Striving to be

I’m at a place now where instead of choosing to be alive, I’m looking to choose to be happy. I honestly didn’t expect to make it here and I’m terrified that I’m still teetering on the edge, but seeing that option in front me is comforting. It’s a visible step forward.

Things are still hard, but in a different way. Over the past couple of months, I’ve gradually cut more and more people out of my life. I could barely manage the everyday interactions I was having, so I canceled plans, I stopped responding to messages, I spent as much time by myself as I could. Now that I’m finally ready to stop moping around, I’m finding myself unusually alone.

Its not the worst problem in the world to have though. Part of where I am now is little by little understanding the things that take me to a dark place, working not to overreact, and striving to be happy regardless of circumstance. Because I can’t guarantee that my life won’t sink to shit ever again and I want to be ready.

I’m not quite there yet, but having the option in front of me means that I’m moving forward. Here’s hoping I continue in that direction.

Sundays

I wake up on Sundays with my heart racing, a pit in my stomach.

It’s a habit now.

Another week is coming, but what have I accomplished this week? What have I accomplished this weekend? The obsessions never stop.

Things have settled down now. I know I’m on the upswing, but cycles of anxiety grasp at every thought. The meaningless worries, which used to sit in the back of my mind, seem to have nestled in and made their home. No amount of mental power will make them budge.

I’m trying to take things one step at a time. To appreciate the glimpses of light in every day, but I can’t help but dwell on the negatives. My brain seems to wander in search of the tiniest anxieties I’ve been running around to avoid. Last week, I couldn’t breathe. I thought my asthma had finally heard about LA smog. But it was just anxiety. I guess my subconscious knows, because the nightmares haven’t stopped in weeks. Swarming me every night and with every nap. Ironic since sleeping is how I used to avoid the world.

I’ll be patient.

I’ve gotten to the point where the me I’m trying to hide doesn’t slip out as often. I walk around with smiles, suspiciously positive retorts to the day old “how are you?” Things are seemingly back to normal. And I haven’t cut in a month. But every second of every day still feels like a war. To not get sucked in again, and to forgive myself when I do.

Sundays though. Sundays I aim for survival. Sundays I don’t make plans because I don’t know if I can live up to them, but when the day comes, the loneliness settles in. I walk around with a tightness in my chest, an urge to throw everything up. Sundays I despise, but secretly wish would continue forever.

Today, I’m remembering to breathe, be patient, and practice a little bit of metta.

that sinking feeling

Every second of every day, I feel like I’m drowning. Like my heart’s about to burst and nothing I can do is gonna stop it. And all I can do is cry when I’m alone and put on a smile, patch myself up, and hope that as little as possible of me seeps out.

I wish that I were stronger. That I could handle life like an adult. That I could feel that warm glow from deep inside knowing that everything’s gonna be alright. I can’t i can’t i can’t. I can’t breathe anymore. And I think that just one more little nudge would send me tumbling.

Taking the First Step

2016 is has been a doozy of a year. It started off okay, got really really good, took a minor turn for the worse, and ended up in the midst of a perfect storm clearing a massive path of destruction. So as I head into 2017, I am partially homeless, driving a car I probably shouldn’t be driving, and a $1,200 laptop out. That, and I’ve called about 15 therapists at this point and still have no appointment.

But to be fair, here are some things that went really well in 2016. I graduated college with a small group of friends that mean the world to me and have held my hand through some really tough times. I had a GPA that wasn’t superb but far better than what I would have imagined for myself a couple years ago. I spent the summer at home building a relationship with my family that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I moved across the country by myself, started a job that I’m actually pretty happy with, and found a supportive group of friends in a city where I expected to be very lonely. And I finished my first rotation in a place that I’m pretty proud of.

So even though 2016 ended up in the throes of a Shakespeare “comedy”, I don’t know if I can say that it was really a bad year, maybe just one of a lot of lessons learned. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

I do know that I have some changes to make going into the new year. Because I objectively haven’t been taking care of myself and that should always be my first priority. A lot of that comes from the fucked up perspective I have about money and spending. And while I know that most of these thoughts are incredibly unhealthy, I don’t talk about them because I feel like very few could comprehend the experiences that led to this. So these thoughts linger and suck me dry, and they guide me toward skewed decisions that put me in terrible situations.

