Turning 25

I am going to borrow an idea I saw from someone I follow by the name of Genealogy Jen, she has her own site called Repurposed Genealogy (http://repurposedgenealogy.com/) and it has some wonderful reads on it!

She is currently working her way towards 40 by writing about each of her 40 fears. But she introduced those fears with one original post like I am going to be doing now. I would like to list and discuss my 25 fears. I am sure I have way more than 25 but that’s how old I will be so that’s where we are!

And in the order I can think of them, my fears are as followed:

  1. Not being enough
  2. Heights
  3. Spiders
  4. Having children
  5. My depression
  6. My anxiety
  7. Career progression
  8. Being behind
  9. Money
  10. My teeth
  11. My attitude
  12. My weight
  13. My drive and inspiration
  14. My thoughts
  15. Being a disappointment
  16. Failing
  17. Being left
  18. Losing my family
  19. Losing everything
  20. Drowning
  21. Never loving my body
  22. Not being able to travel
  23. Getting sick
  24. Being unattractive
  25. Being overpowered

And with that out there. I will take it upon myself to write out what each fear means to me, and why I feel that way. Maybe I can get to the bottom of some of them and determine what I can do to help work on them! So, to be continued!

Thanks all!

Growing Up on the Cusp of Entitlement

I am on the edge of turning 25, in just a few short months I will have reached that quarter of a century mark where I will either be extremely proud of my accomplishments thus far, or I will look back and wonder where the time has gone and why I haven’t done A LOT more.

I hear a lot nowadays that my entire generation is “entitled”. I agree up to an extent. I KNOW what hard work is, and I have never been given anything I haven’t worked towards (excluding birthday/Christmas presents/food and shelter from my parents, etc.). Now don’t get me wrong, I was VERY spoiled in terms of what I needed from my parents, but I didn’t get college handed to me, it was either make it on a full ride, or take out my own loans to make it through. I managed a full ride scholarship and paid what it didn’t cover (my last year since I managed to take 5 rather than 4..). I also paid for my own apartment throughout my time at school, until that magic 5th year when my roommates graduated and I didn’t, that was the terrible moment I knew I was going to have to move back home to afford to finish school on my own.

I was so devastated and disappointed with myself that I had to move back to my parents house. I had fooled myself into thinking I could handle all of my bills, all of my costs of school (YEAH RIGHT!) and anything else extra I was wanting out of life for my final year in school. All of those big aspirations on a part-time work schedule, since I was in school literally 60 hours of my week between classes, lab and homework in the library.. I couldn’t just pick an easy major.. Once I knew what I had to do, sacrifices like independent living space and eating out for lunch with my friends quickly came to and end. Then, lo and behold, my car died. I had to get a new car, with a payment. I had never had a payment before. I spent my savings account on a laptop and a (new-to-me) car right after I graduated high school. What was I going to do now?? I really HAD to move home at that point! I paid my entire final year myself, plus my car payment and all of the gas to and from school. My parents didn’t make me pay rent, but it was required that I help around the house since I wasn’t going to be contributing much in the way of money, 39 hours a week at minimum wage didn’t actually stretch very far turns out..

I cleaned my parents house, cooked dinner, did the dishes and took care of the myriad of farm animals needing never ending attention (they currently have 20+ chickens and 7, soon to be 8 cows, plus the usual dogs and cats that come with having animals in the middle of the country). All while I was still attending school full time, working part time and trying not to waste gas by driving anywhere else on the weekends. Life was grand.

I see people, my age, a little older, but mostly younger who are convinced things like higher education, vehicles or transportation, and healthcare should all be free to the,. They don’t want to work, they don’t want to even hold down part-time jobs to get some experience with customer interaction because it’s beneath them.. It pains me to be included in this generation. I just want to shout at them all “THE WORLD OWES YOU NOTHING!”.

I truly believe that if you work hard you can go anywhere and do anything in life that you want to do. But you have to WORK for it. You need to want whatever it is you’re going after bad enough to give things up, work your butt off, and smile the majority of the time until you get it.

