Usually when I step away from the keyboard for a bit, it's because of a lack of new ideas, too much "real world" to attend to, or I'm just ultimately feeling off.
I guess attending to the "real world" has left me inspired with an idea for this post.
I have always been a lip-biter; someone who pushes through the discomfort. Someone who brushes herself off when she falls down. Some may describe this as being "tough."
I have come to the conclusion that life is a test of our resiliency.
We can spend our days at war with ourselves, but some days it's okay to put down the sword, or stop the fight, to protect ourselves.
And this post is going to explain WHY.
As many know, anxiety is a battle between the rational and irrational.
Sometimes we must CHALLENGE the instincts anxiety brings us.
Last week I went out to dinner with my family to celebrate a birthday. I was looking forward to going, and my mom and I were laughing the entire walk to the restaurant. She was wearing a yellow sweater, and I was wearing yellow converse sneakers with yellow shorts. Walking next to each other- we just laughed.. "Mom, we look like a f***ing lemon." The 2 of us were just losing it. I was loud, bubbly, laughing, and well, me. Once our group arrived, I was slowly beginning to notice how out of touch I was feeling. There were many different conversations going on and I was trying to find my way into them. My anxiety had me interrupting a couple times, making a joke, realizing nobody was listening, and awkwardly sipping from my water glass. That night, the restaurant was busy, more like crazy. Our waitress was overwhelmed, forgot to bring out 3 of our orders including mine. I was patient, I felt badly for her remembering my own waitstaff experience. My discomfort was my fault though. I hadn't eaten anything all day so of course I would be feeling sick by this time of night. I became overwhelmed, too. I had been sitting there for an hour waiting for my appetizer, feeling myself becoming fidgety and rubbing my hands on my thighs. I just heard a lot of chatter from different directions, and I just wanted to remember what quiet sounded like. My mind was racing to keep up. I just continued to smile, feeling my body shut down. My introversion, my social anxiety, my need for food? Maybe all of the above. My aunt smiled at me saying "I think Haley is ready for bed." I just smiled back and nodded. I don't like this part of me becoming visible, but I tried not to beat myself up for it too. It is hard for it not to be visible. My 'very Haley' self is very bright, and when I am quiet- those who know me best become worried. I just hung in there, and when my busy waitress came back I reminded her of my meal and she went running for it. Mistakes happen. I ate my meal so quickly, and tried to pass my mom 'the look' that it was time for us to go. She didn't catch on, she continued chatting away. After dinner, I didn't speak much. The entire walk to the car. I just wanted to recharge. I focused on breathing. I paid attention to the fresh air, and told myself I was ok now. Driving back home, my mom started asking me questions and telling me stories and though part of me wished she'd ask if I was ok, I just told her I would like a quiet car ride. She said okay, but shortly after she began talking again and I jumped "I said I wanted quiet!" "Haley, that's rude!" "I'm sorry I don't want to sound rude, I am just really overwhelmed." In the driveway she reminded me (firmly told me) to say hello to everyone when I went inside so they wouldn't think I was mad at them. I hated this feeling. This overwhelming feeling where you feel like you are about to crawl out of your own skin. I wasn't trying to be rude or moody, this was me keeping it together. I wanted to go right to bed. Upstairs, I couldn't find my phone. I knew I had it jumbled in my covers but I became more anxious and shaky and my mind was racing as I tore my bed apart. I just whined to myself, "my phone. where's my phone. i can't find my phone." as I paced around my room. When I found it, I took a breath and headed for the bathroom. One of my siblings was showering. So I stood outside the door as tears fell down my cheek. My mom did catch on. She gave me a hug. Asked if anything happened. No. Just overwhelmed. "It's okay" she whispered, "I get like that sometimes too." I continued to cry and shake just hearing the water running and waiting for it to turn off. I just needed my toothbrush. I wanted my bed more than anything, and until that bathroom door opened I continued to fight off an anxiety attack.
