• jess

My recovery is the project of a lifetime

I’ve had a major breakdown in mental health and positive thinking lately.


You may have noticed; I’ve been working myself to the bone and complaining about how anxious my mindset has been. Churning out SO MUCH writing all the while. This is frustrating, because it’s the exact opposite of how I was doing back home in Atlanta for several months.


It’s been easy for me to externalize the reasons that this has been taking place. I’m in a weird environment; not at my own house, but in my mom’s home. Then you have the family dynamics and triggers of being in this old, familiar place. And, of course, all of this comes with upsetting my usual routines, rigid tendencies, and degrading the quality of outdoor thought-sorting that I’m getting.


So sure, there are plenty of external factors that have seeped into my brain and stirred things up. But motherfuckers, I have to admit that the bigger problem is internal.


Why do I feel so freaked out, anxious, and accomplishment-desperate all of a sudden? What’s going on inside of me to kickstart this workaholism and self-abandonment? What has changed between my mindset a few weeks ago and a few days ago?


I think I finally found the answer.

It began with scenic views


At the beginning of the quarantine, when I was told to work from home full time, throughout my furlough, and during the first few weeks after I quit my job altogether… I saw this time as an opportunity to work on myself. To get closer to who I want to be. Finally, the chance to do all the things that got pushed aside in order to work a strenuous job.


I was stoked to get outside for exercise daily, to write regularly, and to rediscover drawing, painting, gardening, sewing & all the rest. I was feeling so blessed for the chance to fill my head with educational materials and to keep learning about my diagnosis and woo-liefs. I was really, genuinely, excited that I would get to revise the Traumatized Motherfuckers website, put time into my writing, and figure out how to expand the effort further.


I was feeling so blessed for the chance to fill my head with educational materials and to keep learning about my diagnosis and woo-liefs. I was really, genuinely, excited that I would get to revise the Traumatized Motherfuckers website, put time into my writing, and figure out how to expand the effort further.

I was focused on finally breaking free of the pieces of life that were still holding me back and making permanent positive changes inside myself, and subsequently, in the rest of my life.


And then… I got freaked out about money and self-worth.

The scarcity scaries


Right when I got to Illinois, I had a bunch of doctor appointments and unexpected car expenses rise up, not to mention my taxes and all the regular financial pressures of living. They hit me all at once, and my brain went into shutdown mode.


If I haven’t mentioned it to you before, I have an issue with this intrusive scarcity mindset. Growing up under the poverty line and being my mom’s only confidant, I’ve been worried about ending up on the streets for my entire life. To this day, I panic when it comes to finances and money security.


Always waiting for the other shoe to drop.


What was the result of this temporary money hiccup? I started to see my time differently. Suddenly, it wasn’t about working on myself, learning about my brain, and improving my life anymore… it was about proving that what I was doing was worthwhile.

What was the result of this temporary money hiccup? I started to see my time differently. Suddenly, it wasn’t about working on myself, learning about my brain, and improving my life anymore… it was about proving that what I was doing was worthwhile.


Let me be clear, I don’t make money from Traumatized Motherfuckers. Never have. But when my unemployment abruptly started to challenge my sense of stability and purpose, I dug into my writing, podcasting, and outreach efforts like it was my fucking job… and rent was due tomorrow, so I’d better shuttup and work my ass off.


People were contacting me, saying that my blogs and recordings were helping somehow. The community seemed to be helping a lot of folks to deal with daily disruptions. And my writing looked like it was gaining some momentum, too. Well fuck – these people were somehow benefitting from my efforts – I was receiving really nice messages that made me cry over our shared experiences – I thought this is where I needed to put all of my attention and energy. ALL OF IT.


This is the point when I stopped paying attention to myself, my own recovery, my own learning, my own happiness, my own life… and started escaping from my worries about the uncertain future where I anticipated financial wreckage by diving into my computer screen every day and working until I cried.


This is the point when I stopped paying attention to myself, my own recovery, my own learning, my own happiness, my own life… and started escaping from my worries about the uncertain future where I anticipated financial wreckage by diving into my computer screen every day and working until I cried.

This is fucked up, self-defeating, and overall, the worst way to go about things. I lost sight of the point. I got distracted from the whole purpose of everything I was doing. I stopped feeling blessed and started feeling stressed.


The real project


Traumatized Motherfuckers is something I’m very proud of, passionate about, and excited for. But it isn’t the project that’s directing my life.


I forgot that I’M the project that’s directing my life.


Figuring out how to operate with this buggy system between my ears, how to talk about trauma to other people, and how to move forward without letting my old beliefs and fears cripple all my efforts… that’s the fucking project. That’s what needs to be improved. No matter how much external work I churn out, it does absolutely no good if I can’t stand to live inside this brain.


Figuring out how to operate with this buggy system between my ears, how to talk about trauma to other people, and how to move forward without letting my old beliefs and fears cripple all my efforts… that’s the fucking project. That’s what needs to be improved. No matter how much external work I churn out, it does absolutely no good if I can’t stand to live inside this brain.

