…and be awesome instead.
That’s a quote from a show. Don’t act like you’re surprised – TV and movies are where most of my conversations come from anyway, remember?
This particular one is from How I Met Your Mother and maybe one of the best characters on TV, Barney Stinson.
It’s also kind of been my motto the past several months.
You see, it’s been a somewhat interesting year for me. There have been a couple changes. The biggest one? I got better.
I know what you’re thinking – you’re already amazing, how could you possibly get better?! Well, sweet friends, that’s not what I meant. And I wasn’t sick either…really.
For the majority of my life I’ve felt like…I’m driving a car with four flat tires. I didn’t come up with that analogy myself, I had some help, but it describes how I felt the last, oh, 25.5 years of my life maybe?
Ask my family, my best friends from high school and those who know me really, really well. They’ll tell you that I haven’t always been the most pleasant person to be around (I know, I know, you’re surprised). I worried too much, stressed too much and was the most pessimistic person you’d ever meet. Not to mention something was almost always wrong.
Well, I take that back. I was bad…ish. But I was no Debbie Downer or anything.
Anyways. I’ve always been the kind of person that worries. Part of it’s the Oldest Child Syndrome. But it’s usually about stupid stuff – Example: A lot of high school, college and even a couple years ago I worried about people being mad at me for something. Did they have a reason to be? No. But if we weren’t talking or things were different, I automatically assumed it was my fault. Stupid? Yes, but I didn’t realize that. Yet.
So last year about this time, as my life was beginning to be made miserable by a person whose initials may or may not be the same as a television station that has crappy programming, it was recommended to me by a very good friend that I should talk to somebody. And not a friend or family member.
Cut to what I now refer to as The Best Thing I Ever Did. I started seeing a counselor. A counselor who after a day of talking to me had me figured out. And realized that while what was going on at the time played a big part in how I was feeling, I’d probably also had something up with me my whole life.
I’ve never really considered myself fully depressed. Like if there were levels one to 10, I’d probably be about a 4. A six or seven on a bad day maybe? But there did come a point – after the insomnia and the stress headaches and the blood pressure got really bad – where some things needed to change.
I made the counselor visits more of a regular thing and while I went in skeptical, this lady helped me more than I could have imagined. I told her the things I worried about and she told me ways to deal with it.
I told her about how I worried about people being mad at me and for some reason, it didn’t click until she said “Everything’s not about you.” Um, duh. Why hadn’t I thought of that? ‘Cause it’s the damn truth. And with that little sentence, things started to change.
Speaking of crazy, I kind of felt that way. Why was I so down all the time when I really had nothing AT ALL in my life to be down about? This is where the four flat tires analogy comes in. And the realization that these feelings don’t mean you’re crazy, they don’t mean something’s “wrong” with you. It means you have a chemical imbalance in your brain that’s not allowing you to buck up and enjoy your life, already.
So I’ve made some changes in the past year – in the way I look at things, the way I think about things, the way I let things (and people) make me feel. Perspective is a hell of a thing, ya know, because I think of what used to get me down and I’m like, “Really? People have so much bigger problems than this…”
That’s not to say I don’t still worry. And I still get pessimistic, but I’m working on that with the help of one of my best friends I’ve kind of hired (for free) as a life coach. And by life coach I mean I text her what I’m thinking and she tells me why it’s ridiculous. It’s worked out quite well so far.
Some people have told me they never knew. They think I’m funny and confident and positive and can’t imagine me being one of those people that’s always upset about something. And that’s amazing to me because that was the opposite of how I saw myself. Until recently.
I’m trying my hardest to be positive about things and it’s something I think will still take a little more time. I’m trying to be confident ’cause, well, I am funny, dammit. And people like me. And before I start sounding like that old SNL skit….
My unwritten – and unspoken, actually – New Year’s Resolution in 2010 was to be happy. And I think I’ve finally gotten there, for the first time since I can’t remember when.
I’m still not gonna be the most peppy and grinny and OH MY GOD SHE’S SO HAPPY IT’S ANNOYING person you’ll meet, but in my opinion I’ve come a long way in the past year. And it will hopefully (See? Look at that positivity!) just keep getting better.