Anxiety

Some of Us Have to Work for Happiness

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I am not a chill person. I am not laid back. I do not let inconveniences, whether big or small, simply slide away, easily forgotten. All my life, I have wanted to be this person. I wanted to be the cool chick. The one who didn’t stress about minor things. After 33-years, I have accepted the fact that I will never be the cool chick. I am too anxious for that to ever be me.

My anxiety and my inability to let things go tend to have a negative affect on my happiness. My default reaction is to ask, “Why is this happening to me?” When things are going bad or someone upsets me, I will immediately think about all the other things in my life that need improvement.

Happiness is something that I have to work on. I hate to admit this but it doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m not saying I’m always miserable. I have a lot of things in life to be happy about and a ton of things that bring me joy. I just need to spend more time reminding myself of these things than other people do.

While there are plenty of people out there who are genuinely upbeat and always look on the bright side of things, I doubt that I am alone in my battle for happiness. If you’re like me and have to work a little bit harder to be happy, I hope that the following tips can help when you need to remind yourself that things aren’t always so bad.

Remind yourself of all the good things in your life and all that you have to be grateful for. It’s so easy to dwell on the bad stuff. When your car didn’t start and you spilled coffee all over yourself and it’s Monday, it’s hard to think, “Well at least I’m breathing and have a roof over my head.” But you are breathing and do have a roof over your head.* Those are things to be really fucking thankful for. 

Remind yourself daily of the things that do make you happy. Make a list if you need to because I know how hard it is to think of those things when you all you want to do is have a breakdown. Read the list everyday. Read it multiple times a day if you need to.

Don’t ever forget that list of happiness but also allow yourself to feel sad. It’s a normal human emotion and you’re not less of a person for feeling blue from time to time. Just don’t dwell on it for too long and don’t let one bad thing spill over in to so many other aspects of your life.

Don’t beat yourself up if your default reaction to life isn’t calm coolness. That’s just another thing to stress about. Instead, focus your energy on happiness.

*I recognize wholeheartedly my privilege in writing this. I have the luxury of being sad and dwelling on trivial things because I don’y have to worry about the heavy stuff like where I’m going to sleep at night.

Ways to De-Stress When Life Becomes Too Much

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Well I really let this blog get away from me. I am not sure how this happened. My last post was January 19th. It’s been almost a year since I’ve shared with everyone. I always had plans to write something. I even have a draft from May 30th titled Hopefully I am Back for Good. That post just has the title and a gif so clearly I didn’t even give coming back an honest try.

The second half of 2018 has been a stressful time for me. Some good stress and some bad stress. I almost moved in the summer. It fell through at the very last minute which resulted in the loss of my apartment. I’ve been living with my bf in his parent’s basement since July. I’ve spent the last several months applying for and interviewing for jobs outside of NYC. My mom was in the hospital last month for a little over a week. Thankfully she’s OK now. My best friend is getting married and I’m the maid of honor which has meant a lot of party planning, dress fittings, and other wedding events. Add a car accident into the mix and it’s safe to say that I am all ready to kiss 2018 goodbye.

I am an anxious and stressed out person naturally. I wish this wasn’t the case but it is who I am. So when things become hectic in my life they are amplified. I know that I am not alone with dealing with anxiety and I would be shocked if someone reading this claims they’ve never had to deal with stress. Stress is a part of life; it’s pretty hard to avoid.

While there’s no way to completely avoid stress, there are thankfully ways to deal with stress and make things a little bit easier.

Take a bubble bath – There is something about soaking in a suds-filled bath in a candlelit room with your favorite song playing that makes you feel like you’re on a vacation. This vacation may last only 30 mins but it’s a nice distraction from the world.

Don’t be afraid to talk to someone – This is something that I need to work on. When I am sad, I tend to like company but I don’t like to ask for company. Everyone else around you is going through their own stuff. They may not necessarily notice when you need a little extra TLC. There’s nothing wrong with telling someone you need them around.

Get lost in your favorite comedy – When I am feeling really down, nothing does the trick of putting me in a good mood quite like watching The Office. Something funny and familiar can help you to forget about the stresses of real life.

Get outside – And no, I am not advocating working out. You’re already stressed; the last thing you need is someone telling you about the wonders of working out. I am just letting you know about the wonders of fresh air. A simple walk around the block can be an amazing de-stresser.

Color or craft – I am not as creative as I’d like to be. I have an entire board on Pinterest dedicated to awesome things I can make for my apartment by hand. I haven’t made a single one. The thought of having to make my own spice rack fills me with dread which is the exact opposite of what this list should do. But if crafting is your thing, then by all means dig in when you’re feeling stressed. For the rest of you, I’d like to suggest coloring. Adult coloring pages are all the rage right now and it’s one trend I 100% support.

