, not because it will get you something in return. Do something special for yourself because you deserve it. Make the decision you’ve been avoiding because you’re scared of change but you know will be the best thing for you because you deserve the best. Put yourself and your health and happiness above your feelings of guilt surrounding your job expectations and book a doctors appointment. Go to therapy and just take time for you. Send me pictures of your pets or your kids and remind me that there is still good in this world. Hug your loved ones. Tell people you love them and how they make you feel. Tell me you love me. Tell me your favorite memory you have of us together and laugh with me. Tell me or others the impact they have on your life and say all the things you think are silly to say but would make someone feel good because honestly who knows what tomorrow could bring? Remind me of all the joy and happiness and good things that exist and all the reasons I have to be grateful for this life that I have. I ask that not out of selfishness but because I know how easy it is for me to drown in my sadness or want to escape into things that aren’t good for me. Don’t let me do that. Help me remember all the reasons I don’t need to escape. Remind me of all the love and positivity I have surrounding me every day that I so often overlook and take for granted so that when I’m feeling sad or overwhelmed, I can look at it and smile or I get a random text and laugh and don’t choose to go down the wrong path and give into the darkness I’m so used to. That’s all I really want from anyone right now.

I love you all. I don’t know why anyone reads this, but I appreciate all of you who do.

Conditionally Lonely

I just had my birthday and if you’ve followed my blog long enough you know that’s usually a difficult time of year for me. I get very introspective and it’s one of days my loneliness gets the better of me, despite how much I try to be grateful for the relationships/connections I have. This year was no exception, though I’ll admit I had high hopes it would be different since I have spent a considerable amount of time working on myself these past few months.

I need to start by saying that I’m not unaware of the countless people in my life who care and are there for me. I’m so grateful for it. I have spent much of my time the last few months focusing on that gratitude for the relationships I have, the supportive nature of my friends, the texts people send to reach out, the phone calls, the offerings of advice – it all means so much to me and I recognize I am not alone in so many ways. But I think I have to explore my feelings around this loneliness in order to let it go or at least release parts of it and part of that exploration is confronting some of the shame and guilt I feel in feeling it at all which is why I think writing about it in my blog makes more sense for me than just discussing with my therapist. There’s a sense of facing my fear with making it public that people may form judgments about me and honestly, that’s okay. I understand. I still need to explore it.

Sometimes I wonder how much of my loneliness I curate myself based on my own romanticized expectations of others. I try to do my best to tell the people I care about how I feel about them in excessive detail, day in and day out, or go above and beyond to assist in making their lives easier so they don’t feel so alone (often at my own detriment). I have always told myself that I do this from a place of unconditional love, not expecting anything in return, because I know what it’s like to struggle and I want others to experience joy or feel loved, worthy or appreciated. I think for the most part that remains true, but days like my birthday role around and I always find myself so disappointed that no one offers to spend time with me. No one asks to grab lunch or dinner. No one stops by. No one calls. People send a text or two and go about their day and I’m left retreating into my mind wondering what it is about me that created this dynamic. What about me left such little of an impact on others that the one day a year it’s supposed to be about celebrating me, most people barely acknowledge it?

The truth and reality of it all likely has very little to do with me. People are busy. People have their own lives and a thousand and one reasons why they do and don’t do things. But that isn’t what I feel on that day. I’ve never had someone throw me a birthday party or go out of their way to make the day special for me and ask if there’s things, I want to do that are all centered around me or what have you – and let me be clear, it’s not about the THINGS. I don’t care about things. Gifts, money, trips, dinners – that isn’t what I’m really talking about here. I had a friend text me at midnight with 4 paragraphs already prepared saying the kindest things and it was the single best moment of my entire birthday because it showed me she took the time to think of me in advance, think of a way to express her feelings in a way that she knew I would appreciate, even though it was not something she is typically comfortable doing, and it was catered specifically to me. The effort alone was so touching, and it will be something I think about for a long time. It’s the effort. The intentionality of letting me know that I’m special or cared about or loved that I crave and desperately feel depleted of on this day because I feel like the rest of the world has found their people and I am still frantically searching for mine in the darkness.

And again, I wonder how much of that I rooted in truth and how much of that is me blind to what’s in front of me because I have too big of expectations of others that are unfair?

I always tell people that what I want most from people on my birthday is just for them to tell me how they feel about me. And it’s true, that’s all I want. I think so many people assume everyone knows how each other feels and we don’t spend enough time telling each other the good things that can empower and fill them up and so I try to do that as often as I can, but I rarely receive it in return so that is truly the thing I crave most from others and the greatest gift I can receive. The problem with assumptions is that people can make incorrect assumptions and that leads to confusion and miscommunication, heartbreak, hurt feelings, romanticized feelings, the list goes on – it’s a dangerous road. But I also have to recognize it’s not as easy for other people as it is for me and I think this is where my problem comes in. I ask this of people and then don’t receive it and then I get so deeply hurt and wounded thinking I mean nothing to anyone and it’s not fair to me but it’s not fair to the people I’ve placed this expectation on either. It’s a conditional thing that I’ve given them and subsequently judged their performance on without them even knowing it’s happening. So many people in my life have said ‘Happy birthday, I love you” and honestly – that should be enough to tell me what I need to know but I crave this deep exploration of feelings like I give other people and it’s unfair of me to put that kind of pressure and expectation on others who may not even be capable of expressing feelings or friendship in that capacity.

If I look at my life, I’ve done this for so long in so many ways in almost every type of relationship I have an I just feel so guilty and ashamed. I thought my embarrassment and shame was from believing that I didn’t matter to people and now I realize that it’s actually from imposing these romanticized expectations onto others unfairly. It’s so unfair of me as a friend, a partner, a family member, a coworker, to expect that everyone will be able to reciprocate the energy I give out. So many people can’t for so many reasons that have nothing to do with me and making it about me is so selfish in nature. I don’t want to be a selfish person. I want to be understanding and kind and nurturing. I want to build people up, not be the heavy beating them down with unrealistic expectations.

