Lesson #19: Adventure.

I know, I know… it’s been forever since I blogged. Don’t worry; I’ve hired my own personal Holy Mother, like the one from Game of Thrones, to follow me around and chant “Shame” throughout the day.

shame
Whatta bitch.

Life, man. It’s gotten away with me. But I don’t want to regret not writing about it.

I’m moving this weekend–really only an hour away, but still. It’s a transition, and I don’t do well with those. I’m moving out of an apartment in a quaint town to live in a house with one of my good friends and her sister in a bustling, up and coming metropolian. I’m ready for my new adventure. A new pool of people. New experiences and opportunities.

I only hope I like it–mainly because I don’t feel like packing up my life twice in two months!

pivot

I’ll be commuting to work, so about an hour each way. Honestly, I don’t mind it. The car is one of the rare places where I have room to think. I come up with my best stuff on the road, with my hands on the wheel and soft, indie music permeating the cool air.

I’m looking forward to the change.

Someone asked me recently, “What do you want out of life?”

The very first thing that came to my mind and then out of my mouth was, “Adventure.”

I want my life to be own great adventure, whether I’m reading a book by a fireplace or hiking up hills and deserts on the West Coast. I want to be happy, and I want to live adventurously. I don’t have to skydive or climb Mt. Everest. I don’t need to scale the Empire State Building or come face to face with the most gigantic alligator the world has ever seen. I don’t need to swing on vines in the rainforests of Costa Rica or hitchhike in Amsterdam.

I simply want to say “yes” to adventure. To take chances and advantage of opportunities that fall into my lap. I want to feel content with a nap on a Sunday but invigorated by the call on Monday. I want spontaneity. And joy. And laughter. And love. I want adventure in its purest form. I don’t want to take adventures for the sake of taking adventures, but because I really want to.

I want “doing nothing” to mean I’m doing SOMETHING. I don’t want what society calls adventure, but what it feels like to me.

I guess I just want to live. Happy and free.

adventure.gif

 

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Lesson #18: Telling the guy who’s hitting on you that you brought your parents out with you actually works

I know, because that’s what I did. Guy hitting on you?

This guy, he was nice enough. He came up to me while I was dancing and wanted to dance. ATTENTION BOYS: GIRLS TYPICALLY LIKE DANCING BY THEMSELVES TO MUSIC. WE DON’T GO OUT ONTO THE DANCE FLOOR HOPING SOME HORNY GUY WILL COME UP BEHIND US AND START SWAYING. Seriously, this really gets on my nerves. Let me dance! I want to dance!

So, no, this guy didn’t do that, but he still tried to get me to dance with him. In an effort to avoid that, I just grabbed his hand, let him twirl me a couple times, and then went back to dancing. I don’t think he was satisfied, because he. didn’t. move. He just stood there.

dont make me dance.gif
Don’t make me dance…with you.

Then, deciding on a different tactic, he leaned in and said, “You’re the cutest.” I said, very sweetly, “Thank you!” Still, I wondered the cutest of what exactly? The cutest girl in the room? The cutest man in the room? As cute as somone can be with no grace or appeal? This guy wasn’t ugly or anything, but he WAS short, and as you all know, short guys creep me out. So I wasn’t all that interested.

Well, this guy wanted more. At this point, he’s hovering. No one likes a guy who hovers.

Even you Mike J.
Even you Mike J.

I had come out with my cousin and my good friend, Tim. My friend, Angie, and her boyfriend met us there. They were dancing behind me as this guy subtlely moved closer—to the point that I didn’t have the space to really dance anymore.

I turned to Angie and her boyfriend, Ramin, who read my face the moment I make it. Help me.

“We’re her parents,” Ramin says, happily. Angie nods. I nod, too, and add, “Yeah, these are my parents.” And before I can properly introduce them, my short man-friend has disappeared. I’m 99% sure he proclaimed “Ew” before sashaying away.

We had a good laugh, and then promptly left to find somewhere else to cause trouble. Me and my parents.

Lesson learned? Telling the guy who’s hitting on you that you brought your parents out with you actually works. Apparently, that’s frowned upon.

Lesson #17: I don’t like balls in my court

I don’t like balls in my court. Basketballs, baseballs, tennis balls, softballs. No balls, figuratively speaking of course.

In other words, I don’t like accepting responsibility. Don’t get me wrong. I’ll do it. But I won’t like it. I ESPECIALLY don’t like balls in my court when I know they don’t belong there—when I know they should be in someone else’s court.

