*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’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.
Wanna visit Lifeaversaries Past?: Read the archives, baby: