What happens when you get fired

Today I was fired for the fourth time in the past year. I know, what a loser right? That was my first thought too. I thought, how could I be this pathetic? How could I be so stupid that I can’t hold down a simple job? How am I ever going to have a future with someone if I can’t be responsible enough to receive a consistent paycheck? What is wrong with me?

I reached out to the people closest to me, asking them the same questions I was asking myself. As much as they tried to help, it was useless. It’s not like anything they said would make me feel better about myself. Then it hit me. It’s not like anything they said would make me feel better about myself. Because this isn’t about them at all is it? This is about me. After that thought crossed my mind, it was followed by about a million more. Here are a few of those thoughts.

It’s not you. It’s the job.

Now this isn’t necessarily always true. But in most cases, it is. When people get fired from jobs, more often than not it’s because they were not giving the job the kind of dedication and work every job deserves. I was not giving this job anywhere near my all. Why? Because I didn’t care. I wasn’t passionate about this job and for me, that’s everything. For me, no happy = no worky. Some people will say, you have to pay your dues and all that mumbo jumbo, and they’re right…to an extent. Sometimes a job is just not for you and that’s okay.

This is not the end of the world.

So you found out a job wasn’t right for you…so what? On to the next one. Being fired can be a make it or break it moment for you. Of course the initial meltdown is okay and definitely will happen. But then pick up the pieces, bury them six feet deep and move on from it. There are millions of jobs out there. One of them will hire you. This job is not the last one you’ll ever have. A girl (or boy) has gotta eat.

Your job does not define your worth.

 If you learn nothing else in life, learn this. Your job status does not determine who you are or what you’re worth. What your boss thinks of you, does not define you. A job is what you do during the day (or night) to pay for the things you do when you’re not working. Keep that in mind. Getting fired from any job, no matter what it is, doesn’t make you pathetic and it doesn’t make you a bad person.

You will be okay.

This one doesn’t need an explanation. Just trust it. You will move forward. You will have a bright future. You will be okay.


What happens when you get fired

How do we let people who hurt us back into our lives?

Letting someone who hurt you back into your life is one of the hardest, most underestimated acts of bravery someone can make. In my opinion anyway. When you’ve been broken by someone else, when another person has torn you apart into so many pieces you didn’t think it was humanly possible to put them all back together, allowing them close enough that they could do that again is paralyzing to say the least.

I mean, it’s the basis of any heartwarming estranged parent/child scene in any movie or TV show. It’s what had everyone up in arms when Ross and Rachel tried to work things out after their break. It’s at the heart of millions of our favorite stories. But what happens when it isn’t a story anymore? What happens when it’s real life and it was your heart that way broken, my heart that was broken? Is it even possible to get past that, to be okay again, to trust again?

8 months ago, I felt like my still-beating heart was ripped out of my chest. I had a constant knife in my belly, an incessant ringing in my head. I was destroyed by a love that was not ready for me. But now…now she wants back in and even more terrifyingly,  want her back in. I want another chance for us to have the relationship I always knew we could have if only we were ready. Now, she claims she’s ready. Now, I think I am ready.

But how do I get through all of the horrible things I went through the first time around? How do I learn to trust that the bad things are different now; that when she tells me something, she’s telling me the truth; that when she expresses her feelings to me she’s being honest; that she won’t be angry with me every time I experience anxiety that’s somehow related to her? How do I trust that she will treat me better this time?

Letting someone back in sounds so easy. Forgive and forget, that’s how the story is supposed to go right? If I choose to forgive, that means I have to forget right? If I choose to forgive, that means I don’t have a right to be afraid of old habits dying hard with her right? Or at least, I don’t have the right to vocalize that?

The thing that gets me, the thing that always gets everyone, is the fear. Fear will get you every time. Fear that our beating hearts will be beating in someone else’s hands instead of inside our own chests. Fear that we did this to ourselves. Fear that we may be playing with fire again, and we very well may be burned, again. Fear that the second we let our guard down, the kill shot will be ordered and we will be left defenseless.

But that’s the thing isn’t it? If we give in to fear we lose and if we don’t, we might still lose. I guess we have to choose which odds we like and if the risk is worth the fight. I am still not sure if the odds are in my favor but I don’t know that that matters when it comes to situations like these. I don’t think the odds are ever in our favor once our hearts get involved.

