Thursday, March 23, 2017

More Fucking Lemons from Life and How I Responded

Just when you feel like you made some bomb ass lemonade from the sour lemons life threw at you more came along.

FUCK.

"Positive Mental Attitude. I read this in a book. Keep your mind in a positive state and don't let those sour lemons sting your eyes." These are the thoughts that went through my mind. But to be honest, how many of us can really shift our mind sets under immense stress and negativity? I tried to tell myself that it isn't the end of the world but the negative thoughts are like pesty flies attacking a piece of rotten meat, relentless. This had been day... 3 or 4 of my attempt for "acceptance" for a situation that was completely due to "bad luck" or some "evil energy" lurking in the background that I had no control over.

Surprisingly I was handling it pretty well for the past few days. I hadn't freaked out at all up until this point albeit the shitty situation at hand and honestly I was low key proud of myself. But then life threw more sour lemons at me. WHAT?! MULTIPLE SHITTY VARIABLES AND EXPONENTIAL AMOUNT OF SOUR LEMONS?! I felt a gush of panic flow through my chest and my head started spinning. I realized that, shit, I'm not good at handling multiple shitty situations at once. (LOL) At this point I tried everything I possibly could to convince myself to practice a positive mental attitude, but the panic felt so overwhelming that my entire body felt sick. One thing led to another, and before I knew it I created a downward spiral with a bunch of useless info from the darkness of my subconscious...

This was yesterday, let's fast forward to today, to this moment. I FEEL FINE. I didn't die. This morning came just like any other morning. I got out of bed and came to work and ate breakfast and worked. Just like any other morning. I worked out. Now I'm sitting here, feeling pretty decently. How did I get through the panic? I CONTINUED WITH WHAT I HAD TO DO AND KEPT LIVING.
I know that sounds really stupid but I literally told myself to continue to do what I need to do and despite how shitty I felt in that moment to keep going. I went to Target and got a few things I needed, went home and made myself chicken noodle soup from a can (when you are sick and congested this is the best thing right?...-_- this is the best I can do lol.), then knocked the fuck out for an hour because at this point my body mentally and physically could not handle anything. But then I woke up and continued some more with life and yesterday turned into today, and here I am, and guess what, THINGS ARE OKAY.

Back to the situation that I was stressing over, now looking in retrospect, that one point it was just out of my hands and no matter how much I stress and freak out, I did the best I could and that should be enough. I shouldn't have been so tough on myself to cause all the unnecessary pain and pressure on my already uncomfortable body from acquiring a cold from someone at work. But this was what I was used to doing, create negative feed back loops that cause more negative thoughts to be created. What I learned from yesterday was that despite how shitty and terrible you may feel in any particular moment, life doesn't wait for you, and you have to continue regardless of how you feel. Once you make it past that hurdle what's facing you ahead is a new day that has endless potentials for positivity, only if you want them. Because I didn't let myself stop and give up on my routine and disciplines I was able to regain a sense of control compared to the panic I felt the other day. I was able to create some sort of motivation to propel myself in a positive direction.

So the take away lesson from this long and ranty post is that, (as stupid and duh as this sounds) just keep going. <3

Friday, March 17, 2017

Vulnerability Under Stress

Panic attack strikes again.

"Life throws you lemons. You make lemonade."
Easier said than done. Sometimes the lemons that life throws at me are so sour that they sting my eyes, they make me tear up, they make me feel defeated, and they make me feel like the world is going to end in that moment.

The weeks on end of radical self help and attempt at improvement has really helped, I think. Compared to the state I was in a few weeks ago. But this isn't something that can be fixed in a few short weeks. My anxiety is caused by deep rooted bad habits and my pessimistic mind's inclination to catastrophize very scenario until I corner myself and render myself useless. Upon realizing today that I really have no one else to rely on for things like these and in frantic, helpless moments like these other than... myself, my panic attack struck hard.

"Life throws you lemons."
Sometimes it IS like that, LIFE, THROWS lemons at you. You didn't ask for those lemons, you didn't ask for life to throw them at you, but it just does, and it throws these sour lemons at you when you think you are starting to do all the right things finally and things are going to be better. And then Bam! Sour fucking lemons in the face. What do you do? You can choose to be like me, become completely useless and self blame and dwell, or you can pick up those fucking sour lemons and throw it back at life. I'm currently writing this in attempt to convince myself to do just that.

