Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: depression

Piqued

 

It was a quiet week – always grateful for that. I slept really well despite intense dreams, the cooler temps and darker mornings made for sleeping in some. We ate dinners at home, made it to the climbing gym and I got a haircut.

I feel like I did a really good job resting up before an overnight camping trip this weekend, 2nd Jimmy Eat World show in a month on Sunday plus traveling for work this coming week. I’m learning that I don’t just need recovery time after highly intense situations but I can build in “topping off” time to make sure my reserves are at their fullest before going into intense or tiring situations.

And now, a few links…

Kyla Roma is just a gem on her site. This post How I Live (Mostly Happily!) with Depression & Generalized Anxiety Disorder is not only an eye-opener about her experience, but also has a ton of links to resources and apps (!!). She writes “I had no idea how much of what I experienced daily wasn’t normal (and was optional!)” She makes the point that we only know the world as we know it, and if we’ve always felt a certain way, how can we know that that way is normal? More importantly, depression can make you forget you ever felt otherwise and obliterate you in its passing. It’s a good read.

“The process of making these books is good for you to help you process each season, appreciate it, and remember the details while also creating something to look back on in the future.” You may not know how much I love the idea of scrapbooking, but this list 10 Reasons To Give Scrapbooking A Chance hits on all the points of why I do. I just want to do it more and more. Journaling, blogging, photographing and scrapbooking. Tell all the stories!

I am continuing to learn more and more about introversion and being highly sensitive. I am not sure this applies to me for business meetings When Introverts Should Avoid Coffee, but in general, I am very sensitive to caffeine. Last weekend I had a mocha and was so wired I couldn’t think straight. Overall, I’ve switched back to tea, sip one latte a week (more for the comfort than caffeine) and avoid straight coffee entirely. Decaf doesn’t seem to matter, but the quality of the coffee does.

I linked to Elise’s blog before. Most recently she blogged her business story (you can read the entire thing here). In the last post, she spoke about her newest product idea, the BIG IDEA, the Get To Work Book. Crazy thing is, it isn’t even in production yet, and she won’t launch till July 2015. Being a paper / planner / Type-A / listmaker I am excited for the product, but more so, I am sooooo pumped she is sharing the process and behind-the-scenes of launching this product. #celebrationemoji

Years ago I wrote about stillness, and how I realized that it was never going to arrive, but instead be something I needed to actively seek amidst the activity of my full life. I think all the time – daily, at least – of TS’s Eliot’s lines from Four Quartets, We must be still and still moving. Being still in the middle of the busy-ness, that’s the goal, at least for me.  Finding ways to breathe and to be here, mostly because without doing that I miss my life.  And as I remind myself, over and over again, I chose this, this manifold set of responsibilities and identities which unfurl, shimmering, piling upon each other, beautiful and daunting at the same time.

The Slipstream of Life. Lindsey continues to break my heart and take my breath away.

Don’t forget to set your clock to “fall back” at 2am Sunday! Bye daylight savings time.

For the Halloween spirit, every year, Cathy Zielske wears a bee costume, and recently posts a video of her dancing as said bee. While the video is funny, the fact that she wears the same costume every year for 24 years is what tickles me. Check out the 2014 Bee Dance.

Lastly, h/t to my friend (and former boss) Emily for this delicious video of Patrick Fugit singing, rock star hair and all. #scorpio #obsessed

#30daysofdresses – day 8

The heatwave continues to it’s uncomfortable rule over the city. Luckily, this dress is made for hot, hot heat.

I originally bought this dress for my engagement dinner July 2010 (same trip as this story) and I’ve worn it a ton since then. Again, no bra required, loose and cool to wear, and super flattering.

Plus, the pattern is my favorite thing ever.

I wore this on Monday, and while it was a very successful day of work, I still can’t shake this feeling of major blahs. Or frustration. Or upset-ness.

Whatever you want to call it – it feels unshakable – waking up rested and then the anxiety seeping in as I realize I have to get out of bed and go about my day. Feeling happy and then not. Worrying that I’m not fun, I’m not easy-going, I’m too emotional.

Mercury retrograde, heat wave, full moon, hormones, anxiety, big work event, feeling responsibly for everything, f-ing fleas on the dog, carrying around ridiculous expectations of people who probably don’t even think about me, and certainly not with the knife-cutting precision that I dissect each action I take.

It’s a lot.

I can say that the dress helped. It makes me feel comfortable in my skin. It feels powerful and sexy and comfortable all at the same time. It’s a good friend to have on days like these.

