"It really feels like a battle within yourself"

A few weeks ago I had an information meeting about a course I was interested in taking.
I was looking forward to it and was sitting comfortably. Nothing seemed wrong, but I felt a slight tingeling feeling in my stomach and a numbing sensation in my hands.
"Are you serious? I don't have time for this", my brain said. I tried to look as interested as I could and try to focus on what was being said, but my vision started to become blurry. Meanwhile I was obsessively focussing on my breathing.
"I refuse to have a complete meltdown in here". The same brain that loved to talk doubt into me, was now fighting my body's reaction forcefully.
The thought of going to the bathroom and giving into it, crossed my mind, but the idea that someone would find me, crawling on the floor and repeatedly saying through my tears that
"I want my mother because I am dying!", frightened me more.
It's a very disturbing thing to witness. Somehow I managed to remain calm and half an hour later I felt better.

The funny thing is that I hardly ever get a panick attack when I'm actually in a stressful situation. But if I'm stressed or anxious for a number of days, a small trigger could set me off. It could be a hot shower, being in pain or a particular smell or taste.

Because I've had panic attacks many times before, I can feel it coming and control it most of the time. So far I've managed to not have a complete meltdown in public, perhaps because I feel safer at home.

It really feels like a battle within yourself, because the moment I think that I can't control it, I become dizzy and my breathing becomes uncontrollable.
I can literally hear my heart pounding.
I'm trying to focus on my breathing, but at some point I just give up. With my last strength and blurry vision, I text my mom and best friend the words "attack", so they know what's going on, and why I won't be responding. They have the keys to my house, so they can let themselves in when needed.
I feel like I'm on the verge of fainting, but I never do. Which actually makes the feeling worse, because I know I have to live through it, in that moment.

And then I'm in a state of panic. It's like something takes over you and you can't control it. My throat shuts down and I feel like I'm unable to breath.
Through my tears I find my way to my bathroom.
My body starts to reject everything inside me and the throwing up starts. One moment I feel like I'm freezing and the next I'm having hot flashes. Meanwhile my vision keeps shifting.
I am too weak to walk so I end up on my bathroom floor, because it's cooler. And I stay there for a while. After being completely worn out, I drag myself to bed and fall asleep.

So how do you prevent them? Try to keep your stress level as low as possible.
I have anxiety so I am anxious about everything. I am constantly thinking about why I feel a certain way and if it's reasonable.
Exercising, meditating or talking to someone, could help calm your mind.

When you do feel panic coming up, really focus on your breathing. Take long deep breaths and continue doing that untill you feel better. Either try clearing your mind or do something distracting.
And whatever you do, don't freak out.
Make sure to always tell someone how you are feeling, because it doesn't have to be a panic attack, it could also be something else. 


"Allow yourself to be a beginner and make mistakes"

I never saw myself as a perfectionist. Not until one of my closest friends pointed it out to me.

My goal is to write at least a 100 stories this year. 100 perfect stories. And ofcourse I already failed.
Even though I spend hours on researching what words to use, spelling or how to build sentences. I still make mistakes.

I read everything out loud numerous times to hear how it sounds, and when I'm confident enough, I'll post it. But just a few minutes after posting a story to the public, I refuse to even read it anymore, because I know a mistake must be hidden somewhere.

I feel so driven to keep improving every single story to be even better than the last one. But that's almost impossible and takes a lot of time. Which also means I'm unable to post as many times as I would like and I feel guilty.

What happens when you try your best to be perfect, but it seems impossible? You freeze. You don't do anything about it and maybe even dismiss the idea and give up.
I have about 20 stories saved that I haven't posted yet, because to me, they aren't perfect.
So I just start over with something else, instead of fixing the ones I have.
But I fail to realize that practise makes perfect. I have to allow myself to practise and try different things.

Sometimes a great idea pops up in my head and I sit there and waste time beating myself up about why I didn't have that idea earlier.
Many times I've contemplated deleting everything and starting over. And since I can be very impulsive, I'm really forcing myself not to.

I have to keep my vision in mind. And that is to transform feelings into words so that others can understand themselves better. This could lead to more self-acceptance and a joyful life. And I'm passionate about it, because I know the struggles that come with self-acceptance.

And since all of these stories are my opinions, they could never be perfect.
And that's my message to you.
Find your vision, allow yourself to be a beginner and make mistakes.


