Friday, March 9, 2018

Friday Feels: March

Is it weird that one of the reasons I'm sorry for setting a fourth-day blogging schedule this year is that it means I have less Fridays on my writing schedule?

Because seriously, I love writing Friday Feels posts, and I'm actually authentically a little sad that having less Fridays means sometimes missing months in this series. This series has made a legitimate difference in my mental health - I love it that sitting down to explore my feelings in this way gives me so much emotional clarity!

Still, even if the new schedule means missing a month here and there, the series will remain the same because I already love it just as it is. It's so simple; I just use a random feelings generator to make my list for each post! And since the emotional labels that come up are often labels I haven't thought to apply to my own life, they encourage me to think outside of my comfort zone, exploring feelings I might not even have realized I was dealing with until I found myself looking at them.

This past week has been really tough on Team Kennedy in general, but it has been especially rough on me specifically, complete with crying sobbing snotting vomiting panic attacks that I had to be talked out of in order to be able to find myself again. For a moment (ahem, couple of days), I even sort of lost track of the "Undaunted" I've been so confidently claiming these days - I almost let circumstances trip me up, almost lost the joy of this year's momentum.

I'm sure this edition of Friday Feels will be a little tumultuous so consider yourself warned ... I hope you're more ready for the onslaught than I was.


1. Crushed:
As mentioned before, this has been a hard week. I got some news I wasn't really ready for, and while I knew it was coming, expected it, and had been preparing for it ... I still wasn't ready yet. The things said during that conversation are still stinging, honestly - and the motive I believe to be behind it all is incredibly selfish. petty, and cruel. It damages my faith a little, not in God but in other humans and their capacity for compassion and understanding.


2. Eager:
While I wasn't ready for the news I got, nor am I quite healed from the way part of the conversation felt like being kicked in the heart, I am actually pretty excited about the changes to come. I may not have been ready yet, but while I may doubt the compassion and empathy of others, I do not doubt the presence of some serious resilience and strength in myself. I've survived a lot over the years, and as a result, I'm pretty tough.

Plus I had a friend remind me of all of this during a moment of weakness; she called me while I was battling panic, and she spent over an hour filling me up with hope and encouragement. I'm so thankful she gave me what it takes to be able to move forward with excitement despite my anxieties.


3. Furious:
I know a lot of this blog post revolves around the events of the last week in my life, but that's fair because those events are most in control of the path my life is taking right now. I've been a lot of things in the last week - hurt, sad, angry, excited. But furious?

What made me furious was having something I couldn't stop from happening be used against me as a tool. What made me furious was having people I should be able to trust - people who call themselves family - turn their backs on me in retaliation. What made me furious was the overabundance of "coincidence" driving the choices of certain people around me.

Which leads me back to "eager" - because while change is and will probably always be extremely difficult for me, lessening certain sources of toxicity in my life is definitely something I'm looking forward to.


4. Humble:
Humility is generally just something that I believe is a part of who I am. I don't usually think of myself as better or worse than anyone else. I don't want to be treated better than anyone else, and I don't tend to ask for anything more than what I believe every human needs and deserves - to be cared for and appreciated for their contribution, to be encouraged and to belong.

But an extra reminder of the necessity of community is rarely a bad thing, and I kept that in mind this week as I allowed myself to lean on my friends, allowed myself extra time for self-care, and made some pretty tough (and super humbling) phone calls.


5. Nervous:
As I've already mentioned before, change is difficult for me. It's hard for me to initiate, hard for me to cope with, and hard for me to see myself through - especially when I am not prepared adequately and the change is time-sensitive. I'm excited about the coming changes; I've actually gone to bed grinning over it for the past few days in a row, and woke up more optimistic than I have been in a long time.

That being said, I'm still nervous. Still anxious. It's a good change that's long overdue - but it's a big change with a lot of risk for me. I go to bed smiling and wake up optimistic - but I also lay awake worrying, wake up every few hours even when I do fall asleep, and I've had trouble dealing with lots of severe nausea this week.

I had a doctor's appointment yesterday and they took my blood pressure a couple of times during the appointment, hoping it would go down. It didn't.