See, I like to protect myself from consequences at all costs. I’m particularly sensitive to guilt and regret. So I preemptively try to avoid them. What does that mean? That means I won’t ask you to lunch even if I want to go to lunch with you, because I’m terrified of it going South and because I’M the one who “planned” it, I’M the one who should be to blame. Silly, right? Totally. Still, that’s me.

If there’s a ball in my court, I will stare at it for days before I leave my safe spot on the sideline. I’ll pretend the ball isn’t there. I’ll deny its existence. “I don’t see no ball. It’s in YOUR court, bud.” If I can’t deny it, I’ll hope the wind picks up and rolls it somewhere else.

I’m not looking for pity when I say this next bit, but I need to provide some context. For me, seven times out of ten, when I pick up that ball, step out on a limb, put myself out there, and ask someone to lunch or I’m honest about my feelings, I get rejected. It feels that way anyway, and I know insecurities play a part. I do experience success here and there. For instance, I used to hate flying in airplanes. Now, after having faced my fear and experienced a consecutive number of victories, I’m not so scared! However, if seven out ten times I boarded a plane and had a panic attack, I’d probably still be plane-averse.

Such is the case in my social life.

I'll come talk to you, Darcy, my love...
I’ll come talk to you, Darcy, my love…

I’m terrified of being rejected, because, in my mind, it happens so often. I’m tired of being the one to give in and go pick up the ball. I want to take a rest. I want the other person to start the game, so to speak. So that I can stop blaming myself for failure. Does that make sense?

Again, I realize that a lot of these issues lie with how I perceive life. But I can tell you, after so many victories, those issues tend to resolve themselves, PROVING that it’s not always “Stephanie being insecure.” It’s a “give and take” people. Insecurities are real, but so is shit, and sometimes, life is just shit.

What a cute little poop...
What a cute little poop…

And it’s okay to accept that. High expectations aren’t good to hold onto, because then you’re destined to lead a life full of disappointment. Life can beautiful, but it won’t be the beautiful you expect it to be. It will be shit. It’s what you do with the shit that makes it so great.

Lesson #16: I don’t like balls or shit in my court, but if I want a cleaner court, I’ve got to get off my butt and start shoveling.  

Lesson #16: Blogs are hard work to maintain

Let’s be real… they are.

I’ve done surprisingly well with this one, but in the last month, my motivation has dwindled. Site traffic hasn’t been bad, but where’s the participation, people? Hey, it’s okay. Don’t put yourself out there if you don’t have to, am I right?

Still, I’d LOVE to hear from the people who actually take even just a small amount of time to read my blog. Honestly, I need that validation to keep my stamina up. Positive reinforcement. I run on that shit. Otherwise, I can get pretty burnt out, and I feel that lately. Life, though… Life is hard, especially when you’re an adult. My parents were right. You don’t actually start living until your pockets are empty and survival is a daily goal.

I committed to blogging once a week, and then, I thought I’d play around with trying twice a week. But alas… I think it’s been a week and a half since I’ve blogged. Let me tell you, though, those depersonalization posts were LONG and hard to get through. I’m glad I have it out in words, ’cause I’m hoping they can help some people. Still, PHEW. I could have said so much more, but that would require more work than I’m willing to put in.

Bear with me as I try to get back into my blogging groove. But remember… every “like” and comment helps. I’m not begging. I’m just SAYING, it endorses my purpose for blogging.

Lesson #15: Depersonalization is not forever, Part III

[I’ll add pictures later, I promise. WordPress was being a dick…]

The worst thing about depersonalization is believing that it won’t ever go away. Until it finally does. Time really is the best medication, but the thing about time? You can’t control it.  Unless you can see the future, you can’t count on it. You just have to wait and see. 

I had made the mistake of researching depersonalization (DP) online, where of course, I found people who were equally as freaked out as me. They talked about having DP for over 20 years, how it would never go away, how it had ruined their lives. It’s easy to believe that kind of stuff when you can SO relate. It felt like DP was forever–maybe it was…

And then I decided I needed to stop reading all that negative stuff. I didn’t need that. If you believe it’s gonna turn out fatal, you’re setting your fate. It WILL turn out fatal.

So I looked up DP recovery stories, where I found loads of different stories online from people who had somehow gotten past DP–oftentimes, just by keeping a positive attitude. Taking care of yourself. Changing your diet. Finding your passions. Exercising. Most importantly, stop thinking about DP so much.

So I tried all that, and it took a while. Longer than I wanted it to. I wanted immediate results after all. Don’t we all? And then I practiced patience. I sought out volunteer opportunities. I started writing more, specifically on this blog. I got a cat–my precious little Peter Pan kitty. I took Yoga classes at the encouragement of a friend. I confided in people who cared. I found a new therapist. I’m now teaching tap classes. I. Took. Action. That’s the most important thing. Be patient. Give it time. And take action FOR YOURSELF. Learn to love yourself. Learn to love what you have. Take time to meditate. BREATHE. SLOW DOWN.

