Thursday, December 27, 2012

sometimes ...

... when i see other people's lives ... they look perfect... and it's hard for me. everyone is happy and smiling. they are doing unique and adventurous things. they post these pictures on facebook and twitter and google plus and other online social places. and that's the view i have of them.

i have talked before about the word perfect and how truly horrific it is. my mom said something cool today "it's not perfect, but i just don't have perfect in me." and even though she was relating it to the cleanliness of our house ... i want to use it in a personal way. i literally don't have perfect in me. not at this stage of my existence. one day when i return home to god i think i'll be made perfect. but until them i'm flaw-full.

but perfect. that word. for so many years that's the standard i held myself up to. it was irrational but i lived in irrational-ville and it was my reality. for years i didn't know any better. and perfect creeps up on me and snatches me like a thief in the night sometimes. and i find myself only able to say "their life is perfect. and mine isn't. look at what they have. and what i don't. look at their best. compare it to my worst."

*sigh*

so in an effort to confront and work through these feelings i made a list tonight. and i want to share that list here.

What is perfect about my life that other’s would look at and want?
I can spend my money on what I want.
I’m employed.
I get to live on my own.
I have my own place and have found my own style.
I don’t have to check in with anyone.
I only have to take care of myself.
If I want to sleep all day I can. If I want to go somewhere I can.
I’m not in debt for anything – car credit school.
I have an education that gives me a good job.
What’s perfect about other’s lives that I look at and want?
They are married.
They have companionship.
They have a husband.
They have a baby to love and hold.
They have a home.
They have financial security.
They aren’t sick physically.
They smile and look so happy.
i showed this list to b and she made the following list for me.
What’s so perfect about my life that other’s want?I seem to achieve great things.
I am successful.
I am financially stable.
I love my job.
I have my own home.
I have sisters.
I am driven and can do anything I put my mind to.
I am independent.
I am kind.
I am loving.
I am friendly and have many many friends.
What do others have that I want?Companionship
Success
Stability
so i'll breathe through this.
and take a shower.
and ask, how do you combat "self-hating" thoughts?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

wise men still seek him

what a blessing today has been.
 
presents were un-wrapped.
tummies were filled.
joy was felt.

and now as i sit in my parents' home listening to mom play christmas songs on the piano, i can't help but be amazingly grateful for the Savior of the world who came as a tiny baby into the world so many years ago.



i love the christmas story in luke 2 : 1 - 20. it's beautiful. angels, shepherds, parents, wise men, animals - so many were involved on that day. what a gift god gave us in sending his son, Jesus.



every christmas season i read the book 'the christmas box' by richard paul evans. it is my favorite christmas book - my second favorite christmas story. it tells that the first gift of christmas was love. and i truly believe that.

love from god to his children.
love from mary to her baby.
love from joseph to his wife.
love from wise me to their king.
love from angels to their Savior.
love from Christ to us.

i have felt love today. love as i've been with family. love in giving and receiving gifts. love in time and laughing. so much has been shared today. there is no better word to describe it than beautiful.



i am grateful beyond words for my Savior, Jesus Christ. that he came. that he lives.

his birth makes this season the most wonderful time of the year!



Monday, December 24, 2012

pain

tomorrow, i'm going to write a lovely post about this beautiful christmas season and the joy of christ's birth.

today, i'm going to write about pain.

pain: definition: physical suffering or discomfort caused by illness or injury.

burning.
itching.
aching.
cramping.
stabbing.
light.
pressure.
heavy.
searing.
nausea.
raw.
sharp.
sore.
stiff.
stinging.
tender.
dull.
excruciating.
gnawing.
throbbing.

this is only a partial list of adjectives describing pain.

both of my sisters are in great physical pain today. and it is very hard for me to see them hurting, unable to offer them relief.

how can god bear to see his children in pain?
how do parents watch their children suffer?
how does the body knows it's in pain?

pain is unnatural. foreign. different than the normal feelings. because it is novel it alerts the mind to its presence.

it hurts. that's what we say. that's how we describe how much pain we are in. i don't feel good. another phrase used. sometimes we use the scale 1 - 10. but it's nothing compared to actually going through it.

and pain for each person is different. some people have a high pain tolerance, others low. what hurts me may not hurt you. and how i feel and process pain is different than how you would feel and process the same pain.
i see friends in pain. children i work with in pain. sometimes i'm in pain.

i don't have a great way to end this post. i'm sad my sisters are hurting. especially on christmas eve. i love them. and would take their pain if i could.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

i'm.not.ok.

broken
inadequate
unsafe
unhappy
isolated
alone
unsure
unstable
unpredictable
sad
tired
weary
teary
overwhelmed
stressed

just a few of the words that come to mind in this moment. in this moment of not being ok. not ok. i'm not ok.