My breathing is more contained now, I feel a little less fucking crazy, and looking back now, I was actually already doing the right things to throw those sour lemons back at life. But why didn't I give myself credit in those moments? I took immediate attention when I realized I had failed to apply for something that would require a bit of time and jumped on it right away. I called corresponding parties to inquire whether the remaining days would be enough time if I had taken action immediately now. They told me it should be okay. All I had to do was start and finish, even though the schedule is tight, but it's not un-doable. Things are fine then right? Nope, my mind continued to race and my heart palpitated with a tempo that rushed a shit load of blood into my brain, all of which led to my panic attack mentioned above. In moments like these I always feel SO ALONE. I feel useless, I feel like crying, I feel like I need someone to be there for me. But I failed to see that I am actually REALLY STRONG, and SMART. I knew what to do to try to fix the problem at hand, and I knew I had to put in hard work for something that might not even work out, and I also knew that I would be okay to take the responsibilities if that was the case. BUT. I didn't give myself credit for knowing all of that. My mind immediately went to look for comfort externally, when really, deep inside, I already took care of myself, I already took the actions necessary to prevent any more mistakes being made.

"Life throws you lemons."
I already knew how to make that lemonade. Maybe it's a sour lemonade, but I had it in myself to make something out of it. I just didn't and wasn't able to see it.

I'm understanding a bit more about myself each day, and every day I'm growing a bit stronger.
This, I think, is learning to love myself.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Taking "Me" Time

Once in a while I will take a "me" day to mentally and physically give myself a break from work and life. I think it's essential to do that for ourselves here and there to rejuvenate and refocus. Normally on a day like this I would sleep in and watch TV in bed all day. But yesterday I took the liberty to give this day of "me time" some more value and actively engaged in activities that nurtured my soul.

I let myself sleep in and embarked on "me day" with a late start. The sun was shining brightly outside and my heart felt the slightest bit of warmth despite my previous onset of "internal cloudy days". I climbed out of bed and got dressed in the most comfortable outfit that hugged my body ever so gently. By now it had been lunch time and for the first time in a long time I encouraged myself to eat at a restaurant alone. So with my book and purse in hand, I stepped out the door to welcome the rest of "me day".

Lunch consisted of yummy pan fried pork buns with a side of sweet soy milk. Asian dishes like these often give me a sense of comfort and that day it didn't fail either. As I flipped through the pages of my "feel good" book and indulged in my simple lunch I felt a sense of peacefulness, in the stillness of my  rediscovered autonomy.

Following lunch I drove to the nearest coffee joint and sat down with a nice cup of brew and just read. A few hours went by and still ... I felt a sense of peacefulness.

As the rays of sunshine peaked through strands of my hair they lit up the pages I read, and warmed my heart a bit more. I stood up from the couch and walked out of the coffee shop with a breezy calmness.

I found myself sitting in central park awhile later, fully letting the sun embrace my body, every inch of it, and indulged in the moment for it made me feel whole, and it gave me love. In that moment, I felt fulfillment. It felt familiar, yet foreign, but it felt so good that I became teary eyed. I look around and just let this moment sink in. The sun, the green grass, shady trees with children running underneath, the children's laughter... All of this was so beautiful to me. I took a deep breath in and told myself that this, was love.

Suddenly, I realized that I was smiling...


Even though a day like this happens very rarely for me in my current state, on the rare occasion that it does take place, I'm reminded of how beautiful and amazing life really is. And that if we just allow ourselves to experience it this way more often, heart hearts could be that much fuller.



Yum. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

What a 6 AM Workout Did For Me

Upon realizing that I had to get my shit together and change the way I've been living for the last 25 years of my life, this also included a radical incorporation of daily gym sessions compared to the 1-2 times a week prior. Originally I was going after work, around 5-6 PM, and finished around 7-8, this would mean the rest of my evening really involved eating, showering, and nothing else. I then decided it would be much more efficient to get gym out of the way during my 1 hr lunch break, and that was a game changer because it freed up so much time after work. I now had time to go out to dinner with friends or just sit back and read a good book (on radical self help... lol).