And I guess that’s ultimately how we get past the past. That is how we let someone back into our lives even after they hurt us. Because no matter what the odds are never in our favor when it comes to love. No matter what we do, we have a higher chance of losing than we ever do of winning. So in the end, why not just take the chance? If the odds aren’t great either way, we have to choose the path that could possibly even have the teeniest, tiniest chance of letting us win.

So we let them back in. We let them back in on the off chance that our hearts remain beating in our chests and end up just a little bit fuller than they were before.

How do we let people who hurt us back into our lives?

What it feels like to have anxiety in a relationship.

I have an anxiety disorder. I am in a relationship. These two things do not seem as if they should be mutually exclusive correct? That is to say – I should be able to have both things at the same time. Sounds simple enough. The truth though, is much much more complicated.

I am in a relationship with the most wonderful person I have ever met. She is patient. She is kind. She makes me laugh more than anyone ever has. I feel completely safe in her arms. Everything should be perfect. But this is where anxiety decides to butt in and make things difficult for both of us.

I am not myself.  It is as I have two personalities – one that is fun, carefree, and more than anything, confident and one that is insecure, oversensitive, tense, scared, and clingy.  The instant I start to feel anything for someone, my brain and my body panic and pulls the old switcheroo on me and the confident girl is replaced by the insecure girl. You can see how this would be frustrating.

Truthfully, I am not insecure in any other aspect of my life. So why then, am I afraid that every single thing I do is making me less attractive to my girlfriend? Why am I afraid that every second of every day I am screwing my relationship up? No matter what I do, I feel like I am becoming less and less of the girl my girlfriend thought she was getting. Every day I wonder “will today be the day she realizes I am not all I was cracked up to be?” No matter how many times she tells me she likes me for who I am, there is a little voice in my head telling me over and over again, you screwed up.

I over-analyze everything. This is the part that really messes me up. Every single thing my girlfriend says goes straight to the anxious interpreter waiting inside my head to be processed so it can tell me what she really means. Let me repeat that. My girlfriend tells me something, my brain tells me it is a lie and says, “Here, let me help you out. This is the horrible thing she really meant. So glad I could clear that up for you.” Thanks, brain. Don’t know what I would do without you.

Getting annoyed with me yet? You bet your bottom I’m annoyed with myself by now. This is where the fun really begins.

This is the part where I get to get mad at my girlfriend because MY BRAIN TOLD ME WHAT YOU REALLY MEANT AND I AM REALLY UPSET ABOUT WHAT YOU DIDN’T ACTUALLY SAY. Aren’t I so much fun?

Oh and after I get mad at her, I am extremely sorry I got mad at her. I tell her this at least 975 times. Then ask her about 467 more times if she is mad at me. If she wasn’t before, she is most certainly annoyed with me now. Commence apology cycle once more.

Exhausted yet? We are.

This is what it feels like to have anxiety in a relationship. Day in and day out, I am thinking of the way my actions effect her. I worry that what she is saying to me is what I want to hear rather than the truth and so I try to explain to her why she can’t possibly be telling the truth. Then I apologize for being so irrational while inside my head I am destroying myself for being so stupid.

“Why are you like this?” “Why can’t you just get it together?” “Can you just be normal for five seconds?”

Over and over again I ask myself these questions. Over and over again I push myself into the dirt and beat myself to a bloody pulp because I cannot control the thoughts in my brain.

I cannot convince myself that everything is fine a thousand times a day.

I cannot feel okay when there is a constant voice inside of me screaming that I shouldn’t be, that I’m not, that we are not okay.

What it feels like to have anxiety in a relationship.

My brain on OCD

At seven years old, I was diagnosed with  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD. I obsessively washed my hands in fear of germs. I  sat at the kitchen table for three hours trying to get my letter e to look just right. Every time my parents would leave the house, I was convinced they were never coming back.

I developed massive anxiety. It interfered with my schoolwork, my friendships, my happiness. My mom took me to see a therapist and after a few months, it was as if I never had any problems at all. After that, my OCD laid pretty dormant for years.

