Grackle & Sun

Mayday

May 1st.  A day to be brave.  

This is a post for my Self.

It is also a heartfelt hug for the tens of millions of people, adults and children, who live with anxiety, panic disorder, and OCD.   I am sending a huge good-energy filled squeeze to my big sister who knows all about what I’m talking about, and also to Claire at The Ascent Blog for lending a big dose of bravery mojo.  I’d had this in the drafts folder for weeks when I read her post.  A little push in the right direction… let’s begin.

I was born into this world with my hardwiring all jacked up, and I have suffered from anxiety, panic attacks, and OCD since I was a very small child.  Back in the early 70’s and 80’s, this kind of thing wasn’t really acknowledged yet, certainly not in children.  I was just a “worrier”… and a fair share of weird.  Although my childhood was full of love and laughter, looking back on it now, I know that this child-me still desperately needed understanding and help, and I sometimes allow myself to wonder how I would be different if I’d had help.  Hindsight and all that.

It’s funny.  All through my childhood, I knew that my worrying made me different, that not everybody fixated on problems like I did.  That it was something to hide.  But I had no idea that my other behaviors were of any concern, so seamlessly did I meld them with my intrinsic creative and imaginary world.  It was not until my 20’s, that I learned that what I thought was “normal” was not, and I will always be thankful to the remarkably observant person who very matter-of-factly, and yet very gently, told me that what I was doing without even thinking about it (counting, rechecking, ordering, turning circles, making things ‘even’, etc) was more than just a “quirk”, and that no, not everybody did that.  It was a much needed signpost, one that would help me as my anxiety escalated into my late 20’s.

Just before I turned 30, after a crazy-long, majorly bad episode which resulted in me finally seeking professional help for the first time, I learned that all of this—and I—in fact had a very real diagnosis for a very real problem.   Most alarmingly, I was also told that what I considered my baseline level of anxiety, what I lived with on a day-to-day basis, was ridiculously high.  Worryingly high.  (See what I did there?)  That provided much needed perspective re: what one should feel capable of tolerating.  I thought suffering through my anxiety made me strong.  It did in some ways.  It also broke me down.  Everyone needs relief at some point.  Admitting that need is not a sign of weakness.  It is the first step to getting better.

My brass-knuckles rumble with and eventual reprieve from anxiety/OCD is a long story for another time.  Suffice it to say, therapy and I did not make good dance partners, and I was far too anxious about the possible consequences of taking medications to even consider trying.  I chose instead, for better or worse, to stumble down a different path.   All that need be said now is that I thought that I’d left that fight behind—a year ago, I found some profound answers, used them to heal, and lived this last year completely and utterly anxiety free.

For the first time in my life.

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The human brain is a beautiful thing, and when it functions well, it is a marvel to behold.  This last year, I experienced the brilliance and lightness of engaging the world with clarity:   without the heavy tread of irrational, dark, or harmful thoughts wearing ruts through my mind; without the overwhelming mental fatigue from trying to maintain a facade of control and normalcy, just trying to get through the next day, the next hour, the next minute, holding my shit together; without the sheer physical exhaustion of repeated panic attacks and the embarrassment of the controlling OCD behaviors that inevitably accompany the whole mess. It was like being born again, only this time not broken.

But you know, just when you get comfortable, just when you think you’ve got everything figured out, the Cosmos likes to come kick the shit out of you and remind you that there are lessons still to be learned. And in January, I got my ass handed to me with knobs on.

I haven’t yet been at a place where I could examine too closely what happened.  All I know is that one moment I was fine, and the next, I wasn’t.  The timing was horrible—the panic attacks started halfway into the first day of my new job.  Out of the blue.  After over a year of not having any anxiety at all.   And yet, the anxiety had nothing to do with the new job.  It started before the job.  It was just there.  There are no words for how stunned I was, for how low this laid me.  I am still struggling, and though I hate to admit it, have been doing a terrible job of dealing with depression because of it.  I mean, I thought I’d figured out my anxiety thing.  I thought I was healed.  It was like coming out of remission.  It was devastating. But there was no time to even catch my breath—I had a new job to do.

