Thursday, May 24, 2018

I Know I Have a Purpose, But....

I know I have a purpose. I just don't know what it is. I'm massively struggling with this right now. There are so many things I'm passionate about: mental health and chronic illness, animals (particularly animal rescue), travel, mindfulness/yoga, writing. And I know I can use these to make a difference. I simply have no idea how.

If you know my history, you know that I own Chimera travel. And while I love planning travel, it  currently hasn't panned out as a full time career. I still do it frequently part time, it's just... bills, mortgage, etc. Plus, I'd like to find my niche within this but not having the disposable income to travel continually to further my expertise in one particular area makes this difficult.

I also blog (obviously), have formed Spread Hope Project, and am an active mental health and chronic illness advocate on social media. But while some people I know have managed to make inroads with speaking gigs, paid patient advocacy opportunities, and the like, I have not (please tell me your secret). Also, chronic low self-esteem and confidence that's in the toilet, continual impostor syndrome, and massive fear of rejection which seems to freeze me in my tracks when I think about actually moving forward with something have me basically relegating myself to posting selfies in "Hope" shirts and blogging sporadically on Spread Hope Project which probably has about ten followers. I have this general idea of what I want to do, but the details become fuzzy when I try to explain them to anyone, and it comes out sounding like "I just want to make a living out of helping people" - which isn't far off, but I realize that's too generalized. Every time I try to narrow it down, I think "that won't work". I've attempted to reach out for help, but mostly it's pleading with people on social media and saying things like "if anyone's interested in helping....". Which tends to get zero replies at worst, and general "let me know if you need help", but no actual guidance or "hey yea let's  partner up on this - let's set up time to brainstorm". And I completely get it. People have lives and jobs and I don't really know anyone who is going to say "Yes! I've been waiting years for someone who wants to follow their dreams of helping people for a living! Let's team up, take the plunge and go for it!"  At best I get "why don't you try xyz". But again the no-self-esteem freeze. I think, "great idea...." and that's as far as I get. Maybe brainstorming. I physically, mentally, emotionally cannot get past that point. Hell, I can barely manage to raise the $1000 for my overnight walk each year - how am I going to start and run my own organization? Past failures gnaw at me too much.

In addition, I wrote a novel. Or at least a draft of one. That only my dad has seen. Which granted is advantageous except that I didn't actually ask him to edit it. I gave it to him as a "hey you're the only person I'll probably ever share this with since we're both writers and you're my dad"gift. I'm told I'm a good  writer but I'm so afraid of rejection from publishers and editors that aren't my dad that I can't bring myself to even seriously consider trying to get it published.

So I've been feeling horrendously lost lately. I'm trying to narrow things down, to find something that feels completely "right" and that I think I could do, reasonably. I have a husband, a dog, and a house. I can't just give up everything and decide to hike across the country for mental health, and honestly even if I could (i.e. if I was single, no house, no dog, disposable income), my self-confidence, or lack thereof, and experience tells me that about five people would care and they'd all be related to me, or as good as.

And I'm honestly kind of over the "rah rah you can do it" (by kind of I mean drastically over it, as in  please don't do this unless you have an actual suggestion and are interested in helping because it won't go over well). I'm over the "just let it happen, it takes time". I've been "letting it happen" (or waiting for it to) for about 18 years. I'm exhausted from feeling lost, from being in life limbo. It makes days feel hollow, empty. You begin to not even feel like yourself. It begins to feel pointless, because honestly what's the point of living a life that feels inauthentic, where you're leaving nothing, where you feel  hollow and empty. To clarify- you do not have to worry about me. I'm just struggling with who I am in this void of purpose. To the point where I cry daily about how lost I feel, how I struggle to recognize myself. I cannot believe that someone as passionate as me has the purpose of floundering throughout life never really feeling connected to it. I have tried meditating, clearing my mind, spending time in nature. Hell I've tried praying "just in case", and I'm Buddhist (please no religious lectures, that'll end as well as telling me to "calm down" does - I respect your right to have your own religious beliefs so please respect mine).

I'm just so lost. Writing this helps, if only to get it out of my head. And that's really the only point of it, other than to express how I'm feeling so that if you, too, struggle this way, you know that you are not alone.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

I Have An Illness

I am not "so dramatic", I have anxiety.

I am not always "looking at the glass half empty", I have depression.