I’ve sat with this for a while, and I’ve shed a lot of tears and done a lot of thinking and I hope this has helped me come to a place where I can truly begin to let go of these unfair expectations and accept people where they are at and appreciate the love they give as it’s given to me. Will I still feel lonely at times? Probably. I have accepted that I am someone built for relationships with others, and I put a lot of my self-worth into how others perceive and view me and as much as I try to fight that, it is very much a part of who I am. Sharing my life with others gives it more meaning and impact for me. It’s hard not to get jealous when I see others throwing birthday parties or special events for their loved ones or going out of their way to show their friends/family/coworkers how loved they are because it’s nice to feel loved. It’s nice to feel like you make an impact on others and matter. It’s not about being the center of attention or having the focus on you – it’s the impact. All I want to do is matter and make an impact and I have to stop telling myself that the absence of celebrations and acknowledgement means I’ve made no impact.

It’s a very shameful thing to admit that you openly get jealous of the lack of attention you receive on your birthday, but I think it’s a lesson I need to continue to confront in more ways than just this day and goes back to my continued journey on how to truly love others without condition. I choose to tell others how I feel in depth because I place significance on how it feels to know where you stand with people and I don’t want people to question their worth, their impact or their love in this world. That is my choice and I give that freely of my choosing. It’s unfair of me to not only be disappointed in others for not doing the same in return but to belittle and think less of myself because I do not receive the same back. Expecting that is just another form of condition and conditional love is not what I’m after.

I’m so grateful to have the friendships, connections, family and relationships I have. I’m so blessed in so many ways with the people I’ve gotten to form bonds with over the years and I’m grateful for every moment. I’m so happy for all of my friends who receive love and adoration and celebration from their partners and family members because you all deserve that so much and likely ten times over! I am sorry that I let my own selfish ego get in the way of things for a moment and cloud my ability to see clearly and love unconditionally but I hope opening myself up like this is the first step in moving toward a future where I stop expecting so much out of others and learn to be grateful for everything I have in the moment and bask in what is.

I love you all.

.

If I died tomorrow the world would continue as it was.

Drowning in the infinite depths of my hatred, the chaotic bottomless pit of my thoughts, I am certain my absence would be a minor displacement for those around me. They’d laugh, they’d reminisce, they’d cry for a time but the pain wouldn’t pierce their heart and leave a hole that I once filled.

Instead, there are threads of me woven into the hearts of those I’ve poured myself into time and time again hoping that someone might ask me to stay. I gave my time, my love, my affection , my support, my happiness – everything that I possibly could give to someone – all in hopes that they’d choose me.

I don’t mean choose me to date or be there for holidays and fun times. I desperately yearn for someone to choose me as theirs. To protect, to love, to encourage, to enjoy, to grow, to nurture, fo begin a lifetime with.

But I am not the one you choose.

I am the forgotten. I am the discarded. I am the person who embraces others darkness so fearlessly because I’m helplessly trapped in my own with no one willing to walk through with a light and help me find a way out.

I am nothing and no one.

Spirituality

This is something I have wanted to write about for a while and quite honestly, I’m terrified to share my feelings with others. I should clarify, I know I don’t NEED to share my beliefs with anyone — they’re mine, and I owe no one any explanation for why I believe what I believe. As someone who believes so fully in transparency, NOT discussing this seems counterintuitive to the journey I’m on right now.

If you know me, you know that I’ve struggled with my faith for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a Pentecostal/full gospel Christian family and even attended a Christian school from pre-k through 2nd grade. I believe in God, but I’ve always struggled to find the connection between the story of Christ and his infinite love for me. Even as I write this, I still feel very removed from that experience. Growing up, my family has always encouraged me to seek God out more and said that I resist things which is why I don’t fully embrace the gifts God has given me. I’ve been told I don’t worship “correctly” because I don’t close my eyes all the time or lift my hands or speak in tongues and that criticism never helped my belief over the years but I still continued to go to church.

I’ve had people pray over me and tell me I have a gift for music and that my singing brings healing to others. I’ve had people sob after I sang and TOLD me they found healing in my songs. I’ve FELT something different in me when I sing a church and I’ve cried and experienced healing while singing myself so I know there is truth in all of this, and yet, I resist. It’s not that I don’t want to believe, it’s just that there are so many things about organized religion an the Bible that I DON’T connect with at the core of who I am. I get very conflicted and confused.

I’ve always believed in love. God is love. He is the most pure form of unconditional love that exists and that is something I’ve strived to connect to my whole life. I think religion puts conditions around a lot of things and insists we have to live a certain way in order to show others that love but for me, I’ve always felt that God gave us all free will to follow him in whatever way speaks and connects to us. I don’t think God condones sin or hurting others, but he also doesn’t hold it against us either. The idea of judgment day and answering to your actions has never sit right with me because in my heart I believe God loves us unconditionally, regardless of whatever we have done or fallen prey to in our time here on earth.

You may disagree with that, refute it with scripture or think I’m crazy but it’s just what I believe. I’ve struggled attending churches because I adamantly support equal rights for the LGBTQIA community and I also believe that things like tarot cards, oracle cards, nature, yoga — those are all things that can be inherently spiritual without being considered “idol worship” or demonic in nature because of their origins in other religious practices. If I’m being completely honest, I believe MOST religions all stem from the same source and have just been interpreted differently throughout the years and what’s true for me may not be true for others but that doesn’t mean one or the other is wrong, only that we all have different experiences and things that speak to us or shape us differently, but that’s another conversation.

Anyway, back to me (obviously).

