Lifestyle Blog: living with fear & anxiety

The real time thoughts of Sabrina

The 11th Hour — May 3, 2017

The 11th Hour

gorilla hands

The 11th hour has come upon me..the last moment where change can happen..the last moment where effort can make a difference. In other words it is now or never.

As daunting and scary as this sounds…it is.

In a last attempt, a last ditch effort to finish on time, this is when I begin. Just about any other time to begin would have been better than this time now. But now is all I have. So this is where I am – this is where I stand – and this is where I start to try to change things around. After mulling it over and over and over in my head I finally gave into it to do the thing that has been pounding me at the back of my skull every time I have a good time, every laughter, every joyful whim that receives answering, every single damn time I am happy I am suddenly not. For I have not yet done the thing which I should have done. There’s that damned word again. SHOULD. But yes I should have done this sooner. No looking back now though, that won’t do us any good.

All I have is now. And I’m gonna make it fucking count. When it needs to count…it needs to count…it needs to matter. My efforts need to make a difference.

It is now or never. Any point up until now the options were as follows: now, never, later. Now there is no “later” there is only now or never and I can’t afford to do the latter

For the latter would leave me utterly stuck in time. My mind would be trapped in regret of 3 years gone by. 3 years of lost moments of me lost in the moment only to be grounded by reality. Procrastination was always the name of my game and the nature of my wins. I’ve created some pretty neat things on the twilight of procrastination. I’ve simply astounded myself. And I intend to do the same.

One day to the next… — January 25, 2017

One day to the next…

One day I’m completely fine, just busily working away and shooing away any negative or sad thoughts. Other days it is all I can think about. I’m consumed with sadness, randomly cry throughout the day, and can’t stand this life I have in front of me. With so much to be grateful for, what gives?? Life doesn’t seem tough from the outside. From the inside I know what the problem is. I didn’t have the guts to quit when I had the chance.

My hypothesis is that I would be 10x happier if I had quit my graduate program after that first year. Now I am going on 3 years of torture. Hair loss, acne, never-ending stress…this has been my life for 3 years. I should have been done with my thesis a year ago. I keep telling myself, I’ll give it one more shot. But I’m just completely lost. No clue what I’m doing…both with my thesis and school. I felt pressured to stay and I had no job prospects after the first year of school. I should have just not gone back. I’d have a little more sanity and a lot more freedom. I haven’t been doing nonstop work, like I should have, but the looming work over my head made every event and activity I did leave me full of these harsh emotions. I felt guilty for having fun and not doing work, so I mostly didn’t have fun. Any time I let loose I always had work on my mind. Just the general thought of “I should be working” even if I had no idea what I should be working on.

I asked countless people for advice – both family and strangers. And I always got the rational stuff, stay in school, you’re almost done anyway, right? Technically, I suppose, but mentally I’m so far removed from it. I am at this crossroads where I have also taken on another project. It sounded cool at first and I thought $$ and I didn’t want to let my professor down, but for my sanity it was the complete wrong choice. I regret this decision too.

So, I don’t want this life, what am I to do?

 

Why is it so difficult — December 12, 2016

Why is it so difficult

Why is it so difficult to do the things I have to do?
To pick up the pen when I’d rather start anew.
Certain things I’d rather leave behind.
Certain things I’ve already set aside.
When one thing comes to an end, another may begin.
But if what begins, began, where does that leave the former?

They say you can never have too much education. I’d like to meet “they” and tell “them” that you can in fact have too much education. Knowledge is not power when the holder sits idle.

How to get yourself out of a funk (a work in progress) — October 11, 2016

How to get yourself out of a funk (a work in progress)

I have evaluated myself and how I spend my time. I often find myself in a state of inaction and looking back to times where I seemed to “have it all.” I worked out, I studied hard and always got good grades, and I just worked hard in general. At everything I did I strived to be the best version of myself. I had standards. I had goals. I knew who I was and didn’t accept anything less for myself.

