3.30.2015

To Prague and Beyond

Several months ago, probably sometime in October, I was having a text message conversation about life with my good friend Elena. I was venting to her about how I just can't seem to come across a feeling of fulfillment in my life. I sat there and typed paragraphs to her about how I feel like I"m wasting my life because i'm just "going through the motions" of college, work, and attempting to find love. I was in a place where my dreams seemed ridiculously far away, and literally everything seemed unattainable.

After I had finished my rant, Elena asked me a question. She said, "If you could do anything with your life right now, money and responsibility aside, what would you want to do?"

I took me half a second to respond, because I know exactly what I WANT to do in life. So, I replied, "I would travel the world and read books and write to my heart's content."

Her response is what made me really begin to become proactive about making a major change in my life. She didn't give me the typical, "Well, maybe someday..." or "Too bad that's just not realistic," reply that I have been so used to hearing. Instead, she said something along the lines of, "So do it."

Now, I won't lie, after this conversation, I sat there and made a mental list of all of the reasons that I can't jet set off to some foreign destination and begin a new life. This is something I have pondered doing for years, and I always chalked it up to not a reasonable thing to do because of things like "responsibility" and finances.

But, for some reason, this time things hit me a little differently and my pondering led to positive results instead of negative ones . I began to look at moving out of the country and travelling as not just a dream, but as a possibility. And, as fate would have it, a month or so later, Elena mentioned the possibility of teaching English overseas. She was getting ready to apply to a program in Spain. The idea was intriguing, so I began to do my own research on different teaching opportunities, and the perfect one for me kind of just fell into my lap.

Now, a few months later, I am preparing to move to the Czech Republic to live in Prague, obtain my TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification, and teach English for a living. My heart is so full, and the excitement that I feel each time I think about this upcoming journey is just not something I have been able to put into words yet. Knowing that I will be living in a new and beautiful place, beginning a new career that will be beneficial to the lives of others, and traveling Europe in my spare time is honestly, more than I could have ever asked for.

So, this is my public declaration...on July 31st, 2015, I will be getting on a one-way flight to Prague. My plane ticket has been purchased, and my next few months here will be spent saving, planning, and preparing for the move. This is frightening and enthralling at the same time.

Thoughts, prayers, good vibes, and advice are definitely welcome during this process! I would love to hear about any personal experiences with traveling or living abroad, as well as tips for packing and international travel.

I also have a Fund my Travel page, which you can find HERE. I was hesitant to make one of these pages, and while I expect absolutely nothing from anyone, getting over there in order to teach is not exactly a cheap endeavor. So, I figured...why not?

Thank you all so much for reading my rants and raves. I have a feeling that this blog is going to find a whole new life over the next year.

3.15.2015

Rediscovering Myself

It's been a while, dear blog. It has been a while.

I can't believe that we are already halfway through the month of March. 2015 is flying by at a pretty rapid pace. I have to say though, that for the most part, I am pretty pleased with this year's occurrences so far. At the beginning of the year, I decided that it was necessary for 2015 to be a year for personal growth. And not personal growth in the sense of "bettering" myself...but in the sense of rediscovering myself.

I have debated over whether or not to share details about my depression here on the blog, but I have realized that if I ever want to get back to posting here regularly, that it needs to be shared because it is a major reflection of many of the things that I will write. It is also something that, whether I like it or not, is a part of me. And what is the point of having a space to write what I please if I'm not being true to every aspect of myself?

Anxiety is something that I have struggled with for as long as I can remember. If you have been reading my blog for an extended period of time, you have most likely read all about this, and my issues with trichotillomania as a result of the anxiety. OCD and depressive tendencies have always been a part of who I am as well, but I wouldn't say that depression became a major issue for me until after I graduated college.

Over the past three years of being a college graduate, I have been a perfectionist who is unable to live up to her expectations. I have made poor decisions, I have went through multiple failures, I haven't been able to figure my career out, and I have been unable to keep my emotions at a stable level. As time has went on, it has become more and more difficult to get out of bed every morning, it has become second nature to pretend to smile or laugh at things, and it has become easier and easier to come home from work and spend my evenings lying in bed or on my floor and simply doing nothing other than staring at the ceiling.

It came to a point where I was spending more time crying than laughing. I was spending more time alone in the dark than I was with friends or family...and some of my relationships have suffered because of it. I wasn't reading, or writing, or doing anything else that I love to do. I was a victim of my own feelings, and because of that, I was no longer living my life in the way that it is meant to be lived.

Somewhere between a pretty extreme session of self-loathing, and a breakdown over something that should have been fairly insignificant, I decided that it was time to get some help. I had spoken with a couple of those closest to me about the possibility of therapy or medication before, but I never really took it seriously because the options scared me...and made me feel a little on the crazy side. Luckily, I was eventually able to overcome my ignorance.

At the beginning of this year, I went to see the doctor about the things I have been dealing with, and I was diagnosed with depression. Or, I guess I should actually say...my depression was confirmed. After exploring my options, I made the decision to begin taking anti-depressants, because I felt that I needed something to help me get into a mindset that would allow me to get my life, and my emotions back on track.

I'm now in my third month of taking Paxil, which is actually the same type of medication that I took for my trichotillomania when I was a kid. So, is it working? For the most part...yes, it is. Has it magically fixed all of my problems? Definitely not. There are pros and cons...just like there are pros and cons to taking any type of medication. The main con? I have been insanely tired...to the point where I am sleeping 9 to 10 hours a night. I have also not had a night of sleep that hasn't been accompanied by some type of crazy dream. The pros? There is a noticeable difference in my anxiety levels. I am regaining energy to do the things that I love, and I have even implemented some new changes in my life.

I'm taking baby steps to allowing myself to be truly happy. I'm slowly, but surely, rediscovering myself.

Here is what I have realized. Depression is infuriating in the sense that you feel like it's something you should be able to control, yet you can't control it. Depression is a constant state of transparent suffocation. The feeling is constantly wrapped around you, and you can see through it to the contentment that you want for your life, yet you can't fight it off no matter how hard you try. Depression is a lot of horrible things, but there are ways that will keep you from surrendering to it.

Sometimes, overcoming it just takes more than you can do on your own.

© My Restless Soul. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.