Because I can’t seem to process this enough to articulate it right now, I’ll leave you with Jill’s words from What I Don’t Want To Talk About:

My life rehab started with the simple wish to “be a better friend to myself.” Not to be a better person, not to become successful or accomplish things and make stuff, but to practice maitri — loving compassion towards the self. I have a strong sense that right now that means two things: to accept help, to seek out connection and community, and to be gentle with myself.

Today I rollerbladed 3m alone. I went to the library and carried home an armful of books. I’m writing this blog post. I exercised, got dressed and made the calls I needed to for work. I wrote morning pages and wiped the kitchen counters clean. And during all of that, I felt happy.

And then there’s the overwhelm of emails, the aggravation of the flea problem, the pressure of work events, the feeling like I’m completely alone in all of it. And that I’m being unreasonable (where did I even pick that up?).

I know I’m a better friend to myself than I used to be, but the relationship still hits major bumps in the road. And all I can keep returning to is truly and absolutely doing what I want to do, emotions, feelings, thoughts and all. Loving compassion for myself. Accepting help and seeking connection.

Being gentle with myself.

Dress and flip-flops are both Kohl’s from ~4 years ago.

Piqued

Well gee, all the good energy I wrote about last week seemed to fizzle and evaporate this week. It was a rough one. Not sleeping well, anxiety, crying – and no real explanation for it. I could’ve written about it, but with two work events and the general feeling like crap, I just didn’t.

I can tell you what helped though, after the fact: seeing my therapist (objective, yet supportive, sounding board), spending an afternoon with Billye and her dog in the pool, having helping hands at my work event, having one gal tell me she was floored by my abilities in my work, taking a full day off, and getting 10 hrs of sleep.

Top that all off with climbing Point Dume again last night, the hardest I think I’ve ever climbed outdoors (!!!), and a belly full of pizza and Mexican Coke, and I’m finally feeling normal again.

Here are a few links that made me happy this week:

I’m a fan of the Japanese, and if there’s one thing they do well, it’s spotlighting adorable animals… like this Shiba Inu WHO WORKS AT A STORE. Carter knows how to close a cabinet door, so the next likely step is to have him open a slider and poke his head out like this kid. Canine help you? I die.

My friend Stephanie (you may remember when we said our goodbyes) is kicking ass and taking names at her accelerated program at John Hopkins University  (b/c she’s a smarrrrrrteeee) and she’s blogging for them. Read why she decided to leave LA and become a nurse, with all the humor that makes me love her to death.

Another adorable dog story (I can never get enough) that turns out is maybe a hoax, but I don’t care b/c LOOK AT THIS BEAGLE. Who cares if he doesn’t actually work for the airline / return lost items?? The last 10 seconds? My heart bursts.

But in real news, Leo has a FULL BEARD. While he makes a wonderful speech about climate change, I could not stop staring at his facial hair and man-bun. He is my absolute favorite since I was about 13, so I’m rolling with this new look. True love, I know. Other people think his beard must be stopped. I can’t believe he hasn’t made it on this Tumblr yet: Fuck Yeah, Men With Buns.

And for something more on the serious side – or at least not dog or man obsessed – I liked Paul Jarvis’ post Do What You Love which opens with this quote by Mika Tokumsitu: “If we believe that personal fulfillment is really the ultimate purpose of labour, then who do we expect to do all the other jobs that are not so existentially fulfilling?”

Jarvis goes on to write:

Find a job that you don’t have to worry about when you’re not doing it. Or a job that doesn’t make you miserable every single day. And you’ll be far better off than a lot of folks.  As I enjoy telling my wife, work is called “work” and not “super happy fun time” because often it’s just tasks that need to be done. It doesn’t mean your life is less meaningful just because your job lacks existential value.  You aren’t your job. It doesn’t have to define you unless you let it. Plus, you can always do what you love in your spare time. I do.

Last but not least, I found Retta via Instagram where she shared the story of a few monarch butterflies in her garden. It’s inspiring to see these small projects she’s documenting. I’m also enjoying her blog Will & Wanting.

Have a good weekend xo

See all Piqued posts.

What A Difference A Day Makes

 

I took this photo yesterday while walking the dog and talking to a friend. Yesterday was a struggle, but all I could ask of myself was to get through it without hurting myself.

When I say that, I don’t mean the obvious self-abusive choices of drinking, picking arguments or blowing off work. I mean the more subtle things like zoning out in front of the TV, drinking too much caffeine, eating too much sugar.

Y’know – numbing out.

I was on the brink of a shame storm so I pulled out the big guns.

