Balancing it All

It’s no secret that dating takes a lot of energy.  Those of you who are currently engaged in it know that meeting new people, making yourself vulnerable, and finding ways to relate to someone new all take an amount of energy we are never really prepared for.  There’s always a point where we step back and say “Enough for now, it’s time to rest”.  For some this is the deleting of the app, the hiding of the profile, or just the decision not to go out on the weekend.  Knowing when to recognize this is good!  Being aware of what your body is going through is a level of awareness that is uncommon these days.  Knowing when, where, and how to practice self care is just as important as finding someone you want to be with, so why don’t we put more emphasis on it?

It isn’t a surprise that the focus comes on dating and finding the right person.  Some of us are taught that a relationship will solve our problems (and for those of us with anxious attachment styles, we KNOW about all the problems relationships solve for us).  Why wouldn’t we go all in and play ‘personality trait bingo’ with our hopefuls trying to win big?  This kind of thinking sets us up for disaster, allowing us to get to that ‘overextended’ stage where we are emotionally burned out.  This can be dangerous for a number of reasons.

For one, this emotional burnout can effect us in other areas of our lives.  How often have you felt like you didn’t have the energy for a task at work or at home?  It’s true, it could be any number of factors, but getting that burnout in one area of your life is bound to lead to other areas.  You might notice that your diet has started to slip, or that you’re not working out as often, or that you’ve stopped talking to your friends as regularly.  If this is the case, you might want to see what areas might be causing the burnout for you (as it isn’t always relationship related).  Some well deserved R&R might be just what you need.

Another reason you might want to avoid this emotional burnout is because it creates an opportunity for the wrong people to move in.  When this exhaustion is present I am more vulnerable to those who would seek to soothe it.  This, in and of itself, may seem benign to some people.  To my fellow anxious attachers (AA) this can be a death sentence for our ability to think clearly.  We tend to elevate and ruminate over the meaning of individual events, and the last thing I want to do is put myself in a situation where I can fall down a ‘do they or don’t they’ rabbit hole that results in me wondering whether or not they want to get married.  This isn’t the fault of the other person (usually, there are still those who look for that weakness and vulnerability as a way to lay a foundation of control over someone’s feelings), I’m aware that this is due solely on my ability to think rationally about the meaning of a particular event.  But the best way to prevent these types of occurrences is to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Finally, catching yourself and allowing time for your body and mind to rest is the ultimate form of self respect.  There is no greater judge of what’s going on with your body in the moment (outside of sought advice from physicians and other body experts) and knowing where to draw the line is the best way to say ‘I love you’ to yourself and mean it.  So many of us struggle with self esteem, but this can be a healthy way to start combating that.

As a side note, not all of dating has to be about finding the right person.  You can find people who may have little permanence in your life and enjoy the time you spend with them (whether it gets physical or not).  Some of the most rejuvenating times in my life where short spells with people who were exactly what I needed at the time.  For my AA peeps, we need to hit a certain level of acceptance and awareness of what we tend to do before we try something like this, because if we allow ourselves to attach to something non permanent we can end up doing more harm than good.  It’s another one of those things that you can test out for yourself (as long as your strong enough to stop yourself if it goes bad).  With so much pressure on dating, it’s easy to forget that life is supposed to be fun.  If we treat it as such, everything becomes a lot easier.

As a disclaimer, this is advice and perspective that has worked for me.  It doesn’t mean it will work for you, or that it’s guaranteed to help you (in fact, for some it might even make it more difficult).  If you feel like you can use it, take what I’ve said here and tailor it for yourself!  You know yourself the best, it’s time to start living like it 🙂

Better days ahead everyone!

