Mental Health, Rambles, Things Happening RN

STRESSED, UNSTRESSED

I’m stressed, and I need that to be okay.

I didn’t realize I was stressed until I was sitting in my psychiatrist’s office today. Emotion after emotion, thought after thought, rose up and spilled out of me like I was a cup in the sink overflowing from a tap that was left on accidentally. I was stressed, I was under stress, I was stress. My entire body was made up of the coiling gray wires that I envision stress to be.

I feel like it’s not okay to be stressed. We’re allowed to be “stressed” but not Stressed. We’re not allowed to be Stressed because we’re conditioned to believe it’s a symptom of not working hard enough. If you’re doing poorly in a class, it’s because you’re not applying yourself enough. If something fails in the romantic sense, it’s you. If you can’t find a job or an internship, it’s because you’re not striving towards it with enough vigor.

We’re allowed to be stressed but it must pass. It must be something that can be neatly dealt with. We’re not allowed to be weak with it, weak from it. And I’m weak from it. It’s breaking into my sleeping, my waking, my head.

I’m stressed about a lot of things. Some are personal and I’m not discussing. Some are classes that I just finished up, some are familial, some are the overarching overhangs of life after graduation. I’m stressed but I’m not allowed to be Stressed. Particularly about jobs. Millennials are classed as lazy. We’re not getting jobs because we expect things to be handed to us. We’re too addicted to our phones. We’re self-obsessed and expectant of praise.

We’re told that we need to be the best to get jobs, and even if we’re the best, that might not be enough. You need to get an internship. Already have one? You need one more. Then one more. It’s never ending. We’re also told that there are no jobs; that we’re fucked. So we’re fucked either way: if we work hard and don’t get anything, it’s because the job market can’t sustain us. If we work hard and don’t get anything, it’s because we’re too idealistic. We expect too much too soon.

So that’s making me stressed. I’m stressed that I just finished a class where I was told, over and over, that my career choices were not valid. That what I wanted to do was not realistic. That “real journalists” didn’t do what I did. What I do.

I’m stressed and Stressed and I’m hoping it’ll pass and I know that it will.

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Life, Mental Health, Rambles

RUNNING AND SPILLING THAT ANXIE-TEA

Written on a Sunday evening, laptop on chest. 

I’ve had one of those weekends where I realize everything that’s ever been wrong/will be wrong/is wrong with my life. And I think it’s something only a rising college senior could experience, the compounded emotions of living life in your childhood home while simultaneously expected to grapple with the upcoming reality of post-graduate world. So that’s fun.

But actually that’s just me being hyperbolic because I realized that this weekend, and possibly the last week, I’ve been in the middle of a depressive slump. Being medicated while depressed is a weird thing because mentally you assume that the little blue pills you swallow every morning—I can swallow dry, tell your friends—will cure you. But really, they just help you manage the depression. I, and probably a lot of other depressed people, then operate under the assumption that we’re “better” or “normal.” This is confusing because when you go into depressive slumps, which is natural for anyone and extremely natural for someone with depression, you almost don’t realize what’s happening until you’re already chest-deep in emotion.

And the “you” in this situation is “me.” Or “I”?

I used to have these wild mood swings where for two weeks, I would be deeply depressed, then I wouldn’t be, and that joy would elevate into this kind of superior fervor because I wasn’t depressed at the moment, and then it would gradually swing back. Medication restricted that vast pendulum swing, and so my moods travel back into the regular range. And on one hand, that’s awesome because blah blah blah we get why that’s awesome. But on the other hand, I A) became addicted to the feelings of high and almost reveled in the lows, and B) was able to realize when I was in a slump because it was so obvious.

When you have a regular human range of emotions, mixed with the (wrong) belief that you’re cured of depression, those slumps can really sneak up on you, and BOI did they sneak up on me.

One way to realize that you’re in a slump is that things begin to resonate harder with you. Before I was on medication, I described it as if I were a well. Anything could happen and it would ping down into my well and reverberate deeply inside. When you’re on medication, the well seems shallower, so the things don’t vibrate as deeply or for as long. But in this slump, a lot of little things—the usual bunch of body image, boy weirdness, friend weirdness and job anxiety—compounded and suddenly became so overwhelming that I did something I never do anymore.

I ran outside.

Basically from ages fourteen to eighteen, I was constantly running. After I got into college, I dropped that like a hot stone and recently I’ve picked it up slightly in the form of highly regulated, 12-minute sprints on the treadmill. I hate going on runs. But I was so amped up and anxious and I had no car to go to the gym to burn away my emotions that I just started running in my neighborhood. I only ran three miles—okay ran/walked/stood and tweeted three miles—and it really helped to cleanse me.

