I’m pooped. This week has successfully kicked the living
shit out of me and I’ve reached my usual posting days and I’ve drawn a huge
blank. Working, living, and planning a wedding I knew would from time to time would
not be conducive for a muse for writing but I don’t want to give up. This page
is centered on the different aspects of my life, my mental health journey and how
I choose to handle it so I decided to go with the truth. Truth be told, I am
pooped. This week has been long and busy and self-care is needed.
My self-care began Wednesday when I got home to my fiancée and
I was able to vent, eat a big thing of my favorite soup and watch our Wednesday
shows. Self-care isn’t just one routine for me. It’s a process that is
situational. Sometimes I want to be alone and watch wrestling, sometimes I want
to call my best friend in Boston and just check in. No relief to a stressful
time looks the same.
I invite you to let me know what your self-care routine
looks like. I also encourage you to make sure that something resembling
self-care is being done. Too often we got wrapped in our daily lives and put
ourselves on the back burners. We cannot be useful in any situation unless we
have a ‘full tank of gas’ mentally and physically to do so. People forget to
sleep, eat or just rest in general. Life is full on going rhythms sometimes the
need to stop is more paramount than the need to continue.
I hope to return to full swing next week because I am enjoying this two-day posting schedule. Despite, not making an official commitment to anything I am making an unofficial commitment to myself. I’ve attached an article from Psych Central in regards to this topic. I realize I’m not a licensed anything to be preaching so in efforts to fact check myself and ensure credibility stays pertinent, have a look!
I began my full-time work life in August 2010. College didn’t work out for me so I took a job as a receptionist in an allergist’s office in Midtown, Manhattan. Younger me was excited for her first taste of real money, independence, and a new venture. After 15 years in school and living to impress my parents and teachers, I was finally able to get a taste of what it would be like to impress myself. I had zero ideas that I was about to embark on one of the most character building journeys of my life.
I have never fit into the standard description of what society paints a female. I am not dainty, I am not delicate, and I definitely have no clue about fashion. I have self-proclaimed “resting bitch face” so working as a receptionist felt impossible. I quickly realized that the standards for the working woman were higher than I could have ever anticipated. I came to the table with a solid education, an ability to pay attention and quickly learn, and a small amount of people skills. This felt like enough of a starting point but it wasn’t. As a woman in the workplace, you are required to smile, required to dress the part, required to act the part. The world has a laundry list of standards it expects you to abide by and I was in over my head. I began looking for validation once again only this time in my bosses and colleagues. I started drowning in the sea of standards once again.
My anxiety grew in a professional setting. I started to develop deeply rooted insecurities. An array of questions flashed through my mind every day. Am I pretty enough? Do I smile enough? Am I smart enough? Despite, how inappropriate the scenario, I’ve had a boss flat out tell me that she does not like me as a reason to let me go. I began to live in a cloud of second guessing myself which made working in general hard. It’s been an uphill battle of wondering if I’m enough. After six jobs, I finally started to realize that I wasn’t going to find it in the position or the authority over me, but rather in me and the set of standards I would set for myself.
While I don’t fully agree with the set of standards women in working environments need to uphold, I do understand them and try to abide by them. However all standards aside I’ve learned that you cannot find the value in anyone’s opinion of your depiction of said standards, you have to set them yourself. I’ve had a messy journey navigating what’s right and what’s not right for me in a professional setting. I have seen, heard, and felt anxiety and nerves in the last 10 years but I am happy to say I’m better for it now. Every critique, constructive or not has shaped me. I am forever a work in progress but the lessons learned have allowed me to shape my own standards and not live for anyone else’s. You spend a large portion of your day at work so it should be an environment where you can flourish and learn.
Ultimately, you have to make your own decisions in every aspect of your life. You have to decide what works and what doesn’t and make the necessary changes for success. Jobs are not permanent. They can be changed, careers can be rerouted but self-love is forever.
Journaling has been an activity that has come and gone for me. Either I judge myself too hard with what I’m writing or I lose track of time and never actually dedicate myself. However, the act itself is a huge “mind-dump” for me allowing to vent in a constructive and private way. I attempted to stay consistent with the Morning Pages method while I was unemployed but once a job came to light it was hard to sit and dedicate time to three pages a day. While it was therapeutic and helpful during those hard times, I found it hard to stay committed. I was really disappointed because I started to see such a huge difference in my thought process after giving myself the opportunity to decompress.
After I was unable to go to my therapist when she no longer accepted my coverage this summer, I searched every inch of the internet, books, and any other creative outlet for any kind of self-help. YouTube has become a staple in our house so instead of watching mind-numbing videos, I chose to look toward something more helpful. I found a YouTube called the BigNoKnow. Noah who is the creator of the channel spoke very candidly about his own mental health journey which was a great comfort. A productive binge watch at last! Noah spoke about this app he uses daily called the Five Minute Journal. He uses it daily to write down things he’s grateful for and daily affirmations. I was intrigued by the concept because I love to journal and I also noticed a lot of my journaling was mostly the “mind-dump” and less positivity whereas the app was all about positivity.
