I sat on my dinner table and read over what seemed like a year’s worth of journal entries. Underlined, a quote from one of my favorite authors read,
“You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.”
I sat with this message for about a minute and I went about my day. But the message hasn’t escaped my mind since.
Each day I find myself questioning, wondering if what I am doing is enough. What else is there out there for me to conquer? What more can I do? But a part of me also fights with the feelings of fatigue and disinterest, which people like my grandfather would classify as the “laziness” that plagues my generation.
I feel spread thin. Though, this feeling isn’t unfamiliar to me. As a natural-born overachiever, the feeling of what’s next has been with me since the moment I started wobbling my stubby feet down my parent’s first apartment. Yet, at the end of the day, it seems like whether I am here, or there or nowhere, the amount of work I push myself to achieve means nothing if I’m constantly chasing what’s missing.
I’ve been asked why I don’t just take a break. “Relax,” some yell at me over drinks. The only way I can describe it is, have you ever walked out of your house and felt like you forgot to do something? Maybe it’s forgetting to turn off the stove or hair iron? Ever sent out a text or an email and reread your message more than once to make sure you got your point across? Do you ever just feel like something is missing and you just can’t figure out where or what it is.
These little inconveniences have happened to us more than once in our lives. But if you’re anything like me, these are daily struggles that challenge your mind and distract your focus. The constant anxiety to double-check or insecurity that makes you scrutinize every detail has been a battle I’ve dealt with all my life. On my resume, I call it “strong attention to detail” or “ambition”, to my friends it’s “mom mode”, but after this summer, I now know it as Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
Understanding and coming to terms with this was far more difficult than expected. I knew I had dealt with anxiety and depression in the past and I had been recommended a variety of treatments. But my biggest self-care method was to keep myself busy. I thrived and raveled in the fact that I was always booked & busy. But the post-graduate life came with more unpleasant revelations and losses than anticipated. My biggest coming to terms was realizing that it didn’t matter how busy I kept myself, things like poor health will soon catch up to you and force you to slow down. I didn’t want to accept the fact that maybe I was burned out. I was too worried about being with family, supporting my friends, meeting work deadlines, that I was forgetting one big component, my well being.
I wasn’t ready to own up to the fact that I couldn’t do it all on my own.
But then July 20th came at me like a dream. I suddenly had to stop everything I was doing. Time stopped for about two weeks after that. I was forced to be alone. I was forced to see a lot of ugly truths. I then came back to “reality” and finished the rest of the summer like any 23 years old would do. Only, you know that Joji video, where he’s at the club and he’s horribly miserable? Yeah, that was me.
Dealing with anxiety isn’t pleasant because your mind is always alert, waiting on what’s next or what could be. But when traumatic incidents trigger your anxiety, you may create scenarios in your mind that can alter your reality. This will cause you to feel and behave aggressive, fatigued, or paranoic.
Learning to create boundaries has become my biggest accomplishment. But it hasn’t been easy. I still over analyze and plan for unnecessary reasons. But since I’ve been vocal and accepted my truth, understanding the pressure to figure out “What’s next?” or “What am I missing?” has slowly drifted.
The beauty of accepting your truth is it allows you to live at peace.
There will always be a deadline to meet, a party to go to, or a PR to reach. But you’ll never reach a satisfying quality of life if your mind isn’t at peace. Don’t escape the signs your body give you and pay attention to how you react to certain situations. Accepting your truth teaches you how to reflect, take accountability and ultimately self-worth.
If you wish to learn more about ways to treat anxiety or wish to connect with a health professional, check out these helpful Links:
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