I don’t know why kids or even young adults don’t see that… I worked a part-time job after I graduated college until I was hired at the agency where I work. It wasn’t glamorous, it was a job most people wouldn’t even consider, not even the ones in high school who “needed” the money. But guess what, I learned SO much. I went to work everyday with a smile, did the absolute best I could do while I was there, and I worked hard to make sure things ran smoothly, efficiently and were done properly. I was gifted with a paycheck that paid all of my bills, and a very loyal customer base who was very sad to see me go.

They said it was so rare to find someone my age who actually CARED. People, young and old alike, need to realize, you are going to have to work. Retirement isn’t a gift. It comes from years of hard work and time spent saving up to keep you comfortable for the rest of your life when your body is too tired to work and just wants to go on vacations.

That being said, if you HAVE to work, why not give it all you have? They’re paying you for a reason. Earn it. Don’t scrape by just by doing the bare minimum required. Your workplace and the people in it deserve so much more.

Let me say this one more time… THE WORLD OWES YOU NOTHING. IF YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO WORK FOR IT, YOU DIDN’T EARN IT AND YOU DON’T DESERVE IT.

Give a little more than a lot. Give all that you have! The return is amazing! Even if you just give someone a smile, it can make their whole day better!

Why is Being an Adult so Difficult?

From the time we are born our parents, and the many adults around us, tell us how when we grow up we’re going to do this, or do that, or if we want to be successful we need to do this, and steer clear of that.. Not once did anyone ever mention how much being an adult sucks at times.

Not even in high school, when teachers and parents are supposedly preparing you for the “real world”, did I ever feel like I was really prepped for all of the unfortunate things that happen in the adult world.

No one mentioned bills. Until I rented an apartment in college, I didn’t even know how to manage my money in order to live. I make a job where I shouldn’t have to live “paycheck-to-paycheck”, but I do. Why? Because it wasn’t offered as a high school class, or really even a college class how to balance life. How to pay expenses without going overboard. Not once did I ever hear about a class on how to make a budget. Which would have been EXTREMELY handy!

Now I don’t want to come across as only complaining. I, thankfully, make enough money that everything gets paid for each month and I never go without, but outside of the meager planning for my retirement that I have done with my agency, I don’t have much in Savings. I do have a house, a new(ish) car, and I am definitely not going hungry. I do go on vacations, but I always feel so incredibly stressed out when looking into my finances.

I think another part of the problem is that I am SO stubborn! I want nice things, but I don’t want to accept help with any of my bills from my boyfriend (who happens to share said house with me). He wants to helps. He tries to help me. In fact we recently opened a joint account so that I couldn’t tell whose money was going to what.. I may or may not have control issues. It’s one more part of my anxiety I am working on.

Sometimes I feel like I am crazy. Even after years of therapy and hard work internally I can’t seem to curb all of my anxiety. I still have terrible self image problems, I still want to be in complete control (something I have, thankfully, learned to overcome without self harming! Baby steps!), there is so much about adult life that is hard for me.

I feel like the signs were all there for me to pay attention too on how to manage my adult life, but I missed them, or just.. wasn’t looking up when I should have been. Why isn’t thins something you get prepped for? I feel like if I had student loans or something, my life would be even more hectic. There would be no vacations, no going out, no new car, no house. I’d be in a tiny apartment crying all night trying to get my life in order.

I think before you sign a paper for a student loan, or a loan of any sort (I now have several with the house and car..), they should have to take a class. What is interest? What does your interest rate mean? When should you pay your payment? If you pay early is it beneficial or is there an extra fee associated with it? I feel like all of those things are valid an need to know. I also think it’s important to know who holds your loan and what their policies are regarding payments and such.

Not sure where I am going with all of my rambling today but it feels good to express my frustrations out loud, or at least in written word.

Thanks for listening/reading!

When Your Life Isn’t Going Right

What do you do when your life is suddenly not going the way you envisioned? Not going the way you wanted?

My day didn’t start out badly. It didn’t start out in a way that made me think things would go downhill. I actually had a very good morning. My kitten didn’t attack my toes when I got out of bed, I wasn’t super late for work (I am always a little late or WAY early, there really is no in between for me), I had a nice balanced breakfast, things were going well. Then it started to slide downhill..

