Two-Faced

I wanted to talk about what I like to call “game face” with you all this week. To be absolutely honest, I have been struggling with both anxiety and depression for the past couple of weeks.

I have been in hiding under the covers mode almost 24/7, but I still needed to get shit done (work, appointments, etc.). A game face can so many things: it can mean smiling in a public-facing situation when you are really in a full-blown panic mode internally, putting on a brave face in front of people who need you to be strong for, or really any other flavor of having to act in a way that is entirely the opposite of what you are feeling.

Game face is something that is not easy for me to achieve at all times. At times it can be downright impossible. I have spent mornings crying for a few hours, and I have to ice down my face to look like a “normal” functioning human for an event or to-do task. It is not only not intuitive, but it can be confusing and lead to dissociation and mood fluctuations.

Smiling depression, defined by Healthline as , “a term for someone living with depression on the inside while appearing perfectly happy or content on the outside. Their public life is usually one that’s “put together,” maybe even what some would call normal or perfect.”, is not uncommon, and can be a characteristic of many people struggling with intense depression.

I wanted to discuss this for a few reasons. The first reason being that if you are suffering from this, I want you to know YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Secondly, I think it is important to remind ourselves that it is ok to feel what we are feeling and be where we are every day. I do believe it is essential to try to break out of pre-loading our daily outlook as unfavorable. It’s not always easy to wake up in a cheery mindset, I wake up in full-blown panic more frequently than I care to admit, but we should try to practice gratitude and mindfulness each morning to start on the right foot whenever possible.

I would love to hear any advice about best handling having to show up to required/unavoidable events when you are in an emotional shitstorm (for lack of a better word). I would also like to know if any of you are regularly experiencing smiling depression, and what triggers you to have to go into game face mode.

Have a wonderful Thursday, and I will chat with you all next week ❤

Simmering On Low

Warning there is some life realness coming up in this post. This has been a rough week for so many reasons. It has been both mentally and physically exhausting.

I have been up to my ears with anxiety, to do tasks, I am PMSing, and overall, I am thoroughly exhausted. I know I am not alone reaching a point of burnout, and it is not easy to navigate. For me, this doesn’t only bubble up as extreme anxiety, disassociation at times, along with a fun crew of other mental symptoms…it also means migraines, nausea, and lack of appetite. As much as I have wanted to hide away and not deal with life, thanks to some of my support system, I have tacked what needed to be done somewhat head-on (with a few crying breakdowns sprinkled in between for fun).

What I have noticed is as this burnout “session” has been progressive over the past month or so I have been less and less productive in my downtime. I have been using the intensity of my weeks as an excuse to do nothing that even smells productive over the weekend. I have been doing as much as I can do not to engage, think or even move at times over the weekends, which takes us from the land of self-care into the territories of avoidance and escapism. With this helpful new nugget of self-discovery, I am going to make an active go of doing at least a day of productive project work over the weekend (drawing, writing, cleaning, trying new recipes, etc.) something that will get my brain stimulated and moving forward.

Despite all the griping this week was not all negative, there were several moments of laughing, love, and productiveness, which I am grateful for on so many levels. I want to take a quick moment just to shoutout how even when you might be feeling like you just went through the digestive system of an angry octopus it is incredibly essential to remain grateful for all of the good (big or small) that you are experiencing.

Going into the weekend with this new self-challenge is both exciting and a bit scary. It is comfortable and easy to stay in the patterns we know, and it is always possible we might slip up, but guess what y’all…That does not mean you shouldn’t try and try again till you reach your goals. Not to sound preachy but the older I get the more I think life is really about just trying learning and growing, and that is all done at our own individual paces my friends.

I will still be spending plenty of time to self-care, and get some R&R over the weekend because I earned it gosh darn it. I would love to know if you have any advice for dealing with burnout? Or, if any of you are feeling stuck in a burnout the situation and would like to talk about it (or anything else for that matter).

Have a wonderfully restful and productive weekend, and I will see you all next week ❤

#RoughWeek

I will be the first to say this has been a rough week.

I have been exhausted, emotional and a bit all over the place. I was stewing in this weird state when I knew I had to share/talk to someone about it. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to open up for a multitude of reasons. You feel silly, you logically know that you “should” be fine, you don’t want to bother other people, but just as you wouldn’t hesitate to have a bandage for a cut or to ask for medical help, it is just as ok to open up about your mental space to loved ones and/or a therapist.

