Coffees and breakdowns.

(ENG only) This is probably the hardest post I have ever thought of or ever written. And somehow the easiest. And scariest (I first wrote it on the 2nd April and never published it. Until now.). I don’t even know why exactly I am writing this, but it needs to be done. I have this pressing urge to get undressed of these negative feelings and take a huge weight off my chest, shoulders, brain, basically my whole body.

I have never been an easy person to be with. And the more I get older the more I am sure of it. It’s not a breeze for me either to be with me every single day.

Sometimes I can feel like the smallest person in the world. Afraid, naked, defenseless. Sometimes I am so tired and stressed out that I can’t sleep because anxiety and my brain that never stops keep me awake. Sometimes I feel trapped. Sometimes the tiniest thing can make me anxious, upset, sad, nervous, overwhelmed very easily. Sometimes I cry for what looks like apparently nothing. Sometimes I get lost in my thoughts, and then realize that my jaw muscles are strung tight. Sometimes the demons in my mind tell me that I am useless, worthless, a walking failure. Sometimes I put on a mask and pretend everything is fine, until I break down and the only one picking up the pieces is him, again. Sometimes I would give myself a high five just for managing to complete an entire day without looking like an idiot and sometimes I mentally punish myself for days if I do something wrong instead. Sometimes I am completely afraid of other people`s judgment and certain social situations, so I rather not show off and almost not talk, or do the exact opposite, talk like crazy just to avoid any awkward silence. Sometimes I’d rather not do something because I think it won’t be good enough, smart enough, interesting enough. Sometimes I am so scared of change and of making decisions that I rather keep on waiting and procrastinating and see if something happens and the world sort of makes the decisions for me. I can never really unwind, relax, hit the “pause” button, let go. I still think of and feel miserable for mistakes I did ages ago and that others probably don’t even remember. Sometimes I desperately try to hold on tight to the little things that spark joy, but I just keep losing my grip. Sometimes just the idea of going to work, facing social situations or being surrounded by people and leaving my cozy nest makes me feel stressed out, tired, overwhelmed. My ideal scenario for a day off right now is staying at home, enjoying a quiet day. Taking space and time for myself and trying to leave my worries and anxieties outside. But sometimes I can’t keep the door shut and they all come in like uninvited guests, they hunt me. Or maybe I am the one who lets them hunt me. No matter how hard I try, I find myself periodically facing days, weeks or months in which even easy tasks or easy decisions become huge mountains to climb and I`d rather stay home in bed watching Netflix not out of laziness but because I need to stay alone and feel comfortably numb in knowing that for a few hours I can feel safe. Sometimes my self esteem is so low that I am basically walking on it like it was the ugly doormat you clean your shoes on. Sometimes I see my body absorbing and manifesting stress more and more. Sometimes I binge eat, treating my body like crap because I don’t know how to deal with anxiety in other ways other than eating even though I am not that hungry. Sometimes I hate the way I look. Sometimes I feel overloaded, constantly thinking. Overthinking. I can almost feel my brain being pan fried, hurting, buzzing. I can’t stay focused on anything, I can’t grasp the moment, focus on the right here right now, I can’t even enjoy the present sometimes because I can’t focus on it. I feel like I am living in the wrong way. I keep on falling down and starting to get tired to get up with my own legs again. I’d like to find a steadier balance. I know it’s impossible to never fall, to never make a mistake, but there has to be a way to keep it together better, and to learn better and more every time there’s a fresh start.

I have always been lucky enough to have a good life. Good health, good family, good friends. I never had to face huge difficulties or extremely dramatic experiences. But still, I have always felt awkward about myself and I’ve always felt like something about me and about my life wasn’t right. I didn’t notice right away what it was, and I kept going on, pretending to be in charge of a life I didn’t know what I wanted from, and hiding behind a wall of self irony, “clownesque” comedy and frequent apologies. I tried to ignore that something was wrong and acted like everything was okay, and the more I was going on with my life, the more the insecurities were taking over. Suddenly but not so suddenly though, something broke. I couldn’t ignore it all anymore.

I started fighting against depression and embarked on a 4 year journey with a therapist. Seeing it written black on white and for everyone out there to read is a big deal for me. Thanks to therapy, I think I slowly managed to finally lead a life and make decisions I could be proud of. I became a bit stronger, I felt stronger. To the point where I left everything behind and moved to a different country after years of dreaming about it and crying over it. I felt ready for a life change. Looking back, there is so much I did and faced, so many things that the old me would have barely believed that I actually could face and accomplish. But a part of me has never changed. I know that happiness is not a destination, is a way of life, but that part of me is still convinced that I need to find that something, and then everything will be fine and I will finally feel “normal”. Call me naive or even stupid, but I wish I had a magic wand to help me fix what’s wonky, or at least I wish that life came with the freaking instruction manual. But nope, we’re all on our own, and if we are lucky enough we get to share our journey with someone who cares enough to stay by our side every single day. My someone has been by my side for almost 9 years. Whenever we’re together, I feel like nothing bad will happen and that I am fine, safe. And as much as I like the feeling of trusting him this much, I know that I need to build my own safety too and can’t rely exclusively on his. I need to figure out a way to take control over things again to the point where I could feel strong and powerful, again, like I did 4 years ago when I moved abroad (it didn’t actually last long because the first months of life abroad were like a fist in my face). I can see things clearly approaching and not even remotely close at the same time.

