Weighed Down

“There’s nothing wrong with admitting to not being okay.”

The statement that is so easy to tell other people or to even tell yourself. You can sit there and repeat that phrase to yourself, but when it comes time to looking someone else in the eyes and saying, “I’m not okay,” you freeze. So much easier said than done.

Why is that? Why is it so much easier to admit to ourselves that we’re not okay, but when we know we need help, we’re frozen in time, unable to say those three words?

Some may say it’s because we feel like a burden to others so we don’t tell them. Others say it’s because the people we go to help for won’t understand; then what’s the point of a cry for help if they won’t know that’s what we’re doing?

What if the reason why we don’t say anything is that we’ve been weighed down by our anxiety and/or depression for so long that we’ve gotten used to the burden we put on ourselves? I know I’m not the first person to make that accusation, but I’ve been thinking about that more often than the other reasons I’ve heard. I can tell people that I’m anxious about going to so and so’s house but I have no reason to be. The response I’ll get will be something along the lines of “You have no reason to be worried, what could possibly happen?” Well, if you would like I can tell you the 259 imaginary scenarios I thought of in the past 5 minutes. Yes, I understand the likelihood of any of those happening is so incredibly slim, but I can’t stop my brain from thinking of those scenarios. No matter how hard I beg and plead my mind to stop.

There comes a point when crying, screaming, being silent, and bad habits don’t help you anymore. There comes a time when I’ve gotten so used to feeling like I’m drowning, I just let the anchor weigh me down and I slowly tell myself it’s okay because I understand why I’m doing this. At least I understand.

I know it’s not ideal, but if you don’t understand what it’s like to have anxiety and/or depression, it’s hard to not think this sounds like someone who is just wallowing in their own self-pity. I agree it does sound like that, but it is not that at all. It’s so easy to learn how to go to school and work and be the happy ball of sunshine everybody sees. It’s easy to go home and be around friends or significant others and hide the burden you’ve been carrying all day. We’ve become very good actors and actresses over the years when you know what people will tell you.


Keeping Up with the Routines!

If you read “Day Three and a Half,” you are aware that I started making some changes to my lifestyle. Even though I’m currently on week two, everything is going pretty well. Keeping up with the new routines are already kicking my butt. It’s hard to alter your daily routine if you already have one, but I’m determined to stick with this one. If you keep on reading, you’ll adventure with me throughout what the average day looks like so far. I would love any additional advice or feedback on your routine(s)!

Fun fact: Studies have found that it takes 66 days, approximately 9.4 weeks, to form a new habit.

Rise and Shine Sunshine!

  1. Meditation or Yoga-. I pick one or the other because usually, I’m not up early enough to do both.. Whoops.
  2. Breakfast Time- Feed me and the dogs. This step I actually find to be my favorite part of my mornings. Usually, by now I’m up and functioning properly, but I take my time here even if I’m running a little late. I find that when I rush myself in the mornings I find my whole day to be stressful and rushed.
  3. Time to go-Somewhere in here I finish getting ready if I need to and off I go!

Mid-Day Check In

  1. Lunch Time- After my first two classes, I have approximately an hour-long break before my last class. This is the time when I eat lunch and do homework (or secretly write a blog post).
  2. Homework Time- If I have a lot of homework to do I knock out the little assignments first. Why? I find that when I approach big assignments right after I’ve had more information squished into my head, I lose sight of my end goal. The small assignments keep me focused; this helps me get my little assignments done and keeps my brain focused, so it doesn’t shut down during my last class.
  3. Slowing Down- See I know what you’re thinking now, what if I finish all of my homework? I nap. Now you may wonder if I really do, no I don’t, I wish I could fall asleep that easily. Instead of napping, I meditate and relax as much as I can. I don’t meditate in the hallways, repeating my mantra out loud, with my 27 candles surrounding me. I simply close my eyes and focus on my breathing. Meditating doesn’t last as long as it normally would because there’s more noise than I’m used to blocking out. After this, I feel refreshed and ready to go (home).

Good Evening, My Dear

  1. Gym or Yoga?- Depending on how much homework I have or how my day has gone in general, I choose between going to the gym or doing a longer yoga session. So far, I go to the gym because yoga is hard to do with a 50-pound dog laying on three-fourths of your mat. If I don’t go to the gym and choose yoga for the night, I skip straight to step 2.
  2. Dinner and Homework, Don’t Forget the Dogs!- After step one, I make/grab dinner for myself and prep the dogs food for them. Everyone takes turns with feeding the dogs, but just like in the morning I find this task helpful to make myself work on slowing down and enjoying my time at home, with my family, or simply alone. After all of that is said and done, on to homework. The big assignments. *Shutter*
  3. Capital W-A-L-K…- When my brain is fried or I know I just need a break, that’s when Gus hears his favorite four letter word. Time for a walk. I hope that once the weather starts to warm up, we’ll start going on longer walks; right now I just want to tire Gus out so maybe he’ll stop getting into as much trouble as he does. You know what they say, a tired dog is a good dog.
  4. Winding Down- At this point, it’s about 7:30-8 PM and that’s my key to start getting ready for bed. In this new routine, a lot of emphasis goes towards my sleep habits. I know in college you don’t sleep, but that’s why I try to do as much homework as  I can while I’m out on campus. Practically, I’m doing the same thing to myself that I’m doing to Gus. A tired human is a good human. Either a brief 10-minute yoga session or a longer 30 to 45-minute session. Towards the end of my yoga, I really work on maintaining my breathing pattern. This really helps me when it comes to transitioning into my meditation and staying in my zone longer. I meditate for as long as I can, but I don’t force my brain to shut down. There have been nights my brain just cannot be calm, why that happens, I have no clue.

