These past few weeks have been difficult for me. I'm trying my hardest to keep a good attitude and stay positive, but some days, that effort is just too much. Some days, I just can't do it. I've had a lot of those days lately. Days when I feel weighed down, when I feel like I'm being smothered, when I just can't be the person I want to be.

It's November 18. I should be giving you a cheery halfway-through-NaNoWriMo update. But instead, I'm confessing that I gave up on day five. 4,685 words in, I could produce no more. I couldn't focus. I couldn't make myself care about the story or its flat, dead characters. 

After being pushed to my limits at work everyday, I just couldn't come home and switch on the creativity. No way. When I come home, it's time to cry, vent to my poor husband, eat cookies, cry some more, and watch some soul-soothing Supernatural re-runs. Then it's time to find dinner, shower, and go to bed, all so I can wake up and do the exact same thing all over again the next day, and the day after that. 

I know this is just the way it is. I know you're supposed to grow up, get a job you hate, spend 90% of your life there, all so you can buy food and pay your bills. I know this is pretty much how everybody lives. But I can't seem to deal with it. I'm having an awful lot of those traumatic what am I doing with my life? moments. I know I have to pay off my debts, I know I have to help keep our electricity on and our fridge full, but is that worth sacrificing all these hours- these precious, numbered hours- of my life doing something I loathe, something that makes me a hypocrite? 

See, no matter how practical I am, no matter how fired up I get about becoming debt free, I can't help but stay caught up in the message of this blog. Life is for living. And right now, I don't feel like I'm living. When I put on my scrubs each morning, I feel like I'm putting on a costume. All day at work, I dole out medication after medication. The residents call me "The Pill Lady" and "That Pill-Pusher." Me. The same me who, a mere six months ago, completed my General Education Capstone course for my B.A. in English with a riveting, extra-lengthy research paper entitled, "A Sickening Cure: Overmedication and Its Consequences on the American Population." 

Yeah, I have trouble sleeping at night.

I'm ashamed to add to all this that this job has returned me to a horrible place I went once and never wanted to revisit. People, including myself, talk lightly and frequently about panic attacks (i.e., "I almost had a panic attack when I saw that Wal-Mart doesn't carry Amy's pizzas."). Until recently, I'd only experienced one real panic attack. That was back in 2012, when I was working for Dr. Emerson. And let me tell you, I legitimately thought I was going to die. I had the elephant-on-my-chest pressure, the extreme, uncontrollable hyperventilating, and a terrible, overwhelming, consuming fear. I have never felt so out of control within my own body.

This time around, they've been much milder than that one episode. This is likely because after that awful experience, I know what it feels like when one is about to start, and I can go off by myself and fight it. But several times these last couple of weeks, I've had the intense tightness and pressure in my chest, difficulty breathing, and uncontrollable crying spells. A few times, it's been on the job, and I've had to run to the restroom and get myself together. Other times, I've kept my composure until I could make it to my car or my house. And of course, like that big one in 2012, I've had them before going to work. The dread, the fear, the "I can't do this again", it piles up. And some days, it explodes. 

This is not what I want to write about. This blog is about inspiration. Determination. Positivity. It's about making goals and reaching them. It's about living. About thriving. About looking toward the future and making it better than the past.

That's the person I had become. That's who I want to be again. But right now, I'm just really, really struggling to keep my head above the water. 

So, for now, it's all about taking deep breaths. Staying calm. Focusing.

It's about looking beyond the current circumstances to better days ahead. And, especially at this time of the year, it's about being thankful for what I have. I mean, just a couple of months ago I was unemployed, washing clothes with a toilet plunger in a bucket, and worrying about how the bills were going to be paid. 

God put me where I am right now for a reason, and somehow, some way, He'll get me through this. And on top of that, I really believe He'll have something amazing lined up for me later on. For now, I'm making great money. That's going to help me and my husband reach our goal of being debt-free as soon as possible. And then, when we attain that freedom, when we can cross off that goal, I can switch gears and pursue something else. 

For now, deep breaths. Yoga. Hot tea. Candles. Focus.