Prioritize your needs

Hi all! As promised I’m back with a post between the spring semester ending and summer classes beginning. I literally cannot believe another semester is done. It feels like just yesterday I was frantically deciding whether to change my major from Neuroscience –> psychology or outdoor education and last minute sneaking my way into classes.

The decision was made and I’m good with it. While I’m extremely interested in a outdoor education, having a solid background in outdoor adventure groups and communities growing up it’s something that I’m really passionate about. On the other hand, it isn’t something that I felt like I wanted to major in “enough” to put myself in a position of taking that many more classes. The way I see it is, if that is the direction my life is meant to go it will happen regardless and psychology is also a great background to have for the field of outdoor ed/adventure therapy.

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Throwback to Mt. Isolation (september 16′). 12 miles, 5k vert gain. One of my favorites thus far. The suck was real but so was learning to love the process.

One year left, one year left. I keep telling myself this on repeat and it helps. It’s not that I’m “bad” at school. I’m for the bulk of my college career a straight A student minus the period I attempted balancing school + work + treatment. Rather, it doesn’t feel right. I enjoy learning, I love it and feed off of it. Increasing my knowledge base and understanding of both the material I’m studying and the world in general makes me feel grounded. However, sitting in a class full of other students with numerous stimuli and distractions doesn’t jive well with my brain. I can rarely focus and while that was okay the past two semesters, I’ve been apprehensive about the upcoming school year. So I’m doing something about that and choosing to be proactive and supportive of my needs rather than just being in la-la land and pretending I’m a perfectly productive student in the classroom.

. Four FULLY ONLINE summer classes. There is the money honey. I honestly dig online classes, I feel that I’m able to grasp the material equally as well if not better than in-class lecture format because I’m not wasting time sitting in classes unfocused and angsty only to go home to teach myself everything I supposedly just learned in class. I feel very uneasy in classes/on campus which fascinates me because it’s only been like this throughout my time at my current university. It could be the school (size), it could be that my mental health is in a different place now than before and I tend to actually feel my feelings, not feeling like I fit in AT ALL, a combination, or none of the above.

Life is said to be this balancing act – a see-saw if you will. I agree with this, there are good days and bad days, days of growth where you thrive and break down walls, then there are days when the going gets tough and honestly I think the best way to manage these days is being able to take care of yourself. Life isn’t giving in or giving up. It’s not hiding from the world or holding yourself back. It’s owning up to yourself, being present, and showing up in the world.

As I mentioned in a couple posts back when discussing the process of overcoming an injury, “count your rainbows not your thunderstorms.” – Alyssa Knight

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In addition to this, I think it’s being capable of accepting and honoring where you are at now, which may be an entirely different place than a month ago, a year ago, or two months in the future. As human beings we constantly are growing, evolving, and increasing our depth of understanding – having the mental flexibility to allow this and accept/be okay with it is HUGELY IMPORTANT.

I am not where I though I would be at 23, almost 24 years old and that is okay. There is no universal law saying that I need to be doing X or have accomplished Y by the time I’m 24. These are my own self-imposed guidelines/goals/expectations. They are the feelings that strip enjoyment out of life. The feelings of being a failure because I decided that I don’t want what I once thought I did, or wondering why I’m unable to roll with the punches the way society expects me too.

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I’m not abnormal. Heck, what even is normal?! I’m working with who I am to develop the best version of me.

There are days where I have to take a step back from everything and just try to enjoy the little things. Focusing on small stuff helps keep the big stuff more manageable. In the past year I’ve come a ways in terms of being able to recognize when I need to do this instead of keeping pushing through which inevitably leads to either becoming burnt out and/or increased anxiety/panic attacks.

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Enjoying the little things – favorite space in my bedroom – lilacs, star dish with sea shells and tea bag quotes, a few pictures, my globe (in the back), and a card a dear friend gave me.

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Close up. Oh hey Panda 🙂

SO what have I been up to in my week off from school? A whole lot of nothing. I’ve worked pretty minimally, enjoyed the sunshine and warm temps, spent time with friends, and given myself space to prepare for the hefty load of classes in my near future (tomorrow!).

