Turning Thirty

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I’ve been looking forward to turning 30 for years. No joke. I realize that isn’t the typical response to bumping up to the next decade, but honestly I’m so glad to be here.

My twenties were rough. OK, my twenties were shit. Yes, there were good parts and even parts that were so beautiful I couldn’t imagine not having experienced them, but for the most part it was just a drag.

Honestly, I came into my twenties in a bad place. I had full scholarships to college and partied them away. I got pregnant at 19 when I had no idea how to take care of even the tiniest responsibilities in my own life, much less all that comes with raising another human being. My poor kid has spent the last ten years watching me grow up just as much as I watched her. I got married knowing full well that it would end in divorce in an ill attempt to prove that I was totally ready to start a family and be a good little wife and mother. I had another kid to further cement in other people’s minds that I was totally a grown up family lady now. I wasn’t and neither was he and we were divorced after only a few years.

After that, I really just didn’t know what to do with myself. I had no idea who I was, what I believed, and certainly had no idea what I wanted my life to be about.

I made bad decisions and then worse decision and some of those decisions affected my children. I’ve carried around so much guilt for years, even after I finally found my footing and had somewhat started on a better path.

Despite all the bad, I can say that I certainly learned a lot. I always wished I could be one of those people who seem to just know who they are and what they want. They leave high school and immediately go to college, make good grades, and get their degrees. They land good jobs, get married, have a couple babies and never seem to question any of those decisions. What I’ve learned about those people is that they only exist in the minds of others who don’t really know anything about their lives. It may look like they never questioned themselves, and maybe they didn’t for the most part, but they had moments when they felt just like I did. We all do.

It’s taken years of self reflection and getting to a point where I could be totally honest with me, but I’ve made some big moves as far as figuring out what the hell I’m actually doing here. For so many years, I was many things, but I was never Caitlin. I was alternative emo chick, I was a hippie, I was party girl, I was a wife, I was a mother and so many other things, but never Caitlin. It was like I would put on these masks and they totally took over every part of me and I became a totally different person each time. I’ve learned that while I am a wife and a mother and a student, but those things are not me entirely; they are just parts of me. I’ve found that it’s so important to understand yourself on the levels that don’t change. Your career, your relationships, and where you live all of that can change and really has nothing to do with who you are as a person. You have to dig deeper than that and find the things that will always be with you. That’s your anchor. So when big changes happen or this become uncertain, you stay grounded.

Now, at the age of 30, I am so many things, but most importantly I am me. I have an amazing husband and two amazing daughters who I homeschool. I make good grades at the W and I’m pretty good at crafty things. I enjoy writing and hope to one day pursue a career related to writing and/or literature. All of those things are huge parts of my life and I enjoy them immensely and not one of them by itself defines who I am as a person.

(Side Note: Can we please do away with the phrase “dirty thirty”? Just ew.)

My Anxiety Cycles

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I’ve been battling my anxiety lately. Anxiety goes hand-in-hand with depression, but I don’t really talk about the depression part anymore, because at this point, I honestly think the anxiety is the root of all of it. I think that if I could cure the anxiety part, then the rest of it would be mute, but as anyone with anxiety knows, there really is no curing it.

I talked a little about cycles in my last post. I see my anxiety in cycles. Like, for a while I’m doing well. I’m balancing everything that needs to be done and feeling pretty good about it. Then one day, I realize that I’m behind on laundry and for the next three weeks I’m in bed thinking about how I have no purpose and I’m a failure. I fight off thoughts of suicide. For the record, I’ve never thought about actually taking my own life, but more the idea of it. What would happen if I weren’t here? Would they miss me more than they are relieve? Would my own relief be worth them missing me? At this point, I’ve never not been able to tell myself that taking my own life would be catastrophic. Right now, I’m not afraid that I will do it; I’m afraid that the day will come when it doesn’t sound like a crazy idea. If that makes sense.

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I bet that sounds totally irrational to you. I miss some laundry and then wham I’m not worth the breath I consume. It is irrational. It’s crazy. It’s my life.

I’m the absolute worst at feeling like I’m miraculously healed anytime I go more than a couple of months without incident; only to be super let down when things go bad again. I have all of these methods for making my day to day life go easier: meditation, keeping to a schedule, making sure I have some social interaction that’s not too intense, etc. Once I get off track though, all of it goes to hell. It’s really hard to stick to all of it, and I’m pretty sure the pressure that I feel to stick to all of it is part of the problem. It just keeps cycling around, y’all.

I haven’t been in a good place lately. That’s pretty much why I’m writing this post. It helps to put it out there and when I blog it, I don’t have to actually talk to anyone about it, and that helps me sometimes. I’m pretty open about my anxiety in general, but when things aren’t going well, I just don’t want to talk. I feel ashamed I suppose. Like, if I can’t talk to you from a place where I’m overcoming or succeeding in my own eyes, than I just feel a lot of shame about it. I’m working on that. I’m about to try and sleep. If I can sleep well tonight, then I will have energy tomorrow. If I have energy, than I can check a few things off of my to-do list. If I get some things done, then I feel accomplished, so on and so forth.  Resetting the cycle, basically.

2017 hasn’t started out on the best foot, but to be honest, every year of my life has parts where I was paralyzed by anxiety, so that doesn’t mean anything about the year as a whole. I’m still looking for good things in 2017.