I share this embarrassing anxiety restaurant story for a good reason.
There is an anxiety instinct; when something is uncomfortable and your body responds to that.
- Me waiting to leave dinner so I could finally sit in my car with peace and quiet.
BUT instead, I hung in there and though I cried when I left, I can say I did it. I pushed through the discomfort.
One more quick example of me challenging anxiety:
In high school I had a 504 plan that supported me during my anxiety attacks, when it was especially difficult for me to do oral presentations. Those who helped create my plan, didn't want to take away presentations entirely from me. I was able to say no if it was too much, but I also had the option to try it if I was doing okay. They didn't limit this because they didn't care about me, or didn't believe how triggering they were for me. INSTEAD it was because they knew it was something that would follow me after high school and taking that task away would not help me cope or overcome that fear; it might make it more difficult.
In my life I have become used to biting my lip, saying "I'm ok" when I am clearly NOT OK. Because of this, sometimes I don't know the difference between the two. I don't know when to take a break, and when to keep pushing.
I have fought many fears in my lifetime. I saw this quote recently about "my life being out of my comfort zone." It's funny, but it feels true. I am resilient, and there are so many good qualities that come with that. Though, I recently took this personality test. My results...
and on the opposite side with much less of a percentage: assertiveness.
Yup that's me.
Should I be laughing though? Is this trying to teach me something? Do I know when to challenge myself (fighting my anxiety) and when to listen to that feeling (be assertive for myself)
We all have had the "oh I shouldn't have said that" or "oh I wish I had said __" moments.
Recently I found myself facing one of those thoughts, but it wasn't just silly anxiety, it was a red flag.
I knew I didn't want the same thing to happen again so I've been thinking deeply about it.
Do I know the difference between typical anxiety and when to stand up for myself? Do I recognize the difference between those 2 feelings?
Yes, yes I do.
Sometimes we get those instincts that are irrational, "mild" or temporary, so sometimes it's best if we are lip-biters and just push through the discomfort life may bring.
But we also have that "gut feeling", the instinct, for a REASON. It's a much different feeling, and we all have felt it and can probably tell the difference. It is when something isn't right, you don't trust it, or you feel a sense of danger. You see the red flags, and that is the time to LISTEN to what your gut is telling you and get out of a situation.
I've been processing a lot. I felt stupid. I realized that I had become accustomed to sitting in situations that made me feel like I was melting, knowing I can not do a thing about them. In return, I am training myself to do this without realizing I am.
I had to scream these words to myself:
"THIS TOO SHALL PASS" HAS ITS LIMITS.
Every experience, good or bad is there to teach you something. Or, you can learn something from any experience.
I learned that I can accept myself as an anxious being, but I can sure as hell work on being more assertive. I have to. I am in the right direction. I know how to put my hands on my hip and tell someone if something is not okay, I know how to stand up for my needs and my rights. And recently, I didn't. I crumbled like a cookie.
It is important to check in with yourself. "Is this feeling/thought something I should challenge or listen to?"
Do not allow yourself to become hurt. That is not something you should become "accustomed to."
Yesterday I went out for coffee with my old school social worker, that I can call a "friend" now that I've graduated.
It was so nice to see her, laugh, and catch up on where our lives have headed.
I wanted to start with this at the beginning of my Thanksgiving post-
She had said that 5 years ago, or so, she would not have expected her life to turn out as it has now. Though she hadn't expected it, she is so happy with how it did turn out.
Now, I have not had the life experiences she has, and I have heard other adults say the same, but I too was in complete agreement.
This time last year I had not yet received my acceptance letter(s) to college, and my biggest concern then was if I was good enough to be accepted to college.
This time last year I had cried myself to sleep (or didn't sleep at all) every night.
This time last year- I was so very unhappy.
This time last year I did not believe in myself, I struggled to see a future, and fear was my most frequent emotion.