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Sports psychology/mindset reading

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I biked and she ran 🙂

I think that while I still deal with anxiety on a regular basis I’m much more accepting of it and I understand it better than I ever have. Taking time to just be and really pursue the things which light my soul on fire have been absolutely essential to my mental health. That and forcing myself to do things which while sometimes uncomfortable are only going to help me grow. I believe that there is a difference between doing things which are uncomfortable but promote growth versus things which are just not good for our personal needs (e.g online vs. in-class courses). I believe understanding where to draw the line for yourself and prioritizing this is the base of the pyramid in terms of self-care.

Prioritizing is knowing what you stand for. What are your goals? What makes you tick? What are you willing to put up with, sacrifice, leave behind, etc. etc. Learn to maximize everything that will help get you to your end goal. Look at the end goal and determine what needs to happen to get from now –> then. Focus on that stuff.

“Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos — the trees, the clotuds, everything.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh

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What are my coping skills?

Hey all! Happy Monday 🙂 What the what… I’m back here on the blog again… so soon. Also, who in creation says “happy MONDAY”?!? I’ve been posting more lately and it feels right. Does that make sense? Doing what I love and what makes me smile – writing and sharing!

What am I here to talk about today? Coping mechanisms and skills for your mental health toolbox. OK, so, I came across a quote the other day which inspired me to sit down and journal about what I define to be my purpose and goals. I’ve been extremely on edge lately and dealing with way more anxiety than “normal” for me. Knowing this, I knew that I NEEDED to take some time to myself and just write, process, and understand my feels. In doing this, I decided to define what my coping skills are or what could be a genuine coping mechanism for me and my life. Coping skills are a necessity, and in my opinion, the more in-tune we are with our needs and what things are supportive of our needs the easier reaching goals becomes. It’s never a bad thing to utilize skills and cultivate habits which support our goals and fall in line with what we feel is our purpose on this planet.

I am such a quote person it’s slightly ridiculous, not a bad thing, merely an observation. Anyways, “Everybody has a secret world inside of them. I mean everybody. All of the people in the whole world, I mean everybody — no matter how dull and boring they are on the outside. Inside them they’ve all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds… Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe.” ― Neil Gaiman

Like I said, define my purpose. Before getting into specifics, I just wanted to share some hiking panoramics which I love to look back at and reminiscence between hikes. THIS is a huge coping skill for me.

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All of that said, let’s jump into the primary topic of this post… coping skills. The categories to define various coping skills are some that I learned while in treatment, and honestly, I think they’re gold.

Based on the five senses, what are things that soothe you?

  • Sound: birds chirping, rain, thunder, the ocean, bells,  music
  • Smell: pine, coffee, mint, smoke from a campfire, lavender, fall leaves, cinnamon
  • Taste: berry, mint, coffee, cinnamon, vanilla
  • Touch: comfy clothing, hugs, hot showers, sauna (heat), soft blankets/being under multiple covers in bed, walking barefoot
  • Sight: sunshine, rain, the forest, waterfalls, mountains, blue skies, the ocean, wildlife

What can you do to reconnect with yourself physically?

  • Run OUTSIDE
  • Yoga
  • Go for a walk
  • Hike

What can you do to reconnect with yourself mentally?

  • Meditate (guided or unguided)
  • Journal
  • Write a blog post
  • Listen to a calming music playlist

What will you do if you need an out?

  • Remove myself calmly from a situation
  • Text a friend to call me/call a friend
  • Accept that saying NO is acceptable

What can you do to distract yourself and/or remove yourself from anxiety (I filled in this question with anxiety to get more specific)?

  • Meet up with a friend
  • Work on homework
  • Plan a workout
  • Read a book
  • Listen to a podcast
  • Take a nap
  • Take a hot shower
  • Hold a frozen orange (cool and useful technique learned in my program… keep an orange in the freezer and if you feel a panic attack coming on just sit down and hold said orange, your focus will move from negative and very robust emotions to the fact that your holding a freezing cold non-melting object… if this isn’t enough you can resort to filling a bowl with ice water and sticking your head in… YEP, I have done this (twice), and YEP it does the trick). I do think processing the feelings which led you to needing to utilize this skill in the first place though after the fact is important.