throwing in the towel. to real to be funny. to real to be ironic. to real to be real.

ready to give in, give up, quit.

tired - stressed - sad

a dungeon. a doomy, gloomy, dreary, drafty dungeon. that's where i am emotionally.

too much stress . too much commotion .. too much ... at the end of this year. it's all too much. and i can't do it anymore.

over and over the chant of the little engine that could becomes the little engine that couldn't - the little engine that isn't ok - i'm not ok i'm not ok i'm not ok

do you hear me? am i making any sense? do you understand?

and all because of a situation. a small ??? situation. one that is blown out of proportion by my anxious mind, weary body, blood shot eyes.

broken
inadequate
unsafe
unhappy
isolated
alone
unsure
unstable
unpredictable
sad
tired
weary
teary
overwhelmed
stressed

this is what it is to live with an anxiety disorder. (today.)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

throwing in the towel

.... i'm not there tonight. mostly because of my three hour saving grace nap after work. hence i'm up and blogging at 11:45 on a work night.

and maybe it's because i'm in this calmer, relaxed - er mood that i want to write about my feelings on something that someday - maybe soon maybe not - i could feel really strongly about.

throwing in the towel.

i heard a question tonight and it started a train of thoughts. "what would your towel look like if you were ready to 'throw in the towel'?"

excellent. question. my mind immediately goes to my bathroom towels. they are a soft lavender. over sized. called bath sheets. and i love them. they are not too soft, because you see, towels that are too soft don't actually get the water off - and that is after all what towels are for, are they not?

one of my towels in particular has been showing it's age. somehow the binding got ripped and so it is fraying. i have a nightly battle with strings who are just not invited to help me dry off. i've gotten frustrated and pulled and yanked and ripped, more than i probably should. but it's my towel. and scissors were a whole 10 feet away.
if i ever got to the point where i was truly ready to be done, where i was giving up and giving in, where all of my options had been sifted and sorted through, and nothing would fix where i was, then this is what my towel would look like ....

soft lavender. i'm a soft gentle person at heart.

holes. ripes. shreds. hanging from the sides. searing the middle. a gaping hole. all to reflect the hardness and harshness of life.

blood. stains. on the corners.

moisture. to show the shower of tears cried as i battled.

large and over sized. it would be a bath sheet. because i would use my grandest resources first -- i wouldn't throw in a dinky little towel. i would throw in a bath sheet to prove i tried. to show i fought.

and each fiber of that towel would hold feelings of love and hate - anger and peace - rage and calm - revenge and acceptance - all of the ups and downs of my time here.
throwing in the towel. it's an interesting thought.
what would your towel be?
what would it say?

Monday, December 17, 2012

tonight a came over ...


with a plaque as my prize.

and it touched me.

because my counselor has been working with me to visualize the healthiest, happiest, most positive me i can imagine.

the power of thought.

our last session focused a lot on this. and i really dug deep and imagined my best self.

i created a safe place for that best self to be.

and i lived my best self.

now i am trying to transition this into my every day life.

which is challenging. especially this week with work as i am desperately trying to keep my head above water.

left foot right foot.

but 2013 is coming.

and as s has said many times to me, '2013 is going to be a great year for you. i can feel it.'

and you know what, i can feel it too :)

i'll leave you with the ending of a letter from s this week

:::

YOU ARE LEARNING.
YOU ARE GROWING.
YOU ARE GLOWING.
YOU ARE WISE.
YOU ARE NEEDED.
YOU ARE RACHEL, ROCKING AND ROLLING RACHEL!!!

Friday, December 14, 2012

there are many right ways

to do one thing.

i am learning this.

i have explained the physical side of anxiety in previous posts and how the racing thoughts of anxiety affect me physically - pounding heart, short breath, dizziness.

some of my anxiety can be attributed to lack of control. lack of control in my life, in others' lives, in work, in my car working as it should, in depending on the mail man to come at a certain time every day, in a person taking a different route to a destination then i would've picked, and on and on it can go. from seemingly small things to huge things, anxiety claims them all as 'uncontrollable.'

so when i see someone doing something i've done a million times before i often find myself voicing my opinion on 'how you should do it.' welllllll guess what self .... there are plenty of right ways to do things. so let it go.

that's what i'm working on. breathing. and letting each person choose how he/she will respond and act in a situation. i don't need to tell my little sister how to drive to wal-mart. there are literally 5 different ways you can go and they all end at wal-mart. just because i have a preference doesn't mean i need to voice that preference. i can just keep it to myself, enjoy the ride, and let it go.

