Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Here's to Some New Experiences

Hey guys and gals!

Before I begin I want to apologize for not keeping up with this blog as much as I had intended to. I wanted to post weekly, but clearly that hasn't been happening, #thanksadulthood! hahaha So anyway, disclaimer aside, let's begin.

As usual I have been doing a whole lot of working and sleeping. I haven't really had the time to do much else, with the exception of grocery shopping and running a few errands. Though I did take myself out to lunch. Now as silly as it may sound taking myself out to dinner was kind of a big deal. I took myself to Olive Garden because I wanted their food (obvious, right?) so I had to sit at a booth by myself amongst people with friends and family. Talk about feeling like a fish out of water! Going to a dine-in restaurant seems like it is one of those things that you just don't do alone. As uncomfortable as it was looking at an empty booth across the table, it was kind of a confidence booster. Mainly, because I have never really dined alone, I've almost always been with someone, but I did it. I dined alone. I'll take that small success. I once opened a fortune cookie and it read, "Don't let great ambitious overshadow small success.” I kept it in my wallet for a long time and though I’ve since lost it, I still remember the message. Sometimes I forget to apply it to my own, but I think now would be a good time to really apply it to my own life.

Probably the most exciting thing that I have done recently was something so unusual for me! I was invited by a friend to go to Bonaroo and I bought my ticket! In June, I will be spending a 3-day weekend with my friend surrounded by good music! It is something I never would have thought I would be doing, but low-and-behold! I am. I am so excited. I am also a little nervous, but I won't be alone so that's a relief. It is going to be such a wonderful, crazy experience!
In other news, I have signed up for a dance class so that will be interesting! I will be learning the American Tango. Yay! The biggest challenge will be balancing that with work because I signed up for it after the schedule came out. Whoops! Lesson learned, sign up for the class and THEN sign up for work. I'll have to remember that for my next class, whatever that may be.

Since this blog is taking me so long to write,  I can actually add in here the experience at my first dance class! For those of you who may not know I decided to sign up for American tango because dancing is awesome, especially something as graceful as the tango. The class itself was mostly older people which instantly made me feel more comfortable. Though most of the people there were couples, or friends. There were only two single women there, me and one other, and in order for the other single lady and I to get a dancing partner she had the men rotate some. I danced with four perfect strangers, one of them being the dance instructor. It was one of the most awkward things ever! My last dance partner and I danced with for most of the last half of class. He was married, but his wife wasn't there. I imagine he either wants to surprise her OR she just wasn't able to make it. Either way, I felt so scandalous! After the initial awkwardness I was able to just think, this is all for practice to get better and it's a bit difficult to tango solo.

The most interesting thing about the dance class was I had to trust my dance partner entirely since the man leads and I was dancing backwards. Because I have this need to be in control, it was a little difficult to adjust. I was also told not to think about the dance moves and not to anticipate anything. Good lord! It was like anxiety training, though I could use it.

Fortunately, I have accepted the fact I have zero control over the weather. Baby steps, right? I think this dance class is going to help me realize that it is okay to let go of control, and maybe it will help reinforce what my counselor keeps saying. The only thing I have control of is me at this moment. I have no control beyond that.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Work, Florida and the Stuff In-between.

Hello again!

    Well, it's been a while since my last post, and I assure you I will try to make this flow with my previous two. To recap, in my last post I talked about learning to love myself and my fear of being alone. With this post I will talk about a few things I've done to help myself, but also about my struggle looking forward.

    To begin, after my last blog post I worked for three 12 hour shifts, rendering me pretty much useless for anything but work and/or sleep. (One of the wonderful side effects of working the night shift.) However, work is not a bad thing. I use work to help me focus on something other than the rough situation I am in. I love the hospital I work at, it is absolutely fabulous. They are the best in the state, literally. The hospital does everything in its power to help the patients that come through their doors, and they treat us nurses so well. I have so much support as a new nurse, which helps me feel confident in my job knowing that my employer has my back and believes I have what it takes. In fewer words, work is my normal, my safe haven, minus the stress the job carries with it.
  Though, as good as that all is I know I need to look for comfort elsewhere too. I can't just work constantly that isn't healthy for me and it could be potentially dangerous for my patients. This is where I hit my barrier. I don't know what to do other than work and sit in my apartment and watch Netflix. Once in a while though, I get an idea or someone suggests an idea for something else to do. The idea recently was to go visit my grandparents if I had at least 4 days off. It just so happened February 1-4 I was off, so I went to Florida to visit my grandparents.

    I flew out on the first right after my last shift of the week, I drove to the airport and went through security in my scrubs. (Side note: After I made it to my terminal I did change into my Gronkowski jersey and probably became the most hated person in the Pittsburgh airport, but I had to represent the Super Bowl champions because I couldn't not! What kind of New Englander would I be if I didn't!) Anyway, so I flew to Florida and my grandparents picked me up in Orlando with their matching Patriots t-shirts and it was such a wonderful feeling.

