find zen in a punching bag

It’s funny to think about where I was a year ago. Actually a year ago I was in a hospital bed trying to convince the doctors I rarely saw to let me go home. But on the other hand, I was also dead set on getting out of Maryland and moving to Colorado. And now, I’m here and I’m not sure why. Funny how something you thought you were so sure about ends up being the one thing you’re completely unsure about.

I was so sure that I just wanted to be here to figure my life out and just work. Well, I am doing that but it’s not nearly as glorious as I thought it would be. I did figure out where I want to be and want to do, but in the midst of that, I realized I needed to make an even bigger decision. Should I stay, or should I go?

Truth is, times are pretty tough. This whole “starting a new life” thing kind of has ended up being financial suicide, which is pretty untimely now that I’ve decided to go back to school. I keep wondering to myself, why didn’t I figure this all out BEFORE I decided to move here? Well, I guess I was just a bit naive. And that’s okay. Sometimes learning things the hard way is the only way. I followed my heart instead of my mind. In doing so, while this whole concept is incredibly freeing, it is incredibly terrifying as well. Staying out here is what my heart is telling me because I am free and I am afraid. My mind tells me to go back to Maryland because I might find myself out on the streets trying to teach my pet rats to do tricks to earn money if I stay here. But the fear and freedom I’ve found in being here in Colorado and finally figuring out what I want to do with my life has made me realize I’ve finally begun to think with my heart instead of my head. As irrational as the heart can be, I now feel free. Decisions are hard. I decided to follow my heart.

And I did make a few decisions. First, I made the decision that it really is time to get off of my meds and handle my anxiety in more holistic ways through meditation, tai chi, yoga, acupuncture, and of course the biggie: limiting alcohol. After dealing with this bitchy psychiatrist that I decided I never wanted to deal with again, I went to my primary care doctor who ACTUALLY LISTENED TO ME. He was completely on board with my decision and after telling him that I’m applying to acupuncture school, he was in complete support of me using acupuncture as an alternative treatment to my anxiety. Coolest doc ever, right? Doctors who actually support the lifestyle that you think is best for you is what every doctor should be, unless your lifestyle is hurting you, of course. He’s also the first doctor who hasn’t tried to scrutinize me for eating a mostly vegan diet by pushing me to take supplements and get my blood tested to make sure I’m healthy etc. etc.

Basically, I decided to take control of my life for the first time. Getting off of benzodiazepines is really tough, I won’t lie. There’s the physical withdrawal in which sleeping seems impossible because you feel like you’re heart is going to thump thump thump its way out of your chest because it’s beating so hard, and then waking up feeling hungover every morning even if you didn’t even have a sip of alcohol the night before. And there’s the mental withdrawal. Always on edge. Always afraid. Finding your anxiety worse than you can ever remember it being. It sucks, but I know that this too shall pass because I now know how to control it. I will be free.

Earlier this week, I had made plans to go hiking with a couple friends. Today, I woke up to get ready for the hike and I felt awful. Racing heartbeat, suddenly not wanting to go out, and still feeling hungover even though I didn’t drink last night (unless I’m getting Buffy hangovers, maybe I’m binging too much, possible?) Still, I wasn’t going to back out on plans because I wasn’t going to give into my anxiety. Once I got outside and we were on the trail and I’m 15 minutes into the hike and dying and hating myself (see JP Sears’ video about Boulder: The Consciousness Capital of the World, which also sums up what Boulder, CO really is like. Goddamn trustifarians, aka rich hippies), I looked out at the mountains and breathed in the fresh air and felt an immediate sense of peace. Sometimes it really is that simple, sometimes not. For me, getting outside and feeling the sun hit my face and breathing the fresh, clean air of the mountains reminds me to just be here, now. Sometimes it isn’t that simple. Sometimes you have to go Buffy on a punching bag until your knuckles are bruised and blistered and your mom yells at you that you’re going to get arthritis to get out that nervous energy. Because that’s all anxiety is for me: pent of energy. I guess also slowly dying on a beautiful hike uses up a lot of the anxious energy too. But hey, the mountains are still beautiful even if you’re surrounded by an entire forest that was completely burned away in a fire about 5 years ago. Deciding to live with my anxiety is freeing, while also being ultimately terrifying.

The other decision I made is that I still want to be here. For a few months, I had convinced myself that nothing was ever going to work out here. The job market out here is horrific and I’ve found myself losing money instead of making money. Finding friends that I actually like in a town full of college kids is pretty hard too, especially when you don’t like people your age. But when I see the red light shining through my window in the morning as the sun rises, and seeing the sun set over Horsetooth Rock after a snow storm, I feel peace and I remember why I wanted to be here so badly in the first place. Maybe not being here in Fort Collins, necessarily, but being in a different place where I’m surrounded by mountains and being away from the place that I had grown too comfortable with is enough. I’m trying so hard to give myself reasons to stay because it is freeing and terrifying and I don’t want my head to make me go crying back to my mom in Maryland because everything out here isn’t working out.