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Meaning and the Anxious mind

As human beings we are on the eternal search for meaning.  Everything must mean something, or why would it happen in the first place.  For some, the idea that there is no meaning, that everything is just a coincidence is a burden, and idea that cannot sit with them no matter how they process it.  There has to be something behind it all, some driving force that is the explanation for why things are the way that they are.  It’s no secret that the anxious mind does this in dating as well.
It was often that I would look for meaning in things.  I spent a lot of time thinking about what each action might mean to me, what it meant coming from the other person, signs the universe might be giving me to tell me that something was right or wrong, and many other facets that meaning might bring to my life.  It was exhausting.  It was overthinking, rumination, uncontrollable catastrophizing thoughts that consumed me for hours on end as I struggled to make sense of it all.  The answer to the question “does the other person think about me as much as I think about them?” is often an emphatic NO.  Anxious people like to think, and break things down, and go over details many, many times.  It’s no secret that my attachment style is Anxious.  It’s due to hard work and self moderation that I feel comfortable saying that I’m Secure/Anxious now.  It was a long journey, and there were many pitfalls along the way.

Searching for meaning in relationships was dangerous.  The idea that you ‘feel’ like you are supposed to be together can weigh heavy on someone who is being broken up with, or someone who is staying in an abusive relationship.

“They are the best sex I’ve ever had, that has to mean something!”

“Nobody makes me feel the way that they make me feel.”

“They gave me flowers on a day that they didn’t even know I was depressed, it’s meant to be.”

These thoughts take an infinite number of intrusive forms as we line up birthdays, experiences, and other minutiae into the foundation for why we’re there in the first place.  They become a crutch that keeps us in place, and, in certain cases, weapons in our fight to avoid being alone (and in extreme cases, to hurt).   These things have lost their meaning to me outside of showing a persons character.  Of course I can use them to adjust my view of a person, but never as an excuse to believe anything other than choice or coincidence has a say in whether or not I am with someone.

How can these things be a crutch?  Using the meaning we create we can keep ourselves from recognizing or addressing issues.  The meaning I am talking about is the meaning that comes from things outside of our control.  Many people won’t agree with this, and that’s ok.  I’m not speaking from a general point of view, I’m speaking from my own experiences.  I used meaning to justify years in an abusive relationship.  I used meaning to try and fight for the wrong relationships.  I used meaning to try and coax people into making different decisions during relationships.  And I used  meaning to try and make myself feel better as a last ditch effort.  It’s a vicious cycle, and it’s one that only results in more pain.  It can artificially move relationships forward too fast, or put the wrong people together.  The idea of being alone is a terrifying thought to an anxious person.  Your brain will NOT be on your side during that fight.

What meaning can we use?  Surely we aren’t in some nihilistic void where nothing matters?  The meaning we should look to provide us with answers is the meaning of choice.  Choice is a powerful indicator of character, although not necessarily intent.  Your boyfriend making you some soup when you are sick doesn’t necessarily mean that he wants to be with you forever.  It means that he believes in picking up some slack and making sure you get what you need when you need a little help.  Indication of character is important, and we need to see the value in the choices we and our partners make.  And, when the meaning of something might be a little obfuscated behind ours or someone else’s thoughts, we need to be ready to explain what we mean by what we have said or done.  In my own relationships I am quick to explain what means something specifically for someone, and what speaks more to my  character.  It’s no secret that I would listen to someone who was depressed and hurting regardless of whether or not I was dating them, but the choice to take a day to make someone feel special and loved is a little more of a pointed effort in the dating category.

On the other side of things, I no longer let silly things like favorite bands/songs, birthdays, coincidence, or whatever little thing seems to dance it’s way into my vision keep me from seeing the reality of a situation.  It took a lot of training, and a lot of practice, but I finally feel like I am able to date with control and intent.

Finally, be on the lookout for people who want to use meaning to make you feel a certain way.  The person who makes a statement by taking back what was given, changing the perception of what was said or done, or twists the choices you make into something to further their own agenda is a toxic person indeed.  And you, my friend, can do a lot better than that toxic person.

Better days ahead!

 

The holidays

I have often wondered about why I like to write.  Is it because I am good at it?  Is it because I like to type?  Is it because I like the idea of my emotional outlet being something that calls upon my intelligence and creativity?  It’s probably a little of everything, really.  Who among us doesn’t enjoy the things that make us feel good (or better than before, sometimes)?

Sometimes, when I am having a bad day, I write.  This is no secret, and my post history is replete with indicators of which days were bad and which were good.  I’m here to say that Friday was a bad day.  Why was it a bad day, you ask?  It’s the holidays.