I’ve had years of practice perfecting the art of functioning through anxiety.  It sucks, but it is doable.  When my kids were born, I learned really fast that life and responsibility do not stop for anxiety.   Change a diaper while feeling like you’re having a heart attack?  Yes, you can.  Make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich while your brain is wreck over your latest irrational fear?  You bet.  And because I never wanted my children (or anyone else) to know what I was going through, I put a lot of energy into hiding my anxiety.  Ignore the racing heart, breathe through the shakes, tension, and nausea, tamp down the alternating hot and cold flashes.  Focus on being in control.  Focus on calming down.  Breathe.  Smile.  Keep it all inside.

Focus on appearing ok.   Focus on appearing ok.  Focus on appearing ok.

It is an endless cycle of fear, control, relief, fear… and the anxious thoughts loop over and over in your mind like a record skipping. Over and over and over.  It. Just. Won’t. Stop.  With enough practice, however, you can eventually become somewhat detached from the anxiety and the panic.  You can observe it as a foreign thing, set it to the side, and do what needs to be done—whether that’s making the kids lunch, running errands, or trying to succeed at your new corporate job.   I’d done it for years, and I thought I could do it again.  So, I panicked the whole drive to the office.  I panicked during the ride up the elevator.  And then when I walked through the door, I put my solar plexus on lock-down, pasted on a smile, and didn’t panic.  I did my job.  At the end of the day, I had a brief moment of relief as I walked out the door…  and then the panic attacks started right back where they left off.   I even woke up with attacks during my sleep.  It was fun times, let me tell you.

The thing about coping strategies is that they do only that—they help you get through something—but they don’t fix the problem.  They don’t even really make anything better, and you can only go for so long just coping before you burn out altogether.  Ask me how I know.

The new job was surprisingly stressful in it’s own right, and though I was doing well, it was not a good fit for a few key reasons. Otherwise though, it was a pretty damn good gig—super nice co-workers, good hours, great pay.  But I wanted so hard to believe that it was the source of my panic attacks, because then I would have an answer—and relief.  So. Even though I knew in my heart of hearts that my new job was not to blame for my sudden resurgence of anxiety, I gave my notice anyway.  It was the right thing to do because of the “not a good fit” thing, but still.  I wish it had been different.  I did experience a day or so of relief.  A day or so.  That’s the insidious part about anxiety—you can think that you take away all the triggers, but it will find new ones.  It is like the body becomes habituated to the roller coaster-like ups and downs of the crazyass neurochemical cocktails that accompany both the anxious phase and the relief phase of a cycle.  And even when you are able to get a grip, break through the fear, and think rationally about what is happening, it is often not enough to stop the physical response to the episode.  You just have to ride it out.

I’ve been riding this out since January.  And I’m ready for it to stop.  For realz.

Luckily, I finally realized that there were probably some very real physiological reasons why the anxiety might be occurring.  A)  I stopped working out regularly during the holidays.  Lack of physical activity has been a co-trigger before.   Also, B)  my prescription for Vitamin D ran out.  During the winter.  Duh.  Without it, my levels are off-the-charts low.  As soon as I realized that, I started taking it again, and have slowly seen improvement.  It’s amazing how much a low Vit. D level will affect.  And then there are two major dietary things:  1) I’ve been cheating on my paleo diet with peanuts.  A lot of peanuts.  Because peanut butter is freaking delicious all of a sudden, now that I can’t have it.  Lol.  And 2)  I had a month or so where I didn’t eat much kale, which, as you know, is full of EVERY GOOD THING.  And lots of vitamins.  Could that have effected me?  Maybe.  I know that it effected my digestive health—and a ton of serotonin receptors are in the gut.  So, it’s not outside the realm of possibility.  Aside from that, your guess is as good as mine.

It’s interesting to me that the anxiety that I’ve been experiencing only compares to what was once my “normal panic attack” level, but since it’s been a year since I’ve had any, it has felt a lot worse than that.  Harder to handle.  I think part of that is because I really thought I’d never have to “handle” it again.  Now I know.  One of the hardest parts of dealing with this is my disappointment in how I’m dealing with this.  I just kind of shut off.  I haven’t wanted to do anything other than get through the day and go to sleep.  It’s been rough, and I’m trying to dig my way out.  Luckily, I have amazing support at home.  I’m very thankful for my wonderful, brilliant husband who has been so understanding during all of this.  As hard as it is to live with anxiety, I think it must be at least as hard living with someone who has it.  It is not something that is easy for others to understand.  There is no switching it on or off.  It takes an amazing amount of understanding and compassion to deal with the irrationality and lack of control with kindness and support.  I am blessed to have this support now.