I have already been struggling to pay my doctor’s bills. I am covered by insurance but since this was a specialist visit, the insurance doesn’t cover much of anything outside of the visit itself ($78, when my copay is $50..), so all of my medications, testing.. that’s all out of pocket. Well over $1000 at this point. I got a bill this morning from the laboratory in regards to my lab work, that needs paid, and I got a bill from the clinic for the testing performed there, that needs paid, then I got a bill from the pharmacy for medication, that needs paid as well. I finally get a game plan together and then get an email that my agency has somehow managed to “overpay” me. I didn’t realize when I was done with my initial training I didn’t receive my pay raise, I am just now promoting as opposed to 3 months ago. That means, I now have what is essentially a bill from the place I work and medical bills adding up that need paid as well.

So how do I handle this? Well, I’ll be honest, at first, I was distraught. I was angry. I don’t handle things like this well. I don’t handle change or things that unsettle my life with what others would term “grace”. I get upset and emotionally withdrawn. And I did at first. Then I decided I would write about it.

If I get it all out there, I can think on it while I am trying to write about it. Try to get how I feel out in the open without maintaining that feeling in my emotional state. I told myself I had a choice. I could be upset, and I could be angry, but it won’t change anything. It won’t pay my bills for me. So there is nothing to do now but see what can be done without taking another hit in my pay. I will still have to make a payment schedule. I am still going to have to budget.

I am going to try to do my best to maintain my emotional equilibrium throughout this and any other “crisis” that may arise in my life.

Sorry this one wasn’t super entertaining. I’d love to hear if you guys have any suggestions for handling this in a better way. Thanks ahead of time!

Depression: The Art of Pushing Everyone You Know Away

http://www.refinery29.com/depression-help-social-support

I posted an article to start this one off, because this article is amazing. It talks about the side of depression no one wants to acknowledge or talk about. And that is so very appreciated to someone like me, who has fought depression and has been the person who pushes people away.

It’s terrible to feel so alone and judged and then one day wake up literally find yourself alone. Friends who were supposed to be there are gone and in your more rational moments you realize, it’s your fault they’re gone.

The article talks about how when you are depressed you bring people into your depression with you, which can result in losing them. No one wants to be around someone who is depressed because it’s depressing.. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that. When you just need someone there, or you just want to go somewhere and you’re hoping or praying that someone, anyone, will ask you to tag along, and no one does. When you finally get up the courage to ask why, they tell you it’s because your attitude brings everyone around you down and they wanted to have fun. That’s when you hear a sentence that can hurt you more than anything, “you’re just not fun”.

The first time I heard that, I was in college. Recovering from my terrible breakup with an abusive boyfriend. I had been working so hard to pull myself out of my depression. I had been working on being happy, or at least smiling and pretending to be happy. My mom always told me “fake it until you make it”. And I was trying. I thought I had been making excellent progress and it was devastating to my emotional health to hear that I was so very wrong. It was like being plunged back into the deepest part of my depression. All of the negative thoughts I had finally pushed behind the glass came rushing back to me. Those “you’re worthless”, “this is why he left you”, “this is why you’re alone and will always be alone”, so many negative things that ran through my head, things that still run through my head occasionally.

Even after all of these years, even with the inspiration that comes from my boyfriend, I still have a lot of these negative thought. I ask myself all the time, why does he love me? Why is he here with me? I don’t feel in my heart that I deserve him, and that causes me a lot of anxiety. I love him. I want him to be happy. I have been trying to better myself and my thought processes to ensure that I don’t tear my relationship to bits.

One things no one realizes, even when you stop exhibiting the “signs” of depression, the moodiness, the struggle to get out of bed, and the many many more that come with it, it’s STILL a daily battle. Just because physically things look like they’re alright, doesn’t mean that mentally things are okay. Depression is a constant, every single day mental battle. The negative thoughts never go away. They are just managed. Some days better than others.

I wish I had the right words to apologize to all of the friends and family who have had to deal with me and my depression throughout the years. I wish I had the right words to thank them for not abandoning me. Because I think things would have had a very different outcome had I actually BEEN completely alone. So a huge THANK YOU, and a huge I’M SORRY to all of my friends who I still have (I’ll admit, it’s not many), and all of my family. I literally couldn’t/wouldn’t be here without each and every one of you.