What will you do if you feel stuck?

  • Attempt to decipher my feelings
  • Talk with a close friend
  • Read old blog posts and journals to try to help regain a sense of self and light a fire under my ass
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Best friends make the world go round

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Replace and anxiety for depression and #nailedit (also nails it for depression also, of course!)

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Had to share this… Left class one day and just sat outside for ~ 15 mintues because I needed a moment (a lot of moments). Decided to snapchat a friend instead of getting lost inside of my head. #puttingskillstowork

What are some of YOUR coping skills? We’re all different.

Any quotes that speak to you lately?

Thanks for reading 🙂 xo, S

Do more of what makes you FEEL good

 

Hi all! It’s been a super hot minute since I’ve posted on the blog but that’s ok. It’s Friday. Yippee. It’s also the end of week SIX of Fall semester, nuts. Thus far I’m really digging being back in classes. Never actually thought I’d say that considering how rough the entire past academic year was. Insert eye roll emoji here. This directly ties into the title of this post, do more of what makes you feel good. Seems simple, right? Common sense? Of course. Do I follow this advice? for the longest time, nope. I attribute this semester going well to the fact that I’ve been doing more things which speak to me and letting go of the things which stress me. Easier said than done, but the outcome so far has been well worth the struggles along the way.

I’ve always been a people pleaser. I genuinely want and enjoy helping others but there is a boundary (at least for me) that needs to be set here. I can’t go out of my way on a consistent basis without taking care of myself because that leads to burnout mentally and physically. Not only a people pleaser but if someone is upset with me, has a difference of opinion, doesn’t like the way I handle X/Y/Z, then I would take it out on myself and myself only. I never actually realized how much this was hurting me on an emotional level until I’ve been working on the way I go about my day to day and filling my life with more activities that truly benefit my wellbeing. I hate saying “no”. It’s so hard for me because I feel like I’m letting someone down and will ruminate on that feeling of not pleasing said person for hours, days, weeks. It’s absurd. Seriously, not ok in any way. Having this kind of mentality isn’t healthy, beneficial, or even sane for that matter.

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I think I’ve shifted away from this mentality easier recently because I’ve been doing more things which I enjoy and therefore feel better in general. I’m less anxious. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a general baseline anxiety and there are days when I’m convinced I’ve gone off the deep end. But, the bad days are further apart now in comparison to the past probably ten years of my life. I will take that and run with it. I no longer throw a complete tantrum like every other day over little things that won’t matter twenty minutes later. I’ve been staying in my classes and coping better with the stresses of school for the most part. Like I said, I still have my moments for sure but after all progress is a process. I know my anxiety is deeply rooted into my being, and breaking free from it is going to be a long and daunting haul. Rewarding, worth it, and beneficial to my health… YES absolutely. But emotionally a roller coaster also. I also believe that over time dealing with my anxiety I’ve become a bit more resilient in managing it, so to say, I’ve become accustomed to it. More adapted.

I keep mentioning that I’m spending more time doing things which are enjoyable to me. The biggest one here is hiking without a doubt. Additionally, just spending more time with friends and enhancing my social life has also been very helpful! I’m what I like to call an outgoing introvert. I need my space. I need “Sarah time” to recharge, sleep, focus, breathe, and chill. But for a while I had too much me time, and that wasn’t good either. I notice that if I’m alone too much I tend to ruminate more, which I would say is probably common for a lot of people. I was stuck in this place of not really wanting to be social because I was afraid or anxious about not having enough time to myself when in reality I had too much time to myself. Catch 22 I guess.

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Back in July I went on my first hike of this season and the bliss I found from this hike was something completely inexplainable. A week later I met with a friend from high school for another hike. A few weeks after the same friend (she’s fabulous) and I went again. One thing that has been super cool is the social aspect I’m getting out of this hobby/passion also. Between reconnecting with a high school friend to actually meeting a social media friend for the first time (and we’ve now gone on two hikes together) is amazing and I’m so grateful for these friendships.

