When Confidence Wanes

“I am confident because I can admit who I am, what I’ve done, and love myself for who I’ve become.”

For close to 50 years I’ve lived with chronic depression. Being medicated for many of these years I don’t have a point of reference for what “normal” really feels like yet “normal” is the one thing just beyond my grasp and the one thing in life I’ve desired most.

Many might think that when you live with a chronic illness for so long it would get easier but for me, it’s just different. I’ve only learned within the past few years to identify some of the triggers which send me into a downward spiral.

It typically begins with nothing; like something doesn’t feel quite right but I can’t articulate what’s wrong. The more I try to figure out what’s causing my angst the more apprehensive I become. This immense pressure begins spreading throughout my chest making it almost impossible to do the simplest of daily tasks like getting up, making the bed, taking a shower, getting dressed, heck, even breathing is difficult because I’m hyper aware yet paralyzed.

I feel overwhelmingly exhausted and I’m experiencing panic attacks. Even though logically I know I have unrealistic expectations for myself the tension inside of me continues to build and I think “not again, I can’t do this, I can’t be feeling this way because I have so much to do”. No amount of telling myself to “calm down it’s only a panic attack” helps, I can feel my heart rate increasing as my anxiety grows.

There are so many thoughts like rapid fire running through my head but it’s the feelings of self-loathing, guilt, helplessness, and hopelessness that threaten to take me over the edge. Oddly enough if it’s a beautiful day it makes me feel worse because something inside of me is telling me I should be energetic, I should soak up the sun and feel alive but I don’t want to but at the same time I do. I know it sounds crazy and I wish I could get out of my head but I’m so tired and so incredibly sad. What’s worse is knowing I’m a fighter but I feel so weak, so depleted.

I try to latch onto those past trials I’ve overcome but it’s just too much and I just want to stop thinking and only sleep. No matter how many times I go through these episodes they scare me because I feel like I’m losing my grip like I’m hanging by a strand and one more thing might cause it to break, cause me to break. It can last one day or five and I really don’t know what breaks the cycle and I think I don’t care I just want it to lift. Coming out of it is almost as scary as being in the midst of it because it’s a tentative thing. I mean, what if I’m not really feeling well, it’s important for me to take it slow and easy so as to not get sucked back into the vacuum that is depression.

Today I feel a little better but I’m still hesitant. Life is so fleeting it sucks that something so empty like depression and its lies can suck all the good out of me but it’s a process. I hold onto the hope that it won’t last forever and I’ll come out on the other end replenished. Life isn’t a fairytale, it isn’t the perfect pictures we post to social media, it’s messy, painful, and hard.

When I was younger I used to think my depression was the result of my childhood experiences but now I’m not so sure. The one thing I do know is it certainly wrecks havoc on the confidence I’ve so carefully honed. Or just maybe accepting depression as part of me makes me confident.

A Lil’ Inspiration #30

Want To Be Outstanding? Wear Confidence

“It’s not about what size you wear. It’s about how you wear your size.”

Abigail (Abby) is in the background of the text with her white cane and handbag.

You can be a size 2 and be totally uncomfortable in the clothes you wear. Likewise, you can be a size 22 and be completely at ease in your attire.

Being comfortable in your skin is the first step to confidence. Let your confidence be the determining factor in how you present yourself to the world. When you are able to confidently let your true self shine through, appearance becomes secondary.

Have a nice Thursday!!

Fabulous, Functional & Frugal Fashion Tip #14

“Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a KICK-ASS red lipstick.” ~Gwyneth Paltrow

kick-ass-lipstickNothing says confidence like a red lip. Red is bold, fiery, strength, power, determination, passion, desire, and love.

For those of us who require mobility devices a question that comes to mind might be “geez I get enough attention by using my white cane why do I need more?” While it could be a valid point there’s world of difference between the curious stares brought about from using the tools we need to live independently and the admiration that comes from the confidence that says “I feel good about myself, I feel beautiful.”

Today’s Tip: For an immediate confidence booster go with a red lip. Don’t wear makeup? No worries, just do you! Always remember, “when we feel good we look good.”

Image: Abigail (Abby) is in the background of the text with her white cane and handbag along with a bright red kiss against a black background.

Have a relaxing Sunday!

A Change of Pace

Confidence & Labels

Sitting on my bar stool with my white cane in hand.So this morning I was all excited because of an inspiration for today’s post. You know the kind, where you have to capture all your thoughts before they dissipate in the abyss of forgetfulness?

Well, so anyway I had it all lined up (my thoughts that is), I turned on my portable heater, grabbed a cup of coffee, fired up my laptop/monitor, opened WordPress and with fingers poised on the keyboard, nothing, absolutely nothing came to me. How could this be on a day like today? This post was gonna go viral, I just knew it and now it’s gone.

I was gonna write about projection and:

  • How we see ourselves
  • How others see us
  • How we want to be seen by others

I was gonna write about how as a child I just didn’t fit in and how I longed to be like everyone else. Even my name, pronounced Stef-a-nay, was different and I hated it.

I was gonna write about how in my desperation to fit in, I laughed with other classmates at students who took what we referred to as “the short bus” to a special school, but in reality I died a little inside because I knew my behavior was wrong.

Standing in front of my counter with my white cane.

I was gonna write about how insecure I felt at not being able to dress or pay for school lunches like my classmates.

I was gonna write about how coming from a dysfunctional family teaches you the value of secrets and putting on a mask to face the outside world because you can’t let people know how pathetic your home life really is.

I was gonna write about how, though there were some lines I would not cross, the ones I did cross inevitably fostered self-loathing because the things I was doing were contrary to my true character.

Know, first, who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly. ~Epictetus

I was gonna write about how the acceptance of others is sometimes a price too high to pay with very little return on investment.

I was gonna write about how having children of my own gave me the strength to fight. To fight for them, to fight for my integrity, to fight for myself. To become me.

I was gonna write about how, as adults, just because someone projects their expectations on to you, it’s not your problem, it’s theirs, let them deal with it.

I was gonna write about how the definition of the word label “a word or phrase indicating that what follows belongs in a particular category or classification,” is just a word and ultimately we are the ones who ‘choose’ to give this word power, we can choose differently.

Rear view standing at the counter with my white cane.

I was gonna write about how as a 55-year-old African-American woman who happens to have lost her sight, there are things, by society’s viewpoint, I was not supposed to achieve.

I was gonna write about when I finally came to grips with who I am, aside from my faith, I was no longer going to let anything, anyone, or any circumstance define me.

Like everything else in our lives, confidence ebbs and flows and it’s one of those things that requires constant maintenance. Depending on the situation, some days you may feel more confident than others but even on those days when confidence seems to be lacking it’s not fatal. Take some time if you need to, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and then when you feel the moment is right, carry on.

This post was a little different for me as is the outfit I’m wearing in the attached photos. I’ve made no secret of the fact that black is my favorite color, or shall I say non color, but in today’s pictures I’m wearing a light-colored ensemble. Following is the complete description:

  • Winter white dress pants (old)
  • H&M light gold lamé long-sleeve tunic top (comes to about mid-thigh) with a light-colored tank underneath. A nice detail is the slit at the wrist of the sleeves.
  • H&M Cream colored long loopy sweater vest – the vest is longer than the tunic and as soon as I saw it I knew it would work with the tunic and the pants. The actual loops are more like individual tassels covering the entire front of the vest.
  • Navy heeled ankle boots – three and a quarter-inch chunky heels with a silver zipper on the front of the boot.
  • Jewelry – chain drop earrings with rhinestone ends, pendant fringe necklace with several rhinestones immediately above the fringe, cut-out pavé open bangle.