Plus, when I’m coming from an uncentered, anxious, desperate place… there’s no doubt that I’m not helping people to the max. My work has to suffer. My voice waivers. My message is hypocritical.


I start speaking from a disingenuous place, telling everyone to slow down, be kind to their inner voice, and take care of their damn selves before they take care of others… and meanwhile I haven’t showered in 4 days, my diet consists of peanut butter, and I cry whenever I have a spare moment to consider the spiraling shitshow in my head.


It’s not cool. Not for my own experience, and not for anyone who’s tuning into this walking experiment. I’m being a bad scientist. Too much benchwork, not enough planning for the research I’m conducting each day, and my reality-enlightening data analysis is piled up in the corner while I continue to churn out more unexamined negative results.


What am I doing and why? Torturing myself for the false sense of self-worth that I derive from being a high-throughput robot.


What am I doing and why? Torturing myself for the false sense of self-worth that I derive from being a high-throughput robot.

What am I neglecting and why? Learning. Examining. Questioning. Redirecting. Reflecting. Absorbing. All the things that make this fucking effort worthwhile and make trauma mindset recovery possible.


When the world ended and I was granted the free time to work on my mental health and writing, I saw it as a chance to clear the chatter and focus on my life. To self-actualize and feed this ball of energy that constitutes consciousness.


I saw it as a massive opportunity – a BLESSING – to be able work on my Trauma project as I learned new things about myself. A gift that I was able to connect with other humans as I figured out a thing or two for my own fucking sake. A fun bonus to my self-improvement journey that offered fulfillment to my passions of creating and writing… while somehow helping other people to feel less alone.


When that blessed opportunity turned into a daily grind… well, it defeated the whole point and it defeated me.


Stepping back


So, I guess what I’m saying is, I’m going back to trying to learn how to take care of myself. Pumping energy and attention into my own journey with learning about trauma, behavioral analysis, mindset, and creating a life worth living. Putting myself first and engaging in the activities that feed my internal energy conglomerate we call a soul.


Traumatized Motherfuckers will follow suit. If people don’t hear from me 5 times a week, I know they’ll be okay. They probably won’t even notice the absence, and my past efforts won’t implode without continually turning out new content. And that’s what I need to accept. I ain’t that important and I can’t save the world with pure willpower.


This community trauma support effort… it really matters. To me and to others. But, so does my own trauma support effort. If folks want to watch my trauma recovery journey because it feels relatable and eye-opening, that’s fucking amazing. It’s truly a gift in my life. But I’d better keep stepping forward with cautious care. Crawling across gravel while I slip and slide downhill isn’t helping anybody.


This community trauma support effort… it really matters. To me and to others. But, so does my own trauma support effort. If folks want to watch my trauma recovery journey because it feels relatable and eye-opening, that’s fucking amazing. It’s truly a gift in my life. But I’d better keep stepping forward with cautious care. Crawling across gravel while I slip and slide downhill isn’t helping anybody.

In practical terms, I’m taking a step back.


This past week I’ve been on computer lockdown. Taking a forced hiatus from writing, podcasting, and dealing with the social medias. Tuning into the community a little less. Letting my emails from interested listeners take a few extra days to respond.


I’ve instituted new rules to curve my workaholic instincts. And they feel fucking terrible to me. NOT working for more than 2 hours at a time on any given task? NOT eating while I work? NOT dropping everything to answer an email or play counselor on Discord? What in the motherfuck – how?


But I’m going to follow my own instructions, anyways. At the very least, I’ll collect new data for this experiment in traumatized living. At the very most, I might finally learn to have balance in my life that prevents burnout, autoimmune responses, and self-defeat.

But I’m going to follow my own instructions, anyways. At the very least, I’ll collect new data for this experiment in traumatized living. At the very most, I might finally learn to have balance in my life that prevents burnout, autoimmune responses, and self-defeat.


Goddamn, I need it. Let’s wait for the results.



In conclusion


My mind got jumbled when I started seeing my worth as my writing output. When I framed Traumatized Motherfuckers as my prevailing project…. And forgot that I’m already the motherfucking project of a lifetime.


My external efforts are fun side-journeys and rough trail maps for other people. But I have to keep my mind on my own trek to serve as any sort of beneficial hiking companion.


My external efforts are fun side-journeys and rough trail maps for other people. But I have to keep my mind on my own trek to serve as any sort of beneficial hiking companion.

This brain box needs some daily maintenance. This body needs some respite from the feast and famine way of life. This life needs some intention and energy to keep climbing higher.

I need to remember, I AM THE PROJECT.


Connecting through Traumatized Motherfuckers, hearing from other Fuckers, and telling people they aren’t alone in this shit-cycle… is the reward for my real work.

Connecting through Traumatized Motherfuckers, hearing from other Fuckers like me, and telling people they aren’t alone in this shit-cycle… is the reward for my real work.





DID I just disobey my own rules to write this? I DID.


Time to go do some nothing as punishment.




Traumatized Motherfxckers

Not doomed. Not damaged.

Not dead yet.

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