I thought long and hard before writing this post. I want to share the thoughts that have been consuming my mind but I’m also afraid of what you might think of me.
Afraid of judgement
Afraid of appearing weak
Afraid of appearing incompetent
The battle of expression vs percecption continues.
It all started in September 2015 when my internship to become a dietitian began. I started to feel like everything was going wrong in life. I felt so discouraged and unmotivated. Throughout my entire academic career (even in high school!) I have always held this mentality that I must practice humility if I want to learn and become the best that I can be. I stepped it up during internship and I took it too far. I deprived myself of credit for anything that I did right and I held onto things that I did wrong. I took all of my mistakes, big or small, to heart. Blamed myself incessantly. Apologized incessantly.
Very very quickly, all of the blaming and hating myself harboured into feelings of complete incompetence. Before I even realized what I had done to myself, it was already too late. What little self-assurance that I had worked so hard to build up was quickly shattered and diminished. I felt so heavy and weighed down by my own negative internal dialogue that I felt like I could never amount to anything in life. Like I had nothing to offer and share. Like my whole life is just going to be mediocre. I wanted more in life but I didn’t know what. Was it too simple to just wish to find happiness and a state of internal peace? I wanted to expect more of myself, but on some days, it was hard enough just getting out of bed.
Over the next 8 months, the feelings got worse and grew into this giant monster that paralyzed me with depression, anxiety, anger, and apathy all at the same time. I finished my internship in June, which was the hardest thing that I ever had to do. Waking up and showing up every day with intention was so tough, especially when I couldn’t sleep well either. I only had about 3-4 hours of sleep every night because sleep wouldn’t come with my mind all wired and tangled up in thoughts. Endless thoughts. Just circulating and taking up all of my mental capacity and making my heart race. Thoughts that were meaningless but so heavy at the same time.
Thoughts about what I want to do vs what I should do
Thoughts about who I am and how I am perceived
Thoughts about what I can and what I can’t do
What I have vs what I don’t have
What will make me happy vs what is realistically tangible
I felt so trapped. A huge part of me just wanted to run away from it all, erase my digital footprint and become a nomad, backpacking from one country to the next. But the logical part of me knew that I should stay in Vancouver and start to build on my career before it was “too late”. The fact that I was 23 going on 24 gave me immense anxiety about running out of time.
Despite that incessant negative internal dialogue, I did what I had to do in life and I got through my day to day. I completed my internship, got hired for jobs, didn’t get hired for some and turned down some. I experienced a jolt in my catering business and baked all through the summer. I had a couple exciting collaborations with big brands for my food blog. I got a 4 page spread in a magazine and then in another. Had meetings with some influencers who wanted to incorporate my work into their companies. I went on hiking adventures in the alpine mountains of BC’s back country. I hung out with wonderful friends who shed positive light into my life. Through it all, I was lucky to have a supportive boyfriend who listened to my every thought and was by my side whenever I needed him.
I had so many things to be happy about. I accomplished more than I ever have, but I couldn’t celebrate any of those things. I felt excitement but it was long lasting enough for me to feel fulfilled. Deep down, I still felt like everything I did wasn’t good enough. I kept comparing myself to others and I couldn’t help but feel like “little ol’ me”. I felt like I was failing on all fronts of life.
I belittled everything about myself.
So even though I had finally received my degree and my designation as Connie Z, Registered Dietitian, I felt like it was just the beginning. I didn’t get it. Isn’t this what I’ve always wanted? Didn’t I bust my ass for 6 years to get to this point? Now that I’m finally here, why am I not happier?
My state of mind masked everything that I knew and loved about myself.
At the height of my anxiety, I turned to yoga and meditation. It was a practice that I fell out of many years ago, but my intuition led me back. While it didn’t help me feel 100% again, I learnt one important thing which is to let your inner teacher guide you and go at your own pace, creating your own journey. I found so much peace in that lesson.
Finally, in August 2016, just as sudden as it had come, those negative feelings lifted a little bit. I’m still not completely who I was before internship and negative thoughts still over take my mind every now and then but I feel a little more in control of my life these days. The best part is, my passions and interests are slowly coming back into my life.
2016 really shook me up and knocked me down. I’m still disoriented, but this time around, I’m a little more at ease with the unknown in my future. I’m learning to accept taking on my days one at a time. I’m learning to give myself breaks because I’m only human. I’m learning to ground myself in a peaceful state when my mind is going miles a minute. Most importantly, I’m learning to love me for me. Not my career. Not my accomplishments nor failures. Not for what anyone else thinks of me. Just plain ol’ me. Bare and unattached to titles, money, talents, and inabilities.
HOPES FOR 2017
This year will all be about loving myself and loving life again.
Finding balance and letting go of the negative.
Kindness to myself
Your story touched me this morning. Opening your heart to the world is courageous. Thank you Connie. So glad you are finding peace and loving yourself again.
<3 <3 <3 Thank you so much for sharing–you are not alone with these kinds of feelings! And I hope this year goes so much better for you!