this is really hard for me, but i'm trying. i hope others will be patient with me as i try.


as a balloon in the wind, i'm letting it go.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

i think therefore i am

i feel like i finally have a grasp on this old saying. i have heard it many times before but have not always liked it or clicked with it the way i did this afternoon.

i am in survival mode. which means lots of prayers and self-care. in fact anytime a friend asks me if she/he can do anything for me i say, 'prayers please.' because that's really what i need.

if i stood back and really looked at this week from a realistic perspective, it's nothing i haven't done before. but it feels new therefore it is new.

it feels stressful = it is stressful. it feels different = it is different.

thoughts and feelings are closely connected. when i think angry i feel angry. when i think sad i feel sad. when i think something i am something.

i had an hour break during one of my kids today so i took a walk. and i had four burners of thoughts (like on a stove) going on in my brain. on the two back burners were listening to one direction's cd and musing about how many dumb dogs there were barking (and how annoying it was that i could still hear them through my music).


onto one of the front burners came the thought 'i think therefore i am.' and while it sat and stewed in a pot the other burner caught fire and began thinking about how true this was.

if i think i am ugly, then it really doesn't matter who says i'm beautiful (from my mom to channing tatum) i won't believe them. if i think i will fail, chances are i will find myself failing often because that is what i'm looking for. if on the flip side i think i am lovely the way i am - growing and progressing - then comments from people who really don't matter (consider the source always) won't affect me. if i think i will succeed in life, chances are i will see success despite the natural setbacks of life.

i think therefore i am.

this week i think (and know) i am in a fragile place mentally. my mental-ness feels delicate. and any slip, trip, or fall will find me completely melting down, probably throwing up and having seizures. i feel like i'm existing on eggshells. i feel fragile.

W O R K is the driving force of these feelings. it is all tooooo much for my mental-ness to handle, making up a week's worth of speech visits in two weeks. i want time off for christmas but i also don't want to be mega-stressed during this beautiful holiday time.

i told god about all of my concerns. i told him that i just simply can't do it on my own. i often feel weak but my weakness has really been exposed during this chaotic time. and my dear reader, miracles have happened. simple prayers, such as 'please help me to find time to eat and use the restroom today' are answered with extra time from somewhere. pleadings for 'peace and confidence with each child' are answered with a unique ability to focus on the one during each session.

my specific prayers have been answered with specific miracles.

un-voiced prayers have also been answered as god has given me thoughts as reminders to take self-care seriously. take meds regularly. eat when you stop to use the restroom. breathe deeply. take a walk if time/energy permits. simplify your social life. focus on the now. let tomorrow take care of itself. give yourself extra time to sleep. listen to one direction's cd as much as possible. :)


there is power in a thought.
i think therefore i am.

Monday, December 10, 2012

minutes ....

.... is all i have until i fall over in a sleepy stupor.

and that is fine with me. because i have not been fine since thursday.

not every day is great. not every moment is fun. not every thing is ok in every way all the time.

and so i want to share a letter i wrote to s last night.


***

... cried on and off since thursday over the stress i feel coming from work. too many tears

.... i have taken seroquel tonight per psychiatrist on especially hard nights ... i have taken it 3 times in the past week

.... i went to all three hours of church today and deserve a HUGE prize for that. i haven't been able to do that since january ... i haven't felt wanted or needed ... and today i felt both ... huge victory.

.... i talked to new people at church per therapist and deserve a standing O for that.

.... i was crying on my drive to church and talking to god and he said to me : "love will find you." i believe that with all my heart.

.... god answered my prayers today and heard me crying. he knows me and wants me close to him. i am his child. i feel that tonight.

..... i talked with my mom late late late tonight and feel blessed that it did not go into bad territory but stayed in a loving, nurturing path .... she supported me and was there for me.

..... my eyes are puffy. and sting from the salt. i left all meds at home so threw up today. i liked the feeling and control of throwing up. but i will not let that over power me. i just wanted to state that i liked it. i did not cut or do anything self destructive today, tho if i had i would've had a good 'excuse.'

.... periods are from the devil as are hormones.

... i am wrapped tight and warm under three blankets, including the angel blanket given to my dad from his sister (my aunt) after my grandma's passing. i asked dad for it. he gave it to me. and so i am wrapped in the arms of mamaw tonight. and i have my sensory blanket on top of it all and will lay it over my chest as i breathe and give my fears and insecurities and worries to god tonight to hold for me.

.... i am breathing, and will soon fall asleep listening to the wonderful christmas movie, aurthur christmas.

....all the talks in church today were about prayer. i felt close to god.


***

and that is how i am.