It wasn’t until I was nearly 21 years old that the old habits resurfaced. Only this time, I didn’t get to be better in a few months and move on with my life. This time, I encountered problems that will most likely stick with me for the rest of my life. 

I wanted to share a bit about what it’s like and what it feels like to have a brain on OCD.

Every single thing comes with a what if. One of the biggest challenges I face with OCD face is the constant what-if game being played in my head. What if they leave me? What if I did something wrong and they hate me now? What if my cat dies because I forgot to feed her this morning? I know that these thoughts are completely irrational and I would know if I had done something wrong; my cat won’t die if I forget to feed her once. But I continue to worry all the same.

Then there is the what if game’s cousin, the intrusive thoughts. My mind goes places I don’t want it to go without my permissionI do not actively think about all of the bad things that could happen however, that is why these thoughts are called intrusive. They come from nowhere and present me with all of the worst possible options for what may happen.

The next part is my personal favorite: the obsessions. The what if game and the intrusive thoughts come to me and cause me enough trouble in themselves. Adding the obsessions to the mix really just puts the icing on the cake. Once my brain finds a thought it likes, it latches on and won’t let it go. My brain operates without my control at this point. It decides without me which thought we get to obsess over and then keeps that thought on a loop until I do something about it.

Then come the compulsions. When I was young, they were hand washing, erasing and re-writing the letter e, calling my mom on her cell phone until she answered and reassured me that she was okay. Now my obsessions are all more related to the people I love and the way they think of me. My compulsions almost always include double, triple, or even quadruple texting someone I think may be upset with me for some reason I am unaware of. For others with different obsessions, the compulsions will be what seems like a reasonable reaction to their thoughts. The compulsions are our way, or my way at least, of making the thoughts stop if only for the moment.

But that’s the problem with OCD. The obsessions always come back or are replaced with new ones. It is endlessly frustrating to not have control over your own thoughts and impulses. It is very very hard to understand why I can’t control what’s going on in my brain. I mean, it’s my brain. But that’s how it is and, for the time being, there isn’t much I can do about it.

This is my brain on OCD. 

My brain on OCD

I’m a 20 something with a college degree. Now what?

At every stage in formal education, we are told we are being prepared for the next step. Elementary school prepares you for middle school, middle school for high school, high school for college, and college for the big time – the real world. Everything we are taught is meant to prepare us for the next big jump in our lives. I spent each step right along with all of my classmates getting ready for what would ultimately become our “real lives”. I finished elementary school. I finished middle school. After what seemed like forever, I graduated from high school. Then I took the natural next step and went to spend the next four years of my life in college where I double majored and earned two degrees before I graduated in May 2015. I did it. High school diploma? Check. College degree(s)? Check. I am officially higher educated. Sooooo now what?

It’s been a year and a half since my college graduation and I have had four different jobs, all of which I hated and none of which had anything to do with the four years and thousands of dollars I spent on my college education. So now, at 23 years old, I am a nanny making $12 per hour and I have to wonder…is this the “big time” I spent 17 years in school preparing for? Is this what all of my hard work amounts to? 

Now I have heard all of the anecdotes, read all of the celebrity memoirs saying that they weren’t anywhere near their goals at my age. And I have to hope that those anecdotes will someday be ones that I can tell my own children. However, we live in a world that is increasingly difficult to be a twenty-something in. 

As we grew up, we were told the only way we would ever get a “real” job is to get a college degree. Without one, we would never go anywhere in our lives, right? Well, here I am with two degrees and the same kind of job I had at fourteen years old. That college degree was supposed to be my golden ticket. It was supposed to open up the doors to my future. Every job that I apply to, even ones I don’t really want, is labeled entry level so naturally I think, “Great! That’s me! I’m entry level!” But upon further investigation, these jobs almost always require three years experience minimum. Oh. So not entry level? Because that’s definitely not me. I end up applying to all the same jobs people with only  high school educations are applying to. 

My sister, who is a year younger than me, opted not to go to college. She didn’t think it was worth it. More and more often I find myself wondering if she made the better choice. She has a job she loves making good money with plenty of opportunity for upward movement and just recently bought a house. She seems to be excelling at this twenty-something gig we’re stuck with. I always worried about her lack of a college degree for her future, but now I’m thinking maybe she had the right idea after all. 

