Adulting is Hard

Another project done and dusted. I made it through a tough job with the most difficult client I’ve had (so far). I thought I’d be over the moon. I usually feel good afterward. But this time? I felt nothing for the first couple of days, and didn’t know what to do with myself. And now I feel like a fraud. Like I don’t deserve to feel proud of myself for a job well done, because… well, I suck. And I’m not actually that good.

I suck at relationships, work, socially, etc. Basically anything that involves being alive. Why do I bother trying? All I want to do is hide away in a dark, quiet, small space, with tons of blankets (like I used to do, but have since adulted) and my Cuddly. Being a kid was hard, but being an adult is even harder, and I just don’t want to do it anymore. Having to pretend to be normal every day is exhausting.

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Cuddly – He’s super soft. I want a real one too, but have now finally given up on that dream.

Contemplating Achievement

It’s time for a more positive post, because it’s not always just bad.

About a month ago I told my mom that I feel like I haven’t achieved anything in my life. That I’ve just wasted my life, and have nothing to show for myself. I was feeling a little despondent about my web and graphic design business. She told me that the fact that I continue to come up with ideas and work hard, despite the obstacles, she sees that as a great achievement. She said that she would have given up trying long ago, but I didn’t. And at some point, all that hard work just has to pay off.

My design business is about 6 months old, and I think I’ve done pretty well so far. Even though the business isn’t where I’d like it to be, I realize that it will take time. I haven’t had many clients, but at least I’ve gotten some. It’s much more successful than my photography business ever was, and is. And for that, I’m grateful.

For the past couple of months, I’ve been wanting to redesign the website of one of the restaurants my friend (previous wedding business partner) and I often meet at. Their website was ancient, had security issues, and didn’t work correctly. I spoke to one of the managers, gave her my business card, and asked her to please give it to the owner. And then I waited.

About 2 weeks ago I decided I was sick of waiting. So I found out the name of the owner of the restaurant and sent him an email. It took me an hour to write! Not because it was a long email (it wasn’t, it was short and to the point), but because I kept rewriting it in an attempt to get it just right. Damn perfectionist tendencies. It took me another 10 minutes to get the courage to hit “send”. But I did. And I was rewarded two days later with a phone call from the owner, telling me he’d been wanting to change his website for 3 years, but hadn’t gotten around to it! He wanted to meet. The last meeting we had, on Monday, I had shown him what I’ve done so far, and he was super happy with it. That was such a relief. I had been so nervous that he wouldn’t like the design and layout, and I’d have to start over. I find that I get very attached to my design work, and really want the client to like it too. I’m almost done with the website now, and should have it up on Monday. It would have been ready earlier, but of course, I still have my half-day job. I’m glad I’ve got that job though. I don’t know what I’d do without it.

I went into panic mode just before starting this project because I would have to do something completely different to how I would usually do it. I thought I couldn’t, and I’d have to tell my client that I couldn’t help him. But I did the work to figure out just how to do things this way. It set me back two days, but I learned, and with it came a boost of confidence. Adaptability in business is crucial. I learned this from an online sales and entrepreneurship course I’m taking at the moment.

One thing I’ve learned through this experience with the restaurant is that it’s not enough to just hand out business cards and hope for the best. I’m going to have to follow-up, and reach out to the correct person. And my meetings with my friend in business really motivate and inspire me. We motivate and inspire one another, and even though it’s draining spending too much time with her, I always get something out of it. I’ve learned to tell her when she’s overwhelming me, and ask her to talk softer and slow down, or give me 5 minutes to just ground myself. She respects my boundaries, so our meetings have become so much more pleasant, and I leave feeling good (most of the time anyway).

Achievement isn’t limited to career or studies. The other day Jasmine told me that I’m becoming really good with boundaries. That was nice to hear. To me, that’s an achievement. So when I think I haven’t achieved anything in life, I can recognize that thought for the lie it is. Maybe I can refer back to this post during those moments of self-doubt.

Unfortunately the depression and desire to just give up on life hasn’t left. It’s there when I wake up in the morning. It’s there every time I take a break from work. Heck, even while I’m working, but at least once I get into a flow state, I get a break from those feelings and thoughts.