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It’s been a consistent pattern of hiking every weekend to every other weekend since July. I don’t think this is stopping anytime soon. A total of 16 New Hampshire 4000-footers since July. Most of these hikes take up an entire day: leave at 7am, begin hike by 9:30am, hike lasts anywhere until 2pm-6pm, get home between 5pm-8pm. Day done, legs tired, belly full of protein bars and turkey sandwiches and I’m happy. I think about nothing else for a whole day. The driving is usually spent talking and jamming to good music while drinking copious amounts of coffee to prepare ourselves. The hike itself is pure bliss, being in nature and focusing on hiking (read: not tripping over myself every .9 seconds). I feel so good. Not to mention, the views are phenomenal.

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South Twin mountain.

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Zealand mountain.

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Garfield mountain trail. GUYS look at this. Seriously. How can you not be completely at ease after a day spent walking along this trail?!

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Casually standing on top of the entire world. E.g Mt. Zealand lookout spot. Straight up cheesin’ so hard. Endorphin rush to the max!

I’m going with these good feels. I can firmly say I feel more confident in myself and my abilities than I have in years. It’s a good place to be mentally. I still have work to do, but I think I’ve found something that will help me get it done. For me hiking is the best meditation, and meditation is where I calm myself, let go of all the negative feels, and realize that everything will actually be ok despite thinking the world may collapse under me some days.

Tonight a friend is staying over (also hasn’t happened in years because I’m absurdly uptight) and then tomorrow we are… guess what… HIKING. Trip report to come! Also to come – what I’m taking for classes, fitness updates, new job(s), ect…

“The mountains are calling and I must go.” – John Muir (clearly my end of the post quote had to be this one… so fitting! Winking smile)

Pursue YOU

Hi all! Gosh it felt good to finally get something up last week after being on a complete hiatus this semester.

New tunes: tune in while you read. See what I did there? Winking smile

I know I usually (read: always) end my posts with quotes, but today I’m starting with one because it totally ties into all the stuff I’m about to lay on the table.

“NOTHING KILLS YOU LIKE YOUR MIND.”

Well, that’s bold and abrupt. But so f**king spot on. I saw a quote somewhere recently (probably Instagram, lets be honest) and it said: my brain has too many tabs open. THIS. I try to do all the possible things full speed and get myself into so much trouble. Anything and everything that I’m remotely interested in I will try to make something of it. This is both a fun and destructive way to live. I’m terrible at saying “NO” because I think I’m super woman. I’m definitely getting better but I’m stubborn and try to be two-three people on a regular basis. It’s a work in progress. I know I need to cut myself some slack because I’ve cut a bunch of extra baggage from my life in the past year which didn’t belong anymore and this shows progress which I’m happy to recognize.

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When Kombucha bottle words always nail it

I can’t help but feel lately that I’m going after the wrong goals. What? Wrong goals? I *should* say things that are beneficial but not entirely my calling. I found this list of 100 questions to ask yourself on Mind Body Green and wanted to share a few + my answers here.

What lessons am I learning right now? I am learning to honor my body – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually even more. I am learning that although I feel like I should have my life figured out it’s not necessary or typical. I’m 22 not 42, even then, things change, life changes directions. What is stable one day might not be a week later. Life is dynamic and fluid not static.

What expectations am I willing to release? I need to release the expectation that when I make a plan of attack it will go my way… always. This isn’t possible. LIFE happens. Like I said above, it’s fluid. Life ebbs and flows, ups and downs. I like to have a plan and that is ok. However, I need to be ok with it changing. Goals evolve.

In what ways can I be kinder to myself? I need to let go of expecting myself to be able to do it all because this is the thing which is undoubtedly driving me off of the deep end. It’s been all or nothing in each part of my life since I can remember, always saying yes, always going full-in or not going in at all. I need to learn to be ok with the unknown and in-between.

