9/17/14, 9:42 AM, the house
I can’t remember when I realized it, but my brother and I both have had this terrible habit of getting into things without putting our 100% into it, relationships included.
It’s not from lack of caring. It’s like we always did enough but never cared enough. We’ve done just above the bare minimum just to keep things afloat.
I can’t readily pinpoint the reason for this flaw in our personalities. When it comes to relationships, maybe we’ve always been afraid of getting too close. Or maybe we’re both just inherently terrible at dealing with people.
Last time I spoke to my brother, I admitted that this time around my relationship is different. Again, it’s not that I’ve gotten into relationships completely disconnected, but this time I want to put my everything and more into it, if possible. 110%.
"For the first time, I really, really care. Like, before, thinking about my relationships ending was like, ‘Yeah, that would suck,’ but it didn’t break my heart. It does now.”’
My brother said he was proud of me for finally deciding to swim instead of just treading water.
Again, I don’t think I’ve ever put this much effort into anything. I’m very mindful, devoted. I care. And it’s frustrating, but not because I’m unhappy or its discouraging. It’s just—fuck it—I’m in love and there’s so much to that, y’know?
I’m giving this relationship my all, so every time something (even minute) goes awry, I take it to heart. It becomes very personal and I’m very quick to blame myself because if I’m doing everything in my power to make everything right, then why is something wrong? It hurts.
I mean, I’m not that idealistic, I know people make mistakes and some stuff is beyond my control, but sometimes things hurt us when we’ve been doing all we could to make sure nothing would.
The most frustrating and painful thing though is the fear. Submerging myself into this unequivocally and sincerely has exposed me. My nerves, my feelings, the very essence of who I am as a person—exposed. I’m wide open and it’s introduced me to insecurities that I previously did not know existed:
Like, what if I’m not good enough?
I’m giving you my all, but what if it just isn’t good enough?
I suppose that’s the thing about being lost at sea, about life in general. You’re going to struggle to stay alive and do what you can, but you have no fucking clue what’s gonna happen to you. There’s no map, no life jacket. You’re gonna be scared, frustrated, and sometimes it’s going to hurt.
But you gotta put effort in, despite all those consequences. You may never find land, but you will definitely get nowhere if you do nothing.
If you’re apathetic, you’re already dead.
9/14/14, 9:22 PM, the house
The Great Gatsbyby F. Scott Fitzgerald was one of the required readings in my high school AP Literature class. It’s undoubtedly a prevalent literary cannon and a staple of common plot tropes. As cliche as it was, it became one of my favorites (along with it’s recently remade movie with DiCaprio).
The green light, the boat against the current… These came to symbolize one of the dominant themes in the book: optimism—or more accurately—idealism.
I remember during a group discussion I said:
"I don’t think he’s great at all."
Frankly, I thought the guy was an idiot. He was a hopeless romantic and fatally starry-eyed. An optimist until his dying breath, the Gats was determined to follow that verdant light and beat against the waves even if it killed him—and it did.
Most readers, my peers included, disagreed for reasons which I can assume is why the book became such a success in the first place. Gatsby was a symbol of hope, the epitome of following your dreams no matter the cost. People thought it was admirable, brave even, that Jay Gatsby was so full of hope.
Yes, I thought the great Gatsby was a fool.
But I’ve recently realized I am just as guilty. I’m exactly the type of girl Daisy hoped for and exactly what I thought Jay Gatz was:
“…a beautiful little fool.”
The thing that sucks about mental illness is that if you aren’t depressed enough, suicidal enough, bad enough, nobody cares. Nobody cares until you reach their standard, and that standard is when your problem is bad enough to effect them
The amount of people who can relate to this makes me equally incredibly sad and immensely angry
9/6/14, 5:40 PM, the house
It’s been about a month and I haven’t written, but maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it’s an indication that I haven’t had a severe anxiety attack in a while.
I would argue that its simply because nothing interesting has gone on in my life lately, but that would be the furthest thing from the truth.
Since my last post, I’ve moved, thought I was pregnant, and lost my car. But through all of that, I can confidently say I’ve been fine. Great, even.
The human mind is such a fickle and frustrating thing. Sometimes it’s like we’re just addicted to misery; we worry about things that are really nothing to worry about and we fret even when everything is going our way.
How did Bryce put it?
"It’s like I won’t let myself be happy."
Something like that.
Recently I had been concerned about the changing state of my relationship. Of course, with Bryce and I moving to a new place and expecting to move again soon, things are going to be different.
We’re both searching for a new job and I’m trying to focus on school, while conquering the apathy I’ve mentioned before. Not to forget the pregnancy scare, going without a car for a few days, and almost being excommunicated from my family.
Things have just been busy, in retrospect.
But at the time I was worried that perhaps Bryce and I were growing apart.
My mind insisted that we weren’t spending as much time together or talking like we used to.
My mind urged that maybe he was getting bored of me, that whatever magic spell I managed to cast on him and make him love me was finally hitting it’s midnight.
When was the last time he said, “I love you?”
Well, I’d like to give a big, formal, “Fuck you,” to those anxious and paranoid thoughts.
I wish I had just calmed down sooner, been receptive enough to stop a second and look into his eyes and see that nothing’s been wrong all along. He still rolls over to hold me in the morning, kisses me softly (roughly sometimes), and holds my hand when we walk. He still wants to know how my day went, takes care of me when I feel sick, and takes time out of his day—away from his hobbies—just to spend time with me.
"I appreciate you."
"I can’t wait to see you."
"I miss you."
He’s been saying he loves me in different ways.
I’m very lucky.
And I’ll be damned if I let myself forget that.
8/18/14, 2:27 PM, Bryce’s Apartment
With this blog acting as a cathartic release for my anxiety, most of what I discuss is presented in a negative light or features more negative topics over all.
