Real

I dedicated the last few posts to people living with mental illness who managed to engage with the world and produce art. I don’t know of any data, but from my going through biographies, people living with a disability don’t seem to be underrepresented among people who made it in creative endeavours. So why are they underrepresented everywhere else? Rhetorical question, of course. I do think we should fight for our place in the grand scheme of things. I will probably continue this series, but now I intend to disrupt it.

I am thinking a lot about my situation lately. I can’t move because of the pandemic; I am stuck in my flat in the province. I got another severe diagnosis. But, I am constructive most of the time, I am learning new things and making sketches for my book to be. Prospects are gloomy, and I don’t have much to hope for, but I’ve been there already. Haven’t we all? Sometimes battles that can’t possibly be won are the battles that decide the history, like the battle of Thermopylae where Leonidas stopped the Persian power with a few good men. The analogy has to stop at some point, but knowing that battles you can’t win can be decisive is what keeps us hopeful, humble and real.

Perfectly healthy people can’t win against ageing and death because nobody can. It is a truism. Some try desperately to make it seem like they are slowing the process down, but there is no warrantee at all, for anything in life. Deception works on the minds of living beings, but it doesn’t work on the laws of nature. She is cruel to her children sometimes, but the least bit harsh if we align with her and listen to her beats that are present in every landscape.

That is why I feel good in this black hole of mine despite everything. I know I am using well the time I have at my hand. I am not giving up on the gift of life or seeing it as an adventure. In this pandemic, I can watch tea ceremony from Nara or attend language courses or study things in the realm of my academic interests with much more knowledgable people on all sorts of online platforms.

I don’t intend to apologize anymore for the things I couldn’t do because of my disability. Those days are over. I don’t see anyone apologizing for doing injustice to the community for their private interest which is often the case in my country and which is leaving disabled and healthy and however-they-want-to-identify people on the margins. I am not perfect, so I won’t say I did my best, but I did fight the battle I can’t win well so far.

So I am here, in this small provincial town writing about my current situation and hoping I am keeping it real, as I’d like to.

Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash

7 Ways I Changed from Hunting the Good Stuff

I spent some time in the Arizona Army National Guard. They had started a program called Master Resiliency Training (MRT). Arizona had one of the highest suicide rates among soldiers. They sanctioned this program to help soldiers “overcome adversity.” The Psychology Department of the University of Philadelphia created the program. After a few years I had forgotten a lot of the training. One thing stuck with me though I never practiced it. It was called “Hunt the Good Stuff.” A simple exercise of writing down three good things that happened to you that day before bed. And writing why those things were important to you.

I remember a Major telling everyone about when he first heard about this exercise. He thought it was stupid. His instructor told him to try it. What did he have to lose? The training went for three days. He noticed by the second night of “Hunting the Good Stuff” he was sleeping better. This Major also had two young daughters whom he didn’t know how to connect with. One night at dinner, he asked his family to tell each other three good things that happened to them that day. His family started doing this every night. His daughters start talking about their good things before anyone else. He was able to learn about and connect with his children with this exercise.

Over the last couple years, my life has had many ups and downs. After so many things chipping away at my resolve, I grew more depressed and negative. I got so negative that someone close to me told me they didn’t want to be around me anymore. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I felt I had hit rock bottom. My job offered six free counseling sessions and I took them. I started a “Hunt the Good Stuff” journal. I still have a long way to go but I’m 1000% better than I was. That was five months ago. This one exercise has done more for me than I ever imagined. I wish I had started doing it sooner.

1. When I Look for Good Things, I Find Them

When I first started this exercise, it felt daunting. I wasn’t sure if I could find three things to write in this journal every day. I had to think for a few minutes. The more often I did this, the easier it got. I used to get angry and sad because my mind autopiloted into negative thoughts. When I sat down and thought about the good things, I always found good things. Perspective and attitude do play a role in one’s mindset. Reflecting on something good, no matter how small, every day has helped to change my way of thinking.

2. Others Noticed a Change in Me

It took several weeks before someone said anything. My sister mentioned noticing a huge change in me. A better change. My coworkers noticed too. One of them wanted to take photos for a work Instagram. I joined in and enjoyed being in the photos. I overheard someone say they had never seen me smile so much. Coworkers were happy to see me when I went to work. They were excited to work with me that day. Positive thinking has led me to enjoy the people I work with even if I don’t enjoy the job itself. 