Most people would describe me as an overly emotional person, which is very accurate but I am also incredibly intellectual in nature. I believe in science, knowledge and logic and so I feel like at times I am battling the logical side of my brain with what my body feels. I’ve always been drawn to spiritual practices from the time I was a kid — I was always interested in things that connected to magic, things that talked about energy and karma and the divine purpose/balance of everything. Obviously, I don’t believe magic is real in the sense that I can turn myself into a frog should I choose to, but I DO think there is magic in the imagination and there are things that have happened to me that I have FELT in my core that I cannot explain through logic or reason or provide proof of.

I have always been sensitive to energies. I often joke that I myself have no personality and that I just pick up on the people around me and cater my personality to fit the people I am with. I have taken countless assessments and they always back that up — I’m someone who can “win others over”, I know how to communicate, I’m able to feel what others feel. I got feedback on the first day of counseling role plays that my empathy comes so naturally I’m able to sit in the worst pain with someone across from me and feel every bit of it — and that’s very true — but it’s also what hindered me from being able to help others in the beginning of my counseling journey. I cannot help if I am drowning with you. I don’t have to have scientific evidence to support that I am an empath– I KNOW I am based on what I FEEL in my body and soul when I interact with others. I can feel someone’s mood shift without even being in the room with them.

I have had dreams that have told me someone was lying to me. I have had dreams about friends getting pregnant. I have read tarot cards jokingly for fun with friends and have confirmed outlandish things they haven’t yet told me. I feel tension in my body when I am around people who are energetically draining. I feel anxiety if I go places with groups of people and don’t have the option to leave when I want to. I often have to spend a lot of time alone after being with others. I feel things that happen in the world so deeply sometimes I can’t explain it. The list goes on.

Some of you have probably rolled your eyes or are ready to refute a lot of this with logic or science and the truth is I don’t really care what you think because too much of my life has been me trying to argue my side in how I feel and who cares? That’s not the point of me saying all of this. The point is that I’ve sheltered a lot of my beliefs and things I do that actually HELP me for the sake of not being mocked or judged by others and I am at a place where I don’t think I can keep doing that anymore. If I’m truly going to embrace my full self, I have to embrace how much my spirituality plays a role in that.

Meditation has been one of the most healing things for me. I have connected with past loved ones, my higher self, God/Spirit (Whatever you choose to call it, for me I think they are one in the same) and it’s brought clarity to a lot of the things I’ve felt trapped by for a long time. I use tarot and oracle cards to look inward at my own energy and see what I’m blocking from myself and where I can make changes in my own body/mind/spirit/soul to reach the goals I have and find happiness in my life. I have learned to embrace the feelings I get intuitively and recognized how that manifests in my own body. I have felt the healing that mindfulness, intention and self-awareness can give.

I often joke about psychic abilities or ‘Miss Cleo’ vibes or whatever but the truth is, I think that God speaks to all of us in different ways and if I look back on my life there are so many things that make sense to me now that didn’t back then just because I’ve taken the time to really learn and grow in my own divinity. I think we all have the capacity to be psychic — and not in the way that most people think where we can predict what’s going to happen — but I think we all intuitively feel/see/hear/know things and we use different lenses to explain that whether it’s religion, science or energy.

All this is to say that there have been too many signs confirming that in order for me to move forward, I have to accept this part of myself and wear it with pride rather than fear. I know that I am a mess on even my best days, but I also know that I am a channel for healing for others as well. I have a gift when it comes to helping others and I need to use that gift. I am so terrified that my intellectually minded friends will judge and pass me off as crazy (and in truth, I’m probably projecting my OWN judgments onto others there) and I keep all this stuff to myself and never practice or nurture it in my life.

I don’t believe tarot cards can tell you what to do. I think we as people are presented with multiple choices and options every day and our internal energy can be blocked and out of balance based on the way we navigate the world and how open or closed we are to hearing truths. I believe people all have the capacity for great growth and change but they cannot hear anything they are not ready to hear. I don’t believe that all things like tarot or oracle cards or yoga or karma are inherently demonic — I think people have twisted and manipulated ALL religious practices in every shape or form to fit their own narrative over the years and even things Christians do go against the word of God. I think that God has given us this planet and this life for a reason and that reason is to love and heal while we’re here — whether that’s ourselves, or others, we’re all beings who want to find love in some way.

This is so long and I doubt anyone is still reading any of this but I hope this encourages some people. I hope those who have known me my whole life don’t disown me because I’m saying I believe in the power of grounding my energy and balancing my emotions internally to impact the way I approach and navigate the world. I believe we attract what we put out into the world and I realize that I’ve wanted like minded people to be a part of my journey for a long time but I never talk about what I believe so how could those people get to me?

So yes — I watch tarot readings on YouTube and meditate to talk to my Aunt Kim at times (and have successfully done this) and I’ve spoken to my higher self. I’ve had mediums and psychics tell me my whole life that I am an incredibly strong empath. I have had things predicted that I never understood that ALL CAME TRUE and I cannot explain how or why. I believe that the same people who speak prophetically in Christian churches are harnessing the same abilities I know I have used within myself and experienced, they’re just phrasing it in a context that better fits with the narrative of their faith.

At the end of the day, the only thing I believe in is the way I feel when I truly give myself over to the possibility of being shown something. When I’m open to receiving something I can’t explain, things happen that confirm what I’ve already known in my soul. Maybe we’ve gotten really good at algorithms and confirmation bias, maybe it’s just chance, but chance, fate, destiny, coincidence — whatever you want to call it — if it heals and it helps, does it have to be defined?

That being said — I love doing tarot readings and talking with people in that format so if you want one, let me know. I like getting to see all the ways it helps others think and grow.

Maybe one day I’ll even go into how I fully believe I’m a Pleadian or Lemurian Starseed from another planet…but I’m not sure y’all ready for that yet haha!

