Imposter Cycle

Hey Everybody!

Sorry for being MIA last week, I have been working through some vicious anxiety and exhaustion cycles, and as you know self-care and love are number one in those times. I did want to chat with you all this week about something I have been trying to grapple with mentally.

I am not unfamiliar with imposter syndrome (it is something I grapple with daily). At times it can become so heavy that it motivates me to find ways to alleviate it (healthy ways, but definitely ways that take a lot of time and effort). There are, however, days like today, which I feel like I might not be an imposter. In these moments, I feel relief, and I think perhaps the possibility of change is less needed. These moments always fade away within a few days and melt into a new anxiety-ridden form of imposter syndrome.

And so begins the never-ending cycle of stress & anxiety -> drive to change -> momentary positivity -> fear of change -> stress & anxiety.
It can be an incredibly draining and frustrating cycle, and the fact that it IS a cycle makes the change feel like it is indeed the right path.

I don’t have advice on how to break this cycle today, but if you are also stuck in it, know that you are not alone! I would love to hear about what helped you break out of a similar cycle, and if that was a positive decision for you.

I am not going to lie change is something that is still very scary to me. I am still working on every day, and you all make me feel less alone in this journey, and I can’t thank you enough. Talk to you all next week ❤

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 ❤

No Shame Game (Breaking Free From Shame & Stigma)

As someone who grew up with anxiety, depression, and social trigger based fears, I always felt like it was a secret that was not meant to be shared outside of a very tight social circle of family and friends. I have met other people through my life who have experienced the same sort of seclusion or stigmatizing.

When I was a teenager, there was a brief stint of time where I had opened up to a therapist about some of my anxieties and feelings and was directed quickly (and aggressively) to a psychiatrist who medicated me the first day of treatment. I went through several miss-diagnoses, which involved me being put on several trial medications. At the end of this period I was lucky enough to have family that strongly requested that I was taken off of medicine, and after recalibrating I was able to get back to my formerly anxious but functioning state. This experience reinforced that thought in my head that the things I feel are not things that should be shared, and that it was possibly even dangerous to do so. I want to add the disclaimer here that there are so many amazing therapists and psychotherapists out there, and that medication can be a real and productive answer for people who have several types of mental health conditions.

Another type of wall that many people who are struggling with Mental Health conditions might be familiar with (I know I am)…is the “brush off” or “easy fix” feedback from others. After hearing “just go out for a walk,” “It can’t be that bad,” ” but everything is going so well for you,” etc. it can feel like a hopeless battle reaching out for support. Mental health conditions are not necessarily intuitive to people who are not experiencing them and can be easy to dismiss. This has caused me to isolate even more in the past, and have self-defeating mindsets about being alone in my situation.

Speaking of that scary word ALONE…I finally started being more vocal about my struggles, and it took me thirty-something years to get here, but what I am seeing is that we are far from alone. We are living in a world full of difficulties and stress that can very much seem like an uphill battle, but there are so many of us that are feeling these same things. While we can’t necessarily make mental illness more intuitive to people who are less familiar with it, we can tap into a giant fricken support system across everyone who IS living in this reality. What is truly exciting about doing this, is we can work together as a group to not only create better resources for people like us, we can also develop resources for people who want to learn how to communicate with us more productively!

So how do we start???

Number one is to START TALKING TO PEOPLE: Speak with people about what you are feeling, speak to people who are trying to find people to talk to. We all need support, and starting the conversation is a crucial part of finding a solution.

Number two is to practice not reading into less constructive feedback. While being told, “it is all in your head” doesn’t feel great, and isn’t the most helpful, from my experience it comes from a positive place. I am working on developing an arsenal of responses to less feedback useful where I can be honest about the fact that the answer is appreciated, not the most helpful and what might be more useful on my end.