What in my life am I forcing? being a full-fledged science person. This is confusing, complicated, and messy. I’m going to try and explain: I love science. I love learning about new findings, research, medical approaches, holistic medicine. Reading articles on epigenetics or the newest finding on how x chemical affects x hormone is REALLY FUN for me. Listening to podcasts on autoimmunity, the microbiome, or synthesis of vitamins. This stuff utterly excites me. I love the learning and findings but am not so thrilled with being the finder. Does that make sense?!? I like interpreting and understanding. I want to be able to apply this to my career and future life. I don’t want to be the “finder” per say, rather a healer, guide, interpreter.

Where have I been playing it safe? in the gym. I want to compete again. Rather, I want to pursue what lights me on fire more than anything else in the world (yep, even more than reading microbiome articles). I’ll get into this more next time but there will be some changes around here, kids. Expect that. Smile

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“Find a way to block out all the noise around you, create a tunnel and dig.”

You know what you are capable of. Trust that.

Live FIERCELY.

Hi guys! It’s Tuesday Smile  In my Literature and Business course we recently were asked to read an excerpt from the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and while there were definitely some good and interesting points discussed… it just didn’t do it for me. I’ve written some posts on this blog as motivational sources for both myself and my readers. I’m currently working on a side project also and have taken some of a couple of posts to make one big post which I’m sharing today on living fiercely and my personal vision of success and life purpose. These are my opinions and views, so take with you what works and leave what doesn’t. After all, everyone is different in terms of what motivates them.

Ready? Set go.

OK wait… first some tunes for reading. Please please don’t tell me I’m the only one who needs good jams.

Always be yourself, that’s what everyone says. In a world committed to beating the guy next to you, striving always to get ahead, to have the balls to go after your own dreams is a novel idea in and of itself. It’s a hard choice to keep up the pursuit of your dreams, goals, passions, hobbies, the things which light your soul on fire. However, a crucial one nonetheless.

What gets in the way? Why do people feel it’s necessary to just live inside the bubble society has created and continued to morph as the years go on. Why do we conform ourselves to the needs of society versus the needs of ourselves?

Self-limitation. Self-sabotage. Whatever term hits you the hardest – go with it. Boy is that a concept. It’s also something most people do on the regular, whether or not they are actually aware of it. It’s hard not to. We are brought up in a society that tells us as children that well, we are amazing and can do whatever we set our minds to. Which if you ask me, that’s great. But what’s not so great is that as kids get older the support and the “you’re the greatest” start to leave the scene, and rather quickly. We end up with young adults who are trying to find their life path and also simultaneously being bombarded from every angle with messages about how to be richer, prettier, skinnier, how to succeed, how not to succeed, what you’re doing wrong, why you’re not X/Y/Z, how to be “healthy”, and the list goes on and on. Then of course there are the more important things like actually being a responsible adult, having and maintaining a job, college, graduate school, starting a family, ect. It’s a lot of pressure, so it’s natural for people to be hard on themselves and doubt their abilities. Things cost money, it’s easy to question if something is worth it and subsequently talk yourself out of things. It seems safer to go with the flow of society rather than carving your own path. Safer doesn’t always equal easier.

What we are not taught? How to listen to our inner fire and let go of our inner critic. Now that’s a concept worth actually pursing.

The one thing I have learned over the years is that it’s best not to run from your demons. Running from the negative doesn’t typically create a positive. It creates a void, a void that most people don’t know how to work with. Instead, work without them, accept them, be at peace with them, and if you really must – use them… but, don’t let them use you.

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I think we tend to get so caught up in the past and the future that we forget we are actually living currently, in the now. It’s a constant challenge to keep the mind focused on the present moment and you might find yourself present one moment, and then thinking about next Tuesday three minutes later. It’s natural for the mind to shift, to oscillate between past, present, and future. Our brains have so much going on, so many functions, things to process, and information to relay to us. I think what’s essential however is to be content and happy with the now so that the reason our mind is wandering isn’t to escape the present moment.

How to be successful in your life? Accept that it’s worth it.

