Changing is hard

Changing is hard. Okay, lots of things are hard when you’re depressed. Getting up in the morning. Finding the energy to do everyday tasks. Looking for the will to go on. You know, all that good stuff. But changing yourself and your thoughts is especially hard.

It’s a strange battle, isn’t it? Often, you know what you ought to do or have to do. And often, you just can’t seem to summon up the will to do it.

Let’s say you want to to start exercising more, and let’s say you even found the energy to do it a couple of days. Great! That’s a good start in making a positive change in your life. Then you miss a day, or two, or three, or a month. That change didn’t go so well, and now it’s like you have to start over from the beginning. It can be demotivating.

Or let’s say you’re trying to combat social isolation. You chat with a couple of friends you haven’t talked to in a while, catch up. Everything seems pretty okay, and maybe you’re even feeling pretty good about the whole thing. Then plans you made with one friend fall through and you’re left feeling disappointed and depressed. It’s not really their fault and it’s not necessarily yours. But it can set your progress back.

I know there are changes I should make to improve my life. The problem is that my mind, my depression tells me that these changes are nearly impossible. I think of the cost, the energy needed, the risk and I find it difficult to carry things through. Changing is hard!

And I’m stubborn, really stubborn. I have negative thought processes that have slowly been ingrained in me over the past 20+ years; it might take another 20+ years to rewire those processes.And I’m so, so tired of fighting some days – tired of fighting with myself, with the world. Sometimes I don’t want to change. Sometimes I want to take the easy route.

But I think change can be good. So I try, and try, and keep trying, despite some reluctance and more than a little anxiety.

I don’t think there is some magical way to make changing easier. Take things one step at a time? Get back up when you fall? Pick your battles wisely? It’s all decent advice. But it’s still going to be hard. And it’s still going to seem pretty awful. And it’s probably going to be pretty depressing.

But I hope it’s worth it in the end!

❤ Michelle

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What I’ve been up to

Hello everyone! It’s been a while! I’m still alive.

A few people have asked for updates on my job search. Well, I’m still searching. It’s kind of a roller coaster (I want off the ride now…). I went through a series of interviews for a job that would have been a fairly good fit for me. I even got a bit hopeful that time, but it didn’t pan out. This was disappointing, but such is life, I guess. I just keep sending out my applications.

It’s very easy to get frustrated – with yourself, with the companies, with the society as a whole. I find myself wondering why I spent so many years in school when it doesn’t really seem worth it from a career standpoint (But don’t get me wrong, from an education and self-growth standpoint, I loved all those years of school.). I find myself wondering why the companies are asking for 5 years of experience for an entry level job. I find myself wondering why we put so much emphasis on people’s jobs (We so often ask people “What do you do?” even though it has very little to do with who they are as people.). I know I’m not the only person wondering these things; I know I’m not the only one who is frustrated. It’s not easy, and it’s not fun, but we all just keep plugging away.

What else have I been up to in my absence? I’ve been trying to separate myself from the internet a little bit. I love, love, love the internet, but it’s so easy to waste away a day surfing the web. I don’t want to do that, and I think it sometimes makes my depression worse, so I’ve tried to find some other ways to waste my time! I’ve been doing some exercise. I’ve been reading more books. I’ve been writing some books (Two of them! I was fairly proud of this, since I’ve wanted to write one since I was very small. Whether they’re any good still waits to be seen haha). I’ve been trying not to die in the humid heat of a Southwestern Ontario summer. I’ve been catching up with family and friends. I’ve been catching Pokemon. I’ve been eating way more potato chips than any human being should.

Basically, I’m just trying to fill my time and not let the depression set in. It’s an everyday battle. Some days are harder than others. But today is an okay day! I hope you have an okay day too! 🙂

“Congrats…I guess”

I have a hard time being happy for others. Maybe this shouldn’t be a surprise – I have a hard time being happy for myself, too. But there is a chance that when somebody shares their good news, I won’t be pleased.

I have this idea in my head – one I have a hard time combating – that some people deserve to have good things happen to them and some don’t.

If I think a person deserves good things, I will probably be pleased to hear their good news. As an example, when somebody with depression shares good news, I’m usually pleased. I know that good news can be a bit sparse when you have depression, and that if you are struggling with depression every day, you likely deserve to have something nice happen to you at least once in a while!

On the other hand, if I don’t feel a person deserves good things, I’m likely to meet their joy and good news with feelings of envy and disdain, or, sometimes, without any feeling at all. An example here would be a person who’s ‘got everything’ sharing news of yet another success. At best, I won’t care; at worst, I’ll become upset over their good news.

I wish I wasn’t like that. I sometimes think I’m not a very good person for being this way, even though I know I’m not the only person with these feelings. I know it’s not my place to judge whether or not somebody deserves happiness, and that ‘deserving’ good things really has little to do with receiving them. And I know that my envy or anger it isn’t truly a representation of how I feel about these ‘undeserving’ people, but a reflection of the impotent rage I feel over the state of my own life. It’s not something I can fix overnight.

So I fake it. I tell them “congratulations”, or ‘like’ their post, or go to their party (if I have to!), and I act like I’m happy for them. Maybe, eventually, I will be happy for them. Maybe, eventually, I’ll be happy, too.

