Thursday, May 31, 2012

it's a new day

and something uplifting is on it's way.

but first i'm going to rest.

~~~ ---___... ___ --- ~~~

it is now night. and i have found myself with some time to decompress -- or decompose as the case may be.

i was going to do a brilliant entry on the ABC's of mental health -- because the other night S and i were texting back and forth smart things to remember that went in alphabetical order. but alas. in my rash-ness of deleting "all the things" i deleted the text. and it makes me sad. actually mad. super mad. because it was genius. another day i guess.

so instead i'll address 3 things :

1) i am NOT a good movie watcher. i like to skip. and watch in fast forward and make up the middle part - you know the part where there's contention or something bad happens - and then i play it just in time for the happy ending. because i'm mental i have to be careful what i watch -- if it's a romantic drama i have to be in the right frame of mind so i don't go crashing and burning too far down. romantic comedies i can handle - minus the middle part of fighting and such. and i love animated movies like despicable me or megamind. those are perfect for me.

part of the reason i don't like contention in movies is because it makes me feel  ,, ,, you guessed it anxious. i know it's not real but remember that my brain has what a counselor of mine referred to as the 'awefulizer' .. it can take any -- and ALL -- situations and turn them into the worst . possible . thing . therefore turning irrational thoughts into my reality. and so in movies, i don't like the sad parts. they are too real. i like the endings . where everyone gets together and gets along and the bad guy disappears.

also, growing up i took the role of the fixer. i fixed things. relationships. contentions in the family. i felt like it was my responsibility. and after a year of counseling i've discovered that i don't have to fix things.

2) anxiety - brings me to my next floating thought. i am passionate about hating heat. and the sun. and any heat generating products. people laugh. they think that's funny. 'you hate the sun. good one!' nope. i really hate.the.sun. heat creates sweat which is an uncomfortable sensation to say the least. sensations // feelings have not been good to me. heat is a signal to my brain that whether or not the situation merits panicking ,, that i need to panic. sweating is a result of anxiety. and so when i sweat, whether or not i'm in the middle of something anxiety producing, my brain thinks i am and i begin to panic. i think there's some fancy name but we'll just call it 'the-thing-my-brain-thinks-i-need-to-do' . so staying cool helps my thoughts stay 'cool' or better calm. and i can be rational. and think clearly. and be in the moment. therefore i declare no sun forever.

3) and finally. i use the term crazy to describe myself all the time. and i think it catches people off guard. their thought bubble says 'funny, you don't look like the type to run naked through the parking lot screaming obscene things , yelling at random objects and people // and fighting police when they come to collect you and take you to the loony farm.' and on the outside they smile politely and give that socially awkward 'oh no you're not really' laugh.

but : i am.

i snap. you may not see it but as yesterday's post proves, i do. and i don't run nude in public places, though let's be real it could be fun. regardless of whether or not you see me snap or i do or do not run naked screaming at the birds, i am crazy. and here's my definition of crazy ::

define crazy : to me crazy is tired, moody, unsure, frantic, paranoid, angry, hurt, sad, lonely, upset - because now i recognize what these feelings are and in a way that makes it easier (i know what i'm up against) and harder (i know what i have to fight). so to me - crazy is the overwhelming feeling of emotions which change my thoughts and set me on a course to control - panic - sonic.


and as i told S one day, sometimes i just want to wrap myself in caution tape and stay in bed.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

adult language

will be used in this post. so if that offends you, you should wait until i'm out of this black hole and write something different. hell maybe even uplifting.

i snapped. and it wasn't pretty. quick back story. the ceiling in my bathroom started leaking a month ago. six visits from maintenance workers, a hole in my ceiling and my wall later they 'fixed it.' tonight. it started dripping. again.

and i don't know which side of me i fear more : the quiet bite my lip hold it in ('convert' hence the disorder it into seizures of lately stomach cramps so bad that i vomit) or the screaming hitting breaking punching swearing side of me. both aren't fun.

and tonight there was a nice combo. i kept it in. i have a friend visiting. i walked back and forth. said pissed. said f***. and she probably heard that. wrote a strongly worded letter to maintenance to get their asses over here and fix it permanently. because i'm ready for war. and i'm bringing guns. then i said i needed to go for a walk. well drive. so i drove. and picked the loudest worst song i could find .. sadly it was only all american rejects dirty little secret ... but that thing blaring at max volume was good enough. and then the swearing. all sorts of combinations. from f*** that to hell to holy shit -- i hit all the good ones.

then i'd pause. breathe .. keep it in .. start to feel nauseous and from deep down inside of me rage would boil up with the next words and ear singeing screams. then some pounding on the steering wheel and horn .. i hit it so hard the cd skipped. then driving. without my seat belt on and no driver's license. i drove and screamed and swore and repeated. i found myself at sonic.