The last time I had a nervous breakdown, I couldn`t stop crying and I kept saying to myself that I am a failure. Because no matter how hard I try, a part of me will always feel like one. Regretting, comparing, feeling ashamed. I feel like I wasted my best years doing mistakes over and over again, big or small they might have been. And that last time I had a breakdown, I even told to myself that I am just a miserable joke of nature. I looked myself in the mirror when doing that and for a moment I got scared by the fact that I can be this spiteful to myself. And no matter how much people believe in me and how worthy or talented they see me, I don`t. Not as much as they do. Not as much as I should. Apparently to me it doesn`t matter what I did so far successfully, I`ll always see what I haven`t done yet or I failed at.

For months I kept on telling myself that I shouldn’t be sharing something so private, because “what if someone I know reads it? Acquaintances, co-workers, people I have to deal with on a regular basis?”. Being judged is hard, but it hurts more when you know the person those glances or words or non verbal messages are coming from. Well. I DON’T CARE ANYMORE. This is me at my purest form, for everyone to read it. So dear friend, co-worker, person I somehow know, if you’re reading this, maybe next time we bump into each other we’ll have something to talk about. Or maybe not. It’s up to you. 🙂

Why am I writing this then? Because I spent a big portion of my life thinking that I was wrong, broken, inadequate, not enough, and I needed to be fixed because no one or almost no one would accept me otherwise. Do I still feel like that? Yes. But I don’t want to feel ashamed anymore because I am more sensitive, introvert or different than others, or to put it simply, because I am me. When I read people posts on social media about the issues they had/have and that they share them unapologetically, it gives me strength, hope. It makes me feel like I am not alone and I am not wrong. Nobody should ever feel that way, nobody should ever feel worthless.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it, don’t be afraid to be who you are and to show it to the world, don’t be afraid to take some leaps and fight and work for what you want, because it`s going to be fine. And if for some reason it won`t, you won`t be alone. Don`t be afraid of showing your flaws and weaknesses because you now what? We`re humans, and we all have some. Don’t be afraid of the change, don’t think that you’re no good. And don’t be afraid to take care of yourself, no matter what.

It`s going to be hard af, but we can do it. We owe this to ourselves. We are beautifully enough and we are not alone.

xoxo

Jen

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17 Comments

  1. Michelle Lee
    August 12, 2018 / 12:10

    Jen, you are such a beautiful, strong soul. This post was so raw and so relatable to me and I’m sure many others. You are such an inspiration! Take care of you and always know you can get through anything. Thank you for being so honest and for being such a lovely person!

    • August 14, 2018 / 07:19

      Thank you so much! <3 I'm surprised to hear how many people can relate to what I wrote. I wish mental health wasn't such a taboo and people could talk openly about it... hopefully this post will inspire others to do the same as reading other people's stories online inspired and pushed me to share mine.

  2. Nuala
    August 12, 2018 / 13:22

    That was really beautiful and brave, thank you for sharing your very relatable authentic feelings. Love to you Jenny.

  3. Crystle
    August 12, 2018 / 18:28

    Oh wow. Jen, you are so not alone. I’ve been there, and sometimes go back. It’s weird, though there were many things that helped me, like moving out on my own, therapy, and gaining control in a life where I had none, perhaps the peak of this help was a rejection.

    The rejection came from an older man I had a crush on. He was a bus driver, and I expected him to yell at me or look disgusted when I told him I had feelings for him. Instead, he responded in such a kind way. He told me he was sorry, but he was taken. Then he displayed his kindness by asking me to go to the front of the bus to talk to him, which, in my head, is a place of honor. We talked for an hour and he got me to laugh. I swear, somehow it felt like I was suddenly given the permission and confidence to be myself.

    Don’t get me wrong, the rejection part hurt. But it was so worthwhile. I now still have my struggles, but I also have a renewed faith in humanity, and a feeling of self worth. I thought I had that faith before, but I guess it had to happen to me. Maybe the problem for me was, I thought no one could like me as I was. I still don’t find myself attractive physically, but I’m learning to like myself anyway.