Time may not heal all wounds, but it definitely makes an impact and opens doors for positive change.
This time last year, I remember sitting at my Thanksgiving table trying to think of something to be thankful for. Not that I didn't have anything to be thankful for, I was just focusing on everything I was missing.
My Papa was not sitting at the table with us, and anxiety and depression were mixed together like cake batter with the wrong ingredients.
How can you be thankful when you feel so poorly everyday? When nothing seems to be going right? You feel like a failure? The world doesn't seem like a "happy place" anymore?
That was me.
A passage from my Thanksgiving post on last year's blog site, November 27, 2015:
[Here I am blogging now, so I’m obviously okay now. Anxiety/Panic Attacks are very scary. I remember my mom holding me earlier today and saying, “You got through both Thanksgivings. You did it.” She and everyone else knew how hard it was for me. Our first Thanksgiving was with a larger crowd, so why did it affect me today? I think I just crashed from trying so hard the past few days. I crashed hard.]
This Thanksgiving I am thankful for:
The holidays are tough. They aren't always happy and joyous, as much as we try to make them that way. They can be filled with stress, loss, worry, and difficult memories.
If anyone is in the place I was in last year, or is just having a tough time overall, I want you to know this:
I don't think life was made to be easy. In fact, I do know that.
We can get caught in the past, or have our heads too far into the future that we waste precious time worrying about what has passed, or what could come.
I am no TedTalk motivational speaker, and this may sound cheesy and dramatic, but it's true..
Last year there was a 17 year old girl who felt absolutely hopeless; believing nothing would get better for her.
Now she is 18 and you could swear she is a different person.
For her, it took 1 year to see growth; see things start to fall into place.
Life takes us through bumps, halts, and even bigger challenges.
Nobody said it'd be easy. Why do we expect it to be?
Pain doesn't last forever. Even if it feels like it..
Smile more. Reach out to someone. Be gentle, and mindful that the people you pass could be some of the best individuals the world has to offer, but are caught up in their own troubles.
Be thankful. Something may be missing for you today, but find something to be thankful for. Thanksgiving is not what we don't have, it is about acknowledging what we do have. Treat yourself with care and patience this holiday season. I wish I had known then, that it is okay not to be okay. The things that pain you the most, can make you a stronger person in the long-run. Mistakes are not the universe fighting against you; They are there to teach you a lesson.
Give things time. Time can take you to some of the most beautiful places you would have never imagined.
I am choosing to be thankful, and I am choosing to be happy today.
I wish you all the strength for a healthy, happy holiday season.
With hugs and smiles,
The morning of June 16, 2015 I had just gotten to the top of my stairs to head down to go to school when I heard the worst sound in the world. My mom was breaking inside. I could hear her on the telephone and within that moment everything stopped, I just knew my Papa was gone.
It is weird to see where life takes you. I remember the day he passed I had my hair in a ponytail and I was wearing a scarf, and a long-sleeve blue dress. Today is June 16, 2016. It has been a year without him in our little world. Today was my last real day of school. I am wearing a "Wheelock College" t-shirt, and I feel pride that he is looking down on me. After our numerous college talks we had for years, I trust that he is happy with my decision and every next step that comes in my life.
An important thing I have learned to take in after losing someone you love is perspective.
It doesn't happen overnight. It is perfectly okay to let yourself fall apart at times and question life itself. I have; but I also have learned more than one way to look at it.
For example: This Sunday is my high school graduation. I have been imagining this to be very hard for me (it will be) , but I used to think the only way to view this was sadness. He won't be here to see me graduate, he is the one person I wanted to be there. However, this week I came to a realization that had made me smile. I had felt pity for my mother that Sunday is also Father's Day, but watching her first born graduate will be a healthy distraction. Also, how cool is that? On Father's Day, my Papa will see me graduate. He loves my school, and I know he is proud of me, so he wouldn't want it any other way. It will be a beautiful day.
