Unemployment & The Effects on Mental Health. Plus: Interviewing w/anxiety

Raise your hand if you’ve been indefinitely furloughed during Covid-19. I bet it has been a lot of you, myself included,  so I know firsthand how much it sucks! Sure it was kind of fun at first. I enjoyed having no work obligations while being blissfully unaware of my soon-to-be dire financial situation because I was receiving that neat extra $600 a week. Flash forward to 7 months later and all I can say is… ugh. 

I severely underestimated the role routine plays in my mental health. Having an infinite amount of time on your hands is honestly stressful AF. I’ve been attempting to achieve some normalcy to my days but it’s not as easy as you may think. I get super stressed out thinking of ways to fill my free time and I feel guilty when I feel I am not doing “enough”. I’m pretty sure I thought I’d be Rembrandt by now, reaping in the benefits of having an abundance of hours for self-improvement. However, here I sit typing this with no new skill-sets that I can think of. Oops. On the flip side outwardly, I definitely think I’ve experienced a quarantine glow up. Remember that thing I was saying about needing routine? Well, I’ve replaced it with working out. Now before you get jelly, I just wanted to include the disclaimer that I’m fairly certain I’ve developed an unhealthy obsession. Sometimes the only thing I know what to do with myself is to work out. Read a book? Nah… let’s take my 10th yoga class of the day instead. Trust me,  It’s not as zen as you may think. 

Inbetween my endless amount of exercise, however, I have found time to apply for new jobs. How many jobs have I applied to you asked? So far, 57. How many interviews have I had? 2. And don’t get me started on how many times per day  I refresh my email checking for interview requests and/pr callbacks. 

The whole process is miserable. Believe it or not, for someone with anxiety, I am actually pretty good at interviewing. Although I definitely do analyze in my head every word I said over and over once the interview is finished.  What really is breaking me though is not getting interviews. I understand the job market is a little… errr…rough right now but why wouldn’t anyone want to give the girl who just figured her shit out a chance? But seriously… I suppose my resume is a bit all over the place, but how was I supposed to know a pandemic was going to hit once I found a fulfilling job that I loved and truly respected me as an employee? I promise this last job was going to be the one that said I had been there for like 5 years… so why don’t you take my word for it and interview me…or better yet hire me? Please?!?!? Cause I am stared to get very worried. 

How is everyone else handling finding work during these strange times? Feel free to reach out because I’d love to know. And if you know anybody whose hiring….. I’m SUPER availavbile! 😉

❤ Sweeney

Coronavirus & Anxiety

Well its certainly been a while since my last post…. and A LOT has certainly happened since then. I have actually been managing my anxiety (and sobriety) pretty well lately up until this pandemic hit (no I have not started drinking again).

And while anxiety has become a normal part of my existence the fear and uncertainness surrounding today’s circumstances have just about everyone in some state of panic.

I work for small business and I am scared shitless for our future. For the first time in many years, I have found myself happy, productive and valued at my place of employment and now it is all feels like it could be taken from me. With that said, I am sitting at work at this very moment typing this and I feel conflicted. I am grateful to still be able to make a paycheck at this time but feel strange and unsettled about not being quarantined at home.

I didn’t decide to blog for the first time in months though to just talk about me and my situation. I know so many people out there are in much more dire states than I am. I just wanted to write this to say that we’re all in this together. If you’re not accustomed to this amount of anxiety, it is understandable. I keep on hearing the phrase “We will get through this together” reiterated and I full-heartedly believe its true. If you’re feeling anxious that’s ok! Now more than ever, there are people out there who want to help you through whatever it is you may be going through during this crazy time.

Here are some of the tactics I’ve been implementing to help ease my nerves.

  1. Exercising. Yes… I know the gyms are closed! But it has been amazing to see an abundance of small studios offering live online classes. Also, there are so many awesome on-demand workout streaming sites and many of them are offering free subscriptions right now.

Some of my favorites right now are Ash Hot Yoga available through the Mind-Body Ap. Drop-in classes are only 11$. And while there are many streaming services available nothing can quite take the place of a live class with your favorite instructors and fit community. I also really like the idea of contributing to small studios to help them sustain during all of this.

