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Improving part 4


Self-Improvement and Personal Well-Being Start off with a great foundation! The place to ponder the journey towards improving yourself!

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Old 28th March 2016, 3:03 AM   #1
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Improving part 4

I've been wanting to make an update but haven't found the motivation until now. I recently finished up a freelance job with an amazing agency. I was meant to work one month but my contract kept getting extended and I ended up working there for 6. I've never worked at a place on this level and am so grateful for the experience, The project wasn't always fun or exciting but the experience and working with great people made it worth it. My co workers and I on the team really connected and I till hang out with them even after having left. They are genuinely good people.

I signed up for a gym membership and have been going consistently twice a week for about a month now, and sporadically for a few months prior. I'm also thinking about kickboxing and Pilates. Someone gave me a few free Pilates classes and have yet to go. I'm also getting back into yoga.

I've also been making a point to eat healthier and make meals at home. I downloaded a nutrition tracker so I know if I'm getting the vitamins I need on a daily basis. It's nice to have this level of awareness of what I'm putting into my body.

Meditation is something I'm getting back into as well. I stopped for awhile, I think out of laziness. But I started back up and it feels nice to do it again.

I've been getting very into social media as a way to share my work and putting a lot of effort into promoting myself. I started this around July and the response has been pretty amazing! A lot of people have started following me and I've even gotten a few jobs out of it . I'm very happy and proud of what has happened with it, I did not expect to get that sort of response at all. I would really like to push myself when it comes to this and create more work I enjoy.

I'm getting back into dating as well. My life is finally starting to be in a place where I can welcome people into it. Dating has been eh so far, I want something more meaningful instead of a casual fling and honestly dating feels exhausting. But I'm trying.

I'm also looking into therapy. There's a few that look promising, I just have to make an appointment but I'm stalling on this for some reason. Previously I couldn't afford to even think about therapy as an option, now I can but its still very expensive. I don't think I could do one session a week, maybe once every two. Especially right now as I'm not working and looking for my next job. I think this is why.. The first two sessions are covered by insurance then after that I pay almost full price. Doing this while not employed makes me nervous.

I'm also thinking about doing something drastic with my hair.. I have an idea of what I want to do but it'd something very different than what I have now. It makes me nervous because The process of doing it would damage my hair and it may not end up even looking good. Or it could look great. Eek. We'll see.

I have been dealing with feelings of loneliness and depression. I'll write about that in another post though. Life is not perfect but I am happy with the progress I've made so far
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Old 29th March 2016, 3:10 AM   #2
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Even though I've gotten a lot of different areas of my life together I still feel depressed, especially lately. I have no close friends and am not dating anyone. I don't really have a support network at all. My best friend lives in a other city and lives with their SO, since they've moved in together we almost never talk and If we do its initiated by me. I feel like I could reach out to him but I don't want to bother/burden him with my problems and honestly, I hurts me that he doesn't seem interested in initiating contact. It makes me feel like this is a one sided friendship. I wish I had a genuine group of friends to spend time with but I don't. My previous friendships have kind of faded away, I attempted to reconnect but it's not really there anymore. It's becoming more obvious to me how detrimental this is to me. I need support, to belong, and to connect with people. It's like I'm starving myself emotionally.

Even though I want this, my depression and social anxiety, which feels like it has tripled in the last year, makes it difficult to connect with others. It takes a monumental amount of effor to try to act normal, happy and sociable. I used to be better at it but lately it seems impossible. How do you make friends when you feel this way?

I recently was seeing someone, the first person I've liked and felt comfortable around in a long time. For the first time I felt excited about things. I wanted better for myself, I wanted to make my apt to look better, I put more effort into my appearance, I felt more open to the world. I felt like I had been living in black and white and was seeing color for the first time. It was obvious he had some things going on(as am I) and it didn't end up working out, but after that it made me aware (more aware?)that the way I've been living is not the right way to live. I'm living half a life.

Another thing, working at the agency I was at was a good experience, but it also made me feel insecure about how far I am in my life and career. I was working nearly on the same level as someone who is 7 years younger than me and I felt embarrassed to tell anyone my age :/.