"Your feelings are never wrong"

When I saw her, I knew this conversation was going to be one of the hardest that day. I'm guessing she was in her late 40's.
She came across as very guarded and I was sure she would not appreciate a cheerful conversation. I felt like I had to approach her in a serious way. She needed closure.
Her boyfriend died.
And she wanted to know why. Why didn't she notice it was that bad?

At this point in life she was filled with guilt she and just existing.
Family and friends always meant well, but she needed to hear a few things from someone else.
She told me all the details and we discussed a lot of what happend.

We eventually agreed that every level of pain is valid.
Sometimes we like to compare our own situations with someone else's. We feel bad about feeling bad. Because someone else's situation is clearly worse. But your feelings are never wrong. And it's okay to be absolutely pissed about something. Hell, you can be absolutely pissed about both situations.
Just be able to see them seperately.

And just as physical diseases kill people, mental diseases kill too. And yes we can be mad about it and call people selfish, because we have that right.
But that does not change the fact that it was a disease.
She, herself could not have prevented anything from happening.
And I could not give her any answers, but I could at least try to help her recognize her own feelings. Healing always begins from the moment you acknowledge something.

I think she left a little bit more relieved. We even had a genuine good laugh afterwards.


"If you let your anger take over, they will look at you like you're the problem"

I woke up to a text from my younger sister this morning which send me into a rage immediately.
I can handle a lot myself, but I have no filter when it comes to my sisters. But I'll try.

Racism nowadays isn't as blatant as it used to be, because it's illegal.
It's those small remarks, the unnecessary
comments. Quickly adding "it's just a joke", knowing that there's been a line crossed.
But behind every joke there's a little truth hidden right?

Part of the definition of a joke is that both sides find it funny, not one assuming that it is funny.
Racism is instilled in us. We compare and find ways to see ourselves as better than others all the time. We love to point fingers and laugh at others, especially when we're among our own people.
But when you direct your ignorance towards someone, that's making a choice to be racist.

The feeling you get when you hear these comments, is a mixture of disbelief and anger.
Disbelief, because you didn't realize that you had to defend yourself against that person. And anger because someone attacked you, over something you have no control over.

I wouldn't say I'm racist. But if you attack someone I care about or push me hard enough, best believe I will be worse than you could ever be. But that's only if I choose to.

For the very hardheaded ones who want proof of "subtle" racism, which isn't subtle at all, just to name a few;

"You're not like them, you're one of us."
(Who is them? Some generic view of a culture?)
"You're too dark/white because..."
(Because I was made this way thank you!)
"You sound white!"
(White is not a language, but you're implying that not having an accent, is better than having one)
Using certain words or sentences as a joke, knowing they're offensive
(Trying to provoke)

For the ones who defend these comments. People kill themselves because of words. Meanwhile you're not realizing that you've changed as a person. You are no longer viewed as someone who's inherently good, by that colleague or friend.
From now on they need to be cautious around you. Because you are deemed untrustworthy.

You are what you say you are, even though you might not realize it. If you make racist comments, based on appearance or generalizations, you are being racist.
If you bully someone, you are being a bully.
You are what you say and what you do.
Even if you believe it or not, that's how the world views you. So if you don't want to be seen as such, change.
But if you feel like that's just part of who you are, good luck.

We are living in a violent world, with school shootings, terrorism and people who kill others over words that have been said. Sometimes just giving the wrong look is enough to set them off.
Meanwhile you find humour in attacking someone's appearance. The problem with luck is, that it runs out.

So choose to be a better person. Acknowledge your ignorant side. Do and say whatever you want behind closed doors, but choose to not direct it towards someone else.
And don't tell them that they have to learn, to stick up for themselves. No one should have to defend themselves against you, you have to be a better person.

To the ones dealing with racism.
Be careful with whom you call your friend, because sometimes even they make these remarks. It it stings, let them go. Because ignoring how you feel is poisoneous to yourself.
If you let your anger take over, they will look at you like you're the problem.
Instead counter their comments by saying things like "what do you mean by that" and most of the time they just stand there looking silly.

If you honestly want to know something, just ask. But only if you're genuine.
Not so you can smack others down with your own ideas, but because you're actually curious about them.

I have friends who never disrespected me or anyone else like me. If they wanted to know something, they asked.
I can't change the color of my skin, even though many have tried. But hopefully I can change your mind in how to treat others. It might just be for your own good.