I power-sprinted to Meghan Trainor, I walked to Matt Nathanson, and I boiled down some concrete things I could do. A lot of what’s been stressing me out has its claws in social media, and I took some action to alleviate some of that anxiety. One of it was unfollowing someone because following them only confuses me romantically and indulges my tendency to fixate and obsess. And even though I still meander over to them in my mind, I don’t have that digital bee-sting when I scroll past their stuff. And so that’s something that I could do to make myself feel better and did.

I think a lot of dealing with your emotions, whether or not you suffer from depression, is about taking distance. When I was in the full flush of all these emotions, I had to step back, recognize the slump for what it was, and realize that that was enhancing my anxiety. Not that these things wouldn’t have stressed me out on a good day, but they wouldn’t have made me as emotional. And having space from the things that are causing you to be stressed also allows you to evaluate them. Like, I’m an obsessive person sometimes, so I’ve been fixating on this one person and thinking that I like them when really maybe I do like them but I’m also looking for someone to fixate on and someone to rationalize current other emotions. Sounds complicated, right?

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Source: Pajiba/Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the show I’m currently watching. V good, v good.

I’m rambling, but I wanted to write it out and idk get this thought out there? I reached out to people when I was feeling really spiral-y—Marco, Nina—and having their friendship and listening ears really helped me out. So I think putting stuff like this out there, that being medicated doesn’t mean cured and that’s not a bad thing, and it’s okay to get overemotional and stressed and anxious, validates a lot of feelings I think we all have. And that’s important—the validation of our feelings.

Anyway, anyway, anyway. I wrote an article responding to the Dallas shooting on The Odyssey Online, so if it’s up by the time this gets published, I’ll link it HERE (DON’T FORGET DANNY). I don’t want it to look like I’m ignoring last week’s events.

I LOVE YOU GUYS. Even you. Yes, you! I like that top. Most people would’ve be that brave to pull off something like that. No that’s not shade. OMG IT’S NOT SHA—

Byeee!

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Inspirational, Life

THINGS I’M EXCITED ABOUT

So I’m stressed to impress right now. It’s a combination of lots of homework, the vague impending threat of midterms, personal ish, a lot of writing but little of me, and just the general state of the world. And usually when I’m stressed, it’s reflected in my writing. I focus on more negative topics, or I write about being stressed. Spoiler alert: that was going to be my topic for today. But I’m over feeling this way, and I know that if I write something negative, rather than have it be cathartic, it’ll just make me feel more stressed.

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Source: Tumblr

So I’m doing the opposite. Instead of focusing on the things in my life that could easily make me want to pull my hair out, I’ll focus on the good things; the things that I’m excited about.

 

Things I’m Completely Jazzed About:

 

1). RuPaul’s Drag Race: This season (season 8) will mark the second time I’ve watched a RPDR season while it’s current. I watched last season while it aired, and then caught up with seasons four, five and six over the summer. But there’s something I love about watching a show week-to-week. Bingeing is amazing, but it can’t account for the fun of counting down days or making time in a hectic schedule to sit down, unwind, and indulge for an hour.

2). Broad City: I love Broad City and the new season has aired. The premiere episode wasn’t, for me, something to write home about, but I can’t wait to see what they do with the rest of the season. Abbi and Ilana are so funny and sharp and clever, and I think that they’re going to completely add to the pop culture landscape this season.

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Source: Bustle.com

3). The Amazing Race: I’ve never watched The Amazing Race before, but this season is “Internet Influencers” and I love me some digital peeps. Again, I’m very into episodic TV-watching, and even though I hate waiting a week in between, it makes each episode more rewarding.

4). The spring: Usually, I find spring boring. It takes too long, and it’s unsatisfying, and it just feels like one long waiting game. Also I’ve never been completely secure with my body—actually I’m actively insecure about my body—so I normally hate any season where it means I have less fabric to wear. But I’ve become less and less in love with winter the older I get, so I’m actually looking forward to spring. Also, I’ve been getting more into fashion lately—like, actual fashion, and studying trends—and I want to implement what I’ve seen online in an actual springy reality. Also I want to wear shorts. And I want to be okay with my body. And I want to wear these really cute J.Crew olive green shorts with an oversized denim shirt and my sick white Stan Smiths. It’ll be so cute, with my hair (hopefully) grown back to a sweet swoop and some metallic sunnies.

5). Smoothies: Warmer weather makes me think of icy fruit smoothies after workouts with my sisters. I don’t really do smoothies at any other time of the year, but something about the summer, and the free time, and the indulgence of preparing a smoothie and enjoying makes me feel happy. And it’s relatively healthy. Plus most fruit skeeves me out, so I try to make up for that with smoothies.

