Attempting to Be Social

As I’ve written in past posts, like this and this, I’ve spoken about how I’ve really struggled with socializing as an adult.

The older I get the fewer friends I have. It is partly because I have lost touch with friends I rarely see, got rid of toxic people and changed jobs two years ago. Now I would say I have 2 solid friends (maybe).

This morning my gas tank was on empty so naturally I went to fill up at the cheapest gas station. On my way I saw a sign for a cat cafe that will be opening soon! I was overjoyed because I love cats. The closest cat cafe is 30 minutes away so it’s not the most convenient.

I said to myself, “I could volunteer there. I could do that.”

So I emailed the place, submitted a volunteer application and will be attending their training this Saturday.

Working at a non-profit full time, I don’t often volunteer. I work with the volunteers that come to my work but I haven’t volunteered with a charity in a really long time. Going through so many ups and downs in my mental health discouraged me from doing anything outside my realm of comfort.

After working all of that out, I’m slightly anxious. Diverting from my normal routine scares me. It makes me uncomfortable when I have to do something different or when I have to be in a new setting. I’ve always had trouble with change even if it’s something small.

I’m going to give it a shot though. I think it would be good for me to get out of the house and maybe make a new crazy cat lady friend. Even if I don’t make a friend, I love cats so I will always have their company.

Do you have any tricks to help you through the anxiety of change?

I Promised a Positive Post

In my last post I wrote about how social media and celebrities make me feel insecure about myself. I promised you guys a positive post so here it is!

Since the last post was about body image, I want to write about that again.

For most of my life I hated the way that I looked. I would compare myself to my peers and the girls I saw in magazines because I never looked like them.

I have bright, curly, red hair and am pale with freckles primarily on my arms. I almost never saw other girls with red curly hair so it made me feel like I was the only one like this. I also started puberty earlier than a lot of my peers so my body had curves for days and massive boobs in 8th grade which made me feel so awkward.

It took me many, many, many years to create the person I wanted to look like. I grew out my hair which my mom had cut short when I was a kid, I started wearing makeup and tried hard to lose weight (which didn’t happen until I was 23).

I hated the way that I looked for so long that it crushed my self-confidence. I had little faith in myself because I hated what I saw when I looked in the mirror. I didn’t get the attention from boys that some of my friends got which made me jealous.

I hate to give my ex-boyfriend credit for anything (this guy is trash but I’ll give him this one positive) but he helped me feel more confident in myself. I had never been complimented the way he complimented me. It helped to open my eyes to see that I am a beautiful person.

Of course I still struggle with being positive about my body but I have more good days than bad days now at the age of 26. Going to therapy has helped a lot too because if your mind isn’t in the right place, you can’t see the goodness on the inside or outside. My therapist helped me to see my own beauty.

My confidence comes from inside myself. I no longer need the external compliments from others because I already know that I am a beautiful human.

Have you struggled with body image issues? If so, have you been able to overcome them? How did you do that or how do you hope to accomplish that?

Feeling Insecure

Maybe it’s just me but seeing perfect celebrities makes me feel like shit. I look at these women who are totally perfect (whether they are naturally that way, have a whole team putting them together or they had surgery to get there) I feel so much less than.

If somebody talks about how attractive and sexy a superstar like Beyonce or Nicki Minaj are I think to myself, “I’ll never look like that. What can I offer the world if I don’t look like her?”

I shouldn’t compare myself to these superstars but sometimes I do.

For most of my life I have compared myself to my peers in school and university. I would usually envy how thin they were compared to me, how they dress better than me or how naturally beautiful they were without the need for makeup. It was pretty difficult because I didn’t feel beautiful until my early 20s.

It also goes beyond just celebrities. Instagram can be a positive place but also one where perfect people go to show the world how perfect they are. I scroll through on the discover page and see women that I will never ever look like.

It makes me jealous, insecure and feel like a frumpy slug.

I asked myself, “Why can’t I look like that?” too often. It’s really not great for my mental health.

I sometimes think that if I looked more like some of the girls on Instagram that people would like me more. That my boyfriend would love me more if I looked that way. That he is settling for a frumpy slug when out there I’m sure is an Instagram model looking woman that he could be with.

I even consider deleting my makeup Instagram that I have put so much time and money into because I don’t think I’m pretty or talented enough compared to the others out there.

How does the Internet and social media apps like Insta effect your mental health? Does it ever make you feel insecure about yourself?

Next post is going to be more positive! I’ll write a positive rebuttal to this post so keep your eyes peeled for that soon!

Speaking Up is Hard

This post is inspired by autumnskiesblog’s post on The Bipolar Writer. She wrote about how it is difficult for her to speak when somebody asks her a question or for her input. I relate to this so much so I wanted to share my experience too.

All throughout school I would almost never raise my hand to answer a question. Getting called on out of the blue was a fate as bad as getting yelled at by the teacher. Teachers felt like they had to call on me because I rarely raised my hand. I either didn’t have anything to say or I was nervous that my answer was wrong.

In college it was the same. One of my professors actually confronted me about it. Her name was Dr. Simcox, very smart and serious woman, who wondered why I never contributed in class. I flat out told her the truth.

I said, “I don’t have anything to say and I don’t want to get the answer wrong.”

I have always been afraid of sounding stupid or saying the wrong thing in front of a lot of people. Oddly enough I didn’t have those worries when I performed minor roles in the plays in high school.

