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April 1st, Not Fool's

Photo by Amanda Jones

Today marks the first of April, and although many may choose to make a fool out of someone (rightly so, GO FOR IT), I am choosing something much more precarious--to attempt a major change in myself.

I had a huge realization over the last few weeks and more than that, a terrible sinking feeling the last few years that I have become a negative person. I used to laugh all the time, make big plans and have lofty dreams, but now I've found myself struggling for inspiration or motivation. The events of the last six years or so have weighed me down.

After my younger brother had his heart attacks and almost died, I decided to quit my job of 16 years and start completely over. I wanted something different for myself. I had become restless and thought, well, what better time than now. My priorities felt so clear. I had been wanting to do it for quite some time, and I made the jump.

It was exciting. I had nothing lined up but had a healthy savings set aside. I wasn't worried. I essentially wanted to take the time to figure out what I really wanted to do. Fall face first into acting again, start working for myself somehow. Immediately however, I faced my own health issues and was knocked on my ass. One major surgery later and 5% less of my lungs left I was on a healing journey.

I began to feel my lifelong struggle with depression rear its ugly head. I spent an entire year without a full-time job and with the nagging feeling of serious mental health issues. I was finally diagnosed with Bipolar 2 (which just means I have hypomania instead of full-blown mania, a bipolar lite, if you will), an anxiety disorder and OCD. I went into an intensive outpatient program to deal with all of it and learn ways to cope. Interestingly, this took place a week after I was hired to work a new job in retail--something I had never done before.

I quickly learned I hated retail for the most part, but I needed a job. I had blown through all of my savings. A few months into it was March 2020, and we all know what happened then. Covid shut down the world and changed everything for the next few years. It was a haze of stress and anxiety on top of my own stress and anxiety. I would change jobs again a few times in attempts to make myself happier, but nothing worked. It all felt so serious and difficult.

Amidst all of that I found pockets of happiness of course. In 2019 I traveled to Europe (thus REALLY blowing through my savings). Because of the hateful retail job I met my boyfriend of (almost) three years. He has been the light guiding me through the darkness. And he is the inspiration for my new journey. I always turn to him when my anxiety gets bad, which to be honest, is way more often than not. He has a way of putting things into perspective for me. He can point out that I tend to catastrophize and imagine the worst possible outcome most of the time. I look to my experiences and surmise that only more of the same will come. In my mind the bad things that can happen always happen. But Gustavo knows that that's not true. He tells me that the other side is possible too. And he's right.

Thus begins my new adventure. I should preface this by also sharing that last July I quit my most hated job yet without having anything lined up (again) and found something I loved. I was working from home and had a great work-life balance. But all the while instead of thinking how fortunate I was to have found something so great immediately after I quit I was more worried about losing it as it was freelance. I moved through month to month not knowing how long I'd have a job. It eventually happened--my latest contract ended three days ago. And that is why I'm starting now. It's the perfect time.

I decided I want to take a page from the book of Goose and not be so afraid. To be more positive. Everyone always says that being positive will bring good things into one's life. The law of attraction at work. Well, that's what we're going to see. This experiment will be a challenge for me to change my anxious thinking into positivity. This is going to be harder for me than you might imagine. And that's why it's something I need to do. Starting today I am going to take each negative or fearful thought and replace it with a positive one.

I want to see if a person as anxiety-ridden as myself can start to turn things around with the power of positive thinking. This project itself is a form of positivity. I haven't written in years, and this represents my return to something creative that I love. I will check in several times a week with my progress, letting you know about the struggles and the triumphs. We will see together if switching my thoughts one at a time can actually make my life get better if not just feel better (which when I think about it, might be the same thing). I know this process will have its ups and downs, so follow along to see in real time if positivity can change my life. I'll start now by saying that it can.


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