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 ❤
You know that feeling when you are dreaming, and you feel like you are suddenly falling (this is typically the moment when I knee jerk into waking up)…well these past few weeks have felt a lot like that. They have been productive, chaotic, terrifying, and unfamiliar. There have been many moments where I felt like giving up. Change and conflict have always been things that made me uncomfortable, and the near future contains possibly a healthy mix of both…which has been hard to prepare for when you are already pretty downright exhausted. However, now that I have made it through some of the high drops of my emotional rollercoaster, I see some faint rays of excitement about what things are to come.
Looking back on the past few weeks, I have the reinforced belief that there is no one way to live your life in the right direction. We spend so much time comparing ourselves to others, dreaming without action, and focusing on what makes things hard. We have no idea what happens after this life, and because life is so fleeting, it is essential to do what makes you happiest. It can be scary to make changes in your plan, and it honestly gets more frightening for me the older I get, but we need to continue to listen to our truths. Material things can come and go (and yes they can be great), but it is truly about what makes you happy and fulfilled healthily.
Do any of you have any advice for being brave in the face of change? Do you also have trouble with change? Thanks for listening, and I will chat with you all next week ❤
Mental illness can be a very taboo, uncomfortable, and complicated subject to approach. For so many people, mental health issues have been something to hide away from others, things we want to try to ignore and possibly things that have caused us shame. It was not until recently that I had started working on starting conversations about my mental health complications that I realized how many people are feeling the same things that I am, and how many people out there genuinely want to help (but may not have the toolsets that make them feel capable of helping).
With that said, as someone who has lived within my mind for sometime anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions are not something you can read a handbook to understand. Over the past years, I have heard many assumptions about what people thought my behaviors, personality quirks, and habits might mean…and this was understandably frequently wrong. Not only were assumptions others were making incorrect, but I was also finding myself misdiagnosing myself based on how I was behaving.
While everyone is different, and what I am about to say may not be accurate for everyone, I want to speak to some common misconceptions that I have experienced. I hope to possibly shed some light and provide insight for those who might have a relationship with someone with mental health conditions, or for anyone who is trying to find answers on their own mental health journey.
Number one I feel like people tend to assume (as I once did) that it is always a black and white story. I have very high levels of social anxiety, but that does not mean I don’t want to be social. How this manifests can be very different for people, but I tend to reach out and start non-verbal conversations (text, direct message, etc.). With my specific anxieties, I can become incredibly exhausted when having to have verbal communications. What I have learned is that this can be interpreted as a lack of interest, a brush off or just being rude (which is incorrect 99.9% of the time in my case). Overcoming this hurdle is still one I am very much working on, but I do recommend that the big answer on both sides is communication. If you are feeling brushed off, it is always ok to ask if there is a reason that the person you are communicating with prefers to talk in less direct ways. Starting the dialog is critical, and frequently, the truth will set you free in these cases. When assumptions are made in these situations, it can cause adverse effects with all parties involved. People can feel shunned that have no reason to, or people might isolate more with a fear that they can’t hold healthy interactions with others. The big picture here is communication is always a win. In today’s society, people tend to shy away from more subdermal conversations because of discomfort, but it is truly the only way to start a conversation that facilitates stronger and healthier relationships.
Number two you don’t have to try to fix people who have mental health conditions. As I was struggling to start talking to others about what I was feeling, I found that I had walked into a hallway of motivational poster conversation. “You have nothing to worry about!” “But you are great,” “Look on the bright side.”…etc. I think it is beneficial to think of mental health conditions as any other medical condition. If you run into a friend in a hospital who has a broken leg, it isn’t your job to fix their leg. However, you can support and help out in ways that your friend might need. Taking this example even further you do not have to avoid mentioning the leg at all, it is a real thing that is happening, and not treating it as an invisible elephant in a room can be appreciated. Similarly to a broken leg, mental illness can be treated over time, but it is a process and not something that people will be able to “snap out of.”
