The glass walls and civil war of depression, anxiety and CHD

I wrote this when I wasn’t so happy and I just wanted to write it all out.

I watch everyone walk by me, and everyone live around me yet I can’t join in.  There are walls around me, but they don’t prevent me from seeing what’s in front of me, they don’t skew my view on the life I have and what I want; they make it impossible.  I tend to get really into living life ‘well’, and running towards my dreams; whatever they may be that week.  This life I live is clean, there are no smear marks, no fingerprints to let me know that there is a wall ahead of me, until I hit the wall at full force and stumble backwards onto the floor.  “Why can’t I keep going?” Then I see it, a glass box; and I’m stuck in it.  I thought I had left this room behind, I thought that if I lived my life well enough that I would be free from the walls that I continuously work to keep down.

The thing is I work hard to keep down the walls that I can hide behind, the walls that make it “ok” if I forget to eat or if I don’t get out of bed, the walls that make me invisible.  I’ve managed to break down those walls, I’ve managed to manage my life until I hit a glass wall.  Just last week I found myself in one when my doctor told me I might have to have surgery…my life just stopped.  How can you make plans for a future you know nothing about? I saw others around me plan for college, plan for their new career, plan for their family.  The glass room I was inside would only let me plan for a few weeks ahead, not a few months, let alone a few years…where would I be then?

This time the glass room was shattered by reassurance and information that I will be ok, that I will be able to forgo the surgery.  Other times however the glass wall isn’t something that is shattered so easily.  Sometimes glass rooms pop up instead of brick ones; I know that what I’m thinking isn’t normal and I can see where I want to be, and people can see me but I can’t move from where I am.  These glass rooms are scary, because I’m not sure what triggered me, and the bounce back of the gravity is just a little too much for me to handle.  Sometimes the glass room is comfortable because I can just sit and watch life go by. People will stop and ask me “what’s wrong?” or they will even me if they can help me out; but I tell them “I’m ok”.  Instead of building a wall as a defense mechanism against the outside world, I make glass ones that are used as defense mechanisms against myself; my own civil war.

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The adventures of being happy: flying high

I’ve had A LOT of turbulence the past month, my seat belt wasn’t fastened for most of those moments, and the plane never stayed the expected course.  Enough with the metaphors…a lot the past six weeks have just not been good.  The biggest thing in this journey I’m on is to find happiness, even when the day, week or even month goes to hell.

Do you ever feel like you problems aren’t that big? “There are people with way worse problems than I have, I don’t really need help compared to them” < something along those lines?  Well I’m here to tell you; you do.

There was a particular incident that shook me to my core and made me realize that I needed to find this happiness, this relaxation, the act of being present…right now or I might not find it at all.  For the next couple of weeks thing snowballed so much that it really just made me feel like I couldn’t get back up because I was just going to be knocked down again.

There was a saving grace in all of this, I had a trip to Oregon that I planned months prior to the shit storm that took over my life. I took the smallest suitcase I had, my chromebook, DSLR, phone and “How to Be a Badass” and flew across the country. It took me 4 cities, 3 planes, and 9 hours to get to somewhere no one knew what was going on…and that’s all I truly wanted at that moment.

Once I got there I realized that I didn’t just change by getting off the plane, and that was half the battle.  There were two big demons in my mind at the time and on the way to Oregon one ravished itself inside my mind for the long haul flight from Chicago to San Francisco.  The next day I had to do some damage control and my easy week didn’t start off so great.  We went to the Oregon Coast and relaxed there for the day; what I didn’t notice about me is that I tend to just point out negative things and I give myself pity for something and blame it on something that’s wrong with me when that’s not necessarily the case.  That was my first big lesson 1. think of the positives.

As that was my big lesson I started the week on I would try and journal at least 10 things I was thankful for that happened during the day; it made me realize that sometimes it’s hard to find just 10 things.  When in reality I don’t think that’s the case, I’ve just been wired to see what could go wrong or what is wrong instead of thinking of what is going right and what is possible.  Task 1. write 10 good things and/or 10 things that you are thankful for.