DP is a defense mechanism. If you don’t slow down, your brain will stay in that place, where it thinks it’s safe. Show your brain a world where you can BREATHE, where you have TIME to love your life.

That’s why I’m where I am today. Not depersonalized. Excited about possibility and life! I can’t promise you or myself that it won’t come back. But knowing that I’ve gotten through it before, I can rest somewhat easy knowing I can do it again. Depersonalization IS NOT forever! It may feel like it, but it’s not. But YOU HAVE to take action.

I won’t say I feel blessed for going through what I did, but I did learn a lot about myself in the process. I was forced to better my attitude and my life. I might not have done that otherwise. So, yes, I’m thankful. Use those challenges in your life that you think you’ll never get over to learn valuable lessons and better yourself. And then, one day, you’ll wake up in the morning feeling so much better than you did two months ago. Not perfect, mind you. But better.

I won’t tell you how long it took for me to get over my DP, because everybody is different. The worst thing you can do with DP is compare yourself to other people. Your healing period will happen as it needs to. It will take as long as YOU need. But please email me if you have questions or need help. Reach out if want support!

Forgive yourself. Love yourself. Be patient with yourself. Be healed. 🙂

Lesson #15: Depersonalization is NOT forever, Part II

In Depersonalization is NOT forever, Part I, I told you about how I came to know depersonalization. I told you about the mysteries it created in my life. I told you about the fear I experienced, at simply not having answers. And then I found my answers, in this article.

And I believe that’s where we left off.

This article helped me simply because it gave me a name for what I was experiencing.

Do you not feel real? Yes!

Do you almost feel like you’re dreaming while awake? Yes.

Do you feel like you’ve been dropped on another planet? OMG YES!

Does it get worse when you focus on it? HOLY COW, yeah!

CONGRATS! YOU HAVE DEEEEEEEPERONSALIZATION (DP)! 

Learning that DP is simply a defense mechanism in response to “recent trauma” or “cannibis” took an immense weight off my shoulders. I urged my mom to read it, as well as my boyfriend. I finally had answers, and the whole world ought to know!

The article goes on to console those people like me who think depersonalization is forever. It gave me tips for “getting rid of it.” For instance, to stop thinking about it, by not talking about it, being aware of it but not giving it my attention. It all seemed so easy! The solution is easy yes, but it’s just applying it that got so hard.

After reading this article, I felt good…for a week or so. I still felt my little friend DP on my shoulder, whispering strange existential questions in my ear, but instead of freaking out over them, I simply reminded myself that this was just my mind’s way of coping with the scary world.

And then it got harder again. I thought maybe this whole DP thing WAS forever. Suddenly, I didn’t want a name for my issues! I just wanted them to go away. I was angry at myself for smoking the pot. I felt like a virgin having sex for the first time and then finding out she contracted HIV. I felt like one decision has ruined the entire rest of my life.

Journal entry from 4/29/15: Anxious. Anxious. Anxious. Feel trapped. And scared of feeling this way forever. The world seems so scary & dark when I’m like this. I can’t deal with death. Thinking about it, it makes me wonder what the point of it all is. I feel hopeless right now, but I know it’s not forever. Everything just feels so distant from me.

I laid in bed, staring at my ceiling, feeling alone, thinking about morbid stuff like death. Good, clean fun. Nothing felt real, and it was isolating, living alone in my own little world, separated by the rest of the REAL word by a thick veil. I read message boards (BAD) about people who had had DP for 40+ years. Oh God, I thought. That will be me. Of course, it was THAT kind of thinking that kept me trapped in DP-land…

I was still able to work and go about my life, but without fail, at 6 p.m., I’d go to my room and brood. Again, nothing about this was helping me. Also, there was other stuff going on in my life that wasn’t making my healing process any easier.

I sought out a psychiatrist, hoping he’d have some kind of answers for me, but not many people know about DP, which makes it all the scarier. That’s really the main reason why I sought out answers online – because it was the only place I could find them. But, eventually, I realized I needed to stop. I needed to stop reading about people who were “ruined” forever from one stupid mistake with drugs and assuming I was just like them. I tried to be positive, and I relied on my boyfriend and my mom like crazy, but they didn’t understand.

