The feeling of being stuck

Crazy how life sometimes gets in the way of everything isn’t it? I keep promising myself to write more, but then school and a lack of sleep happens. This semester is a busy one and it is a humbling experience to say the least. I often find myself wondering if this is what I really want. Becoming a vet is something I’ve wanted since I was little, but I’ve always been aware of the fact that this will be an incredibly tough journey. Biology and chemistry I have always found interesting but math and physics are a struggle. I have never been a genius at the science related subjects, but I am strong with languages and working with people.

This raised the question on whether or not I should be doing this. My degree as a vet tech can’t really be used to get into a university of applied sciences here in Denmark, unfortunately, but it can in the Netherlands and Finland. Returning to the Netherlands wouldn’t be as easy as it may sound, since we lost our home when my mom died, I can’t just move in with a family member or a friend and I don’t feel like racking up a ton of debt before the age of 30. One also doesn’t just casually to Finland without taking all of the risks into consideration either. It’s almost like trying to solve a complicated puzzle.

I’ve been looking around at different educations a lot, and currently Adventure Tourism and perhaps a degree in Business sound the most exciting to me. But then the ”what if” thought pops up. What if I quit what I am doing now, only to find out that I could have easily passed through this GED course and gotten into vet school? Or what if I get into vet school, but my love and I won’t be able to close the distance for another decade or so? Am I wanting to spend another 10 years struggling or do I choose something that fits my strengths best and pursue that? Tough decisions and no one to help me but myself.

As I’m getting older, I realise that there are many different things out there, exciting things and that vet school may not be the end all be all in life. I used to really have my eyes on the prize, become successful and be respected, but lately my mood has shifted a lot. Be it because I’ve been following my heart more now than ever, but I’ve come to realise that being successful isn’t always what makes you happy. And the art of being successful – what does it even mean? Does it mean having a lot of money in the bank, a big house, having people respect you because of your academia or is it just as simple as being at peace and happy?

In the end, being successful is a very subjective thing, since it isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of thing. For some it is wealth and I guess that I’m still trying to figure it all out.

For as long as I can remember I have been seeking for happiness and I still haven’t gotten there just quite yet. I guess obtaining it means making tough decisions and maybe even breaking some hearts and hurting some feelings on the way. But I have gotten to a point where I feel stuck. I want to be unapologetically myself, but it’s easier to keep up the appearance that people have gotten from me over the years. Eventually I will figure it out, I hope, but for now I feel stuck. And it sucks.

Have any of you out there ever felt stuck and if you did, how did you break free? I could use some tips..

– Naiyee

 

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How yoga saved my life

Lately I haven’t been feeling very grounded. With school, exams coming up, trying to keep a social life and visiting family I have been nothing but busy. All of those long days and days away from home I have really not been able to practise yoga the way I want to. Not just in the physical sense, but also mentally. For the past three years I’ve been keeping my practise (somewhat) consistent, but this year has been really difficult!

I started my practise back in 2015, only a couple of months after my mother passed away. I felt very lost and as if my life had lost all of its meaning, so I decided to look for something to do.. I had been flirting with the idea of yoga years prior, but had never seriously considered it. I only saw the physical aspect of it, but never the mental aspects. The thought that I wasn’t flexible enough or skinny enough went through my mind a lot. But the more I thought about it, the more the idea of Yoga pulled me in. So I bought a cheap yoga mat and started following along with video’s on YouTube. At first it was only 15 minutes a day, but I could immediately sense how calm it made me feel.

During that period of my life my mind was racing. Thoughts about how much I missed my mother and my family back home, but also thoughts that were much, much darker. I felt the need to be in control of my life, since I couldn’t be in control of my mother’s fate.  I was yearning to find some peace in my life. Starting with yoga was scary to me. I was very insecure, having been overweight and bad with any type of ”exercise”, so this was a challenge. But I decided to face it head on and so I did. Soon I found myself on my mat ever. single. day. My practise started on my mat, but soon expanded itself into everything I do. I focus on how I breathe, how I speak to other people and take time to meditate a little, even if it is just for a minute or two. But it also made my relationships with other people better. I feel as if I have a deeper understanding of why people do what they do or say the things they say.. Before I used to be very quick to judge, not really paying people any time of the day and just living on the fast lane.