Fine, Then Not

It’s been a busy, but good week. I took the whole of today to myself for some rest and relaxation. Yet, I feel depressed. I felt fine this morning and afternoon. But somewhere along the way that changed.

It seems that after a busy period, once I allow myself some time to recuperate, I hit a low. Even if it was a good kind of busy. I had to force myself today to not do any work, even though I felt the urge to. Did some work last night so that I could have a break today.

Maybe if I had done some work today I wouldn’t be feeling this way right now. But I also know that I tend to burn out pretty quickly, so need to prioritize self-care. I have a meeting with a client tomorrow and the week is going to be another busy one. So I have to learn to balance my life, which isn’t an easy thing to do.

I hate feeling this way. Of just wanting to disappear. Of wanting life to end. Especially when there doesn’t seem to be a logical explanation for experiencing this depression. But I guess it’s never logical anyway.

It Just Is

I ended up going into work today. I don’t know why. Just followed my routine without even thinking and got through the day.

Had about 30 minutes of euphoria and hyperactivity tonight, but then crashed even harder. I don’t care about anything now. I don’t even know why I’m writing. Guess there’s nothing else to do. Can’t even think about tomorrow.

What I Want Now Vs. What’s Best For Me

It’s been a long and busy week, full of stress and pressure. Not all of it external, some of it was self-inflicted. But here’s the thing. Most of it was at a healthy and reasonable level. When I think back to the stress, anxiety, and the pressure I felt to perform at all of my previous jobs, I notice the difference to how I’m experiencing these feelings now. I’m doing work I enjoy, and I’m my own boss. This makes such a huge difference.

I’ve also learned a surprising thing this week. I’m much more passionate about web and graphic design than I am about photography. I’m also so much more confident in myself in this field. There have been a couple of times where I surprised myself this week in doing something in record time, pulling off “the impossible”, or having just figured something out on my own. When that happened, I felt a gentle sense of pride in myself, and gave myself a pat on the back. With my photography I hardly ever felt proud of myself, just like a failure.

There were a couple of moments while working on my design projects where I felt so overwhelmed and just wanted to scream and bury my head under some pillows. But, instead of panicking, I got up, stepped away from what I was doing, took some deep breaths, and started speaking out loud to myself. Telling myself that I’m in control. The work doesn’t control me. The clients (or my dad) don’t control me. I am in control, and I don’t have to give my power away. These conversations with myself really helped a lot. I feel good about what I accomplished this week. Sure, I wish I didn’t get tired and overwhelmed so easily, but I do, and I need to accept that and be kind to myself. I need to know and respect my limits. Know when I need to push myself just a little bit more, and when to step back and take a break. I’m trying to learn how to balance things.

Since waking up this morning I’ve felt low on energy and depressed. There were a few things I wanted to get done on one of the websites I’m building, and starting feeling some pressure to do it. So I decided that I’m not going to work on anything today. I’m taking a break. I’m photographing a newborn tomorrow, and those sessions can last up to three hours, so I want to give myself some time off. I’ve worked hard and long hours this week, and I deserve a break.

All I want to do right now is stay in my room. I don’t want to do anything. Usually when I’m feeling low on energy I enjoy just reading, writing, and maybe watching a movie or episodes of a series I like. But with this depression, I don’t even feel like doing that.

Elizabeth and I have plans tonight. We’re meeting up with one of her friends who’s visiting South Africa from Europe, and one of his other friends. I’m not in the mood. Like I said, I just want to stay home. I know I can tell Elizabeth that I’m not coming, and stay at home instead, but I also know that would not be the best thing for me. If it were just tiredness, and I wanted some time to myself to “re-set” or refresh, I might have cancelled. But I know myself. If I stay here, the depression will just grow, I’ll get bored, and go down a very slippery slope. I just have to look at past experiences to see how good it had been for me to go out when I had felt this way, versus how I had felt when I had stayed at home in this current state I find myself in.

What I want right now, isn’t what’s best for me. Staying here won’t serve any good purpose. Sometimes we have to do what we don’t feel like doing, if we know it’s the best thing for us in the medium to long-term, and for our well-being. So I’m going out.

It might be just what I need.