Monday, December 3, 2012

i switched my title back

. because . of a great counseling session with my therapist. where in it he said something brilliant which i will paraphrase into moderate brilliance. "you have gone through something life altering and it would make sense that it consumes your world for a time while you're going through it."

no to the DUH!!!

and so i made the excellent decision tonight *in the shower i must add which is in my opinion the smartest place to make decisions* to change my title back. i am not saying that anxiety is all there is to me. anyone who has thought that is just wrong. but this is my blog. my blog about anxiety. and so how i deal with anxiety is going to be a main topic. there are so many other sides to me : work, play, friends, church, humor, sleep, meds, car, irritations, likes, loves, wants, wishes, dreams, feelings, needs, thoughts, etc etc ... and i could make a blog about each of those. but at this point in time i'm not. i am writing about something that changed my life and how i have dealth with that change.

i felt that i had left a friend behind when i changed the title. what i didn't realize was that i was not advertising 'this is all there is to me' ::: my blog is 'this is part of me.'

and now with my title back i feel at peace.
this decesion deserves a standing ovation!

#feelfreetoclap
#rockonrachel
#yougogirl!

~~~ water ~~~

i am not a fan of water. i like to drink it. and shower in it once a day. but i do not find fun in water activities.

i *do.not* like the beach. sun, sand, water. three things i really, really don't like. the last time i was at a beach was may 2011 ... hawaii ... and i only allowed my toes and knees in then spent 30 minutes de-sanding.



i cannot stand swimming pools. all of that water. the thought of it seriously makes my lungs shrink and i feel my chest hollow out. the last time i swam in a pool was mmmmm 3 years ago?? sounds about right. 

even when i was younger i had to shower after swimming. some say the chlorine counts as killing germs. i vote N O . i had to get the chlorine germs, the smell, and the feel of the water off through a shower.


why am i talking about water?? and how much i dislike it?? because while i'm awake i choose to not be in or around water. but at night my dreams overflow with water. and it's upsetting. and makes it difficult for me to sleep.

i have done some research about what water symbolizes in dreams. water is emotions. it would then make sense that going through my journey and the many emotions which accompany it, i would have water in my dreams.

 
the dreams that stand out in my mind are :: one i had where i was in a pool and the water kept coming up and over me - like a lazy river, minus the lazy, plus waves. i was continually pulled under trying to catch my breathe - for what felt like all night. this happened months ago. i remember waking up feeling alone, burdened, and crushed.

from research :
"If the person is pouring out water to others, it may represent offering new life, new changes or even purification. If the dreamer is being swallowed up by a typhoon, it could mean he is overwhelmed by change and transition to the point of great anxiety and dread. Always, in all dream analysis, it is essential to determine the emotional state one has during and after the dream." more here

another one i have which is a little on the funny side is i'll dream of bathrooms like at the ymca but each stall is either occupied or the water is dirty and the toilet is overflowing! i have not dove deeper into the meaning of these dreams because usually a while later i'll wake up and realize i have to use the restroom :) to me, that's my body's way of say, "time to go!"

from research :
 i found this really neat website that talks a lot about water in dreams. i really like it and recommend it. the dream tree

though i do not like dreams with water in them, i have come to accept the possibility of them in my nightly dreams.

~ wet water moving flowing consuming carrying drowning ~

what i wasn't prepared for the other night was this dream which had water in a different form *snow, ice, sleet* :: the dream took place at church. someone in the room made a rude comment about my brother not going to church ... my brother had his feet up on another chair ... i was sitting with a class filled with young children ... my brother got offended and stormed out of the room slamming the door ... it shook the room. i started swearing in front of the young kids but caught myself ... i ran out to go get him ... screaming his name through the halls at church and i found him outside ... i told him he better f'ing as hell come back and close the door the right way ... lots of swearing and anger on my part ... he said no ... i went to go get my aunt and uncle ... they wouldn't talk to my brother ... i went and got someone else to help my brother understand ... then my family was there and we all got into three different cars ...  it was snowing - ice - sleet - on the roads ... we all got into wrecks ... yelling angry ... i remember feeling cold, angry, distant ... i could almost feel the sensory input of the snow on my arms ...

from research :
 "Snow is water and water typically represents the emotions and/or the unconscious and/or the intuition. Since snow is frozen one might conclude that snow therefore represents an emotional coldness or a kind of emotional paralysis. Or one might believe that snow might mean that the intuition is somehow blocked--information may be received but the ability to trust it or act upon it is missing. Something else to consider when you are interpreting your snow dream is the condition of the snow. Is it white? Is it a nice snow or is it a driving blizzard or a serious snowstorm? Is the snow falling at an odd time of year? Snow that is brown or off color may indicate feelings of innocence lost. Snowstorms or blizzards may indicate feeling emotionally overwhelmed or unable to see one's way through a situation such as the way one might feel if caught in a 'blinding snowstorm.'" 