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved my college experience. I made the best friends I will ever have. I learned to live on my own (and loved every second). I learned how to hold my liquor and how to enjoy a friday or saturday night no matter what I was doing as long as I had my best friends with me. 

I learned more about real life from the college experience and the people I spent it with than I ever did in my actual college classes. In that respect, college is an irreplaceable, priceless expense. But that isn’t the reason we are so pressured to get that degree. 

In terms of my classes, sure I learned stuff but at the end of all of the papers, late night study sessions, and trash cans filled with k-cup pods, I got a very expensive piece of paper and a handshake from my university president. I didn’t get the guaranteed job everyone told me I would get. I still eat mac and cheese on a regular basis. I am now a poor college student without the excuse of actually being in college. 

Most of the time, I am very grateful for the years I spent getting a higher education. Some days though, I wonder if I would be closer to my dreams had I chosen not to go. I get the question a lot about whether or not I feel like I am better off with a college education and honestly, I don’t have an answer. I loved college very much but now I’m $50,000 in debt and barely getting by financially. So if you ask me and I don’t give you the answer you were looking for, ask again tomorrow. Chances are my anwer will have changed.

I’m a 20 something with a college degree. Now what?

Think Twice Before You Use the “S” Word

I have learned a lot about myself over the past two years. More than I had learned in all of the twenty one-ish years prior to that combined. One of the biggest and most recent discoveries I have made is that my most used four-letter-word isn’t a four letter word at all. It is five letters and that word is “sorry”. I have spent a good majority of my life apologizing.

Sometimes because I caused someone some amount of pain or because I made a mistake. Those kinds of apologies have been and always will be warranted and necessary. Those kinds of apologies mend relationships, alleviate someone else’s pain, allow me to own and accept my mistakes.

There are the kinds of apologies that are just simply me being overly and ridiculously polite. For example, I find myself apologizing to inanimate objects when I run into them and hurt myself. I apologize to random people in the grocery store who run into me because obviously I was in their way and saying excuse me was too much work. These seemingly harmless apologies are usually just that, harmless. Pointless really, but they cause no harm.

But then there are the apologies I am famous for; the kind that belittle and demean me as a person. These are the apologies I give for being who and how I am. These are the apologies I am making a conscious effort to do away with. I am constantly apologizing for having anxiety and for the attacks it creates. I am constantly apologizing for wanting to talk about the things I am feeling with the people I love too often. I am always apologizing for texting people more than the socially acceptable amount of times in a row. I am constantly apologizing for loving too hard, too much, too strongly, for wanting to show the people I love how much I love them. I am constantly apologizing to people when they hurt me. This last one is the most important one.

So here’s the story: Someone hurts you, a friend, a family member, or a significant other. You tell them that they have hurt you expecting an apology in return. Instead, they make you feel bad that you are even telling them that you are hurt. I mean, how could you be so selfish? It’s bad enough that you are in pain but now you have to make them feel bad too? How inconsiderate of you. And so now, you apologize. Now you are distraught. You are so sorry that you have hurt them. And you know, if they don’t think they’ve hurt you, maybe they didn’t after all. Maybe it is you who is overreacting and you should probably console them now for making them go through the pain you have put them through in accusing them of hurting you. 

But wait. See what just happened? Now you are giving the apology you should be getting and they have neither acknowledged that they have hurt you nor apologized for having done so. But you feel like something happened just then right? Like something was resolved? Now here’s the part that I love. Nothing happened. You are in the same place that you started in and they have still hurt  you. Only now, they’ve hurt you and they’ve made you feel bad about it. Funny how that worked huh?

I do this. I do this every day and I am apalled at how it has become almost second nature for me to fall into that place with someone. I apologize to people because they have caused me pain and I feel bad because they feel bad about having hurt me. Well, not anymore. 

I have learned two things  from discovering the “sorry” word. One, do not ever ever ever apologize for who you are. If someone else doesn’t like who you are, if you come on too strongly, if you annoy them, if they don’t accpet you as is, then who cares? Chances are, if you really think about it, you don’t like who they are as a person either if they act that way with you. And here’s the best part: that is perfectly, 100% okay. Everyone will never like everyone. That’s just the way the world turns, darling.