Peloton is offering a 90 free trial on its App which is pretty awesome! I am kinda crazy and have like 100 gym memberships because I need variety. So having the option to take live studio classes or streaming something completely different on my own is important to me. Other apps/ gyms I know offering free trials Aaptiv, Planet Fitness, Club Pilates, Pure Barre, Beachbody, and Openfit.

RUN! get some fresh air and log some solo miles. It will do a lot for your sanity.

2. Online shopping with small businesses. I know with the uncertainness of income telling ya’ll shopping will help ease your anxiety might seem a little strange BUT if you are able to shop small. It makes me really happy to be able to support small businesses during this time because they need the most help… also I’m getting some pretty baller stuff.

I just ordered a wicked cute shirt from  Daayaniyoga. https://daayaniyoga.com/pages/shop-directory

3. Continuing my sobriety. I am aware this does not apply to everybody but drinking does lower your immune system and is a depressant that causes even more anxiety! But hey I am not going to judge you if you need a bottle of wine or 5. I am kind of over memes normalizing alcoholism during quarantining but I am a firm believer in “you do you”. I just know for ME continuing to abstain from alcohol is a good thing right now.

Sooooo….. those are actually the only 3 things I am really doing right now to help myself feel better. Some of the other things I suggest you try and that I need to start doing is

  1. Distance yourself from Social Media. OMG this is such a big one that I need to do right now. I have been excessively watching everybody’s Instagram stories. So if you’ve noticed I have watched every one of yours…no I am not a stalker!
  2. Meditate, I have been doing yoga but I could definitely take more time out of my day to breathe.
  3. Do things you have been putting off. Writing a blog post has been one of the things I’ve been meaning to do so YAY go me! But getting your taxes done or cleaning could help you feel less stir crazy.
  4. Facetime/ speak with your family more. I really suck at this sorry Mom!

 

Anyways my main point and take away is that while the world is a super stressful place right now… there are so many resources out there right now to help you and I manage this. I wish you all good health and urge you to stay safe. Feel free to message me if you’d like any other suggestions on how to combat stress and anxiety.

❤ Sweeney

 

 

 

Sweenbrioty

Last Thursday I quietly celebrated a huge personal milestone. There were no champagne corks to be popped and no shots to be had though. This wasn’t the type of milestone you celebrated that way for because Thursday, Nov. 21st marked 6 months of abstaining from alcohol. Full disclosure, I did gleefully eat my weight in Froyo.

I have a strange relationship with this newfound sobriety. Part of me wants to scream on top of rooftops, proudly declaring to anybody who will listen, that I don’t drink anymore. The other part of me wants to shrivel up and hide in shame and pretend I never had a problem with alcohol, to begin with.

A few days into my sobriety or a few days before (I cannot recall) I wrote a post finally admitting that I had a problem with alcohol.  I kept it up a few days but did not share the post to any of my social media accounts.  Then after mulling over it agonizingly a couple days, I changed the post to private. I have not reread the post since. I’m actually sort of afraid to. I was in such a different headspace than I am in now and it’s hard to bring myself to relive that shame.  “Shame”…. there’s that word again, it haunts me.

It’s kind of weird how open I am about my struggles with anxiety, but I am also more secretive about my struggle with alcohol. I feel like there are so many more negative connotations with being an alcoholic and at the end of the day is it really a stigma…or is it just the reality of it?

I was a really shitty person when I drank and the severity of my drinking isn’t something I usually openly ever shareabout…maybe it should be…. maybe it shouldn’t. Just trust me, it was bad. Like shakes in the morning, drinking pints of vodka straight bad. Anxiety is hard enough. Now imagine having an anxiety disorder while withdrawing. That was my reality.  I cringe when I think about my behavior in the past decade (yup…decade, wow) due to drinking.

But whats a newly 6-month sober girl supposed to do, get down on herself 24/7 because of the past? I’m not saying I don’t reflect because I do but for my sanity, it is so much healthier for me to look at the present and future. So now that I’ve opened pandora’s box and shared this post I definitely plan on sprinkling in posts about sobriety here and there. I can’t change my past but I can learn from it. and hopefully, I can help others struggling to be less afraid to open up.

