Anxiety, Uncategorized

Quarter Life Crisis Chronicles: Introduction

It was a slow day at work last Friday morning. I finished the small pile of paperwork leftover from Thursday afternoon. I tried stretching out the processing time a little. Read a few pages, write a few notes, make a personal phone call to my bank to make sure my debit card number wasn’t stolen online Wednesday. I was still done before 11am.

And then, as I was browsing my employer’s Facebook page (no, I really was) an idea struck me. When I was looking at my own Facebook page earlier (see!), a psychology article came up in my newsfeed. Something about how many twenty-somethings feel lost and anxious, mixed in with a bit of excitement, as they enter responsible-official adulthood for the first time. The author of the article used the term, “Quarter Life Crisis.” As I read this article, I began to identify with the symptoms. Bouts of depression, occasional feelings of misplaced confidence in my career choices so far, wondering where my real personality went and how I became so angry and boring.  I think it’s pretty official that I’m in my Quarter Life Crisis. A few years late, apparently. <Pours a very full glass of wine>

And then I realized, I should write about it. I’ve gotten through everything else in life by writing about it. And what better place to write about it than my personal blog? At most 20 people will be forced to see a headline, and at least 5 people will read what I write. The chances of someone actually reading beyond the first paragraph are about even with the chances of me clearing a six figure salary by 30. I’ll take those odds!

So here’s where, if you’ve read this far, I’ll make my pitch to get you to read more of my Chronicles posts later. The thing is, what I write will be real. The truth is, the real me is sarcasm, self-loathing, cynicism, and a whole lot of love for cats and kind people all wrapped up in one 5 foot 3 inch package. I can do positivity and Vegan Spring Rolls and love yourself. But now I just want to laugh. Laugh at everything that makes me feel shitty and like a robot and like I’ve lost my life’s purpose. Because I have. I’m a bit lost at the moment. So now you get to be lost with me. And laugh at all the shitty shit with me. Ok, let’s just do this.

I have no idea what I’m doing. 🙂

 

 

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Anxiety, Obsessive, Positive Self-Talk

Medicine, poison, and what I’m working on now

I have a confession. I had to get somewhat drunk to work up the courage to write this. Oh, I know, so juicy. What great beginnings! But, yes. I have a song to discuss with you. It’s called “Medicine” by Daughter. (The song is playing in the background of this clever short movie featuring an anxious hedgehog. It’s also a serendipitous visual metaphor for this post. See it at vimeo.com/33622807)

“You’ve got a warm heart,
you’ve got a beautiful brain.
But it’s disintegrating,
from all the medicine.
from all the medicine.
from all the medicine.
Medicine.”

-Daughter, “Medicine”

I think this is what it’s like to see a person commit self-sabotaging behaviors. To you, the other person looking from the as-objective-as-possible outside, what the other person is doing is unhealthy, unproductive. Going backwards. Confusing and irrational. To the self-sabotaging person, it’s just what’s comfortable and easy. And often all we’ve ever known.

To the anxious or obsessive or self-loathing, it’s automatic to think or do something that hurts our own self. We may not even know we are doing it. It’s the state of mind we’ve lived in for a while now. We are beautiful, intelligent, worthy people. But we don’t always remember we are. We don’t always remember we are worth having dreams for a future. Using a beautiful mind or warm heart. It seems like it should be very simple to know these things about yourself. To not need to consciously tell yourself these things every time something makes you worry. But to a lot of us, it’s not.

I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you’re dealing with day-to-day. I don’t expect sympathy or support. If you’re the person looking at the anxious or obsessive or self-loathing, what that person is doing isn’t going to make sense to you. Just don’t try to reason it out. Just know what we need to learn are the simplest, most basic, ways to have a healthy, productive sense of self. We actually need to be told and tell ourselves, “You are smart. And what you want to do is just fine. And you should do the best you can to accomplish that.” Very, very often, until it just lives there in our brain. And then we can let go of the endless streams of mental berating, over-analyzing, dooming what-ifs, and just wasted time and energy. It’s a murky and treacherous place inside our heads. You can say something and mean something, and we will take it that you mean it’s our fault, or our responsibility, or the result of our weakness. It’s a selfish place too, and we know that. We feel guilty and ashamed and the shame and guilt just keep building.

This is what I deal with and how I think. I worry when you ask me to do something if my effort will expose my weaknesses. I feel judged in conversations I have, because I think you are only asking to find out what I don’t know or what I can’t do. I think you are looking for something to criticize.

This song reminded me that self-sabotaging behaviors are a poison for your mind and body. The poison is the medicine–which makes no sense, except that we can grow to live miserable and comfortable in our self-loathing or obsession. It’s what keeps us functioning, however reduced and unhealthy our functioning may be. Until we begin to wonder if life should be happier and lighter and more free than how we’ve lived.

And this is what I’m working on right now. Stumbling around in the fog, searching for something I’ve lost and let go. Slowly regaining my sense of self. You have such power over your own life. You can drive yourself so low. Or you can stand up again and ignore all the bullshit you hear in your head and tell yourself you’re going to be just fine how you are.

Joe Dirt is one my favorite philosophers. “Keep on keepin’ on.”

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