I feel the past two years I have lost myself, my worth, and my work ethic. I have withered to this lazy being who exists to exist. I have all these aspirations and no drive. I’ve had bouts of depression before but in that time I inundated myself in my work. Now I’m battling my underlying anxiety which has fueled my mental illnesses, unbeknownst to me. I’m anxious for the future, not knowing where I will go or what I will do or what I will be. The “be” part is what plagues my quiet mind. I find myself lost in thought throughout my days and have cast off all responsibility. After continuously pushing things off, my procrastination has become a habit and I let my standards for my work ethic fall to a level I did not know was possible. I sometimes feel as though I am living in a continual summer vacation.

WAKE THE FUCK UP!

I wait every morning for myself to be fully engaged in my work again. I feel with each passing day I slip further and further from my old self. My old self was extremely productive and extremely proud of her work. Now I could not seem to care less. I think, “if only I had a passion to work at, it’s the lack of passion for my job that I have to fix.” But no…it is not the lack of passion for my job(s). That’s not the problem, because in the past I did work I really really did not want to do but compelled to do it, and give it my all, because of those standards and goals. The problem is not in the lack of passion for my job(s), but the lack of passion for life itself. My problem is my mindset. My problem is that I have given up. My problem is that I lost the love I had for myself. Life is in the journey, after all. At a ripe young age of almost 25, I have already had my fair share of the infamous “quarter-life crisis.” I think if I could only figure out what I am passionate about and then pursue that career, then I will get back my spunk and get rid of this funk! But no, what needs to happen first is inside of me. A fundamental change has occurred and my lazy days have become a habitual norm. My mind is trapped on a tropical island on vacation without the good sentiments, warm air, shading palm tree, and pina colada. Perhaps I lost it long ago in my quest to be the best. But I pushed that mind aside because it aided me none.

I feel lost and do nothing to better my situation, then I beat myself up and yell at myself to stop being so damn lazy. I don’t know what I really want to do for a career, all I know is I don’t like the things I am currently doing. I am extremely indecisive which probably stems from my fear of making the wrong choices for my life.

But I need to remind myself that what we regret most is in the “not doing.” So it doesn’t matter much what I do, as long as I do something. I shan’t look back at the past, for I cannot change it. I can only change my story going forward.

Be heard — October 6, 2016

Be heard

 “The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”
Yeats, The Second Coming

Use your voice to be heard. Use your actions to be seen. Use your strength to keep going in the midst of adversity. Combine the intensity of your voice and the strength of your actions and there is no way you can be ignored.

We are told to stand up for what we believe in… as long as it coincides with societal standards and ideals. I call for you to have the conviction and stick-to-it-ness to evaluate your own life, your own actions, and the problems you want to fix in this world. If we don’t stand up for truth and justice, the ignorant will take over the world. The incompetent rise through the ranks while the talented slumber.
Nothing will work unless you do — October 1, 2016

Nothing will work unless you do

Everything that I have received in my life was because I worked for it. Sometimes I had to miss the small stuff – events, outings, parties.. I did what I had to in order to get the best outcome on whatever I was working on. I wanted to be the best I could be and work as hard as I needed to in order to make that happen. I had so much drive and yet I didn’t like the work I was doing. Looking back I wonder how I could have so much drive and motivation to get tasks accomplished, to study long hours, to work and teach myself skills to be a better employee. Back then I stood for something – morals, hard work, being sober, being punctual.

I look back at this foreign human. Somewhere along the line I changed. I wonder how the old me did what she did for so long. Still unhappy and only passionate about not failing or doing poorly or being seen as incompetent. Now I don’t have those fears. Why?

I have lowered my standards for myself. Ever since my big bout of depression and slew of anxiety attacks I have allowed myself to let myself become a victim of the world. Things didn’t work out for me and it wasn’t my fault. I wasn’t responsible for my own destiny and my own outcomes. I was a believer that I could learn anything I put my mind to. And I am still right – I can be that high achiever again. I can get my work ethic back to the forefront of my mind. Now is the time I need to grind and do work!! I need to fight my depression and anxiety…but most of all, I need to RAISE MY STANDARDS. I will no longer allow myself to be a half-assed human. I will not live with small intensity. I will put myself out there and be responsible for my own outcomes. I will direct my destiny.

