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Am I alone?

Hello!

Long time no chat, I know. I had given up on my writing after being rejected by grad schools and one of them told me my writing wasn’t up to par.

Anyways, I’ve done the same old stuff; complained on Instagram, had existential crisis, trying to survive during a pandemic. But of course with a pandemic, comes a lot of problems. For instance, my boyfriend was one of thousands who lost his job and his unable to find another one. So we’re surviving off of my $15 an hour and his ever fluctuating door dash money.

With money issues comes more mental health problems. I’ve been poor my whole life but I was finally feeling comfortable. I knew we’d have enough for rent and all of our bills and we could get groceries. But now it’s bills or groceries. Which is a shame because one of my coping mechanisms is over eating. So we cry a lot, argue a lot, not because we don’t love each other, because we’re beyond stressed.

But down to the nitty gritty. I think my last post was about graphic design but I’m unsure and will not check because I’m lazy. I applied to a program and was excited to start school once more but then was told I can’t receive financial aid due to already having my bachelors degree, so that was a short lived plan due to the obvious money troubles.

So I’m back to thinking “what the fuck do I want to do with my life?!” And it’s a rough question. My hate for capitalism has grown exponentially as well as my hate for corporate America. But you know where the money is? Corporate America. So I’m having some cognitive dissonance. Do I stick to my guns and refuse to take a corporate job and make $15 an hour until I die? Do I just take a corporate job because I’m desperate? Does anyone know what the fuck they’re doing?

Is life really going according to the plan we were forced to make at 18? Pick a school, pick a career, have babies and die. This is too much like the game of Life for my liking, and I always end up losing that game anyways

Am I alone in feeling lost in the world or are we all little babies looking for guidance? Are we all forced to choose between our morals and making a living wage? Are we all thinking we’re doing the wrong thing ?

Anyways, I hope everyone is staying safe and taking care. Love you always XOXO

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What I learned from burnout

My whole life I’ve been a helper. I dedicated my studies and career goals to being a helper. When I became a helper, I burned out.

After I graduated from college I went online and googled “jobs for bachelors in psychology.” I had hundreds of results for something called ABA therapy. I was ecstatic when I got hired by one of these companies where I got to work with kids on the autism spectrum. I dedicated a year and a half of my heart and soul to this career. I worked roughly 12 hour days with an hour to two hour commute each way. I spent my weekends thinking how I could help my kids. My evenings thinking of what I could do better. ABA therapy and these kids were my livelihood.

October of 2019 rolls around and I hit a wall. I figured I needed a break so I took a week off. When I returned, I did not feel refreshed, as I normally did. I was growing irritable. I was no longer enjoying what I was doing. I was no longer enjoying the kids. I was no longer putting in effort.

I remember, I was working with a toddler, and I just sat on the floor eating snacks as I watched them run in circles for an hour.

That’s when I realized I had to leave. It was the hardest decision to make. I still bounce back between regret and joy from leaving that job. I still think of my kids everyday. But I couldn’t give anymore. I couldn’t help.

I quit end of November right at my two year mark and didn’t feel like myself again until the end of March. Through my burnout journey, this is what I learned l.

1. You, as an employee, are replaceable.

I saw so many people with drive and passion for the job, burn out and leave. They were replaced before they were out the door. Supervisors could swear up and down that you were one of a kind, irreplaceable. But the fact of the matter is, you can and will be replaced.

2. Business before everything else

Besides being replaceable, you are also, often, seen as just an employee. You aren’t a human with wants and needs. Mental health doesn’t matter. All that matters is there is work to be done and someone needs to do it. Mental health days were frowned upon. No one encouraged you to take time off, go on vacation. They needed bodies to complete the work.

3. The money isn’t worth it.

I was making $20/hour which, to a minimum wage worker, made me rich. But it wasn’t worth it. I spent all my excess money on things to try and make me happy, to no avail. No matter how much I got paid, it wasn’t enough. I was repeatedly coming home with welts from being bit, bloody arms from being scratched, ripped clothing, and two times – broken glasses.

4.You have to do what’s right for you not for others.

So many times I was guilt tripped in to taking more shifts, taking on new cases, helping others train. I felt if I said no, I would be a bad employee. But that’s so wrong. If you can’t take care of yourself, have a break, you will be a bad employee. It’s not your fault if they didn’t schedule enough staff or took on more cases than they had people for. If you’re sick, call out. If you need a mental health day, fucking do it. They may be annoyed with you but you have to take care of yourself.

5. I don’t want to help anymore

I was pouring from an empty cup. I had these expectations for myself in my head. An adult bucket list that once I accomplished, would finally bring me happiness. I thought I needed a high paying “adult” job, a nice car, and a two story house.