The second, and to me, far more important thing, is that when someone hurts you they do not get to tell you that they didn’t. They do not get to say that you are wrong. If someone hurts you, they owe you an apology for having hurt you even if they didn’t do it intentionally or knowingly. No one gets to tell you when you are and are not hurt.

So from now on, I would like you to pay attention. I would like you to think twice before using that five letter word and to think three times before letting someone weasel their way out of using it to you. 

Think Twice Before You Use the “S” Word

Why I am so frustrated with the stigma surrounding anxiety medications.

I am so tired of people telling me that I am reliant on pills; that being on medication for my anxiety means that I am just masking the problem. I am tired of being called crazy because I use medicine to help me manage my day to day life. I am tired of being the person who has to justify myself to people who tell me “you don’t need medicine, there isn’t even anything wrong with you” and “it’s all in your head”. Because that’s the problem isn’t it?

People continuously tell me that anxiety is something that is made up in my head. It isn’t real. If I just tell myself that, then I’ll see that everything is totally fine and come to my senses and say “You know what? You were right all along. I can’t believe I just tortured myself for so many years when the answer was right there. All I had to do was think and boom. Wow. Thank you so much for all of your help!” Except oh, that’s right, anxiety is a real medical condition. Bold print. Italics. Underlined. In blaring lights over every highway in every state in every country in the world. Whatever I have to do to make you understand that. It’s real. It’s out of my control. It is a medical condition.

You see, what I just can’t wrap my head around is the fact that there is an actual stigma surrounding the need for medication that is manufactured to treat a legitimate and extremely common medical condition. I have even had my doctor, that’s right my doctor question the relevance of my need for medication. So I am going to throw some medical facts at you real quick.

Anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications are often the same type of drug. These are called SSRI’s (serotonin re-uptake inhibitors). This means that someone suffering from anxiety or depression has serotonin (mood enhancing hormone) that is being released and then being reabsorbed by the brain cells, keeping it from circulating. This in turn leads to a much more depressive state since the serotonin never made it to its destination. The SSRI keeps that from happening and allows the serotonin to circulate as it is meant to and helps to stop the depressive or anxious state. In layman’s terms – this is a medicine that helps a body part to function the way it should rather than malfunctioning and causing pain in the person.

Makes sense right? Something in your body hurts, is broken, or doesn’t work right? Go to the doctor, get the right medication, take said medication, feel better. Bada bing, bada boom. There you have it, folks. Modern medicine in its simplest form.

But here’s the kicker. People will read this and think, “whatever, she’s still crazy” “whatever, I’m not going to listen to someone who has to take pills every day for her brain” “whatever, she just relies on her medicine and doesn’t even try to be happy on her own”. Every single day I encounter people who have those exact reactions when they find out that I am on medication for my anxiety.

News flash! I am on this medication because I need it, because it helps me control my anxiety, and because it makes it easier for me to work my way through each day and continually make it so that I can in fact, be happy on my own.

And the thing is, just like many other medications, most people do not stay on this medicine their whole lives. It is a way to manage the paralyzing pain that comes with anxiety and/or depression while we find other things that help us cope and eventually heal. For me, being on this medicine has helped me to come to terms with my anxiety, seek out a counselor, and begin a much healthier and happier lifestyle.

Recovery is always a process requiring multiple factors. Just as you would go through the medical steps of treating a broken leg, I go through the steps of treating my anxiety. You wouldn’t say a cast is just a quick fix for a broken leg now, would you? You wouldn’t tell that person they are taking the easy way out and if they just tell themselves that their leg is healed, they’ll see all along that they just made up the fracture and imagined all of that pain would you? No. You absolutely would not.

So quit acting like an injury in my brain is any different. Stop perpetuating the idea that mental illness “isn’t a real thing”. Stop making me feel inferior to you because I am doing something to help heal my body. Stop calling me crazy, psycho, reliant, addicted, unstable, a flight risk, nuts, a screw loose. Stop. And if you hear someone else doing it, stop them too. Educate yourself. Understand that a medical problem is a medical problem and pain is pain no matter what part of your body it is.

Just stop. Stop yourself and put the stigma to an end. I for one, have had enough. Have you?


Why I am so frustrated with the stigma surrounding anxiety medications.