Sometimes I find myself wondering what value is created by sharing certain things, but once I do open up, I find that it is invaluable. Having an outside perspective (outside my mind) can help me break huge, scary, monster anxieties into smaller blocks. Even if it doesn’t being able to be in your real state with others is cathartic for me. I find that I frequently have defense mechanisms, or specific protective masks on, which it is exhausting, especially in times of high stress.

While my current real state might be highly anxious, tired and drained, I am grateful that I am in the presence of loved ones who not only appreciate me no matter the state but that fully inspire and embrace that truth wherever it may lay on the emotional map of my day to day life.

I am curious, for those who are reading about how you have dealt with sharing your anxiety or more difficult feelings with others? Has it helped you?

Either way remember you are not alone in your struggles, and it is ok to feel what you feel and be who you are every damn day!

See you next Thursday ❤

Self-Care(ful)

Let me start by saying it is ALWAYS necessary to practice self-care! I feel like sometimes I have to be hit by a wall of heavy crap or fall apart before I am like wow I need to practice self-care. I mean there is maintenance stuff I do such as working out, cooking and now this blog…but I mean allowing yourself to rest, relax and pamper yourself.

Something that I have been working on and something that I think is important for everyone to realize is that you do not need a reason to “treat yo-self.”

You don’t have to earn self-care; it is a vital part of a healthy life and should be practiced regularly. Everyone will have their idea of what self-care means. For me, it can be ordering a delicious pizza with my boyfriend and watching tv, sleeping in, doing some art, or just taking a look at the Reddit front page. I have been better at being ok with myself doing these things when I feel like I want to.

With that said I have noticed some personal habits that border on some “trigger word behavior” ESCAPISM…AVOIDANCE…DIFFUSION…oh no! Sometimes it is easy to blur the lines between self-care and coping mechanisms/distraction. I have noticed myself indulging in some retail therapy, oversleeping, and hiding in a few ways from facing some daily stressors. While it hasn’t become a significant issue in my life, it isn’t a pattern I want to keep participating in. Sometimes it is easier to fall into these comfort and dopamine releasing activities, but in the long run, doing this every day becomes expensive emotionally, financially, and when it comes to being able to handle things on a day to day bases.

Bottom Line is that daily self-care is something we should all be doing, but make sure it is a self-care routine that adds value to your life (sometimes just laying in bed adds a lot of value to my life) and makes sure it is not a way for you to avoid dealing with your life. Running away (while tempting) does not mean your problems will vanish, it often means that you will have a larger…and scarier wall once you are forced to face it head-on. It is good to occasionaly give yourself a really nice ocassional treat be it a fancy dinner, a new outfit a full day in bed, but these should be treats and not crutches for us to lean on.

I am hoping that some people are reading through this, and if you are let me know in the comments what your favorite self-care practices are, and if you have found yourself falling into unproductive habits ever masked as self-care?

Have a great week, and see you next Thursday ❤

Kill Bill(s)

Mail was always such an exciting thing when I was a kid. I remember being pretty jealous that my parents got so much mail, and I got 1-2 checks a year for special occasions and the junk mail when I was growing up. I would tell my parents how popular they were and how I wish I could get the same amount of mail as they did. #kidsaredumb.

It wasn’t until I had reached full-fledged adulthood that I really got to reflect back and come to the realization that all of this mail “treasure” I had guilted and complained about were Bills!

As an adult just getting out of grad school bills are a MAJOR reality of everyday life…and can literally take the breath out of you (and your wallet) at times. Let’s be real and admit most of us have had that wonderful feeling of having that payday cash in your pocket, which we quickly follow with the responsible and proactive feeling of paying off your bills followed by the fun wave of realizing how much debt you have left to pay combined with the fact that you are now pretty dang broke till the next payday when we start this exciting dance all over…its fun I know!

It can be easy to become disenfranchised when you feel like you are in this cycle, and it is normal to feel panicked or overwhelmed at the idea of this being an unending spinning ride. Personally, I feel all of the above, however, I am working on tricking my mind into a healthier processing place with this.

Not to sound prescriptive…but for me personally being mindful (or trying to be mindful) is something that can occasionally take the edge off. Yes, it might be more effective going into the weekend because the Monday and Sunday blues are further away but it gives me some extra staying power throughout the week. I think that what works for each person will differ but my mindfulness go-to list is:

Taking a walk while listening to music or an audio story
Eating something healthy slowly (i.e.) apple
Yoga & Meditation (POWER COMBO)
Taking a shower and singing really loud
…and let us not forget that sometimes it is ok to just do nothing

Listen to yourself, but if you are feeling stagnant it can be helpful to try to throw something new & fresh to push you into functioning…at least until we win the lotto and then we can just become forever couch potatoes…just kidding (kind of).