Change is hard. Like, real earth-moving, deep down in your bones change is hard. That should seem like an obvious statement, but for me, for years, it really wasn’t. I was being flanked on all sides by industry professionals telling me that change was easy. I just had to genuinely want it. If I devoted all my mental energy to wanting this change, the Universe was going to intervene and say, “I got you, girlfriend!” and all was going to be right. If it wasn’t, it was my fault for not wanting it badly enough.
I once read a book where the author told me us that she was battling alcohol and cocaine addiction, a real party chick, and was wrecking her life. Then one fateful day she woke up and heard a voice say, “if you get clean, you’ll have everything you ever dreamed of” and that was it for her. She got clean that very day and everything (seemingly) was sunshine and rainbows from then on (at least on the not using front).
I don’t know about you, but no such voice ever intervened in my life. No magical switch ever flipped in my brain and made all my pain and struggles go away. Continue reading
When I initially sat down to write yesterday, I had a topic in mind. I didn’t get out my laptop. Instead, I fell into a kind of stream of consciousness into my iPhone notes section. It was initially intended to be a “topics brainstorming with key points” session with myself and evolved from there. Midway through, I realized that this article would be something else.
A hashtag got started up within the recovery community on Twitter that sparked my interest: #ThisIsWhatAnxietyFeelsLike. In reading back my thoughts, I realized that the piece I was writing was less about the topic I had started with (though it does explore that as well), but more about the way my brain operates and how anxiety inserts itself into so many aspects of my thinking and operating. It isn’t all bad. Everything is not a total panic or meltdown. In fact, most things teeter somewhere between there and just a general “all over the place” feeling. Here’s a glimpse into where my brain goes when it gets into these strange zones, with minimal editing. Continue reading
Having anxiety can feel a little like being trapped inside a very loud high school cafeteria where the chatter ranges from shrill gossip, to bullying, to random diatribes over seemingly useless topics. The noise varies in its harmfulness. There’s a mean girl in there judging everything: your looks, your attire, your personality and life choices. She reminds you of all the dumb shit you did, as any true frenemy would, and leaves you feeling suddenly mortified about a past event you thought you’d locked away forever. The bullies are there interrupting any peace you might have with random insults hurled from every direction. “Stupid bitch!” Whoa, buddy. Where did that come from? What did you do to illicit this? Nothing really. It’s just what bullies do. In the milder moments, you’re swept up in trains of thought that seem interesting and insightful, but ultimately are stealing time away. It’s incredibly exhausting to live inside a space that rarely gets quiet.
So what to do? Continue reading