So, I’m working on this.  Sometimes we get knocked for a loop, and it’s takes us a minute to shake it off and get going again.  That’s ok, right?  That’s part of life.   We joke that it’s one step forward and two steps back, but I try really hard to see that as a sexy dance.  The merengue of life.  Who wants to walk in a straight line anyway?   When the ocd kicks in, sometimes I do.  Lol.  Just joking.

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32 thoughts on “Mayday

  1. Oh. Wow. You’re battling THAT monster. Something I would not wish on anyone. I gave up looking for reasons, as you said, remove the triggers and your brain will find new ones. It’s like your hind brain is simply scanning the environment for tigers all the time, and it’s determined to find one dammit!

    I’m kinda new to it – less than 2 years. But in hindsight, I can see the signs were there. The worrywarting, catastrophic thinking, the HSP. And then I was doing really well and boom… I’m still on” sick leave.” Self paid. (Talk about a trigger) It’s getting better, a lot better, but I have a suspicion it will now always be a part of my emotional “repertoire”.

    So, this reply was not to be about me, I just wanted to explain that I know where you are and – well, hugs.

    I do have one suspect myself, and even though you’re about 8-10 years younger than me: hormones. Perimenopause. -> Calcium, D, level your estrogen via excercise. (the latter I find pretty hard having never done it much, and then to try when you get a 160 pulse just from feeding the ponies and your heart is doing somersaults in your throat)

    • Yup. Exactly. It is a monster. I appreciate the kind words and you sharing your own history with anxiety. It must be really difficult dealing with this now, and I’m sorry you’re going through it, too. I agree with your assessment of potential physiological triggers. I know that the vitamin d has a huge effect on me. I also suspect that hormones are entering into the picture now, too—not as a trigger, but definitely as an exacerbator (google is telling me that I just made that word up, lol). Interestingly, my single worst episode ever directly followed beginning a new coral calcium supplement. It was the big trend at the time, and sounded like a good thing to do. It was not. The attacks were so severe that even through the anxiety, I recognized that the two had to be linked. I’ve not taken a calcium supplement since, preferring to get what I need through my diet alone. And it makes sense, now that I know how important the whole calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vit d balance is. I definitely threw something out of whack. At this point, I am a firm believer that gut health absolutely has a profound effect on mental health. Since I started taking my vit d and cleaned up my diet again, I’ve noticed a marked improvement. Not perfect, but headed in the right direction. Lesson learned.

      • I also have a tendency to low B12 which is related to the stomach, so… Interesting about the Calcium. I just saw a program that seemed to indicate that PMS could be relieved with D and Calcium. I’ve been taking magnesium for restless legs for a few years but it’s also used for jittery horses! B6 is also related to “nervousness”. But it’s not just getting the right stuff, it’s the balance.

        With that in mind, my breakdown was probably the result of outside stuff happening. I’d been building up to it for years but not listening, I simply didn’t know. + Multiple events in a very short time. And then the last drop, straw, random incident, just hurled me into hell. I spent the first winter in bed, unable to even walk the dog or feed the horses or be alone in the house. I, who has never asked for help, who normally crave 80% of my time to be me time.

      • Ouch. Yeah, the alone thing is really hard. The pressure to follow that train of internalization is too great. And everything is bent and warped in your head when having anxiety. You really have to externalize things to get perspective again, and that takes another person. Although, in a pinch, I’ve found that talking outloud has helped pull me out of a bad spot. To say the irrational fear out loud, to hear it vocalized, is powerful and often a good way to see it for what it really is. The crazy thing is that even after the outside situational trigger goes, the reaction often remains. The body and brain still doing their thing. :/

      • I have a meditation thing I do that can have a calming effect “here and now” thing. Right hand on my solar plexus, left on my heart, breathe through both, thinking slow energy into my body through my hands and connecting the two centers. Works best if I lie down. Or alternatively, sending all the excess energy out through my feet into the ground.