Now which way will I go? What road shall I choose? If all the world is full of opportunity, where do I want to direct my energy?

I will begin…

Don’t Give Up — September 28, 2016

Don’t Give Up

When life gets tough, it is easy to throw your hands in the air and give up. Letting yourself spiral into feeling inadequate and unqualified further hinders you from taking the necessary actions to get yourself going again. Don’t let yourself get you down. Don’t give up. Don’t quit. Keep going. Once you quit it becomes easier and easier to just walk away from something when the slightest problem pops up.

If you don’t believe in yourself you’ll never get anywhere.

Set Yourself Free — September 26, 2016

Set Yourself Free

Set yourself free from your own limiting beliefs. If you are not taking the actions you need to be or want to be taking, try not to beat yourself up about it. Telling yourself that you are a loser and not good enough and not smart enough won’t help you get to work any sooner. It will only set you back. So try to be kinder to yourself. Step away from the motivational books/podcasts/blogs/hacks/productivity checklists and just listen to what your gut is telling you. If you keep procrastinating on your deadlines they will eventually creep up on you. Getting yourself pumped up with motivational inspiration may give you a boost of energy that you need to get you going, but it may also hinder you. It also eats up one of your most precious resources – time! You could have spent the time listening to that 1 hour podcast actually getting work done. You can’t always wait for the “right” time. Just start, a little bit, right now! Whatever it is you have to do, do one small thing now to get you going. You will feel infinitely better about yourself even if you do 5 minutes worth of work. Don’t just think about what needs to get done, do whatever you can with whatever you have to do some part of your task. The only way to get past it is to do it! You will either procrastinate up until the point where you must do the task, or you will miss your deadline completely.

Set yourself free from all the outside noise. Everyone wants to tell you what you should be doing, don’t let them. Take back control of your life. You have the power.

What is it that you are continually putting off ’till tomorrow? Do it!

The fear of failure is holding me back — September 20, 2016

The fear of failure is holding me back

I didn’t set out to be the best in school- it was a byproduct of the work I put in. I worked hard to learn and memorize as much as I could in order to fully understand the material I was to be tested on- ignoring the effort (or lack thereof) of other students. But the undertone of comparison still crept in as professors and teachers would announce that I scored the highest. I performed the “best”. When I wasn’t the best I wasn’t happy. But when when I was the best, that didn’t necessarily make me happy either. I never realized the truth behind my hard work was fear of not being the best. The fear of that horrible feeling of being completely unprepared for a test that I had one shot at taking. And what have all those perfect scores done for me? 

The truth is you can be perfect in school, it is reflected in your grades. But the truth of life is that you can never be perfect nor the best. There will always be someone a little bit better, faster, smarter, and if you are the best, even for a brief moment, the next best player will be fast on your heels. Keep up momentum or fear being replaced…

Post-school I realized a big lesson. Things aren’t as black and white as they were in my days of formal education. There isn’t always a right answer for every situation. You can’t just study the material for life and be prepared. Life is a game that school didn’t prepare me for. This post-perfection world has left me in a tizzy, my entire world and self-worth has gone out the window along with my sanity and surprisingly, my work ethic. I’ve been trying to figure out (typical perfectionist) exactly why I have been so…well, lazy these post-college days. I have lost focus, lack motivation, and just feel generally lost, depressed, and anxious. Reflecting back on my college days, I wasn’t happy studying for 12 hours in a day, even saying it seems unfathomable to this current-day self that I have become. I am not quite sure how I pumped out so much work and read so many pages each day. Day after day, taking no breaks. I felt anxious when not doing work. Now I feel anxious just thinking about doing any kind of work. Most days I can barely muster up the strength to do anything and find myself sitting in contemplation wondering why I’m not doing anything at all. Projects looming overhead… 