The biggest thing I did that week was let myself learn, let myself love, and let myself just be me.  I wanted to learn how to love myself and how I could make that into an everyday thing, not just once in awhile thing.  I wanted to learn how to accept what other’s opinions were and take them in and evaluate whether they should help or reform my opinion.  I wanted to learn how to let the energy around me become energy within me and vice versa.  I wanted to become someone who could actually accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I could, and have the ability to know the difference. What I learned was that I can only change myself, I only have control over the things I do, the behaviors I perform and the words I project. I cannot change how someone sees me, I cannot change how someone sees the world, and I cannot begin to change how someone else interacts with the world.  I soon enough learned that I can change how I see me/others, I can change how I see the world and I can change how I interact with the world around me.  Lesson 2. I am Mario (How to Be a Bawse)

With my new found knowledge I had learned I started to implement it as I was learning it.  Old habits die hard. I found myself ignorant to others and their views on certain topics, I didn’t want to try so hard to change my way of thinking because there were things I had to get done away from home, and I didn’t even begin to know how to change the way I interact with others in an all positive demeanor.  I just knew it had to be done, I knew that I was meant to go to Oregon, and somehow I knew it was going to change me. Task 2. Suck it up buttercup.

I’ve been home for a few weeks now and all the crap that seemed to incase my body is taken care of.  I let it stop being who I was and let the words of others crash down before they could hit me.  I was able to do this because I found the confidence in myself that I had lost, or maybe really never truly knew I had.  I was able to remove myself from toxic situations where I realized I couldn’t change other’s opinion of me, nor changed how they treated others.  I still don’t know if I’ve honestly honed my source energy; but at least now I know it’s there.  Lesson 3. nothing worth doing right is easy.

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It’s taken me awhile to write this blog because honestly I wasn’t sure how I wanted the tone to be set, or if I wanted to keep my one f#*ked up moment to myself and hope that running away from it would help, hoping that flying across the country would be the fix-all for every messed up thing that followed in those two weeks before.  But I owed it to myself not to bury it, not to forget it (because God knows that wasn’t going to happen), not to pretend that it didn’t happen; instead I want to embrace it and beleive that it has changed me.

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extra:
I Live
written: 2.21.17
I live in the sunshine state
yet it rains consistently

I live in the moment
except I fear the future

I live with a smile on my face
and tears threatening to shine

I live with fire in my soul
but hesitation in my bones

I live

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Live, Laugh, Love…..Always,

Nicole

The Adventures of Being Happy: Decluttering

What do you think when you hear the word “clutter” and “decluttering”?  Most people, including myself think of it as physical stuff, how much stuff we have around our space.  I’ve been reading How To Be  A Bawse and there is a section about decluttering your life, the things that make you feel dragged down and cluttered.  Recently my life seems to feel so cluttered that I can’t seem to move around, the times I feel like I’ve cleaned one part out another aspect falls down into the just cleaned space.  The problem isn’t that I can’t clean it; the problem lies in the fact that there is too much stuff.  So, I’m detoxing my life.

I have talked about what makes me happy, and that my happiness is found in making others happy.  Once again I pose the question “what makes ME happy?” Maybe it’s time to use a bit of reverse psychology on myself: “what makes me UNHAPPY?”
1. Being used
2. Not being appreciated
3. The feeling of exclusion in a group you “belong” to
4. Those who are not present when they are with you
5. Stagnancy

By going backwards the light bulb went off that I find myself in situations where I feel like I can’t say no, but I don’t want to let others down.  Many people know that I have an issue saying no and because of that I’ve been used more times than I’d like to count.  It’s time to break that thinking down; how do I say no while still maintaining my values and respecting myself and others? Let go of those who won’t appreciate all those times you have said yes and instead ridicule you for saying no.

The idea of saying no and having self respect for myself and my values will take time, but it begins with realizing that my value is measured by who I AM and not what I’m NOT.

“People inspire you or they drain you. Pick them wisely.”  -Unknown

Live, Laugh, Love……Always,

Nicole

 

Danger

Sometimes the danger is in knowing.

“She’s so annoying, why doesn’t she just go away?”
“I can’t beleive she wore that! Doesn’t she know that doesn’t fit her right?”
“Did you know she said something to him, I can’t believe she had the audacity to do that!”
“Why doesn’t she just grow up?”
“It wouldn’t even matter if he was here or not.”

Can you even hear yourselves sometimes? We are ADULTS, not in middle school, not in high school; we are GROWN people.  Reading those insults you probably wouldn’t guess these are things I hear in the everyday world I live in, and no they aren’t about me. I mean I couldn’t really tell you if they were about me, because in “grown-up”land people still talk behind others backs.

It’s hard to be that person who doesn’t know how to communicate well because they live on the Autism Spectrum; yet they still want to live normal, be social, and have friends.  If someone has told you lies your whole life, don’t you owe it to that guy to tell him he’s being deceived? Maybe she was never able to learn from an adult how to “grow up” the way you did, maybe she didn’t have an adult to learn from at all.