❤ Sweeney

Downward Facing Dog > Downward Spiral Fog

Woof, it’s been a hot sec! And for once it isn’t due to some self induced catastrophe…just your run of the mill procrastination! Life has been interesting lately, but in a good way. I have so much to update everybody with, but first I wanted to make this post about something I’ve been meaning to now for a few months, which if it isn’t obvious by the picture is yoga.

Awhile back I was going through a rough time. Actually… it seemed like every other second I was going through a rough time, but that isn’t what this post is about. Anyways, I had just unexpectedly lost my job and was thrown into the throes of WTF now anxiety. I was already  a huge  mess before this happend and adding this fuel to the fire did not help. Its hard to figure out what your next steps are going to be before you’ve learned to walk. So I did what any young adult without a job would do and signed up for an unlimited monthly yoga studio membership.

Let me backtrack a bit first. I had actually signed up to this studio on a Groupon BEFORE I lost my job and had really enjoyed it. I would go before work sometime and it was nice to switch up my routine. The studio was about 10 minutes from where I worked so it was perfect. And then, just like that it wasn’t anymore. I knew I was going to have to apply for unemployment and look for a new job but I wasn’t sure how long either of those would take. With my next source of income extremely uncertain I decided to take the plunge and sign up for unlimited yoga classes anyways.

I. Needed. Something. Too. Keep. Me. Going.

I started going to the studio almost everyday. What else was I going to do with my time? I was depressed, but it gave me something to look forward to everyday and a way to keep moving. I was also applying to jobs like a mad woman. Jobs I never would’ve have ever though of applying to before. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to do something different.

It was an extremely frustrating job search. Here I was in my early thirties and with a masters not getting call backs or interviews for entry level positions. Listen, I know a degree is fine art is going to get me a job as a banker but all the money I spent for my education must make me qualified for something right…..right?!?!?

During this time Yoga became my therapy and something unexpected happened as I started to practice more. I was no longer becoming stressed about my job search. I found myself at peace and truly believing jobs that I did not land were not meant to be. Hearing the mantras that the universe was unfolding exactly the way it should and that giving my best was always enough was incredible for my anxiety and peace of mind.

And guess what… the universe unfolded the way that it should and I got a job I love. I have less time for the studio now, but it holds a special place in my heart. It’s a tad corny but it really did bring me light during a dark time. Besides yoga I have now made a ton of other positive changes in my life as well and I am so excited to share them with everyone,  but until then the light in me honors the light in you. Namaste.

❤ Sweeney

 

 

When Shit Hits the Fan: A Survival Guide

Alright, so this isn’t a survival guide per say and I apologize if I put out the wrong impression. I’m just very particular about my titles. I like them to have a certain gusto to them so it was either this or “When Shit Hits the Fan: A Cautionary Tale” which isn’t what this post was really either. If I were to be honest it is a mix between the two, but “When Shit Hits the Fan: A Cautionary Survival Tale/ Guide” did not have the same ring to it.

The title is neither here nor there though so moving on. This topic is actually just something I unfortunately have a lot of experience with. The cookie doesn’t always crumble the same way for everyone and I think that is very important to understand. These are just a handful of insights and experiences I have had being a bottom rock dweller.

What got me thinking about this is my most recent personal disaster. I am not going to touch upon the details of said disaster (for now), but just how  I’ve been dealing with it. Normally I power through my crises by immediately picking myself up again and with cheesy motivational quotes. Cause if I believed that  “Something will grow from all you are going through, and it will be you” – Google Search for Motivational Quotes, then I would be ok.

The only thing that was growing though was the times i’ve used my strange optimism in the face of adversity. And what I realized was that I used it to cover up the actual deeper meaning of my problems. And guess  what? The cycle would continue. I’ve always prided myself on my resilience. I’ve overcome so many low points that it almost stopped phasing me. I was so used to a cycle of picking myself and falling back down that I almost didn’t realize that each time It happened the road blocks were getting bigger and bigger and so were the consequences. Turns out people are less sympathetic towards your plight once you hit 30-something. 

