Unstable

I’ve been feeling off for a while. And there’s no reason for it.

I’m caught up or ahead with work. I’ve got a great daily schedule that keeps me on top of basic household tasks & good hygiene. I’m loved by my amazing friends & relationships. Everything should be good.

But it doesn’t feel right.

It doesn’t quite feel like I’m forgetting something. It’s more like I’m waiting for the storm, waiting for the crash, waiting to fail. And honestly, I have no idea why. It’s just this general uneasy feeling I’ve had for a while. So much so, that even writing to you, my left eye is twitching (due to stress).

What am I stressed about? Why is my internal guide freaking out? It’s almost like a fight or flight response but I’m not in danger.

Dr. G’s words are echoing in my mind. “You grew up with chaos. That was your normal. So when things aren’t chaotic, you don’t trust it. You don’t know what peace is. It’s unfamiliar to you.”

I’m trying to remind myself that it’s okay, I’m safe, etc. I’m still having nightmares & waking up in a sweat (if I don’t take a Klonopin). This is definitely a deep paradigm shift. It’s a process and it’s taking longer than I care to admit.

I find myself envious of others who don’t have to deal with this change. They know what it’s like to be at peace. They welcome it with open arms. I’m more like, “Maintain your distance because you’re gonna leave me at some point & I am tired of getting hurt.”

Sigh.

Be patient with me. I’m trying my best. I’ll get there. One day at a time. ❀

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Old writing

I had recently found & reread some of my old high school writing. OMG. I thought it was SO GOOD. It was not. πŸ˜‰ But I guess everyone feels that way until they get out in the real world & get better with their writing.

One poem (of course, it was a poem) in particular jumped out at me. Like most students, we were assigned a topic to write about. However, in this instance, we were given free rein. It was November, my senior year, & most people had written about what that meant to them, their current life, & so on.Β  I took a risk.

I wrote a poem about a little girl around four years old. I described the scenery – it was dark, winter, & in the middle of a snowstorm. She was cold, alone, & hungry for love. In my poem, she had watched through a window other kids & other families warmly play by the fireplace. She was envious of their lives & wished for a better one right before she died. Macabre, yes, but it was my silent cry for help.

I remember we had to read them in front of the classroom. I watched one of the student’s faces in the front row. She went from encouraging & exciting to shocked & sad in a matter of minutes. After I read it, I sat back down. No one said anything & the next reader went up. I got an A & no one asked me about it.

I put myself in that little girl’s position. I, too, felt vulnerable & alone. I had cried out & wished for a loving & accepting family like what my friends had. I used to crave that type of unconditional love. I didn’t know it at the time that I was depressed & it was seeping out. I didn’t know how to hide it better.

Like I said, I remember taking a chance & putting myself out there. I had secretly hoped that someone would reach out. No one did. I’m not upset nor am I holding a grudge against my fellow classmates. We were 17 & 18. We didn’t know what to say or do. What did surprise me is that the adults I had talked to did nothing. The teacher never said anything. Neither did the guidance counselor. Neither did Mr. D, who I would go & talk to sometimes about my struggles. Everyone just left me alone & went out with their lives.

Of course, this is the same private school that my friend, *Brit, opened up & shared her problems at home. She was physically beaten by her mom & would regularly come to school covered in bruises. She had turned to drugs in the past & was recovering from LSD. I had encouraged her to talk to the guidance counselor for help. They called in the parents & she was immediately pulled from the school. I was angry & scared for her. Sometimes I try to find her online but I haven’t had luck. 😦

I realized my issues were not like Brit’s but the cry was still there. We were hurting & were looking for help & were unsuccessful.

Please. For her sake, listen to those who come to you & share their demons. You have no idea how much courage it takes to do it. We spend weeks, months, or years going back & forth if we should open up. Treat our hearts like gold & help us get the help we need. ❀

* I’m using her real name because she deserves a voice.

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Overstimulated

I’ve been sitting here staring at this blank screen for the better part of 10 minutes. I do have a variety of topics to tell you but I have no drive to write anything “good” today.

And you know what? That’s okay. πŸ™‚

So here’s what’s going on with me… The short version is that I feel overstimulated. Here’s the long version:

The last day or so have been kinda low days so I’m sure that’s why I’m feeling less than inspired.