If you look back at that moment you could see things you haven't noticed before.

When we're in the middle of a situation, we are unable to clearly see what's going on. In that moment you might be too busy defending yourself instead of looking at the entire situation.
If you look back at that moment you could see things you haven't noticed before.

Most of us choose to focus on the other person and their flaws.
We have that mentality that someone is always out to get us.
We see ourselves as victims and that might very well be the case. But the challenge is to recognize your own part.

I find it important to point out that this only applies to disputes and discussions, not abusive situations.

We've all done this.
You find yourself in a situation, perhaps in a dispute with a co-worker. And afterwards you turn to your friends and tell them exactly what your co-worker did wrong. You might even twist the story a bit to make yourself look better than you were, and they all believe it. But in the end you're lying to yourself.
And if someone would somehow find out the truth, you wouldn't seem reliable anymore.

I've always been my own worst critic and I used to talk myself down a lot.
So I tried to look at a situation from an outsiders perspective. And I learned to own my mistakes.
But a small warning, because after a while you won't view the world as black and white anymore. And you will develop a sense of understanding for most people.
You will start to understand that both of you were part of the problem.
It does take an open mind to critically look at yourself, but you will definitely benefit from it.

Now I take a little pride in telling people when I've been wrong, because we all know that we aren't perfect. It shows a more vulnerable but honest side of yourself. And others will notice that you're someone who has self-knowledge, is willing to learn and isn't stuck in their ways.

The beauty of self reflection is knowing your own flaws, choosing to change them and to improve.
You don't have to declare your mistakes to anyone, but at least be honest to yourself.
Trust me, you will sleep better. 


"With love comes responsibility, we tend to forget that"

In the beginning of a new relationship everything feels so amazing, assuming that you've found the perfect one. But after a while, reality sets in.
And you find out that some people want the companionship, but not the commitment.

As a teenager the first time I fell in love, was an absolute rollercoaster. He literally was my world.
My love for him was one-sided and it took about 2 years before he finally noticed me. That's when the games started. Everything he asked me to do, I did. I became some kind of mental slave to him, trying to prove my love, while he enjoyed the power he had over me.

Same happened with the second one, only he was way more aggressive. He didn't ask. I was his, and that's it.
Afterwards I promised myself that I would never get lost in love again.
My wall raised up as well as my expectations.
I stopped listening to what I wanted to hear, and focussed on what I needed.
Luckily, I've been so blessed to have great relationships later in life, that have taught me how I should be treated.

We all know someone claiming to know exactly what you need. That's why people give you, (unwanted) relationship advice. And I'm sure they mean well.

My friends know that I don't do the whole dating around thing, because it costs me too much energy.
And if they didn't, now they do. ("Hi guys!")
I'm sure they would describe me as way too picky. But I don't really have a list with physical requirements.
It all starts with a gut feeling and a few questions.

"What value would you give to my life?
Do you inspire me?
What is your vision for your own life?
Who are you, without naming a job description?"

These are questions I ask myself, not him. I don't have to. People say a lot without having to talk.
It probably sounds strange to many, but that's fine with me.
Because if you're going to merge two lives together, it's important to know as much as you can in advance.
And who knows, maybe I'm just scared that history will repeat itself.

With love comes responsibility, we tend to forget that. Even though people are responsible for their own actions, you do have the obligation to care enough about how you are treating someone else.

I'm always fascinated how people can deliberately insult or harm their partner. But would think twice about taking their anger out on their boss.
Why would you give your boss the respect they demand, but you won't give it to the one you claim to love?

Some would say that their partner changed all of a sudden, but is it possible that you weren't paying attention? Because people can't fake whole personalities for years.
Your mind got clouded. You loved the attention, the affection and all the benefits that came with it, and you forgot that you were dealing with a human and their feelings.
We desperately want that long lasting love and to grow old together, but our own personal growth could make us grow closer or apart.

People with succesful and happy relationships, have said that respect and communication is the foundation. Acknowledging your partner, and accepting that you probably won't like them everyday, but love them anyway.

Love is respecting and accepting the person as they are.
You get the person you pick, with flaws and all.
When you do find the right kind of love in a partner, it brings you back to the person you truly are. They turn you into a better version of yourself. That's what you need.