I’m dating healthily, I’m taking care of myself (more than usual, I’m still figuring out a steady routine), I’m in constant contact with my support group, so what gives?  Why do I feel this pervasive, overwhelming sadness that seems to permeate my life, and direct me into the darkest corners of my mind?

The holidays have never been my thing.  I learned to work them in the military, and since then I haven’t looked back.  I like the idea of helping a co-worker out so that they might spend time with their family, and also picking up some extra cash from overtime.  But this time is different.  Previously I was married, or dating, or in some type of long term relationship.  This gives the holidays a feeling of emotional permeability, although the idea that I would want to spend that time away from my partner should have been an indicator of the state of any of my relationships (but I digress).

But now, as was the case last year, there is no one.  Well, there are someone’s, but they are not the deeply intimate relationships that I am accustomed to.  They are the relationships that I’m still fleshing out, still trying to see if they are right.  There are no “I love you’s” or grand romantic gestures; nothing to sate the desire to feel well and truly loved.  I know that my support group loves me, I know that my family loves me.  I know that I have everything I need to survive.  But…

I don’t have everything I want.

I ache for someone to find a way to provide that grand romantic gesture.  I desire to be thought of the same way I think (or have thought) of other people.  I long for someone to spend time figuring out how to do something that shows me that they love me.  To be honest, it’s the thing that has eluded me for such a long time that I don’t even know if I will find it.  It hasn’t been present in ANY of my relationships since…..well, I can’t even remember when the last time I had it was (there are some memories of the last abusive relationship I was in, but I am not sure if I would count those given the state of things at that time.  I was in such an emotional deficit that anything would have seemed like a gesture).

I am not alone.  There are so many of us in this same spot that it seems silly to make a post about it.  I can imagine the amount of people who might read this and think “Yeah, yeah, we’re all lonely now, but we’re dealing with it.  What makes you so special that you have to write a blog post?”  Well, this blog post isn’t just me bitching about the approaching holidays.  This is me doing something else.

The holidays are tough.  REAL TOUGH.  And I am not the only one they are tough for.  If you are having a tough time going through the holidays and you need someone to reach out to, please, reach out to me.  We can chat about the hard stuff, about the good stuff, about the things that hope for, or about whatever you can think of.  You’ll find my contact info on the site (in the about me section).  If you’re located near PDX you can join me for a beer and we can gab in person.  If you’re far away we can shoot some emails or texts back and forth.  Either way, if you need it, I’ll take the time.

And that’s that.  The sadness is palpable, but I’ll get through it.  I always do.  There are always better days ahead 🙂

 

Two weeks in

Anxiety was high.  I saw ‘was’ because although it is a force pervasive in my life it is, for the most part, manageable when there is not a specific stressor.  Still, these last two weeks have been an interesting.  The first week was an orientation week, and it was filled with the things you would normally expect: computer based training, policy and procedure, new job swag, and free coffee.  I met a lot of new and great people, but I don’t know most of their names (save a few, names aren’t my strong point).  All in all, it was very standard.  I wasn’t surprised by anything, and there was nothing I couldn’t handle.  The second week has been much of the same, except that I have been supporting various residential sites.  I have learned a lot, such as how to pass medication, how to administer insulin and check blood sugar levels, and comorbid diagnoses for schizophrenia.  Once again, there has been nothing that I can’t handle.

So….

Why the hell was I so worried?

It isn’t a normal amount of worry.  I know this because I have a condition that would justify medication in these circumstances.  But why does my body do this when I get a new job?  The answer for me wasn’t to focus on the why.  Why isn’t really important in this case, because after thirty-one years I know that I can depend on this feeling every time I start a new job somewhere.  The important part of the answer is “What can I do to make sure I take care of myself while I deal with this?”.  It’s gotten easier, even if every situation needs a different method of soothing.  I’ve become much more adaptable for each new stressor,  and my list of techniques for combating them grows ever longer.  Although I’m touching on it lightly, this post was created to address my anxiety.