Lastly, something that I believe is so important for everyone to realize is that mental health problems are not uncommon. It is easy to feel incredibly isolated if you are experiencing mental health conditions, and I am here to tell you this is NOT true. This belief comes from a long history of skirting mental health issues under the carpet, which is something we need to work hard to prevent. We are living in a world where Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, where mental health conditions affect 1-in-4 people at some point. This is a crucial time to start having conversations with yourself, people who suffer from mental health conditions, and people who don’t to begin normalizing this global issue. While that might sound like a huge hurdle to overcome, it starts with the basics. As long as we are continuing to avoid assumptions, have honest communication, and being honest with ourselves and others about mental health struggles, we are moving in the right direction.
What are some tools you have found for communicating with people about mental health? What are some obstacles you have run into when trying to start these conversations? Are there any tools that would help you feel safer when trying to communicate about your mental health conditions?
This weeks post is being featured on Mindabout a digital community meant to help women excel in areas they find hard to and diminish the inevitable loneliness experienced. Please check them out when you get a chance.
Have a great week, and I will see you all next Thursday ❤
This week has been an exciting week, I have been looking into possible networking events, and social events to try to expand my career and social connections, and so far it is pretty freaking scary.
Trying to make friends, or other types of connections organically as an adult is one of the trickiest things for me personally. It wasn’t like the good old days of elementary school where you are planted in front of people with a juice box and forced to find connections (such as your love for goldfish crackers or drawing).
I have signed up to attend meetups, book clubs, entrepreneurial woman’s groups and beyond, and what I have found is, first of all, it is tough to motivate me to do unrequired tasks outside of my home. Most of the time, I am already tired, and it is very tempting to stay in my pajamas and watch another episode of Big Little Lies. Secondly, when I do get out, I am very much in my head and when I do talk to people at these events it is in a sort of head voice personality…overly polite…overly loud…and frequently excessively sweaty.
I am very aware that these types of interactions are healthy, and really one of the only ways to make these connections as an adult, but it is a real struggle trying to keep proactively putting myself out there.
I want to stress to myself (and others going through similar troubles) that this is not a hopeless situation, and this is not a reflection on anything wrong with us. This world can be overstimulating to anyone, let alone someone with anxiety, and it is perfectly normal to be drawn to the comforts of home.
With that said, I am going to challenge myself to find one event or gathering on a bi-monthly basis where I can start putting my networking feelers out there and test the waters. I would love if anyone reading, who is up to it, would be down to challenge themselves to this same task.
If you are going to challenge yourself to put yourself in more social situations, please let me know how it goes! And, if you have found any tips and tricks to make the process more comfortable, I would be very appreciative if you share them because lord knows I can use some help in that department.
Have a wonderful weekend, and I will chat with you next Thursday ❤
Happy Thursday All! I will start by saying today was incredibly stressful…but productive!
I started this Thursday as I do with most, very anxious and tired because Thursday tends to be a big work meeting day. This specific Thursday was even more critical than others, so it was filled with initially more dread on my end. I was thinking about how I could represent this day with a doodle and thunderstorms, tornados, and all types of chaos entered my mind. Then when the end of the day rolled around the same thing that happens most Thursdays dawned on me. Today was productive, and today was not as bad as I feared it would be, and today…I kind of kicked ass. I had this realization that I tend to associate the unknown and the challenging as fear when it can truly be an opportunity to grow.
I know that can all sound a bit stop and smell the flower-esque, and trust me…I know it is not easy to remove that instant fear trigger day to day. I had a 60-minute mini panic attack when thinking about the possibility of having a typo in my email that I knew did not have a typo…and I was terrified.
Life can be scary, life can be full of questions with answers you don’t have, and you might never have, or might not have for a while…and that’s facts, but life is also something that we can decide how to approach. I am going to be working on reprograming my fear triggers to excitement triggers (wish me luck), and I think it is worth a try for anyone struggling with daily anxiety (or anxiety in general).
I look forward to hearing about what some things that you have been scared of that might be exciting opportunities. Along with, some tips for trying to reprogram deep seeded anxieties? Also please let me know What is something you are proud of yourself for doing recently (great work ahead of time!)?
Have a beautiful weekend, and I will see you all next Thursday!
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?