It’s worth it for fucks sake. Whatever the idea is that you have in your head, pursue it. What if you are successful? What if it makes you happy and in love with every.single.second of your life? If it doesn’t… well you tried and after all it’s all about experience. TRY IT. Take a chance, or two, or three. Go out on a limb and explore new things, new boundaries, new places. You might end up finding yourself in a place you’ve only ever dreamed of being. Explore your limits. Explore your comfort zone. Say YES. And then say yes again. Listen to your soul, your body, your desires and get after them. Set up your day to day in order to reach your goals. Nobody is going to get you there except for you.

One of the hardest parts about reaching a goal: allowing yourself to try. I’m not talking about the give it a week or a month of slowly and ever so casually working on a goal. I don’t mean give it a week, then fall off the wagon, then two weeks later get back on the wagon. I mean give it all you have. If you want something bad enough give yourself the true opportunity to reach that thing.

People underestimate the true amount of time, effort, hard work, and pure determination that go into reaching a goal. It’s easy to leave out the key pieces, to not go full throttle. It’s easy to quit and say “it’s just not for me” or “I’ll try again next year”. Stop limiting yourself. Stop limiting your life. Stop taking it easy when the going gets tough. Choose the hard way. Choose to create a better life. Choose to reach what it is you truly wish to reach.

Throughout my experiences one of the hardest things I’ve come to terms with is what I feel that I *should* be capable of. I would take ego, standards, and previous accomplishments and hold myself accountable to what I believed I needed to be doing. I felt I needed to be the best at competing, a straight-A student, working full-time, always performing better than any other individual at a given moment – all while keeping myself together. I tried to be invincible, like super-woman. For a period of time I was able to adapt to these extreme standards, but soon enough I started to show cracks. It’s quite difficult if not impossible to maintain near perfection in every realm of life at each given moment.

Where did I learn these beliefs? Why is it that I hold myself to standards set higher than a majority of my peers? But better yet, why is it that I’ve met other people who have similar if not identical lifestyle patterns? In my opinion, it’s about trying to prove ourselves as human beings. It’s about your worth as an individual.

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All in all accept yourself, continue to grow into who you are and be a better version of you not your neighbor. Find what makes you come alive as a person, what it is that has you thriving in life and do that thing. Don’t be the reason you didn’t reach your goals. Stop holding yourself back because of trying to be the best at everything versus trying to be the best at your thing.

You have innate value because you are alive. Accept that.

So decide what you want to do. What’s important. What you want to work on. Decide what defines you, your life. Be extremely stubborn about your goals but stay adaptable. Keep evolving, both internally and externally. Mentally, spiritually. Focus on your shit. But be aware that other people have their own shit. It’s not yours to fix. Just be capable of listening. Make your work ethic respectable. Be humble. Remember the game when the going gets tough because it will get tough. Understand your thoughts, your emotions, your needs. Accept them. Don’t let them control you. Work with them. Use your voice, collaborate, help others, be kind always. Tell people how much they mean to you. Love every single part of yourself. Surround yourself with people who support your most difficult dreams. Keep reflecting and adjust what needs adjusting but make sure it’s for you – know your vision. Take a deep breath. Inhale. Exhale. Let it go. Laugh. Don’t be so serious. Seriousness can come across as being an asshole. Figure out your shit. Don’t lie to yourself. Roll the dice and play the cards. Be capable of inspiring yourself. Know when it’s time to put your big girl pants on and know when it’s time to say fuck it. Be what you want to be.

xo, S

Lifting yourself up

Hi guys! How are you? I’m really happy to be posting again – three times all within a two week period. Impressive considering I haven’t been awesome about getting content onto the blog lately. But I’m doing better and actually enjoying school (shocker, I know) so that also makes me more inclined to post and discuss. While I do talk about my struggles, I much prefer to be discussing them in past tense versus present tense. It’s substantially easier and more comfortable (read: safer) to talk about what I’ve overcome versus what I’m working on overcoming. I’d rather sound like I have my shit together instead of having about 5% of an idea of what I’m actually doing. But, let’s be honest for a hot second – who actually has their shit together? If you do, feel free to pat yourself on the back or give yourself a high five. Please don’t tell me I’m the only one who actually gives myself a high five Winking smile

SO anyways, in my last serious talk post I was telling you all about how I’m really struggling with my anxiety lately and have been dealing with some nutty hearing hypersensitivity. Well, I still am. And it’s not an overnight quick fix. It developed slowly and my anxiety as I described in depth has been present for years. I’m working on it. There are good days and there are not so good days. There are times when I’m in class and want to walk out the door because someone is chewing gum or making some strange bodily noise. But it hasn’t happened yet this semester and I’m taking that for a win. By this time last semester I had dropped two courses. I’m currently in five and I’m managing five.