This year has been rocky for many reasons, but I have gained the most lessons.
Before my Papa, I hadn't had much experience with loss. For him to be my grandfather, buddy, and father-figure all in one made it feel as though the world was ending. Everything just seemed darker without him, and I didn't view life the same way.
My first loss has taught me many things:
People will tell you "He is watching over you" "He is with you" and it is helpful, but awfully frustrating knowing that they are not physically here, and you don't really know.
I am just trusting his spirit, how he has always been the glue to our family, and how he has never missed an important event in our lives. This weekend I will be thinking of my grandpa very much, but I will be smiling reflecting on all he has taught me, and where he has brought me.
We can all find ourselves in a slump at times.
Slumps can be a pain. No motivation, no hope, just misery. Slumps can be very damaging to your mental health, depending on how you choose to handle them.
When I find myself in a slump I tend to ignore the little things that make me happy and refuse to acknowledge how much those things mean to me. I become grumpy, and stubborn and I go into "sloth mode." I tend to overthink everything in my past, and everything for my future. I find myself in an uncomfortable position with a never-ending "stuck" feeling.
When you feel stuck, you almost find comfort in staying there. You find it much easier to view the bad things in your everyday life, and ignore the good. It is a feeling that is so strong, that you generalize it and you can't imagine when you will be able to feel unstuck again.
But here's the thing.
It is all temporary. Any pain you feel inside; temporary. Any sadness, hopeless feeling; temporary.
We all know "This too shall pass" but that does not seem to matter to us in those terrible awful moments.
What is important is how we get through those times.
I decided to create a "Slump Challenge" for myself, but I am sharing it with you! When I feel stuck and overwhelmed by even the little things, I need to give myself a little boost.
The key with this is keeping it simple. Take everything one step at a time, and don't get discouraged by everything you can't do. Acknowledge the little things you are doing.
Instead of a "challenge" this is more of a list. A list to turn to with ideas, so no matter what..you can see that you are trying.
I'm seventeen. I turn eighteen in 2 months. I'm going to college in the Fall.
And I just had my mom email my teacher for me to alert her of my anxiety before my final presentation.
So here are the thoughts I want to be having:
"I'm pathetic. I can't email my teacher myself, so my mom has to do it for me."
"I can't just suck it up and tackle this, I'm a failure."
But this is what I should be thinking:
"Ok, I know I can do presentations. I have proved it to myself before. My anxiety is just too much for me to handle right now, and that's okay."
"I have every right to reach out for help."
"If I can't do this entirely on my own, it's okay if someone helps me out. It doesn't mean I am incapable of doing all things on my own. Just today, I need some help."
"Hey, I am okay now. My teacher is aware, she knows I may not be able to handle it, so I can breathe now, I don't have to hide anymore."
I get myself too worked up. I have been sobbing for over a week over this stupid presentation. It's for my Foods class. I would be fine reading a powerpoint, but for some reason making something at the front of the class seems terrifying. ON TOP of my social anxiety, my presentation is on my Papa's birthday. The last time I saw him was on his birthday last year. I am flooded with overwhelming emotions.
My mom started to get frustrated with me. "Haley you get yourself so worked up, if you say you would rather take a zero, then do it, I don't care what you do anymore I just want you to calm down."
I took it harshly. I want to be able to do this, doesn't she understand that? I just don't know if I can.
In many ways, though, she was right. If I am crying this hard and hating myself over my anxiety, maybe I should just stop doing this to myself. I just stop pushing myself so hard, and give myself permission to say "I can't."
Social Anxiety is a downright BITCH. Our social life is all around us. We need communication in the real world. When you have a social anxiety disorder and you struggle with little things in your social life, it can cause you to hate and blame yourself.
I grew up being ashamed of myself for the fear I faced in social situations. I grew up believing I was fighting who I was, and "who I was" was "pathetic."