  1. I called a friend. Luckily this was the right friend to hear my story and talk me through it. She was supportive, non-judgemental and everything she said helped me take the self-compassion route, not the self-hatred route. During the day I ended up talking to two more friends, all of which helped in their own way.
  2. I saw my therapist. A weekly appointment with perfect timing. Having a completely objective place to tell the story again helped me get it off my chest.
  3. I drank lots of water and ate healthy food.
  4. I didn’t drink alcohol or go get some crazy caffeinated drink to power through the day (and my mood).
  5. I cried. This allowed me to get some of the emotional energy out of my body. Sometimes words aren’t enough.
  6. I kept to my grounding rituals. I wrote morning pages, walked the dog, showered and ate breakfast.
  7. When it was too much, I got into bed and wallowed. I knew if I could take the space, I would feel better soon. And I went to bed early.
  8. I spent time with my husband, who is my most supportive self-care advocate.
  9. I stayed off the Internet. Too much information is abusive and my brain needed a rest.
  10. I trusted that if I could wait this out a few days, things would wear off, and feel less raw. I trusted that my emotional reaction was partially related to my hormones, and that “this too shall pass”. I trusted that things would work themselves out whether I knew how I felt or not. And I trusted that things are fluid and I didn’t need to figure out anything immediately.

Today was much better. I had energy, blasted through work and still feel really good this evening. My ability to get through all of that is a testament to all the work I’ve done the past 3+ years, not some crazy plan I threw together last minute. I’m learning what works for me and what doesn’t.

And I am really proud of myself.

What self-care rituals do you have in place for when things get tough? How do you deal with events that send you off course for a day or two? xo

All We Can Ask

Today was shit. Yesterday wasn’t much better.

And so you call friends, and see your therapist, and then torture yourself with Googling too much. And then you walk the dog, and you avoid caffeine and you thank the universe for a cancelled meeting. You check email and you take a nap and you go out to dinner.

When things from your past come up, surfacing like a giant sea monster, fins rippling under waters, it’s all you can do to not be sucked into the deep. And when interactions with people around you feel too abrasive, you give stock responses and call another friend, maybe two. And drink lots of water. And hope for the best.

Because it all seemed like a good idea at the time. And even though you’re a different person now, it doesn’t discount or change who you were then. Even though you loved with all of your heart. The girl who wrestled with big things also wrote the sweet little note above, for you.

For us.

Because we’re doing the best we can. And that’s all we can ask of ourselves.

Surfacing

It seems part of the “thing that gets me in its grips” is terrible pms. I felt awful this weekend, just as I did a month ago. Wednesday I took a bath and a nap, Saturday another bath, and while I rallied to go out, I ended up crying that evening.

It felt gut-wrenching and stupid at the same time.

There seems to be no way around it right now. Exercise and sleep help, but the anxiety through my bloodstream pumped up my heart. Yet I was too exhausted to run. In fact, I skipped most of my scheduled runs last week, including my long run.

And then, somewhere yesterday afternoon, it started to dissipate, and I felt better. And today I felt pretty great. It sucked that it overlapped a weekend, but I was also glad I didn’t need to take a day off. The hang with my friend on Friday helped, but it carried through most of the weekend.

All I can do is mark these moments, record what helped (baths, sleep, hugs) and wait it out. It seems silly that I can’t do anything to prevent it or lessen its hold on me, but not fighting it seems to be the fastest way out.

With 4 weeks of travel coming up, and a bunch of events, I’m hoping I’m on the upswing.

Surfacing.

How do you deal with these (monthly) mood swings? Any tips? xo

 

 

In Like A Lion

The past week’s been a blur. H ran the talent show at the school he teaches at – this puts him out of the house for 5 days straight. I finally got some time alone at home to read, take a bath, clean, food shop and just be in quiet.

I ran 6.7m alone – it felt awesome.

Met a friend for tea last week and then another today.

Received all of my birthday gifts in the mail including this print by Mae Chevrette , and two necklaces by Liz Lamoreux (above) and this one which has my OLW from 2012 on the front and “29” on the back (thanks mom!)

I’ve done a bunch of work at the office, ran an event for songwriters, attended a popshow and stayed out late at a dinner party in the Hollywood Hills.

And today I felt so pms-y, tired and cranky. I didn’t go for a run, and even though I answered emails, work felt like a major chore. I ended up taking a bath and a nap after work. It’s amazing what a little self-care can do.

Looking back, I can see I was super busy, energetic and social… no wonder I felt so out of it today. And I was going to refuse myself that care until a friend said that it was my ego saying I couldn’t take time for myself. That I needed to allow myself (not kidding) what I was asking for – time out, rest and a hot bath.

