*****Warning***** NSFW language in this post. You have been warned.
I saw all the warning signs. I woke up randomly in the middle of the night and could not fall back asleep. This happened several nights in a row. My thoughts held their own Daytona 500, going in circles making left turns all day. In my daily interactions, I was like a chihuahua ready to bite someone’s little toe off. Little things that I usually overlooked were getting under my skin. I was detached, irritated, and miserable.
Growing up, I was an anxious kid. Due to severe emotional and childhood trauma, I wanted nothing to do with my past. As a result, I possessed perfectionistic tendencies. I worked my ass off to be successful and be something better than what I saw during my younger years. Unfortunately, if I did not meet my own often unrealistic expectations, panic ensued. That feeling of impending doom loomed overhead followed up by suffocation shortly thereafter. At one point in high school, I had three to four panic attacks a day.
My dad saw what was happening to me. This was right around the time he finally started to sober up following a long battle with alcoholism. Right around when my anxiety was at its worst, he offered me some poetic advice, “Sometimes you just need to say, ‘fuck it’.”
At the time, I laughed it off. I figured my dad was trying to make light of the situation. When I got a bit older, I started to realize that the old man had a point. If I worried about every little thing in life, I would be a shaking, neurotic mess for the rest of my life. I would look like a U.S. president after they completed two terms in office.
I thought back to my dad’s words of wisdom and recalled a new medication that came out recently. It is meant to be a cure all for life’s daily stressors. A once a day dose takes care of all life’s bullshit. The medication is called…
For real though, I took my dad’s advice into account and finally said “fuck it.” I decided to have a self-care weekend. I booked a two night stay at a bed and breakfast a block from the beach. I also ensured that it was not going to be one of those getaways where I had something scheduled every minute of every day. I knew a few things I wanted to do like go to the local zoo, go to the boardwalk, hit up the beach at sunset, etc. However, I went there intentionally having unstructured free time.
My dad was not only cracking a joke, but talking more about an attitude that can be helpful to adapt at the appropriate time. By saying those two magical words, it helped me re-frame my priorities. My mental, physical, and emotional health were being jeopardized in exchange for overworking myself and crumbling social interactions. It helped to see where my energy should be focused right now.
To supplement my dad’s wisdom, I added my own little touch.
“We are all given a predetermined amount of fucks and shits at birth. As we grow up, we learn when to give them.”
-The Caring Counselor