      • Yes! Focusing on what is going on in this exact moment is incredibly helpful. I find it helpful also to do a kind of an inner dialogue with my anxiety, examining it and questioning it, and following it all the way to the worst possible outcome. The absolute worst thing that could happen. I sit with this and really look it in the face and then ask myself if I could handle this outcome. What would happen? The answer is always yes. There might be pain, misery, sadness, regret, and all manner of horrible feelings, but they can be handled. And when I look at fear this way, it can put it back in its place very quickly. The physical response is another matter entirely. I’ve tried sitting meditations, and they tend to make me agitated even when i feel good. I’ve always been more of a walking meditation kind of person. Have to move around. Bradford Keeney, psychologist and shaman (i know, right?) very wisely says that the opposite of calm is often needed to put us back into balance. He calls it shaking out the spirit. Qigong has a practice of “spontaneous movement” where one just moves the body as it will. There is also an ancient Japanese practice of this type of movement. Kind of like Shakers and Quakers and Kalahari Bushmen dancing. I’ve actually stopped panic attacks by jumping up and down, stomping, and singing at the top of my lungs. Although, this might not be good for you since your heartrate triggers your attacks. Oh! You might very much like the book http://www.amazon.com/Guided-Imagery-Self-Healing-Martin-Rossman/dp/091581188X I have found it to be excellent, and a very intuitive and gentle approach to healing of all sorts.

      • I know the restlessness as well, and yes, I can feel perfectly fine in my head, in fact by far most of the time now, but I still have the fear feelings in my body. Very strange. I only have heart problems occasionally, like a few weeks months inbetween where it’s just pounding like mad, I can feel each beat inside my chest. Not necessarily with a high pulse, just loud and irregular. It doesn’t scare me anymore I just acknowledge it. So when I don’t have it, maybe I should do a bit of a shake or something! Will check out the book too.

  2. I like this post for many reasons. I think there are many elements I identify with personally, and can nod in agreement with. But mostly it’s your sense of humour and self-care that shine through.

  3. So so so glad you posted this. When I published my post, I found enormous comfort in the fact that I was not alone–often my anxiety will get worse because I start to think that I’m nuts and that I’m the only person who has to go through life freaking out about everything. But it’s great to know that we are not the only people who deal with this, that it is actually pretty common, and we are not crazy!

    Since my anxiety episode a few weeks ago I have slowly but surely evened back out a little, but my baseline anxiety level is still pretty high. There are evenings when I come home and make myself a ball on the couch and can barely do anything else. CrossFit has helped immensely just by giving me something that I feel like I HAVE to get up and go do, and I have started to finally look into therapy. This post has definitely encouraged me to keep looking until I find something that will help. Even though I can’t imagine how frustrating and infuriating your relapse has been, it is incredibly encouraging to know that you have found a way to relieve your anxiety, even if just intermittently.

    Hang in there. I know that phrase is such a useless thing to hear but you are doing everything right and I am so glad that you decided to let this story out into the world!

    • Thank you, Claire. Like I said, this would have sat in drafts indefinitely if it weren’t for your post. I appreciate what it meant for you to write about your anxiety.

      I hope that you have a positive experience with therapy. I know many for whom it has been a very, very good thing. I’m not opposed to that route at all, I just never found anyone that I felt comfortable with (or confident in, which is important). I’ll tell you the 4 main things that helped knock out my anxiety last year. You are already doing 2 of them: exercise and diet. You’ve got the exercise bit down, CrossFit Boss! And I think if you stick with your clean diet, you will really come to see it’s importance, too. Have you heard the phrase “the gut is the second brain”? It is bang on. It absolutely impacts every aspect of health, including mental. Eating right allows the gut to heal and seal, and that allows it to then function correctly—to uptake nutrients efficiently, and to uptake serotonin properly.

      Which brings me to the second 2 things. These 2 supplements brought me such relief, and so quickly, that I almost couldn’t believe it. I know it doesn’t work for everyone, but it sure is worth a try: 5-HTP and L-theanine. I found them at my local Whole Foods, and they are surprisingly cheap. These were both recommended by a good friend (in its own round about story) and were given a physician-approved high five by my doctor, who said he sees tremendous results with them both all the time. In my experience, the 5-HTP works most on calming the brain down and the L-theanine works most on calming the body down. Together, withing 3 weeks, my mind/body were like a clear, calm lake. For realz. And it seriously was amazing for a solid year, and not for a lack of my normal triggers, let me tell you!

      Writing this post forced me to really sit and suss out, in a clear and logical manner, what has been going on. There were no situational triggers aside from general stress—nothing special. Not even starting a new job (which I was actually excited about). I really, really think that it was my total lapse in exercise, vitamin d, and diet (aka vitamins/minerals) that got me. I also, through all of this, made the decision not to increase my dose of either supplement. I think it probably would have helped, but I was so pissed to be having anxiety in the first place that I stubbornly refused to take more than what had worked up until that point. Maybe a silly decision, but it’s the one I stuck to. If you’d like to know more about either of those, feel free to email me. I’m happy to discuss more.