Also, Meditation had helped me have moments of clarity and made me realize my depression and anxiety prevent me from seeing things as they are. My mind is clouded with a lot of my own bullsh*t and low self-worth. i talk/think about myself in a very negative way, all thoughts having to do with the myself are automatically framed as though I'm insignificant and nothing, if I mess up or don't know how to handle something, I think about how much I hate myself. This is something I'm aware of and trying to work on but it is a very difficult cycle of thought to break. When I was seeing that guy he saw me in such a positive light. Even when he wasn't saying specifically positive about me everything was framed in the context of me being a great person. That's so far from how I view myself it was surprising.

I'm dealing with all these issues and it's overwhelming. I've fallen back into the habit of staying up late and getting out of bed around 3pm. I usually wake up earlier but feel so much pain or pointlessness that i just decide to stay in bed :/. What is the point when there is nothing bringing you joy? I'm just going to run errands, look for jobs, maybe go to the gym and that's it.

I've also began showing signs of aging, which is another thing and makes me feel unattractive.

Anyway I realized I need help seeing outside of this fog. I am hoping therapy can bring me a bit of clarify and help reframe the way I think.
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Old 30th March 2016, 9:09 PM   #3
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I forgot how good it feels to come to LS and write down everything that's on my mind. It also helps keep me accountable for actually making changes rather than just thinking about it.

Yesterday:
-applied to 5 jobs
-responded to 2 emails about collaborations
-responded to one email about featuring my work at an event. I responded to this a bit late so it's possible I may not hear back:/
-opened an online store to sell prints of my work
-went to a meetup for people in my field, which was fun.

Today:
-made an appointment with a doctor for a checkup, and I also want to get tested for anything that might be contributing my depression.
-finished my taxes

I have a some new emails to respond to. For some reasonresponding to emails is exhausting. One person is requesting to meet for coffee and talk about what we might be able to do together, which is exciting but also makes me nervous. I feel like my social anxiety, which has been very high lately, will get in the way.

When I first started getting emails about my work I was excited but a bit overwhelmed by it. There weren't even that many but I had no idea how to go about handling it. I was also depressed and responding to just one felt like a monumental effort but I think I'm getting better at it now.
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Last edited by camillalev; 30th March 2016 at 9:18 PM..
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Old 1st April 2016, 3:32 AM   #4
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-Today I woke up at 1:30, instead of going back to sleep I stayed up. I checked social media, emails, and watched YouTube videos until around around 2:30-3 pm. Then I got up, brushed my teeth and meditated for 10 mins
-responded to a few emails/messages
-applied to a job
-uploaded newish work to my profile on portfolio sharing website
-went to the gym
-made dinner which was Asian BBQ chicken, sautéed kale and brown rice

I actually felt pretty good today.

I don't know if I mentioned this is my previous thread but last year around this time I set up a Roth IRA. Also, there we're a few websites/publications that did small features/write ups on my work or included me amongst other creatives.

Last edited by camillalev; 1st April 2016 at 3:41 AM..
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Old 5th April 2016, 3:06 AM   #5
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The way i think is stuck in the past and it's not aligning with everything i have going on. I'm stuck on old insecurities, focusing on old issues instead of focusing on what I have going on right now. My thought process in itself is a problem and self-sabatoging. I get in my own way. Sometimes I agonize over small things that don't even matter that much instead of the larger things I should be looking at.
I wish I could shed my old skin and just adopt into this new life. But I'm stuck in a weird cyclical way of thinking.

Also on some level I think I'm nervous of letting go of an idea I have of myself. I have to regard myself in a different way, let go of old ways of thinking, make peace with mistakes I've made, act a different(more confidant/self assured?) And move on. I think I'm also worried someone is going to have a 'who do you think you are?' Attitude towards me acting different.

I also tend to avoid things I need to deal with and it causes me anxiety.

Last edited by camillalev; 5th April 2016 at 3:12 AM..
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Old 5th April 2016, 3:37 AM   #6
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Edited the post.

Last edited by camillalev; 5th April 2016 at 3:41 AM..
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Old 9th April 2016, 12:39 AM   #7
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I went on a job interview last week, I thought it went well but wasn't sure if I would get the job. But they called me back and asked me when I could start! I'm going in Monday I'm nervous and excited.

