Friday, February 17, 2017

Take a Break!

Hey you guys,

So just in time for me to have published a post about my deteriorating mental health last week... After this weekend, I feel like a new person. Truly.

So I talked before about how ever since October or so, my mental health has been declining. This has everything to do with the political climate and the fact that people are feuding everywhere and my poor little HSP heart can't take it (which, now that I mention HSP, I realize I still have yet to do a post on it. Or have I? I don't think I have, but I will get to it. Basically, just know that my brain takes in too much information and I am more affected than most people when it comes to emotions, sounds, textures, smells, etc. Basically all of the senses are overwhelmed). Point being, it hurts me to my core to see people being mean to one another or even for me to feel hate in my own heart, and I didn't realize just how much that can affect me until recently.

I was having a rough(er than usual) time in the few days leading up to my birthday, and I really wasn't looking forward to our weekend plans. Turns out I really should have, because they changed everything.

So a few weeks before my birthday we decided that that weekend we would take a mini trip to the coast to celebrate a bunch of things. February 7th-15th is big for us because the 7th is my birthday, the 14th is obviously Valentine's day but it is also the anniversary of the day we officially met and started dating (in 2013), and Patrick proposed to me on the 15th in 2014.

We unplugged from the world and left on Saturday morning. Our destination was Astoria, but first we stopped in Tillamook for lunch and ice cream. I had a grand ol' time learning to suck the ice cream out of the bottom of a waffle cone (because apparently that wasn't a thing I learned to do as a kid), got covered in ice cream, and shouted "Oh no!" many, many times.

When we got to Astoria, we settled into our river-view room and took a nap, and that night we went to dinner at our favorite Japanese place in town. Possibly the most interesting thing about Astoria this time around was that apparently during this time of year the sea lions make themselves right at home on the outcroppings of rock, the docks, and basically anywhere they can haul themselves up to... and then they bark. Forever. And ever. They do not stop barking. Apparently they do not sleep. But for some reason even though one would assume that the barking would drive me insane, I found them to be highly amusing and for the rest of the weekend Patrick and I would "Bork bork bork!!!!!!" to each other.

On Sunday morning we packed up and stopped in Seaside on our way home, where we meandered around the aquarium (taking lots of fish selfies) and fed the seals (a lot, because seals are the best and these ones will either snort or clap at you so that you will throw them fish), then stopped in and had lunch at our favorite place on the boardwalk.

Was the weekend super extravagant and long and filled with crazy adventures? No, but I don't want any of that. This was exactly what I needed; all of my favorite things with my favorite person in my favorite place. I woke up on Monday feeling refreshed and calm and simply happier than I've been in months. Apparently sometimes all you need is to get away for a few days to reset your mind, body, and soul.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Maybe 25 Won't Be So Bad

Hey guys,

So I expect that this post will be a little more somber and less upbeat than usual. I mean, I do usually write my posts when I'm in a good mood. But I've just finished crying (good crying, I promise) and I feel like in order to be true to myself and to this blog (which I'm not sure anyone reads anymore since I've deactivated my Facebook and therefore have a much smaller platform to share my posts on) I need to share the good and the bad. I swear that this post has a happy ending, I really do. I have every intention of posting it along with a very nice Instagram collage if all goes well. 

So anyway, let's start with the bad.

I've posted about anxiety and depression in the past, and when I wrote those posts I felt like I was in a very good place. So many people (I literally mean people I've never spoken more than five words to or even flat out openly hated in the past) came out of the woodwork to share their stories with me and ask me How? How did I get better? How did I fix myself? The answer varied in different conversations, but I the bottom line was always that I truly believe that taking myself out of a toxic environment and finding a partner and a group of friends that loved me and embraced me for me changed the game entirely. 

But sometimes the environment can change, and things can get worse again. Sometimes the toxic environment can follow you. Sometimes that toxic environment can swallow up the entire country and make things bad again. 

And it has. 

Since about October I've been feeling more and more down (although as a small bonus, my anxiety has taken a back seat to my depression, which is a common thing I've learned can happen in people who experience both illnesses). I deactivated my Facebook. I cut off communication with a lot of people I couldn't stomach anymore. I've tried to fill my days with kittens and rainbows and things that make me happy. 

Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I am definitely getting better. I've done a lot of crying today, thanks to having seen The Perks of Being a Wallflower for the first time (those happy tears I was talking about). But in general, since hitting an extreme low about three weeks ago, I have been doing everything in my power that I'm willing to do (and by that I mean all of the easy stuff and none of that "cardio" my doctor keeps talking about... I'm not sorry) to lift my mood, and it has definitely been working. I'm keeping a chart. I've changed a bit of my diet. I'm keeping up communication with the friends and family that love me and support me. I picked up a couple of new hobbies that I'm working on.

As a result of how I've been feeling lately (which, let's be clear, is because my feelings are easily hurt and the fighting/hatred going on in the country lately is really making me very sad), I've really not been looking forward to my birthday. 

I turned 25 today. I say today because I haven't gone to sleep yet, therefore it is still my birthday. But if you want to get all technical, my birthday ended just over two hours ago. My point is, and the entire point of this post is, I really haven't been looking forward to turning 25. Turning a quarter of a century old is supposed to be one of the "big birthdays,", but it was even less than "just another birthday" to me. Every year my birthday comes with a little bit of dread. I dislike being the center of attention and that just comes with a day dedicated to you, you know? But this year, as the days crept up to my birthday, I just felt numb toward it... And then it got to be February 6th, the day that I was going to celebrate my birthday because Patrick had the day off of work (until the weekend when we head off to Astoria, Tillamook, and Seaside), and I started off the day with a bang. 

Because within maybe a half an hour of waking up, I was sobbing. 

I think it was a combination of things that set me off. First of all, the general feeling of the weight of the world (you guys know that feeling) was really killing me that morning. Then, it was the neighbors below us that have been making us miserable with their stomping since the day they moved in. I had also just woken up from what was apparently too much sleep (?????????), and therefore I was a little off balance. I was out of my good cereal and the cereal I thought would be "just fine" tasted like literal sawdust (pro tip: Don't buy the Kashi GoLean cereal if you care about yourself). I was experiencing an HS flare up after months of peace with a nice, red, angry cyst smack dab at the bottom of my widow's peak which made my entire face extremely painful (and unsightly). A lot of little things were piling up on my heart and in my mind that morning

So midway through my bowl of literal sawdust, I burst into tears. 

After lots of hugs, an English muffin with "so much butter" (as I requested it from my chef *cough* I mean my loving, doting husband), opening my surprise secondary gift from Patrick (because we purchased my official birthday gift together about a month ago), and curling up on the couch to watch Space Jam, I was feeling much better. I rejected my original idea of going to paint pottery at Color Me Mine that afternoon and just opted to go to Benihana later in the evening, both ideas which I initially threw out that morning because I didn't think I could cover my forehead with any type of makeup with as much pain as I was in.

So February 6th, although it got much better in the evening, started off really, really rough. And though it got better in the afternoon/evening, I thought that there was no way in the world that my actual birthday could be even remotely decent. 

And you beautiful people all proved me wrong. My friends. My family. My loved ones who, just when I think I know what to expect from them, continue to surprise me at every turn. And now I'm crying again, but they're still happy tears, I promise. They're tears for you all. 

I'm not the only one who has a lot of stuff going on lately. Every single one of my friends and family members is going through something rather serious right now, whether it be medical, financial, of emotional. Some of them are being hit with more than one. Or even all three. 

With the way I've been feeling, I don't know how thoughtful I've been towards others lately. But regardless of what they've been going through, all of my loved ones came through yesterday and today. You wrote me things. You sent me flowers. You sent me little gifts that made you think of me. You, without even being prompted by Facebook because, as I've said, I'm no longer on there, still wished me a happy birthday. My grandmother even, in her typical nutty spirit, answered the phone when I called her back after a nap and in the middle of buying her bingo tickets sang me happy birthday. 

I've been so frickin tickled and touched all day by all of the little and big things that the people I love the very most in the world did for me. Maybe it's because I'm over emotional anyway (and still raw from a good movie cry), but man am I just feeling the love. 

So yes, I'll continue to struggle with my mood in the future. I'll have good days. And I'll have really bad days. But on those days, I'll remember today, with the happy birthdays and the gifts and the I love yous. I'll eat an English muffin with so much butter. I'll watch Space Jam. And I'll remember that my 25th year of life kicked off pretty damn well.