Today I did something drastically different than my normal routine. Instead of waking up at 7AM I set my alarm to 6 AM the night before, and actually woke up at 5:30 AM (God forbid, who am I?). I told myself I'd try going to the gym in the early AM and see if it makes a difference in how my day would progress. And behold! It's now about 11 AM in the morning, it might be too early to tell but I can tell you I feel significantly more positive and at ease. Not sure if it's because I "accomplished" something that I've never tried before, but the amount of peacefulness that I feel currently is really giving me hope and motivation to become better (whatever that means).

I arrived at the gym around 6:15 AM and proceeded with my fasted cardio work out. I set the timer on manual and run in intervals of 30 seconds with alternating speeds of 10 and 3.5. I do that for about 10 - 15 mins. I then proceeded to some light weight lifting. The thing about working out with an empty stomach is really a double edged sword, you burn more fat supposedly, but also because of  a lack of energy source, you can't work out as hard and thus can't push yourself as much. Regardless, I completed my one hr work out and headed back to work. The goal here is to lose the 10 lbs or ish I put on during this period of time that I no longer want to talk about because I seriously write about it too much. Many people look at me like I'm crazy and tell me I already look like paper, why do I want to lose weight? It's about self image and self love okay? If I feel like losing 10 lbs will make me feel better about myself then I will do just that. (Insert extreme sass here.)

Back at work, it's about 7:40 AM (This is the time I usually get ready to leave home to come to work, yet I'm already here, feeling pretty good.). It's quiet, not a lot of people are here yet, I check my emails, get some work done, drink my coffee and then got breakfast at the cafe downstairs, all before 8 AM. It is now 11 AM in the morning, and I have been awake, focused, with minimal negative thoughts on my mind. I felt a sense of lightness, almost floaty, and in 30 minutes I will go grab a healthy bite to conclude the morning half of my day.

Why am I documenting this? Because I want to remember this feeling, the feeling of taking care of myself and completing "goals" despite how small, and the feeling of following through and feeling good about it. Self empowerment is filled with challenges and roadblocks. I felt a strong set back over the weekend with the copious amount of precipitation and lack of sunlight. (Wouldn't it be nice to have someone here next to me to feel like everything is okay? Wouldn't it be nice to just cuddle with someone and eat junk food and watch movies? Yeah it is nice, but you know this is all you know how to do right? At the end of the day that hollow self will never be satiated, and you will never be happy. AND whoever that sad soul is next to you will feel suffocated and become miserable.) However, because I did this for myself today and followed through with it I challenged my body and my mind to try something new and feel good about it. I'm breathing, I'm living, I'm weeding through the darkness that tends to shroud my mind on a daily, little by little.

So the journey continues...

Friday, March 3, 2017

What My Panic Attacks Feel Like

I don't recall ever getting panic attacks until recent years. I think it was right after I came back home to NorCal that I started having them. At first they would feel like episodes of extreme negativity and I just thought I was having a bad day but they would become more frequent and less expected. Almost like an unwelcome guest who knocks on your door when you are least ready. Eventually they became something I realized I couldn't control and when they would come I'd have to just sit through them and cross my fingers for them to pass quickly.

As I'm typing this, with tears flooding out of my eyes uncontrollably, I'm having a panic attack. I tell myself to breathe, as methodically as I possibly could, in through the nose and out through the mouth, repeat..."deep breaths, you can do this, deep breaths..." I repeat to myself over and over again.