At my age now, I am able to be more vocal about my social anxieties, and speaking up helps me to realize I'm not pathetic, I'm not weak, and I'm not alone. However, I still struggle with asking for help when my anxiety arises, and I still struggle with not blaming myself for my feelings.
This is what I want to point out. 2 Topics:
Social Anxiety does NOT define your overall courage. In fact, having social anxiety does not make you a coward. It can make you feel like one, and that is not okay.
When you are standing in line to order food and you feel your heart racing, or when you are sweating and stuttering during a presentation- you are not being cowardly. Anxiety is plain old discomfort. We tend to blame ourselves when we experience uncomfortable feelings.
Today, my mom needed to help me send an email. That does not judge how I will perform in college, or in life overall.
*When we begin to blame ourselves for our anxieties, we must take a step back.
- acknowledge the small successes in our day (whether it's "hey I got out of bed, I read a chapter in a book, I talked with a friend, I paid at the cash register, etc.")
- reflect upon times when we were proud of ourselves, or others were proud of us
- think hard if you have to, but think of qualities you possess that do show your courage.
Now here's mine:
I am courageous because even though I struggle with social anxiety, and even though I fall apart and breakdown because of it, I try. I may struggle, things may not always be presented perfectly, but I am damn courageous for trying, and trying shows that I am fighting against this bastard battle of mine. I am not quitting on this battle if some days it is too much for me to handle. All that matters, is that I breathe, relax, get back to being me, and pick myself up and start trying again.
I am not hiding the fact that I am very self-critical. It has been a part of me for so long, I do not even realize that I’m doing it. We all tend to do that at times. We put ourselves down without even acknowledging the hurt we put on ourselves. For me, I know it is a problem. It’s going to take some work. What got me realizing this was a bigger problem than I let on is this: Imagine you saying the things you say to yourself, to your best friend. This got me thinking. I would never ever say many of the hurtful things I put on myself to anyone else. And when my friends are self-critical, what do you do? You prove them wrong. You show them that their thoughts aren’t accurate, and if they are, you show them the good to outcast the bad. So why is it any different with myself?
Everyone has insecurities. I try my best to find ways to love mine. I really do try. Some days I forget, and i look in the mirror and pick them out. Other days I accept them. But I really do try. I am not a very confident person, but I do have moments where I am confident and I take those seriously.
I found this quote on Pinterest:
It is a shame that sometimes we are the ones destroying our own minds. My anxiety has always triggered embarrassment over the smallest things. Sometimes I remember stupid things I did when I was 11, and to this day, I close my eyes very tightly until the memory goes away. Why am I still stressing over things I said or did years ago?
I saw online the message: Be your own best friend
I want that. I want to try and pretend that when I say something hurtful in my head, that it is being said to someone else. And then apologize, or something.
I find myself saying “I hate myself” multiple times a day. Whether it’s being said while laughing and joking, or being extremely embarrassed, I always tell people I hate myself. That’s like saying “I hate you” to my best friend many times in one day.
The thing is..I know what I need to do. I know I need to not let the little things bother me. I know I need to remove the unnecessary negative thought processes from my head. I know that my anxiety makes me feel like crap, but I did not choose it, and I do not deserve it.
These are all things I know!! Why is so hard to believe in them. To trust them, to act on them?
I have had many unkind things said to me in my life. I will continue to experience unkind people in my life. Oh well. What are you going to do? My Nana always says “Kill ’em with kindness.” I’ve trained myself to be strong and to stick up for myself, and to show I am unaffected, even if I am. In a way..I want to work on that. I don’t want to “act” unaffected. I want to truly be unaffected by the stupid things people can say. If I stick up for myself when other people are unkind to me, why can’t I stick up for myself when I catch myself being unkind too?
This is so much easier to say than to do. It has become so natural for me to blame all my actions on me being stupid, awkward, pathetic, etc.