My New Year’s resolution is to stop being so hard on myself and to treat myself well. To make the choices that take care of me mentally and physically. To splurge on me when I’m down and out. Because I’ve learned that in the long run, trying to skimp on these things costs me more in the long run. Because I wake up at 5am and work 65 hours a week and deserve nice things once in awhile.

Because I deserve to be happy.

I can see the light. I know that everything that has happened is fixable. Soon, I’ll have a home. I’ll sign my lease over. I’ll get my car and my laptop fixed. I can stop commuting 80 miles  a day. I’ll go see my family and we’ll spend a week in Taiwan together. Things will look up.

2017 is going to be a good one because I’m going to make it a good one.

(Not) Caring

There are very few things in life that I care about now. Very few. I guess its a part of growing up. You figure out what really matters and what doesn’t. But I think I’ve gone a little overboard.

I think I used to care a little too much. And I’ve spent the past few years distancing myself from feelings. I thought that they made me weak. I thought that if I were to become apathetic to everything, than I would be impenetrable.

But its impossible not to feel. At least its impossible for me. Because I still obsess. I obsess and I obsess. And I hurt. Not for the things that used to consume me. But for the things that I have found to truly matter to me. And it makes this hurt so much more intense. Because I know its real.

It’s a good thing. And a bad thing. I need to learn how to deal with my emotions in a healthy way. I need to stop going to extremes. Because there is really no good end to this.

Graduation

I graduated college today. I always knew this day would come, I’ve been privileged enough to never doubt that I would in fact graduate, but I don’t feel prepared. I’m just not ready to let go.

It’s something entirely different to have spent the past four years encased in a tiny little bubble, with endless resources at my fingertips, with the knowledge that if I fell, someone would catch me. And during my time at Williams, this has all held true. It’s not that I didn’t struggle at all. Over these past four years, I have experienced some of the happiest moments of my life. Those true picture perfect moments you find in movies where you just can’t help but smile and feel content. But I’ve also experienced my darkest moments, some really horrifying experiences. And at points, I just didn’t know if it would make it through.

But I don’t regret any of it. Williams has given me what I needed, and in a way, I do know that it’s time to leave. It’s taught me that it’s good to struggle, to fall. Because you learn to pick yourself up. And contrary to what I said before, it taught me how to do all this independently. I’m proud of the fact that over the years, I’ve grown from being dependent on others to learning how to take care of myself. I’ve learned to spend time with myself without panicking about being alone and I’ve learned to cherish this time. Williams has profoundly changed me and helped my become a better version of myself, one that sometimes I am proud of. I still have a lot to learn and develop, but I don’t know how much more I could have done at college. I know it’s time to leave.

But there’s this bubble in my chest. I don’t know what it is. Probably a combination of fear, doubt, anxiety, and just plain terror. I finally figured out how to do it. And now it’s being taken away. Now I have to go do something new. The friends that I spent four years developing relationships with will no longer be at a moment’s reach. My actions will have consequences beyond bad grades. The things that I do will be real, and I will be entirely responsible for them.

And what if I can’t do it? What if I enter the world and find that I’m simply not good enough. That I simply can’t do the things I always dreamed of. That my future isn’t the way I planned it to be (because I know it never is). I know that challenges lie ahead of me and that they must because success doesn’t come without struggle. But I just want it to be easy. Or what if I’ve left my best years behind me? Whatever rickety mess this was? What if I didn’t appreciate it enough? What if I could have done it better?

I guess this is just a record of the jumbled mess my brain is right now. This entire day, I’ve been trying to remind myself to look forward to challenges, to smile when they fall upon me, and to react with poise. But I also just want to cry like a mf baby. And like I need some calm adult to talk me down because I know that everyone feels this way right now, and everyone gets through it.

I hope that one day I can look back on this post and smile with the knowledge that everything turned out okay. I just needed to let it out.

Win some Lose some

So it’s finally over…and I didn’t win. Like yeah, I’m a little sad because I worked really hard and invested a lot of energy into this. But so did everyone else. I’m glad its over. I’m glad that I put in the effort and got to a place that I’m proud of. That I recovered from the debacle that was one first two years at college. That I competed gracefully and didn’t let this consume my life the way it has in the past.

Because now I enjoy it.

I’ve also found myself surrounded by love and support over the past few weeks. Just when I thought I had lost hope in people. I guess when I think back, this competition has brought me a lot of good. Sure, its brought me stress and taken up a lot of time. But I learned to believe in myself again. I got my passion back. And I’ve learned a lot about losing.

In the end, growth can come from the unexpected I guess.