Life is a work in progress: thoughts on fear, depression and anxiety

I’ve been depressed on and off most of my life. I’ve had moments of pure happiness and moments of pure darkness. I’ve felt like giving up and giving in so many times over and I’ve wished for it as well. Almost constantly in fact.

I’ve been trying to change. I’d say back to the person I was before but that’s not exactly possible. Once you break something, even if you glue it back together it is never like it was before. At least not exactly.

I want to take a moment and talk about fear. Fear is a bitch. It can make you do something so stupidly out of character and it can take over your life. Anxiety is fear’s best friend. Anxiety is a bitch that slaps you in the face and then says they’re sorry and then runs and hides for a bit.

I’ve realized that for so long I was fearless. So long I wanted too many things and dreams for myself. I had ambitions and ways of making them come true. I had goals and a path for myself. I was young and unjaded by the world I knew. I got to see a lot of the world around me and I got to see every country I thought of visiting in a few years span. I now have a laundry list of places I’d like to go but that’s a story for another time.

Now I am afraid of dreaming because of the disappointment. Now I am afraid of letting myself want anything so bad because of failure or disappointment of something else not going my way. Nothing in life that I really truly wanted has happened, other than traveling. And traveling is the only time I’ve ever truly been happy. But these days depression seems to be hanging ever so delicately in the balance that it becomes another obstacle in my way.

I’ve never felt like I’ve failed until now either. I’ve done and lived things I didn’t want, but they never felt like I really failed. Lately I’ve been dealing with this fear and anxiety – pretty badly in fact. I had left my job to go to graduate school, I felt a lot more alive and hopeful because I was going after something I thought I wanted. Another path. Yes, things could go wrong, but I wasn’t thinking about that. I wasn’t afraid of that. I was high on life, happy no, but hopeful that things were turning around. Then anxiety hit me and my old life collided with my new life. Anxiety crept in and it got worse as I was trying to get through school.

I started trying to do things that freaked me out more because, I wasn’t about to give in to being afraid. I didn’t know what it meant to fail or live in fear or have to handle anxiety. But soon enough we became friends. They started to take over. I changed a lot after that. I still am. I still try to deal in any way that works for the time being, but it makes me reel. And reeling only ever makes things worse. Living this way brought me to a huge realization that I had just a few weeks ago. I was giving into the fear and the anxiety. I was letting it take over. And maybe it had been a long time coming but it was definitely not an easy thing to deal with. This time in my life made me realize that I’m sick of acting fearless when I’m really pissing my pants. But if I don’t act that way I’ll crumble. And I know no one else will be able to pull me out of the dark.

So what do I do? Fake it till I make it? Will I, can I outlive the anxiety? I know fear comes and goes and it will always be present, but it won’t always take over. The take over is the balance or lack thereof. You see, I like the unknown. I like not knowing exactly where life will take me, but the uncertain I have a bit of an issue with. The how I’m going to get there part. Because lately… anything I do gets messed up. Anything I try blows up in my face. Obviously I’m not trying the right things, but I can’t always be choosy. I’ve been trying to be pickier about things when it comes to jobs and building a future for myself but it always comes back to, “I need to pay this bill so just take something.” That gets me nowhere and usually sets me back further than before. I can’t and usually don’t get what I want when it comes to most things lately. And now that I’m at risk of becoming a Rolling Stones song, sometimes getting what you need shouldn’t be that damn difficult.

Everyone at some point deals with fear, anxiety and depression. It seems now more than ever these are becoming life problems for everyone. Ever have an anxiety attack – yeah they’re not fun. Ever feel like you’re about to swan dive off a cliff into the dark waters below – fear. Knowing if there is enough water there to catch you is part of the uncertain, but not knowing if the water has piranhas or sharp rocks at the bottom is unknown.

We all have our moments in life of needing some help with things, but sometimes we all need a reminder that darkness is only accompanied by more darkness. Sometimes you have to bring in the light to make a change. I’m not a positive person and I’ve never been one, but I will always be a dreamer and a bit of a romantic. But I’m also a realist. I have been the cynic. I have been the pessimist. We grow and change as people through our lives. Some more than others. And the dark is a very real place. The abyss that is so easily set free into the corners of my mind is always a second away from a take over. Some people handle it better than others. And they don’t have to be at the mercy of the three headed beast. And others can’t seem to run far enough or fast enough to escape. But either way, sometimes you have to give in. And only once you stop fighting will you see the light. Only you can master your fate or conquer your destiny. But figuring out what you want and even attempting to get it isn’t ever as easy as you thought.

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Growing up is hard to do

Again it’s been a while…a lot of the same old and a lot of things I had forgotten about have been coming up lately. A lot of realizations have been hitting me through the last few weeks and despite attempting to write pieces before this I haven’t had a chance to actually do it…So here goes.

I’ve been through a lot this year and absolutely nothing at the same time. I’ve moved in and out of my parents house to move back in. I lost a love that I still have to constantly see and my first love happened to resurface. It makes me think a lot about relationships, not only those with my past loves but my parents and friends. It makes me think of my relationship with myself. I’ve always been my own worst enemy but I also have a ridiculous amount of self awareness. Sometimes it’s a good thing but as of late, I’m pretty sure it’s only making things worse.

