I have been thinking about writing this for a few months. I just couldn’t decide the proper venue or content to share it properly.
What I’m going to share is personal, but necessary. It is also potentially problematic — but I feel like I need to share it not just for my benefit but for others who may share my current (and previous) lot in life. Holding back any more is not the path towards growth.
It was November when I decided things needed to change. I had to change. Change what? Everything.
I had just spent a large portion of my life throughout the year working harder than I ever have before. I worked a full-time day job and then was shooting weddings and engagements every other free moment. Spending 18 hours a day sitting at a computer. Sleep was no longer a normal thing. It was an afterthought. A distraction.
I loved the results and things I accomplished but the process became a blur. I was no longer able to appreciate what I was spending my time doing, either behind the lens or behind the computer.
Unmotivated, anxious, and depressed, the season was starting to wind down. There was more time to reflect. Initially, that time of reflection directed me more towards anxiety and dissatisfaction. I thought my state was due to circumstances. Things I could not change, but just had to deal with.
I had spent the year deluding myself with the notion that I had everything under control. I could do it all. Somehow I also thought I was really good at it, too.
Then I cracked.
Everything seemed like an enormously stressful charade. I thought that maybe if I could just change the day to day things then it would fade away. Maybe a different challenge or doing something new would make it all better.
No matter what it was I still felt like I was invisible. And every day it got worse.
I couldn’t just snap out of it. It was impacting every relationship in my life. It’s one thing to just deal with it internally, but to alienate yourself from everyone you care about is not fair to them. It was hurting more people than just myself.
Something had to change because as easy as it is for me to rationalize hurting myself, it is much much harder to rationalize hurting other people.
I spent a hard few days reflecting on the specific things that were making me miserable. A few of the things were within my control, others were not. Of the things I could not change, could I remove them from my life — or at least minimize their presence? For things I could control, was it worth it to keep those things in my life or should I shed them entirely? If they stay, what was I going to change about how the impact me, my thoughts, and how I live my life?
For someone always seemingly in control I had to ask myself one of the hardest questions. Do I need help to do these things?
The answer was yes.
Once I admitted I needed help I became free to release some of the weight I was carrying around. Others helped me to find the things I needed to start on the path towards crafting a lifestyle that allows me to cope with normal stressors without the need to retreat.
I’ve scaled back a large part of my professional endeavors and focused more on what is going to be beneficial for me without creating additional stress and anxiety. I’m sleeping almost normally and I’ve been able to ease back into having a small social circle.
Things are getting better, but the real learning experience for me was to realize that I can still have it all without having to sacrifice my self in the process.