My psychiatrist tried me on different anti-depressants, which didn’t seem to help with the DP. Quick tip: Changing your meds won’t help with DP. DP is a state of mind, and it’s foundation lies in anxiety. So yes, I suppose it could help a little, but really, time and a positive attitude are the only two real therapies for DP. Realizing that can be hard. I’m a control freak, but knowing that it was up to me to get rid of DP intimidated me. It was easier just to assume I’d have it forever. But that’s a defeatist attitude, and it won’t get you anywhere, folks! Patience is a virtue–truly.

It looks like I’m going to have to do a “part III” for this topic, because it’s getting to be too long.

In “part III,” I’ll talk about how I came out of DP, and how I’m thankful to have gone through it. Seriously. As corny as that sounds… it forced me to find peace within myself, which takes a lot of freaking time. I’m still in the process… but to be honest, DP essentially motivated me to start this blog because I learned SO MUCH “in my fight” against it, and I wanted a place to share it. So, with that being said, UNTIL NEXT TIME!

Lesson #16: Depersonalization is NOT forever – Part I

It’s true. Depersonalization is not forever.

This particular lesson means a whole lot to me because it hits close to home. I’ve touched on depersonalization in a previous blog post, where I claim it’s safer to assume you can’t be cured of anything because, if you lead yourself toward false hope, then you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment.  I still stand by that statement. Things in life always have a way of coming back when we least want them to. What’s that old saying? “Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best”? I respect that idea. It goes without saying that life is not perfect, and it’s certainly not predictable. The best we can do is prepare for the worst, and hope the worst doesn’t happen. But wouldn’t you rather be prepared if it does?

I developed symptoms of depersonalization after a bad high. I’d call it a “trip,” because that’s what it felt like… Believe it or not, I had made it through both high school and college without smoking a single ounce of pot. My parents always told me, “Honey, you won’t like it. You’re an anxious person already.” But I was always curious. Besides, as an aspiring writer, I figured I needed to experience all there is in life. Typical writer excuse. So I tried it, and it was okay the first couple of times–nothing special. But I had my boyfriend monitoring my intake to make sure I wasn’t doing too much. And then, one night, he handed me the bowl and I took a hit, a much bigger one than I intended. To make a long story short, I spent two hours on the floor that night feeling like the room was spinning and wondering why my voice didn’t sound like my own. It was an absolute nightmare. From that night on, I vowed never to do pot again. And I haven’t.

A month or so later, I started to feel generally uneasy. I felt vulnerable, scared. Mundane thoughts began to throw me for a loop. I remember my brother asking me a simple question about numbers and me feeling a sudden rise of panic as I pondered the significance of numbers inside this small reality and why we operate by them. Real existential shit. I remember going to an amusement park and looking at chickens, wondering how it was possible that I happened to live on the same planet as “the Chicken.” REAL EXISTENTIAL SHIT. Almonds! I questioned the lines on an almond! Let’s just say I was high without being high. Naturally, this freaked me out. Life began to feel unreal, as if I were floating above it… I couldn’t connect quite like I had before.

Journal entry from 3/17/15: While do I feel like I’m losing touch? With reality? Am I just anxious? Is this just normal anxiety? Everything–well, not everything–but most things seem wrong. What’s the matter with me? I don’t want to be like this forever. 

When I looked out the window of my apartment, everything outside looked like the backdrop on a stage, sort of 2D. And all the while I grappled with big questions like: Who am I really? What’s my purpose? And the worst… What’s the point?

I had no idea what was wrong with me. I’ve had bad anxiety since I was 17, but this felt different. This just felt wrong. I felt like an alien dropped onto a foreign planet. Half my brain lived on Earth; the other half had floated away, and I had no idea how to bring it back. There were times I looked at my parents and felt like I hardly knew them, as if I hadn’t spent 21 years under their roof, as if they weren’t my best friends!

Journal entry from 4/6/15: Why do I feel like the world isn’t real? Maybe I’m just too focused on that. Maybe I’m just letting it get to me. Everything in front of me is real. I think I’m just scared of it, because no one else will understand it. Hell, I don’t even understand it. And that’s what’s so terrifying. If I don’t understand it, then how can I fix it?

I remember writing that. I remember because I had a REALLY bad panic attack right after. Everything around me felt like it was falling apart. That night, I ended up going home to my parent’s house. I had to work from there for a week, because I was too freaked out by what was happening. But amazingly, I kept it together. A part of me wondered if maybe I was feeling the aftershocks of my horrible high, but I didn’t put two and two together until I started researching online. The best and worst thing to do, folks.

That’s when I came across the word “depersonalization.” This article to be specific. I encourage you NOT to read the comments on ANY depersonalization/derealization forum; it won’t do anything but freak you out. I know because that’s what happened to me. And it caused a WORLD of hurt. Lucky for me, and lucky for YOU, that hurt is NOT forever.

(To be continued…)