this dream left me shaken and nights later i still think about it. the cold snow was almost unbearable. i usually look forward to sleep. not tonight.

what do you dream about?



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

#tweet

you learn something new every day. today i learned what a hashtag or # means.

Definition: The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.

now, this is for sure not twitter -- and i do not tweet -- nor twit -- nor tweeter -- but tonight i thought i'd use this very cool hashtag to summarize some thoughts that have been jumping around my brain.



#tensiontorelaxation
"tension is who you think you should be. relaxation is who you are."

s so brilliantly wrote this to me one day. truly accepting ourselves for who we are - faults, quirks, talents and all - is a huge step in self love. i have been learning in my life most recently that the more i feel god's love for me in my life, the more i love god and want him to be in my life, the more i love myself, and strangely enough, the more i want to go and help others. i don't even know how i would diagram that if i could. it's a cycle that moves in an upward motion. god's love comes in, i begin to see myself differently and love who i am, i want to go love/serve/help others. tonight i was writing in my personal journal about this strange change in my life. for the first time i am beginning to want to do good things not out of fear or duty but out of love. love for god, myself, and others.

#trusttheprocess

i have had to remind myself that even though this is new territory for me i do not need to run from it. see, that's my instinct as a person who struggles with anxiety. i want to run to the familiar. but if god would be so kind as to bring me this far, i really don't think he would leave me. it's like i've been put in a boat and i'm finally letting god drive, fill the sails with glorious wind, and i'm trusting that where he takes me is where i need to be. trust is so difficult. but with this new love of god, self, and others, it is coming a bit easier. not totally easy, but easier.

#breathe

i changed the name of my blog. i have had two people who mean a lot to me tell me kindly over the past few months that i do not need to be defined by my disorder. for so long i have wanted to. it has been my safety blanket. my ace card. my excuse. and these moments and feelings and uses were okay. they were right. they were part of my journey. but now i'm growing. and i want to be known as a girl on a journey who struggles with anxiety. not an anxious girl. (let it be noted that i do plan to use the ace card when needed for emergency situations and that this is a learning curve ... tomorrow i may just change the name back. but for today it stays). and so when my thoughts begin to tumble and i long to run back to my known, secure hiding places, i will b r e a t h e. and trust that in the end

#alliswell

Friday, November 23, 2012

my job is to ...

_ _ _ _ _

i'm going to leave that blank for a moment while i give some back story as to how i've been handling the first part of this holiday season.

i've been a guest in my parents' house for the past 3 days. it is so easy to fall back into old, familiar, and unhealthy roles. i am pleased to report that i have caught myself 'fixing' problems a few times and S T O P P E D. not every time. but some of the time is better than none of the time.

i describe my personality as one that 'seeps' into others. it takes a while for me to warm up to people. once i do though they are receivers of gifts, time, play dates, etc etc. i love giving gifts. so much. it's one of my most favorite things to do. so part of my seeping personality is to bring you gifts. not as bribery. but to simply let you know how much you mean to me. i love the look on people's faces when they get a gift - or prize as i have been known to call it - and it's not their birthday or any thing special. it's simply a day they got out of bed, and i applaud that.



so i have been breathing through time with family. i love my family, but it's always nice to have breaks. i have also been breathing through black friday. i am NOT a stand outside and wait by the door type of person. so not me. i like sleep. but my family wanted to do some shopping today and i decided to go along. unlike other times today i knew when i needed to say no. when i needed to stop and rest or go to the car. too many people - long lines - waiting and paying for things all stress me out when i'm with others and i'm not sure how they will handle things. i know me and how i will react but i spend my time worrying about others' reactions. one day it may not be like that. but for now it's a part of who i am.

i feel i deserve the loudest, proudest, and longest standing ovation ever. i've done so good these past few days and i can honestly say that i'm relaxed and calm. i know i wrote this in a previous post and i really mean it this time - one day soon i'm going to write about how amazing medication is. until then i will just say that so much of the calmness i have been able to experience these past few days has been from consistent medication, therapy techniques, and the phrases s has taught me. i am made up of these things.



at the end of a long day right before the xanax and melatonin kick in my mind usually starts to freak out. the 'old me' creeps in and begins to thrash my mind with worries and unnecessary thoughts. it is very disheartening.

so i breathe. and remember the brilliant phrase s taught me

:

your job is to relax.