3. I Gained More Self-Confidence

I talked with a coworker about some of the things I had been doing since I felt my life had fallen apart. I mentioned my counseling and “Hunting the Good Stuff.” I thought she would say that she noticed I was happier. But what she said surprised me. She noticed that I was more confident in myself. I never would have guessed that would be a result from positive thinking. It makes sense. Being positive had made me act sillier and have fun without the concern of what others might think. I can’t remember the last time I was like that.

4. My Attitude Changed; I’m More Positive

As expected, positive thinking has led me to see the world in a positive way. I don’t always assume the worst from people. I rationalize things differently. When someone says they forgot about plans we made because they didn’t put it in their calendar, I understand. I’ve done that too. Before I would assume, I wasn’t important to them and that’s why they forgot. Sometimes people get busy and it has nothing to do with me. I don’t make plans as often now, but I don’t get upset if things don’t go to plan.

5. I Changed How I Talk to Myself

One of the things I started along with “Hunting the Good Stuff” was a positive affirmation. The person I was close to who didn’t want me in their life anymore gave this to me. I repeat the phrases, “I like myself. I love myself. I deserve good things.” I once repeated these words over and over for about 20 minutes. This helped but writing three good things every day helped too. My internal monologue has changed. I don’t call myself stupid when I make a mistake. I don’t say negative things to myself as often. It’s still there now and then, but less frequent.

6. I Sleep Better

It doesn’t work every night. Some nights I’m still restless or only sleep a few hours. But overall my sleep has improved. I have dreams more often. Fewer nightmares. I sleep longer and deeper. I don’t always feel energized, but I don’t feel drained upon waking up anymore. I give myself a couple hours in the morning before work. I allow myself time to ease into the day. This has added to my daily productivity and attitude when going to work. Most of the time, I can go to sleep at the time I want to start sleeping.

7. I Enjoy Things Again

I used to have a general crabby disposition. Even when I used to enjoy something, I didn’t show much enthusiasm. I find myself feeling good after doing things. I go to movies alone and reflect on having a good time with myself. If I go to a party, I socialize for a bit and enjoy some food. I walk in with no expectations and walk out having had a great time. I get more reading and writing done because I enjoy doing it more. 

I’m surprised how much this one activity helped change my perspective on life. I still have hard days where I have to force myself to find good things. The last few weeks I’ve moved from at least three good things every day to four good things every day. More and more days are having five to seven good things. As of writing this, I’ve been practicing this exercise for over 150 days. That’s five months. I may never get back the people I lost when I was negative and depressed. But I will do everything I can to not make the same mistakes twice.

The good stuff is always out there. You just have to look for it. Happy hunting!

James Pack is a self-published author of poetry and fiction.  Information about his publishing credits can be found on his personal blog TheJamesPack.com.  He resides in Tucson, AZ.

Babbles: A Friday Babble

I have been writing for an extended period of time today.

I wanted to write about the week that I have had as it has been a heck of a week.

But I keep writing and writing and words keep flowing, but the words and the sentences that the words and sentences are creating are not cohesive.

I am saying lots with what I am putting down on paper, but in the end, I am saying nothing.

 

What I do want to say is that I am feeling that I am full of peace and love.

I feel that burdens that consisted of stress and the inability to control elements of my life that used to weigh me down, no longer weigh on me the way it has in the past, and this feels amazing.

I may not be sleeping to my full potential, so life still has room for improvement, but I can look at what I have and see it for what it is and be overwhelmed with grace and thankfulness.

 

There’s so much more that can and could be said, but it would be, well, babbles.

Today I will not babble.  I will be precise and to the point.

Life can be as grand as you allow it to be, and today, I am letting today be amazing, outstanding, and all that it can be.

 

Cupcakes and Sprinkles,

~Bella

www.bellasbabbles.com

I Hate Myself and Don’t Deserve Good Things

Anxiety. Depression. PTSD. Codependency. On any given day, I’m dealing with one or more of these issues. It has taken several years for me to understand what I’m going through. I didn’t realize I was codependent until recently. That one hit harder than the others. Most of my behaviors stem from one of my issues. It feels like my entire personality is a lie. Everything I held with pride as part of who I was; it all comes from poor mental health. I’ve had a minor identity crisis for the past year. I’m rediscovering who I am as a person.