The thing that I realized is..it’s a problem within myself. Now let me explain. Say you are being bullied. You put the guilt on yourself for people not liking you. You assume you deserve the hate. We all know in reality it is the bully that is the cause. My bully, in this case, is my anxiety. I do not have an external bully to put the blame on. The anxiety is in my head, in my thoughts, in my symptoms. It’s within me. So instead of blaming the word “anxiety” in thin air, I take it out on whatever I am feeling. In a bad way, I am training myself to believe the anxiety is a part of who I am. Wrong.
Changing your thought process isn't rocket science. “You just do it.” No. It’s actually really fricken difficult.
I let a lot of things slide now that would have affected me much more when I was younger. I hope the same will follow for me into adulthood, and that as I get older I become stronger with what I allow to affect me.
I think what scares me the most is that I am picturing myself as I am now in an adult atmosphere and saying holy crap I can’t do this. I have not graduated, I haven’t experienced college yet, my first real career, buying a house, starting a family, etc. I am forgetting how much growing I have already done throughout the years and that the more experiences I endure, the more I will continue to grow. Adulthood doesn’t happen with a snap of your fingers. Growing up is a process. I can already recognize a drastic change in strength from when I was in middle school to now. I need to stop thinking that this is how I will think and feel for the rest of my life. Within time I can look back at 17 and say “look how far I’ve come.” I need to stop freezing this struggle in time and expecting I will always be this way. If I already notice I am getting stronger throughout the years, maybe later I will look back and things will be different.
If there is one thing i have learned lately about people, it's that some really enjoy holding onto anger.
When i was little I was always getting into awful arguments here and there with my close friends. I remember sitting on my bedroom floor with my mom with my home phone against my ear, crying and trying to stick up for myself.
I remember me and 2 of my friends were in a group chat online. 5th or 6th grade maybe? They were together, and I wasn't with them. I don't remember what was being said to me in the chat but i remember just sobbing.
My mom taught me young, even in elementary school, how to use my words when someone upsets me. The "proper" way to use my words when someone upsets me:
That really hurt me when you did/said _____(specific example)
and admitting my own faults even if i don't want to or am embarrassed to do so
I know when i did/said __ that must have upset you. I'm sorry, is there anything i can do to fix it?
It has taken me far. At my age now, even with my social anxiety, i am great at sticking up for myself. Though, i am also human. I make mistakes. "It's how we go about fixing them that matters."
I tease a friend. Quite a lot. She is a person that many people tease, but does that make it okay? She puts on the tough act, so people do it more, but it doesn't mean it doesn't bother her. It can be easy when you have been friends with someone for so long, to continue the sarcasm and jokes, and to not set limits. I have taken it too far, i admit. I understand why it has been hurting her, and i would not like that either. I've been making her feel stupid. I, should know best that people hate feeling stupid, and hate when others make them feel stupid. I know it is never intended to be hurtful, but it is. Human beings are more sensitive to emotions than most of us let on. I have enough perspective to recognize my own faults, so i know screwed up. I need to work on that.
What i have learned, is that not every kid growing up had their people-pleasing mother teach them how to politely put feelings into words. This is where i find myself in a tornado of situations. Happening more than once.
When i am upset with someone, i may distance myself for a while, talk to them about the issue in person, or send them a text message to reach their understanding. I would give them specifics as to why i am upset, and make known how i feel, and try to resolve the issue.
I find that some people (not direct, honestly in general) very much enjoy being angry. Now, i agree sometimes it's fun to get sassy and to come up with these perfect comebacks, but there is more to it. Some people desperately want to keep fights going, even if they are making matters worse, or blowing things out of proportion. Some people choose to hold grudges, choose to ignore people when they see them, choose to snub them in public. To me, that takes effort. Unnecessary effort.
