The happy girl can be the sad one, too

Before: I wouldn’t write a personal post like this for fear of potential employers, current employers or past employers seeing it. What would they think? Would it change their impression of me? Would it ruin my chances at the next great opportunity? What if, what if, what if…

Now: I am sad and I have SAD.

SAD stands for seasonal affective disorder.

I never really experienced this while living in the Midwest, coincidentally enough, but my first winter in Northern California has proved to be quite challenging.

For my friends in the Midwest, let me explain:

Winter in Northern California equals grey + a TON of rain. Doesn’t sound too bad, but for me it is. In Chicago while it may be in the negatives with snow on the ground, the sun was still shining. It’s easier to want to go outside when your brain THINKS there’s a chance the sun equals warmth. But, when it’s grey and raining… inspiration gone.

I have gained weight because I’ve made snacking my new hobby. I have become addicted to sugar because it is my “treat of the week”… on an almost daily basis. I need 2-3 cups of caffeine to get me through the day. I get less than 6.5 hours of sleep on a regular basis. I’m easily offended and irritated by others. All in all, I’m a mess.

It wasn’t until I was sitting in a cold room in a conference center in Portland watching this video that my perspective shifted…

Human beings put a man on the moon. Think about that for a second. But it wouldn’t be possible for you to record an album, or start an interior design company. Explain that to me. The fear of the unknown is debilitating. We’re all scared to fail. We’re scared to mess with the status quo, even when we’re not content with how things are. We’ll ride it out. Because unhappiness appears better than uncertainty. This in itself is a tragedy…

‘Human beings are the only life form that will do less than they possibly can. There’s never been a tree that didn’t grow as tall as it possibly could. They’re hard-wired to do that.’

Now, I’m not saying that I can just fix my symptoms of SAD by watching inspirational videos. What I’m saying is, that by owning ourself — all of our positives and negatives that make us, us — and sharing that ownership with others… it creates empowerment. It creates conversation. It creates community. It creates change.

I am a happy, loud, friendly, outspoken, and opinionated person that you know…most of the time. What you don’t know is that I tend to hide my insecurities, my struggles, my sadness and my hurts all inside. Why? Because I don’t want to be seen as negative. I don’t want to sound whiny. I want to be a good friend to you. But by allowing the sadness, the hurt, the anger to build, I’ve started to lose the better parts of me a bit at a time.

Instead of being worried of scaring people away, I have decided to live without apologizes. Carrie Fisher didn’t apologize for who she was.Why would I? We admire and remember the ones who dare to be their crazy selves.

The point of writing all of this is to acknowledge my struggles, throw away the stigma I placed upon myself, and encourage others to acknowledge their complexities, because ignoring them won’t make them go away.

Plus, you are beautiful & you are enough.

 

Allowing myself to wallow

Each week I experience, at least once, what many call “the blues.”

Yes, I live in the “greatest country on earth.” Yes, I experience white privilege on a daily basis. No, I’m not carrying around tens of thousands of student loan debt. I am healthy. I am loved. I am free.

But, that doesn’t mean I don’t feel sadness. Disappointment. Frustration. There’s always more, isn’t there?

Depression, alcoholism, and bipolar disorder have been diagnosed on both sides of my family tree. Knowing this causes me to be more aware of how I express and deal with my feelings. Some days, the stigma of mental illness creeps in and I worry that “something is wrong with me,” and that I am “feeling too much.” I used to get frustrated with myself for feeling this way, I felt that I was in the wrong. But, that only made me more unstable. I would bottle the disappointments, frustrations and sadness away, until they popped open, usually unexpectedly, and made a mess everywhere.

“Just keep swimming” is motivational for me 85% of the time. It pumps me up! Keep me going! Gives me that drive to take on the day! I could look on the bright side of things. I could keep getting knocked down and get up again, cuz’ you’re never going to keep me down. Most of the time.

It is important to allow that one day to wallow a week. Why? Because it helps me to maintain a healthy, and mostly happy, relationship with myself and with others around me. 

No, I don’t hold in all of my sadness, disappointments, or frustrations until this ONE day. The day of wallow is when those emotions overcome the happy, the joyful, the excitement of the day. I acknowledge them. I acknowledge that I want more out of life. I acknowledge that there is more to life. I throw a last minute pity party for myself. I blame others for my shortcomings. I cry that I don’t have a better “plan.” I question my path, my passions. I wonder if I’ll ever be good enough. Simply said: I feel all the feels.

So, why am I sharing this? Because, I want readers to know that it is okay to wallow. It is okay to be sad, disappointed, frustrated. It is okay to feel. Find a healthy way, that works for you, to express yourself. Don’t let anyone else tell you how to cope with what’s happening inside. You gotta do you.

So, if you need a Wallow Wednesday each week, take it! But then, when it’s over, wake up and make it a Tremendous Thursday!

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1‑800‑273‑TALK (8255) or Live Online Chat

If you or someone you know is suicidal or in emotional distress, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Trained crisis workers are available to talk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.