The first thing I discovered about myself was I didn’t like myself. Most of that dislike grew from anxiety and depression. And from not receiving much of any positive attention for the majority of my life. I rarely receive compliments. When I do, my first thought is to point out my flaws. The next thought is that person is lying. They’re not genuine. I’ve been working to ignore these thoughts and say thank you. It feels selfish sometimes to only thank someone for anything. Then I remember how much one thank you would mean to me. I’ve rarely gotten a thank you for anything.

I spent my life not aware of how much I disliked myself. I often felt I didn’t deserve happiness. I felt I had to earn it in some way. But no one could tell me how to earn it. Life doesn’t come with a manual. No one tells you how to take care of your body. No one tells you how to make friends. No one tells you how to talk to potential romantic or sexual partners. Not for me anyway. Most people have their parents and families in these situations. I didn’t. My parents were dealing with their own issues.

I’ve searched for things I like about myself. Easier said than done. I have a daily mantra. I don’t always remember to say it. But I’ve been saying it more often. On bad days, I’ll say it 10 or 12 times. And each time I repeat it three times. It’s like exercising. I do 10 or 12 sets of three reps. The mind is a muscle. It gets stronger overtime. Nothing happens overnight. Positive thoughts lead to a happier life. I’m improving. I’m healing. But I’m nowhere close to the end.

My biggest fear with all this is I may never heal enough to have a romantic relationship. I’ve stepped back since I realized I was codependent. I want to work through that before pursuing romance. I don’t want to fall back into old habits. I’m certain I’ll be ready one day. But I feel older than I am. I’m too set in my ways being alone. I’ve wanted children but that doesn’t look like a realistic goal anymore. I’d be happy with a partner to share my life with. First, I have to believe I deserve good things. No one will love me until I love myself. 

For the Strong Who Feel Weak – A Guest Blog Post

This a guest blog post from contributor that has posted here before, Emily K Harrington. Please enjoy.

For the Strong Who Feel Weak

If you live with an ice-cold knife in your chest. If you’ve ever felt your soul catch on fire. If you’ve had bugs crawl under your skin. If your body has ever felt so tight you felt your physical form contracting… you’re my people.

If you have lost all hope or had none to begin with, I’ve been there. If you’ve tried therapy and coping skills and it didn’t help, I’ve been there. If the medications you’ve been prescribed made you worse instead of better… I’ve been there. But where I am now is beautiful and meaningful, and I started exactly where you are. And I didn’t get better on my own. I’ll never be cured, but I can live a life in which I am willing to occupy my body.

Logistically and philosophically, things can only get worse to the point at which you die. It can’t get worse than that. It isn’t always possible for things to get worse. But it is always possible for things to get better. Things can always get better. This is true. So, wherever you are, with whatever lack of hope you have, it is unequivocally true that it is possible for your life to improve.

You’re strong. You’re in pain. You’re out of answers. You’ve lost hope.

And all I can offer is words. At the end of the day, you’re the only one who lives inside your head and gets to make decisions about your life.

If you’re struggling, you’re not alone, and there are literally hundreds of millions of other people online who have had your same symptoms and some version of your experiences. No two humans are exactly alike, but none of us are really that different, either. We’ve all got the same chemicals in our brains, just different balances. So reach out. (Themighty.com is a great place to read other people’s stories or just comments on daily life with any one of many health problems, mental and physical. The Mighty is a loving community, and if you have a story to tell, you can submit it to them to potentially get published. Your story could reach many people, so if you have something to offer (and everyone does), write your story and get your helpful information out into the world to help others.)

You are so strong. You’re having a bad day or month or year. You may have terrible, repetitive thoughts, but you are not created out of those thoughts. Thoughts come and go, and even if some come back over and over, that repetition doesn’t make them true. You are a human with inherent worth and lovability. Even if it feels like no one loves you, you’re worthy of love. Even if you feel weak, you’re carrying a burden that takes tremendous strength to bear. Even when there’s no one to talk to, you still have options for expressing your feelings.

You are actually pretty great. You deserve love. You deserve happiness. You deserve meaning. You deserve safety. You deserve respect. You deserve to express all of your feelings, positive or negative. You deserve to live in less pain.

There is hope out there. There are doctors and therapists and blogs and communities and self-help groups and books on how to feel better. There are concrete things you can do to minimize your pain.

This is your journey. For good or for ill, it’s yours. So stand up and fight. Life is an adventure, and adventures are dangerous and scary sometimes, and can be exhausting. This adventure is yours, alone.

