Outfit Post: 1/11/13 (4 of 30)

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Sweater: Goodwill — Dress: Gift — Tights: Hue — Heels: Thrifted (Naturalizer) — Belt: Thrifted — Earrings: Swapped

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Hello there, kitty ears! And hello to the rest of you. How are you doing today? I am…middling. I try to keep my posts around here light and cheerful because this blog is a fun hobby for me and I don’t want to bog you guys down with a lot of complaining, but I also like to be straightforward with y’all.

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I’ve talked about it a bit before, but for the last few years or so, I’ve been struggling a lot with feelings of anxiety and depression. My tendency towards catastrophic thinking means that when I make a mistake or when things go wrong, my brain leaps to assumptions that everyone will be disappointed in me, I will lose my friends and loved ones (or they never really liked me in the first place), and that I will never be good enough. It’s all tied up in self-esteem issues, feelings of inadequacy, and imposter syndrome–there is a not-quite-constant feeling in my heart that anybody who cares for me has somehow been tricked into doing so, and that as soon as they find out what I’m really like, they’ll sigh, shake their heads, and say “oh, Mia, we were so wrong about you,” and then I will be alone.

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Obviously, despite these feelings, I get by–my depression is mild enough that it doesn’t knock me on the floor, I don’t have paralyzing panic attacks, and I still make it to work and home again. A lot of the time, I’m happy! But the negative feelings and thoughts always come back; they affect me in all sorts of little ways that mean I’m afraid to talk to people on the phone, I hate myself when I screw up or fail, and once, in college, I started crying in the middle of the grocery store because I felt overwhelmed at the prospect of buying bananas that contribute to the poverty of people in banana-growing countries. These anxieties and fears have made me divert my life in a bunch of small ways and keep me from doing things that I should be able to do. (I still feel complicated about the bananas.)

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One of my goals for this year is to finally see someone about my anxiety. I didn’t do it for a long time for a number of reasons. I’m pretty functional and have gotten off light compared to many people I know (including my father and brother, who have both struggled with heavy, chronic depression for most of their lives); those same anxieties and feelings of low self-confidence and self-esteem that I was talking about circle around in my head and tell me that my problems are insignificant, I have so much privilege, and that to put such weight on my tiny emotions of sadness is self-absorbed and if I can’t deal with it on my own, then I am stupid and pathetic. But dammit, I’m tired of it. I know that I don’t have a right to constant happiness in this life, but this isn’t going to get better on its own–platitudes like fake it ’til you make it and stop being sad and start being awesome don’t actually work when you’ve got messed-up brain chemistry–and I’m sick of that lead ball of sadness and fear in my chest that makes me feel lonely and small. I am going to stop stigmatizing myself, because I would never in a hundred years treat a loved one who had these same feelings the way I treat myself.

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16 thoughts on “Outfit Post: 1/11/13 (4 of 30)

  1. D says:

    I am glad you are going to see someone, and I wish you wild success! Brain chemistry is no small matter. And I also have complicated feelings toward bananas.

    On a less important note, it is really rad that your hair and tights match.

  2. Oh ma darlin’, oh ma darlin’, oh my daaaaaaarlin’ Near Stranger…

    Did you know we were twins? I didn’t, but all the feelings you describe are painfully familiar. I used to think “self-loathing” was the dumbest idea ever, and only recently realized that I am RACKED with self-loathing almost every day. AND it didn’t occur to me that self-loathing could be a SYMPTOM OF DEPRESSION until Stephen Fry told me— seriously, I’ve always taken my hatred at face value and… trusted my own judgment of myself.

    Go forth and seek help. There is no shame in seeking help, only wisdom. Yea verily. Also, I think you’re doing the world a favor by speaking frankly about depression. Don’t we all feel like we’re the only ones?

  3. I just want to do something that hopefully you will take the right way? You have permission to harumph on the blog. To be depressed. To be a person with real feelings and real needs and also to be a person who is mostly happy but also sometimes suddenly ridden with anxiety. Maybe it is a weird thing to say, but sometimes what one needs is permission. So.

