You-phoric (or phobic)?

This week I wanted to write about something a bit different than usual. A week or so ago I finished binging HBO’s Euphoria. This how describes itself as “An American adaptation of the Israeli show of the same name, “Euphoria” follows the troubled life of 17-year-old Rue, a drug addict fresh from rehab with no plans to stay clean.” The primary character deals with addiction, depression, and manic episodes. I will start this off by shouting in all caps THIS SHOW CAN BE VERY TRIGGERING, so proceed with caution if you are planning to watch.

What I was surprised to find is how much I related to on several layers with this character. While I am not addicted to drugs, I use different variables to control when I am feeling less in control of what is around me. This has bubbled up as anorexia and bulimia historically (which I am incredibly thankful to be 6+ years into remission for), drinking (in the past), and more presently list-making and organization. I still find myself attempting to unplug my brain in a multitude of ways when I get into depressive states. I also experience a wave of high highs and low lows regularly.

What this show also triggered for me is a glamorization at times of these mental health issues. This has been something I have seen for some time from Girl Interrupted when I was in high school to 13 Reasons Why today. It can be confusing to try to find the answer to what is the right balance here. As my readers know, I am a big believer in normalizing the conversation about mental health issues in general. I believe this extends to all ages, genders, and humans in general. However, I also feel uncomfortable with trying to make any of these issues “sexy.” As someone that actively struggles with depression and anxiety, I can confirm it is not sexy or cool at all. It is hard, exhausting and often downright ugly. I also find that it is easy to be “seduced” into old habits when viewing particular material if I am not careful. I don’t have the answers here, and I am not suggesting these shows should not be made by any means (I am a high key huge fan of Euphoria and think it is a beautifully made and essential in many ways to shine a light on addiction and mental illness). I do believe we need to be cautious and aware of a ripple effect content can have in general.

I am curious if any of you find shows that touch on mental health or triggering subjects more helpful or harmful? What do you think the right balance is?

As a side note, lots of interesting changing variables are coming up in life, and I am nervous but hopeful. I am looking forward to chatting about this in the upcoming weeks. Thanks for checking in, and I will talk with you next Thursday ❤

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 ❤

Somewhere Out There Is…

Hello, Fellow Adults!

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 ❤

It’s You Not Me

Let me just tell you all., I am having one of those days that just won’t quit being stressful!!! I ran into a situation today that made me think about something I have trouble with at times. As a socially anxious introvert, I tend to internalize things (all things)…from the typo I made in a work email five years ago to sweating out my hair at the salon when I am trying to think what to say during a blowout. I realize most of this isn’t worth internalizing, it’s probably, in fact, detrimental to do so, but you know me.

That said, I have started to work on not internalizing when other people are assholes. I used to eat all of the toxicity said people would spew and spiral into a thought tornado (what did I do wrong…why did I do this…obviously everyone hates me), and I still do get worked up about dealing with confrontations like this. However, what I am learning to appreciate is there is no reason to be an asshole, except for the plain Ol fact that you are an asshole.

We can choose how to carry ourselves; we can decide if we want to deliver stressful or tense news in a pleasant and understanding way and if we want to barrel roll through with no empathy that is also a choice.

BUT GUESS WHAT! We can also decide to realize that that does not give said A-hole power over us. We can envision ourselves as a badass duck whos beautiful feathers refuse to absorb a-hole water (aka haterade). All joking aside, it can be hard, and it is something I still struggle with, but I feel pretty empowered knowing that it is a choice on my end how much of myself I allow to be affected by others (and I hope you feel the same).

How do you prefer to deal with the a-holes of your day to day life? I would love tips and tricks that I can try in real time. Have a wonderful week ya’ll and remember you have the power to choose! ❤