Posted in acceptance, motivation, self-care, sobriety, social anxiety, stress

External Measures of Success

So as you guys know, I started grad school in January and am pursuing my masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. I made the decision to make this complete change in career while blogging in October! It is hard to believe that everything has happened so quickly!

When I made the decision, I knew it would be difficult. I haven’t been in school in over ten years. I have pretty bad social anxiety -so working in groups and presenting things to the class is going to be tough. Part of the school work is essentially intense therapy, and we all know I have my share of issues! but I wanted to do SOMETHING that mattered. I didn’t want to be a cog in the wheel anymore. I didn’t want to work in a field that is oversaturated and no longer creative and fun. I didn’t want to pretend for one more minute that I give a damn about forecasts, budgets, business suits, and sales meetings.

I want to do something meaningful, compassionate, creative, and purposeful. I told myself that I would simply work hard, do my best, and not let myself worry about the grades, the assignments, the approval of other students. Ha! I think we all knew that I’d be a stressful mess in no time lol! Well, I just got past my first round of exams and papers. I’m a walking ball of knots and stress! I had wine cravings and when I didn’t give in to those – my mind thought it would try for another old escapism go-to -gaming cravings. I did not cave to those either.

The thing is guys, I am programmed to give a fuck about all the stuff. I have spent my entire life believing I have to get the grade, the promotion, the 5 star writeup, and on and on. My anxiety is driven by my constant search for external validation…and here I am…enrolled in 2 years of constant external measures of success lol. Now, I can’t avoid it. I MUST find a way to be successful while somehow not caring SO MUCH about success. It is a great lesson to learn – one that I’m sure I’ll be helping many people through in the future.

Isn’t it funny how we can help others through something and be completely blind to our own selves needing to do the same thing? If I were supporting a friend right now, I would tell her to ramp up her self care. I would tell her that she needs to slow down and remember to also ENJOY the program. I would tell her she is smart and capable, and she always succeeds at everything she tries – so give herself a break! When she pushed back, I’d ask her to list a few times she was doing something REALLY important and thought she’d fail…and have her see how it worked out just fine then too. I’d even ask her to describe what would happen…on the totally unlikely chance that she didn’t make it through the program…and she’d see that everything would still be fine. Then I’d remind her that the reason she is anxious and stressed is because she wants to do well…and that’s totally normal too!

Well, it sounds like I have a pretty good idea what I need to do, huh?

Posted in acceptance, change, growth, resentment, stress

Expectations & Resentment

Why do I offer to do things or help with something if later I will regret it or be pissed off because it didn’t turn out the way I thought it would?  Do any of you find yourselves in this situation? It seems like all of the women in my family are like this. We all seem to feel obligated to go above and beyond for others, and then we are annoyed because the others don’t seem appreciative.

In trying to unravel the “why does this keep happening”. The first thing I realized is the fact that these situations don’t end up the way I thought they would …clearly means that I had expectations going into the task. I think expectations set me up for failure unless those expectations are communicated and agreed to, but of course, when I’m helping someone – I’m suppose to be doing it just to help, right? Ah! Well, there might be the second thing to notice. If I were doing it just to help, I wouldn’t have any expectations, now would I?

Maybe another thing to ask myself is…what do I regret about how the situation ended up or how did I expect it to turn out? That answer should uncover my hidden expectation. Once I uncover that expectation, then I really have the answer to the “Why did I offer to do help in the first place”?

So with all this self exploration, what have I learned? I think I offer to help people with an expectation of appreciation, returned affection, or praise. It is clear that is the case because when that isn’t returned – I’m offended. I say things like “I didnt spend 4 hours of my day doing this just to be blown off or taken for granted”. Did they ask me to spend 4 hours on them? Did they ask me to put in more time, energy, or effort than I was willing to give? Of course not. I chose to do it under the guise of helping, but it was really in search of validation and acceptance.

So there’s the answer to why I frequently offer to help and then am pissed off at the end results…because I’m not actually doing it to help. I’m doing it either out of some feeling of obligation (that I am not actually obligated to do) or to get at some needed emotion that I’ve been searching for off and on my entire life.

Posted in self-care, sleep, stress

The aging tech geek and sleep

Happy Thursday everyone! It is freaking 29 degrees in Georgia! What. The. Fuck. Anyways, this is not going to be a weather blog – don’t worry. I wanted to talk about sleep, actually. One of the many many reasons I gave up drinking was because it was ruining my sleep. Middle of the night, half-hungover wake ups were wreaking havoc on my sleep. I had read time and time again about how alcohol is terrible for your sleep AND as you get older, it gets worse and worse – but back then I didnt believe it at all.

When I gave it up, I started to see the benefits pretty quickly. But here it is, 16 months later, and I’m finding sleep to be a problem again. Nothing like when I drank – thank goodness. So apparently stress also has a big impact on your sleep! And with all the major curve balls that were thrown at me and hubby the last 6 months, my sleep started deteriorating again.

Noises started bothering me even more than ever before.
It’s one of those things. A self-fulfilling prophecy. You need to sleep, you’re tired and want to sleep, but you’re thinking about all the things that might keep you up again…and then you work yourself up until you can’t sleep!

I’ve tried a lot of things, but recently I started using a pair of sleepbuds. They are intended to be able to sleep with them and they play “soothing” sounds to mask noises around you. On one hand, they do seem to mask Hubby’s snoring, the elderly cat meowing, and most of the nearby train noises. On the other hand, they are uncomfy as fuck, and they make really LOUD noises against the pillow anytime you move…like, even breathing does it!

I was convinced though, that they were still better than not having them. I could no longer hear the road noise -which was making my blood boil every night. But my sleep has been pretty bad lately -so this week, I decided to go without them. And like magic – my sleep is improving! Suddenly my brain is happy to finally have those damn things off! Finally my brain is happy the stress of all the work stuff has been lifted!

Since I started using the sleepbuds, I had to give up listening to my sleep meditations at bedtime (can’t hear them with the sleepbuds in). Well last night, I remembered the meditation and listened to one. Guess what? It was the single best sleep I’ve had since October! And I actually have the data to prove it lol. Yes, I am a sleep nerd. I have a bed that measures my breathing, heart rate, and movements and reports how many times I tossed and turned, how many times I woke up, how much of my sleep was deep sleep, etc.

Ok – written down, this actually sounds a little crazy. I am such a tech geek that the minute I realized there was an app for my bed, I was like a kid in a candy store! Amazing how in my 20s, I collected all things Apple. Then my 30s, I collected all things Alienware and Razor. Now in my 40s, I’m collecting, apparently, /GASP…all things health. Once a tech geek, always a tech geek? But…I shiver to think what 80-year-old-me will collect!