Category: Reader Picks

Self-Care for the Anxious and Overburdened

Woman's hands holding a cup of tea or coffee.

Anxiety is something I’ve been dealing with since I was a teenager. It’s that overwhelming sense that things have gone wrong, are going wrong, and will go wrong and that I will suffer the terrible consequences. As a teenager, I was convinced that I was always making some grave social misstep when I interacted with people, and as a result, I felt that I was constantly being judged. I didn’t think anybody liked me and I isolated myself. I watched people’s interest in me dwindle, hemorrhaging friends every year. Devastating words like “failure” and “loser” and “alone” reverberated around my mind, chipping away at something inside me every time they collided with my insides. No one really called me these things to my face, but in my experience of anxiety, I was my own bully.

Fortunately, once high school was over and I went off to university, things slowly got better. I didn’t leave high school without scars and tattered self-esteem, but experiencing the freedom to take care of myself for the first time helped me begin to heal. If I was feeling overwhelmed, I could have alone time to get myself together. I could try to face social situations that intimidated me slowly, in a way that didn’t provoke a breakdown.

So when I left undergrad a few years ago, my anxiety came with me, but it was controlled. Instead of a wild, ravaging wolf, I had an unruly retriever on my hands. I could put it on a leash.

I thought that was the end of that, until last week, when I found myself awake at 5 am, on the verge of tears, and quickly spiralling. What?

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Active Dreaming and the Art of Getting Ish Done

driftyness blog intelligent millennial stories

F ncFact: I’m a dreamer. Growing up, I was your stereotypical introvert kid with a love of reading, writing, and drawing. I spent my weekends with my nose buried in a novel, and I lined up outside the bookstore to get my hands on the last Harry Potter book. Like many young introverts, I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. I spent my days daydreaming, or “catching gapsie” as my Caribbean parents called it, and I wrote a lot: plays, stories, journal entries, and when I got older, blog posts.

I had a lot of grand ideas, like how I would one day steal away to Paris in the middle of the night and embark on a fantastic adventure. Or how I would go to university and study archaeology so I could spend my work days traipsing through the desert and my days off sandboarding down the windswept dunes, my long, glossy ponytail flowing freely behind me.

At some point during my young adult life, I realized that while I never wanted to stop being a dreamer, I could no longer be only a dreamer. I had to get ish done. And so, I came up with the idea of “active dreaming,” or making the wonderful ideas in my head a  reality.

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Lessons From Letting Myself Go

black woman smiling as she sits in a shopping cart

S ncSometimes, I get really anxious at night. My mind starts wandering to all the things I’m uncertain and insecure about: by the time I’m ready to enter the housing market will I be priced out? What if I never find a job I actually like? Does the fact that I’m a late bloomer mean that it’s too late for me to find a relationship?

Last night, as I not-so-gracefully gave myself over to the anxiety spiral, I read about a man who had his mugshot held for ransom. It basically ruined his life for a bit. Now, I don’t have a mugshot, but I do have a name twin. She has the same uncommon first and last name as me, and she’s made it her username all over the internet. So I googled my own name, as I sometimes do, just to make sure that nothing shady was going on.

I clicked a Facebook link, curious to see what my name doppelganger looked like, only to find that the Facebook profile was actually mine. It was a page from the hormonal, angst-filled cringefest of my early teens, and I had long ago abandoned it. “Abandoned” meaning that I logged out one day and never signed in again, leaving it up for the whole world to find on Google.

Naturally, I logged in to change my privacy settings, because no future employer or date needs to see how awkward I was at age 13. Curious about this time in my life that I try not to think about, I started clicking through my old photos. Was my hair really that healthy? And was I really that cute?

And then it hit me: I’ve let myself go.
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Introvert Problems: Being Single Is Way Too Easy For Me

OOne of my goals for May was to go on one date. This isn’t a particularly ambitious goal, and online dating gives me access to so many potential dates. I’ve got (hypothetical) options! So why am I three weeks into May, dateless, and only half-jokingly thinking that I’m going to be single for the rest of my life?

I dropped my dating life when I found myself with too much on my plate back in March.  It’s been about a month and a half since then and I haven’t really done anything to get back to dating.

Sometimes I think I should really get going because I don’t want to find myself in a mad dash to find a man when I start getting close to 30. I’ve heard of that happening to people, and it’s possible that it could happen to me too. But on the other hand, I’m pretty comfortable just not dating at all.

Being single is just easy for me. I’m amazed by people who seamlessly transition from singledom to being in a relationship because I’m finding it to be an absolute struggle.

Can you relate?

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What a Black Maxi Dress Taught Me About Managing My Finances

black maxi dress driftyness

WWhen I saw it, I gasped. The perfect loose-yet-draping-in-the-right-places dress. It was long and covered my legs, which meant I could skip the lotion if I was running late (#girlhacks). The V-neck cut was décolletage friendly without leaving me feeling overexposed, the thin and seamless straps made it look a little more designed than your average black maxi dress, and the material was one that wouldn’t start forming those horrid little balls that make whole outfits look shabby.

It wasn’t crazy expensive, but as a grad student with a limited income, I still had to save up for it. I calculated how long it would take for me to get it, and I checked on the dress a few days later.

To my horror, it was sold out and hasn’t been restocked since. My feelings were hurt, and to be honest, I’m still a little salty.

It bugged me even more because this has happened before on multiple occasions. Bombshell little black dress for a ridiculous price? Can’t afford it. Cute statement jewellery that matches my glasses? Too broke. Flash sale at one of my favourite stores? Not enough money for that, sorry.

I think I’ve got it half right in that I shouldn’t be spending money I don’t have, but I think I’m half wrong in not being prepared for situations that are only partly unpredictable: I know that they’ll happen, but I just don’t know when.

Join me as I try to get myself together.

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