6. Offended:
In a separate instance, I also recently had a conversation with someone trying to lecture me on how "happiness is a choice." The implication (that I took away from the conversation) was that because "happiness is a choice," I am therefore choosing my depression issues, choosing my anxiety issues. It's not a history of trauma that left me with such a long list of symptoms, it's my "choice" to maintain a perspective that leads to unhappiness. The weird thing about the conversation is that this person sees me up close and personal on a pretty much daily basis - they see how I joke around with my kids, see me kidding with others, watch me try to be an encouragement to the people around me. I'm offended that anyone who knows me so closely could be so ignorant of the fact that if I could "choose" my way out of mental illness, I would. I'm offended by people who think psychological struggle is a "choice."

That being said, anyone who has followed me for long knows that I do agree it's important to monitor and attempt to regulate your perspective - thus my efforts in yoga and meditation, my addiction to herbal teas, almost two years of therapy, and my brand new Zoloft prescription. However, I also feel that it's very important to acknowledge circumstances, diagnoses, trauma experience, and the individuality of coping mechanisms and skills. And that's without accounting for chemical and hormonal imbalances that leave people with mental illness completely disconnected from experience.

Let me be perfectly clear to anyone ignorant enough (or sheltered enough) to believe that "happiness is a choice" - if you truly believe "happiness is a choice," then by extension you must also believe that "depression is a choice" and "bipolar disorder is a choice" and "schizophrenia is a choice."

And quite frankly, that sort of thinking makes you an asshole. Because I do not choose to be depressed. I do not choose to have crippling anxiety. I do not choose to have nightmares and flashbacks. I do not choose hypervigilance, chronically elevated stress reactions, tremors, chills, body aches, and periods of dissociation. I do not choose to be haunted by suicidal ideation.

Then again, the person I had this conversation with was the very same one who once had the nerve to suggest that "perhaps" I was violently abused as a child because I was "a handful." so there's that.


7. Serene:
Stressed as I am about the things to come, I am still - as I said earlier - eager to explore the changes to come (if you're not subscribed to this blog yet, get on it because it's about to get exciting around here). Now that I've had a little time to recover from the news, and I've had a little time to formulate a plan and set it in motion, I feel a bit more peaceful about everything.

I've been reading a really good Devotional lately, and everything in it has been perfectly aligned to what's been going on and what I needed to see and relate to. Even with utter terror over everything coming and with crippling anxiety over how it could still get worse ... I feel peaceful.

I've been keeping a couple of Bible verses close to me lately, which have been helpful. (Interested? The verses I've been loving lately are Exodus 14:14, Jeremiah 29:11, Isaiah 54:17, and the meaning behind entire story of David VS Goliath.)


8. Tender:
It doesn't matter how stressed I am, how overwhelmed, how much is going on in my life, or how desperately I am trying to juggle everything I must do alongside the things I want and need to do. There is always one source of undeniable peace - the sleeping faces of my children. They've been changing my life all of their lives, and I'm so thankful to have the opportunity to be their mom; watching them grow and become who they will be is such an amazing process, and seeing them act with compassion and care for others gives me hope.

They make everything better - and when everything is not better, they give me a reason to keep trying for better.


9. Tickled:
A few days ago, someone did something sort-of sneaky, trying to ... I don't know. Make a point? Take a stand? Get revenge?

Doesn't matter.

It ended up solving a problem for me in the end, which still has me laughing days later. It was a problem I'd been working over in my head for a while anyway, and now that it's been remedied (even if it wasn't really in the way I had hoped), it makes my shoulders a little lighter - which is pretty nice even when you don't add in how funny it is when someone tries to screw you but ends up doing you a favor.


10. Warm:
We're moving - the girls and I - and I am super excited. Where we live now, we didn't usually have a lot of company and we often felt a little cut off. We liked the neighborhood and even built friendships with some of the neighbors. But in general, it was a place of quiet and none of us really felt all that much "at home" because we're pretty outgoing (yes, even introverted me) and we tend to be very chatty, busy, anxiety-induced-energetic people.

We're delightful ... but we can be overwhelming to others, and we know it. So trying to "tone down" all day every day is pretty stressful, and we're looking forward to being able to let loose. The girls are looking forward to slumber parties, game nights, movie nights, and slightly less moderated mess-making. I'm looking forward to more space. And I think we're all looking forward to feeling a little more Undaunted on the daily.

It's gonna be good.


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