How did I decide that applying for a graduate program in acupuncture here in Colorado was the right decision? Well, I felt freedom and fear. Freedom in the sense that I finally figured out who I really want to be and what I want to do, and the fear of everything that goes along with applying to grad school when you’re pretty low on funds and looking at a $60,000 program.

Here I am now, a year later. This time last year, the only future I saw ahead of me was my delusional relationship with Blob, feeling sorry for myself, not knowing who I was or what I was doing, but only knowing that I wanted to run away, and so I decided to do that. Now, I’m away from everything. Free from my past life, mostly, ambitious to follow my heart and take the next big step in my life and willing to take control of my anxiety instead of hiding it under medications.

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One year ago

I found peace on a mountain top. I found it letting loose on a punching bag. It can be found even when everything seems dark and scary. 23 years later, I am free.

*Most people know JP Sears as that guy who appears on your newsfeed once in a while sarcastically talking about veganism or how to be gluten intolerant. I found out the other day that he’s actually a certified holistic health coach who specializes in self-empowerment. See his video How to Follow Your Head (not your heart).

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Today. Grateful. Free. At peace.

 

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2017 UPDATE: somewhat manic, mostly reasonable

Note to self: do not post manic ideas as a blog post.

That last post was pretty unnecessary. Manic induced ideas can be awesome. That’s how I came up with the idea to go to U of Edinburgh for school (to get out of taking the GRE) and the idea of painting skate decks for money (possibly still a good idea for side money). I actually did spend a large amount of time researching where to buy blank skate decks and what type of varnish to use, etc. etc. But as much as I would like to extend my artistic talents into the world of skating, I think I’m better off doing something more realistic now that my mania has subsided.

For the first time since moving to Colorado, I finally feel a bit settled. Why’s that? Well I’ll tell you why even if you don’t care.

I finally have a REAL JOB. I START TOMORROW. Like, big girl 9-5 job. Okay it’s actually 8:30 to 4 and I have to work at 7:30am on Saturdays but a set schedule? Damn I feel spoiled.

And then after spending a month and a half of unemployment, I had a lot of time to think about long term. Long term commitments are scary. I couldn’t even decide on what I wanted to major in in undergrad until I realized I might as well major in psych just because I had enough credits for it. Bad decision, but probably ideal for someone who wanted to graduate ASAP.

But anyway, I recently realized how much I hate modern Western medicine and practices. These drugs that doctors have been shoving down my throat since I was 14 have done nothing for my mental health besides permanently damage my brain and have only acted as a band-aid. Honestly, the happiest I’ve been is when I start with treating my body with respect. It’s cliche, but my body is a temple. Treating my body right is what will eventually lead to having a healthier brain. I decided a more holistic approach to my health would be a better long-term decision for myself. Through eating a plant-based diet and exercising regularly, I feel better. When I started getting outside more and more when I moved to Colorado, I felt even better. Waking up sober everyday (this is sobriety Day 9 for me!!) helps me feel more productive and overall better. Doing yoga and meditation before bed calms me down and helps control my anxiety. Drinking teas with natural and beneficial herbs in them have helped my body through this alcohol mental and physical withdrawal. And of course, I’ve been going to acupuncture every week for the last 3 months.

Initially, I went to an acupuncturist because my allergies since moving here had gotten so bad that I was getting sick every week and I felt like I was constantly miserable. Taking massive amounts of painkillers and Allegra and Mucinex would barely help and just felt like poison to my body. A month into acupuncture, I realized I hadn’t gotten sick in weeks. Either my body finally adjusted, or acupuncture really did help. Acupuncture can be used to treat an extensive amount of ailments so I decided I wanted to start working on my mental health since it seems that I’m finally no longer a prisoner of allergy induced sickness.

Leading this more holistic lifestyle based on Eastern medicine has began to fascinate me. Every time my acupuncturist puts a needle in my skin, I always wonder, “why there?” During treatment, I like to meditate. Yesterday, I told my acupuncturist that I wanted to work on my depression and energy levels, in which he then placed three needles in my head. My mind spiraled into a crazy, manic-esque state but at the same time, calm and reasonable. At the time I was still thinking about the skateboard thing but something in the back of my mind reasonably talked me out of it. Eastern medicine is my calling. Coming from a psychology background, this would be perfect. I want to treat mental illness with more holistic approaches instead of shoving drugs down everyone’s throat and telling them what they should and shouldn’t do to cope with their minds.

That’s the short version. Yesterday, I was a unstable and depressed mess. When I finally found passion in something, that finally subsided. I found a purpose. I found a goal. I ordered books off Amazon on traditional Chinese medicine and started my application essay for a couple of TCM schools. I’m suddenly inspired to learn again, and I’m excited. I can be the calm little center of our ever chaotic universe. Zen, focused, and passionate about something for the first time in my life.

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Also, no GRE scores required, did I mention that? Don’t worry though, I won’t ever abandon writing. My crazy mind will still be on the internet for all to see.