I am a big supporter in doing whatever it is ya gotta to get through what you’re going through. If it’s corny sayings and chocolate I say make your insta a beacon of hope and buy yourself some goddamn chocolates. I prefer cheese, but that’s just me…who am I to judge? If you need to mope and not be a person for the day be the best non-person you can be! Cry it out if you need to. Exercise. So many options, and none of them are wrong. What I am trying to say is…it’s a process and everybody’s is different.

What caught me so off guard this time was that my process had changed. I wasn’t jiving with the whole light at the end of tunnel thing this time. Everything was hitting me much harder, like I was the last kid left on a losing dodgeball team. This is the first time ever I dealt with my anxiety and depression by staying in bed for basically an entire week. I tried telling myself it was okay and it just must be what I needed, but while I layed in bed my responsibilities kept piling up and my mood stayed unwavering.  I didn’t feel okay with this… plus my body hurt. Who knew staying in bed could make you so sore!?!

But you know what, I got through it. It took a lot longer but I am finally feeling somewhat like myself again. During that terrible week I actually allowed myself to feel the emotions I had been avoiding and instead of posting quotes about self discovery and overcoming obstacles, I was actually working towards those goals. Did it take a little longer? Was the path there a little different? Most certainly. Am I out of the woods yet?  No…but at least I’ve stopped walking in circles.

My big takeaway for this post is don’t over concern yourself with the process just work towards your progress by any means necessary.

❤ Sweeney

 

Transitions, Resulotions & Insurance Lapses

So I know it’s been a while since I’ve last written a post. It seems like whenever I have the most the write about the less likely I am to actually do it. That’s anxiety for you though I guess…

A lot… and I mean a lot has been going on recently. I guess I’ll start out with letting everyone know that I got a new job. I’m using the term “new” loosely however since I’ve been there now for over 2 months. It’s funny how much emotional weight we put into jobs. I was initially so excited for my “new beginning” and new career path. It’s exhilarating going through the application process when the outcome is you actually land the job. I’m not trying to say I am no longer happy with my position… I’m just trying to say I forgot how much an emotional and mentally taxing experience starting a new job can be.

At my previous job, I was fairly open with my mental health. I felt very supported by peers and comfortable opening up to them. Ultimately though, it just wasn’t the right position for me. Going into this new opportunity I was conflicted if I wanted to be as open about anxiety as I had been in the past. Would they look at me differently? Would they think I was less capable of my job duties? Would they wonder why the heck I would choose to share something so personal to me? Should this be something I even bring up in the workplace? Where should the line be drawn with this sort of thing anyway?

I decided it wasn’t something I wanted to bring up. I also decided to make my Instagram private because I wasn’t sure what somebody from work would think if they stumbled across my blog. Even though I pride myself on being open on the subject, I decided that this time it was something I wanted to hide and that it was something I that I was embarrassed about.

About a month before I left my old job I had started to take serious strides to take back control of mental health. I was seeing a therapist weekly and we had plans to reach out to a nurse practitioner to evaluate/ adjust the anti-depressants I was on. She was super supportive when I told her about my new job and I told her I estimated it would probably be about a month before my new insurance would kick in. Then I found out my estimate was wrong and it was actually going to be at least three months…..whoops.

But whatever, I had this. I felt really confident and strong going into my job duties and I was for once really excited for my future. In the midst of training, I had completely forgotten my anti-depressants were out of refills and subsequently stopped taking them. I might’ve touched on this before but NEVER ABRUPTLY STOP TAKING YOUR ANTI-DEPRESSANTS. Right, when everything in the workplace was getting it’s most stressful my brain decided it was time for seratonin gymnastics. Needless to say, it was not a good look. I was crying on the daily, I felt completely out of control and I felt completely ashamed.

That’s when I decided to bite the bullet and go to my local medi-center just in order to get a refill. I didn’t care how much it cost because I literally felt like I was going insane. But the damage was done. At the exact time, I needed to be at the top of my game I became crippled with self-doubt.
I’m not going to go into much detail about how much worse it got… but trust me things got way worse than I could ever have imagined.

