Tag Archive | Feelings

I’m Tired – So, So Tired…

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And then this happened…

When Someone Shows You Who They Are, Believe Them

Thought this was probably aimed right at me and my stupid head and my crazy heart…

James Michael Sama

The title of this article is a quote by Maya Angelou. A quote that most of us probably think back on situations in our past and say “I should have listened to Maya.”

It is so difficult to find someone in today’s society that I think many of us get a little wide-eyed when somebody shows interest in us. Wow, this person makes me laugh! Wow, this person compliments me! Wow, this person is this or that, or maybe both this and that.

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Naturally, our attention may be grabbed and we could start spending time with this person. Maybe a date or two goes by and we are ignoring that thing they do with their mouth that is a little bit annoying, because whatever.

Then we are sort of brushing aside the fact that they have kind of a shady past with relationships, but clearly they are interested in you…

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Things That Make Me Happy

Honestly

The Facebook hiatus continues. The month-long break from Boo lasted a week.

Deactivating my Facebook account is still proving to be an incredibly positive move. My mind seems much less restless. I don’t feel like I constantly have to check in to see what I’m missing in other people’s lives. I don’t feel like I have to make every feeling I have public. And the blue message notification light on my phone isn’t constantly blinking at me anymore.

I’ve discovered that calming my mind has helped me start thinking more clearly about myself. I’ve started making some lists like the one in my last post about anxiety. My hope is that getting these things down on paper in one place will help me see the patterns in my thoughts and behaviors, and find the places I need to make changes in my life.

I DVR Andy Stanley’s program “Your Move” every Saturday night. He has great messages that always make me think about myself and my behavior and attitudes. I don’t always agree with him 100%, but it’s good, Biblically based, not too conservative, food for thought. I’ve gotten behind by several episodes and finally watched the first one in a new series about decision making yesterday. Stanley talks about how good we are at deceiving ourselves and selling ourselves on bad ideas. He said that the most important thing to do in your decision-making process is to be brutally honest with yourself about your reasoning and intentions. “Are you being honest with yourself – really?”

That’s exactly what I’ve been trying to do these past several days. Andy just reinforced it a couple of days later. I’ve had some great insights already just by having greater mental focus and calmness and getting my thoughts organized in one place. I’ve realized how many things there are that make me happy. I’ve seen how much my control-issues contribute to my anxiety and unhappiness. I’ve seen there are things I enjoy that I can’t free myself to or allow myself to enjoy because of fear.

Already, I feel more free and, ironically, in control of myself after this honest self-examination. I even feel less bunged up about all the stuff with Boo. I want to keep working on this self-awareness effort and see where it takes me – how it changes how I think about myself and what it teaches me about what I need to be doing with my life.

As far as my “month-long” discovery period without Boo, it didn’t take me long to realize how much I enjoy his friendship. I’ve been focused so much on the ways I can make him care for me romantically, that I didn’t realize how much I like talking to him, hanging out with him and just knowing he’s “there” in general. I missed him so much as a friend that I broke down and texted him on Friday. And he didn’t even give me a hard time about it.

I’ve had some epiphanies about the Boo thing too. I’m not going to go into it here. In the spirit of trying to learn that I don’t have to spew everything I know all over the internet, I’m just going to keep that to myself. But trust that no matter what happens, he’s always my Boo, he’s always my friend, I believe in him, and I’ve always got his back. I think that’s a great place to start.

Things That Make Me Anxious

  • The last two hours at work
  • Thinking I look stupid
  • Beautiful women
  • Making small talk
  • Hanging with people I don’t know well
  • My boss
  • UGA football
  • The thought of not ending up with Boo
  • Incessant chatter around me
  • Conflict
  • Love stories
  • My grandfather
  • Thinking I look too much like a boy
  • Thinking I’m not pretty
  • News about sex crimes
  • News about abused animals
  • Facebook
  • Seeing Boo
  • Leaving work
  • Sometimes nothing in particular – My heart just races and I’m short of breath for no reason.

How Now?

How do you take back control of your brain? I took the step to disable my Facebook account a couple of days ago, and as I discussed in my last post, I’m taking a break from Boo too. It’s been a pretty interesting learning experience, even though it’s only been a few days.

I see many of the emotions I’ve been attributing to my “relationship” with Boo are still there and maybe aren’t really about Boo. In fact, some of those feelings seem to be intensified since he’s not there to run to. I’m feeling a lot of anxiety and anger for some reason, not about Boo, but in general, since I’ve cut off my contact with him.

It feels like my meds need to be adjusted, but I can’t just keep on increasing my meds every six months. At some point I need to ferret out the reasons I’m feeling all these things and deal with them.