I am feeling a little better (overall) since I’ve been actually sleeping now. For the last few months, I’ve been waking up 3, 4, 5 times a night. Sometimes to pee, sometimes because of a nightmare, & sometimes for no reason. It’s draining, to say the least. It’s very “one step forward, two steps back” for me. I finally remembered Dr. H recommending for me to take a Klonopin before I go to bed. It’s supposed to help with falling asleep & the anxiety that seeps into my subconscious & manifests in the form of nightmares. It does work which is great. I’ve done that the past 2 nights & no nightmares & no waking up in a cold sweat! Now I’m finding that I don’t wanna wake up or do anything because I’m finally getting some real rest. It’s like my body is trying to get caught up from these past few months.

I didn’t work out yesterday nor did I go to the gym this morning. I’m just…worn out. Again, I know it’s just because I’ve been that exhausted. I told myself it’s okay to have a rocky start. I need to ease into it while my body is “recharging.” My plan is to go back tomorrow & hopefully then, after a few nights of good sleep, I’ll feel better.

Does that make any sense? I kinda feel like I’m in a fog so I hope I don’t sound like a crazy person.

I usually have some sort of music playing during the day. Usually something energetic or soothing (depending on my mood). But this week? This week has been silence. Even when I’m in my car & driving around. I haven’t watched Netflix or bummed around on BuzzFeed as much as I used to. I mean, we’re talking a handful of minutes tops. Then I shut it off. It feels…loud? I’m not sure how to describe it. I get quickly overwhelmed &/or bored. I’m not sure why. I’ve been reading or listening to audiobooks instead. It seems like that’s all I have the patience for. I’m also going to bed early because I’m just done with the day. I’m not sure if that’s depression-related or adding on to feeling overwhelmed.

It’s definitely a weird phase that I’m in. The only reason I can think is that being so sleep deprived has brought me down to the basics. Survival & such. It’s like I’m easily overstimulated is just too much for me to handle right now.

I don’t feel sick or anything, which is good. I’m working on simplifying a lot & to omit all the noise. Whether if that’s pointless shit, toxic environments, selfish assholes, whatever. Some things are a struggle to cut out but that’s more OCD-related than it being mentally or emotionally challenging. It’s definitely a process.

Okay, I need a break from writing. I need to switch gears while I still have some energy. I’ll keep you updated…

I need this reminder. Just focus on her, SC. Fuck the rest.

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March Goals

Finally. It’s March.

The cold & snow are overstaying their welcome. I think I saw in the forecast that it’s supposed to get up to 40Β° F within the next week so that should help defrost the Midwest. πŸ˜‰

I’m excited for this month’s goals. I feel like the mental permafrost is starting to warm up as well. I think I’m finally through this weird slump. I’m definitely on the other side of it, for sure.

– A snapshot –

SPIRITUAL:Β  7 β†’ 8
MENTAL: 8 β†’ 9
PHYSICAL: 6 β†’ 7
CAREER: 7 β†’ 8
FINANCIAL: 7 β†’ 7 (maintaining since I’m still chugging along)

– The details –

SPIRITUAL: 7

  • I’m starting to feel pretty good about this. When I get down to the brass tacks of it all, I realize that a lot of religions overcomplicate their beliefs. Just keep it simple. That’s my best advice on it.
  • GOAL: To continue going to Temple because it makes me happy & I’m learning a lot. πŸ™‚ Easy peasy.

MENTAL: 8

  • Putting all mental illness aside, I’m doing really well. I’ve been focusing on cutting out extra “fluff” & it’s bringing me a lot of happiness.
  • GOAL: To do what I want & to be who I want. I’m done pleasing others. All it’s caused is drama & feelings of inadequacy. LC has mastered this. I wanna be cool like her! ❀

PHYSICAL: 6

  • I started back up at the gym this morning. Brushing the dust off of myself & getting back up on the horse. It’s really been hitting me lately how important physical health is.
  • GOAL: To take it one day at a time.

CAREER: 7

  • This is really, really new: there is a potential opportunity that would be amazing that’s currently in the early, early stages. More details to come as it develops (dΓ©veloppΓ©s…hahaha! Dance jokes).
  • GOAL: To work on my skill sets. I feel weak in some areas & I’m not a fan of that.

