My birthday is quickly approaching and I am so excited. For one, I’m going to be taking a mini-trip that’s going to involve staying in a hotel for the first time ever. All of my anxious agoraphobes understand what a big deal this is! Being hours away from home can be overwhelming but I am ridiculously excited about it and I’ve been looking forward to it for weeks.
A few days ago I got one of those pesky Photobucket notices that my account had exceeded its storage limit. I haven’t thought about, let alone visited Photobucket in almost a decade and when I logged in the first thing I saw were my Glee-themed Moods for LiveJournal.
For all you youngsters, back in the day, LiveJournal was the place to blog and often you’d use “moods” which were a set of .gifs that you’d put on each post that showcased your mood and the TV show Glee was my obsession at the time.
Finding that led me down the rabbithole to my LiveJournal (last updated in 2009) and I spent my entire lunch hour reading my old posts. At that time in my life I had just started to focus on my mental health and you could tell I still had work to do.
I guess you could say that I’m depressed, although I’d rather not use that word because I’m supposed to be fighting depression. I thought I was doing a good job… It’s funny but the thought that I might be failing at being happy makes me want to cry. I seriously thought that, ya know, things were going to get better, this year was going to be the best ever, and well, it’s not. It kinda sucks. I’m trying to stay positve. I really am. But sometimes it’s hard. Keep trying right? That’s the plan.
During that time I was also in unrequited love with someone who had broken my heart and it seemed like every day I was getting crushed because I didn’t get the response or the attention that I wanted.
My temper was also out-of-control and I remember how dramatic my life was then. I was always lashing out in anger and then taking it back as soon as I got it out of my system. My anger always felt like this huge terrifying beast inside of me and the only way I could feel better and in control was to let it out. So I exploded… a lot.
Reading back through my entries I can clearly see what a rollercoaster my life was and how hard I was trying to be a better person.
In honor of 2009 me, I want to share with you 34 things I’d tell my 24-year-old self.
- Anxious doesn’t have to be your default setting.
- Love isn’t always easy but it shouldn’t feel like you’re perpetually dragging yourself across a floor of broken glass.
- Giving until you have nothing left to give will not make you more worth loving to people who are too self-absorbed to see you in the first place.
- You do not have to explode or react to every situation in front of you.
- You will find someone who will listen to every song you send them.
- Focus more on the little things you bravely overcome in your anxiety instead of the things it makes you feel like a coward for not being able to do.
- There will come a time when you won’t have to count the days in a row that you maintain a “happy” mood. One day they’ll far outnumber the bad days.
Learning how to not self-destruct and self-sabotage will be one of the greatest things you’ll ever do.
- Learn how to stop getting sucked into the same toxic and destructive relationships and you’ll find your happily ever after.
- Focusing on the positive is a great skill, but it doesn’t mean you’re failing if you’re in a bad mood or hurt about something.
- Keep finding ways to clean your space even when your depression or anxiety is crippling – it’s a great outlet.
- If someone doesn’t want to be part of your life don’t try to guilt or manipulate them into it – your energy is better spent elsewhere.
- Don’t underestimate your value just because someone mistreats you.
- When you’re co-dependent it feels like you can’t function unless the object of your affection is “good” with you. One day you’ll learn how to be good with yourself.
- Learn how to manage your stress – those debilitating migraines that you get every week? Totally due to stress – you don’t secretly have a brain tumor.
Keep working on not letting one single thing ruin your entire day.You used to get stuck in that negative mindset – keep working on seeing that just because a bad thing happens doesn’t mean your life is bad.
- Losing weight will not be your single greatest accomplishment (although it is awesome!) you are more than your body.
- Being needed by someone else is not the path to happiness, it often ends in heartbreak.
- Comfort zones are nice and comfy but you shouldn’t stay stuck in them.
- Talking about your mental health makes it less scary. You’ll see that you aren’t the only one that deals with the things that you deal with.
- “Treat yourself the way you treat other people.” You are so kind to everyone else and so hard on yourself. Learn to be kinder to yourself.
- Don’t take your job home with you and don’t feel guilty about taking mental health days. Don’t mentally or emotionally sacrifice yourself so that someone else can make a profit.
- Take photos of yourself and your life. Even if you don’t feel “pretty” and even when life feels boring – capture your memories.
- Self-care is important. There’s more to life than video games and there are so many things in the world that will make you feel good.
Being an introvert isn’t a bad thing – you don’t have to cave to the guilt of being social all of the time.
- There are so many healthy coping skills out there and self-injury isn’t one of them. Find something better.
- Make peace with yourself and being alone. It’s only miserable and lonely if you want it to be.
- It’s okay to let go of people. Your fear of being abandoned makes you hold on way too tightly to other people so you don’t become an abandon-er. It’s okay to let go.
- You mean something to somebody. There might be times when you feel like you’re alone, or when you feel like all you do is screw up, but that’s not the sum of who you are. Someone out there loves you. Really, really, loves you.
- You know that thing that you don’t like about your body? It doesn’t make you any less beautiful.
If something doesn’t make you happy, let go of it, and find something that does. You’re not obligated to stick with it, find what makes you happy and don’t let go.
- You don’t have to be there for everyone all the time. This doesn’t make you selfish. It means you care enough about yourself, your wants, and your needs to do what is good for you.
- Everything will be okay. You worry so much and you don’t need to. Trust.
- There will come a day when you’ll laugh and you’ll go on adventures and while life won’t always be easy you will be happy and loved.