    Also, I really hope that seeking help works for you. I know we both chatted about going last year, and I still haven’t, mostly out of a prolonged period of too-busy-to-get-stuck-in-my-own-headness. I hope that it works for you, and that you find some tactics that help the anxiety suck less.

    Finally, that sweater is spectaaaacular!

  4. anotherkate says:

    In the spirit of Imperfect Advice From Strangers (fellow ‘pinner here), I have similar issues, and have gotten a lot of mileage out of cognitive behavior therapy, and meditation, specifically Vipassana meditation. Heck, if you are in the SF bay area, I can recommend a therapist to you. And the meditation, I actually suck at it, but it still helps. There are many different styles of meditation, so do a little Googling and see what appeals to you. Good luck, and you are definitely not alone in this.

  5. Aww, Mia. I’m sending you lots of love and support! I do hope you see someone, it will help. I have spent many years with debilitating anxiety, mild depression, and a million other ‘small’ issues that make daily living a hassle. I can commiserate entirely with the End of World feelings. Even with medication and behavioral therapy, I still feel those feelings sometimes, but it’s a lot easier to live my day to day.

    I spent so much time complaining that I don’t want to be medicated or go to therapy, but when something works – makes you feel closer to what ‘normal’ should be, it’s worth it.

    Also I’m sorry about the bananas. Obsessive thoughts are rarely rational, but at least yours is logical. 😉

  6. I’m sending lots of hugs your way! You’re right in saying that often, platitudes don’t work. I always thought the problem was me, since fakin’ it was absolutely not makin’ it. It’s wasn’t until I was in my late 20s that I finally found a therapist that worked so wonderfully with me. Truly, he was awesome, and I was sad we had to break up when I moved away. Finding a good person who listens well is an amazing thing, and much better than someone just telling you to “be happy”.

  7. It is really hard to take that first step. I had to do that a couple years ago, and it was so hard to decide that someone else should spend their time thinking about my problems. I hope you find a therapist/doctor who is just the right fit, and if you don’t the first time, try again. Best of luck!

  8. Erin says:

    I have issues with depression and anxiety as well, exacerbated by my epilepsy meds. I’ve been on medication for it for several years and it’s helped immensely. Really, once you think to yourself “Hey, I would never let a friend go this long without helping her get some treatment”, it really puts it all into perspective. So go to the doctor/therapist, my friend, and figure out what helps you! Personally, I stop being sad and start being awesome when I taking my morning Zoloft and manage to get enough sleep.

    Also, Pitch Perfect is awesome because (A) Rebel Wilson and (B) acapella music is the bomb.

  9. rubybastille says:

    Oh, lady. I am definitely with you on the hating-yourself-after-making-mistakes boat. I’ve been screwing up at work frequently and it is incredibly hard to get over them – they just leave me convinced that I’m never going to learn and I’ll never get better at my job, ever. Which is of course ridiculous, but the point here is you’re not alone, as these other comments have illustrated. We love you and hope you get what you need to feel awesome!

  10. Maria says:

    Hi there! I am a stranger to you, since I am a total lurker and very rarely (as in almost never!) leave comments in any of the many blogs I follow. But, here I am. I feel what you say and commend you on taking the step of seeking help. Not doing so would be akin to a a person with a bothersome ingrown toenail forsaking treatment because there are people who suffer amputations. An ingrown toenail requiers attention and care. And so do you. Go for it, feel better and enjoy even more happy moments. And remember, sometimes a banana is just a banana 🙂 María

  11. Yes, see someone. Have you seen someone yet (this post is totally ancient in the internet world, being from more than a week ago, ha)? I used to take Xanax, and I manage very well without it now… but it is a lot of managing. Especially in New York. And I know that I should keep an emergency Xanax stash because I am one of those anxiety people prone to hyperventilating panic attacks and hysterics and fits. Even knowing I had a few extra pills on me helped. Of course, Xanax or whatever might not be the right thing for you, but there’s no reason to not explore your options!

    Also, you could do yoga. Do you do yoga?

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