Don’t add extra stress if you don’t need to – I said this before and I’ll say it again, stress is impossible to avoid. It’s a part of life, but when things are already super stressful don’t add any unnecessary extra stress. Learn to say no to things you really do not want to do. Stay off social media if it adds to your stress. Avoid watching the news because that shit will make you miserable and depressed.

Here’s to 2019 and it being the least stressful year yet. Or at least all of us knowing how to manage that stress as best as possible!

Worrying Won’t Stop Bad Things from Happening

By now you guys are fully aware of my anxiety issues. I am a worrier. It’s in my nature. I don’t think I am ever going to fully change that about myself. But lately I’ve been noticing that my worrying has been getting worse.

I am becoming a bit of a Debbie Downer. Did you know that almost anything fun in this world can end in some sort of fatal result?

I’ve recently discovered that I really enjoy hiking.  It’s wonderful exercise and the views are amazing. Nature can be pretty awesome sometimes. But do you know what’s not awesome about nature? Bugs, particularly ticks. I have been reading through tons of articles stressing how bad the ticks will be this year on the east coast. With every article I read, the more anxious I become.

Aside from hiking, the summer months also bring a chance to spend hours in the pool. Since my new apartment is connected to my sister’s house, I can spend every weekend chilling in the pool with my sister and my adorable nephews. At five and three, my nephews are at that adorable age where every conversation we have ends in fits of laughter. All of this should be cause for celebration, right? Wrong! Did you ever hear of a thing called dry drowning?  It’s real and it’s terrifying.

Lately I feel like every event in my life comes with a list of ways it could go horribly wrong. It’s as though I have become acutely aware of just how fragile life can be. In an instant things can change for the worst.

I know what you’re thinking: “Chill out Liz!” Don’t worry, I’m not offended. I’m thinking the same thing.

While life is fragile and it’s impossible to stop bad things from happening, worrying will not make any of it better. In fact, my constant worrying and anxiety is just making my life harder. It’s preventing me from fully enjoying things.

It’s time to start enjoying things in the moment. I recognize that things can change in an instant. And in life, bad things inevitably happen. But really awesome, amazing things happen as well. I want to enjoy those moments worry-free* so when the not-so-great stuff happens, I can look back and remember that not everything in life is all ticks and dry drowning!

*Worry-free enjoyment does include dousing myself in bug spray and constantly shouting at my nephews to not swallow water.

Things I Cannot Do Smoothly Because of Anxiety

Most of the times my anxiety is not funny. When I am in the middle of a full blown panic attack, the last thing on my mind is laughing. But there are times when I am able to recognize just how ridiculous I am being.

There’s a constant struggle between two parts of my brain. One part won’t calm the fuck down cause it’s convinced that the world is about to end. The other part wishes it’s neighbor would stop freaking out because it just wants to go to sleep.

There are times when I worry about the most ridiculous shit. Shit that really does not need to be worried about. At times it prevents me from doing basic every day things. I still manage to do these things but it would go a whole lot smoother if I could just shut my brain off.

Here are just a few things that I am unable to do smoothly because of my anxiety.

Small talk with a stranger. Am I being annoying? I’m asking too many questions. Stop asking questions. Wait, what if I’m not asking enough questions. Find something to talk about. Except for the weather. Anything but the weather. “So, can you believe how cold it’s been?”

Have a go-with-the-flow relationship. There’s no “let’s just see how things go” with me. Either we’re doing this or not. I can’t spend time questioning where I stand. Even if you make it obvious, I need to hear you say the words, “We’re together.”

Have any kind of relationship for that matter. Haha, I was totally faking it before. If you do say we’re together, I’m still going to spend hours questioning where I stand.

Straighten my hair. Anytime I straighten my hair, I have this overwhelming fear that I will burn down my apartment. Numerous times I had to call my dad to go to my apartment and check my straightener. Then I started texting myself a photo of my unplugged straightener right before I left so I could reassure myself throughout the day. All of these tactics just weren’t enough. Now whenever I straighten my hair, I bring my straightener with me so I know for sure I didn’t leave it on and potentially burn down everything I own.

Go to sleep at a reasonable hour. You know what happens when I’m trying to go to sleep? I think of every little thing that has ever worried me in my entire life.

Watch any TV show that takes place in a hospital. Since I was little, I’ve had to avoid any TV show that takes place in a hospital. ER, House, Grey’s Anatomy. Can’t watch any of them. I’m a paranoid person on a regular day. If I watch a hospital show, I’ll spend the next 72 hours convinced that I have the Plague.

Read or watch the news. I know keeping up with current events is important. And I do it from time to time so I’m aware of what’s going on and so I don’t look like a complete idiot. But I do not enjoy it at all! The news has always been scary and depressing but right now, it’s almost unbearable.