 Keeping up a constant state of perfection and hard work is not sustainable. My high expectations for myself drove me to the ground. Now this burnt out version of my once productive being contemplates what my next step will be since my seemingly passionless existence has risen up and taken ahold of the mothership. Trying to find purpose in the madness of my mind has been the ultimate quest consuming my entire being for months. Putting so much pressure on myself has been counter-productive in finding the solution. My search for meaning has left me more lost than before. And as for an answer about why my productivity has gone down, I’m not quite sure. My fear of not being perfect at the career and business I choose to pursue is probably a major factor. I don’t like going into things thinking I possibly won’t be good at it or I won’t have a chance to be successful at it. This fear has left me in a state of inaction. This fear has held me back from mostly pursuing everything, not thinking I will be good at something or not be smart enough. There are many layers to my problem: fear of failure, insecurity, indecision, lack of concentration, “head-in-the-clouds-syndrome,” lack of perceived passion, newfound procrastination, anxiety, depression… What happened to the days of complete focus and concentration reading for hours on end…?

The only solace is falling back to loved ones. I wish I had realized this sooner- that connections are the glue to keep your life and sanity together. People are the only thing that make life worth living. I neglected forming and keeping connections while I was working so hard. But without people, connections, interactions, friendships, relationships, family…nothing else matters.

If you are going to strive to be the best at something even after reading this blog post, I urge you to strive to be the best girlfriend, daughter, son, husband, mother, friend, that you can be. 

Goals vs Themes — September 16, 2016

Goals vs Themes

Do you live your life from one goal to the next? How often do you meet the expectations of the goals you actually set for yourself? Are you rigid in your mentality? Do you even want to achieve the goals you have identified for yourself and if you do, then why?

My buddy, James Altucher, (and I use the word buddy loosely, very loosely since we have never met nor have we conversed on any level but I feel I already know him through his podcast, The Altucher Show) in his commentary for Business Insider discusses how he rarely sets rigid goals for himself, rather he has prevailing themes in which he lives by. Themes such as: helping people, being healthy, etc. He reflects on the fact that when he did write down a goal for himself, he rarely ever achieved it. So it got me thinking…

With all my “to-do” lists and all my productivity hacks and visions and written goals…I actually have moved further away from those goals with each passing day. Maybe the sight of them has overwhelmed me…I have been feeling overwhelmed for a while. But then again when I set goals for myself in the past such as read 5 chapters of a specific book, I usually accomplish the task (or get pretty close to it). So which is it? Is goal setting actually counter-productive for us or are they what makes us stay productive? There’s evidence for both outcomes that I have seen in my own life. What about you?

I know I’m asking so many questions in this post but I really am asking myself these things in my head. Trying to sort through the contradicting colloquialisms and expressions that we take for granted and grounding them in reality. “Go with the flow” verses “believe it and achieve it” type things.

I guess it all depends on the type of goal you are setting for yourself. If it is something grand like generating $100 million a year from now (probably an easy task for the Zucks and Musks of the world) but to me and the everyday person this seems like a daunting task at the moment. If the goal is something as small as reading 5 chapters a day of some book…it may be a little bit more do-able as to not overwhelm you too much.

My advice would be to set small goals to accomplish everyday tasks, set themes for your life so you can live with integrity and purpose, and not to get overwhelmed by the stuff in between. Let yourself be open to the possibilities the world may present to you at random. I know for myself I couldn’t dream up being where I am today. I had no idea these opportunities would be presented to me at this point in my life. But maybe if I set some big goal for myself then I’d be purposefully moving towards it by now…it’s funny to think about but for myself I will continue to live and not try to make sense of the randomness that enters my life. I will continue to work everyday to get myself closer to certain goals I do have for myself, but I won’t be bogged down in the details. I will also continue to be open to the possibilities…