Posted on February 4, 2020
Becoming “Me” Again
365 days ago, I wrote a blog post titled “I Don’t Know How to be ‘Me’ Anymore.” At the time, I was going through a lot – my anxiety was through the roof, I was just starting to fully unravel certain health issues, and I felt like any passion I had for, well, anything had gone and died.
I didn’t feel like me. I didn’t remember what being “me” felt like. I was stuck in a loop of unending internal let downs with no end in sight.
But now – for the first time in not just a year, but what feels like ages – I feel like me.
And it feels so god damn good.
Since the writing of that particular blog, a lot has happened. Some good, and some bad (though I feel like handling the bad has become leagues easier than it used to). I finally got health insurance was able to start looking into those aforementioned health issues. I also started therapy, which I kept up with for six consistent months. We’re on an “as-needed” basis now, pending any potential panic attacks. But it’s been a long time since I’ve had one of those, too.
One of the biggest hurdles I had to overcome were these incredible pressures I was putting on myself. Not just in regards to the hobbies I mentioned in my last post, but even in the day-to-day tasks. If I didn’t complete a certain amount of chores, didn’t get a certain amount of errands done each day, I was filled with deep disappointment in myself. Organizing my life was an obsessive facet of my personality. In my planner I would write things down as menial as “clean the litterbox”, “answer this email”, etc., because I couldn’t bare to forget to do things. I would feel unaccomplished and behind.
I perpetually felt like I was running out of time, and like I had to use each and every hour, minute, second as efficiently as possible. And if I didn’t, then I had failed for the day. And I would lay awake in bed ruminating all the things I was failing at doing. The guilt and anxiety would eat away additional minutes each day.
So, through some introspection and extremely helpful therapy, I just stopped doing things.
And I mean it – I stopped just about everything. I stopped streaming and accepted that while a fun hobby to explore, it turned out not to be for me, and that was okay. I stopped playing video games. I deleted my discord community. I scrapped any “potential” ideas for content creation. I ditched my planner and opted for one that was solely monthly to keep track of appointments and bills.
And instead, I just rested. I gave my brain a hard reset.
And with that hard reset I learned to stop caring about what others may think of the things I do. I learned to stop listening to that little voice inside my head measuring my progress with arbitrary, made-up parameters.
And I just did what I wanted to do.
It didn’t happen all at once. I had to learn how to use my time without obsessing over the time used. So, I introduced tasks one at a time. I got a hold of doing my chores just as they needed to be done, instead of penciling them in. I focused on my physical health, which involved making some serious dietary changes and making attempts to get in shape (this is still a work in progress haha).
And I started to write.
Of all the hobbies I had lost and decided to quit, this was the first to come back to me. The sci-fi novel I had been planning and worldbuilding for two years finally poured out of me like a gushing waterfall freed from its dam. I have been consistently working on it now every week. Cumulatively, I think I’ve written over 120,000 words (though LARGE chunks have been scrapped and reworked here and there).
At first, writing was the only hobby I could manage, but I didn’t care. It felt so tremendously amazing to be writing again, to be working on this thing I care so much about and is exciting to work on. So, if it was the only thing I had free time for, then so be it. My minutes were well spent, and I wasn’t paying attention to whether or not I was using them all “efficiently”.
As more months went by and I continued to actively work on improving my mental state, I found room for more things that I loved. I started reading again, which was a lovely reprieve on the days the words for my novel weren’t flowing naturally. And then I was able to introduce video games back into my life. Lately, it’s been a toss up between The Witcher 3 and Destiny 2.
But how can I fit in so many things with so many limited minutes? The answer is I don’t know and I don’t really care. I’m not tracking them anymore. I’m not scheduling my day hour by hour, meticulously carving out my time based on the tasks.
Some days are for writing. Some days are for reading. Some days are for video games. And some days are for nothing at all but binging a new TV show with my husband, curled up on the couch with a giant bowl of popcorn and our cat.
This is what being me feels like. Of course, not all days are good and there are still struggles within my mind. But I am learning to face them head on, to speak my feelings and process them with help, and to utilize coping methods to walk myself through them.
The path to happiness is not smooth or direct. But I feel like I’m on the right track. And I hope I can keep sharing my thoughts with you, whether it’s posts like this, new poems, or maybe a short story or two.
Each new day is a new possibility, and I’m excited for every one of them.