yes, my job is to relax. at the end of the day, when i have done all there is to do, and when tomorrow will take care of itself, my job is to relax. for me this involves a shower, comfy pjs, medication, 4 pillows, a properly propped up bed to avoid heartburn in the morning, and a distracting tv show. i'm too drowsy at this point to read but i can hang on to a familiar show for 15 or so minutes.

it use to take me over an hour to fall asleep. pounding heart and racing thoughts are not conducive to a healthy sleep environment. i never thought i would be able to fall asleep in under an hour. but i can now! i'm so thankful for that.

so my dear readers, remember that tonight it is your job to relax. job entails work and practice. it will take time to figure out what helps you relax and let go the best, but you can do it.

my job is to relax.
your job is to relax.
goodnight, dear friends.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

my journey

today is memorable day in my life.
i have reached a point in my life where i can say "not because it was bad and not because it was good, but because it was."
in order for me to process this all in a positive and quick way, i will limit myself to 10 points about this day, november 18th.

1 - i served a mission for my church. there is a certain amount of time i was called to serve for. i did not make it that length of time due to the health issues which came up. i came home months early and it has haunted me ever since.

2 - two years ago today i flew home with my mom from arizona. i spent the plane trip having seizures. i was wheeled onto the plane in a wheel chair and greeted my dad in texas from a wheel chair. humiliating. i tried to walk but didn't have the physical strength to make it very far.


3 - i met amazing people on my service mission. i lived with a family who became family. they are dear to my heart. i grew close to those i served with. i grew so much during those seven months. it was a challenging time but one that has brought me the greatest joy. and one day i will write more about how the things that are the hardest bring the most reward. not today.

4 - the shame, guilt, and anguish i felt from coming home early is unparalleled in my life events. i would experience my lowest lows - including suicide thoughts and notes - in the next few months. in my heart i felt i had failed god and because i had failed him so completely he sent me away. he sent me home sick and empty.


5 - i was released honorably. no one but myself thought such ugly thoughts about god's timing. while some posed the question, "why her?" they never asked "why god?" i spent my time asking god why and feeling overwhelmed by the failure i was to him. i look back on the me of 2010 with gentleness and kindness. she did not see god's plan. she did not realize that her mission trip would lead her to love the most difficult person for her to love on this earth ::: herself.

6 - god's timing is perfect. he knew of my predisposition for anxiety. he knew it was untreated. he knew that on a mission serving him, i would be in a safe place to experience the trauma of a conversion disorder and full blown anxiety/panic attacks. i would be surrounded by people who loved me. taken to doctors who could help me. ultimately sent home to be well and find myself. my mission became me.


7 - last year this day was not seen as anything positive. it was a dark day. full of bitter pain, hurt, hate. i was still upset with god for sending me home and angry with myself for not being strong enough. today i prayed that god would protect me from the idiots of the world :) yes i did. and he did the strangest thing. he made me s t r o n g e r. hmmmm. what a unique answer to what i thought was a straight forward prayer. in my mind i imagined people falling to the side as i walked by in church. stepping over people who god had struck down. or better being invisible, unseen by all. but instead some talked to me. said things that were hurtful. and the miracle was, i didn't feel anything. i didn't feel anger or pain or hurt. i knew in my brain "fact : it was said. that is how that person feels. but it is not how i feel. i feel calm. i feel ok. i feel safe."

8 - i have put myself in a safe place. i am with my sister b. and my dad is close. it is all ok. i am choosing not to spend this day alone. for this year and all years in the near future. it is a day that can still be laced with unforeseen pain, but for this moment, alliswell.


9 - i am thankful for the people i met on my mission trip and that i am still part of their lives. they are important to me. more precious than anything i own. my memories are treasures. they were worth any uncomfortable moment. i will never be able to express to them how much they mean. if only i could open my heart and let them hold it, then they would understand. i try with words but nothing is quiet adequate enough. still. they have changed my life. for the better.

10 - here are links to past posts that will help you fill in gaps that may be present. hopefully something written will touch and inspire you. today i am filled with a peaceful gratitude.

alliswell. and alliswell. and all that matters is well.








Wednesday, November 14, 2012

one step at a time

sometimes, left foot right foot is too difficult.
so we are gentle with ourselves and change it to left toe right toe.

a few years ago s and i started doing daily check-ins with each other using numbers and colors. my current counselor has encouraged me to do daily self checks to see where i am and how i feel. i can do this as many times a day as i need to. because s taught me a great way to do self checks this has been something simple to implement in my life.