Those fears have stayed with me all of my life. The fear of speaking up (even if it would mean something positive could happen for myself) has held me back. I often leave a situation regretting that I didn’t say something that I wanted to.

I’ve worked with my therapist to try to speak up in meetings at work or in general conversations with other humans. The conversations with my cats go very differently.

Yesterday I found the courage to speak up in a meeting. I don’t know where it came from but I opened my mouth and gave my opinion. My idea was shot down but I think that was good practice to realize that if I’m wrong about something, I can survive it.

Seeing My Past

Monday was the first time it was warm enough to be wearing shorts this year where I live in America. It is always exciting when it starts to feel like spring especially when it is around my birthday (which is this Saturday)!

I was sitting in my boyfriend’s car while he went to get us pizza for dinner. I looked down at my legs which were covered in scars. Sadly they have not faded like I hoped that they would.

*Before you go any further please check yourself because I’m going to talk about self-harm. If you are not in the place to read something like this please check out a different post of mine! Like this or this.*

They’re scars from 2016 when I was really struggling with self-harm during my episode of severe depression. During that time I didn’t care what my body looked like, I wanted the relief that cutting brought to me at my lowest point.

I don’t regret doing what I did to myself during those horrible months. I regret other times that I have self-harmed but not then.

“But Megan why?” you might ask.

A great question! I was having constant suicidal thoughts, wasn’t eating and wanted all of the pain I was in to end. My mind told me that the only way for me to escape my suicidal thoughts was to end my life.  So instead of doing that, I cut myself.

I had been struggling with self-harm for 5 years at that point so this negative coping skill was one that I was very familiar with.

I’m not encouraging anybody to self-harm as a way to cope with mental illness. But as I reflect back on that time in my life, I give myself a pass. I wasn’t myself, my mind wasn’t functioning properly at all.

Even though I am left with the scars on my body, I forgive myself for it all.

I don’t think forgiveness is spoken about much among people who struggle with self-harm. It really should be though! We have to forgive ourselves for what we did when we weren’t feeling mentally well. We forgive then try to find a different coping skill next time.

I still have scars from when I began cutting at 18 so I know these will not fade for a long time. I have to accept my past, love myself despite my challenges and be confident even though my past pain is carved onto my body.

If you struggle with self-harm, have you forgiven yourself? If not, what’s holding you back? Leave me a comment please!

Isolation vs Introversion

Is there a clear line between someone who is introverted and someone who is choosing to isolate themselves? When does “needing alone time to recharge” go from something normal to the extreme of isolation?

I feel that I have become a routine isolationist of sorts. By that I mean that for so long, especially during some very low times in the last few years, I didn’t want to be around most people because I was so deeply depressed. I had zero energy to spend on others because I used it all up trying to get by day to day. I needed that energy for basics functions as well as being able to work a full-time and part-time job.

So being alone became a routine. I would cancel on people, I would keep my free time open so I could truly rest.

Right now (knock on wood) my mental health is in pretty good condition. Things are going well at the moment so I hope that things stay that way for a while.

Since my mental health is fine, why can’t I break out of my isolationist routine?

Maybe it’s because I don’t have any close friends in my life. Maybe I’m turning into a hermit. Maybe I’ve lost my ability to be social.

I had the opportunity today to have lunch with a friend but canceled. I got a flat tire today so I said I couldn’t do lunch because of that even though my tire is fixed. I totally could have gone, but I chose not to.

My therapist encourages me to make friends and go out and do things but I find it very challenging to do when my comfort zone is so cozy.

Anxiety Attacks

Last night I woke up to my heart pounding in my ears, my dark room spinning and my brain was in fight/flight mode. I began to have an anxiety attack.

Yesterday I let my boyfriend down in a multitude of ways. I disappointed him. Then I was going to stay the night but decided to go home instead. The whole drive home I regretted it because I saw in his face how sad he felt that I was leaving.

I cried and cried all the way home. Every exit I passed I regretted that I didn’t take it to turn around to go back to my love.

Once I got in bed I fell asleep immediately. A half hour later my brain jolted me awake by suffocating me with an anxiety attack. A racing heart and the feeling of impending doom.

My anxiety whispered so softly that I could barely hear it. It didn’t call me a failure. It didn’t call me a terrible girlfriend/person. It whispered, “why didn’t you stay?”

Over and over my feelings of regret had me tossing and turning from the evening into the morning. I still am recovering from this long anxiety attack.

In the morning I had to take anxiety medicine to help calm me down. I laid in bed wishing to be wrapped in his arms where I feel the most safe and loved. Sadly last night I made the dumb decision that I didn’t want to be cuddled in the morning. Oh Megan!

When I feel regret I usually feel it pretty intensely. I think it all goes back to how I wasn’t being my best self and already feeling guilty about the choices that I made yesterday.

After all of that I am really going to step up my game for him.

He needs me to support him in his recent job promotion which has come with a big shift switch.

He needs me to work on my anxious thoughts that tell me that everybody hates me. It hurts him when I lash out because of my anxiety. It hurts our relationship in many ways.

Yesterday  I was saying how everybody hates me, his reply was, “Megan there is nothing wrong with you.” Writing that out brought me to tears. It means so much to hear the person I’m in love with say that about me despite seeing my every flaw.

He needs me to just be honest and be myself.

So that anxiety attack maybe was a strange, weird blessing because I am now able to see how I can improve and be better for my man.