Energy Vampires

I’ve been trying to remove negativity from my life. That sounds like such a ridiculous statement, but hear me out. I’ve deactivated Facebook, I don’t obsessively follow the news anymore- I just catch the headlines and move on, and I’ve tried to avoid super negative people and situations that I know trigger my anxiety. So far its worked pretty well. The problem is that I can’t ignore all of the negative people in my life. I don’t mean people having a bad day or going through a stressful time, but people who delight in always pointing out the negative in every situation.

They make you defend yourself constantly against their negativity, they have very little positivity in their lives and they drip their poison into your ears every opportunity they get. The problem with these energy vampires is that you don’t even realize that they are stealing your joy, you just start doubting yourself slightly more, feel a little more drained after a chat with them, stop noticing the positive things in your life and eventually you are permanently on the defense as you feel attacked from all sides.

In order to combat the energy vampires in my life I’ve started meditating, asked my primary care physician to adjust my anxiety meds and I’ve developed all these weird little rituals to keep me grounded. I do a quick breathing exercise every time I wash my hands, I take a sip of water when I feel my thoughts are starting to meander into dark places, and when I really start to feel stressed I simply excuse myself from the situation and go for a quick walk to clear my head. It doesn’t always work, sometimes you have to shut down and remove yourself from the situation in order to get some clarity but at the end of the day my mental health is more important that possibly appearing rude.

This whole word vomit is just me trying to justify how I managed to get my feelings hurt by someone that I considered to be a friend, that I knew wasn’t good for my mental health and that I was trying to give the benefit of the doubt. When I started looking out for my mental health and not engaging with topics that trigger my anxiety, they saw it as me being defensive. Long story short, my feelings got hurt and they feel like they are owed an apology. Mental health issues suck.

“You’re not depressed, you just think you are…”

…said the well meaning person as they watched me take my antidepressants. “You seem absolutely fine”. Of course I do. I’ve been pretty well medicated for the past 5 months. I’ve spent hours talking to a therapist, learning different coping mechanisms and I have to actively work on seeming “absolutely fine”.

But I’m worried that I’m not fine. I’m worried that I haven’t actually made any progress at all and it’s only the medication keeping my depression and anxiety under control. It stresses me out that my prescription is coming to an end soon and I’m not sure if my script will be renewed as my Doctor doesn’t like extending scripts long term. I’m worried that all the little tips and tricks I’ve learnt to keep the anxiety at bay are simply band aids, and that I’m not actually managing my anxiety, I just think I am.

Perhaps the pandemic has helped my depression and anxiety more than I had realised. In the before times, I would go to work and then come home and deal with my kids while stressing about work. Now I go to work, come home and work out/study/have fun with the kids and don’t think about work at all. Every weekend is packed with activities, I’m having proper quality time with my family. I have filled my days with things that make me happy. My relationship with my daughters have improved so much and our home life is so calm and peaceful.

The question is, has the medication allowed me to get out of my own way so that I could finally apply all the things I learnt in therapy? Or is the progress only due to the medication. Obviously I’m hoping that the meds have helped me to make the initial changes and that by the time I start weaning off of them I already have the tools to cope. But that’s not something I can worry about now, for now all I can do is keep taking my meds and hope for the best.

Where do I want to be at the end of 2021

Happy. I just want to be happy. Not content or complacent, but happy with where I am in life and what I have achieved. I want to be proud of myself and my achievements. I struggle to be proud of myself, I find it hard to admit when I’ve done something well. I find it very easy to see faults and shortcomings. In 2021 I want to acknowledge my achievements and learn from my failures. I guess I want to more well rounded, I want my life to be more balanced and not feel like I’m on a tightrope all the time, scared to fail, scared to take chances.

I want to be brave. Take chances, take risks, face the outcomes whatever they may be. I want to pick myself up when I fall and carry on fighting. I want to be the hero of my own story, I’m tired of being the damsel in distress. I guess I want to be the protagonist for once, and not feel like a secondary character.

I want to be healthy, in my body and mind. It’s a lot to ask, considering that I’ve been struggling with my work-life balance for a very long time. 2021 is going to be the year that I let go of things that I have no control over. I cannot control the actions of others, only how I react to them.

Happy

Today I woke up and realized that I’m happy. Content. At peace.

It’s a strange feeling not feeling stressed. I’ve been under so much pressure for so long that I’ve forgotten what’s its like to actually be relaxed. Not be concerned with work and responsibilities. Just living in the moment.

It’s a long run ing joke on our house that we are always planning holidays and never actually going anywhere. This time I actually booked our accommodation. I didn’t just look up nice places and then decide that we lost probably wouldn’t get leave or the kids would have activities. I made a booking and paid. And now we are here. A little slice of paradise.

I’m tired

I’m tired. I’m tired of having to stay at home, I’m tired of wearing a mask, I’m tired of having to slather hand lotion on my hands cause all the washing and hand sanitizer has made my hands crack and peel, I’m tired of being scared. I’m also tired of having to listen to people bitch and moan about how COVID isn’t a real thing and we should not be scared, I’m tired of having to explain that I’m social distancing at the moment because I work in a hospital and I’m trying to protect them. I’m just so fucking tired of being brave and reassuring all the time. I’m tired of being strong. I’m done.

I forgot

I’ve been doing really well since I stopped therapy and anti depressants. But today I forgot.

I’ve forgotten what anxiety attacks feel like. Either I’ve gotten really good at managing my anxiety, or I just haven’t been in a situation where I felt anxious. Today I spiraled. It was a small thing, I asked my husband a question and he didn’t answer. And I stressed and fretted about the non answer till I exploded into a mess of emotions and heart palpitations. Because obviously it’s my fault that he didn’t answer me. Logically I know it wasn’t my fault, he is a notoriously bad communicator. But I still stressed and freaked out.

It sounds stupid, but it was simply the last straw. There have been a lot of things completely out of my control the last few months and the pressure has finally got to me. None of the things are particularly stressful on their own, but combined they are doing my head in.

So I’m taking a step back tonight. I’m not available. Don’t ask me questions and don’t expect anything from me. I’ve forgotten that I’m not superhuman. I’m not a one-man-band. I can’t do everything on my own and I have to remember that I’m allowed to rely on others. If they let me down it’s not a reflection of my skills, it’s them. I’m not responsible for everything all the time. Especially not tonight. Tonight I’m only responsible for me.

Today was that day

Some days it is pure spite that gets me through the day. I really want to prove that I will not fail and that I will not only meet my goals but will smash them. Other days not even spite gets me through. Today was that day. Tomorrow will be better.