The question I got the most from my colleagues was exactly what I expected; everyone wanted to know why I left engineering to come work in mental health?  I knew this was going to happen.  When I told everyone that I was in engineering there were a lot of gasps, and several comments of the disparity between compensation.  But, as cliche as it sounds, it was not about the money.  Engineering was a cesspool of negative attitudes and unhappy people.  This does not mean that there weren’t good, passionate, intelligent people in the field who helped me and challenged me to grow, but as is common in life the bad outnumber the good.  I don’t aim to pass judgement on anyone I met or worked with, I just mean to say that there exists a constant, angry cloud above the heads of everyone.  It’s a profit driven industry, and the mood is often affected by the bottom line.  When the company isn’t happy, neither are the employees.  Add to this my penchant for second guessing myself, as well as a belief that I was not meant for engineering and you have a perfect storm of factors that were able to pull me down in the darkest parts of myself.  I was overweight, I was unhappy, I was coping with all sorts of unhealthy things, and I needed to get out.

And so I did.

And you know what I found?  I found people who talked about the work with an admiration that you don’t generally see among other fields.  People who truly loved what they did, and had been doing it for 5, 10, 15, and 20 years.  This field is going to have similar problems, I am under no illusions that engineering was unique.  But I think the difference lies in the idea that I can count myself among the people who would consider themselves passionate about what they do.  Already I’ve come into contact with problems I was able to solve because of my personal, educational, and professional training, and that’s a good feeling.  I never felt like that in engineering.  Every new issue was a titan I had to slay, and fighting battles like that every day is exhausting.

I’m only two weeks in, and I know that a lot of how I feel is based on the “new job shine”.  Rest assured, you’ll hear a lot about how I feel in this field.

Better days are here, and better days ahead 🙂

Protecting myself

Dating is a battlefield.  We are assaulted from all sides by the promise of exactly what we want.  What is a strangers promise worth?  Hell, what is a promise from someone who has hurt you worth?

It depends.

Learning how to date was an emotional roller coaster.  I can trace it back all the way to my first serious GF, a woman named Allison.  To put it bluntly, I was an idiot (weren’t we all?).  But, at least I was an honest idiot.  In the name of getting laid I lost some of my honesty, and dating got much, much harder.  When I found it again, I was on the wrong end of dating and trying to figure out why I kept meeting the wrong people.  Little did I know that I was only a few books away from the answer.

My therapist turned me onto some light reading.  He suggested that I open up a book or two on attachment theory, and see where it pointed me.  I was skeptical, but I gave it a shot.  It took me very little time to read that first book.  Once I started the first page I didn’t set it down until it was done.

Attachment theory had blown my mind open.

I had never felt so struck by the information presented in a self help book before.  In fact, I had a mostly negative view of the effect of self-help books on me.  I was supposed to be good at this, why should I read a book?  This newfound knowledge was immediately put to use.

I stopped dating for the ‘feeling’.  This is very hard for some people.  We all look for ‘the feeling’.  It’s more than attraction…it’s the magnetic pull that brings us into the clouds only to land in the arms of the person who instills it.  But this feeling can be created by a mismatch of attachment styles.  It can be created by danger, risk, and the possibility of reward.  It can be created when you have secrets with someone, or from shared misery.  A wide variety of things and events can play into this feeling, and it doesn’t always mean that person is right for you.  Cheaters will tell you that this is how their partner made them feel.  If this feeling can be mimicked from infidelity (often to much greater effect than if it occurs naturally) how are we able to trust it?  The short answer is that we don’t.  We don’t let this feeling take us away from baseline.  It’s nice to feel it, but it’s not indicative of anything except a strong attraction.  If anything, you should be even more vigilant in determining what’s going on between you and the other person.

I stopped ruminating.  This one was hard for me.  I’m a romantic at heart, and there’s nothing better than sitting and thinking about the current person occupying my desires.  This can be pretty poisonous though, especially when it strengthens your emotional attachment in a relationship.  It’s better for this to be built over time, rather than to artificially inflate it with your imagination.  Each imaginary scenario is another string tying you to the idea of that other person.  The here and the now is what’s important.  It also has a tendency to make us more likely to ignore red flags and push the relationship farther, faster.  The last thing that I want is to let a sense of ‘inertia’ carry my far past the healthy time to leave.

