Stress has a way of creeping in and lying dormant until I get a parking ticket, and that awesome job doesn’t come through and that guy never calls, and my friend blows me off for her oh so adorable new bf, and then I get shit on by a bird in the parking lot before an interview and then my grocery bags give out, and suddenly I’m sitting in a tragic sad sally soup where everything’s “THE WORST” and NOBODY understands me because I am just that special.
This has been a pattern for me, a string of inconveniences that suddenly take on (in my opinion) a path of deliberate destruction to my life.
For me, stress has been a trigger for depression, and it’s something I have struggled with for many years. It’s had a way of coming and going like a bout of cystic acne or a horrifying cold sore that feels debilitating and isolating never wanting to show my face for fear it will suddenly define me and reveal how truly awful I actually am. I thought the worst things about myself all the while people around me that I loved were telling me how great and fun and beautiful I was but none of it mattered because I didn’t see it.
Sure, there were moments and even stretches of time when I felt good about myself because I had a job that sounded cool and I lived in a big city where lots of fun things were happening but one tiny thing could send me into a spiral and I was back to wallowing in my bed wondering whether I would ever amount to anything. It was painful and I carried it around allowing it to consume me. I didn’t have an unwavering belief in myself that anchored me. I relied on the people around me to hold me up and do the believing for me and I am sure that was exhausting, it weighed on my relationships and friendships, my job, my creativity.
It took asking for help, admitting I didn’t know what to do and getting fed up with mediocrity and the ‘whoa is me’. It’s taken a long time for me to accept that the universe is so much bigger than some imp that sits around awaiting my every move to intentionally ruin my day.
I found a passage in Jen Sincero’s book, You Are A Badass, that sums it up perfectly:
The amount of energy I spent playing out my dramas, the stories, and resentments I chose to carry meant more to me than going after what I wanted. It’s scary to look back and see how these patterns have played out in my life and it’s terrifying to realize that those ways do not serve me in creating the kind of life I want and the person I want to be. When I dig beneath the stress I become aware of the underlying discontent and the ways it has held me back. It’s scary to do things differently and to be willing to accept that it’s an ongoing process.
What are some ways you check in with yourself and what are the things you do that make you feel good?