Saturday, March 29, 2014

On Independence (?) and Anxiety

I've always thought of myself as being fiercely independent - someone who likes time with others, but can totally do my own thing and be thrilled with it. I mean, I've always lived alone (minus college and living with my parents, obviously), I've traveled to Africa and China without knowing anyone else, I hate working out/doing yoga/running with other people, etc. so I absolutely MUST be an independent person. 

However, I've learned this past year that when I am alone, it's when anxiety really gets the best of me. I've struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember - it's mostly overthinking things, but to such an extreme that I always thought was completely normal. Someone not responding to a text or phone call becomes spun into the worst case scenario, where I'm running through every single possible scenario of why this person clearly does not like me, and this spirals until I do hear back from them (which I always do). I've learned how to combat it to an extent - using facts and realism helps ("Really, Allison? You did absolutely nothing and this person hates you? Does that sound probable?"), but it doesn't make the thoughts go away. 

Being in a relationship and dealing with anxiety has been really difficult too - it's where you struggle with wondering even though someone has never given me any reason not to trust, not to believe that he's faithful to me - but what if? What if situation xyz occurs and that is thrown? What if he's out and meets someone prettier or with better skin or skinnier or funnier than me? It's ridiculous, but it's so debilitating at the same time that it's hard to escape from that thought pattern. It makes it very difficult to date, and to just let go, especially when you have a past history of boyfriends who cheat or make you feel awful about yourself (not that I was perfect either). 

I feel like, especially with the presence of social media where we're just inundated with smiling faces, nights out where everyone looks phenomenal, couples holding hands and laughing - we start to think that maybe there's something wrong with us when we're: fighting with our family or significant other, when we wake up and look like shit, when we're wearing yoga pants for days because we didn't do laundry and have nothing left, etc. 

There isn't a lot of honesty from people talking about their emotional problems - we shove them away and act like everything is fine. I do it too - I wrote a whole post on my birthday and all the phenomenal aspects of it, but I also didn't write that I got way too drunk and threw up in my parking lot after getting home, or that I was upset because some of my friends literally didn't speak to me that night because they were preoccupied. We keep those struggles and those aspects to ourselves, because it's easier to make it seem like life is really good. 

I've also realized that unless I talk about what's going on - to my best friends, to my parents, to the person I'm in a relationship with when that's the situation - they never go away. The anxiety builds and builds, and becomes all consuming where I do isolate myself, but not in a way that's healthy. 

Last night I was out with a friend, and he told me that I need to stop relying on other people to make me happy - I need to find that happiness within myself. It's true - I'm so affected by the actions of others and it throws me off for so long, where I spend time just beating the shit out of myself (figuratively) for being so overemotional. We are ALL emotional though - whether you express it outwardly or not - and we are all entitled to be upset, to be happy, to be angry, etc. So I will be working on owning my emotions, on feeling things, and on working my New Year's resolution to be a little less hard on myself - while working on that balance of healthy independence. 

All images via Pinterest

How do you deal with negativity - whether people, feelings, or situations? 
What are your favorite things to do on your own? 

Currently - taking a short break from reading Eating Animals, and listening to NPR. 


Couture Carrie said...

Lovely and heartfelt post, darling.
People have told me the same thing about needing to find happiness within myself rather than relying on others.
Awesome quotes!


The Dainty Dolls House said...

I used to get like this a lot actually. All would be fine and I would then start to get worried I had done something wrong or that person was mad at me, but it only drove me crazy. And my husband said that I am my own worst enemy and that when all is going fine, I can't handle it and seek to ruin it & he's right really. I think it;s just from the way I grew up and my self-esteem, I just had to face it and learn that I can only be in control of me and not anyone else and how they are is not my fault (as I used to think everything was my fault - product of growing up with a mother who blamed me for everything)Being on my own and doing my own thing is good & also letting those that love me take care of me when it's needed is good too. It took a looooong time to do, but I feel much better for doing it. And you will to, it will take some time, but you will feel much better, stand on your own two feet, but know there will be those that love you ready to catch you when you need it. You can do it!! Have a wonderful weekend xox

HiFashion said...

Love this honest post. My blog is all of my positives, but I leave out all the real and negative aspects. I seriously understand everything you said. I am the absolute worst when I'm waiting for a reply from a text, and you should see my face when I get an email from my boss!!!
I like to think I've gotten more confident in my own company and that I can rely on myself.

Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

I am the same way with holding things in, but I take it to the extreme. I will not say anything and let it eat me up until I just stop being friends with someone. It's completely wrong and I'm trying to work on it. I just texted my best friend to get stuff off my chest actually. It was pretty refreshing.

I am way too negative and think the worst. But I do notice that those around me who are always positive are always happy and everything ALWAYS works out for them. So if that's the case with them, why not with us too?

You are gorgeous and an amazing catch - anyone who comes in contact with you is lucky. I know when people say those things we tend to not believe them, but I wouldn't tell you that if it wasn't the case. I am SUPER excited to hang out with you this summer and experience your awesomeness in person!

Elle Sees said...

i['m so sorry you've been dealing with this. i tend to overanalyze and have been stressed out too. like your friend said true happiness comes from within. hugs to you!!!

Kathy @ Vodka and Soda said...

i'm going to pull out the old hag mom card on this one....

all the craziness and chaos tapers out as you get older. i call the 20s "the roaring 20s" because that's what it feels like inside - the chaos, the uncertainty, the anxiety, the UNKNOWN - that's what gives us that unsettled feeling... the feeling that we don't quite know our place in life just yet but it'll get there... YOU'LL get there....with time.

i'm 38 and all that is behind me. i was never really one to look to others for my own happiness but you care less and less about what others think as you get older. basically, you turn into a crotchety old shit and give zero fucks as you get to my age. while aging itself sucks, the reward is feeling so comfortable in your own skin because you've found your place in life.

and the 'what if's' in a relationship ie. cheating and what not? the way i see it - you can't stop anyone from cheating. if they're going to do that, then they're going to do that. i just know that if my husband decides to do that, then he's a moron for throwing away an incredible life and i'd like to think that he's smarter than that...but if not, BYEEEEE! don't need that shizz in my life or my daughter's life. i trust in my own judgements and trust that he's as happy in our relationship as i am. life is too short to be worrying about a future that i can't predict so enjoy the now!

Vodka and Soda

Rachel @ The Redhead Fashionista said...

I love that you were so honest in this post because there are a lot of people out there who can relate to what you're going through.

Your friend is right though. It's important to remember that you need to create your own happiness. You can never rely on others to give you happiness. Of course, it's easier said than done. It's just something to work on a little bit at a time. We all overanalyze and worry to some degree, so when you do start feeling that way, find something to do to take your mind off of it. Something that makes you happy. Listen to your favorite songs. Watch a happy movie. I find those are always good ways to deal with negativity. Try to think only positive thoughts!

The Redhead Fashionista
The Haute Notes

Rebecca Harasym said...

Anxiety is a terrible thing and I think is a hard thing to admit and talk about. I think I deal with mine best when I talk it through with my family. I am really impressed that you have traveled so far on your own, very amazing.


Carol {Everyday Delights} said...

Oh yeah, I know the feeling. I've been trying really hard to work at turning my FOMO - Fear Of Missing Out - into -> Fine On My Own. It's hard though - you see pictures on facebook or instagram of dinners or parties you weren't invited to and then the mind starts getting to you. Why wasn't I invited?! Can't say I have any good advice, but it's just sometime I've been trying to work on.