It’s interesting to see how often in the last week I’ve finally recognized my reflex to contact Boo when I’m feeling any negative emotions. I’m not sure if that is just what you do when someone is your friend, or if I’ve been using him as a crutch to try to smooth over my other feelings. The irony of reaching out to him for comfort and reassurance is, sometimes he makes me feel wonderful, but other times he makes me feel like hell because I don’t get as much attention as I crave from him or the answers I want to hear. So reaching out to him is really a crap shoot emotionally.

My day and a half away from Facebook has been enlightening as well. I initially stepped away because the sheer volume of virtual noise was making my head swim. But at the same time I couldn’t quit my incessant habit of reading or posting. After I deactivated my account, it didn’t take long to realize how much of my life I’ve been living “performing” for Facebook. Every thought I have I think about how it would play on Facebook and how I could word it just right for the maximum laughs or strongest impact. Everything I read I consider whether I should share it on Facebook and how that share would shape my image to my friends and acquaintances there.

I’ve lost the ability to just live and experience things within myself. I’ve been spending a ridiculous amount of time using Facebook to seek attention and approval. And frankly, that’s been a pretty positive thing for my self-esteem, but I need to learn to have an unexpressed thought. I need to be able to look at a sunset and think, “Wow. That’s beautiful!,” instead of “Let me run get my phone so I can take a picture and post this on Facebook so everyone can see how much I’m appreciating this sunset!” I need to find approval within myself and focus my mind more narrowly. I’ve been like a yard sprinkler, spewing forth every thought in every direction. Like turning to Boo when I’m anxious or bored or sad, I’ve been using Facebook so I don’t have to look at me.

The Facebook break has been a good step. It’s helped calm my brain and helped me concentrate on myself. The Boo break is still hard. I miss him. But at least I don’t find myself pining for him nearly as often.

I can see how I’ve been using Boo and Facebook to help tamp down and cover up my feelings. I’m using both of them just like I drank. I’m trying to find something to soothe my mind and make me happier and funnier and more clever and more accepted and more loved.

What’s counterintuitive is that although I reach out for and crave acceptance and attention virtually, when anybody reaches out to actually give me that in the real world, I totally reject them. I push them away, ignore them. I become avoidant and isolate myself. What is THAT dichotomy all about?

The question now is how to figure out why I’m sad and angry and anxious. Why do I need so much external affirmation, yet run away from it at the same time? Why do I not have more self-confidence when I actually do realize that I’m smart and funny and fun and kind and have a nice waist to hip ratio.

Why am I not tougher and stronger? Why can’t I be the badass I really want to be? 

The Unbearable Heartbreak of Flightless Birds

I recorded “March of the Penguins” the other night. I lay down to watch it tonight, but because I was so afraid of all the bad things that were bound to happen in a nature documentary, I couldn’t relax. You see, I was afraid of feeling sad. And sure enough, it was 50 minutes of heartbreak punctuated by 10 minutes of “awwwwwwwww!” (Well, actually it was punctuated by 60 minutes of commercials. Thank God for DVRs!)

But I was determined to watch it. I felt like this was a safe, non-threatening way to practice feeling again. You see, my feeler’s broken. Bad feelings make my heart physically ache. And good feelings make my heart physically ache. And it frightens me.

Something happens in life when you get clinically depressed. It becomes easier to feel nothing than to feel any more sadness or hurt. But you can’t just turn off the bad feelings. The exchange is that you turn off all your feelings. No more hope or excitement or joy or anticipation either. All your emotions leave and all that’s left is brain-static and apathy and lethargy.

I think I can properly define my anxiety as the fear of feeling. I don’t know how it happened. Maybe I drank so much I broke the thing in my brain that regulates emotion. (I’ve certainly huddled over the last Sweetwater 420 at a party like a mother penguin protecting her chick.) Or maybe when you reach childbearing years as a woman, some overgrown sense of protective empathy pours in. (That’s quite enough of ALL of that, thank you. Nothing to see here. Move along. Stupid biology!) Or maybe I just got tired of feeling disappointed by so much in my life. But however it happened, it surely didn’t help anything in the long run.

When you start getting better and begin feeling again, or at least trying, sometimes you can’t match up what you’re feeling with an emotion anymore. Or maybe you feel way too much of what you’re feeling. Or maybe your feelings just threaten your sense of inner-peace. It’s incredibly and surprisingly tough to sort out!

So I watched about 45 minutes of “March of the Penguins” through my fingers. Why does that help? That baby penguin is still being carried off by a predatory bird even through that tiny slit between my index finger and thumb.

But, after all that, I tell you, those put-upon penguins were pretty inspirational. It was the story of life, after all. There was struggle and love and birth and loss and sacrifice and triumph. And they kept on marching. Life went on.

I’m glad I made myself watch, even through my fingers. And even when it made my heart hurt, it didn’t kill me. I think it helped point my feeler in the right direction.

I know that I can lay in the safety of the darkness seeing nothing and feeling nothing. Or I can risk the threat of the walrus and set out to see the Northern Lights.

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