As I write this, I feel better. Not 100%. Not driven to get to the office tomorrow and tear work to shreds or anything, but at least not as low as I was dipping.

I know what I need to be happy. And I forget that. And so, I keep jotting down my notes here, to leave markers for myself as reminders. I am my own best advocate, support and love.

And you are yours. xo

Encouraging

Managed to get up early, write and go out for a run with the dog. He was sick all last week and I only got 3 runs in, the last being a sluggish waste of energy. Back on the horse, and all that. I listened to a Radiolab podcast about Bliss. And let me say – with those stories in my ears and my legs pounding the pavement and my lungs sucking in cold air and my dog trotting beside me, I finally felt better.

But it was fleeting. By the time I was home and dealing with the next item of my morning, my frustrations overtook me. And while I wasn’t awesomely happy today, I wasn’t horribly upset like I’d been last week.

So that’s encouraging.

I spent the day at the office, dealing with emails and other tasks that’ve piled up. I did what I could with the moon void of course. I took frequent breaks to read or jot a few notes down in my journal. And I worked with a timer to create some flow. It worked, though I’ve had a caffeine withdrawals headache all day.

Tomorrow is all about meetings and talking. We’ll see how that goes.

It’s kind of incredible to think that this is my one precious life and I can’t seem to get my brain to lay off the meanness. Can’t gather up some self-love and enjoy the sunshine. But this has its place. I have hope it won’t last much longer.

Thinking about feeling like this for no pinpoint-able reason. That is feels a bit like grief. And I wondered to myself if, as this last sign of my birth chart closes out, if that’s what I experience each year in the depths of February – the shortest, yet the darkest month. Some kind of death, and then rebirth.

One can hope.

For the rest of the night it’s a snack, spending time with H who got home early from grad school, and sleep. Sleep is what I’m craving these days.

Asking For Help

Thursday I took the day off. It was bliss, as each day day off is. To lift the burden of work from my mind is really something. It’s not just the relief of not having to go to the office or check email or meet with people, it’s that my brain can relax, all thoughts (aka panic) about what needs to be done when can be placed in a different corner of my mind. I feel calm, yet giddy. And I feel loved.

I’m struggling again.

Thursday was pretty awesome. I wrote, jogged 2m alone, took myself out to a cafe to write / read / draw, went food shopping with my sister and relaxed. Crazy enough I found snowflake dishes for a steal at the thrift store AND even won a Polaroid camera from Impossible Project! An awesome day, for sure.

But the demons, or whatever you want to call them, are there, lurking. I feel this fight between my righteous Type-A self and my loving soul – one wants perfection, routine and Success, the other wants to be alone on a beach or indulge in a creative project. I certainly don’t have the energy for the first. Everything feels like an energy-suck right now. And I keep ignoring the latter in order to placate the former. (Note: this is not smart)

It all piled up into painful words and tears Saturday morning. Another Saturday with work, more of my time sucked away from me. I picked a fight with H, as I always do in these moments, believing somehow that if he could just help more, love me more, listen more, I wouldn’t feel so terrible. And while I would love more of all of that from him (what girl wouldn’t?) it’s not his fault I feel this way.

It’s my fault. Or at least, it’s my responsibility. I’m the only one who can make me happy.

Getting my words out into the open with H relieved some pressure, as did a small text convo with my sister about feeling so blah. I don’t feel entirely healed, I know this is just something that comes and goes. My friend said, for her, it’s 3 months on, 3 months off. For me it seems 2 months on, 1 month off, but maybe there’s a larger cycle there I’ve not pin-pointed yet.

Writing this is asking for help. Talking to H and my sister is asking for help. Taking a day off is helpful. But I know I’m struggling with something. I know intuitively I have the answers, but my brain wants to rule the argument, pick things apart (me) until it comes to some logical conclusion…but there probably isn’t one. I have good weeks and bad weeks, we all do.

To quiet my logical mind, I need a brain-dump of To Dos and projects. Then, if I have the energy, I can break those items down into one thing per day. But mostly I need to give up the ghost, trust things are going just the way they should, and focus on creating, even if it’s at a very small level.

What do you do when you’re feeling down? How can you tell the difference between the blues and something more? xo

 

Untitled

If I could, I would also be wrapped up in a blanket on our couch. That old depression whatever has a hold of me and it doesn’t matter that I have to drive into Hollywood today for work. Or that it’s Saturday. Or that a real day off and a fake day off (more later) and a note written to H in request for help do not seem to be making a difference.

It’s all I can do to not get in my car and drive till I feel better. Ever have days like this? xo