for me, the number represents how much energy i have. i use a 1 to 10 scale. 1 being super depressed, drugged, and in bed. 10 being on an anxiety high with lots of energy and spontaneity with a crash in the near future. 8 is what i chose as my 'normal.' if i have an 8 energy it means i can see 6 patients and go out with friends or hang with family in the evening without a huge crash or let down. 8 is ideal for me. others have used the number to represent the pain they are in or the amount of sadness they are feeling. for a while while i was throwing up every day i used the numbers to show how nauseous and vomit-ie i was feeling. it can be whatever you want.

choosing a color to describe my mood always takes me a moment of thought. there are days when i have been neon orange with green squares. other days, like today, i have been a clear sharp blue. sometimes the colors come with describing words such as confident, jittery, worried, content, and others times it's just number and color.



i really enjoy doing this because it helps me put into a simple context how i'm doing. i have done this with a and always love checking in with her.

and so i would like to invite you dear reader to text me your number and color anytime or leave it here on the blog or message it to me on facebook or send it to me in an email. i am a safe place to send the cold hard facts of how you are doing. it would be an honor to be a part of your journey.

today i was a 7 in energy! i haven't been past a 6 in over 4 months. i was a clear sharp blue. sometimes i shimmer. sometimes i'm silver or sparkly christmas lights. but today i was a crystal clear sharp blue. it was good. i saw 6 patients and went over to my parents' house. my little sister s helped me wash my car and we jammed out to one direction's new cd :) that's right - i'm a fan!



(blank) said (blank) while i was at my parents' house. it really hurt my feelings and shocked me. it was one of those moments where the final piece of the ugly puzzle was put into place and it was sad. i drove home unsure. not unstable but unsure. of how i was feeling. of how to process this information. of what my role in that word being said by that person in relation to the other person was. it was all very confusing and hurtful. i wasn't sure how to say it or who to tell.

i knew i could blog about it but that i couldn't be specific. tomorrow night i will attend a group therapy session where confidentiality is huge and there i will say the word and details of the experience. i am hoping then i can let it go.

while i was driving and thinking a song by jordin sparks came on.

it's how i feel

it has summed up my night.
lyrics are below - music video here.
hurry up and wait so close but so far away
everything that you've always dreamed of
close enough for you to taste but you just can't touch
you believe and you doubt
you're confused and got it all figured out
everything that you always wished for
could be yours, should be yours, would be yours if they only knew

when you can't wait any longer
but there's no end in sight
it's the faith that makes you stronger
the only way we get there is one step at a time

you wanna show the world but no one knows your name yet
wonder when and where and how you're gonna make it
you know you can if you get the chance
in your face and the door keeps slamming

now you're feeling more and more frustrated
and you're getting all kind of impatient, waiting
we live and we learn to take

one step at a time there's no need to rush
it's like learning to fly or falling in love
it's gonna happen and it's supposed to happen
that we find the reasons why one step at a time
remember
:::
be well.
number and color.
don't rush.
take one step at a time.
left toe right toe.
alliswell and alliswell and all that matters is well.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

i remember

it was two years ago today, november 10th, that i had my first non-epileptic seizure. 

we would later find out this was / is due to my conversion disorder.

this is what i remember.

i remember going to a stranger’s house. to comfort her from her recent loss of her baby girl.
i remember seeing pictures of her baby.
i remember the pain. the joy of her little life. the sadness. the flowers we brought
i remember kneeling down by the computer to see pictures of her baby.
i remember standing and stretching out my legs.
i remember thinking "i'm going to fall - this is what it feels like to faint"
i remember hitting the wood floor.
i remember panic.
i remember "CALL 911!!!"
i remember thrashing.
i remember "i can't breathe."
i remember being poked and given oxygen and lights in my eyes and being lifted to the gurney to take me to the ambulance.
i remember the hospital. the doctors in and out in and out. 
i remember thrashing - seizures - in and out in and out.
i remember doubled, blurred vision.
i remember having to pee - and catheter - and infection later that week.
i remember migraine. and CAT scan. and screaming for hours and hours and hours in the hospital "DAD??" where was my protection when i needed it?
i remember going in and out in and out for days - sometimes i'd be alert for up to 20 minutes then seizure.
i remember going to the doctor 
i remember arizona.
i remember being far from family.
i remember flying home. and sitting in a wheel chair. and every light, every noise, every startle sending me into a 5-20 minute seizure.
i remember home. and family. and a crushed soul over 'coming home early' from my mission.
i remember sadness.
i remember questions - unanswered - so many questions.
i remember miracles.
i remember 5 hour test - fasting for it - blood drawn multiple times - my arms covered in needle pricks.
i remember MRI and CAT and scans and needles and scans and needles.
i remember t i r e d. 
i remember not being physically able to walk up the stairs. 
i remember sleep. so much sleep.
i remember buried feelings. so tired. so tired. so tired.
i remember it all. like it was yesterday.