Rock Bottom

I think if I’m honest with myself, I’ve been trying to keep myself afloat and letting my toes gently touch the bottom depths of my sadness for a lot longer than even I realize. It seems silly to say that, looking back on years of blog posts that showcase how “not okay” I felt at the time, but I always managed to find a way to keep my head above water, breathe, and keep pushing forward. I often used shame and guilt as motivators to keep moving forward, despite how desperately I wanted to just give in, stop, and rest for just a moment. Trying to press on with no actual energy isn’t sustainable and even the immense shame, embarrassment, guilt, and disappointment I feel inside is not enough to keep me moving forward anymore.

I have finally let myself stop moving and fall to the bottom of my sadness. Below the depths of guilt, pain, embarrassment, feelings of inadequacy, confusion, sorrow, loneliness and fear I lay curled up on the rocky floor, letting everything wash over me without regard for what those above water think or feel about me. I can’t move. I can’t think. I can’t breathe.

It’s freeing, in some ways – despite being so honest about how much I struggle I always feel like I’m putting on a show for everyone around me. Laughing and making jokes to make sure I’m not making friends and family TOO uncomfortable or TOO concerned about me; Pursuing projects and promotions and going above and beyond at work always thinking about my next step up to make sure that my company knows I’m worth their time and effort and proving to them that I care so much about my professional identity; constantly offering help to anyone who might need it so they don’t have to feel as shitty as I do and I can unburden their struggle for just a moment; offering financial support to anyone who might need it regardless of whether or not I can truly afford it to somehow justify the fact that I am horrible with money, impulsively spend on things to fill the void in my own life and make me happy and then feel incredible guilt and shame about the fact that I’m not, in fact, financially stable despite making a decent amount of money. 

 

To finally stop pretending, stop lying, stop thinking of how other people will perceive me as I float to the bottom of the ocean of my own chaos, feeling the weight of the emotions I’ve suppressed and ignored for everyone else’s sake – it’s relieving. 

 

But I’m terrified down here. 

 

I know this is good for me. I know that I cannot be the kind of partner, employee, friend, daughter, person, leader I want to be unless I take the time to look at the worst parts of myself and confront them, but I am terrified. I have spent so long trying to run from this moment that I never considered what I would do if I inevitably let myself drown.

 

I’ve never felt like such a failure in my entire life. I believe with my entire soul that my calling in this lifetime is to help others. I know that I am an empath – I’m able to feel what others feel, I’m able to sit with them in their darkness, unafraid and willing to listen and guide them through the fog; I’m able to know, without any reason or logic, what it is a person needs in that moment and give it to them. So to have this moment of weakness, where I am unable to keep myself afloat in my own sea of sadness and pain, feels like such a failure to everyone else. How can I help others when I am so hopelessly stuck at the bottom of my own ocean of bullshit? How can I be a productive member of society, a leader in my profession, a partner to build a life with, a friend, a daughter, if I can’t even take care of myself?

 

If those fears didn’t kill me, the guilt I feel might.  

 

I have spent the better part of my adult life advocating for mental health advocacy, ending the stigma attached to mental illness and encouraging others to be kind to themselves and take the time they need to heal and yet here I sit, at my lowest point, and I am unable to fathom how to even move forward because I feel so guilty for everything. I feel guilty that I am letting my employer down, my team, my coworkers because I disappeared without any explanation and I’m likely causing extra work for them in my absence. I was promoted last June and it feels like I’ve done nothing but fail since I got that promotion and I feel like I’m letting down everyone who’s ever believed in my capability and work ethic. I feel guilty I’m letting my family down because I’m not the person they always thought I was – I’m not able to take care of everyone. I’m not able to financially support myself and them and make it so life isn’t so hard all the time. I feel guilty that I’ve isolated myself from friends and relationships that I’ve had most of my life because I don’t know what to say anymore when people ask me how I’m doing. I don’t want to listen to solutions and all the ways people think I should do this or that to be happier and I don’t want to constantly have to disappoint them when I make plans and inevitably miss them or sleep through them because I’m depressed and can’t explain why.  I feel guilty for people offering to help me and not even knowing what I need help with. I feel guilty for burdening others with worrying about my well being or not seeming as though I appreciate them because my actions don’t showcase that I do.

 

But worst of all, I feel guilty when I feel good. 

 

I am on a leave of absence from work to take time to address my mental health and get back to a place where I can function as a person again and I feel horrific, overwhelming guilt if I have any moment of joy or happiness.

 

I took a walk yesterday and came home and took out piles of cardboard and garbage and vacuumed and cleaned out my cat’s liter box and changed his water and then sat in my bed for an hour feeling horribly guilty for being able to do all of that in one day and not go to work. I sat there and thought to myself, do I even need to be seeing a counselor or am I just lazy? Why am I wasting everyone’s time when I should just be able to do this every single day? Eventually, I worked myself up so much that I fell asleep at around 4pm and slept until 6 am this morning. 

 

Rationally, depression doesn’t disappear overnight. I know this. I know that one good day does not mean that I am better or that I can return to my normal routine. If someone else came to me with these thoughts, I’d tell them that – but why do I feel so BAD about having to take this much time for myself? I’ve spent 2 entire weeks in my house doing NOTHING. Nothing. N o t h i n g.  I try to set goals every day like wake up, make breakfast, shower, clean something, go for a walk, journal, try yoga, do something with a friend, get outside, eat lunch, get dressed, eat dinner and honestly, I BARELY can do one of those things a day without getting overwhelmed and anxious. I’ve lost 8 pounds because I barely eat, and when I do, it’s usually some horrific binge session from emotional distress. 

 

I am meeting with a counselor. My primary doctor. My OBGYN. My endocrinologist. A psychiatrist. I was just accepted into IOP – Intensive Outpatient Program and in my head, I sit here and constantly question am I even that bad? Surely, there are people much worse than me and I’m wasting their time and if I’m not really that bad, why can’t I go to work? Why can’t I just be okay and function like everyone else? Everyone has stress in their life. Everyone goes through something so why can’t I handle it like everyone else? 