The one I'm currently having started off with a decently normal morning, followed by some work, then some lunch time high intensity interval trainings with coworkers (which I quite enjoyed), followed by an afternoon of restlessness and an influx of uncontrollable negative thoughts. I told myself I'd go to happy hour with a co worker and try to fend off this uneasiness I feel. But within that hour behind my mustered laughters I'd feel miserable, and wanted to go home immediately. It felt crippling. I felt uncomfortable and couldn't control the pounding negative thoughts taking over my brain and telling me to suffer. I rush home, immediately take off my makeup and change into something more comfortable, without sweat from lunch time workouts. My brain feels jumbled, my mind continues to race, I feel lost and frantic, I text someone I trust and tell him to give me a minute of comfort because I don't feel well. He calls me, I begin to explain how unwell I feel, and the tears would not stop. I feel despair, hopelessness, and alone...abandoned. I feel like I can't get better. I feel like this journey of self discovery and self love isn't going to have a good outcome, and I feel like I am wasting my time in trying to "be better" on my own. Everything feels miserable and I feel beaten, I feel like I can't make it. In my mind no matter how much I tell myself these are transient feelings that I should just witness and not react to I cannot find and end to this despair. He asks me if anything happened, and I manage to answer no, that I am having a panic attack and I can't control this feeling of hopelessness. He tells me to breath and things will be okay. I continue to tell myself the same. I tell him I will write this down and try to be calm.

As I'm typing now I realize the tears have stopped, and I feel a bit more calm. I still feel in a daze but because I'd let myself cry I don't feel as miserable. The scary part of having one of these episodes is not being able to control it. The self help books and the ideologies don't come in handy when your mind is going haywire. I have been trying on a daily basis to practice a positive mindset and self love from the moment I wake up in the last few weeks but when these panic attacks hit I am rendered absolutely useless. The last time I had one of these was awhile ago, actually a long while ago, so when today's episode came by I wasn't prepared for it. Now I feel an immense amount of tiredness. My eyes want to close and my breathing slows down.

I continue to breathe with an intentional methodical pattern, and I wait...

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Self Reflection: Self Confidence VS Self Esteem

Before I head to bed I want to quickly write down my sleepy thoughts and the debate I've been having with myself in the last few days. Self confidence and self esteem, I've always thought the two were synonymous and interchangeable. Growing up I used to be super shy and introverted. If you read my previous blog posts you got a sense of what it was like in my younger days when I'd enjoy mostly of activities consisting of me, myself, and I (lol, I really enjoyed the independence and the lack of other people's opinions). As I got older I became a little more extroverted, I liked surrounding myself with people, and I enjoyed getting to know them and connecting on a spiritual level. With more life experiences and social interactions came more self confidence. I felt like I knew how to handle myself socially in front of not only my friends but also strangers, and that the entire process of this human to human interaction was quite enjoyable to me. Because I felt like I was confident in myself and my actions around others I also felt like I had high self esteem and knew my worth.

However, after 25 years of trial and error, and my newly found effort to self love, I also found myself challenging the idea of self confidence VS self esteem. I read in a book somewhere that self confidences is acquired and comes with experience, while self esteem, really is innate and should be acknowledged to exist since the day you were born. This LITERALLY BLEW MY MIND. I think most of us are under the impression that the two terms are similar enough to be used interchangeably and while you have one you automatically have the other because they're essentially the same. At least this was my perception on the idea of these two terms. I felt like because I was confident and had confidence around people that would naturally translate into having self esteem and knowing my self worth. Because I know how to make people like me I must know what I am worth inside to get what I deserve. After digging deeper through my jumbled mind for the past few days I suddenly realized that I NEVER HAD SELF ESTEEM. 

Growing up I was always a prideful child, I told myself I didn't need anyone else and that I can always be the best if I put my mind to something. I don't need social interactions and I don't need help from others. But I think behind that tough child was a lack of self esteem because no one really taught me to be proud of the innate value that each human being is born with and that we are entitled to this proudness of being human. As I got older I learned to please others so that they would like me, and over time because I got so good at getting people to like me it built my confidence in social situations. Same goes for relationships, for as long as I can remember, in each of my relationships I would try to please my significant other and get them to respect me out of my pleasing them. But you see friends, I've got it all wrong. Because my self confidence came from validation from others and not from within, when you remove the external factors I was left with a hollow shell and an empty heart. When I'd be alone I would feel sad and lonely, I would feel like I need to have the company of someone else, whether it be a lover or a friend. Overtime I found myself constantly looking for companionship, through dating, through friends. I started realizing that I had become a serial dater in that I couldn't stand being alone and the feeling of that excruciating loneliness from the lack of "love" and "validation" to feed my ego and "confidence". In reality, what I really needed was a sense of self esteem and the innate right to my worth and knowing that worth. 