    So Jen, I get it. It freaking sucks. It hurts and it drags you down and it feels pointless. If I could recommend something, it would be this: find your tough spots, and challenge them. I would also recommend finding a therapist again. My therapist rocks. If you feel you can’t handle it being in person, there are online services out there. I hope you find your confidence. Just know there is always hope.

    By the way, I think you’re awesome. You might not need to hear it from me, but you are amazing. I wish I could show you that. Also, thank you for sharing this post. It takes guts, which you clearly have.

    • August 14, 2018 / 07:30

      Dear Crystle, thank you so much for sharing your story with me. It wasn’t easy to share this with everyone out there to read it, but once I did, something magical happened as I started feeling closer to people I haven’t even meet yet because we shared a personal struggle. It does suck most of the times, but finally knowing that I am not alone makes me feel better. And there are also times when it doesn’t suck, and I’d love to hold onto them tighter, so I could feel better and find some comfort when things are not well.
      You’re right about challenging myself… I am about to do that because of events that recently happened that will sort of force me to face a change, let’s see hot it goes. What did you do to challenge yourself? I think I’m going to start small and try to do things step by step. And yes, I need to find a therapist here in Berlin. Therapy made me feel so much better. It was comforting. I’ve heard about online therapy… did you try it? can you recommend it? I was used to my old therapist and found the face to face interaction great.
      And also, thank you. We don’t even know each other and still here you are, telling me how awesome you think I am. Thank you thank you thank you.

  4. LJ Brill
    August 13, 2018 / 13:13

    I love your vlogs, love your personality, admire your plastic-free journey and sharing these personal struggles.
    I know it makes no difference what other people say if you dont see or feel it yourself, but this is how I see you: soft and friendly looks, lovely smile, authentic, slim, smart person with perseverance.
    Wish you all the best, wish you to be milder en more friendly to yourself.
    Lots of love from Holland, Lycke

    • August 14, 2018 / 07:16

      thank you so much Lycke! For following and supporting and for your sweet, kind words… I might not feel it myself most of the times, but getting all this love from readers, viewers and people I don’t even know feels amazing. Thank you!

  5. Mojmíra Némethová
    August 14, 2018 / 16:55

    brave words, so inspiring, so raw, so you
    wish you all the best, love your blog and everything
    a just shortly – first part felt like I wrote it about myself, so thank
    you about saying it out loud

    • August 17, 2018 / 21:07

      Thanks to you for taking the time to read it and to write me this wonderful comment! wish you alle the best too, take care!

  6. Judith
    August 14, 2018 / 19:13

    Good luck to you Jenny 🙂 I’m sorry to hear you feel bad a lot of times. I think it will get better! I love your work and I hope you do well and keep at it! 🙂

  7. X
    August 15, 2018 / 08:11

    Dear Jen,

    I just read your story and it was like reading my own. I wanted to share something because I hope it might help you. At 33 I learned that the root of my issues stems from emotional abuse that happened throughout my entire life that I didn’t even know about (I always felt something was not right, but I was taught to blame myself).
    From an early age I have always felt like something bad was about to happen and apparently that is a form of cPTSS. I am so, so tired of feeling this way and it is very hard not to, but knowing that someone did this to me and it’s not “my fault” already helps, and it was the start of my healing process.
    Maybe you don’t recognize this at all but if you do, maybe it helps you. If you want to know more or just talk, feel free to e-mail me.

    -a YouTube-sub 🙂

    • August 17, 2018 / 21:12

      Hi, thank you so much for your message and for sharing this with me. I’m sorry to hear what you’ve been through but always remember that you are not alone and that everything will be fine. You’re already doing a great job in starting your healing process and in talking about your issues and I really hope you’ll feel better soon. Feel free to drop a comment here anytime you want to! take care!

  8. Chantal from Paris
    August 15, 2018 / 10:04

    Jenny, I am 64 and I finally discovered a few months ago that I was HS. I ve suffered from anxiety for as long as i can remember. I ve always noticed I was “different”. I have had many difficult moments in my life. But today, I understand myself better and I am beginning to really work on it . It has been a 24 hours job for almost a year now with many ups and downs and I am just beginning to see some improvements. The bad fits of anxiety have disappeared . I expect anxiety will always remain but I have learnt to work on my thoughts, to breathe, to say no, to accept my need for being alone often, in a word to accept my difference… and to refuse bitterness for all those years I should have spent more happily….You are young , aware of your situation, you will get through. It is hard work, you need a strong wil, but you ll do it. Keep going, one step at a time, you re doing great and you are a beautiful person.
    Chantal H.

    • August 17, 2018 / 21:16

      Dear Chantal, thank you so so so much for your encouraging words. I am sorry to hear about your struggles but glad to hear that you started a successful healing process and that you are already noticing its benefits. We probably always will have a sort of “backpack” with us that we’ll carry almost everywhere, but knowing that we can talk about it and that we are not alone makes it less hard. I wish you all the best!

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