I like the word managing. It’s like saying “I’m handling my struggles to the best of my capabilities”. I’m not pretending they aren’t there because they most definitely are present daily. I’m also not allowing them to completely rule my life, because if that were the case I’d be living inside a giant real-life bubble. Lately it’s learning how to be flexible in my ways. Sure I might not want to discuss my struggles and needs for accommodations with my profs for their classes, but it is pretty much essential for my success this semester. Therefore I have already met with two of them and to my surprise, both of them were rather understanding and open to helping. I think that when we are honest with ourselves, and able to be honest about ourselves with others, the world seems a little less scary and things seem to flow a little bit better.

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After last semester didn’t go as planned I knew I needed to find a way to get by. Part of the reason I think it was so rough was because while I knew there were things that needed attention and to be worked on, I wasn’t ok with being open and forward about them. I wasn’t ok with accepting that I still had a lot of self-work to do to get to a place where I am able to roll with the punches. I’m still not there, but accepting that is helpful beyond measure. Staying positive is the best method of action and helps keep your head in the game. The following quote is also helpful beyond measure.

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I’m being serious, coffee + rap = recipe for success. Give it a go. Let me know how it goes.

For me, right now I’m focused on living as normally as possible. I’m working to keep my cool even as my stress will undoubtedly increase as the semester continues onward. I have my strengths and I definitely have my weaknesses, but part of lifting myself up is accepting that having weaknesses isn’t a bad thing. I’m dedicating this period of the next few months to the pursuit of bettering myself, wherever that ends up taking me.

“You still have a lot of time to make yourself be what you want.” – S.E. Hinton

If I’m being honest

Hi guys!

IMG_5536 May or may not have found this lying on the back counter at work… hah 😉

So, now that that’s out of the way… let’s get down to business. This post is going to be an overview, not to mention brief and to the point.

It’s been a hot minute. What’s new? Lots of things on my side. I’ve been on break from school since December 17th and start back the 26th (so like a week) which is crazy long. I’m honestly all about it. As much as I love learning and my coursework I needed a break. I kept things pretty under the radar last semester in terms of what was going on inside of my little brain. I’m here to start that discussion today and it’s probably going to take longer than just today.

Last semester did not go as planned. I’m going to do a brief history first off –

jump back to spring 2013: I was in the middle of an outpatient treatment program for my eating disorder, in school, working, not in the gym. I had taken time off from the gym in order to separate my ED from the gym which in hindsight was definitely a good idea and did help a lot. I did well in school even in the midst of having so much time and energy being placed into bettering my mental health but I wasn’t enjoying it all it. At the time I was in community college and driving about 45 minutes to get to school, would have my classes, drive an hour to get to treatment which was four nights a week from 5-8, and then drive another hour home to do homework and keep my grades up. On the nights I didn’t have treatment it was called work or sleep because my body was so utterly exhausted.

Spring 2014: in recovery and doing really well with that. I was back in the gym and absolutely loving it. My anxiety was low to moderate but completely manageable. I wasn’t seeing a therapist nor did I feel like I needed to at this point. Everything in terms of my ED history was managed and I felt good about that. I was in school and doing well with that except for the fact that I couldn’t handle certain things: feeling inadequate, certain noises (breathing loudly, chewing, and typing mainly). There were times I would need to leave class because of these feelings but overall I was very high functioning in a school setting. Work, school, gym, repeat. Still at community college at this point and beginning to think about my transfer process into a four-year university and extremely excited about this.