However, contrary to what my writing leads you to believe, I’m generally contented and optimistic.
I sure as hell worry more than the average person, but I’m aware of how very fortunate I am.
- I get [at least some] financial aid in my country to help me through school so I can pursue a job I would enjoy doing and would potentially support me and my possible family in the future.
I have opportunity.
- I’m currently in good health (I mean, I bruise easily and my feet hurt, but that’s due to my own clumsiness and relentless work ethic.)
- I’m in an abundantly loving and supportive relationship that only makes me happier as each day passes.
- I’m working for myself and doing what I want to with my life. Though I cannot foresee what lies ahead and perhaps my plans will be altered entirely, I’m moving forward, and that’s what matters.
Like any other human being, I have my bouts of depression, ill health, and spontaneous misfortune. There are things that go wrong, of course, but all-in-all there are many things I can be thankful for.
That’s something I consistently try to make people understand: having anxiety as I do doesn’t mean I’m unhappy. I am happy.
To those who would label people like me who have somewhat of a more difficult time with certain aspects of their behavior “abnormal,” and to those like me who would whisper to themselves, “I wish I was normal”:
Having a psychological disorder doesn’t make you any less of a person. You are just as much as a human being as everyone else. You’re normal. You just need a little help every now and again.
I’m the furthest thing from a seasoned psychologist or philosopher—actually, my college major has nothing to do with either—though I have dabbled in both subjects for my own self-indulgence and personal interests.
The origin of emotion is one of the most interesting things I’ve independently debated.
For anyone who has taken a introductory classes or read up on emotion and the human mind, the James-Lange and Cannon-Bard theories should sound fairly familiar.
The former refers to the idea that we experience emotion after physical sensation. With the classic example of encountering a bear, the James-Lange theory suggests that a person would tremble and feel their heart racing, then register that they are afraid. “I am trembling, therefore I must be afraid.”
In contrast, supporters of the Cannon-Bard theory of emotion argue that we experience the emotion primarily, then our body reacts (or that both occur simultaneously). With the same example, seeing the bear would cause fear which would in turn cause trembling and palpitation as a result.
Initially, I was completely behind Cannon and Bard.
I just couldn’t readily pull an example of a situation where I would notice my body showing symptoms of an emotion before actually feeling. It just made sense: if I were upset, then I’d cry, right? Otherwise, the process made human emotion seem laconic and impersonal, robotic: “What is this? A tear? A tear is usually a sign of upset, and because I currently have one, I must be feeling sad right now.”
For a long time, I deemed James-Lange less credible.
As I’ve grown, however, I’ve found myself also experiencing emotion in the light of James-Lange. Sometimes I will hear something disheartening, feel my chest get tight before I realize just how hurt I truly am.
In regards to my anxiety which stems from no logical reason, I experience pain in my body and aches in my muscles long before I admit, “I’m feeling anxious.” No stimulus required.
Letter to My 16-Year-Old Self
8/6/14, 12:54 PM, Bryce’s Apartment
"You’re always working."
Bryce said that to me last night and I instinctively agreed.
I mean, that’s been my reputation for as long as I can remember. My parents raised me to work.
Kids in school have always called me an overachiever.
Managers call me a diligent and dedicated.
My friends think I’m an outright perfectionist.
I’m known as the girl who never stops moving. Always finding something to do, whether it be an extra shift or job or more classes…
Hell, I’d be liable to run a 5k, save someone’s life, finish a novel, write a dissertation, and trudge through work after 15 credit hours of class in one day alone.
I don’t like sitting still. It makes me anxious.
Part of me is always striving for more just for that reason: to keep myself from sinking. I feel like if I stop, I’ll essentially cease to exist.
Perhaps that sounds nonsensical, but that’s how I feel.
It’s like something straight out of Greek myths: I’m to keep going and going like the Energizer bunny. And if I stop working, I’ll die.
It feels like a curse. But people have complimented me and looked up to me for all I do. Shit, yesterday my dad said he and mom were, “Incredibly proud.”
But you want to know the God-honest truth?
I don’t feel like I’m working hard at all.
I’m not going to deny that I balance a lot.
I pay for my overpriced university education on my own, buy gas and food—thankfully I’m not directly responsible for rent, though I was at one point paying nearly $700 a month out of my ass—worked two part-time jobs over the summer, am in a dedicated and long-term relationship, am active in three clubs at school (officer in 2), and still have free time to sit down to paint a picture and finish Orange is the New Black and have sex three times before the clock strikes 12.
Time management is a strong point of mine.
Quantitatively, I work.
But deeper than the surface, I’m not doing all I can, y’know? I can do all these things but I there are only a select few things I truly care to do wholeheartedly.
Sure, I take a ton of classes in the Fall/Spring, but I don’t get straight A’s. I could, if I wanted to, believe me. But I don’t care to. I just want enough to be better than the majority.
And right now while I sit in a wooden chair simply telling you about all I do, I could be doing something else: working on my painting or my scrapbook, cleaning the bathtub, volunteering somewhere, whatever.
I’m not trying to sound arrogant. I’m aware of my flaws and weaknesses. But I can say confidently that I could probably accomplish anything if I just desired to.
Problem is I lack that ganas.
I could work and be like Angel Guzman. I’m on my way to being the next Jaime Escalante.
But I just don’t care to push myself to the limit.
And maybe that’s alright. Maybe you’re not supposed to go at 100% all the time, 24 hours a day. Maybe doing that would give me a heart attack.
But part of me believes I should do it anyway.
I’m always telling Bryce that I am smart. I am able to do anything.
I’m always saying the problem is apathy. “It’s the apathy that will kill you.”