Anger, and let alone negativity, are complete effort to hold onto. It takes up energy. Truly, it sucks the life out of me. If i hold a grudge, it really must be because you did something awful. I hurt while it's necessary but then i let things go. I do not like conflict. I would not do this as much in my middle school years, but at this point in my life if i find myself in a fight (in person, or in text), and see it becoming worse than it should, or if i see the person wants to keep going and it is draining me, i pull myself away. I say, "I'm done" and i let them cool down. I don't do that because i enjoy ignoring people. I do it for my own sanity. I can only take so much in the moment.
It is just confusing to me. Not everyone is like me. I am quick to resolve problems. I admit my own faults if needed. Once the problem is out there, then it's simple.. *how do we fix this now.* With others, they don't want a resolution, they are still angry, they are spilling out swears and sassy comments and oy vey, they want to keep on going !!
At this point my heart is racing, i feel sick, I'm typing good comebacks but the fight isn't ending. So i just stop.
Sometimes i just want to teach people. "Instead of you texting me very defensive, and mean about why you were upset, maybe i would respond better if you worded it more appropriately." People are so quick to jump at you and call you a mother f'in bitch or freaking at a small mistake you made. All that does is cause the next person to respond something similar, then matters get worse!
So that's my unfortunate discovery. Some people are people-pleasers, some could care less. Some people hold grudges, some want to resolve problems. Some people like calm and collective conversations, and some like to flip shit and overly put you in your place.
And what can i do about this?
I can't change how others handle situations, but i can change how i react to them.
I am going to college in the Fall. Negativity, and falling outs will always be in my life, but at this point in my senior year i am not going to focus on the people that make me worried.
Not everyone has very good people skills. Everyone has very different people skills. I shall try very hard to accept this.
( This was supposed to be "10" things, but when i realized how long this was getting i decided to cut it short. Maybe i'll do a "Part 2" some other time. )
1. What you allow is what will continue. This seems super obvious, but it depends how you look at it. Something as simple as this sentence has so much power. The power is yours! We all tend to let things slide, assuming that our opinion, our voice, our actions will not make a difference. Notice the more we wait for others to create the change, everything stays the same? I believe in this very strongly, and i also want to live by this. The good things we allow, keep everything at a steady and content pace. The bad things we allow, prove that they have power over us. It is something to think about.
2. When a person tells you that you hurt them, you don't get to decide that you didn't. -Louis C.K. Everyone has their limits. Even if you don't understand someone else's emotions, it is a learning experience for you to know what upsets them. Even if you don't understand how you could have hurt someone else, it doesn't mean you didn't. That is your responsibility to learn what you should do differently, or whether or not someone is a good fit for you. Along with this, you should never be hesitant to let someone know when they did hurt you. Which ALSO fits with "what you allow is what will continue." See?
3. You should always tell people how important they are to you. This is extremely important to me. This year i have branched out and made my appreciate for others known. This has always been difficult for me depending on the person. Sometimes I care for people so deeply, and i admire them as a person so deeply, that i am afraid they will not see me the same way. I am afraid i will put all of my feelings on the table and the person will be thinking "that's sweet, but....really?" Do you ever wonder if you love certain people more than you love yourself? This year i went out of my comfort zone. My Auntie Sara had told me that life is short, and you should tell people when they create a special influence on your life. It isn't easy for me, but it isn't about me. If there is one thing that every human being loves, it is to be appreciated. If someone makes your day, tell them. If someone inspires you to be a better person, tell them. If you miss someone, or fear losing someone, tell them!! I know with a lot of things, i think and feel so much on the inside that i expect people to "just know" how i feel. Not everyone "just knows", you have to show them.
4. People (any age) should write more. Okay okay, i know writing is not for everyone. Many of my own friends absolutely do not understand how i write the way i do. It's different for everyone, but i just think it is such an amazing outlet that more people should try. Whether it's writing a list, a food journal, or a daily reflection on your day, etc. My mind is quite complicated. A professional once said about me, "she literally questions every single thing in her mind." No exaggeration there. It is tiring. My thoughts are always racing and if i am speaking I am found stumbling over my words because my mind is already prepared for the next 3 sentences to come. For me, writing is my sanctuary. I can straighten everything out in my mind with writing. You don't need to have a crazy anxiety disorder like me to benefit from writing. We all get stressed, have a bad day, get anxious, feel angry, have mental blocks from our built up emotions. So what do i believe in? THAT MORE PEOPLE SHOULD TRY WRITING.