FINANCIAL: 7

  • I got some tax money in so I paid a certain bill. Ahh…feeling better & a lot less stressed about it. I still have a ways to go with others (specifically 4, excluding student loans) but I’m on the right path. It’s just slow going right now.
  • GOAL: To push forward. I’m almost through this dry season. C’mon, SC. Dig deep & push.

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It’s okay

I’ve had a lovely little lightbulb go off recently. It’s really helped me make my peace with things & has brought some overall relief from life’s pressures. It’s nothing Earth-shattering but it’s changed the way I view things. It all came down to two simple words:

It’s okay.

It’s okay to not be into succulents. I think it’s a pretentious fad.

It’s okay to buy the expensive creamer for your tea because it tastes better. $4 for a bottle? Let’s do it!

It’s okay to not like Taylor Swift. She just annoys me & comes across as entitled. I’d rather listen Ariana Grande anyway. #popgoddess #thankunext

It’s okay to be gay like George Takei! This is my little rhyme I use to remember how to pronounce his name correctly! Haha!

It’s okay to not like Star Wars. I think it’s so boring & I don’t understand the hype. Just STFU already.

It’s okay to have a different religion from your family who are clearly in denial. I’m feeling this one lately… Oy.

It’s okay to not have all the answers. Life is all about learning, right? Nobody likes a stuck up know-it-all anyway.

It’s okay to be YOU. ❀

Don’t change who you are for someone else. You be you.

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Just breathe

So remember how I told you I was taking February off from the gym to work on my psyche? Because I knew something was off?

Turns out I was right. πŸ˜‰

And even though I can’t quite pinpoint it yet, I can tell that was the right decision to make. And how do I know that? Because it’s being reflected in my dreams. I’m not having as many stressful dreams or nightmares or waking up gasping for air. All signs that something needs to be fixed, right?

I can also tell because I’m starting to really miss the gym. Like I can tell I NEED it versus this “Ugh, I should go” feeling. I miss being active & feeling strong. I’ve been having sciatic pain again (boo) so I’m sure that’s all connected as well.

But the most important part that I wanted to share with you is that I’m very proud of myself for listening to what *I* needed to do. I’m sure other people would be like, “Fuck it! Stay on the couch!” or “Push through & go to the gym!” And, yes, there is a time & a place for both. But for me, I could tell something wasn’t right. I was struggling way more than usual & I kept feeling weak.

Sometimes, you need a breather. A breather from the gym, from people, from the media, from your job, whatever. Only you know what’s best for you. Obviously, this isn’t an excuse to be an asshole or a bum. But I think if you’re really honest with yourself, you’ll know what works & what doesn’t. The sooner you realize it’s all connected, the easier & faster it is to heal. For me, mental was spilling over into physical to get my attention. Once I finally started to pay attention, I took a step back to take a moment & breathe.

And for me, taking a physical break to sort through some mental clutter is what I needed. I’m not 100% but I’m stronger than I was before. Progress. ❀

This is me, working hard for my mental health!

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Frozen lakes

How beautiful is this picture?! OMG. My jaw literally dropped when I saw it!

Hey πŸ™‚

I know that my last few posts have been Debbie Downers & I don’t want you to think I’m in that place. I mean, you know I have low days, sure. But I’m in a good place right now. I actually woke up smiling which is weird. Kinda felt like this:

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Which is hilarious to me because I usually feel like this:

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But anyway… πŸ˜‰

I woke up feeling good & energized. Of course, my Bang helped but the motivation was already there.

“So you woke up & ready for the day? Why is this post-worthy?”

Because, my cynical reader, for those of us with depression, that is a precious aspect of life that many take for granted. We don’t always get those days. In fact, most of my days are average. But every now & then, I get these highly-driven days & I get a lot of shit done.

Just to be clear: I’m not manic. This isn’t a “top of the world” feeling that’ll come with a crash at some point. This is more of a “Holy shit. The burden is lifted & I’ve got a window. Time to get to work while I can.”Β  I hope that makes sense. I do know those who deal with that beast & I don’t wanna downplay their struggles.

