Sometimes it just hits me.
The deadlines, the lab reports, the appointments and social engagements, the performances, rehearsals, concerts and homework, working and the grief and the guilt of not being able to tackle my own personal agenda. I can’t do everything I want to and I can’t avoid getting burnt out. All of the pressure (from school, work, myself) is a lot, especially when I have my own emotional mess to already try to cope with and sort out in addition to everything else. I’m trying to not let myself have to ask for grace or help or anything special. I don’t know if this is because I feel like I shouldn’t or if it’s because I’m scared I’ll just appreciate that too much and take advantage of it and let myself fall behind. There’s the part of my brain that tells me I can do everything just fine, and I don’t know whether or not the part of me saying it’s too much is being lazy.
When I was really little (like kindergarten and first grade) I developed this habit of lying for attention. I don’t remember if I’ve discussed this before, but I was awful. It started when I told my kindergarten class I was 6 years old like everyone else when I was really 5. Well, when my mom brought the whole class cupcakes to celebrate my 6th birthday, I was outed. Somehow, I didn’t learn my lesson and the whole thing got progressively worse until it all culminated in me telling my first grade teacher about how my baby brother had got a hold of some matches and my family was now dealing with the loss of his life and our apartment.
I don’t have a baby brother and I never did. No fires burnt down our home. To this day I don’t really have any idea why I even said that. My teacher immediately contacted the principal and my parents and I don’t even remember what happened after that except I’m sure my teacher thought I was a delinquent dummy or something.
Recently, I’ve noticed that the embarrassment of knowing I had that habit at some point makes me feel guilty about bringing anything up that might bring me any more attention than usual or be a reason I may get any special treatment. I don’t want to tell my professors about my grandmother’s passing because I’m scared they (and I) will think I’m just milking it to get special treatment and extensions. I don’t know if this is normal but it’s an issue in my head that just makes everything fuzzy and makes me anxious because I don’t feel like I certainly know when I need something and when I’m crossing a line.
I know this isn’t a fun post and it’s weird and personal and (ironically) all about me (when I’m sitting here worried about getting attention). It’s just what I need to say today and blogging is about being vulnerable sometimes, right? It’s hard.
My choir director recently addressed anxiety and depression and he told us to break every little thing on our minds down into the smallest pieces of a task we can make them. One quote that popped in my head was “Sometimes the bravest thing you can do is get up when the alarm goes off.“ (which I have not been successfully doing much at all lately). But he took it further and put it this way: When our alarm goes off, just tell yourself that you’re just going to put your feet on the floor. You don’t have to commit to getting up and walking to the shower and if you want to lay back down once your feet are on the floor, you totally can. Just put your feet on the floor and make that decision after. And proceeding on: Are you going to decide to lay back down, or are you going to decide to stand up? You can lay back down once you stand up, but just stand. And it goes on.
Another thing I’ve been focusing on anytime my guilt radar goes off or I find one thing or another to feel anxious or nervous or sad about is just to tell myself it’s okay. It’s okay. My family generally eats rather healthily, but when my mom came home with swiss rolls and Lucky Charms, she tried apologizing or saying she shouldn’t have. I laughed and told her it’s totally okay. Heck, all I’ve been eating lately is cereal and canned soup (and my morning coffee). Now isn’t the time in our lives to hold our personal goals of calorie counting or regularly meditating or keeping the house clean or getting 8 solid hours of restful sleep every night or going out with people as much as we used to. It’s not easy, but every time it comes up, I just have to breathe, let it go, and make the next choice.
If you’ve ever experienced anxiety and depression, you can probably definitely relate to one of my all-time favorite blogger’s post, Adventures in Depression. (Don’t worry, there’s pictures! And you may even chuckle.) And the Part Two to that post really helps put things into perspective about when people try to talk to you about how to “fix being depressed.”