And on that light-hearted note… let’s talk about New Years! I cannot believe I’ve been writing in the blog now for over a year. Time really flies when you’re having a panic attack. No, but in all seriousness, I am currently in a much better state and ready to kick some 2019 ass. I’ve grown too accustomed to going through bouts of tremendous lows, picking up the pieces and then trying again. While I still admire my resilence in such situations, my goal this year is to stay in control of things and not let them control me. Honestly, I think this is my toughest resolution to date. And before I end this (and wait another 300 months for a new post) I just wanted to thank everyone who read and kept up with my blog this past year. I didn’t even realize how many people actually read this until they would come up to me at gatherings and tell me how much they relate to what I write. Those type of reactions is why I keep trying to be open about my life and the struggles I go through. I hope you all have a great 2019 and if you’re not, feel to reach out and tell me why I am always here to listen!

Recovering From Summer

So I know it’s been a hot sec since I wrote a post, but what can I say? I was out there living my best life…. JK I was out there living my typical unbalanced life. Which isn’t to say it was all bad. Parts of my summer were incredible, but more on that later.

I know its not technically Fall yet, but at least it’s not 90 degrees anymore so it felt appropriate to discuss this.  Summer is a fricken whirlwind.  I guess there is something about warm weather that causes me (and many others Im sure) to throw caution to the wayside. All of sudden you go from having a somewhat predictable routine to going to BBQ’s every other day, the beach and on vacation.

It’s a crap load of fun, don’t get me wrong… but for me it is also very dangerous and full of temptations. If you’ve been keeping up with my blog you know that I had stopped drinking for quite some period of time. You may even think I was still following that trajectory, but *spoiler alert* I haven’t. It was a great time of self reflection for me, but it was also very hard and admittedly I got tired of it.

I slowly started drinking again here and there at gatherings during the Spring, but it was still a sort of take it or leave type thing. Once Summer hit however, it was all bets off and I became unhinged. I could probably make a lot of excuses… I was stressed at work, my anxiety medication wasn’t work as well as it used to (or I would forget to take it or take too much),  I was going to too many events, whatever the case may be…Summer is over and its time to jump back into good habits.

Sometimes I feel like such a transparent person. Whenever I am going through a rough time it is painfully obvious, not just to me but to EVERYONE around me. That can become extremely daunting and in turn I usually become even more destructive/anxious/depressed.

Now that Fall is here I feel like I can finally take a step back and look at everything with clearer vision, take a breath and get my shit together.

Will I stop drinking again? Will I finally seek out a therapist? Will I get a second opinion about my medication? To be continued…. but it is looking more likely than it did before.

What about Summer throws you off your routine??? Comment below, I’d love for you to share!

 

❤ Sweeney

 

The problem with labeling girls as having “Daddy Issues”

So obviously, today is Father’s Day. Not that you would forget, but in case you did you can just check your social media and be flooded with imagery and posts dedicated to Dad today. They’re cute, don’t stop doing them and make sure to be thankful if you have a good Father figure in your life.

Unfortunately, not everybody does… or they did and they were cheated out of that figure far too soon. I kind of fall into both of those categories. I had an absentee Father for most of my life, not because he didn’t love me, but because his personal demons took him away from me. Eventually those struggles also took his life and I was left to navigate through the complicated emotions I felt about everything.

Luckily I have a wonderful Step Father who took on the roll that my Dad was never ever to fulfill. Still it was a complicated and messy situation that really had taken a toll on me over the years. I guess you could say… I have Daddy Issues.

Ughhh there are so many problems I have with labeling somebody as having “Daddy Issues”. According to Urban Dictionary:

Whenever a female has a fucked up relationship with her father, or absence of a father figure during her childhood, it tends to spill into any adult relationship they embark on, usually to the chagrin of any poor male in their life”

Ummm…. I’ve dated my boyfriend for 11 years and I really don’t think he considered himself a poor male in my life. Why does something we have no control over make us damaged goods? And where did this notion of woman who have had bad relationships with their Father are constantly seeking male approval? Urban Dictionary also notes having Daddy issues

“Results in younger women chasing older men and even seeking mistreatment in some cases.”

I mean, obviously you have to take Urban Dictionary with a grain of salt but…. WTF

Honestly I feel like I personally tried to seek out healthier relationships because of the damaged one I had with my Father… but maybe that’s just me?