5. Mistakes and decisions are 2 different things. In fact, many "mistakes" are just very bad decisions. A mistake is when you aren't thinking, you have no idea what could go wrong, you later know that if you had done something differently or had known to do something differently it would prevent the mistake. It makes me frustrated when people who KNOW what they are doing, call a BAD DECISION a mistake. OR when they make the same "mistake" more than once. No. The mistake was that you repeatedly call your stupid decisions accidents. There is SUCH a difference, and unfortunately i call this something i believe, because i have dealt with people who disagree.
The most important thing i have learned while growing up is that you MUST surround yourself with people who ALWAYS make you feel good. Life is short, and there is no need to surround yourself with those who make you laugh some days, and cry the other days.
Don't get me wrong, no relationship is perfect. There will be bumps and bruises. However, in the long run you should be able to look back and see the good far from the bad.
When i say this, I am referring to middle school. Oh, middle school. It is the time where you think you know who you are, but most of us are very very wrong. So therefore, you choose people who are also very very wrong for you.
I remember sitting at a lunch table in 5th and 6th grade, where the girls would always whisper. The small table would be split in half, and everyone would have their own gossip. I hated that. On top of that I noticed certain friends would be nice to me some days, and treat me like i was a disease the other days. It was confusing to me. I spent most of the time just questioning what i did to make them hate me so much. I was looking for reasons that didn't exist. It wasn't about me. I still CHOSE to surround myself with those people. I thought they were my "fit", i thought it was normal to be treated that way. Those were my friends, so what was I to do?
This all changed in 7th grade. I started the year at a different table with another friend group. I was more than done with the drama. At this new table, everyone would communicate with each other! There was laughing, and not whispering, and i didn't feel a bit sad leaving the other group. I was doing myself a favor AND teaching myself a lesson.
I am sharing this snippet from my middle school horror story because it has inspired me to be where i am today. Something like "choose people who make you feel good" seems so simple. So obvious. It should be, but despite our ages we still tend to choose people who are not good for us, no matter how much we love them.
It is funny how 2 of the laughing lunch table girls are my 2 best friends today. Everyone said, "oh no, you'll see..everyone grows apart when you get to high school." I figured out who was worth it, and who was not at a young enough age where those friends are still true to me. At the end of my senior year now, it is bittersweet to me to see friendships that have lasted this long. To see that i can go a while without seeing them, but once we do it is as if nothing changed.
On a day when my depression was severe, i had a friend surprise me and climb in bed with me. She motivated me to get up and take a shower while she made me cat shaped pasta downstairs. I was showered, eating, and smiling. Thank you, Fallon.
Another day after an anxious day at school filled with anxiety attacks, i drove to another friend's house. She knew I had a rough day, and she led me straight to her bed. She tucked me in like a little mother, and ordered chinese food for us while we painted. Thank you, Xhesika.
It is the little things that matter. Especially when you are struggling, it is clear to see who makes the efforts to cheer you up, who sends you the "how are you doing?" texts, who pushes you to leave your comfort zone and leave the house after you make excuses why you can't. And the most amazing part to me..
Who is still there when you are not yourself. When the true "you" seems to have been sucked out of you and replaced with this lack of energy. When all you want to do is curl up in bed, or watch tv. As boring as i can be, my true friends stay because they know the real me is in there somewhere. So they climb in bed with me, and play my favorite songs because they can not wait to see her again.
I am incredibly blessed.
Thank you, to all my friends.
A Boston social work student, using writing for healing. Sharing the peaks and valleys of an empath's mental health journey.