I stopped making excuses for people.  When I entered into my abusive relationships I stayed long past the point that I should have.  I was certain the love was there, and I was certain that all I had to do was wait it out to find it.  Loving treatment and a stress-free relationship were always on the other side of the mountain that was each, big fight.  Having an eye into mental health worked in tandem with my ability to think the best of people, and that with enough time and effort things would turn out OK.  I was wrong.  I spent nearly 5 years of my life in abusive relationships, and not once did things every move significantly towards better treatment for me.  There were calm periods, yes, but nothing that should have made me think that the end of my suffering was near.  No more excuses meant that I was free to let people go that I thought (or knew) would have a negative impact on my life.

I stopped NEEDING a relationship.  This is probably the most difficult one.  I know a lot of us feel empty and abandoned without a relationship.  I know that the affirmation gained passively just from BEING in a relationship is hard to go without (especially for those of us who have an ANXIOUS attachment style).  That’s no excuse for us to keep the wrong people in our life to mitigate that.  Saying that you need to let go is easy, but in practice this is difficult.  You’ll have to take time to take care of yourself, find things you enjoying doing, hang out with your friends, and just generally start finding a zest for life as a single person.  When you can do this, letting the wrong person go becomes infinitely easier.

I stopped believing I had all the answers.  This is the last thing.  I’ll be the first to tell you that I don’t know everything about this subject.  I’ve done A LOT of reading, and I know that I’ve only scratched the surface.  But I also know that I spent a great deal of time thinking that I knew the right answer and ignoring my need to get help, either via therapy, self-help books, or knowledge of my peers.  When you think you know all the right answers, the decisions you make are never wrong (even if, aha, they are).  Humble yourself, and let people who know the right answer in.

I don’t fall easily anymore.  I used to be able to fall in a heartbeat, letting myself go at the first hint of attraction.  It was romance, I would say to myself, where’s the harm in that?  Now I am more reserved, more guarded.  I haven’t had a ‘love at first sight’ moment in years, and even if I’m attracted to someone it doesn’t get away from me.  It all sounds very boring, but I can’t stress enough how much better and more in control I feel.  This is a triumph of my ability to date in a healthy manner, and I’m so excited that the streak has continued this far (almost 2 years of healthy dating!).

These are better days.  Amidst all the anxiety and stress of real life, these are the days that I will remember.

 

Anxious

I am anxious.

I mean, my readers know that I have anxiety that is managed.  It isn’t often that I deal with it outside of specific situations.  I’ve worked very hard to get to this point, and I’m proud of myself.  I still get nervous in normal situations, and perhaps even a little bit more nervous than most.  Anxiety doesn’t ever really go away…it just sits around waiting for the right thing to trigger it.  I’m lucky in the sense that my triggered anxiety doesn’t affect me in ways that cause my behavior to change drastically.  It’s just a pervasive tightness centered in my stomach, and a feeling of dread.  Still, it’s something that I, given the chance, would most assuredly toss in the garbage.  Eh, c’est la vie.

I’m anxious about my first day at work tomorrow.  This isn’t my first time switching jobs.  I’ve held a few over the years, but they have been either retail jobs or engineering jobs.  This is my first foray into the field of mental health, and I want to make a good impression.  I want to be the best, I want to save all the people, I want to be a beacon of level-headedness and kindness and compassion.  THAT’S NOT EVEN WHAT THIS JOB IS ABOUT.  Expectations are the quickest way to disappointment, and mine are set sky high.  I can’t help being passionate about this field, but I don’t want to set myself up for failure either.

What can I do?

What will I do?

I’ve already called my support network.  I’ve already hung out with my friends.  I’ve already having been going to be posting a blog post in a bit (try to read that).  I’m walking through the steps that normally help, but will they help in this case?  I think something that I have come to terms with is that some of the work that I do in these cases is preparation for an easier aftercare.  What I mean is, that some of this work shows it’s effects only after I have processed the anxiety from the event.  This is understandable.  Part of managing my anxiety is knowing that I WILL experience it, but that experiencing it will not be the end of me.  When I focus on that, I am able to let it wash over me instead of trying to stop it from occurring or hold onto it.  This is important, because the belief that we can stop it is what gets most of us into trouble.  Oh what interesting lessons we learn.

