This episode is for anyone who feels like they’ve lost themselves, and can’t quite see the sunshine within. I talk through the coping mechanisms I developed (unintentionally) when I lost myself and how they severely helped my mental health and self.
About a year and a half ago, I noticed that I had stopped painting. This led me to realize more things that I had stopped feeling passion for or stopped doing altogether. I lost my spark and no longer felt inspired and motivated when I woke up in the morning. I had lost myself.
If I had continued to pretend everything was okay and ignore life, I don’t know if I would have emerged from the dark place I was in. These are some of the things I started doing that brought me little hints of joy and eventually led me to rediscover myself and my passion.
I went to Walmart and bought a little Beach Cruiser that I became obsessed with. Then, I rode everywhere – to volleyball or to the store or sometimes just in circles. I created a playlist for bike riding and would listen to it over and over again.
I started riding my bike to the beach because I love water and sunsets, and couldn’t remember the last time I’d slowed down enough to enjoy either one. I started forcing myself to notice small joys again. I would ride my bike to the beach and sit and listen to music for an hour staring at the water and journaling.
I journaled all the time. The moment I started to get overwhelmed, I would write down all of my thoughts, feelings and insecurities. By facing my life and feelings head on and accepting them rather than suppressing them, I started becoming self aware.
Being alone is not something I was used to or super comfortable with. I have five siblings and we always had random friends or cousins living with us so I never spent a lot of time alone when I was growing up. I always had a boyfriend and if I wasn’t with my boyfriend, I was with my friends. I would fill my time with so many other people’s emotions that I didn’t have to focus on my own. As a people pleaser, I tend to match what I think will make other people happy and accept me, so I decided to start doing things alone and take time to understand and know myself without the influence of other people.
I stopped tolerating manipulation and no longer accepted people putting all of their emotional baggage or unwarranted opinions on me. I put up walls in places where they were necessary. I had to create a safe space for myself where I could tune into my own emotions. With every decision, I started asking myself: Does this serve the life I want? This forced me to analyze the ways I was giving my time to relationships and activities that didn’t serve my purpose of what I needed and wanted for myself.
This one is personal but for me, I don’t think there was one point of silence while I was rediscovering myself.
Therapy was massively helpful in finding myself. I think that most often, your therapist knows who you are deep down but they have to wait for you to find yourself!
I started painting again and it was such a saving grace in terms of my mental health and the therapeutic impact it had on me. To get to a place where I was inspired by art again was a massive breakthrough, and that’s one of the reasons I get very emotionally attached to my paintings.
I started joining volleyball teams and gyms full of people I didn’t know.
Most importantly, I was forcing myself into self reflectionion and discomfort rather than remaining stagnant in my state of unhappiness. I had to make extremely uncomfortable changes that included a lot of heartbreak, but were necessary.
I’m still on the journey, but I can’t imagine what my life would look like if I didn’t force myself into all of these coping mechanisms and uncomfortability.
If you’re going through a tough time, I hope that you can adopt some of these little habits and implement them into your daily life and that they help you as well.
I promise you, sunshine is around the corner.
Until next time my friends – Arastasia
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