    Going to Florida was such a good idea really. It got me out of Morgantown and I was able to visit two of my favorite people on this planet, and the weather was nice too. For the first time in a long time I was able to see the light of day and I actually had sun on my skin (it's cloudy in Morgantown like 97% of the time). It felt so, SO good. While I was there I did some different activities. I went to a state park called Sebastian's Inlet, where the beach was sandy and beautiful! The wind was howling but that didn't stop me from walking barefoot in the sand and letting the water hit my feet. While I was there walking that beach I actually felt at peace, It has been so long since I have felt that. There's just something about the ocean, looking out at the water and hearing the lulling sound of crashing waves. This one was my gram's idea, not only did she just want to show me this beautiful beach, she knew I feel at peace there and she wanted me to bring that back with me. Now gram and I are eerily similar so she feels at peace on the water too.   
It's really incredible how I spend most of my time wanting to be somewhere else, I am never in the "now", I never want to be in the present, unless I am on the beach. When I'm there I don't think about anything else except where I am at, at that moment. I desperately want to be able to feel like that more often than not, but that  is where I struggle. After moving away I have learned a thing or two about myself and why I feel like I want to be anywhere except here. Lesson one, I am a beach bum and should probably just live in a beach house :) Which is hard to do in a landlocked state. Lesson two I like being around my family and my friends. When I'm not around them, I want to be around them. One of the reasons I am not at peace here is because I am not around them and I am so far away.

    One of the major struggles I still face is making friends down here. I have my co-workers but I don't really talk to them. Sometimes when I do talk to them I feel like they don't really care and just listen to be polite. Or when I go into an area where there's a group I feel like they leave not too long after I enter. Now I understand that part of this is the depression which causes me to look at it from a negative perspective and not the positive. The other part is I am so scared to get attached to anyone because of my plans to go back home, and the fear of being hurt. Because I am so afraid to get hurt by those I love (which has happened in the past) I convince myself I don't need any friends down here. I bask in the phony glory of being a "lone wolf", when deep down I kind of want a friend, or two. I am left with an exhausting internal conflict. Even writing this and putting it out there I worry that someone somewhere will use my weaknesses against me.  

    One of the other major struggles I am still facing, which is kind of making me go backwards instead of forwards is sort of a lack of motivation to try new things. I really do enjoy trying new things but for whatever reason I haven't been able to scrounge up the motivation to do so. I don't try new restaurants, I don't explore the area, I don't go to sporting events, instead I just barricade myself in my messy apartment and binge watch Blacklist. Again, the depression plays a role in this, but I don't know why I convince myself not to do all these things when I know I like to do new things. It extremely frustrating. Now going to Florida did help out a little bit in this department because while I was there I ended up doing a segway tour, now I was hesitant because I didn't want to look goofy (a silly reason) but I did it because my grandfather a.k.a "Gramps" made the arrangement to surprise me.

    For those of you who don't know Gramps is my Main(e) man (see what I did there? :) )
I am such a grandpa's girl it's ridiculous. So because he made the arrangement and wanted to do that with me, I had to. Honestly, it was actually pretty cool! The segway itself is very unique and it took a while to get used to operating it, and eventually I didn't care how I looked because it had worked out that the tour was just me, Gramps, and the tour guide. It also helped that we just cruised around a state park which didn't have a whole lot of people at the time. I did see some pretty neat things! I watched a Bald Eagle circle us and squawk at us, like it was showing off, I saw turpentine trees, tons of different birds, and the occasional armadillo. My favorite part about it though other than just being with Gramps, was just being in the sunshine.

    Like all good things, my time spent in Florida had to come to an end. I had a hard time leaving my grandparents but I am so grateful I even got to go in the first place. After Florida, I went right back to work and now I have a few days off and maybe, just maybe I'll try to do something a little crazy, like go downtown and eat at a local restaurant, there is a diner I want to check out!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The First Step

Hello all,

    If you read my last post you know that I am currently going through a breakup. After nearly three years, my fiance and I mutually decided to break-up. As of Friday (1/23/15), he left and went back to Maine, and I am here in West Virginia alone. The idea of being alone sounds really frightening, I was worried about it, and sometimes it still bothers me. I'm not used to being alone, especially since I've been in a relationship for five out of six years. You can imagine this is going to be an adjustment for me.
    Fortunately, work is somewhat my savior. My ex-fiance left Friday and I worked Friday through Sunday night, which kept my mind off my empty apartment. To ease this new transition, I will be rearranging my apartment, switching bedrooms, packing up his leftover items into boxes and putting them in the closet of my guest room.

    Now I know this all sounds like a drag, and it kind of is. I know my ex and I made the right decision by breaking up, however that doesn't mean the decision to break up was easy. The right thing to do is usually never easy. Instead of focusing on the downer part of this situation, I am trying to look at the bright side of things. I will be able to focus on me for a while. Allow myself some time to heal and some time to deal with my issues that have come along in the course of my depression and anxiety. I've read several articles about "self-love," how you can't really love someone until you love yourself. Now I certainly loved my ex; we shared some really good times together, so I am not 100% convinced that you can't love someone unless you love yourself. However, when you don't have self-love, self-confidence, and have faith in yourself that leads you to put the responsibility on your loved one to fill those voids for you. Sadly, I put those roles on my ex. I left it up to him to make me feel confident, to feel beautiful, and those are things only I can control. That was very unfair of me to put such an impossible task on his shoulders.

