Since being diagnosed with major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, I have been paying extra special attention to my thought processes and my feelings. What triggers certain emotions in me? What activities bring me a sense of peace? What things stress me out for no reason? As I continue to learn more about myself everyday, I also learn how to better manage my thinking and calm my stress.
I’m so proud of myself because I have also begun to open up to my friends and families about my thought processes and feelings to gauge how “normal” I am. My barometer for this was always my Mom. Turns out, this is typical. In my book Motherless Daughters, it says – in its own way – how women my age use their Mom’s perspective as their life anchor. Grown daughters know where their moms stand in life. Whether their mom is full of it, or full of life, they have a realistic understanding on their mom. I am grateful I have people in my life to look to for guidance; they’re another way to determine where I stand in the world, to make sure I’m on the right track for me. However, I am still working toward making decisions on my own. When it comes down to it, I am the one who knows what’s best for me. No one else can understand exactly what I’m going through. I have to be my own advocate. #adulting
Recently, I have also been working on allowing myself to be a fangirl.
For those of you who don’t know, the title of this post is a quote from the Disney movie, Lilo and Stitch. I love Disney, but not as much as my sister. I love Stitch, but not as much as my cousin. Because I love these two people so much, because I believe they love these things more than I do, I don’t show as much affection for Disney or Stitch as I feel. THIS IS CRAZY! Just because I know people who love something doesn’t mean I can’t love it too. But, this is the way my brain has worked for as long as I can remember.
I began to realized that it’s okay for us both to love something. It’s not a competition about who loves something more or who is the bigger fan, it’s just about enjoying it together.
To “reprogram” my thought process, I have been trying to enjoy the things I have pushed aside because I felt they were “her thing.” I’m singing more often. I’m playing more Irish music. I’m watching (and buying!) more Disney movies. I’m taking more pictures. I’m writing more blogs. I’m contributing more to conversations. I’m standing up for myself more. I’m taking more control of my own life.
I’m not sure why, how, or when this thought process started, and it really doesn’t matter. What matters is I recognized it, and now I’m doing something about it so I can better enjoy my life.
When I was in college, one of my education professors told us, “you control the weather in your classroom. If you’re in a good mood, that will translate to your students. If you are stressed and disorganized, that will also carry over to your students.” While this was a bold statement, it was – and continues to be – so true. So while Lilo’s pet fish definitely did not control the weather, I know there are times in which I do.
As the teacher in a classroom or as a self- reflecting individual, I control the weather. However, with depression and anxiety working against me, there is only so much one can control. Despite my brain being physically against me, I work to control as much of my happiness as I possibly can.
I may not always
have make it a great day, but it’s not for lack of trying. When it comes to our emotional and mental state, we control the weather. Whether you look at your personal forecast of events or not is up to you. Whether you consider how you respond to comments, events, and changes or not, is your choice. Whether you believe you have control of your happiness or not is your opinion. But, you should know you do have the power to discover the tools to help you lead a life filled with even more joy and happiness.
If I can bring my own sunshine on a rainy day, I am confident you can too.
Be the Pudge of your own fishbowl.