Taking Up Space

Just like most people my age, or even those older than me, I was told that kids are not meant to be heard. I was yelled at for running, for stomping, for being too loud, for being bossy, for almost everything. Because of that, I developed a complex. I new that if I was noticed in whatever I was doing, I was doing something wrong and I was taking up too much space. Everything about my life was about everybody else because I got the worst anxiety attacks if I felt that I was ever the center of attention. To say it was uncomfortable, rather to say it is uncomfortable, is putting it mildly.

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Leaning into PMS

Another one of my triggers is the PMS effects I deal with right before and as I’m starting my period. And this past period was no different. In fact, I leaned in HARD to the effects. I took a look at my tracking calendar, thought I had the right date, and decided instead of the exhaustion and attitude catching me off-guard, I was going to ease into it and accept it. Except the date was wrong and quarantine started getting to me.

In other words, I was a week early for easing into my PMS and therefore exacerbated the effects that being home ALL the time and the change of life had on me. I leaned into my fears and triggers from my past more and I leaned into my grouchiness. I was just waiting for the exhaustion to hit. I gave into all of the sugar cravings with the thought that they would subside in a couple days. I didn’t thoroughly think through communications at work.

I made my own life a small version of hell because I was trying to lean into PMS. It backfired on me, big time.

So what’s the solution? Watch the calendar more closely? Let my PMS symptoms hit me life a freight train every month? Ignore it all and just push through everything and tell myself to “just get over it”?

No, my solution for next month is to plan better. I can structure my goals and results lists around the phase of the month I’m in. I can plan camping and adventures around the days that tend to be my worst. I can be prepared without having to watch the calendar daily. I can take daily inventory of my mood and feelings (hello journaling). I can be more intentional.

How do you prepare or handle the PMS symptoms that knock you on your ass every month?

Clarity

According to a Google search, clarity is defined as the quality of being coherent and intelligible. But what does clarity really mean? In my opinion, that may be different depending on who you ask.

Today, clarity might mean something completely different to me than it did a month ago or will in a year. Either way, clarity is something I know I’ve been striving to achieve for a really long time. The thought was that clarity would give me peace and direction in my life. I just needed to achieve clarity to get where I wanted to go.

Today, I feel that I was wrong in that assumption. Today, clarity means something different. Today, I feel as though I have a slice of clarity as I’m coming out of an episode of stress and a bit of depression. My slice of clarity comes from reflecting on what my triggers were over the past few weeks and what caused me the most pain during that time. I shared a little of it with you in my last post Embarrassed.

My triggers tend to always lead to one overarching topic – my past. I have given and continue to give complete control over my life to my past. It is defeating and limiting. It is stressful and depressing. It holds me back.

Today, as I’m writing this, I feel like I’m finally understanding what I need to do to have more clarity in life. I need to stop giving my past so much power over me. But how? Haven’t I come to this conclusion before? Probably. And I might come to it many times over before something finally changes. That is part of growth.

Everything that I’ve been struggling with in the past few weeks has roots in my past. Some people would say just get over it. Some would say that our past defines us. I want to just get over it, but every time I try that approach, I end up right here. My past has defined me for my entire life. I’m tired of it. I’m tired of giving my past complete control over my life. I want clarity to mean that I can identify when my past is triggering me, work through it, and come out of the trigger before ever hitting the stressed or slightly depressed point.

The definition I want clarity to mean to me is that I am clear on my triggers, clear on my steps to overcome them, and clear on my goals and direction in life.

To get to that definition, I have to take steps everyday to release the power that my past has over me. I have to acknowledge my fears and address them.

What does clarity mean to you?

Relapse

Just the other day I was coasting along through life doing absolutely fantastic at identifying when my inner critic chimed in and started leading me down a path, or when my anxiety was starting to flare and cause panic, or even when I was about to go down a road of fear, misunderstanding, and old habits. I was fucking rocking it. I’m rocking it right now.

But I hit a week where that was no longer true. This was a week of confusion, what felt like extreme exhaustion, bickering because I couldn’t put myself first no matter what Eddie said, staying inside feeling trapped, and so much more. I was struggling but I wasn’t able to identify it. I didn’t identify it until one morning after we had our worst bicker in so long I can’t even remember how long it has been.

This week was the first week I was home, restricted from traveling, restricted from going to yoga, restricted from buying groceries because people cleared the stores out, and the weather was gray and dreary. This was the first week that the COVID-19 panic truly set in. This was also the week that the largest earthquake in 10 years hit Utah.

It was a funky, weird week. There was nothing normal about this week and it truly showed in my mood. And my emotional reactions. Thank God I was not on my period during this week, Eddie would have lost his mind.

I am calling this my relapse week because I lost all knowledge and connection to the work I have been doing over the years. I didn’t really even know who I was. I was merely going through the motions, barely getting by each day. Have you had a day like this recently? Or even a week?

How do you handle your relapses? I assume this will happen more than once in my life. I assume I will encounter this discomfort again in the future. I bet you know exactly what I’m talking about.

I would say this probably wasn’t the first time that I got to this point. I relapsed when we were going through infertility treatments. I relapsed when I couldn’t barely walk before my spinal fusion. I haven’t even been on this good track for a year. But this relapse was the shortest.

I was able to identify that something wasn’t right after we had a pretty bad bicker. It was the end of the day and I was chillaxing on the couch. It was weird that I started to realize what just happened. I literally had this “what the fuck” moment. I felt blindsided that this relapse had happened. But then I started to think through the progression.

I worked through identifying how the spiral happened. I identified what the warning signs would have been. I discovered what the triggers were that sent me to the full relapse point. I pretty much retraced the entire week. Then I made a decision.

I decided that the following day would be a fresh start. After all, each new day truly is a fresh start.

So I did. I started fresh. I woke up early like I normally do automatically. I had my morning doing my Start Today Journal and Planner, I had lots of coffee, meal planned, paid bills, and set my intentions for the day. I started fresh. I started the day just as I would any other day that is a good day.

And you know what? It worked, mostly. I was struggling to come out of the mood, but I was controlling all of my thoughts. I was identifying my feelings. Then we went off-roading. My mood wasn’t the best when we started, but after sticking with the truck at the bottom of a trail that I didn’t want it to go up (hey, it’s perfectly capable, I just don’t like pin striping and I’m not ready to put a scratch in her), I had some time to just gaze into distant mountains and to walk around the hills we were in. This alone time in nature was a Godsend. I needed it. My mood completely changed.

How did I get out of this relapse? I pulled myself out of it by doing the things that enrich myself. I pulled myself out of that relapse by realizing that that person who was showing up that week was not the woman I know that I am. I pulled myself out of that relapse because I’ve been working my ass off to grow emotionally.

I am going to continue to work my ass off because maybe next time instead of a week, my next relapse might be just a day.