It goes on.

I know a number of people who find comfort in the phrase “This too shall pass.” I appreciate the idea behind it; I think it’s beautiful. Yet, it never rang true for me. I can’t forge a connection with the saying because it doesn’t line-up with my experience very well.

Perhaps I’m impatient. I feel like many things in my life don’t really pass, but maybe I’ve just not waited long enough. I’ll be the first to admit that my level of patience really depends on how long I have to wait!

But then I think of my dysthymia – my chronic depression. Will it, too, pass? Maybe. Maybe if I wait long enough. But maybe not, too. Maybe this shall not pass [insert your own Gandalf reference here]. So when people say “This too shall pass.”, I’m a bit skeptical.

Eventually I found my own phrase to use. Something I could find some comfort in. It is from a Robert Frost quote:

Robert Frost quote

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.

It goes on. That’s something that does line up with my experience. No matter what has happened in my life, whether it has passed or stuck around, life has gone on.

I suppose, in a certain light, it might sound terrible. If you are suffering incredibly, life carrying on might seem to prolong that pain. Wouldn’t you rather the pain pass rather than go on?

But, for me, it is also a reminder that life is bigger than me and my suffering. Despite suffering, life goes on around me. I think that’s part of the reason why the quote resonates with me; it pulls me from my self-involved misery and reminds me of the world.

It goes on. The world goes on. I go on.

What about you? Do you have a phrase or a motto that helps you? I’d love to hear it!

Incomparable Lives

I compare myself to other people. I know better, but I still do it. When I see other girls, I’ll compare my looks to theirs. When I go on Facebook, I compare my life to my friends’. I judge myself harshly, and usually find myself lacking. This certainly does nothing to alleviate my depression.

Comparing myself to others has never made me happy. It’s a sort of sick compulsion, and part of a competitive nature I can’t seem to shake. “Stop comparing yourself to others”; I will…just as soon as I’m doing better than them.

I know I’m not alone in this. A lot of us spend time seeing how we measure up – if we’re keeping up with the Joneses.

Obviously I do not know the inner workings of every person’s mind, but it seems like some of the happiest people I know are not burdened by self-comparison. Of course, I compare my own relative discontent to their happiness and end up envious!

However, I had something of a breakthrough when I was considering some upcoming events. Let me take you through the events:

  • In a month and a half, my best friend is getting married.
  • About 2 months after that, i will graduate from my program and complete my 20th consecutive year of school.
  • About 2 months after that, my cousin will give birth to her first child.

My friends, my cousin, and I are all very close in age (all born within a 32-day period). We all grew up in the same county. We all went to the same schools. Yet, despite these similarities, out lives have taken drastically different paths.

How can I compare my life to either of theirs? It’s all apples and oranges.

Am I failing because I’m not getting married or having a child? No. Are they failing because they have not pursued education to the same extent I have? No.

Comparing our lives to the lives of those on different paths will not make us happy, and it’s a silly thing to do anyway. I think, from now on, I will find it a bit easier to remember this.

First Impressions

I was eating dinner with a friend recently, and we were talking about dating, meeting people, etc.. I commented that I just automatically assume that people don’t like me (because why would they?!). He was taken aback by this. He told me ‘That’s so interesting. It seems like many girls think everybody wants them.’. I know those people exist, though I don’t personally know anyone that acts that way (that I’ve noticed), but I’m not one of them. Still, it made me think about my own assumption upon meeting people. Why do I think everyone is going to hate me? Yes, the obvious reasons: depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, etc.. The question is more about how I got that idea in my head.

I am pretty modest most of the time, but I’m going to say that, objectively, I think I’m pretty cool. (more…)

My experience: meditation and mood

I know I’ve been missing for a long time – since the end of August – but I am alive! I’ve been writing a lot recently…just not on this blog. However, since I should be working on an essay right now, I thought this would be the perfect time to procrastinate and make a post. I have many things to talk about, but I’ll start with something small-ish and positive because we can all use a little positivity!

I took an introduction meditation course from September through November. (more…)

I Feel Pretty, Oh So Pretty : Rambling on Beauty, Self-Esteem, and Makeup

I’m going to be honest with you: I can be pretty shallow. I think we all can be. Isn’t everyone guilty of having at least once looked and somebody and thought ‘Urgh, what is {s}he wearing?!’, or ‘That’s a face only a mother could love!’, or something to that effect? Perhaps there are some saintly people out there that do not do this, but I am not one of them. I try not to let my aesthetic taste change how I act around people, but it happens…often. I admit to judging people for how they look (I’m lookin’ at you, hipsters!). The problem is, this leaves me with an awareness and wariness of others judging me for how I look.

I look quite average, I think. (more…)

Eulogize – a writing activity

I happened to come across a blog with an interesting activity I knew I had to try. The activity was the following:

Write your own eulogy. (more…)

My Story, My Family: Parentification and spousification

I’ve noticed that the most common search engine terms that lead people to my blog are ‘parentification’ and ‘spousification’. I’ve only touched on these forms of adultification (when a child/teen takes on the roles of an adult) briefly in other blog posts, but I wish to now expand upon the topics for those looking for information or real-life stories.

You can also read more I’ve written about adultifcation here.

(more…)

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