Bottom line is a mental illness, or a mental health struggle is nothing to be ashamed about. So many people are hiding these huge internal fights, and us being more open about our struggles will pave the way for normalizing a problem that affects so many people. Living a double life (as I had done for so many years) where you are showing a positive or “cleaner” side of yourself while bottling up intense emotional chaos is toxic, and this is unfortunately common within the mental health space. We are all human, we are all deserving of love and support, and being honest about your needs is not only an incredibly important to being a happy and healthy person, but it also is imperative for changing the tide for mental wellness stigma, and improving the climate for others now and going forward.

What are some difficulties you have run into with being open about your feelings? Have you had trouble with knowing what to say when others have reached out to you? I would also love any tips and tools for making contact with other people who have similar experiences or who can relate to what you are going through.

This weeks post is being featured on Bettering YOU a mental wellness blog , which focuses on empowerment, wellness and helping people become a better version of themselves, please check them out when you get a chance.

Have a great week, and I will see you next Thursday!

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 ❤

Feeling Schwifty

Happy Thursday Everybody!

We are almost to the end of the week, and while it has been crazy busy between work and personal projects, it has actually been a great week. Last weekend was the big 6th anniversary for my boyfriend and me. We decided to keep it pretty mellow and not go wild on gifts (as we had in the past). I bought some dinner (tacos obviously), and he got me Rick, and Morty themed Clue. As my photo this week might suggest I am an uber fan of all things Rick and Morty related.

Deciding not to spend money was a great call and made me want to share this in today’s post. I have found that spending has been a go-to for me when I am stressed. This “retail therapy” has done some significant damage to what I need to pay off (combined with my grad school debt), that I am working on chipping away one month at a time. It is so easy to slip into that habit, and it can be one that causes crazy anxiety and panic month over month.

I came to embrace the realization finally that you can have just as much fun on a budget (I mean excluding weekend trips to Disneyland…my favorite place). I have been exploring all things budget from Reddit, Pinterest, and beyond!

I know similarly to dealing with other challenging areas of life, it will take time to pay off the debt that I have accrued…but as I work towards that keeping it simple is going to be my daily mantra. Simple is fun, simple can be inexpensive and simple can help make a smoother future path for our future selves.

What are some ways you have found you deal with stress that might be counterproductive? What are some ways you have counteracted those habits? What budgeting /frugal tips do you all have?

I am looking forward to hearing some tips and tricks from all of you! Have a wonderful weekend! C’ya on Thursday (and keep it schwifty) ❤

Enough IS Enough

This week has been so crazy busy, and I have had moments where I noticed I had some toxic thoughts. These “toxic” thoughts can come out of nowhere…for example, I had to wash out my blow out and deal with my curls again, and I was feeling down on myself and my looks. At that moment, I had to remind myself not to compare myself to others when it comes to looks, lifestyle, and journey/timeline. It is so easy to get caught up in the prescriptive standards of society, but as I gently reminded myself, I am enough (and so are each of you).

I might have mentioned this in prior posts, but every one of us has days where we have limitations for whatever reason on what is possible to achieve. I am someone who has trouble with those limits in these moments (what will happen if I don’t do this…what will they think…just push through it), but listening to yourself and doing what you can IS ENOUGH!

That being said, you have to be honest with yourself. It is easy to hide behind certain comfort excuses when we are scared or apprehensive of approaching something on the to-do list. It is always important to grow and face your fears, and move forward when you are capable of doing so. I know I had had panic attacks when I was scared to go to a meeting or scared to address a big issue, and a flood of words came out of my mouth…I can’t…I’m not good enough…I need to escape this. Often I have not had the choice of not facing some of these things and found even though I was terrified once I got through it, I had amplified it in my mind to something much scarier than it was.

I have also had days where I just needed to stay in bed and would have made myself sick mentally (and perhaps physically) if I had not done so, and on those days staying in bed was enough.

We are all on our own journey, and we are all our own beautiful selves. If you need that reminder today, here it is! You are awesome, you are unique, and you are ENOUGH!

Let me know if you are someone who can listen to what your mind and body are telling you with ease, or if you sometimes struggle with it (like me)? Do you have any tips for being more in tune or at peace with going at your own pace?

See you next week ❤

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).