Yoga has taught me in times of stress to take a step back, reflect and ask myself: ”What is this teaching me?”. If something doesn’t serve me, I let it go. If I can’t control something, I let it happen. It has also taught me a lot about my own body too. Asana is one of the 8 limbs of yoga and asana means posture. It is what you see people do on their mats. Asana humbled me beyond belief. I used to see a pose and think: ”Wow!! I want to do it too, I’m totally ready for that!” even though I wasn’t. In the beginning that made a dent in my ego. Not being able to do a handstand or a middle split within 3 months bugged the living daylights out of me and even made me want to stop at times, but as my practise progressed, I realised that it really doesn’t matter. Sure, it is a fun goal to have, but that’s the thing. You should enjoy the journey towards those goals instead of only focus on the destination.

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This pose in particular I started practising about 2 years ago and I still struggle with it! Such a humbling experience every time I try it.

That lesson I could also apply to my real life. You see, after my mom died, I was waiting to die myself as well. I didn’t see any point in living anymore if she wasn’t there to see me do the crazy stuff I do today. I then realised that I am going to be around for a long time still, if I’m lucky. So why would I wait for that final destination, the day I die, while beating myself up about so much stuff that is not my hands? That final destination will happen, whether I like it or not, so I might as well enjoy the time I still have left. And that is how yoga saved me. It saved me from a life filled with emptyness and misery.

I might not have time or energy to practise asana every day, but you better believe I try to practise the other 7 limbs from the moment I wake up until the moment I hit the hay. And that’s the beauty of it. You are completely in charge of the way you want to practise as long as you are not forcing it.

Have you ever tried yoga?

-Naiyee

Overcoming adversity

Today is the day before going on an adventure in another country, the lovely country that is Finland. Today is also the day where I had a very tough exam prep for history, which I’ll be having exams for very soon. And today was also the day where I saw my psychologist.

I’ve been battling depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember now, and after having seen different therapists in the course of the past decade, I finally feel like the psychologist I’m seeing now really gets me. With the death of my mom, the big changes in my private life, exams coming up and changing schools, this past month or 2 have been difficult to get through. I’ve been doubting my judgement, consumed with self loathing and over all just very insecure about my schoolwork. Vet school is something I’ve wanted since I was little, and now that I’m actively working towards it, I find myself very discouraged at times, as if I’m not smart enough, or worthy of getting in.

My psychologist used the movie ”Inside Out” as a comparison of the different versions of myself living within this head of mine. She asked me to sit down on a chair and tab into the depressed and dark side of myself, and once I’d gotten there, I’d have to tell her how that version of myself made me feel. At first it felt very weird to me, to get to a dark place in my consciousness while I’m actually having an okay day. But then she made me sit on another chair, the more positive and empathetic part of me. She told me to drag myself out of that deep, dark place and find out what the empathetic version of me would tell my depressed version.

It was very hard for me to actually face myself, my depressed self, and tell myself good things about myself. I’ve been dragging myself down for so long, that it’s basically all I know. I’m not good at telling myself that I deserve to be happy, or that I’m worthy of having good things in my life. For some reason I always felt as if bad things were about to happen, and because of that, I convinced myself that getting excited about anything, would only result in disappointment, so it’d be better to just be miserable. My mom’s death is a prime example of that. Why bother getting married or having kids when she won’t be there to witness it all? All of my milestones would be pointless without her there.

But since seeing my therapist, I started realising how flawed that logic actually is. My mom might be gone, but I’m at the prime of my life. It’d be stupid to deny myself nice things just because she’s gone, or because I got told once by a bully that I’m disgusting and worthless. I’m slowly opening up to the things that I denied myself for a long time, and surprisingly enough, I start feeling things again, instead of running on autopilot. For the first time in years I chose myself over someone else, and to be quite frankly here, it’s hard. My depressed version still comes out often to tell me I’m selfish, and that my choices hurt other people. My psychologist told me to train my empathetic version to be stronger. To tell myself that it’s okay to choose yourself over others sometimes. So I guess that’s another part in my recovery process that I’ll have to work on.

It’s not easy doing this alone. But eventually I’ll get there. Babysteps.

 

  • Nen