I'm not running a mile a minute and talking nonstop because I think I'm so important, I have hypomania.

I'm don't just "cry about everything", my illness makes me feel lost.

I'm not "needy" and looking for validation, I'm asking for support during depression.

I'm not selfish or lazy, I'm hurting mentally, emotionally, physically.

I'm not weak, I'm sick.

I'm not "always complaining"; I'm sharing my deepest thoughts and struggles because I trust you.

I'm not "making mountains out of mole hills,"  my anxiety and hypomania won't let my brain rest until certain things are done. It feels like I'm being mentally eaten alive.

I don't need to be fixed or "taught the right way to think or act" or molded into pretending I'm the version of OK that society is comfortable with. I don't need to "just suck it up".  I don't need an attitude adjustment or to be more grateful. I don't need you to tell me that the way my brain works is wrong. I don't need to be made to feel bad or guilty or less for having a illness I never asked for and battle against every day of my life. It is not a choice. I have an illness.

Friday, May 4, 2018


I'm blogging from a not very good place today, but it needs to be done. I have had a lot of blogs in holding patterns that I need to put out (I know it's been a while), but I need to do this. For myself. No offense. I need to get it out before it eats me alive, as my emotions tend to do.

I'm so incredibly discouraged. About everything. I'm trying to raise money for my overnight walk for suicide prevention, and getting friends to donate even $1-5 (that's literally all I'm asking, there's no minimum) is like pulling teeth, but the minute someone mentions girl scout cookies, everyone tramples each other to get in line. This is nothing against girl scout cookies (I don't really like them but that's my own thing), or the girl scouts, but you're telling me people can't afford a box of thin mints AND a $1? Ever? No matter how much I'd be willing to do for them?

I'm trying to make a go of Spread Hope Project and feel like a complete failure. I watch the most mundane tweets, posts, Instagram pics get hundreds of likes and I try so hard with my efforts and get maybe a like if I'm lucky. And zero action beyond that. No comments, shares, etc. No growth. Nothing that I could actually turn into an organization like I want it to be. The fact that I have a  M.S. in Marketing and can't get this off the ground, the same way I feel like a failure at my travel business (more on that in a minute) makes me feel even more horrible *because this is one of the few things I actually think I'm somewhat good at.* For someone who has almost literally no self-esteem, being made to feel, or sometimes outright directly told, that one of the very few things, and I mean very few, that you feel like you are good at, could succeed at, you're not, is so discouraging that I can't describe it. It's beyond discouraging. It all but breaks you. Especially when you are already depressed.

Now, my travel business. I have close friends and family tell me all about the great trip they just went on... that they didn't once reach out to me about. I don't even mean "oh it was just a flight and you don't make money on that so I didn't bother you" but TRIPS EXACTLY LIKE THE KIND I BOOK AND WOULD HAVE GIVEN A BIG FRIENDS AND FAMILY DISCOUNT ON MY RATE FOR. I'm not even saying they asked my advice but couldn't afford my fee or got AMEX points, got a cheap flight deal they couldn't pass up. I'm saying I found out afterwards in a Facebook post or email that they even took a trip.

All the advice givers say "ask for help". So I do. Please help me brainstorm for Spread Hope. Please donate to my walk. Anyone want to partner on xyz? Please read my blog. People say, "follow your dreams," but if I tried to live on following my dreams I'd be homeless without my parents' support (thank goodness for my parents). When I try to follow my dreams I get told it's not realistic, that nobody has the time to help, that its' "not their thing" (neither is car repair mine, but if you wanted to open an auto body shop I'd still attempt to help you brainstorm even if my suggestions were ridiculous). I'm told it's not practical, not logical. I'm told to be confident but then when I stand up for myself and say what I want, I get all of the above.

There are exemptions to these, of course. I'm lucky to have a few people that are eternally supportive of me being me, whoever that is and whatever I choose to do. I'm not asking for cheer leading here (in fact, please don't). I'm not asking for critique - I get enough of that. I don't need to be told what I'm doing wrong because right now it feels like literally my entire existence is wrong. The world is made for extroverted task-master doers who follow logic, and I'm a introverted restless soul creative who believes in following dreams and not missing your life for tasks because you never know when you wont have the chance. The balance is probably somewhere in between but I've yet to find it.

So I get all that. I'm simply getting this out because it's tearing me up. And because maybe somewhere someone else feels this way too, and I want them to know they aren't alone.