Despite all the doctors telling me I meet severe diagnostic criteria for a myriad of actual documented illnesses, I am here doubting the validity of my own need for help and subsequently telling myself that is how everyone else must see me too. It’s not fair, but I am projecting my own fears and judgements onto everyone else in my life assuming they must be thinking exactly what I’m thinking about my situation and I feel this inherent need to prove just how mentally fucked up I am in order to justify taking this time for me. Even writing this, my chest is tightening up, my breathing is quickened, and I feel anxious beyond all belief thinking of all the ways people must think I’m lazy, stupid, disappointing, and failing.

 

I feel stupid. I feel lazy. I feel inferior. I feel hopeless. I feel like an imposter.

 

And I’m so afraid that’s how everyone else feels about me too.

 

I know that the fact that I can’t be gentle enough with myself to say that I need this time, that I DESERVE this time, that anyone with an illness must get better before they can go back to work is only proof that I do need to go and get help and continue with this plan, but I am so ashamed that I let myself get to this point. I know that one half of a good day doesn’t take away years of negative self-loathing or erase all the trauma that I’ve endured, but I wish I was stronger than I am. I wish I didn’t have to fall to the bottom before I realized I can’t do it all myself.

 

But I can’t. I can’t do it all myself anymore. 

 

I am at rock bottom and I am scared. I am terrified how everyone in my life will perceive me and treat me when I inevitably emerge and some days that makes me want to stay here, drowning in my own sorrow and fear. At least down here, I know what to expect.

 

I want so badly for people to think I’m smart, and talented, and capable, and inspiring, and someone worth rooting for, or being proud of, someone worth loving. I’m afraid if people actually knew the heart of who I am, the person buried deep inside this mask of intellect and humor and stubborn will, they’d realize they hate me as much as I hate myself.

 

I hope they don’t. 

 

I hope I can learn not too, as well.

Toxic

How do you find selflessness? How do you truly love without condition and give freely without expectation and maintain boundaries and protect your own heart? Is that even something we’re able to achieve? It’s like I’m caught in a cycle between being this overly cynical, guarded wall no one can penetrate and this emotional idiot who lets everyone wring me out like a sponge and drain my energy before they discard me like a used rag they no longer need now that the mess is cleaned up. Where do you find balance in that?

I just want to love – and laugh – and positively impact those I interact with. I want to help those who are hurting find ways to make it through without making situations more complicated or worse off and it seems like the more I try the more I mess up. I want to be happy and love myself the way I tell others to do the same but I look at everyone around me and all I see is the things I’ve destroyed. I’m like a toxic tornado and I pull everyone into this cyclone of destruction until I explode and leave them shattered in my wake as I move on to the next place.

Sometimes I feel like I’m this disaster that you never see coming because I’m so good at convincing everyone around me that I’m kind and loving but in reality I’m just a selfish, desperate, unhappy girl who has no idea how to navigate the world or her emotions.

I want to believe I’m rational and self aware and able to apologize and humble myself in moments of weakness or fault but I’m realizing more and more I just feel like a fraud. I preach things like honesty and trust but can I even trust my own intentions? What if the person lying has always been me about what it is I’m hoping to gain? What if I’m the reason everything around me is constantly caving in and crumbling? How can I take responsibility and repair something so damaged when I can’t even see the truth about who caused it in the first place?

I feel so helpless. So undeserving of anyones time and love and attention. So hopeless and stupid and small. I don’t know that I’ll ever love myself the way I need to because quite frankly I don’t know that I deserve it. Maybe this is the price for all the selfish times I’ve made others around me bend instead of allowing them to flourish and become who they wanted rather than who I expected them to be.

Maybe the reason I’m alone is because I deserve it. Maybe this is all I’ll ever deserve.

I get caught up in this adrenaline high of people thinking Im valuable or loveable or funny or smart or worth their time or helpful or useful. It’s like the worst kind of drug that I constantly pursue in my mania desperately craving for another hit, another high, another opportunity to feel important or valued or visible. I do things that feel good in the moment without regard for how they’ll feel later and I push the limit more and more every single time. I criticize others selfish choices and disregard my own as justified because of my past or my state of mind or my own deficits. I’m the worlds worst kind of hypocrite because I genuinely believe the delusion I’ve created in my head that I’m valuable to others and offering love and support freely without condition. The truth is it’s always about how it benefits me in the end. The truth is I deserve nothing and no one but the loneliness that consumes every piece of my soul.

The truth is I’m not invisible, I’m just buried under my own toxic destruction.

Farewell and onward

I wanted to focus on the good today. I wanted to focus on the positive changes a new year brings and all the blessings I have to be grateful for. I wanted to appreciate what I’ve gone through and the memories I’ve made and be grateful for the love and laughter this past year has given me. I wanted to remember the good and not dwell on the bad.

But I’m still so sad. So, so, very sad.

And I know that it’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to grieve what I’ve lost and wish things were different. It’s okay to wish I had someone to whisper I love you too as I kissed them at midnight or go to a party with and celebrate the promise of a new year together. It’s okay to hate that things ended despite having chosen to walk away.

But what I didn’t count on is how badly it would hurt to realize I was right. To realize I wasn’t worth the fight. I wasn’t worth the work or the effort or the time to try harder. I left and no one tried to stop me or ask me to stay. I left and I’m gone and life moves on as it will and always has and I’m the one left grieving something that likely never truly existed in the first place.

And why do I do that? Why do I romanticize everything around me into this fairytale I choose to believe it is rather than see reality for what it is – just ordinary. Why do I convince myself I’m going to find someone who cherishes me the way I desire, like I’m this precious thing that they’d mourn if they lost when in reality I don’t bring anything of worth to the table? I want to be treated like I’m precious and rare but in reality I just act like everyone else and I’m just this ordinary person who leaves an ordinary impact that isn’t missed much when it’s gone.

