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Self-Care for the Anxious and Overburdened

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Anxiety is something I’ve been dealing with since I was a teenager. It’s that overwhelming sense that things have gone wrong, are going wrong, and will go wrong and that I will suffer the terrible consequences. As a teenager, I was convinced that I was always making some grave social misstep when I interacted with people, and as a result, I felt that I was constantly being judged. I didn’t think anybody liked me and I isolated myself. I watched people’s interest in me dwindle, hemorrhaging friends every year. Devastating words like “failure” and “loser” and “alone” reverberated around my mind, chipping away at something inside me every time they collided with my insides. No one really called me these things to my face, but in my experience of anxiety, I was my own bully.

Fortunately, once high school was over and I went off to university, things slowly got better. I didn’t leave high school without scars and tattered self-esteem, but experiencing the freedom to take care of myself for the first time helped me begin to heal. If I was feeling overwhelmed, I could have alone time to get myself together. I could try to face social situations that intimidated me slowly, in a way that didn’t provoke a breakdown.

So when I left undergrad a few years ago, my anxiety came with me, but it was controlled. Instead of a wild, ravaging wolf, I had an unruly retriever on my hands. I could put it on a leash.

I thought that was the end of that, until last week, when I found myself awake at 5 am, on the verge of tears, and quickly spiralling. What?

Continue reading “Self-Care for the Anxious and Overburdened”

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Active Dreaming and the Art of Getting Ish Done

FFact: I’m a dreamer. Growing up, I was your stereotypical introvert kid with a love of reading, writing, and drawing. I spent my weekends with my nose buried in a novel, and I lined up outside the bookstore to get my hands on the last Harry Potter book. Like many young introverts, I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. I spent my days daydreaming, or “catching gapsie” as my Caribbean parents called it, and I wrote a lot: plays, stories, journal entries, and when I got older, blog posts.

I had a lot of grand ideas, like how I would one day steal away to Paris in the middle of the night and embark on a fantastic adventure. Or how I would go to university and study archaeology so I could spend my work days traipsing through the desert and my days off sandboarding down the windswept dunes, my long, glossy ponytail flowing freely behind me.

At some point during my young adult life, I realized that while I never wanted to stop being a dreamer, I could no longer be only a dreamer. I had to get ish done. And so, I came up with the idea of “active dreaming,” or making the wonderful ideas in my head a  reality.

Continue reading “Active Dreaming and the Art of Getting Ish Done”

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Lessons From Letting Myself Go

sSometimes, I get really anxious at night. My mind starts wandering to all the things I’m uncertain and insecure about: by the time I’m ready to enter the housing market will I be priced out? What if I never find a job I actually like? Does the fact that I’m a late bloomer mean that it’s too late for me to find a relationship?

Last night, as I not-so-gracefully gave myself over to the anxiety spiral, I read about a man who had his mugshot held for ransom. It basically ruined his life for a bit. Now, I don’t have a mugshot, but I do have a name twin. She has the same uncommon first and last name as me, and she’s made it her username all over the internet. So I googled my own name, as I sometimes do, just to make sure that nothing shady was going on.

I clicked a Facebook link, curious to see what my name doppelganger looked like, only to find that the Facebook profile was actually mine. It was a page from the hormonal, angst-filled cringefest of my early teens, and I had long ago abandoned it. “Abandoned” meaning that I logged out one day and never signed in again, leaving it up for the whole world to find on Google.

Naturally, I logged in to change my privacy settings, because no future employer or date needs to see how awkward I was at age 13. Curious about this time in my life that I try not to think about, I started clicking through my old photos. Was my hair really that healthy? And was I really that cute?

And then it hit me: I’ve let myself go.
Continue reading “Lessons From Letting Myself Go”

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Accidental Academic: My Experience In Grad School

IIf you saw the comment thread on my May Goals post, you would know that I’m getting a master’s in higher education. Plot twist: I’m not a teacher.

Here’s what I think about my (almost) year in grad school so far.

This is part two of my post on grad school. Kelli, the talented writer over at Unkajed Thoughts had some questions about what my experience in grad school has been like, so I thought that deserved a post of its own. You can read part one here. Continue reading “Accidental Academic: My Experience In Grad School”

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Accidental Academic: How I Got to Grad School

TThe inspiration for this post came from a conversation I had with Ali of As Told By Ali, when I got all excited about her post about wanting to start grad school. You can read her post here.

I speak often about being a grad student because it’s an experience that’s influencing my whole life. My future, because I’m grateful to be in grad school after being underemployed. My finances, because I’m hella broke. My time, because it takes up so much of it. And my identity, because being in grad school is like a job and there are all these social/cultural aspects to it that are shaping who I am. I won’t come out the same as I went in, which sounds tragic, but is actually A-OK with me.

Even though I talk about being a grad student fairly often, I realize I haven’t talked about how I actually got to grad school. I’m hoping that it’ll help someone else, and if it doesn’t…well, at least there’s a post this week.

Cheers!

This is a two-part post. Kelli from Unkajed Thoughts had some questions about what my experience in grad school has been like, so I thought that deserved a post of its own. You can read part two here. Continue reading “Accidental Academic: How I Got to Grad School”