The Official 2016 Wrap Up and My Unofficial Resolutions

My mom sent me an email this evening (okay like 20 minutes ago) wishing me happy new year and that she said (and I quote)

Hi! Am home this evening. No plans, but I have always hated New Years. –  too many expectations and unfulfilled resolutions. Am going to clean out my file cabinet in the den, as I always do for NY, and run the wood stove.
Yup. That’s my mom. She spends every new years eve/day cleaning out one filing cabinet in her house. Meanwhile, I’m doing laundry and plan on shaving for the first time in 2 months while consuming some NOT $5 wine and rewriting the lyrics to Wake Me Up When September Ends by Green Day (obviously, to be titled Wake Me Up When 2016 Ends). This may end up in a Green Day listening marathon and trying to awfully cover some Green Day songs on my guitar. Check the Instagram feed on the right side of this blog if you wanna see what happens after I’m through a couple of glasses. Sorry, Mom. I love you. I hate New Years too.
As far as resolutions go? Well, I did look back at my resolutions from last year (thank you, Facebook) and they go as follows:
1. Get back into yoga and running (I did not)
2. Stop buying $4 bottles of wine (any of previous posts will prove that didn’t happen. Sorry, but I’m a broke, unemployed alcoholic)
3. Graduate and move to Colorado (THAT I TOTALLY DID DO, where is my diploma UMBC???)
So I set some more realistic expectations for this year.
1. Seriously stop buying $4 bottles of wine
2. Reinvent my guitar career (via my room and entertaining my stuffed animals and boyfriend)
3. Overcome social anxiety (not sure how realistic that is, but we’ll see)
4. Climb a 14r. Definitely doable out here.
5. Don’t associate with sociopaths and fuckboys (definitely doable)
6. Get off of my klonopin
7. Stop vaping so I stop looking like such a douchebag
8. Not chop off my hair into a pixie cut so I regret it for the entirety of growing it out
9. Visit potential cities to move to (maybe just “city,” I’ll start with Seattle or Portland, maybe somewhere in Cali)
10. Quit therapy
11. Get serious about my writing career (you guys are reading my blog, aren’t you?)
12. Taxidermy something
13. Go to a music festival and actually have fun
Less realistic expectations:
1. Join Americorps
2. Move away from Colorado (yeeeahhhh we’ll see)
3. Overcome social anxiety (I put this in both categories, because let’s be honest, I’m such a social flaky croissant wreck)
4. Get tattooed by Kat Von D
5. Take the GRE (HAHAHAHHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA)
6. Quit drinking…………………………
I should really rethink these but really, I would like to thank for anyone who read my blog this year. You guys are awesome and deserve to be furiously happy with a cupcake and cherry on top. Unless you’re already there. Good for you.
And for real, RIP to everyone who died this year, especially my two 4 legged friends, Zeke and Gonzo who died in the same month.
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They didn’t like each other. But they were still my babies nonetheless and died quite tragically (Gonzo of pneumonia, and Zeke of an ear tumor).
Happy New Year everyone, I’ll be here with Xander and Finn and a bottle of wine.

2016: The Unnecessarily Heated Debate

I really don’t like posting statuses on Facebook that are controversial. Mostly because I avoid arguments like the plague, and some people just get way too angry about it and then post unnecessary comments under it like “MY FAMILY WAS MURDERED BY HARAMBE.” Or, you know, something like that, because everyone has that one friend on Facebook with completely uncalled for and unfactual opinions that they post just to prove a point. I get it. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

But yesterday I finally got so fed up with everyone posting about 2016 and how they can’t wait for it to be over. And it got me thinking. I’m pretty sure everyone said the same thing about 2015 too. And 2014. So I posted this status:

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I mean, for real guys, if everyone in 1348 had Facebook, imagine those statuses at the end of the year. “Well, everyone, the black death has doth taken my entire family and most of my friends, leaving me alone in poverty. I resign myself from 1348 and will spend this New Years Eve in prayer that 1349 will bring us abundance and joy.” Or however they talked in 1348. I’m not really sure. But that year had to really suck. Continue reading “2016: The Unnecessarily Heated Debate”

Holiday Blues and a premature 2016 wrap up

Well, 2016. You’ve been quite a trip. Every year brings new surprises both good and bad, but at least I can say that I crossed off some of my 2016 goals. And then dealt with some unexpected things as well. Wanna hear them? Too bad. Here they are. Continue reading “Holiday Blues and a premature 2016 wrap up”

Welcome to Emily’s second quarter life crisis

I think I like changing up my format for how I do my titles now. Or I guess, lack there of. I always hated making up titles for essays when I was in school but since writing a blog, titles can be the most challenging but most fun part because you WANT people to read your blog post. And what’s gonna get people to start reading? The title. Even if it’s irrelevant to the rest of the post like mine mostly am. But hey, that’s just my style. Off topic, random and sometimes not so PG. Continue reading “Welcome to Emily’s second quarter life crisis”

Adulting is for kids

So I’ve had this blog for how long now? I think it started off so well because I can be hilarious. Obviously. And then recently I read through a bunch of my posts from the past couple months and I realized, goddamn this is depressing to read. Like who REALLY wants to read this? There’s a time and place for a depressing blog post (like when you realize you were dating a sociopath, see that post here. *I’ll never stop reposting that one because it’s one of my most important ones, despite the lack of any type of humor). Continue reading “Adulting is for kids”