At the end of your life, you will not be on your deathbed saying “I wish I had spent less time helping and loving people.” Give a hug. Hold a door. Text your mom to say you love her. Pick up a piece of trash from the ground and throw it away properly. Give blood. Give that homeless vet a little bit of money. Compliment the cashier at the grocery store. Smile at a child. Spread love in the world. It will help you every time.

Stop guilting yourself. Stop blaming yourself. Stop berating yourself for things you have no control over. Stop calling yourself names. You are not worthless, weak, a burden, unlovable, broken, ugly, stupid, or a loser. If you just started crying, it’s probably because you think one or more of those words is true about you. It’s not. No more self-hate. For a moment, imagine what it would look like (in terms of your actions) for you to love yourself. What would you do to show yourself love? pause to think Do one of those things today.

There is always hope, but you won’t always be able to believe it. You’re always worthy of love, but that won’t always feel true. Continue to allow your thoughts to come and go, to simply be things that happen in your mind that are then replaced with other happenings. You won’t always see clearly: such is the nature of mental illness. But you’ll come back. You always come back.

I know we don’t know each other; all I know is that you’re reading about mental health online right now, which means you’re seeking to understand yourself or others. For that, I am very proud of you, and you have permission to be proud of yourself, too.

Love and empathy forever.

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Y’all Are Crazy, and That’s Okay

Having a mental illness is a lonely thing.

Like most people, we want at least someone with whom we can talk. We want a friend to cry with, or even laugh with. We need a deep connection with another human, to feel loved and validated.

Unfortunately, we have a few things that get in the way of socializing.

Many of us are scared. We have trust issues. When we feel hurt, we feel very deeply and wish to avoid feeling that way again. Often, we’ve had a bad experience of someone breaking a promise or shying away when we shared how we think. Heck, a lot of us have a bonafide diagnosis from a doctor that we have social anxieties.

Besides the hurt and fear, we avoid people for their own benefit. We tell ourselves that we are flawed and unsafe. We justify our anti-social behavior with statements like, “I know I’m a downer,” “No ones talks to me at parties. They can see, in my face, that I’m no fun,” and “If they really wanted to be around me, they’d talk to me.”

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Those reasons and that voice are hard to work with, but our health and mental stability need to fight against them. I mean, did you know that human connections were rated the most important thing in a happy life?

So stop beating yourself up. Seriously. I’ll tell you why:

  • Most people are some level of crazy. They may not be certified, but they have issues. I can’t tell you how many people I talk with who have experienced some angle of what I have, if not the whole enchilada.
  • Even though you are crazy, what are you gonna do about it? I’ve tried starting over, but the person that is me always shines through. I am what I have to work with and I accept that.
  • Crazy people have options, like crazy-people doctors and crazy-people medications and crazy-people blogs. There are even …crazy people groups that meet and talk crazy together. It’s a blast.
  • You are you, and are a work in progress. Just think: are you still crawling around and stuffing car keys in your mouth? NO! You did that as a baby, silly. Now you are older and know better. You are knowing better every day.
  • The future will be better. The future will be even betterer if you keep moving forward -even if all you can manage is a shuffle.
  • If all else fails, there is chocolate.
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I have a few friends. Of those, a few have mental health challenges. Some struggle with depression and social anxiety like I do. One has panic attacks. Another is schizophrenic. A mutual acquaintance is bipolar.

Sometimes when I try to plan a get-together, a friend flakes and doesn’t show up. Sometimes I have a terrible week and have to cancel on one of them. Since we are all in this not-sea-worthy-at-all boat together, however, we get it. If not, we talk about it. We hug. We pull out the chocolate.

I need people. I need understanding. I need connection. So do you. Plus, your challenges and perspectives mean that you are more understanding and empathetic than other people.

I mean, we may all be crazy, but that’s okay. We’re as human as the next person and our needs are just as valid.

You are worth it. I promise.

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Photo Credits:
Sayo Garcia
Ethan Sykes
Anita Austvika

Eunoia.

Eunoia. It was my blogs original name. It is what I called it and it was perfect.

I feel that I have to emphasize my reason for writing. It started as therapeutic and then whenI found myself trying to explain my mental illness to loved ones, it was a conversation filled with questions.I thought, “How many others are struggling to answer these hard questions?”. Surely I wasn’t alone. So why not try to make it easier for those looking for answers? I changed the name of my blog to I’m Not Listening. I allowed it to speak for itself.

