Sunday, September 20, 2015

Seasons of Change

I feel that in everyone's life there are seasons of change. I am going through a big season of change right now. If you are close to me or if you keep up with my blog, you will know that I have been experiencing chronic pain due to illness for over a year now without a break. I've had countless tests, procedures and even surgery to try to get some answers and help alleviate the pain. All the while continuing online schooling, working and trying to manage to have somewhat of a social life. I am glad that I was able to do all of those things. I am glad that I did not give up and shut everything out. I am glad I pushed through and persevered as long as I could. I am glad I was able to do those things. Able. 

Able - Definition: having the power, skill, means, or opportunity to do something.

I find that using a textbook definition of a word often helps me to figure out exactly what it is that I want to say and how I feel. I like the accuracy of knowing the meaning of something.  Words are very powerful and that is huge part of why I love to write. My emotions and feelings are best expressed through the written word and I hope that I never give that up. There is something that I did give up though over the past little while. 

I believe that for me personally, in order to be happy and content in my life, the biggest things to consider are my relationship with God and my mental state. This is something I have yet to open up about to many people. I do live with anxiety and at times it gets to be all-consuming and extremely overwhelming. It often causes me to fall into depression as well. When I am depressed, I don't want to try anymore. I don't want to try at the things that matter the most to me like improving relationships with loved ones and friends. I shut down and I block people out.

Thankfully, I have a couple wonderful ladies in my life who haven't let me fall completely into the pit of depression. They have lifted me up when I needed it, encouraged me when I feel like I'm failing and hurting, let me vent and yell and cry in frustration and loved me when I am not acting so lovable. Hope and Ariel, you have done more for me than you know. Because of the two of you, I have been able to make some realizations that I believe are going to drastically improve my quality of life. I love you both a ton and am so thankful for your presence and support in my life.

As I said earlier, anxiety can be all-consuming. Recently, I left my job because things were going to slow down for the winter and I wouldn't be getting the hours I needed. Ironically though, after I left, the job become unavailable as the company decided to shut the store-front for the season. I pursued other jobs and was offered a job that I was really excited about. It wasn't anything huge, it wasn't a pay raise, it wasn't a job to brag about; but it was a job that I felt I could be happy at. This job was a full-time position that required me to be on my feet constantly. For most people my age, this wouldn't be a big deal. I was so excited about this position that I was unrealistic when I accepted. I thought that I could push through. Maybe if I just try hard to forget that I'm tired; maybe if I drink enough coffee and be positive enough, I could do this. After a couple of grueling days of training, I realized that I was in over my head. My training shifts were only 4 hours long and I would be expected to work 8 hour shifts at least. I came home shaking in pain and fatigue and riddled with anxiety. And then it hit me. I can't do this job. 

I exhausted every option I could think of from 1) Keep pushing and trying and knowing that I would fail. 2) Asking for part-hours instead of full-time. 3) Deciding this isn't the right position for me, and leaving. I went from considering option 1. to seriously considering option 2. to deciding on option 3. But it was not a decision I made easily or took lightly. It involved 3 nights straight of anxiety attacks and a lot of crying. It involved a pep-talk from Ariel and me breaking down and flooding out all my frustrations of how messed up my life has become because of Chronic Illness. Ariel helped me to realize some of things that I needed to fix in my life if I were going to feel a bit better, mentally.

After a long, much-needed talk and cry with Ariel and then with my Mom; I decided that it would be best for my physical and mental health to leave the position. Not only that, but to decide what I need to do to improve my quality of life. I've decided to start going to councelling and to be more open with my parents about how I feel because I tend to hold in all of my anger and frustration from them and it ends up hurting me more.

The stress of my unrealistic expectations of myself became all-consuming and led to my rock-bottom breaking point. So this, is where I'm at now. The biggest commitment I have in my life at this moment is to myself. To my mental and physical health. It is so important that we don't bash ourselves and judge ourselves because we don't meet an expectation. I realized that I would never dare talk to a friend the way I talk to myself. I would never judge a friend on the same scale that I judge myself. I would never make my friend feel guilty for not meeting her own expectations or anyone else's expectations of her. 

Sometime's we need to just focus on what is the most important thing. We need to pursue happiness and contentment in order to be satisfied with our lives. Right now, although unconventional, I am unemployed and I am in my early twenties and I am living at home with parents. That sentence used to make me feel so belittled and "lame". This is what I need to be doing for my health and for my life; and I shouldn't let anyone's opinion of that get in the way of making improvements for myself. 

I want to remind you all that you are the only one who knows how you feel. You are the only one who can improve your life and create happiness for yourself. It is up to you.

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