It’s almost 1400 here in the frozen tundra (Midwest USA) & I’m just about done with everything I wanted to get done with FOR THE DAY! Woo hoo!

I have to be careful when I have days like today that I don’t push it too hard or depression comes screaming back. It’s a tricky balance.

“How do you find the balance?”

It’s different for everyone, as clichΓ©d as that sounds. I’m naturally a driven, competitive person so I’ll probably get more accomplished than someone who is more laid-back. And that’s nothing against them. It really depends on your personality & your chemical makeup. That’s all. πŸ™‚

But for me, I know I have to try hard to not go “balls to the wall” & to sprinkle in some self-care. Dr. G told me to give myself some mini rewards, an incentive to help keep the ball rolling without it destroying everything in its path. For those who, like me, love visual examples, I like to picture it like walking on a frozen lake. If you’re not too careful, the ice will crack & you’ll fall into the waters. However, if you step lightly & go slow, you’ll get to where you want to be.

Today, my reward will be sitting on my couch & reading a book I really enjoy. Maybe I’ll make some tea as well. But I’ll sit there & quietly read under my favorite blanket. Ahh…

Maybe that’s a great reward for you. Maybe you prefer to go to the gym. Or get caught up on OITNB. Or whatever else.

Make it work FOR YOU. There is no “one size fits all.” You know you. You know what works & what doesn’t. ❀

This is my new favorite graph πŸ™‚

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My hands are tied

Trigger warning: physical abuse

Remember how I mentioned there’s a lot I wanna tell you but my mind’s been a blank? I bought a little notepad today (my weakness) so I can write them down as they come to me. Ergo, this post. πŸ™‚

I’ve told Dr. G several times about some of the emotional abuse I’ve experienced growing up. It was only recently I remembered there were some other types of abuse as well. I guess that’s the joys of therapy. You get down to the bedrock of your issues & find shit there you had buried years & years ago. Things I honestly forgot happened to me.

Here’s one of those buried stories…

I’m right-handed. To my dad, that meant I shouldn’t use my left hand while eating at all. I, naturally, disagree. Sometimes you need help scraping up the last bit of sauce on your plate. Being the youngest in the family & eating foods like frozen peas meant I wasn’t as coordinated (or as sneaky) as my older brother.Β  My dad sat across from me & would scream at me for using my left hand to assist my right. And then one day, he had had enough.

He got up during dinner & grabbed two belts. He belted the top of my left arm & down by my wrist to the chair. It was tight & it hurt. I couldn’t move it at all. This went on for a while. Every time I would come to dinner, I had to be belted in. Every time, it would hurt & I would have red lines for the rest of the night.

I don’t remember how long that lasted as all of that is foggy for me. See? My mind is trying to protect me. I do remember at some point I learned to just sit on my left hand & be frustrated at dinner. Dinner never lasted too long anyway as Dad wanted to go watch TV for hours & Mom wanted to sit on the couch & read about stupid bullshit that fed her victim mentality. My brother & I had to clean the whole kitchen. And my parents are not “clean as you go” type of people. They are hoarders who destroy anything they can. I’m not exaggerating. I’ve never known anyone who had to replace their drip pans twice. In one year. Because they rusted through. Oh, BTW, I bought & replaced them because I felt like it was a fire hazard & I didn’t want my house to burn down.

Oy.

Anyway, this is how it was every night. My brother & I would spend about an hour cleaning everything in sight. Mom & Dad would check it & if it wasn’t up to the impossible code that they couldn’t even reach, we weren’t “released” from the kitchen.

Which reminds me of a side note: If Mom or Dad cooked, we had to clean up. They would claim that if we cooked, they would clean. Every fucking time we cooked, we still had to clean up. I think that’s fucked up.

Stories like these are interesting to me. I have no idea how I survived. Probably because I thought everyone else was treated like this. I had learned early in life to not share too much about myself especially since I knew my friends were richer & had other experiences, usually better experiences. But shit like scrubbing the kitchen every night a la Cinderella? I thought everyone did that. I didn’t know that most families will clean up TOGETHER. Most families spend time TOGETHER. My family was 4 people going in 4 different directions.

I’m sure they are other instances of physical abuse that will come to the surface. I was never beaten, thank God. But there were acts of rage that I know now as an adult aren’t normal nor are they healthy.