I would like to say that I wish I hadn’t. I wish that I had left it as is. My mental illness isn’t always a curse. Sometimes it is a blessing. I hate to say it, but it has taught me some hard lessons.

Self-awareness

Honesty

Open conversation

Eunoia(noun) A state of normal adult mental health.

That isn’t why I chose it. I chose it because of its literal meaning. In Greek in translates to beautiful mind.

I hate my mental illness. I hate that it has consumed my life in so many ways. I hate that I feel like I am stumbling around in the dark feeling desperately for a light switch and everyone else can walk right over and flip it. I hate that my symptoms line up with the cliché. I hear things, I see things, I stay up for hours (and hours and hours and hours) without sleep, sometimes I sleep for days, I am a pathological liar at times, and sometimes I even do irreversible damage to relationships in my life.

Eunoia. I am searching for that constantly. I also have to remind myself that I kind of have that. Mine just looks a little different. I hate that I have to try to be ten steps ahead, but how lucky am I to have such a trait? How lucky am I to (mostly) know my triggers? How fortunate that I have become so in tune with myself? I am compassionate and sympathetic. I am acutely aware of those around me and detail oriented. I know how to spot depression because I live in it for weeks at a time.

Hard conversations? Please. My life is one big hard conversation.

I’m sorry I lost my shit for no reason. Why? Take a seat.

I don’t sleep a lot. Or at all sometimes. Why? Take a seat.

I can’t get out of bed today. Why? You’ll have to come back when I snap out of it and if you choose to come back…take a seat.

Our minds are beautiful. Hell, our minds are gorgeous! We are forced into some of the most awkward situations daily. We have to explain the unexplainable to people constantly. Some understand, and some don’t, but we still do it and we move on. There is a twisted strength and beauty in that. Eunoia.

 

Love your beautiful mind.

 

 

When Things Are Good

I have lived with a mental illness for most of my life so it’s kind of weird when things are going really well.

Maybe I’m the only one but when you’re used to living everyday feeling depressed and anxious, it is odd to not feel that way. I am so used to having my mental illness control my life that when I get to do what I want, I’m lost.

I’m not complaining at all that my mental health is in good. To be honest it feels great to not lay in bed for hours while negative thoughts spin around my exhausted brain. I feel truly happy with my life which is something I couldn’t say two months ago.

I should be glad that I’ve made it to this point after struggling for so long. I feel like myself, the most myself I have felt in a while, but I feel like something is missing. My depression is missing, it’s on vacation or something. My anxiety is still here but it does not have as much power controlling me without depression to assist.

Feeling depressed and anxious almost every day for months at a time is my norm. I hate to say it but swimming in my mental illness is my comfort zone because that’s what I am used to feeling. Now that I’m in a period where I’m doing really well, I feel off.

Instead of sitting around waiting for another episode to occur, I’m going to do the things that I struggle to do when I’m depressed. I’m planning to exercise regularly, write more often, clean and spend time with other humans (ok, that one’s a maybe).

If I only get the month of October to feel happy then I better utilize the time I have been given before it all goes away.

Photo Credit: unsplash-logorawpixel

What’s Meant to Be

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Sunday I jetted from teaching a Wreath Making event to an early dinner with my spouse (The class was a success).  I have never been to the eatery before alone, so I used my handy dandy GPS app.  As I drove on the part of the freeway that I rarely ever frequent it hit me that my relationship with driving has been all over the map.  I have had major problems, where I would suffer from panic attacks while driving to work, and then back when I lived on the east coast, I was a speed racer.

I thought about my relocation from the east coast to the southwest.  In 2009 I was given the opportunity to relocate and follow my boss to Arizona.  I had been his assistant since 2004, and he was and still is like a father to me.  I loved my job and making a move across the country was a no-brainer, plus my gut told me to do it, and my gut is never wrong.  With my divorce finalized in April, I was more than ready to start my new adventure when June finally came around.

The end of June 2009, I drove from Maryland to Pennsylvania in the pouring rain with my companion, Charlee Mae (my one-year-old orange tabby).  The following day we left Pennsylvania with my mom in tow and started our trek.  I was the primary driver, per my choice, for the trip and it was the start to the adventure of my life.

What is very interesting is that I had no driving anxiety at this point in my life.  I actually loved to drive.  It was something that was carefree and enjoyable.  I was thinking of this on Sunday.  Had I had an issue with driving back in 2009, would I have ever made the trip across the country?  Would my fear and anxiety been too much and kept me in the state of Maryland?