 

Hardships

As previously mentioned in my last post, I have struggled with anxiety and depression since I was young. 16 or so and in high school. Recently, however, my twin sister has started to fight her own battles with anxiety. I am providing a little bit more of my background and then I am going to share her story. She’s strong and brave and deserves recognition.

Even thought I see all of her amazing qualities, she struggles with them, she has always had some very negative self image problems, which made it hard for me, because we’re twins and we look A LOT alike. Hearing her talk so negatively about her body and her self image was incredibly damaging to me. Especially since she was at least 20 pounds smaller than I was and had a steady boyfriend (who she actually went on to marry just a couple of years ago in May). I tried working through my issues in therapy but it was really hard at first because I was essentially being constantly reminded that even if I lost 20 pounds and had a steady boyfriend who loved me, I would still probably hate myself and my life. I got through high school though and I even found my own boyfriend right before my freshman year in college started. Little did I know, that was not going to be a good thing.

A little more background on me, I did have a boyfriend, he did say he loved me, he also lived 3 hours away where he was going to school. I couldn’t have any friends, male or female, that he didn’t approve of, and at the time I thought it was just because he loved me that much! He was worried surely, not jealous. Why would he be jealous? I was overweight, and enamored with him. Surely he knew I wasn’t going anywhere. Only, it got worse. He started berating me. We fought all the time. There were no more “good” days where we were both “happy” together. I got even bigger and started sleeping less. I was terrified to go to sleep in case he texted or called when he got home from partying and I didn’t answer. My classwork struggled right along with me because even though I was up, I was worried and didn’t want  to focus any energy on my homework. I wanted to make sure every ounce of my being was alert and ready for whatever he needed.

Finally, 18 months and 13 days later, he left me. He said I had gotten too fat, too needy, and too emotional for him. He had never loved me and I was a terrible woman as far as women go. Talk about devastating. I cried and moped for a full semester. And I put on even more weight.

This whole time, my family could see what was happening. They tried talking to me, but I was so stubborn and so convinced that I had nothing to offer anyone else. He ruined my mindset. He killed my courage, my self expression and my confidence, while never really high, was now nonexistent. It has taken me almost 7 years to get my life back and be in a place I can smile and mean it, and feel better about myself. Do I exude confidence? Not at all. I never will again, because that innocence is gone. I now see and focus on every single flaw that has ever been mentioned to me and it is a daily battle to get up, put clothes on, and go to work with a smile and do my best to feel confident I don’t look like a cow. Now, in those 7 years since the epic breakup of mass destruction, I gained another 40 pounds (bringing my total weight gain since high school up to a whopping 100 pounds) and have since lost all 100, plus a few more. I don’t look at fit as I was in high school, but the clothes I buy are smaller.

Now, enough about me. Back to the matter at hand. All of that background was simply to say, when I struggle, I seem to struggle out loud. I can’t always internalize and keep it locked inside. I am an extremist with my emotions and it’s easy for people to see when I am upset. My sister, on the other hand, is not. She hides everything. Rewind just a couple of years to when she got married. She was stunning. Thin and tan and gorgeous. She looked like a runway model walking down to meet her husband and he cried so I finally felt at peace with things. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know he has been around for quite awhile, almost 9 years to be exact. Not once have they ever had any problems or fights of epic proportions. They seem very happy. But she IS my twin after all..

About a year after they got married they decided to try for a baby. Now, I told them they should slow things down and enjoy being together, but my sister is very much a make a plan and get it done kind of person. And I respect that attitude. She stopped taking her birth control and that’s when her own battle with anxiety started.

She wasn’t getting pregnant. After just a couple of months, my sister had put on nearly 40 pounds, and was having a lot of pain in her abdomen, we knew it wasn’t her appendix, she’d had that removed when we were 11, so she made an emergency visit with her doctor. That’s when her life slowly started to  change. She was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Its when cysts, or little fluid filled sacks, a lot like blisters, form on the ovaries and essentially encase the eggs so you can’t ovulate. It’s VERY hard to have a child when you have PCOS. Her plans were unraveling, and so was she.