I wish I could say I’ve never done this before but I can’t. I do this all the time. I build these things up in my head and expect so much and then spend my time heartbroken when life turns out differently and I think I’m just continuously breaking my own heart over and over again.

I hope in 2022 I can learn to just accept the world for what it is and lower my expectations. I hope I can be better and more deserving of love and give myself the love I desperately wish others would give to me. I hope I can be a better friend, a better worker, a better person and make an impact worth missing in its absence.

All I’ve ever wanted is to be worth the effort. I fail at this all the time but I promise I spend every moment and all my energy trying to be worth it. Trying to be deserving of anyones time, attention, love – all of it. I want so badly to be good enough. To be worth the struggle it might be to love me through my worst times. To be the person I wish I was rather than the one that I am.

If I’ve done anything to anyone in this past year I truly, from the bottom of my heart, apologize. I hope I can let the past rest where it is and move forward with a clean slate and fresh mindset and focus only on how I can learn and grow from others. I hope I can bring joy to those around me.

Im so sorry for 2021. There’s so many things I wish I’d done differently and relationships I’ve destroyed in my blind ambition to find validation and worth. I know that I’m not missed by many but I hope you all know I miss you all dearly.

Love hurts so deeply because it’s felt so strongly and I hope it can remember how lucky I am to have found people to feel that way about, even in my dark moments.

Panic.

I can’t sleep.

That’s not really anything new, but I feel like I’m on the verge of a full blown panic attack and I’m just sitting here counting the hours as they slip away knowing I’ll be tired for work tomorrow and know in my soul I need to take the day off to reset my brain and mental health but then I’ll panic because I’m afraid that admitting that will lead to me getting in trouble. I love my job, I seriously love working so much, but I’m not built for a 9-5. My life is chaotic, I am chaotic, and I’m unreliable. There’s always SOMETHING that comes up. I get sick. A family member needs help. Im exhausted and just need to sleep in. I have to have some test done. My braces need to be tightened. And then these moments – where my anxiety is so unbelievably out of control that I can’t sleep, I can’t think straight and I just start crying for no reason and spiral into these what if scenarios until I’m drowning in made up scenarios in my head all depicting me as a failure overwhelm me and I know, I KNOW I need to call in for my sanity – happen, and I feel so guilty about all the other bullshit I’ve missed work for so I don’t call in and the panic ensues.

I need to go to counseling. I know that. I feel that. But you know why I don’t?

One hour wouldn’t even make it through one wave in this tsunami of mental chaos I have in my head.

Seriously – one hour just isn’t enough and sometimes I think the best thing for me would be be able to set aside a full day or weekend to work one on one with a counselor so I could just fill them in on everything in my head, in my life, everything they need to know so that I can actually start working with someone on a weekly basis. Why doesn’t that exist? Most people struggle talking about their issues but for me the opposite is true – I want to talk about them. I NEED to talk about them – but there’s so many intersecting issues tangled up in my head it would be years before we even got anywhere near progress with me. I know that.

So here I am. Laying in bed slowly driving myself crazy because I don’t know what to do anymore. I always thought having a partner would help me to feel more loved, less lonely, more whole, more valued and more worthy but it hasn’t. Everyone always said it and I always criticized – go back and read the past blogs, I was an ass about it – but it’s true. Finding a partner didn’t fill the void or get rid of the disgust I have in myself, my body, my habits, who I am as a person.

I have a partner who is honest with me about everything, even his biggest faults, who tells me he loves me and that I’m beautiful and yet I still sit here paranoid that he’s going to find someone better, someone more interesting, someone better looking, someone more worthy of love than me. Every moment I don’t receive attention, affection, or validation is a moment I start ruminating in my head about all the ways I’m failing as a girlfriend, as a role model for the kids, as a worker, as a friend and as a person. I tell myself that he finds me lazy, or boring, or frustrating or annoying or ugly or disgusting for no reason. I tell myself that I’m not good enough and he’s going to leave me some day for someone better.

And it’s not fair.

Not to him, or to anyone in my life. I spiral into this deep over-analytical hole in my own mind and extrapolate it to everything I do and all my relationships. 9/10 they start not because he said or did anything to warrant them, but because I interpret everything someone doesn’t do or say as a failure on my end in some capacity. Honestly sometimes Allan literally will say “I love you too,boo” and I will go down this tangent of “does he really? Why didn’t he say it first? Does it annoy him that I say it so much? I wonder if he would be happier with someone who didn’t need to talk as much. Is he happy? What if he isn’t and he just feels stuck with me? Is he just waiting for the best time to leave me but he’s trying not to be rude? Should I bring it up so he doesn’t have to? God I can’t bring it up I’d be devastated. Why am I so crazy? This is crazy right? He probably thinks I’m crazy. I’m sitting here crying and I don’t even know why. I wish he’d hold me so I knew he loved me.”

But the thing is – all of that was MY OWN DOING. And I do it with everything. Lately I’ve just been more aware of how my self-hatred plays out in my relationship because I’ve been trying to be more self aware and let him know when I’m doing it because I realize it’s unfair to just have these inner spirals and then get to the point where he’s like “what’s wrong?” And I just unleash a world of inner thoughts he had no context for whatsoever and expect him to know how to support me or want to listen.

And if you’ve gotten this far – let me just say – he has literally done nothing to prompt this blog. Like I literally sat here freaking out about work tomorrow because I couldn’t sleep and this is where my mind has taken me. I have no control over my thoughts anymore and I’m just constantly panicking over the worst case scenario over and over and over again.

I’ve always known I’m like this. I mean hell, most people I meet know I think this way cuz I talk about it so much, but I always thought the missing piece was being alone and that if I had someone it would help heal that part of my loneliness but the scariest thing is realizing how wrong that’s been. Even now, in a relationship, I feel so isolated and alone and I’m pushing people away and making up scenarios in my head for no reason. Why do I do that? Why can’t I just look at this man sleeping next to me and trust him when he says he loves me?