Went to a house party an old co worker was throwing last week, which was fun. The next day three different guys texted me and asked me out. I should have been flattered and in hindsight I am but at the time I found it overwhelming and didn't respond to them for days :/ I think cause at the time I was getting a lot of emails from people asking about collaborating or different work related things and it just seemed like a lot of people wanted things from me and I was not sure how to handle it. Am I the only one like this?? There's one guy I still didn't respond to and I feel a bit bad.

What else? I was supposed to have dinner with a friend from home that recently moved here but he had to reschedule due to work and had to reschedule, so were getting dinner next week.

Last week I meditated and afterwards I felt very present. I wasn't weight down by the past or living the future, I was in this perfect space between the two. I could appreciate that moment, my surroundings, it was very judgmental free and I felt so at ease. It is a feeling i haven't felt in a long time. It lasted about an hour before things returned to normal, which kind of sucks but I'm glad I could feel that way at all, especially for a span of time as long as an hour. So I guess that's a good sign?

Also, I've gotten better at keeping my apt/room clean and organized. Usually my desk is covered in mail, papers, dishes, napkins, random objects etc, my floor is typically also a mess and I'm not motivated or care to do anything about it. But the last few weeks or more Ive been keeping my desk and room pretty neat and clean. If there's a dish, I take it to the kitchen and wash it, If there's mail I check it immediately etc. I'm also pretty on top of dishes. I don't know if this is a symptom of me not working but I don't think so. sometimes there's a pile of recently worn clothes in a pile on a chair or on the ground, but I feel like that's normal girl mess.

Life continues to zig zag. But it seems like my life is shifting in a meaningful way.

Last edited by camillalev; 9th April 2016 at 1:28 AM..
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Old 16th April 2016, 3:25 PM   #8
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So I started the first week of work and it was good. Very easy and just familiarizing myself with the work/system. The people are friendly as well. It's not my ideal place of work but I'm glad to be there and to be working. It's also not bad for my resume.

It was a hectic week however because I was working on two exciting collaborations . So good for my portfolio, I'm excited to add it to my website. it's good for my client list as well. One is in the process of being shared and the other may or may not be shared later this month. If that's the case I'm not sure if I can add it to my website, but I'm pretty sure I will be working with them in the future anyway. The only caveat is that I'm not being paid for the project that might be shared later on. I feel I should be but I'll let this one go just to add it to my portfolio.

So it was a sleep deprived week, working during the day and working on this stuff at night. Worth it though. But Because of this I didn't meditate during the week, which sucks. I also ordered out food a LOT which is not good. I need to save money and cook regardless of how tired I am. I'm going to let this last week go because I was so busy but next week I will make time to cook dinners at home. I also did not eat healthy this last week :/ and only was able to go to the gym once.it was difficult to find any sort of balance at all!! But next week I WILL make more time and be more conscientious of it.

I also got dinner with a friend and went to an event to celebrate a mutual friends business opening, which was fun.

A few people from social media have also reached out to me to hang out. Two people who follow my work(one of which I follow back) want to get dinner next week. Eep Im very nervous and apprehensive about the idea. I struggle with social anxiety and it makes me awkward. I don't want to meet them and be awkward, weird and boring, which a huge part of me is sure I will be. I also don't like talking about myself and get awkward when I do. Since we follow each others creative projects I'm sure thjs topic will come up. I know I need to find a way to be more comfortable and confident taking about myself in this way. At least I can have some wine or something to loosen me up a bit.

Another person wants to get lunch next week one on one. Im dreading this. The thing is this is one of the people I am collaborating with(all of our communication has been over email) and I'm worried about making a bad impression. I also dont have alcohol for a bit of help and I'm also not great at one on one hang outs. I like having a third person as a buffer.

This is not coming from nowhere. I have had past experiences with people socializing with me and clearly feeling uneasy or waking away thinking I'm weird. Not all of my experiences are bad, some are positive but in my memory many are. Tbh I think some of the positive ones were because the person had an attraction or romantic interest in me and we're putting in extra effort in the conversation. My social skills are just not very developed or they're hindered by my low self image. I know I have to do something about it but I want to do it in a low impact situation rather than with people that matter.

I realized that what you do in the present is a pretty good indicator of what you will be doing in the future. I have to actively work for what I want instead of blindly trusting the future. If I want to work on certain kind of work I have to make it and reach out to people. If want friends or social skills, I have to work every day to make that happen or to make myself more comfortable in social situations. And I guess I have to be willing to fail and have people dislike me or think I'm weird :/ easier said than done. Anyway, if I'm not willing to push myself I will stay where I am.