Shit like…

I wanted to be with my older brother all.the.time. I idolized him. He was a typical older brother who only seemed to tolerate me when he got something out of the deal. One time, I was pestering him because I was lonely. I just wanted some company, a friend. He was popular with the local kids. I was the only girl & if my one friend wanted to hang out with the boys, well, there went my playdate.

Anyway, I was bugging him because I wanted his attention. I don’t remember what prompted me but I grabbed his arm & bit him. I had braces on so I’m sure it didn’t feel amazing. I do remember that I didn’t break the skin because I didn’t want to hurt him. I just wanted his attention. Not the greatest logic but I was like 8 or something.

He yelled for Mom & she came in all pissed. He was already the Golden Child & “how dare I hurt him.” There was no communication or training on how to compromise or how to voice my concerns. No, instead she grabbed my arm & bit me. I still remember looking at shock at my arm. There were teeth marks. My mom, instead of using a voice of reason & being an adult, was no different from my 8-year-old self. Actually, she was, because I didn’t leave a mark. I remember my brother was shocked, too. Once the shock wore off, I ran into my room & cried. Not only because it hurt but because my mother did it. I felt betrayed. That feeling of isolation sunk in even more when no one came to check on me. But that was common. According to them, I was being “emotional” & I was “just tired.” But we’ll get into that another day.

I never bit him again. Not because I didn’t want to hurt him, but because I was scared of what she would do to me next. I would cower when she grabbed something out of anger. No child should be afraid of their parents. Their parents should protect them from harm, teach them how to handle problems, & make their home a safe haven. They shouldn’t bite them or tie their hands to a chair.

Ugh. This was hard to share. Thank you for allowing me to be me & to clean out these skeletons out of the closet. If it helps one person out there to know they’re not alone, then it was all worth it.Β 

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Wrapping up another gift…

Those who know me know I love nature. Always have, always will. It speaks to me in ways I can’t explain. Well, at least not without sounding like a crazy person. πŸ˜‰

My emotions are deeply invested in astronomy. I’ve been elated with a supermoon, speechless at Mars & Jupiter, & found a friend in Orion. I think it all stems from my lonely childhood. I would open my Care Bears curtains & stare up at the sky for hours. I couldn’t get enough. I would talk to God or constellations or planets. I would tell them about my day, my worries, & my joys. I would sing happy songs to them & silently cry when the burden was too heavy. Every night, I would look for my interstellar friends. I would squint to see Pluto (yes, it’s a planet) & when I was younger, swear I saw Saturn’s rings. πŸ˜‰ I would pray for nighttime to appear just so I wouldn’t feel so alone.

I asked CR about it tonight – why do I have this pull with nature? She said it’s because it’s where I feel the most grounded. And she’s right. In the midst of my chaotic life, I feel like nature reconnects me to what really matters. Technology, while amazing & helpful, brings a lot of “noise.” It makes me think of how Marie Kondo (love her) describes it – “metallic.” All of the electronics bring about a metallic “taste” to the atmosphere. I know, I know. That sounds out there. But think about how refreshed you feel when you get away from it all. Yeah? That feeling? That’s what I want. And I get that with my stars.

I mentioned a while back how I don’t understand people who can stare at the TV for hours on end. It’s draining to me. It’s like I can feel my brain cells dying off, one by one. I’d much rather do something more productive. Or if I’m relaxing, maybe watch an hour of Netflix before I read or listen to some music or something else. I find that my tolerance for binge-watching is getting smaller & smaller. I feel like there’s so much that needs to be done (personally or globally) & my attention would be put to better use elsewhere.

All of that to say this…

Tonight, I called a friend. I asked them to look at the beautiful moon tonight. They were on the couch watching TV. C’mon, go to the window. It’ll take 30 seconds tops. Their response? “I’m not interested in that.”

Ouch.

Something I’m passionate about, something that brings me joy, something that’s rare (like the supermoon) – I wanted to share this moment with them. I wanted to hear them wonder in awe or at least say, “That’s cool!” It would’ve taken them a moment to look out the window & to make me feel important.

But no.Β They’re not interested in what I’m interested in. They couldn’t even fake it for my sake.