I don’t want to help anymore. There’s amazing people with amazing work life balance and they will be hero’s, but I am not.

6. Life is for the living.

2 years went by in a blink. What had I accomplished? I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t traveling or crossing things off my bucket list. I was working. If two years could go by so quickly, I want to fill them with joy. I want adventures and weekends and vacations. Family time and game nights and movie days. I want to live.

7. I just want to be happy.

Checking off things on my adult to do list made me miserable. I just want to follow my heart, travel, and spread love.

I want a simple, peaceful life. A high stress job is not in my future. Burnout was a major contributor to my decision to not pursue social work. I commend all those incredibly hard, devoted workers who give endlessly.

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You’re fat and you’re going to die

* I do not blame anyone for what they said to me. Diet culture has been engrained in all of our heads. This is just how it affected me*

The picture above is me when I was about 10.

By the age of ten, I had been on more diets than I count. My gym teacher recommended doing 100 crunches every night to lose my belly. I wasn’t allowed sweet treats when everyone else had them. I was already learning that I was useless and unlovable because I was fat.

By the time I was 18, my eating disorder began.

No matter how often I exercised or how little I ate, I was still fat. Family members commented on my weight anytime they saw me. Being overweight made me a target for bullies. The only people saw when they looked at me was fat.

I remember going on a hike with a friend when a stranger, who was on a phone call, went out of his way to say “I better get out of your way. Don’t want you to be late for lunch”

The harshest of comments came from a parent… “you’re fat and you’re going to die.”

How was I not doing enough? I ate one meal a day, I would go home and spend an hour on the elliptical. I would cry in my bedroom and cut myself because I was so fat and I couldn’t help it.

College was the worst. I had enough. I wanted to be a hot college girl. I wanted boys to like me. This was when I started counting calories. I ensured I ate less than 1000 calories while also burning at least 1000 calories at the gym. Let me tell you how hard it is to learn while you’re depriving your brain of nutrients. You think I ate carbs? Hah, no way.

I lost weight but I was still fat. I WAS STILL FAT.

I was putting everything into weight loss and it wasn’t enough.

The cycle of binging and purging began, and continued all throughout college. I would go from one extreme to the other. Every time I started eating again, I would gain weight very quickly. I’d always gain every pound back, plus 20 more

My starting weight kept getting higher and higher while my goal weight became less and less achievable.

I began following thinspo accounts and cried that I’d never be that thin. I wanted to be small. I wanted boys to like me. I wanted my family to be proud of me.

I began searching for a therapist who would help me stay on track. I began joining groups online and paying for fitness programs from people who were not certified to teach this stuff.

I found a therapist, after so much searching. This is when I found out I had an eating disorder

I started therapy for my eating disorder in 2018. Since then, I’ve learned that through starving myself, I lost my hunger and fullness cues. I didn’t know when I was hungry. I spiked my blood sugar from all of the cycling and increased my chance of diabetes. I struggled through school because I was focused on being thin.

Here’s me now. I’m not thin. I’m fat. Fatty fatty fat fat. I still receive comments on my weight from family, strangers, and doctors. Before looking at my charts they assume I’m unhealthy because I’m fat.

You know what else I am? I’m kind, empathetic, generous, fun loving, ambitious, intelligent. I’m in love with a wonderful boyfriend who loves me and all my curves. I’m a dog mom, a successful employee.

I’m a human being with so much more to me than being fat.

Thanks for reading.

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End the stigma

Hey all!

I’ve been outspoken about mental health since about 2008. I began opening up about my own mental health in 2017.

Being a child of the internet, I believe I’ve gotten to see the growth surrounding mental health, getting help, and acceptance.

Since 2017, I have been very open, to the point of vastly over sharing personal information about my struggles online. After having a particular low day caused by playing the comparison game on Facebook, I went on a rant on Instagram.

I mentioned that I felt less than, compared to everyone I know. I’m not friends with my high school besties, I don’t have a house, I’m not married, or in my dream career. I felt like my life was stuck in time while everyone else was propelling forward. After sharing how I felt, many people (15, that’s a lot to me) said they felt the same way. Multiple people reached out to me to make sure I was okay , and even more did when I went to work the next day.

Wow. How amazing is that?

Let’s flash back to 2009- ish when I started being outspoken.

Just mentioning the importance of suicide prevention caused people to become uncomfortable. Granted, I grew up in a small town. But I can’t tell you how many people told me that suicide is for the weak and we shouldn’t feel sorry for those who chose to end their lives.

I heard rumors of coaches at school pulling down a girls pants in front of her team to expose her self harm scars where they laughed at her.

When I told people about the organization To write love on her arms, people either didn’t respond, said “that’s stupid” or looked visibly uncomfortable.

In roughly ten years, mental health has gained so many allies. I’m not afraid to speak about my struggles. Speaking about my struggles SAVED MY LIFE.

And I’m sure it’s saved so many peoples lives.

We no longer hide in the shadow of our depression. We’re open. We’re honest. And this is helping.

I can’t wait to see what the next ten years has for the mental health community.

Until then, let’s continue to end the stigma. Reach out, speak up, and listen.

positive

Judgement

freedom

Hello all.

This week has been a whirlwind. I went from depressed and suicidal (some of you may have noticed that my  last post was basically a cry for help) to hyper, ecstatic about life, and downright happy.

I do appreciate the concern a handful of you expressed. It really grounded me.

But this week I wanted to talk about judgement — specifically with careers.

I have honestly always looked down on adults working in grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, etc. I don’t know why. I don’t believe this was a belief expressed by my parents as they have always been the type of people who tell you to treat the janitor the same as you treat the doctor. But I came to this conclusion on my own.

Having this judgement, I will admit outright it is horrible and wrong, has kind of guided my life. I can’t be an adult working at a grocery store…I have to make something of my life.  But why do I think sitting on my ass on a computer 8+ hours a day doing something I hate, means making something of my life?

For the past month, I have been very hard on myself. I have told myself that I am a failure for not getting into graduate school, an idiot for not loving the mental health field and pursuing a high paying job. I told myself I’m a failure. I have been verbally beating myself up for over a month because I don’t know what I want to do.

My mom and dad didn’t know what they wanted to do! My boyfriend doesn’t know what he wants to do! NO ONE I KNOW KNOW’S WHAT THEY WANT TO DO! So why am I being so judgmental?

In the grand scheme of things, I am young. 26 is still young. I, hopefully, have so many years in front of me. If I could stop and smell the god damn roses instead of pressuring myself to be something or someone I’m not…life would be grand.

So what if I don’t have my life planned out but others do? I have the best man a girl could ask for cheering me on, an overly lovable dog who thinks I rule the world, and a beautiful cat who does actually rule the world. I have time to ride my bike, garden, watch movies, create art.

When things aren’t apocalyptic, we have time to go to the movies, try new restaurants, hang out with friends.

Life is still good. Life will still be good if I don’t pick a career path tomorrow. Life will still be good if my plan changes.

I don’t know. I hope I can continue to remind myself of this when things are bad. But things are good and I don’t want to think of the bad days. I want to take risks and try new things and not worry if people think I’m a lowlife for working at a grocery store.

I just want to live.

 

depression

The voice in my head

03Negative-Art-superJumboHello all. I started this blog as an outlet for all my past trauma, depression, and overcoming adulthood. I feel like as I’ve grown older, I have, overall, been doing better. That’s terrific, of course. But that doesn’t mean I’m cured.

The doctors are unsure if my mental health issues are caused by trauma or a chemical imbalance. I’m still unsure since I feel a million times better as I’ve learned to cope with my trauma, but I’m not cured.

I feel like this last year, so much has changed. I was going to go to school, be a therapist, buy a house, live a good life. But I fell out of love with helping others. I hate school. And now I feel like I have no direction. Nothing to look forward to.

On my bad days, yesterday being one of them, the voice in my head is mean. And I don’t know how to combat it.

I’m working part time at a grocery store with know hopes and dreams. No one would miss you if you were gone. Your life is pointless anyways.

I don’t know what my passions are. Or even what I’m good at. You’re honestly worthless. You’re just another face in the crowd. 

I have a hard time making friends.  That’s because you’re shit. No one likes you. And for good reason.

Why are you still living? To consume debt? You can’t make money. You can’t pay your bills. You can’t be happy without a pill.

WHY ARE YOU STILL LIVING.

WHY ARE YOU ALIVE.

WHY.

END IT.

This past week has been bad. The voices in my head being overly mean. I try so hard to take things one day at a time. But I do feel worthless. Not having a direction, a passion, a well paying job, friends…

So my question for you is…

How do I stop these voices? How do I not let these voices win?

anxiety · depression

How are you coping?

coping

Although I’m still working, it’s not enough to pay for all my needs. I’ve been very fortunate to have friends and family donate to help my boyfriend (who lost his job amidst the COVID-19 stuff) pay our bills, it’s still scary.

Working as a cashier at a grocery store, I’m on the front lines. People have coughed in my face, sneezed on me, had very obviously dirty hands while handing me money, and honestly, just been assholes. I was previously very misinformed and did not take this seriously. Now, as I have learned more, I’m terrified. I have asthma and prior history of bronchitis which makes me more susceptible to the virus and to potentially be hospitalized if I do get it.