While they were doing the testing to confirm the original PCOS diagnosis, they also found some other… complications. When her appendix ruptured way back when, she had gotten an infection. Her stomach had gone septic and they’d done their best to get it all cleaned out, but they hadn’t, and they had to reopen the wound and clean it again. All of the yuck that had been in her body cavity had caused abscesses to form on her ovaries and uterus. She now had intense scarring. They warned her that even if she did start ovulating, her uterus may not be able to hold the baby due to scar tissue. And her world crumbled a little more.

She was trying to diet, they weren’t willing to put her on hormone therapy until she lost a little bit of the weight she had gained, but with PCOS you can’t just “lose weight”. Your body hoards the fat and becomes insulin resistant and no longer works properly. She was struggling and she was down. That’s when she started to lose her mind.

With her hormones all out of whack and not getting any better she was cranky, crying a lot. Her husband was trying his best, but here just a year and a half into things, his wife was not the same person he had known for 8 years. She was morphing into a weepy eyed monster right before his eyes. (She admits to this, and that description is hers and not mine).

Finally she decided to switch doctors and ask to see the nutritionalist on staff about a more serious plan to get some weight off. That’s when the new doctor told her, she was fighting anxiety and that was causing the weight gain. He suggested therapy and a form on antidepressant to help her cope with the struggles she was going through and her sense of inadequacy that she had fought since childhood. (Which, as an aside, really made no sense to me, my sister is brilliant and beautiful and was always our parents favorite of the two of us. Sad, but true. I caused all the trouble, didn’t make the grades, and struggled with a bad temper and depression. But I know as well as anyone, that sometimes our minds just don’t make sense, and hers was definitely working against her.)

She agreed to do the medication, but was unsure about the therapy. That’s when she opened up about her struggles to me. I had been there. Did it help me? Did I think it would help her? What was wrong with her that she was so messed up she needed therapy? I told her in as serious a conversation as I could.. There is nothing wrong with you. She laughed and started to cry telling me there was something seriously wrong is she was so crazy she needed “therapy”. She said it like it was a dirty word.. and I finally had to open up. I had to share things I hadn’t wanted to share. I had been hiding them, trying to protect her from my mistakes and my past. I asked her what she would do if she had messed her knee up. She gave me a confused look and said, well I  would go to the doctor. I said what about if your heart was acting funny? Again, she said she would visit the doctor. I said then why are you so upset about seeing a doctor to help you get your emotions back under your control? Your brain is a muscle. Sometimes it gets worn out, sometimes it needs help. There’s nothing wrong with it or you. And that was the turning point for us both.

We are now closer than we’ve been in a long time, and she’s working through things in a wonderful way. Growing stronger, gaining a new perspective on life. She’s happy again, Smiling and meaning it. I am just glad she has made it back. Back to the sister I know and love. The sister I have missed dearly. We’re now fighting our battles together. Out loud. We’re a unit.

Depression Hurts

I started my afternoon by reading an article that I felt the need to share. It impressed upon me the need to have the issue, the problem, that is depression, out in the open.

I invite you to read the article here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2016/03/23/i-told-the-truth-in-my-sisters-obituary-so-that-others-might-choose-to-live/

I have and still do struggle with depression. I have fought it since I was in high school at the tender age of 16. Depression runs in my family, but it’s always been hidden. Like a dark secret no one wanted anyone to know about. My own mother didn’t tell me she had fought it until things reached a drastic stage and I no longer felt the desire to live anymore. As you can see, I am still here, but I almost wasn’t. It was purely by the grace of God I survived and managed to make it this far.

A month before my 17th birthday I attempted suicide. I didn’t tell anyone about it until a year or so later when I was forced to explain my life and situation to a therapist. My parents still don’t know. I simply told everyone I fell asleep while driving, it was believable, I had had a long day, worked hard, played harder. But I walked away from a totaled car with just a few scratches and bruises. No one could understand it and neither could I. For a few months, I had a new will to live. I thought there must be a reason for me to survive. I had to have a purpose, right?