My point in this is you really never truly know someone’s story, someone’s life, someone’s feelings about you, and even moreso how they feel about themselves.  Don’t judge people, because trust me; they are judging themselves.  They are looking at how you handle yourself in tough situations with ease.  She notices how annoying she can be, but really doesn’t know how to change.  He sometimes doesn’t know why he keeps going on when no one seems to notice if when he’s gone.

We tell the younger generations to be careful of strangers, not to chat with people they don’t know, and make sure to have your cellphone on you at all times.  What we don’t tell them is the danger of their words.  We don’t tell them how words can have a snowball effect on someone’s life, how words sometimes can (and do) hurt worse then physical punches.  “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”….. that’s not the truth.  We need to teach them to think about what they say before they say it and teach them that words do hurt.

If you have not already read or watched 13 Reasons Why I urge you to do so.  For those of you who have triggers, this is a hard one to watch.  It will remind you (as it reminded me) how our words can really affect those we speak them to.

“Words are powerful. They can create or they can destroy. Use them wisely.”

Live, Love, Laugh…..Always,

Nicole

The adventures of being happy pt. 1

I sometimes don’t know where i belong. Does it even really matter? My days don’t even make sense. When do I have an appointment when do i have a day off? Do I even have the chance to “relax”? I don’t even know what it means to relax these days. I could tell you that is probably means taking naps but that only gets me through the day. I don’t see it actually relaxing me, I’m more stressed knowing that I didn’t get everything I needed to get done completed in that day.

What does it really mean to relax? Can you tell me? Because I have no idea.

I have a feeling being relaxed is like ultimate happiness, but when you can’t find the calm after the storm how can you be relaxed? Everyday I always find something to be happy about, everyday I am happy I woke up, everyday I am happy I have a roof over my head.

What truly makes me happy? I’m still working on that.

“What I’m looking for is not out there, it is in me.”  -Hellen Keller

Live, Laugh, Love….Always,

Nicole

Defiant

I never defied the rules that were given to me as a kid, until I learned that maybe, just maybe there was another truth out there.  The fact of the matter is everyone is entitled to their own truth, their own version of right and wrong. That does not mean it is the ONLY truth, it is the ONLY way to live and you HAVE to follow their truth; their rules.

When I was 16 I was accidently introduced to the man who changed my way of thinking, who gave me leniency, who told me to bend the rules as long as I (as a person) don’t break.  This man would be my cardiologist for the next 10 years.  He would see me graduate high school, graduate college, we almost shared a birthday, and we shared an unimaginable loss.  He showed me that it’s ok to test the limits, because they are mine.  Every child with CHD is given a set of rules that are not meant to be broken but what if they weren’t the only rules in the rule book? What if there was a clause, an escape goat, a way to bend the rules without breaking them?

Well there is….write in your own. Scribble some out, add some new ones, but you can’t throw away the rule book.

Soon enough I will be starting a new chapter in my rule book, the “how to be happy, how to relax, and how to be fulfilled in life” chapter.  I’m not unhappy, but I never really relax and most days I feel like I’m just going through motions.  This chapter will hopefully include a change of scenery in my professional life, and a much better outlook in my personal life; and maybe, just maybe some relaxation to follow.

“I’m through with playing by the rules of someone else’s game.”
– Defying Gravity Wicked the Musical

Live, Laugh, Love……Always,
Nicole

 

Drop

 

I held on and I made sure not to drop it.  I never was aware how precious it was. Somedays I just stuck it in my bag, while other days I held on for dear life.

I didn’t think that I’d ever lose it.  It never occurred to me that you wanted it back. After all you were the one who gave it to me.

Sometimes I think it just fell through the cracks, that you didn’t really want it back.  I might have dropped some of it along the way.  Hiding what you’d given made me feel like no one could take it.

I retraced my steps, I picked up some of the pieces.  I don’t think it’s enough though.  You didn’t think I’d try and find it.  You thought I’d given up.

I just wanted to let you know that I didn’t mean to drop it.  I didn’t know it meant so much to you, to me, to us.  I’m still holding onto the pieces incase you want the rest back.

One day I hope you can give it to someone who will take better care of it. Maybe I never knew how because mine was broken from the beginning.

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Relationships aren’t just about the one you love, the one you want to spend the rest of your life with.  I think of relationships as any interaction with another person that I want to invest my time and my life with.  This includes friends, family, and (one day) a significant other.  But what if you didn’t realize what you had?

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Live, Laugh, Love…..Always,

Nicole