      • As for the triggers, though…. I’ve found that the body doesn’t know the difference between positive and negative stress. It has just learned this mode of reaction and pulls it out every time no matter if I’m actually looking forward to something. From buying painting supplies to riding a horse, seeing a friend or seeing the inlaws (argh) can trigger all the nasty physical symptoms. I can wake up in the morning and have that fear flutter in my chest sure as hell just because I have my period. (which is why I’m thinking hormones out of balance) I usually say, I don’t get butterflies, I get bats!

      • Interesting. So, have you had your levels tested? And have you looked into natural progesterone creams as a potential hormone balancer? I’ve done some preliminary reading on it, and what I’ve seen is very positive.

      • They don’t do much in the way of testing here, if you are within a fairly wide range of numbers they call it “normal”. I’ve tried some patches and some “push-up” pills ;), but all they do is making me feel I have cramps 24/7 instead of just monthly. And I get spots… Haven’t heard of natural creams, they are probably not legal here…

        I could perhaps balance it with exercise, but since my condition is triggered by stress, it actually makes my anxiety worse (perhaps because of the CFS which does NOT need heavy strain on the body). I haven’t had actual depression, nor OCD or direct panic, mine is called “generalized anxiety” they tell me. Which basically means I don’t have 15 minute attacks, they last for days instead ;)

        Perhaps some way of getting more estrogen via food? We can’t get 5-htp here, L-theanin I can only find as an ingredient of green tea.

      • Too bad about the 5-HTP. Maybe there is something similar?

        About the progesterone creams, look up something like Emerita Pro-gest Natural cream.

        The book I read was by Dr. John Lee, Hormone Balance Made Simple. It was pretty straightforward and informative.

        And yes on the generalized anxiety! When the panic just keeps going and the anxiety just keeps going. The acute panic attacks are more like a dash of sprinkles or crunchy bacon bits just to keep it interesting, lol. Glad you’ve been able to avoid the depression and OCD. That’s a good thing. Sending lots of good energy your way for the rest. :D

      • I hope you’ll soon be back on your feet again too. And no wonder you haven’t been able to decide on jobs etc. it’s impossible to make any kind of valuable assessment when in the thick of it. No way to discern between reality and nightmarish thoughts.

  4. How very courageous of you to open up like this about something so personal. I wonder how you’ve managed to do so much in your life when your body and mind just want to curl up and hide. My first husband, who died 17 years ago, suffered from severe anxiety. Yes, it was very difficult to live with, but I didn’t understand then and was judgmental toward him – I thought he should just be able to calm down and reason himself out of it. Hugs to you and your kind, supportive partner; you may not understand why this is happening, but at least you’re seeking answers.

    • Thank you for sharing your experience. I can totally understand how hard it must be to relate to it if you’ve never experienced it before. Anxiety is so irrational and bizarre. There’s just no way to understand it logically. As for the doing, it has often been my creative outlets that help me keep it together, that allow a different part of my brain to take over. Other than that, I’ve often opted (or had to ) just knuckle-down and bully through it. Necessity is a great motivator. So is stubbornness. ;) Thank you for the support and hugs. I really appreciate it.

  5. Brilliant post! I have lived with this my whole life also. My mother and grandmother suffered as well and now I have had to watch my daughter struggle-which for me has been more painful than anything I have ever suffered. You did a fantastic job of describing the challenges and I am sending her the link because the first step in recovery is knowing that you are not alone in feeling this way.

    • Then we have even more in common as mothers. It hurts exactly as you said, but at the same time, I am hopeful that there will be more answers for them than there have been for us. Thank you for the kind words. Big hugs to you both.

  6. I am so sorry to hear the intensity of the struggle you’ve been facing. And I really feel for you–to have finally created a year without anxiety and now to have it back with force. Just the same, having achieved that once means it clearly is possible, and possible for you. I hope it is possible for you to start stacking the years without anxiety end to end, in the foreseeable future. Hugs.

  7. Thank you for sharing. I can only imagine what you’re going through and I hope you are able to get back to a better place. I can also only imagine how scary it was to write this post but it sounds like it may have helped you come to some realizations about why there was a relapse and how to overcome it. I have no words of advice but I really appreciate and respect your honesty and bravery. Now, let’s do some office chair workouts!!