Well, just a few months later, I was back to fighting my depression. I was self harming, I was angry all the time. High school was terrible, I didn’t like where I was, I didn’t like where I was going, I didn’t like the stress or the pressure that came with graduating and taking the next step into the world of college. I eventually struggled for months before anyone noticed. I finally had a falling out with a teacher, when she asked me what was wrong and why I was so angry, I told her I didn’t know why I was so angry, I just didn’t like anyone or anything. I told her I didn’t know how to ix the rage inside of me, which was why I had taken to self harming. Since I was in high school she was forced to tell someone who could help me. My mom was told and I was forced into counseling and talk therapy for more than a year.

I learned about my depression in therapy, and I was also diagnosed with Panic Anxiety Disorder, as well as a disorder that has to do with mood control that is specific to women called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. It took me a lot of time and therapy session one to two times a week for months before I could handle that this wasn’t something to be ashamed of. And needing help for it was nothing to be ashamed of either. I had to come to terms with the fact that being embarrassed was not helping me get any better. My brain is a muscle, I needed to see a doctor for it just like I had too when I hurt my knee and had to go to a physical therapist.

I know I am always going to struggle. I don’t deal well with change, I don’t handle stress well. I never have and I most likely never will. I have learned coping mechanisms, and thus far I have managed to avoid going onto medication to help me deal with my problems but I know there is always a chance that I may need it at some point in the future. I dread the possibility of postpartum depression, and I worry how I will handle the changes that come with the stress of the future. Planning a wedding, planning for a child.. Those things scare me.

Thankfully I have a wonderful family that has handled this for years, not just with me, but within themselves. They have tips for handling difficult moments, and a few of them have advice on medications and side effects of medications. They deal with me and love me regardless. I am also truly blessed with a wonderful man who loves and takes care of me. He knows what I need and the best way to make that happen. He can calm me down when I get upset or scared. And sometimes that’s really all you need.

I don’t need or want any sympathy from people around me, I just want to help someone, anyone. I want people to not have to struggle like I have struggled. Don’t be upset if you need help. Help isn’t a bad thing, sometimes it’s a necessity. You can’t be good for the people around you until you’re being good for yourself.

Depression can be overcome. It lies. You ARE meaningful, you DO have purpose, you ARE meant to be here. Don’t give up. Don’t choose suicide. Live. Your life is beautiful. YOU are beautiful.

Thoughts on Religion

I often give a lot of thought to religion and the hypocrisy associated with organized religion and the people who participate in it.

I consider myself a very free thinking person, I am very spiritual and I do go to church, but I often leave with a lot of questions. I don’t always understand the views of preachers or pastors. I feel that they interpret things in a way that follows their particular teachings or the points they are trying to convey during their messages or sermons.

I have often struggled with that particular aspect of things. Do they, pastors and preachers, get to simply twist the scriptures they follow to meet their needs at that point in time? Why don’t more people question this? Why don’t people have in depth conversations with their pastors or preachers to determine why they interpret a particular passage in that way or why they believe that particular interpretation?

I have had several conversations with my own pastor about his interpretations, how he has reached his conclusions, and if those conclusions change depending on what his message is.

I see a lot of news stories about religious cults, or extremists that are in the news for strictly following their religious beliefs and the hatred that follows the exercising of those beliefs from the more moderate followers of religions around the world. For example the ISIS terrorist group. They are an extremist group that follow the Islamic or Muslim teachings of Allah. That does not mean that all Muslim people are extremists or terrorists, they just choose to worship the same God or deity that the extremists chose to worship. And the Muslim texts are not all that different from the Christian Bible. There are several differences but those shouldn’t cause religious rifts between the two groups of worshipers. And yet it does. Why are people so intolerant?

And who can people talk too about the religious intolerance? The world has become a scary place to be religious, or to be non-religious. Where has the tolerance gone? Why can’t people simply respect others? You don’t have to believe the same way to be respectful. It’s important to show respect for everyone no matter what differences there are between the two of you.

I know this seems a bit scrambled, and that the thought flow doesn’t necessarily flow, but these are just some thoughts that run around in my mind from time to time. Until things get settled, I shall continue to pray for the world and it’s inhabitants.

God Bless.