    I am going to start learning to believe in myself, to love myself and to feel confident in my own abilities. I also need to let go of things I can't control, to let go of striving for perfection. I have spent many years convincing myself that I am not allowed to make mistakes, and that mistakes are signs of my own personal flaws-not just a part of being human. I need to be easier on myself and be okay with giving my best. My counselor explained it to me in this way: strive for excellence not perfection. He told me that perfection is trying to take away all the bad traits, all the flaws (which I have spent many years doing) until one gets to 0 imperfections, an impossible task. Whereas striving for excellence is a matter of adding onto the good traits one already has.

   This is going to be a long process, it took me probably 20 years, at least, to get to this point. I want to turn that around and convince myself that I am good enough. I want to accept my flaws and embrace them, and ultimately I want to be happy with myself. That way I can live my life to the fullest, as cliche as that may sound.

    Like the Dalai Lama once said, "We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves."

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Beginning

Hello all,
     As some of you may know this is my second blog. My first one was kind of a failure, but I have a good feeling about this one because it is more personal, therefore easier to write. I am writing this blog for 2 reasons. Reason 1 being a way to vent, reason 2 I'm writing it so maybe it can be a way to make others who may be going through a similar situation feel like they are not alone.

     To begin I will share what has been going on to bring me to this point. For the past year my life there have been many changes. Especially within the past 4 months where my life has taken a 180 and flipped upside down in a short amount of time. After graduating nursing school in May 2014, and passing the NCLEX (the National Exam to give nurses their licenses) I struggled finding a job. I wanted to work in a hospital to get my experience but very few hospitals were hiring the new graduates. I was fortunate enough that I landed a summer camp job that financially held me over until September, but even then it wasn't quite enough.

     September is when things hit the fan. I had applied to a job in Morgantown, West Virginia in August. I got the interview, then I landed the job at the end of the month. I was hired as a RN on a Cardiac Step-Down Unit, which was so unbelievable and I still am grateful for that opportunity. However, I moved over 700 miles away from friends and family with my only $2000 I had to borrow from family. I packed everything up and moved within 2 weeks of learning I got the job. I didn't even have an apartment lined up and I lived in a hotel for about a week before I was able to find a place to live.

    I moved down here with my (now ex) fiance who also dropped everything to be down here with me. Things were so very difficult the first 2 months. Financially we had to make the left over $1000 last for nearly a month because I wasn't getting paid for quite some time. Even when I did receive my first pay check which was around $500 and I had to make that last for 2 weeks, when we had groceries to buy, a power bill to pay, and internet bill, a water bill, etc. To make matters even more stressful, during this time I was the sole income, what I made was what we had.

     During this same time not only was there financial stress, but I was extremely emotionally and mentally distraught. Work was starting to get more difficult and stressful and I was getting so mad at myself for not having the knowledge of a nurse who had been practicing for 30 years. I simply hated the fact I felt like I had no idea what I was doing, I felt like I was disappointing my mentors, and all that pressure I put on myself, drove me into a depression to the point I wanted to kill myself.

     I was miles away from anything I knew, dealing with things I wasn't prepared for and I felt so incredibly useless, worthless, and weak, and I wanted my life to end to make the pain go away. My suicide ideation lasted for about a month before I finally went to the emergency room followed by a two night stay at a psych ward. I was finally diagnosed with the depression that I had felt off an on for over a year. I have to admit that was such a weight off my shoulders, knowing that someone took it seriously and understood that I was not okay. I started medication the first day I was at the psych unit. I also set up counseling appointments so I could continue to get help that I need.

    Once my depression was under control my anxiety spiked, work started making me more anxious than I have ever been. Taking on the responsibility of someone's life was and continues to be quite challenging. To this day, I continuously fear that something horrendous will happen and someone will be harmed or even killed because of a mistake I could make.    
    Fast forward a few more months, to now. I have started to get the hang of work now that I work overnights and don't have someone watching me. Financially, things have certainly improved because of budgeting, consistent pay, and my ex-fiance has been working as well. But now, I am faced with yet another challenge. After almost 3 years and a year long engagement my fiance and I are breaking up. He's going back to Maine and I am staying in West Virginia, completely and utterly alone. I have no friends down here, I have no family. I have coworkers and that's about it.
     For some, making friends is a piece of cake, for others, like myself, it's more difficult. I don't want to reach out to people for fear of being rejected, or judged, or whatever. I have a hard time letting people in. I want to, but I'm scared. I'm scared of being hurt; it's as simple as that. Could I work on that, of course, and I will. I will try a little bit everyday to allow people into my life while I am down here. Finding friends is not the only thing I need to do, I need to find my happiness and my peace.

   This is where the journey to finding me begins...