Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Finding quiet in the chaos

Even before I left Hilton Head two weeks ago (which unfortunately seems like a lifetime ago), I knew that leaving that safe little bubble would be like a slap in the face.  What I didn't realize was how hard it would hurt.

As I sit here attempting to prepare my final presentation for school (that takes place tomorrow at 10am -- yikes!), I can't help but think of the ways loneliness, despair, anxiety, and a mix of other emotions I can barely even decipher have manifested over the past few weeks:

  • I have no desire to exercise.
  • I get in bed late, postpone sleep by any means possible, and sleep half the morning away.
  • I binge eat like it's going out of style.
  • This:
Exhibit A:  Bare, scraggly nails and the beautiful purple polish that once inhabited them.
The last one is what drove me to write this blog and sit down and think about my emotions.  I once had a terrible habit of peeling my nail polish.  It drove everyone around me NUTS and made them a little on edge, but it never failed -- after about a week of having my nails painted, I would peel the polish off in a crazed hurry.  But as with so many other bad habits, you often don't realize when they cease.  About 2 months ago, Ashlee said to me at the dining room table, "You haven't been picking your nail polish lately." And it was true.  I didn't notice that I had stopped, but I was obviously less stressed and anxious and noticeably more happy.  Peeling off my nail polish (gel polish at that -- which is virtually impossible to remove) today in about 2 minutes is a HUGE red flag.  When old habits resurface, something serious is going on.  I finally had to just sit down and decompress.  Sit down and try to decipher what is going on that is wreaking havoc in my life.  Sit down address what  I've been trying to ignore.

Binge eating should have been the first red flag.  But it's a vicious cycle, and thinking about it makes me frustrated, and being frustrated makes me want to eat more.  So I chose to ignore it.  No matter how many times I repeat the mantra I learned at H3 -- there is not enough food in the world to cover up what you're feeling -- I didn't want to confront the underlying cause.  I'm nervous. I'm anxious.  Scared, mad, sad, lonely.  Up, down.  In, out.   So much is happening so fast at this point in my life and I just can't process it.  There are certainly better ways of handling what's going on besides eating like crazy, peeling off nail polish, and pushing people out of my life.  However, it's no secret that I have a very strange way of handling things sometimes.  Writing down the way I'm feeling is Step 1 of regaining control.  I am truly sitting in the hallway between one point of my life and the next and I hate every minute of it.  I am extremely uncomfortable, confused, and conflicted about many things.  But it's a learning process, and for that, I am incredibly appreciative.

As part of the process, I've learned that I have to make the decisions that are best for me, instead of further stressing myself and giving other people priority.  As terrible as that may sound, I just don't have the emotional capacity to do that right now.  I have been called many things for deciding to live my life this way, but the only thing I can do is be satisfied with knowing I am doing what's best for me.  I'm not cold.  I'm not heartless.  I'm human and I'm figuring out this crazy thing called life one experience at a time.  I absolutely make mistakes, but they're just lessons in disguise.

I'm a firm believer that there comes a point in every person's life where they should be Priority #1 and I'm definitely at that point in my life.  I'm learning to clear the clutter and excess noise in my brain and create space for myself.  In doing so, I'll come out a much happier person in the end.  Speaking of happy, I should be working on that little presentation so I can look forward to happily being hooded on Thursday as a Master of Public Health :)

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