Extra Tips & Tricks

  1. Wake Up- In the morning when I wake up and I’m not in the mood to meditate first thing or do yoga, I do a little stretching. Anything to get my body and brain working and awake.
  2. Drink- Let me clarify, DRINK LOTS OF WATER. WATER IS KEY. Cheers.
  3. Cut the Negative Out- I’ve stopped paying attention to the negative that I would latch myself onto before. I still have “Debbie Downer” days, but now it’s not something that I bring on myself. If I don’t like someone or something, I don’t pay attention. I unfollow, I unfriend, I remove unnecessary negative vibes and replace with positive. It’s easy to do, we’re just so hooked to our smartphones and how many “friends” we have compared to the prettiest girl that went to our high school, we forget the impact those people or posts have on us.
  4. Sweat it Out- One thing I learned from my dad and his stubborn workout habits is you can do what you want to do at the gym or your normal workout routine, but the hardest machine or workout that you hate doing, you have to do it every time. For example, I HATE the stupid free stride machine. It’s like a treadmill/elliptical/any running machinery that was sent straight from hell. The first time I got on it I thought it was the most fun machine ever, but after one minute (I’m not kidding) my legs and lungs were on fire (yay!). I only lasted a whopping five minutes on that machine; every time I go to the gym now, even though it’s my least favorite part of my day, I beat my time I had previously. I’m up to seventeen minutes and this is after day three. In the end, after I’ve literally kicked my own ass (mentally and physically) that’s when I feel my best.
  5. Listen More, Talk Less- I’m notorious for talking too much. This is not an unknown fact to ANYONE. With my changes in my routine, I do try to listen more. When mom and I go to the gym and we’re warming up on the treadmills, I want to listen about her day more than talk about mine. When you actually stop talking about yourself, your kids, your life, or your problems, life is so much more enjoyable. ACTUALLY, listen to your parents or kids or significant other or dog or cat… I don’t know, whoever the hell you talk to and whoever talks back to you!

Day 3 and a Half

The one and the ONLY thing I miss about high school: dance team.

There’s nothing better than being surrounded by a supportive, loving, and kick ass family. While I don’t entirely miss the early morning practices, I do miss my dancers, coach, and being in shape was a plus. To clarify, this isn’t an “I miss not getting to see you guys perform,” because I go back to watch every performance or as many as I can. Instead, it’s an “I miss spending nearly 24 hours with you guys for two years straight.”

It’s hard to believe it’s been nine months since my last performance and probably the last time I was “dance” healthy. Not to say I’m unhealthy now, I’m just saying if I went back to dance team to re-tryout (I wish that was an option), I probably wouldn’t make it back on the team. Unless I could win over my coach with some freestyle to Justin Bieber, anything is possible when you play JB around moi. Like the one time, I nearly cried/died when I found out what the music to our last performance was. For those who saw, it was an interesting time. In case you don’t understand what I’m talking about or you just want to laugh at me again, click here and I’ll hope that I didn’t just embarrass myself further. Anyway, after trying so much to get back into shape and failing these past three months, I’m not letting that happen this time around.  

Yoga and meditation are where I’m starting. It’s day 3 and a half and I can already tell how much healthier, mentally and physically I feel. In the mornings, a quick 10-minute meditation session and if I wake up early enough a 10-minute yoga run through, then a 30 minute to an hour yoga and meditation session right before bed. For example, I went to my 9 AM class yesterday after doing a quick meditation sesh and I DIDN’T FALL ASLEEP IN CLASS (Mom, if you’re reading this, I’ve never ever fallen asleep in class. I always pay attention and give my undivided attention 110% of the time to whatever is going on in class! I love you!).

The addition to going to the gym and taking Gus on a daily walk is in progress, I just have to get a set schedule to the gym since this week it was not at all expected and Gus sure does give me a workout while I try not to be dragged along the whole walk.

I can’t tell you how long I’ve been waiting to feel this good. I’ve found myself starting to cut toxic people out of my life or not paying attention to them on social media. There’s an unfollow button for a reason, so why not put it to good use. I’ve also found that I’m now watching myself on almost every level imaginable, how I treat people, how I eat, how to treat myself, and how I impact others so I better make it as positive as I can. I feel good and I can’t wait to feel good about my body, not because I want to be skinnier and more attractive. Simply because I remember how good I felt during my dance team days and that is a goal I intend to live up to again.

So overall, thank you to my teammates and my coach (SP Drizzle *jazz hands*), for making my experience one that I will never forget, not even when I have Alzheimer’s because of my one too many concussions. The only reason I got through high school was because I had a sport that required me to keep my grades up and a team that I got to make so many amazing memories with, which pushed me to do my best. When you can find your sport, the one that makes you want to be your absolute best, it does carry over to your daily life even if it’s nine months after your last performance and all you want is to get back into shape. Having that love and all those memories, you keep that mindset and once you apply that elsewhere, you could do almost anything.

Side Note: Not to brag or anything, but when you win second place at your own home competition your senior year AND you’re only seven points behind one of the best dance teams on your side of the state, I don’t think you could ask for a better way to end your high school career.

I think it’s safe to say that we all cried that day.