I remember I had a telescope around the time Hale-Bopp was around. See, it had been THOUSANDS of years before it was by Earth & it was gonna another 2500 years before it would appear again. This is the only time in my lifetime I would see it. My cheap telescope did the best it could & I still remember seeing the foggy comet. πŸ™‚ At the time, I tried to show my parents, my brother, & my friends. No one seemed to care. Only one friend actually bothered to look through my telescope & even then she feigned interest for about 4 seconds before she walked away, “Oh yeah…it’s blurry…let’s do something else.”

All of that came flooding back to me. That deep rejection of not being appreciated for who I am & what I’m interested in. Do you know how many times I’ve pretended to care about something absolutely STUPID in someone else’s life? Tiny, minuscule shit that won’t matter in a month, let alone a week? Times when I can feel my eyes gloss over & I gotta do something to stay awake or they’re gonna think I have narcolepsy? I’ve listened to hours & hours & HOURS of other people’s dramas, concerns, interests, what have you. Even shit that has nothing to do with them! I don’t give a fuck about the Kardashians. Why do you? And then when I want to share a part of me that takes less than a minute, I’m quickly reminded that it’s not important to them & by proxy, neither am I.

Ugh. Like I said, it hurts. I’m not really surprised by it. I think I’m just done trying. I feel like there’s more & more of me that I keep hidden because I’m tired of being hurt. Yeah, it may look like a pebble to you, but to me, it’s a sapphire. And even if you’re convinced it’s worthless, to me, it’s priceless.

It’s just another part of me that I’ll carefully box up. I’ll wrap it in brown paper & tie a nice ribbon around it because it’ll make me happy. It’ll go on the shelf with the others. Even if I’m the only one who appreciates it, it’s still beautiful & loved by me. Some days, it feels like that shelf is gonna collapse under the weight. I’m sure when that day comes, I’ll feel it in its entirety.

It’s getting to be where the only place I feel like I can be me & be respected as me is right here. I can’t tell if that’s sad or hopeful.

I’m tired of feeling alone…

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Unraveling my thoughts

As you know, my mind has been in this “slush” for the better part of 6 weeks. Add to that the “on edge” feeling I’ve been having lately & you can see why everything feels cluttered & chaotic. Again, I’m not sure why but it’s just where I’m at. “Because that’s how depression works” isn’t the best answer but it is the most accurate answer. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

During my massage today, I found my body relaxed but my mind whirling. That’s nothing new, I know. My mind felt like a ball of yarn all knotted up. As I’m lying there, I’m mentally telling myself, “Oh, do this. Don’t forget about that. Shit – you gotta handle this” and so on & so forth. So I’m not really relaxed.

Instead of letting my mind to continue getting tangled up, I did my best to silence it. I would grab one string of thought & mentally cut it out via quick decisions or discard it completely.

For example:

String: Ugh. I’m out of Bangs & I’m *dragging. I’m gonna need something.
Cut: I’ll go to the gas station after my massage & pick up a few Bangs to hold me over until my next shipment comes. *snip*

String: I need to go to the gym. I have zero energy or willpower lately. What is wrong with me? I miss it but I can’t go without feeling lightheaded & weak. It’s such a vicious cycle…
Cut: Fuck it. Take the rest of February off to focus on getting your mental health back up to where it should be. Obviously, there are some deeper issues you need to resolve. *snip*

String: God, why am I so fucking tired lately? I feel like I’m sleeping all the time & I’m still yawning & exhausted!
Cut: So you need a bit more rest now. Who cares? Do what’s best for you. Fuck the rest.

Once I cut these huge knots out, I felt a lot better. I even fell asleep for a few moments on the massage table. πŸ˜‰

It’s hard for me to let things go. I feel like I’m failing in some area. Between working it out here & Dr. G, I’m slowly learning that it’s not failure but strength. Sometimes it’s not worth it & it doesn’t need any of my time, energy, or focus. All it’s gonna do is knot up in my mind, right?

One day at a time. Someday, I’ll get through this phase & look back with pride.

Someday. πŸ™‚

* Every time I say “dragging,” I think of “dragon.” Which makes me then think of this badass scene. πŸ˜‰Β 

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