Will I be able to fall asleep?

Just because I have completed all the steps doesn’t mean I will avoid all the effects.  It’s easy to say that the tools I have help lessen my anxiety, but the fine print near that statement tacks on the word sometimes.  I have to say, however, that sometimes is better than nothing.

Attention movie-goers, after a brief interlude we will have better days starting tomorrow.

 

The Hard Days

Self awareness doesn’t keep away the hard days.  This is, perhaps, the hardest part of accepting the things that you need to change about yourself.  The idea that all the work that you do can only make the next trial shorter.  Believing we can eliminate all of our struggles is a pipe dream.  We are who we are, we just learn to manage.  It strikes me as the truest truth that I have had to swallow.  It’s on the shelf with a few other things like “Infidelity sucks” and “Don’t stay in a profession that doesn’t provide you with fulfillment”.  It’s in good company.

How do the hard days look now?  They are vastly different than they were before.  No longer am I gripped by anxiety.  No longer do I spend hours awake hoping that tomorrow will be different.  No longer do I agonize over drifting through my own personal hell, wishing for a hand to pull me back to the surface for air.

Honestly, the bad days aren’t so bad anymore.

It’s all relative though.  They are bad compared to the good days.  I still have emotions that wax and wane.  I still have depression that greys out the colors of my life.  I still have anxiety that tells me I’m not good enough.  But, and this is a BIG but, these voices aren’t as loud as they used to be.  They are a quiet whisper beating against a wave of positivity.  They are the smallest thoughts in the corner of my mind.  That is, until it quiets.  We all know the drill; things are going well for a time before the question pops up.

Are you sure you deserve this?

Fuck yes.  Gimme a bad day every now and then for comparison.  Don’t ever let me forget that the good days were earned with blood, sweat, and tears.
I’m worth it.

You’re worth it.

I’m dealing with depression today but…

Better days ahead.

The Catch

It’s a different kind of life, feeling like you are no longer beholden to a relationship to fulfill all your needs.  Feeling like you are strong enough to enjoy the time you spend with yourself is a monumental change from feeling empty and incomplete when you are alone.  If I’m being honest, there are still times I feel like that, but they aren’t life altering.  I still get out, I still work out, I still eat well.  All of these are testaments to the large amount of work that I have put in towards learning about myself, and it’s paying off.  The best part, however, is the quality of people who come into my life.  Without that drive to be in a relationship I can more clearly evaluate the partners I meet.  Where I may have settled before, I have reached a point where I don’t even consider letting people stay in my life.  It’s freeing, and empowering, and for a while now I haven’t felt like I’m scrambling for control over certain aspects of my life.   I can’t control everything, and trying to do that was the root of titanic amount of poor decision making in my life.

It’s a double edged sword.  The release of my attempt to control everything has meant that I accept how deeply I feel things.  I can be a wreck sometimes;  the right scene in a movie or TV show will send tears down my face, as will the right moment with the right person.  Words are powerful, and my face is a leaky faucet.  It’s an odd feeling as you come to terms with how sensitive you are as a person.  Stoicism and emotional control get pitched around as the pinnacle of self care, but we are who we are.  If that’s crying because the hero died, or your family member got a cancer diagnosis, or a relationship didn’t work out, then so be it.  Spending time fighting it only leads to misery.  I love, love, love, LOVE emotional people, and hope that if you are struggling with it that you learn to love it too.  We were chosen to feel, and no amount of training will help us change that in a healthy way (although if your emotions push you towards negative behaviors there are plenty of things you can do to address that).

So yeah, I make better decisions now.  The catch is that in doing so I also have to be more accepting of who I am as a man, as a friend, as a boyfriend, as a lover, and as a person.  But, if I’m being honest…I don’t mind paying that price.

Better days ahead, my friends.