  8. Dre, that was such a brave and heart-felt post, I have enormous respect for you for writing it. So many of us suffer all kinds of health problems and dysfunctions, and most often try to hide them from other people and suffer alone. The more people speak out the better it is for everyone.

    I too have had a bad relapse of old debilitating health problems in the last 3-4 months so I know how hard it is to go seriously backwards when you thought you were gradually getting better. Anxiety is a factor in my illness too (although it’s more generalised anxiety rather than full blown panic attacks) so I know how psychologically and physically draining it can be. I might try some of those supplements you suggest. I already take vitamin D and magnesium, and they do help quite a bit.

    I also have tried to learn to control my anxious thoughts by some NLP-based techniques as well as by meditation, but if you are in the middle of a real anxiety tsunami, it’s not always easy to focus on those techniques even if you know at that moment you really should. Because of my illness I can’t do physical exercise, but I nevertheless like your idea of a walking meditation, it sounds ideal for those restless moments.

    I know you had a big life change when your kids stopped being home-schooled and a new job was another one very soon after. I think all these big events, whether positive, negative or neutral by themselves, have a tendency to disturb your equilibrium, so I think you have had plenty of potential triggers, particularly as they are linked to such fundamental questions as finding out who you are as a person and what you do in life now that your growing kids are beginning to have a more independent life.

    I sincerely hope you will soon find your balance again!

  9. Thank you, Heidi. I’m sorry to hear that your health has taken a backslide, too. It can be really disheartening, except, as Mazz said above, at least we know that better health is achievable. Things are starting to turn around—writing about this has helped more than I thought possible. As for answering fundamental questions—yeah, that’s a big one. I don’t think it was a trigger, but it’s definitely been a preoccupation in recent months. I feel a lot of pressure to choose the “right path”, whatever that means, lol. Time to remember to enjoy the one I’m on instead of wasting time looking around for the one I “should” be on. I, too, hope that you start feeling better quickly!

    • I’m doing “the path thing” in recent days too. I would not say real anxiety, but I’m not feeling all that chipper. For me it’s not choosing right in first try, I know I can always change the route, what worries me is not getting anywhere. It seems I have in fact no direction at all in which to take the first step.

      But as long as you keep walking, you don’t need to worry about detours I think. They may even be there for a purpose.

      • I don’t mind detours, and I like windy roads. What worries me is having viable job options as we get older. To be honest, the thought of having a nice, tidy career in some nice, tidy field only excites me inasmuch as it would potentially offer stability and a nice, tidy retirement. Although, that’s hardly guaranteed any more. The things I’m truly interested in doing and excited by (natural dyeing, farming, alternative education, wanderlust, etc) don’t really fall into the “tidy” category. But I feel equal pressures right now—half of me says do the responsible thing, get my extra certifications, tow the line, and be a teacher in a school somewhere, and the other half of me says, “Screw it!” and is pushing for a bigger, grander picture that includes creative freedom, hard work, a lot of risk-taking, but potentially a more full–and fulfilling–life. So, it’s really a matter of playing it safe and trying to find satisfaction in that, knowing that someday the me in my 70’s might thank me OR go for the adventure and hope things all pan out in the end, and know that the me in my 70’s will be happy for trying and for the memories. Lol.

      • I’m sorry, I’m not being very helpful here, eckoing your own feelings. ;) If I find the key I’ll pass it on. If not, perhaps when we get old and frail, we can go sit on an ice floe together (I don’t have a pension plan either).

    • Nodding away here. Except I’ve worked myself into a cul de sac professionally, where my “only” option is actually the hard, fun, exciting untidy creative path – and I don’t much believe in it. (or being a housewife or cleaner) I feel I’ve left it for too late, I’ll be of an age to retire before I get anywhere, if I even have the talent to get there. I feel I’m a dabbler. I’m pretty good at a lot of things, more things than most people even, but I’m a master at none. I feel I’m pulling the wool over my own eyes (literally, haha) with all this artsy stuff, that I’m just lazying about hoping for the grand lottery ticket. That really gets me down. And then on days when I’m happy I’m all for it, so it completely contradicts my own beliefs that you should follow your heart, the flow, the path that feels “light”, because a little voice is saying that the dark side is actually the realistic one. So I say fine, I’ll just have these hobbies, and then what? But no answers….. And that in turn makes me feel ugly and useless. Yadda yadda.

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