Lifeaversary | 8

*If you are new here, each year I celebrate my Lifeaversary – the anniversary of the day that I attempted suicide (August 3rd, 2009). If you or someone you know is having dark thoughts, or is in a black hole of depression that they can’t get out of, there is help here. and here. and here. and here

You are not alone.  You are not done.  Your depression is lying. The world still needs you. 

I’m going to be honest. I’m struggling with this post this year. I’ve sat down to write it no less than 10 times over the last 3 months. Each time, I write something, hate it, then abandon it to start over.

Not writing a post wasn’t an option – not because I *have* to, or feel obligated to, but I do like to come back every year and read through the Lifeaversary Archives and cry a little (strugglin’ Katie was strugglin’) …but mostly I like to celebrate how far I’ve come.

So I sat down again this morning, on my actual Lifeaversary, and started writing in a million different directions. True to form, about an hour in, I decided to leave again and try again after coffee. But this time, I guess autosave didn’t work or something, and I got this familiar popup alert:

 

do you want to leave or stay popup

 

WordPress is almost making the decision for me, am I right? Leave is highlighted and saying “Click me. Just leave. Everything sucks. You suck. Abandon ship.”

And as with every good peice of writing or Sex and the City / Grey’s Anatomy episode, I had an inner monologue.

Do I leave all of the work I’ve put into this post and start over again? There are tons of mistakes already, and I’m going to make more. 

Do I stay, make the best of this hot mess, accept that nothing will be perfect, swallow my pride, and publish something… anything?

Is it worth staying if it’s not perfect?

Spoiler Alert: If you’re reading this post, I stayed. Here I am.
(subtitle: I really wanted to jump ship.)

I’m someone who loves new things and the idea of starting over.  Notebooks, journals, projects, lifeaversary blog posts… you name it, I’ll start it. But finish it? Good luck. Once the newness wears off, I’m ready to say “Peace out, homie” and look for the next new notebook, journal, project, whatever.

The feeling of a completely blank slate is so… hopeful. No mistakes have been made, nothing is broken, the possibilities are endless. At any given moment, we all have the power to erase the mistakes and begin again. I get massively drunk on that power.

The unfortunate thing about this thing called life is that you can’t just start over from the beginning and restart the clock. You can absolutely wipe your personal slate clean, but the clock doesn’t stop. You don’t get the years you’ve spent back.  Time keeps passing, the clock keeps ticking, and you have to keep moving with it.

Even when everything is a mess, and nothing makes sense, happiness seems like a party that everyone is attending but you’re waiting on your invitation, your lifeaversary post isn’t shaping up to be anything good… just keep going.

Turn the page if you must, but don’t close the book. The story isn’t over.

I don’t know where I heard this, but it stuck with me:

At the end of the day, we’re all just walking each other home.

And internet, I love that we’re on each other’s team.

I’m not sure what the next year will bring, but I’m going to stay and find out.

Til next year,

PS: Special shout out to all of the people, places, and things that have helped me get through those freaking hard days. Recovery isn’t a straight line. It’s a hot mess express. These are some of my favorite tools in my arsenal.

 

 

Relive the last 7 years of Lifeaversaries below:

Lifeaversary | 7
Lifeaversary | 6
Lifeaversary | 5
Lifeaversary | 4
Lifeaversary | 3
Lifeaversary | 2

 

Lifeaversary | 7

*If you are new here, each year I celebrate my Lifeaversary – the anniversary of the day that I attempted suicide (August 3rd, 2009). If you or someone you know is having dark thoughts, or is in a black hole of depression that they can’t get out of, there is help here. and here. and here. and here. You are not alone. You are not done. Your depression is lying. The world still needs you.

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I’ve struggled with writing this post. Not because this year has been particularly bad, or even overwhelmingly good. It’s been… a lull. Which, after the crazy 2 years I had a while back, I embrace this lull like you wouldn’t believe. Admittedly, I thought about not writing a post this year because, well, I haven’t really felt inspiration. Writing has taken a bit of a back seat to career choices and Netflix binging. As you do, Internet. As. You. Do.

While nothing huge externally has happened to me this year — I am not married, I haven’t birthed any children,  I haven’t become the heiress to the Pancake empire (yet), it has been a very active year deep in the inside. (TWSS? No? Okay.)

Struggle Does Not Always Equal Crisis

I have noticed a monumental shift in my thinking. In years past, when I was faced with struggles, I would freak out, thinking my world was going to end. I would go immediately into crisis mode, contact my therapist, and go on this downward spiral of fear that I was diving into the dark place again.

This year has not been without its struggles. However, when something has challenged me, my mindset doesn’t go to crisis mode. I worry, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t worry myself to a point of anxiety and panic attacks that have me in some kind of Xanax induced coma of self-medicating. Instead I call up a friend, pour a cup of tea, take a walk, Meditate, or one of dozens of other self-care rituals that I have developed.

I am only human though, I have ugly cried for a few hours over some stuff. That’s what cupcakes are for.

Self Care + Happiness

The thing I am most proud of (and honestly, really freaking stoked about) is learning what self care and happiness mean to me.

For years I’ve read articles, blogs, had coaching calls, had therapy sessions talking about this elusive “Self Care”, how important it is, and how I needed to be practicing it.

I would try endless things, none of them made me happy. I was convinced that I was a real life Eeyore, born without any happy juice in my brain.

Arguably worse, I found myself waiting for someone or something to come along to make me happy. A romantic partner, a job, more money,

It took me 7 years to figure it out, but I learned to be open to happiness, and to experience it in whatever form it visited me. Happiness for me isn’t some huge smile and doing back-flips. So waiting for my happiness to look like every one else’s is going to be a fruitless battle.

For me, happiness is more of an internal feeling of calmness combined with excitement for that present moment. Most times, even when I am with friends or family, my mind wanders to the past or the future where anxiety and depression live and try to steal my sunshine, making my otherwise happy moments dull and cloudy.

But when I make a conscious effort to put aside the shame I feel from my past, and the anxiety I feel for the future, I’m left with a mindful, in-the-moment feeling of all-consuming happiness.

Calm + Peaceful + Hopeful + Open = Happy.

MIND. FREAKING. BLOWN.

This year, it’s been all about getting to know what makes me happy, getting rid of things and distancing myself from people that don’t, and  creating and nourishing new friendships and relationships. I am so grateful to my close friends and family who have made it so freaking easy to be myself in all my imperfect glory AND to be + feel loved at the same time. You are my lifelines.

Year 7 is down in the books. I survived another year. And internet, if you’re reading this, so did you, you little rockstar you.

 

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Wanna visit Lifeaversaries Past?: Read the archives, baby:

Lifeaversary | 6
Lifeaversary | 5
Lifeaversary | 4
Lifeaversary | 3
Lifeaversary | 2