An Expert

I know what I want. It took a while to get here, but I know what I want to do with my life. This isn’t a new revelation, I’ve know for a while (probably since November of last year). The best part wasn’t figuring it out though (as cathartic as that was). The best part has been following that desire and turning it from a dream into a goal, and then into action. Im in school for it now, and I’m going to have my associates ready to transfer to a four year institution in March. There’s still grad school, and I’m not sure if I’m gonna stop at my masters or continue onto a PHD, but life has been on track for a while and it feels good.

I want to be a therapist. I have always thought this would be a good profession for me, but the military derailed it for a while. Getting trained as an engineer narrowed my options, and I lacked the strength to turn away from the profession in my younger years. The money was too good, the schedule was too good, the travel was too good. It felt GOOD to be an engineer. But depression creeped in and tore me apart because the kicker was that I wasn’t that GOOD an engineer. I tried hard, and nearly broke myself trying to be the best engineer that I could, but in the end I was only mediocre. It was a tough time for me.

Something that people have always remarked on is my ability to make others feel loved, listened to, and welcome no matter what. I can’t help it, I want people to feel like more of the best of what they already are, and I give love and support to anyone who needs it (and even those who don’t haha). But at the same time, I want to help people navigate the harder times of their lives. I enjoy listening and providing that support, and I can’t imagine a life where I wasn’t able to do that. I already do that on websites like blahtherapy.com, Reddit, imgur, and many more, I just would like to get paid for it!

But Jon, they ask, what do you want to specialize in? The last 6 years have been full of lessons in my personal life, from how I function as an adult with adhd, depression, and anxiety, to how to go about finding out what I want to do with the rest of my life. But my most important lesson thus far, has been how care about relationships. I’m divorced, I’ve been abused, I’ve dated people of all kinds, and the thing that I can say throughout all of these times is that I love learning more and more about the dynamic of relationships. There’s something about two (or more, I am inclusive) people coming together, making sacrifices and compromises, dealing with conflict and sadness, and generally find their place in the world that is fascinating to me. My friends have realized this, and they often come to me for advice now (which is very flattering, I don’t think I’ve ever been an expert at something). I’ve had several courses in college that have dealt with relationships, I’ve had counseling, I’ve read books (self help AND textbooks), and I’ve gone to seminars in an effort to learn as much as I can. I’m lucky to live within driving distance of The Gottman Institute, so I don’t lack for opportunities to train. Hell, my bathroom reader is a textbook on intimate relationships. I may not be licensed yet, but I’m gonna be damn well prepared when I finally get there.

It’s so weird to feel like I am an expert in something. It’s weird feeling that if someone asked you a question you would have a answer almost immediately (and t wouldn’t be a BS answer either). It’s weird feeling rightly oriented after so pointing the ‘wrong’ way for so long. But, my friends, here is the kicker….

I’m happy.

With myself.

Always better days.

If you need to chat, you know how to get ahold of me 🙂

Creating your own Future

It’s no secret where I have been.  If you just started reading this blog, it might be unknown, but my journey is public and available.  Instead of the past, however, I find myself thinking about the future more often than not.  I mean, this was common for me in relationships; I planned the future before looking at the present, and it got me into quite a bit of trouble.  That’s what we do, though.  Forward thinkers are we.

I suppose if I had to describe it, I chose to imagine good futures instead of focusing on what’s going on now.  This is unfair, because the future you imagine is often free of the real work done to get there.  Why push things so far forward when ‘the now’ is so limiting in scope?  I had a tendency to make decisions on that future without giving proper regard for the now.

How have I fixed this?  Well, the solution that I have found has been to date better.  I choose better people to pull into my life, and I choose to be more present when I do.  Instead of building the ideal future in my head, I build the ideal present and live with that.  Taking control of the present is what’s best for a good future, and it’s not a step that you can skip over.  The plus side is that I am in love with what goes on in the proverbial ‘now’ more than I ever have been.  Every moment spent with people I care about, whether they are close by or far away, is another reason to love where I am.  I have always been someone who was willing to do whatever it takes, I just need to find the right people to apply that work towards.

Better days ahead.  Bright and shiny and full of the best that life has ever had to offer!