Then on this, I thought a little bit deeper.  Had I known that I was Bipolar back in 2009, would I have been brave enough to leave all that I know to take on this grand adventure?  I have shared my frustration with my mother about not being diagnosed as a teen.  I spent a year in and out of inpatient treatment for an eating disorder during my sophomore year of high school.  But alas, the diagnosis and then proper treatment came a mere 2.5 years ago.  I kept asking why.

Sunday I was given my answer.  Had I known that I was Bipolar, I don’t think I would have ever left.  Too many unknowns.  When I left Maryland, I was worried about finding a good auto mechanic and dry cleaners.  I can’t imagine leaving a pyramid of care that consists of psychiatrists and psychologists, going to the desert and finding new doctors from scratch.  Plus, I moved out west alone.  I had no partner, no spouse, just my cat, and my boss and his wife.  It was a great support network, but perhaps not robust enough to manage a Bipolar diagnosis and all that comes with it.

Much of my time now is spent keeping an eye on my mood and all that comes along with that:

  • Am I up or am I down?
  • Am I having too much caffeine?
  • Have I eaten enough food?
  • Did I eat too much sugar?
  • Am I taking my meds?
  • Do I have enough money in my account to buy my prescriptions?
  • When is my therapy appointment?
  • When do I see my psychiatrist?
  • Again, do I have money to pay the hefty fee for my out of network doctors?

This would have been just too much to handle on top of the life I was living at that time.  I was pursuing a career, traveling, working long hours, and in school getting my degree.  There was not room to manage a chronic mental illness all alone.

I am convinced that had I been diagnosed when I was younger that I would not have made a move.  And had I not made a move, I would have never met my partner.  And he is just that, my partner and my friend.  I left our dinner yesterday afternoon to head to another event, and I cried in the car.  We had a busy weekend, and we each were going in our own separate ways, passing each other literally in the hallway, and I simply missed him.  Having dinner with him at the eatery, listening to live Celtic music, was just so perfect and it was hard to cut it short and go on to my other commitment for the day.

I am a firm believer that things happen when they are supposed to happen.  That we are given what we can handle when we can handle it.  I can see how I needed to be in an established, secure and committed relationship before having my mental breakdown.  I needed to make it to Arizona to be with the family that was waiting for me, before I was given the accurate diagnosis of Bipolar One, along with some other mental illnesses.  Much could have been avoided had I been properly medicated over the last 17 years.  But if I had to go through all I did, to have the family that I have today, it was all worth it, and I am incredibly grateful.

May your day be blessed,

Bella

http://www.bellasbabbles.com

Photo Credit:

Josh Bean

Learning to Accept the Small Victories

Sometimes I don’t know where I get the strength to go out into the world. I have days where it feels like everyone startles me. My chest pounds the whole day and I don’t know the cause of my panic attack. I still have night terrors. They aren’t often but the nightmares are always the same. I’m trapped or paralyzed and some creature, always something different, comes after me. My interpretation is I feel trapped everyday like I’m submerged in quicksand slowly being swallowed and sinking into darkness. Some days nowhere feels safe.

During those day long panics, I try to say busy. Sometimes this helps distract me to get through the day. Other times the distraction is enough to stop the panic. If I don’t have work, I devise projects to stay occupied. I write fiction and poetry, I read, binge watch TV or movies while cooking. I feel accomplished when completing tasks, but then I worry that I’ve run out of things to stay busy. I’ve run out of distractions. So, I have an unending list of projects and ideas. A To-Do List that never ends. Unfortunately, my distractions rarely involve people.

I hear people talk about their best friends they see every week or every day. I’ve only recently started talking to someone regularly and that’s still new for me. The people I see the most are coworkers and roommates, back when I had roommates. Otherwise, it’s like I don’t exist if people don’t see me. Other people usually don’t offer much for distractions. I rarely get invites, and if I do, I often don’t go. Most of my hobbies are solo tasks like reading or writing. I want to share experiences with someone, but most people irritate me or cause panic.

Some days are better than others. On good days, I can be super productive, have a positive attitude, and get a full night’s sleep. Not every day is bad and not every day is good. Most days are somewhere in between. I accomplish some things and sleep more than half the night. The small victories keep me together. Always appreciate the small things. Most days that’s where my strength come from. I have more average days than I used to. Every day that isn’t bad is a small victory. I hope that leads to more good days. Those days where my chest isn’t pounding for unknown reasons.

Photo Credit: rawpixel