Last edited by camillalev; 16th April 2016 at 4:23 PM..
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Old 29th July 2016, 3:37 AM   #9
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It's been awhile since I've made an updated so I thought I'd make one. Things lately have been great career/work wise. I mentioned in a past post that I have been making fun personal work and pushing it online and on social media, and the response has been good. It's gotten a lot of attention and I've been getting jobs from it, as well as getting written up in a few reputable publications and websites. I think it could turn into a legitimate career. We'll see, knock on wood. But I'm excited for the possibilities of continuing in this direction.
I had a moment after updated my website with some new, fun client work where I looked at what Ive done over the last few years, especially this year, even just the past few months, and felt a swell in my chest. I felt proud of what I've accomplished and how far I've come. When I started this journey I did not expect to be where I am now. When I started this all I wanted was whatever crap design job I could get and to be able to afford a latte once in awhile.

Outside of that I take on various contract jobs to keep more consistent paychecks coming. I don't feel comfortable trying to rely on my 'personal' work for money at this point. I have found that it is very difficult to juggle the on-site contract jobs, my fun side client projects, and making new personal images to keep interest going. I have to think of side work as though its a full-time job if I want to make it happen, but I also need regular paychecks!

I also went on vacation overseas with some friends and visited two countries. It was a lot of fun and one of the places is somewhere I had been dying to visit and I'm glad I finally did! One place crossed off my list. While I was away I realized how lucky I am to be in the position I am. Traveling always gives me a much-needed breath of fresh air and perspective. Even though things have been going well I still have doubts, insecurities, and struggles and can find myself in an emotional hole. I didnt even realize I was in one until I went away, I'm being much more mindful of that.

One noticeable positive change that's happened since I've been back is my cleanliness. I mentioned before that Ive become much more on top of keeping my room clean, now that has spread to the kitchen and bathroom. Sometimes the sink/bath can get gross, and the kitchen can especially get gross. Even if you're organized the grim, stains, dust, etc add up making the place look dirty. Now I scrub down and clean to make sure it looks nice. Sometimes I'm bad at dishes but overall I'm much more proactive with general cleaning, Im sure to the relief of my roommate.

When I got back there was a while where I woke up every morning with a sense of purpose and was very productive. I made some really good work that I'm proud of, some of it was very challenging but I worked through it and it was worth the effort. That has kind of faded away but it was a new feeling/approach that I havent felt in a long time.

I still want to work on creating meaningful new friendships but that's something I still struggle with. My social skills are REALLY out of practice. I actually make people uncomfortable :/ I realized that's another reason why I find myself in a hole sometimes. My lack of social support and interaction.. I felt fine while I was away on vacation, which is a part of being in a new environment but I was also hanging with my friends everyday.

Anyway that's it for now. There are a few more things but I'll write about them later.
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Old 30th July 2016, 1:15 AM   #10
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I can relate to the social anxiety. I find it helpful to remember that lots of people make social mistakes or blunders, but that doesn't stop them from making friends and being successful with what they do.

I'm glad to hear that you're doing well. You've worked hard, and you deserve it.
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Old 29th November 2016, 1:49 AM   #11
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I'm in a weird place in my life right now.. Some things are good, others not so much.

I've fallen into a depressive slump. I'm unmotivated, anxious, unfocused, scattered, lonely.. Everyday I wake up in pain and its difficult to make the decision to get out of bed and get my day started,

I've become bad at working at my contract gigs.. the last two were cut off early and I completely bombed another. I cant seem to even help it, it seems very difficult to be enthusiastic and motivated like I need to be. I wish I were one of those depressive people who are able to put on a strong, productive, happy front at work. This is bad because contract work is the bulk of my income.

On the flip side, the side-freelance work has been great. I'm working on fun projects with great clients who trust my creative vision. Right now it's not enough to live on but it's very possible it could become a full-time job in the future. Its fun but it's also very challenging, I have to wrestle with my own self-doubt and insecurity in a way that I havent before, its different than any I've faced in a contract job. I'm working for myself and have no one to guide me. It takes a LOT of motivation and self-discipline, which are things I NEED to have if I want to take this path.