but my journey has taken me from there to here. and it will take me from here to there. and i will be well one day. and the traumatizing memories of this day will not always haunt me in such a way as they do now.

i. remember.

Monday, November 5, 2012

my dear j

i heard you today in your text. i heard what you were saying. i felt the pain of questions unanswered. the fear of anxiety and the power it can have over your life. i understand. i know. because i have not only been there, i am there.

there were three questions i heard you ask. i don't pretend to be an expert in answering these questions, but i want you to have the first thoughts that came to my mind.
how do i handle change?

oh change. such an enemy. different-new-challenging. the thought of change can bring me from a normal ,well day to a complete stop, lying in the fetal position. the thought of change terrorized my nights growing up. i remember when i was 13 lying awake at night waiting for my parents to come home from a date, just sure they had died in a car crash. i would then spend time planning how the changes would affect me and my siblings - how i would support the family - make it through school - pay for bills - and on and on. my heart would pound against my bed - sleep was no where in sight. now when i think of change at work or in moving apartments or in any aspect of my life, my breath grows shallow, my head starts to spin, i feel my heart rate pick up and suddenly all my thoughts are disconnected. my brain is jumbled. my actions scattered. as you can see my reaction to the thought of change has morphed over the years - but how do i deal with it now??

left foot. right foot. one moment at a time. i literally stop my thoughts and focus on the next minute of my life. what do i need to accomplish in it to calm down? usually it's take a deep breath. turn on a distracting tv show. get my cold packs out of the freezer (which are literally covering me now - never ever be too hot - ever). use the bathroom. drink some water. eat a little snack. all of these things help me get through the moment so that my thoughts calm down and my mind returns to a regular pace.

how am i supposed to function properly when i'm panicking and hurting 75% of the time?

i love that you used a percent. i have to use percentages in work all the time to show how much progress each of my children are making. my mind works best when i divide what i'm going through into a percentage of how i'm feeling / reacting. i hear you. hurting and panicking for most of your day is exhausting. and so stressful on your body - physically, mentally, emotionally. i want to address the word proper.

what is proper? j, it's different for each person. do not let someone else's idea of proper affect what you feel is right for you. there is no standard of correct function. it is simply your best. some days my best is getting out of bed long enough to take my meds, then turn on the tv and fall back asleep until it's time for my next dose of meds. and i'm not exaggerating. i can sleep for 18 hours no problem. other days my best is seeing 6 kids and going out with a friend that night. my best changes from day to day. my ability to function is based on how i'm doing inside. and so, be gentle with yourself. when you are overwhelmed with panic and pain, realize that your best may be 10% and that's ok. you wouldn't expect someone with a broken leg to run a marathon, right? i mean they have two legs and to function properly they should be able to run, right? wrong. you have to take into consideration the condition the legs are in. proper is different for each person. and while you are figuring out the balance of proper in your life, be gentle with yourself. give yourself extra time for rest and quiet thinking. it's ok to sit in bed with nothing to do and simply stare at the wall. that's ok. sometimes quiet is what we really need.

do not rush your journey.


how do i know if what i'm thinking is rational or irrational?

this is a little tougher. let me give you a glance into my irrational world. here, i am alone forever. i am loved by no one. i have no friends. no one likes me. i live in a ghetto apartment. i work at a job i don't like for 12 hours a day. i don't have the money to buy the medication i need. i am not happy. it's a gloomy place with no hope for a life of love, peace, and happiness.

when my mind starts using permanent words such as always or never i know i have entered irrational-ville. "i will never be married." "i will always be alone." "i will never be wanted." "i will always be anxious." my counselor has warned me about the dangers of using these words and other words like it. they set you up for one track thinking. when you begin trapping yourself with these words you have driven into irrational territory. the truth is, i will have my turn to have a family and husband. i will not always be alone - in fact i can not be alone anytime i want because i have friends and family close. i am wanted and needed by my kids at work. i am finding that as i work in counseling and take my meds my anxiety is decreasing. i will probably always struggle with it, but i will still be able to find rays of sunshine and peace amidst the anxiousness.

maybe a good way to see if what you are worrying about is true is to ask, "would rachel agree with this?" if i would then worry on! if not, S T O P. it's hard. but use some of the above ideas to get your mind to s l o w d o w n and take a break.



in summary
:::
1 ) use the bathroom every hour.
2 ) drink at least 2 glasses of water a day.
3 ) breathe deeply.
4 ) take a nap, anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours.
5 ) remember that in the end, alliswell and alliswell and all that matters is well.
xo

ps:
i chose pictures of sunrises to remind you that
- there is light behind the clouds -
- a new day will always come -
- hope fills each day -