6). This trash heap blog: It’s not really a trash heap. I just don’t know how to express affection. But I’ve really enjoyed experimenting with different styles and topics—did y’all notice how I talk about politics now??—and I think it’s help me to rebrand the blog, at least in my mind. But I think I want to reincorporate some personal essays like I used to. I’ve laid off a bit partially so that I could store up some life experience and partially because I wanted to try other things, like What Happening RN and such.

7). Finding new Spotify playlists: Spotify does a pretty decent job of coalescing artists I might like into those “Discover Weekly” playlists. I’m listening to one right now, and I don’t think there’s anything quite like discovering a song that you didn’t know but really loving it. I’ve also been branching out into different genres, specifically rap, which are excellent for working out to. Plus they’re insanely clever. Childish Gambino is wicked smart. And Kanye, for all his ego faults, knows his stuff. I would’ve said “s***” but I’m trying to curse less. It really puts me in a bad state; it primes me for negativity.

8). Not needing a number 8: I really like doing things in eights now; 10 is usually the number we strive for but I like the roundness of 8. So this number 8 is a non-number, because I want to have 8 points but I couldn’t think of an actual 8th thing. I have tricked you.

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This actually helped a little. Do you ever watch those YouTube gurus who do Q&A’s? they always get a question about how they stay so positive, and their answer is always, “It’s definitely work. But you just have to work at it.” And you’re gripping your screen, thinking, “What an asshole.” Because that’s actually the most unhelpful advice ever. But there is something to the madness. I didn’t give in to my stress and focused on the positives. And that made writing this post really fun. Because at the end of the day, this blog isn’t supposed to be work. It’s supposed to be pleasure and creative and my outlet. It shouldn’t feel like a job.

I want to thank Marco. For texting and being there; and I love you. This is our little can-and-string moment. 😉

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Life, Rambles

HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH STRESS?

The title isn’t rhetorical or one of those self-help ads. I don’t have an answer, and I would really like someone to give me one. But I feel like it’s one of those annoying things where I have to “discover” my “answer” for myself. Just once I wish the hard questions in life, the ones that actually mattered, were the ones that I could copy someone’s answer. We live in a cruel world where I can cheat on a test—which I’ve only done once when I didn’t know the last kind of “volcano” in seventh grade—but no one can tell me how to find inner peace.

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I feel like I could laugh from how tightly wound I am. There must be something animalistic about it, the desire to let out some sort of loud howl—disguised as a laugh—when everything seems like a big ole bag of shit.

I also wish that I were stressed with big things. But instead it’s like a sandstorm; small, separately inconsequential nuisances that together can bury a car under a dune, or, more importantly, get in your mouth and you can’t really get rid of it. But it’s just been little things: I sent a paper to the wrong printer, and ended up late for a class that I’m always late for, and it’s beginning to get less charming when I walk in after the start. My buzzcut has stopped being G.I. Jane and started being G.I. Plain—nothing good rhymes with “Joe” so we all make sacrifices. I had to buy a domain. And then I had to cancel it. And then I had to buy another one. And cancel that one. And then buy a third one, and finally that stuck.

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And then just a bunch of other little things that, added together, make me want to do that charming and cute thing of punching a wall. Also the hallway outside of my apartment smells like cheese. And not in a good way. Or in a Gouda way. Am I right??

Maybe I’ll start meditation. I always try to say that I’ll start meditation, and then I do two minutes and think of something funny on YouTube, or I’ll get a text, or I’ll want to Tweet about meditating and all of a sudden my focus is broken and it’s twenty minutes of blue screens.

And I don’t like being stressed. I know that’s a total duh but for me it’s particularly negative. I find it so hard to write and be creative and focus when I’m stressed, and since that’s, like, ninety percent of what I do as a student and a writer and since I’m God’s gift to the world—very Kanye West of me (speaking of which, have you been following the Kanye-Wiz-Amber feud? So fascinating. I’m on Amber’s side.)—when my work suffers, the entire world suffers.

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And since I live alone, I don’t really have anyone to vent to at the moment when I’m feeling super stressed, and stressed-out Danny tends to be withdrawn Danny, or “tries to trip others” Danny, and that’s gonna land me in a whole heap of trouble on top of everything else.

So I guess what I’m saying is…any tips? Stress is hard, and I feel like it’s one of those things that we dismiss or try to minimize, like it’s such a little problem to have that we almost feel guilty admitting that we have it. But it’s big and weighty and it affects how you act and treat people.

Lastly, I don’t think I can stick behind Kocktails with Khloe any longer. I’ve made it through fifteen minutes of episode two, and it’s so painful that I’m jabbing fingers into my eyes because even that’s less awful.

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Maybe I should start snapping pencils as a way of release. Somehow that seems like the most depressing option, even more than binge-eating Oreos, which is what I’m on the road to doing.

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