Before I share my latest ramblings with you, I’d like to give you a little update on how I’m doing. I’m really happy that the number of people who read my posts is increasing (yaaaaay!), but some of my readers expressed their concerns about my well-being, given that the things I write about are usually not the happy-hippo* kinda topics you expect to read about on people’s blogs (unless you specifically look for the not-so-happy-hippo topics, obviously).
Rest assured, I’m doing quite alright these days. In fact, I’ve probably never been better my entire life. Writing these posts (as well as scribbling things down in a notebook that I almost religiously carry around with me) is an outlet for my anxious thoughts. I really enjoy writing, so not only am I doing something that I love, but I also get rid of (okay, maybe not entirely) the stress that I experience due to the overwhelmingly huge amount of thoughts in the process. Writing things down has made all the difference for me − whenever I feel stressed / overwhelmed / nervous / *insert any other potentially distressing feeling here*, writing down what I’m feeling and thinking usually makes me feel much better.
On top of that, writing publicly about the less comfortable aspects of life has initiated conversations I’d never thought were even possible. I know that not everyone’s able to understand what the heck I’m writing about most of the time and that’s perfectly fine. To me, the beauty of it all lies in the fact that a handful of people reached out to tell me that they could relate to my blog posts (or even just one of them) and that they were glad to see that somebody dares to talk / write about the less fun stuff. Because one doesn’t usually talk about the things that aren’t so great about life. When somebody asks how we’re doing, our automatic response is “fine!”, isn’t it? Regardless of whether that’s even the case. To be fair, it’s probably smart to tell our nosy coworkers that we’re fine because we don’t want to involve them in our personal lives or get into detail about our emotional state, but if the same auto-response extends to the people that we’re close to, then that might be a problem. In my family for instance, everything’s always been about keeping up appearances for a very long time. Taking off the mask I’d been wearing for so long and finally showing the real me, imperfect feelings and all, was (and still is) a very difficult thing to do .
Now on to the rambling!
A few days ago, I was in a really weird mood, not knowing what had caused it (story of my life). I was feeling so many feelings, all at once. The weirdest part is that some of them were conflicting and therefore making even less sense to me. I was experiencing the entire emotional range from sadness to exhilaration, from numbness to utter excitement, all within only a few hours. Consequently, I felt like I was “too much” and I was upset about having too many feelings and too many thoughts − too much sadness and disappointment to carry around, too many expectations, but at the same time too much excitement, too much joy over objectively insignificant things, overall too many f*cks to give.
Feeling that way is often closely followed by the feeling of inadequacy. It makes me want to mute my thoughts and dim my feelings in order to be a more appropriate member of society because a part of me is convinced that that’s what needs to be done**. Once again, this is a lonely experience. Nobody could possibly understand what it’s like to feel so many feelings!
Masking my emotional state is tiring and potentially painful, even soul-crushing at times because nothing about it comes naturally to me. It becomes my primary activity, meaning that it usually takes up most of my energy such that I’m “running on empty” for all the other activities I’m required to do at that moment. On the outside, I probably (or should I say hopefully?!) look like a functioning human being while on the inside, all hell seems to have broken loose.
Luckily, the last time this happened, I was able to grab a pen and put all my feelings and thoughts on paper and it immediately calmed me down. I was positively surprised by how well the method worked because it hasn’t always been this efficient. This reassured me a great deal because it proved that I can handle myself in situations such as the one I just described. I got this. I can manage the confusion and I know how to cope. I’ve learned that feeling this way is only temporary and that it always passes.
I can survive an uncomfortable situation.
This sentence has been my go-to mantra for a few months now. Whenever I feel distress and/or anxiety creeping up on me, I repeat it in my head. Because it’s true, you know? I can survive an uncomfortable situation. In fact, I’ve done it again and again.
Quod erat demonstrandum.
[My math / Latin teachers would be so proud of me.]
* This should totally be an expression. A Happy Hippo is actually a type of candy that I used to like as a kid (this is not an ad, by the way).
** Please note that it most probably isn’t what needs to be done, but a lifetime of conditioning has led me to believe that it is.