And I think the answer is simple, it’s because I hate myself so much I can’t even accept the love I’m given by someone else. I am so disgusted by who I am and the choices I make that it doesn’t matter that he says “babe, you look great, wear that dress” I still don’t want to take pictures with him because I know he’s going to look amazing and I will hate how I look in the photo and then wonder what everyone is thinking about him dating this fat, disgusting woman.

I know I’m generally a good person. I try to be honest, kind and make people laugh. I try to listen and do things for people when I can and I work hard at my job and always try to find ways to improve. I don’t struggle with substance abuse or really dangerous ways of numbing myself to the world like some but I still hate the core of who I am and the type of person I am so much.

I’m disgusted by the fact that I eat terribly, I never work out, I sleep all the time, I don’t try to improve my appearance, I’m not very active, I don’t think I do enough to organize the house or clean or take care of the pets, I don’t text my friends as often as I should, I’m never one to plan events or follow through with plans, I forget important holidays/birthdays, I don’t call enough, I still haven’t gone to help my step dad with his computer, I don’t do enough for my parents or my brother, I don’t see my nieces and nephews as much as I should, I’m constantly taking half days at work or have some sort of medical/personal/family reason why i have to miss time and that’s super annoying to manage, I spend money I don’t have and despite having a good job i never have money because of all of my debt, I can’t do simple things that shouldn’t be hard to do like wake up, get ready, have a routine, take a walk, put the dishes away, — lthe list goes on and on and on and on.

And I have so many people in my life who try to be supportive and offer suggestions or advice or help and I have an excuse for everything but the truth is I don’t want to do anything. I’m so overwhelmed with everything, all the thoughts, all the ways things go wrong, all my responsibilities, all the reasons I have to just keep going that I can’t even find the will to start. I don’t know where to start and I try to start and it never ever works out.

I’ve tried meditation. I’ve tried books. I’ve tried taking a class. I’ve tried medication. I’ve tried working out solo and in groups and with one person or friends across the country and nothing ever sticks. I’ve tried journaling, planning, calendars, budget trackers, self help groups, counseling, positive affirmations, deleting apps off my phone, distracting myself, writing, hobbies, supplements, literally EVERYTHING.

And I always, always fail.

I’ve yet to find anything I can stick to. Anything I can devote time and energy to at full capacity and keep doing for myself.

And I’m just so tired. I’m so tired of feeling like this and of making myself feel worse by placing all these assumptions about people’s actions and what they mean in my head without them doing anything to deserve it. Im tired of wasting time I have doing nothing when I could be doing anything. Im tired of not being able to be happy even when I’m surrounded by people who love me because I hate being around myself.

What’s even more crazy? I hate myself so much and then I also wonder why people don’t want to do nice things for me. Like I sit here, hating myself and my own personality/character/actions but then make myself feel worse by reminding myself that people don’t throw me parties for my birthday or accomplishments, or buy cute things that reminded them of me, or send me messages telling me they’re proud of me or thinking of me or miss me or love me or anything silly like that and like HOW FUCKED IS THAT? Like honestly – I will sit here and replay all of those things in my head and think about how no one came to my graduation for grad school or how I’ve never had a birthday party I didn’t throw just to justify to myself how much I don’t deserve anything.

But the real messed up part of all of this is why the hell do I feel entitled to all of that in the first place? I’m not a good friend, I’m not one to ask people to hang out in advance or check in when people are busy, I don’t throw parties for people or even keep plans half the time so why would I feel like those things not happening to me prove that I’m not deserving or horrible?

I don’t even know where this is going anymore. Its been an hour since I’ve started this and I’m less panicked than before but I’m still just as weary. I wish I could call off work tomorrow. I wish I could be a better friend. I wish I could do more for my family and reach out more often. I wish I could be a better girlfriend who didn’t need so much constant validation and emotional support just to function. I wish I could be a better employee without things that pull me away from work. I wish I was a better role model for the kids in my life. I wish I was more attentive to the people in my life. I wish I could wake up and work out any eat better and make meals and clean the house.

I wish I didn’t need to write these blogs just to calm myself down. I wish I didn’t need to share them to explain to everyone around me why I’m spiraling out of control all the time.

And I wish that anyone who’s ever felt like I do could realize that it’s okay to not be okay. Everything in my brain tells me that’s not true but I know in my heart that it’s valid and just because people don’t understand or accept mental illness doesn’t mean it isn’t fucking hard work and that it’s okay to not want to have to do that work sometimes.

I love so many people in this world. I just wish I could love myself that same way.

Guilt

Guilt is wracking my brain HARD tonight.

My anxiety manifests as this overwhelming sense of guilt for anything I do. Sometimes it gets so intense I lose the ability to function entirely and have a full-blown panic episode from my spiral into self-hatred and turmoil.

I do a lot for a lot of people. My rational brain knows this and accepts it as truth. I don’t do PHYSICAL things all the time, but I provide a lot of emotional and financial support for a lot of people and there are times where I do physically go out of my way to help others when I can – taking them to appointments, running errands, doing a task etc. Logic would dictate that because I do so much for others, I’m subjected to burn out and fatigue.

But if I feel tired, worn down, depressed, burned out – I feel this overwhelming sense of guilt because of it. I berate myself as being lazy, unreliable and miserable and therefore not worth anyone’s time or patience. I know that sometimes my mental exhaustion gets so intense it manifests into physical sickness and if I don’t take time to rest it will only get worse but I still feel horrible calling in sick to work or asking to start late to get more sleep to operate at my best.

I know that I cannot save people. I cannot do things for them, I am not supposed to be responsible to care for them and yet I find myself constantly putting myself in financial or emotional deficits trying to do it anyway. If I make decisions that give me boundaries to protect me, I feel such intense guilt that I tell myself their emotional well-being after my distance is my own fault and I’m the one to blame.

I know these thoughts are not facts.