Listen, I’m not saying loosing your Father or not having him in your life doesn’t create issues. It does and it is fully possible it shapes the kind of relationships we seek and even our behavior. I just don’t think it’s fair to label a girl as “crazy” or “easy” or “broken” because of it.

Today is a day to be appreciative to the men who have been there in your life. Maybe it’s the Father or your children, you’re Step Dad or even Uncle Joe who was always there for you. It doesn’t look the same to everyone and that’s ok.

I think the real message I am trying to drive home is just to love more and judge less. So happy Father’s Day and don’t worry it’s ok to have issues.

❤ Sweeney

Breakdowns & Breakthroughs

I know it is a bit cliche’ to call your life a roller coaster, but there is a reason for it being such a popular metaphor. I however, would be more inclined to call my life a ferris wheel. I live in this constant cycle of slowly building myself up, to eventually finding myself back at the bottom and wondering how I got there.

At least I’m consistent, I guess?

I also have the incredible talent to continuesly pick myself back up and rebuild after completely falling apart. It might not be the healthiest of skills, but it is still a skill and I have never once let myself stay at the bottom. It gets exhausting though and truthfully very embarrassing. You don’t typically find ferris wheels in the privacy of your own home, you find them at very public and often well attended areas.

My breakdowns and breakthroughs are always on exhibit and that makes me feel very vulnerable, especially to judgement.

Sometimes I think people feel like I have more control over it than I do. People have seen me get my shit together before so whats so bad about my life to make me constantly have these lows? And honestly… I don’t know and maybe thats the problem.

Don’t get me wrong, of course there are some things (*cough* many *cough*) I would like to change about my life, but a lot of the time there is very little rational to my emotions. It’s like I’m living in my own reality that nobody else can see. And unless you have experienced an anxiety disorder or depression it is really hard to understand. I wish it was easier to explain so I could stop feeling like a complete freak show.

Maybe some of you will reach out to tell me I’m not, so in advance… Hey! thanks for caring, I really do appreciate it. Deep down though, even if secretly, I’ll always think it. But who isn’t a little crazy anyways, right?

❤ Sweeney

(image credit https://berkandd.deviantart.com/art/Scary-Ferris-Wheel-199858606)

It’s Motherfucking Women’s Day

P.s That title should be sung to the tune of Kesha’s song “Woman” and if you do not get that reference I can’t be friends with you.

P.p.s Don’t worry (because I know you were), “Everyday I’m Supplmentin’ Prt 2” will be coming eventually, but I have been pretty busy and I am of the belief that writing a blog about anxiety should not give me anxiety.

Anyhow…. Happy International Women’s Day!!!! This year is somewhat momentous to me because this is the first time in a long time that I have felt like a STRONG ASS MOTHERFUCKING WOMAN.

I used to think I was strong because I was a fast (and very skinny) runner and captain of my collegiate team. I used to think I was strong because I was pursuing my masters in what some would consider an unconventional​ field. I used to think I was strong because I could drink more than guys but still run faster and be more successful​. I used to think those things, but I was wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of my accomplishments​ it’s just that being strong means something different to me now.

So lets fast forward. I have a sprained​ ankle and have gained (I kid you not) 50 pounds since college, so I am not fast. I am doing absolutely nothing with my fine arts degree and am in a ton of student loan debt. My binge drinking started getting in the way of my success and no longer made me seem cool. So many of my peers seem to have their​ shit together and I feel super behind.

But guess what? I’ve never felt stronger. Now I think I am strong because I am learning to love my body no matter what size it is. I think I am strong because I am not afraid to pursue a career outside of what I went to school for and for realizing it’s ok and empowering to realize you want to do something else with your life. I think I am strong because I identified my drinking was getting in the way of my success so I changed my habits. I think I am strong because even though I might feel behind every day​ I am striving to be a better version of myself and have learned to be happy for others success instead of envious.

All women are strong and for the longest time for some reason, ​I decided that discluded me. Sure I still have my “why me” moments, but I am so grateful to have so many other strong women in my life to help lift me back up​.

So cheers to being strong and having a vajay. It’s our day, let’s​ enjoy it.

❤ Sweeney