It's not easy to suddenly find that self worth and esteem after 25 years of being ignorant from it. I find it difficult to make myself believe that yes, I AM worth the respect and the love that I deserve. And that I don't need to go out of my way to please others to get that respect and I don't need to latch on when someone doesn't want to give me that respect and love. Because in my heart, I should know to love myself and be proud of that innate right to being human, to have that sense of self esteem, to RESPECT MYSELF ABOVE ANYTHING AND ANYONE ELSE. 

Self confidence comes with experience and practice, but self esteem, should really be in our hearts as the basis to everything we do in life. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that each and every single one of us deserves this self love, and only through acknowledging it to be true can we really have a good foundation for other aspects of our lives. 

Love yourself, accept it, practice it, and find the self esteem that each of us are innately born with. And with that thought, I'll let myself drift off into dream land...

<3

Friday, February 24, 2017

Self Reflection: Being Emotional VS Being Bound By Emotions

As mentioned in my previous post, over the years I have realized that I'm a very emotional person. I tend to get caught up with feelings and let them dictate my behaviors. I saw this as "being in tune with myself". I always told myself because I am able to act on my emotions and how I feel in the moment I am being truthful to who I am and I am living a life of honesty and integrity. This had been the case for 25 years and I never questioned it once.

After 25 years of tumbling through the motions I started to realize that many of the things I've been doing and the "methods" of life that I adopted simply just weren't working for me. I was unhappy, ungrateful, and tired of everything that it was, my life. Upon that realization I eagerly looked for answers in any shape or form, I read a number of self help books and articles after articles regarding the psyche and human functions and stumbled upon something that made me challenge the idea of "being in tune with myself" for the last 25 years.

The idea was that we as humans are so often affected by our emotions and act upon them despite the consequences that it becomes an invisible shackle which ties us down and makes us suffer. Now, I'm overly simplifying things here in one condensed and not so well structured sentence. But the basic idea here is that we often are so "in tune" with how we "feel", that no matter how destructive this "feeling" may really be and how it may influence us to behave in a non beneficial way towards our lives, we will still stubbornly act upon it because we think we are doing the right thing. This made me think about all the decisions I've made in the past, some were good ones, but many were debilitating. Out of all the ones that hurt me and made me miserable, I continued to make them as time went on and repeated the pattern over and over again because I thought I was being "honest" to my "feelings" and being "in tune with myself". However, what I failed to realize is that emotions are directly linked to our ego, our egoic self wants to act on these emotions regardless of whether it is beneficial or debilitating. Because I acted on every single "feeling" that I had, they, the feelings, dictated my life and my being. I was not really in control of my life. I let my ego and emotions dictate my behaviors and did not filter based on whether the actions would propel my life in a positive and more wholesome direction. And in turn, many of those actions that I took, actually were terrible ones that ended up pushing me deeper and deeper into a hole of misery. I was bounded by my emotions and became a slave to my ego, all the while, thinking that I was "doing the right thing". This continues to feed my ego and thus letting it control more of my life and my being. It became a cycle of toxicity and self inflicted pain-bodies and I did not even realize it.

Now, being emotional isn't necessarily a bad thing. Having emotions and feeling them is human nature and there is no way we can avoid it all together. However, not all emotions need to be acted upon. Some are good ones that propel us to do things to better ourselves; while some, and I'm very familiar with these, are purely toxic and will influence us to create more negative feelings (thus a cycle continues). I think it's still very possible to be in tune with yourself without acting on every single feeling, instead of acting upon some, simply observe, know that it's there, and watch it pass by. By giving up a reaction to those negative feelings you regain control of yourself and your being, while still very much in touch with yourself. But instead of being bound by your emotions, you now gain ownership to them.

So yes, while I am a very emotional person and felt like I was "in tune with myself" all my life, truth is, I was just giving myself reasons and excuses to continue a toxic cycle that wasn't working. I now strive to be in tune with myself and also remind myself to realize when a negative feeling is urging me to create a toxic reaction. This requires constant discipline and awareness, something I'm not very familiar with. I know that this journey of self finding and pursuit of joy will take a lot of effort and presence, but I also know as with anything else, hard work will pay off in the end.