No, I’m not referring to your virginity. I’m talking about when you realize you’ve been feeling….off. Maybe it’s been a few days, weeks or even months. You know when you’re not you, but for whatever reason, you can’t get back to being you.
You’ve lost it. *It* might be something different for everyone.
Your magic. Your connection to a higher power. Your version of balance. Your gratitude. Your flow. Your peace. Your love. Your wellness. Your self love. Your mental stability. Your total and complete SHIT.
I’ll provide one example.
When I shoved all semblance of self-care aside recently and allowed my perfectionism to take the wheel, I lost it. All of it. Like that entire list basically. And here’s what happened.
I cried. A lot. Whenever, wherever. Literally while standing in an aisle at Superstore picking toilet paper, at my desk at work when no one was around and once when everyone was around.
I was acting like the jacked up 2.0 version of me that was angry and agitated ALL THE TIME. I cancelled plans, cared way too much about what people thought, was overly critical of others, was insanely critical and mean to myself, binged and pursued short term solutions to pep me up while ignoring how they would make me feel long term. I was full of every kind of fear you can have. It was like gripping life way too tight and losing feeling in my hands.
All of what I described above totally violates my values, and isn’t the version of myself I want to be. The pain of realizing it sucked. I felt like I had totally and completely let myself down. I was also exhausted from being stressed out and in a cloud of rage and tension 24/7.
I would like to say that I corrected my behaviour immediately, but I felt like I had drained all of my energy on holding on too tight.
Instead, I started to feel totally numb and indifferent — which isn’t really any better, I must say. As someone who feels emotions really deeply (both good and bad), feeling nothing is like a curse. I couldn’t bring myself to care about anything. I came home and watched hours of Netflix and stopped trying taking care of my body or my mind. It’s hard to admit and look within, but we all play a part in our own demise. I was the one who kept hitting ‘next episode’ after all.
I started plotting my epic “comeback” and trying to do things that would reset the hell out of me. However, I also acknowledged that creating sustainable solutions, taking stock of the situation and making changes are how I would come back and stay back.
I ended up quitting my full-time job to pursue other opportunities and I’m starting to get feeling back in my hands again. It feels good.
We all need a kickstart sometimes.
With that being said, here are a few things that have historically kicked my ass into gear:
Making the decisions I’ve been putting off
This is open to interpretation, but you’d be surprised how much mental space and energy unfinished business takes up in your brain. Stop shelving shit for later. In fact, for some people (like myself), procrastinating decisions can be a form of self-sabotage.
There is no better time than now and any decision you make is the right decision, simply because it’s yours. End of story.
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You do not exist to please others, to help or to fix them. You exist to help and fix yourself. Once you are completely full you can spread that love as far and wide as you want to help others love themselves too, remembering to top yourself up with love along the way so you don’t run out. This is self care! Something I forgot to prioritise during the chaos that has been the past few weeks, filling everyone else up…but not myself. If you ever feel like you’re giving too much, or you’re a workaholic like me and take too much on at a time, remember to take a day’s rest – you can’t be amazing all the time 💗 Be selfish with your time because it’s YOURS and no one else’s. People will use you for all you’re worth and they won’t give back – so fill yourself up FIRST
Cutting back drastically on things that allow me to escape
Escapism is the avoidance of unpleasant, boring, arduous, scary, or banal aspects of daily life. It can also be used as a term to define the actions people take to help relieve persistent feelings of depression or general sadness.
Escapism is as easy as hitting next episode again and again or coming home after a hard week and having some beers. The sun always comes out again tomorrow and we wake to greet the same problems we escaped yesterday. It allows me to float through without reflecting. It allows me to numb myself to whatever pain I’m probably feeling.
When it’s just me and my thoughts it forces me to address them. This tactic might not work for everyone, but it certainly works for me. Especially when it comes to social media.
Doing something really really scary
Everyday fear keeps us in line. Adrenaline reminds us that real fear is supposed to keep us safe. Jumping out of an airplane isn’t for anyone, but whatever seems scary go do it. Once in a while we all need a reminder that sometimes the only thing stopping us from feeling better is all our fears piled high. It might be riding your bike on the road, climbing the highest tree or jumping for the top bar (in Gymnastics), but do it, and even if you get hurt, take that as a lesson too. You’re still here.
Then get up, get a bandaid and say “fuck you fear you aren’t keeping me safe, you’re making me sorry.” Then smother that fear with a healthy dose of self love.
Reading a self-help book
Is it cliche? Yes. Is it cliche for a reason? Yes.
It’s usually a sign something is off in itself when I start avoiding anything that would make me reflect on my own behaviour or decisions — things like reading books that ask tough questions or meditating. Everytime I force myself to crack a non-fiction book when I absolutely don’t want to, it ends up being the encouragement I need to be better and pull myself up off the ground.
Whether it’s across the city or to another city, this a real thing that can help. I left my first apartment because my lease was up, but also because I knew I needed a fresh start and a place with air conditioning.
With this being said, no matter where you go, the pain or fear that you are carrying on your back will come with you. For me, my new space invited me in, made me feel good enough to put down the bags and become the person I always wanted to be.
Buying a red leather jacket
While I don’t typically suggest retail therapy as a solution, this jacket was what made me realize I missed colour in my life. It also made me realize I had been dressing, and living, on other peoples’ terms. LAME. Now I wear it and it represents who I really am.
Find your version of my red leather jacket and pick it up whenever you feel like you need some lightning straight to the soul. Or whenever you just wanna be a badass.
Saying “thank u, next”
Take stock of the five people you spend the most time with. Are they the squad that’s gonna help you make a successful comeback? Are they encouraging? Do they want you to do what’s right for you even if it’s not what they’d do? Do they remind you who you are in your moments of weakness? Do they call you on your bullshit, but in a kind way that keeps you accountable? If the answer is no – say thank you. Be kind, but be on your way. Now is the time to rise. You need those who will help lift you, and sometimes holding on to certain relationships means staying down.
Changing my hair
Nothing like slipping into an alter-ego version of yourself by making a drastic change that takes 9 months to grow out. No but seriously, I can’t even express the amount of times I’ve used getting over the fear of a hair change to get the ball rolling on addressing my other unfounded bullshit fears.
There have even been a few times I’ve changed my hair only to realize it’s because I wanted other changes. I felt like I couldn’t grasp what I wanted or I was too scared to reach so I changed what I could control.
Moral of the story is: get the bangs, shave your head, dye your hair. It might just help you figure out where you’re at and which glowed up alter-ego you want to embrace going forward.
I thought I’d share in case anyone else is in a position where they don’t feel like themselves and are trying to find their way back. I also always suggest finding a counsellor or therapist and trying to see them consistently if possible, but I know not everyone has access to that kind of care.
Fuck any rhetoric that tells you going through rough patches isn’t normal and part of the damn process. Remember your setbacks fondly and don’t forget them — they literally made you who you are and gave you the ability to see things the way you see them now. Because every time we lose it, I think it makes us little bit better at figuring out how to get “it” back.