I’ve been reading a lot of random internet articles that highlight things about growing up in previous ages and times. Relationships, loves, goals, lifestyles. It makes me freak out a little more than I already have but it also makes me hope for something better out there.

Moving back in with my parents is a great and terrible thing. I love them, but I’m pretty sure we’d all like each other a lot more if I got the hell out and stayed there. Unfortunately I’m not in a position to be able to pay for rent and all the other bills I have. If it were up to me I’d be attempting to buy a house because every other major thing I’ve done thus far has never seemed or felt like it has payed off. For example, college – two bachelors degrees, a partial masters and a mountain of debt with nothing to show for it but frustration and an empty bank account. A house is an asset. It’s an instant pay off but it’s an investment. Yes things can go wrong but it is independence at it’s finest. It’s a place to call your own. It’s freedom. And seeing how I have no savings it’s going to be a long time coming for me to actually get a house. Which leads me to attempt building something else – a career.

Seeing how I’m not getting any younger here, I’ve been trying to take a different approach to a career. I want to build something rather than take random jobs that lead me to Depressionville in the land of Goodlucknexttimemoron. I want to lead myself to things like a house or providing for myself in a way I have not yet been able to achieve. But the opportunities in the places I have available to me really aren’t existent. So what do I do? Move? With what money? With what support system? With what job options when I haven’t actually done anything thus far that I’ve wanted to do in a career… The world out there is freaking hard. And I get it, it’s supposed to be, but to what freaking end? I’ve tried explaining this to my parents but despite any efforts, they still really don’t get it. The struggle is real, end rant, moving on.

This leads me to the relationships I have with my friends. I have some I love, some I could stand to lose and some I could stand to gain. That may be a bit harsh but if you’ve lived it or are living it you’ll get exactly what I mean… Sometimes you have friends because you’re wandering in the same circle at the same time. Well eventually you get to the point where even though you really care about them and don’t necessarily want to push them away, the circles no longer intersect. You’re now wandering in another place entirely and that place is a place that needs new people to share the journey with. That being said, I’m living in my hometown. A place I never felt I belonged and feeling lonlier and more alone than ever. Uh, no joke, people call me the mayor because of the amount of people I know, it doesn’t help. You can be surrounded by people, but if they’re the wrong people it won’t make any difference. I’m gonna ask you to hold the friend thought for a moment and insert the love part:

So relationships with loves past, present and let’s hope they don’t haunt my future -always interesting. My first love and I have a weird kind of relationship with each other. We both tend to disappear, but we always seem to pick up where we left off. Weird comfort zone meets you don’t meet your soul mate in a crib. We’ve been lifelong friends but never a part of each others’ daily lives. Yes, I know I’m gonna say it again, weird. After a few years of not speaking they popped back into my life. So far so good but now I’m dealing with the only two people I’ve ever loved in my life at the same time and I’m not sure if I’m okay with it. Both of my loves have been my best friend at one point or another, but we all share something… emotional unavailability. And yet because of it that’s why we work/ed until now. It’s wanting what you know you can’t have. It’s not being able to tie down the wind. It’s proving yourself wrong and seeing that this person can love you but proving yourself right because it’s never in the way you really wanted or expected it to be.

I started writing like this because I’ve been trying to change myself piece by piece. I want to have a written statement of things I’ve thought, felt, experienced. I have a few places I write but something like this allows people in the world outside of me have a voice about that I say and put out into the world. It makes me feel a little less alone. It makes me feel like I’m building something I can control that can’t crumble. This year has made me do a lot of things that I had never done before. Things that I never really thought I would do. And most of those things I would consider bad at this point, but I’d also consider them a bit of a lifeline at the time. It’s made me realize that my relationship with myself is a lot worse and better than I thought. Unpause the friend thought:

I’ve been talking to my friends from college a lot lately and have really remembered some things I have forgotten about myself. They know a completely different version of “me.” They knew and lived with and amongst someone so different than the person I’ve been living as now. And personally, I like the person they knew better. I’ve been so focused on the relationships with my parents, my literal situation, my friends, my loves, and trying to act like an adult that I’ve become more lost than I had ever been before. I lost myself. And maybe it’s because for the first time I don’t have a best friend of the opposite sex and it feels like something’s missing and a lot more has changed than I thought. But maybe not. Maybe I have completely lost myself. But at any point I did what I had to do for my own personal, mental, physical, whatever survival. Yes, I’m being dramatic but this is my life and who I am that I’m talking about. It’s made me ask myself how much of me is because of me and how much of me is because of someone else? Parent, friend, love…all of them. When did I lose the person I feel like I knew myself to be? Because right now I feel like it was about 4 years ago and that’s a damn long time to wander in the dark.

I’ve never been someone that’s had long term relationships, I just haven’t. And commitment is a bit of a foreign concept to me, but I don’t forget anyone I meet, talk to or let into my life (I think it’s my curse). I’ve been trying to stop repeating my past. I’ve been trying to change things I do. I commit too much to friends yet don’t know what it means in a romantic type relationship. I want to get into the next chapters of my life. I’m sick of feeling like someone who’s just completely winging it and flying by the seat of their pants in hopes of landing on something that won’t fall apart. But when you feel you’ve lost yourself, do you back track? Do you just try to move forward? Or do you realize that your entire life you’ve felt this way in the location you’re living in again and even now when you look back things are always better in hindsight than they were as shit was going down. Where do you go from here? Where do you grow from here?