So, on top of the added stress of bills, how will we pay for xyz…we’re moving this summer and our savings have been depleted because of this… I’m also stressed about now contacting the virus.

I find myself in weird moods. I’ll be mad with no explanation as to why. I’ve been depressed for a week and cried on my breaks at work. Stress is a son of a bitch.

When I’m not working, it’s almost worse. We can’t leave the house. We’re cooped up with nothing to do. We take our dogs on a walk but that’s not enough. I feel like I’m not being fulfilled on some level. I know this is only temporary but it’s horrible. I can’t wait for this to be over.

Customers come in to work and scream at me because they’re also stressed and scared. I’ve been called a bitch more during this than any other time in my life.

We forget that we’re all humans trying to deal with this crazy time. You’re stressed, I’m stressed… We’re scared we’re poor and the government doesn’t seem to know how to help.

I know it’s scary. I’m fucking terrified. When you do have to venture out in public, please be nice to those working. They may be working but god they’re barely making any money. They’re potentially putting their lives on the lines for your needs. Just, be a human.

 

How are you coping?

 

positive

Art or money?

creat

I used to love art. I used to love photography. I used to love graphic design. Then I graduated high school and decided it was time to get serious. That’s when I dedicated everything to psychology.

As I’ve been getting back to my roots, back to who I truly am, I realized how much I’ve stopped doing. I used to play guitar, practice photography, take all the graphic design classes the school had to offer, and make silly things on photoshop in my free time. All of that was so much fun, and I haven’t done any of it since high school.

I sold two of my guitars and the other one sits, getting dusty and unplayed. My camera was last used on our trip to San Fransisco, where i realized it was shit. I’ve stopped doing all the things I used to love…and now I just watch TV and play animal crossing in my free time… but why? Why did I stop?

As I’ve realized that I don’t love the mental health field as much as I once did, I’ve been thinking about all the jobs I could do. HR, teacher, dental assistant ( I think teeth are so fucking neat), graphic designer…

When I said graphic designer I was like…wait..what…where did that come from. Like a part of young Hannah came through and spoke to me…like baby Hannah was saying “Don’t forget about art.”

Is this the career for me? I won’t know until I try. I won’t know anything until I try. But I would like to pursue classes. I want to buy a used Nikon on Ebay and practice my photography. I want to play around on photoshop. I want to create. I want to try.

Let’s see where this gets me.

 

positive

2020 Manifestations redo

funny-bob-buckle-it-up

Hello!

About a week before my 26th birthday I realized that even though I care about everyone’s mental health so much, I am not in love with the mental health profession. I don’t want to be a therapist, a case worker, an outreach personal … none of it. I realized that caring about everyone else’s mental health takes a major toll on my own… and I come first. So yes. since My 26th birthday I have been having an on going mid-life crisis. I dyed my hair pink, went on a spending spree because everything is temporary, cried every night, panic attacks at work… you know. The usual. Thanks to food poisoning, I got a lovely three day weekend. Nothing is more depressing to me than throwing up all day. It puts me in the worst depression and puts my life into perspective… So here is an updated manifestation list for 2020, since the first 1/4 didn’t really go as planned.

  1. Putting myself first. I come before anyone else. My opinions, my beliefs, my goals, and my dreams are mine and mine alone. I will follow my passions and not let anyone else try to tell me it’s wrong.
  2. Save some fucking money. It’s hard, at the moment. Working part-time, but full time during the virus outbreak, but I have faith that I will be in a better position by this time next year.
  3. Enjoy life. I spend so much time crying in my house because I feel alone. I know I have friends now and I am just as capable to plan things as they are. It’s time to enjoy life and stop crying about all the FOMO.
  4. Pay off credit cards. AT LEAST ONE. PLEASE. FOR GODS SAKE.
  5. Find a new passion.
  6. Apply to all the jobs, turn down those that don’t feel right. Like I said, I come first and I will not be putting myself in another shitty job situation if I can help it.
  7. See the Nutcracker. I have been trying to get tickets for five years. FIVE YEARS. I have a reminder set in my phone to check to get tickets on September first and I will try my damndest to get it.
  8. Be kinder to myself. My biggest weakness is…I’m a fucking dick to myself. If anyone else talked to me the way I talk to me I’d be trying to get them out of my life so fast.

I’m 26. To some people maybe I should have it figured out by now. But I think it’s okay. I still feel young. I still feel like there is so much life to live. I’m okay with stumbling along until I find my rhythm… and you should be too.

 

I hope you are all staying safe.

 

XOXO