But let me tell you, it is so hard not to have them. I have spent the better part of the last 5 hours spiraling out of control with guilt over accepting a new promotion and leaving my team at work, moving out of my apartment and leaving my brother on his own for the first time since he was diagnosed with cancer, not doing a better job staying connected to my friends and checking in on their well-being, and worrying that I am not an attentive enough girlfriend because I take naps when I’m tired and sometimes don’t get everything done I’d like to or clean the house often enough. I worry that I’m not going to be a good influence on my boyfriends children because I don’t know how to be a mother and I’m so broken in so many ways myself. I worry that I should be taking my pets to the vet more often and then I worry that if I take them I’m going to learn they’re going to die.

The irrational worry and guilt completely spirals out of control in my head until I’m left breathing heavily, on the verge of tears, wanting desperately to sleep my life away. If I take that time to sleep, I wake up and hate myself for wasting time and being lazy. It’s literally a never ending cycle.

I don’t know how to stop it. I don’t know how to just believe that I am enough for the people in my life and if I wasn’t they would tell me. I don’t know how to create boundaries and not take responsibility for other peoples decisions and actions. I don’t know how to trust when people tell me they’re not mad at me and don’t hate me. I don’t know how to stop worrying that I’m not good enough for anyone in my life.

It’s exhausting and it’s weighing on me pretty badly today. I feel like I owe everyone in my life an apology right now and I don’t even know what I need to apologize for I just feel like I should.

I’m overwhelmed and tired and lonely and exhausted to my core. I feel like I am letting everyone around me down with every decision I make and nothing I do is the right choice.

I’m sure I’m not alone – I’m sure many people struggle with this. I just wanted to be honest because I’m at the point where I will probably go quiet and take a nap and disappear for a while.

It’s possible to have every kind of support system and still feel this way and I’m learning more and more that my deep sense of loneliness is less about how many people I have in my life who love and support me and more about how many people I believe I deserve to have love me.

Day 310

How is it possible we’re over 300 days into working from home? Somewhere along the way I got numb to this feeling of complete isolation. 310 days of working from home, staying inside, and minimal social interactions. 310 days left to my own thoughts and subsequent spirals into depression.

Yikes.

For a while, it seemed like things were getting easier for me. I felt more rested, more balanced, more in control of my chaos. I found myself unaware of how I was feeling and not drowning in my own misery. Slowly, that feeling has returned, creeping into my bones and weighing me down as I trudge through, day after day after day. I’ve always described my depression as this sea of chaos and sadness that drowns me as I try desperately to tread water and stay afloat but lately that sea feels more like a swamp. It’s thick, visceral and clinging to my skin as I trudge forward, weary and broken, not even sure of my destination.

My New Years resolution was self love. To learn about it, to feel it, to embrace it and to embody it. I’ve become so lonely that there are days I choose to sleep through because it consumes me and I can’t bear the weight. I decided that I want to learn to enjoy my own company. Love the very best and very worst parts of myself. Appreciate my body and all that it’s given me. Enjoy who I am and what I love without judgement or scrutiny from myself.

Days like today, I feel like I’ve set myself up for failure, again. It’s hard to love and accept yourself when you’ve never known anything else. My entire life I’ve felt this sense of disgust when it came to my appearance, my achievements, my abilities. No matter how thin I was, I was never as thin as other girls. No matter how pretty I looked in makeup, I was still ugly without it. No matter how talented I was, I still made mistakes. No matter what I accomplished I felt like an imposter, someone who cheated or half-assed her way there, incapable of acknowledging the hard work or effort I put in. These thoughts were validated through toxic friendships, loveless relationships, judgmental and distant family members and my own predilection for seeing the good in others but never in myself.

So when I have spirals like I’ve had the last few days — where I’m indulging habits I know aren’t healthy, or seeking validation in all the wrong avenues and then subsequently crashing into a wall of self-loathing that tumbled over me while I lay there, huddled together, filled with shame —it’s hard to see the hope for the end result.

This work is difficult. This work is not going to find relief over night and if I was talking with anyone else it would be so easy to see the light at the end. So easy to grant them grace for their courage and strength to continue that trudge through the mud and despair. So easy to admire their resilience and ability to find ways to laugh and smile despite everything they’ve endured.

But for me?

I can’t give myself that same credit, that same loving grace. Maybe it’s because I know the difference between when I’m trying and when I’m not and maybe I know that sometimes I don’t try to change very hard because I’m tired. Maybe it’s because I’m honestly incapable of being a completely rational person. Maybe it’s easier to go with what I know and find comfortable, even though it’s lonely and dark.

Regardless, I remain aware of the fact that this is something so important for me to continue to work on. I’m so aware of how toxic I am to those around me, unfairly placing judgements or words in peoples mouths based on my own irrational thinking. I want someone to love me for who I am but in turn, I can’t even do that myself. It’s unfair of me to put that burden onto someone else without carrying it myself as well.

I joke a lot that I’m crazy but sometimes it’s really scary the lengths my mind will go to convince me that I don’t deserve the things I want. In those moments, I really DO feel crazy and completely out of control of my own rationality. I seek validation from others about my appearance and when I get it, I question their motives and skew the narrative in my head to prepare myself for the worst case scenario because I believe that’s what I’m worth – the worst case scenario. I never believe that I could be deserving of the happy ever after, the positive outcome.

The idea of me finding love and happiness within myself and someone else loving the dark and light aspects of who I am is more improbable to me than outlandish alternatives. Someone finding joy in my company and caring about me is not something I’m able to fathom on a rational scale because I can list a thousand reasons why even I don’t believe I’m worthy.

And it’s just not fair.

To me, or the people who offer parts of themselves to me through friendships, partnerships or relationships. I hope that I can continue to push through it all, because I believe we all deserve a happy ending.

In the meantime, I’m tired and my best efforts aren’t much lately. Nothing else to do but trudge forward and hope that the path reveals itself soon.