While I am not consistently daily, I am a hell of a lot more consistent then I would be with the daunting three pages. It’s a thoughtful yet thoughtless process every morning and every night. It takes a small amount of time per day to take a deep breath and reflect. Sometimes it can turn a bad morning where I’m groggy and sluggish into a hopeful one or a bad day into a calm night. For me, it has all been about resetting my perspective. It’s so easy to get lost in the negativity of daily life adding the extra weight to my already heavy mind. This app has allowed me the freedom to release the heavy feeling in simple, short constructive ways. I highly recommend it for the busy professional who wants to help maintain their mental health.
I almost missed this! Thank you to Dawn from Tales from the Motherland for the January 31st extension. The end of the year brought a ton of chaos for me. I was let go from my job of 4 years. It was both a blessing and a curse. A blessing for fresh perspective but a curse for the financial worry that came with the loss. 4 years was gone in an instant, igniting every job related insecurity I’ve had bottled up. October to December brought two months of soul searching, bad temp jobs, and finally a new job to settle into. January has been the light at the end of the tunnel so I am happy to be able to share positivity with the blogosphere. Please visit Tales from the Motherland to have a look at Dawn’s entry in this beautiful movement and use the instructions in her entry to write your own. Without further ado, please enjoy my list.
- Family – they are the foundation for everything.
- My dog.
- A clean house. Marie Kondo isn’t lying, clutter
makes you crazy but maybe you don’t have to thank your things.
- Clean water to drink, shower, and cook with.
- A warm bed filled with love and comfort.
- FaceTime/Snapchat/FB to keep in touch with my
parents and family out of state.
- My fiancée.
- My education – for success and for expression.
- A job that appreciates and wants to invest in
- My cell phone.
- A good sale at Old Navy.
- Professional Wrestling.
- Nerd culture.
- Comic-Cons and soon to be Wrestle-Cons.
- Friends, both digital and lifelong.
- My imagination.
- My DVR.
- A steady TV program line up that I love.
- Time well spent in good company or alone.
- Public transportation.
- My anxiety – It’s a weird perspective but it’s
brought a lot of positivity to light and forced me to highlight the /good/ in
- Being able to legally marry the love of my life.
- Cheap rent.
- All the self-help outlets I found this year.
- Being able to explore downtown Manhattan.
- Video games with good stories.
- My Fitbit versa forcing me to walk more.
- Having my parents’ home in Pennsylvania to
- My growing knowledge of technology.
- Good people to learn from.
- A roof over my head to shield me from the
elements and keep me out of danger.
- My childhood on 61st.
- Working in retail this year and remembering the
perks of making friends.
- Freedom of speech and expression – it’s a gift,
believe it or not.
- The ability to freely think and the
encouragement to do so.
- The news.
- The DARE book.
- The places I’ve traveled to.
- The places I will travel to.
- Boston Gay Pride every year.
- A good relationship with my mother.
- Sweet and savory foods, can’t choose one.
- My struggles.
- Being able to make this within the deadline and
join a very talented group of bloggers.
This is the first year I’ve made 50 within the 15 minute
timer so I’m very proud of that. Shutting myself up and keeping it simple has
always been a struggle but I’m glad I did!
My writing has been a never ending journey of stops and starts.
Some months, I’m full of muse and ready to share my vision and myself with the
world. Whereas other months, I am drowned in the voices of opinions, the
crushing stress of navigating adult life, and general life happenings that make
it feel impossible to carry out this passion I love on such a precise schedule.
I have started over many times, so I am not going to sit and promise
consistency any longer. However, I will promise quality over quantity in my
posts and hope that my vision is put forth honestly and sincerely. Just like
anything else in life, my writing is ever changing. Topics, style, and most of
all purpose have evolved since 2014 when I embarked on this blogging journey.
Tales from the Anxiety Ridden began as a coping mechanism. My
parents retiring and leaving New York City was a hard transition. I was scared,
angry and confused about not seeing them daily and being on my own for the
first time. I have always thrived on routine so being thrusted into this new
world was hard. Change is hard for anybody but with somebody with anxiety like
mine, it felt impossible. Anxiety has always been something I struggled
with but this felt like a hurdle I couldn’t jump over. Writing has always been
my easiest form of expression so I created this blog space in hopes that
sharing my feelings with like minds and reading others struggles would help me
feel not so alone.
Fast forward to 2019, I am a few months shy of my wedding, I was fired from a job that I hated but found a job I could really see myself in long term. Anxiety is bearable (thanks to a lot of soul searching and research) and I feel like a person who could manage day-to-day life. While I feel “healed”, I am not naïve to the fact that it could all change on the flip of a dime. However, I am going to spend every second given to me celebrating any small victories that come my way. The intention of this forum is no longer singular to the betterment of myself. For me, it is important to “pay-it-forward” in a society that can be so self-driven. I hope to share my story as it continues growing and thriving and be able to help others along the way.
I’m here starting over again, but I’m optimistic that setting a
purpose and a goal will provide the quality of content I’ve always wanted to
produce rather than the quantity of content that feels appropriate. Welcome to
Tales from the Anxiety Ridden, almost 30 years of experience in navigating my
own mind, swimming in my own gene pool of mental health short comings but I am
more than that. This is my story and I cannot wait to hear yours.