Spring 2015: I was now a student at a four-year university studying neuroscience and in absolute love with my courses. I started to become interested in research and ended up joining a lab which I worked in that spring semester and through the summer and ultimately needed to leave because I wasn’t full-fledged into the topic which I’m choosing not to disclose here and never felt like I “fit in” to the fellow group. Also, many of the things were pretty triggering for me which I actually haven’t discussed before right here in this post. I was becoming more serious with the gym, with lifting, getting stronger, and ultimately to a fault beginning to place more pressure onto myself. My ED was also managed really well here still, doing what I needed to continue with my recovery process and keep on the path that I knew I deep down wanted and was best for my wellbeing. I noticed that my anxiety however was increasing rapidly, as with self-doubt, mild depression, self-consciousness not around my body though, and an increased sensitivity to certain noises.

Current: I’m still doing well with my ED recovery. I’m still in the gym, although taking it a bit easy for as long as I deem needed while I work through more important things and feeling extremely proud that I’m able to recognize that’s a needed thing to do. But, I’m nervous about school this upcoming semester. Last semester while I did receive the grade I wanted, I had only one course because I found myself needing to drop the others as I didn’t have a plan of action going into the semester. Throughout the semester I was able to work with my university mental health services to get specific accommodations in place to help my educational pursuits continue. My hearing/sound hypersentivity has never been as bad as it is currently and I partially attribute that to the fact that I have been in remission from my ED for close to three years and my brain is “functioning better” (read: I now feel emotions, feeling, and the processing of those isn’t too hot). Typing, clicking, chewing, excessive sniffling, opening mail, silverware on dishes, unloading the dishwasher, the squeak noises certain machines at the gym make, people scuffing their feet, ect. ect. send me into a complete fight or flight response. It’s called misophonia. Google it. Seriously it’s a thing and it’s becoming increasingly heard of but still people have zero idea. My goal here isn’t to teach y’all about this though, that’s just a side tangent. So, hearing is wicked (sorry new-england term) sensitive, anxiety is BAD… like BAD. I will just start crying out of nowhere and for the most unnecessary reasons. I have accommodations in place at school and pretty much just need to meet with professors at the beginning of the semester to get details sorted out which I’m incredibly thankful for but am feeling really pathetic about needing them. Here I am (pity party for .05 seconds here) a neuroscience, pre-med, 3.89 GPA student and I can’t longer be in class because my classmates make me want to scream, throw their laptop, smack them if eating/chewing gum, leave via temper tantrum. Yep. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. I feel pretty f***ing (am I aloud to say that on wordpress?!) worthless even though I know I am doing everything in my power to help myself get over this and that it’s nothing I’ve done “wrong”. I’m working with a therapist. I’m moving to campus to try and lessen the stress of commuting. I’ll be in an apartment so I have my own kitchen and share a bathroom with only one person. I’m taking smaller sized and very interesting to me courses with word on the street great prof’s. But I’m apprehensive. I’m afraid of failure. I’m afraid I can’t be perfect anymore. I’m afraid that I’ll mess up and will prevent myself my reaching my goal of becoming a doctor all because I’m having a really hard time with my mental health now. Ultimately this is all pretty irrational IF I keep doing the things that will help me get better.

I realize that at thing point it’s up to how I want to take the wheel: either lift myself up and advocate for myself and what I need in order to be successful and ultimately get back to a place of better mental health, or pull myself down by isolating myself and just going through the motions but never really rallying for myself. I think each day is a choice between the two. Perhaps even a couple times a day and I keep telling myself that’s ok. I considered taking the semester off but I know myself well enough to know that while this is probably not going to be cake walk, keeping on keeping on… for me… is better than taking a break. For me, sometimes taking a break is what leads to pulling myself down. I’m not doing that no matter how tempting it is because it feels easier. But, if I’m being honest, it’s not easier.

That’s that for today. I’m not posting this for anyone to be like “omg, I hope you feel better”. Seriously. This is for an honest update to my blog. It’s for awareness of mental health. It’s for the beginning of advocating for me. This one is for me and it is for all of you out there who might also be struggling. Keep going.

“If the grass looks greener on the other side, stop staring, comparing, and complaining, and start watering the grass you’re standing on.” – Eugene Cho