It's also incredibly difficult to do a full-time, on-site contract job and do my ''side'' work as well. Especially recently since the amount of side work has ramped up.

That brings me to my next issue, which is my savings. I used to have a cushy savings that made it easy not to worry about my next job, but that is now gone and I'm living paycheck to paycheck :/ Its not great and I know I need to do something about that, especially now. I've been looking for a part-time design job but nothing so far.

I went through a breakup recently, which sucks in itself. This was my first attempt at creating a real relationship in years. It wasnt the right fit(which I might get into in another post) but I realized that there are a lot of issues I have within myself that I need to work on and be aware of. I am closed-off, extremely afraid of being vulnerable, can be self-sabotaging, not very good at communicating, constantly on the look-out for problems, etc. All of these things are the antithesis of qualities that keep a healthy, long-term relationship going. I want a deep, meaningful relationship, but its not possible unless I can open up and be vulnerable with someone. How can someone get to know me and appreciate me if I dont? Also, not being vulnerable can still produce the result that kind of behavior is trying to avoid - getting hurt.

The sad thing is there were problems and I would have ended it sooner but hesitated because I didnt want to fall back into not having a social life. Now I'm back to not hanging out with anyone for a week or two at a time.
I downloaded OKC and tinder and went on a few dates, nothing amazing. My hopes for that are low but we'll see.

The thought of moving to a different, cheaper city has crossed my mind, so I can do the work I want to and be able to live off of it, but how would I make friends if I dont work in an office? At least I know and hang out with a few people here, even if its not often. But maybe a fresh start is what I need? I still need to save up.

I worked hard to get to where I am and it seems like I'm undoing it all. Everything feels crazy and topsy turvy right now. I'm at a cross roads in my life but at a very unstable moment. I felt so much more put-together at one point and now I just feel like a mess.
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Old 3rd October 2017, 1:59 AM   #12
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It's been so long since my last update - almost a year. Things have been going well for me recently. I'm going to update on a few developments.

I've been learning how to make a lot of new recipes this past year - banana bread, hearty red pasta sauce with lots of veggies, buttermilk biscuits, stews. Cooking is an activity I really enjoy and it's been nice developing this side of myself.

I started taking a beginners dance class. This is something I've always wanted to do but never did for various reasons. I'm on my 7th class now and they did a social last weekend so we could work out our skills. Most of the people there were advanced or advance-beginner but It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed myself, despite a few moments of awkwardness. I never thought I'd be on a dance floor with strangers doing a dance I've never done before, I typically don't like to dance at all because I'm not a good dancer. Especially going to an event alone. But everyone was friendly and it was a total judgement free zone.

I started seeing a CBT therapist this last spring. I was seeing him pretty regularly until July when I got crazy busy with work and haven't been back, but I have an appointment this week. I mostly wanted to focus on feelings of insecurity when it comes to work or socialization. None of the issues brought up were entirely new since I've spent a lot of time thinking about these things and myself over the last few years, but I think it was helping to kind of bring these things up and verbalize them. It was good to have it pointed out that I have thought patterns that make me feel insecure or how I might be lesss-than. I'm not entirely sure how helpful the therapy has been been, but I was only seeing him regularly for about 4 months so we will see. A few times we touched on subjects that go deeper with me but we didnt explore them since that's not really the point of the CBT therapy but it made me wonder if it would help to delve into these deeper issues with another therapist. Especially with dating and with family since the last few years I've realized by mom is highly narcissistic and toxic and its effected me in multiple ways.

I was also working out regularly this past year which was great, but haven't really since July, again because that month was very busy. Then I just didn't get back into it. My goals for fitness are changing so we'll see where that goes.

There's been an internal shift with me as well. I'm still not as social as I'd like to be but I'm becoming more content with my time at home. If it's raining out and I'm at home, being inside feels cozy rather than lonely. If it's the weekend and am by myself at home I might settle in with a good book rather than drinking as a way of escaping my feelings or reality or whatever.

I'd love to explore more of my interests but they would involve taking a class or seeing an instructor and those things would cost more money, so I'm taking these classes one at a time.

There's more going on but I'll leave it here for now.
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Old 4th October 2017, 12:09 AM   #13
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camillalev, they say that working from a co-operative space is good for the isolation.

If you don't mind me asking, what sort of design do you do?
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