there i ordered an ocean water - medium - and put on the saddest song i could find. lost, by michael buble. life can have no mercy . it can tear your soul apart . it can make you feel like you've gone crazy , but you're not . lyrics from the song = so true.

and then i cried. i wish i cried buckets of tears but i didn't.

i broke my sunglasses. ripped them to shreds. ugh, tried to cut myself with the sharp parts. feeling pain really sucks sometimes.

cried. more. then drove home.



and at this moment i wouldn't give a rat's ass to know the 'deeper meaning of this all.' shit. i'm seeing my counselor friday. i figure it'll be his problem then. cause i'm not . going . to . figure . it . out . PERIOD .

no need to leave comments like it'll be ok or you can do this or tough days happen to us all .. cause right now it'll just piss me off. i hear you. or i'll bring the guns when the maintenance guys come. or here's some sunglasses. of damnitalltohellinabasketofshit. or here's a mix of loud angty music to scream to would be fine.

i'm allowed to feel this. i'm allowed to be not ok. allowed.

Monday, May 28, 2012

WW_S

i was talking to my aunt today and she said something that reminded me of what a friend taught me over a year ago.

my aunt and i were talking about my grandma, mamaw, who passed away in march last year. words will never be able to describe how much i love my grandma. i felt were were of the same soul material. so many parts of who i am and who she was were the same. i miss her. everyday. i look for her in the things i do. whenever i see a cardinal i think of her. she loved birds. she had a hummingbird feeder outside one of her windows, so i bought my home one. she had beautiful gardens around her house, so i have covered my patio in potted plants. she loved angels. i bought a plant that had an angel in it to remind me of her. i love mamaw. she did so much for me. anyway, today my aunt said, "sometimes i think about mom and ask, what would mom do?"


which reminded me of what my friend S taught me. the "What Would so and so Say" lists. there are times when i am so overcome by anxiety and panic ridden racing thoughts that my rational brain clicks off and my irrational brain turns on with all of its wonders. i remember lying awake as a 13 year old, waiting for my parents to come home from a date, just positive they got in a car crash and died, so i spent my time planning how i would take care of the home and my siblings. how i would support them. work. go to school. yep. true story. and all that time it never occurred to me that my thoughts were irrational. because that was my reality.

so, at the beginning of my journey, S taught me about her WW_S lists. when she was down or in a place where she could not come up with rational thoughts, she would make lists from someone else's perspective :: lists of what they would say to her.

this. changed. my. life.

i have done many lists from the perspective of S, mamaw, my sister, my counselor, etc. because S understands me so well and has been where i am, i find myself often making WWSS lists because i know she gets it.

when i find my breathing becoming shallow, my thoughts beginning to spin, and my hands and feet turning cold, i'll pause and do a WWSS list. here's an example :

1 : breathe. take 3 therapeutic breaths.

2: s l o w d o w n

3 : get something cold to drink

4 : use the restroom

5 : turn on a distracting show

it is amazing how leaving the 'problem' and returning to it later after i've calmed down completely changes the dynamics of what i was going through.

i've done WWMamawSay lists :

1 : look outside

2 : listen to the birds

3 : take a walk

4 : make a craft//red hat

when i can't be rational, i pick someone who i know can be and channel my 'inner them.' it's gotten me through some dark dark days. and picked me up on good days. sometimes i make those lists just to remind myself that i am doing good things and that the people i cherish in my life celebrate my victories.

*WW_S*

oh, and always - always, S says go to sonic. always.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

pain

is such a serious word. i have been sick the past two days. and being so physically sick made me start thinking .. if i could've chosen, would i have picked physical or emotional pain? i don't know the answer. so it's probably best that god allowed me to have what i do.

part of my journey has been learning how creativity can stem from the darkest corner of my soul. some of my best writing has come from low times. and lately it has come from a clearer perspective. a hopeful acceptance of where i am.

but .. i am finding that when i'm physically sick , i'm not too creative. i'm tired. and sick. and those take up all the creative space in my brain.

so i'll keep it short today. maybe tomorrow will bring something brilliant. or even semi-brilliant. i'll take whatever i can get.

until then, a friend sent me this, and i L O V E D it.



if i could have a super power i would choose wind. then i could always keep the space around me easy - breezy and at a cool 70. and move people out of my space with a little wind gust = totally awesome. that. would. be. so. great.

what super power would you choose?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

SI

i am giving myself 20 minutes to do this blog post. then i need to go get some other things done.

my experience with self injury* has been on my mind. a little thought that keeps bobbing up and down, up and down. i really want to write about something else .. like therapeutic breathing and how much that has helped me. but, i learned in the shower (seriously some of my best thoughts come from there) that part of me loving and accepting myself completely - and presenting my whole story - is writing about my self injury.

i don't remember the date of when i first cut, but i remember the mood. i was dark. angry. mad. absolutely pissed off. i could feel darkness around me. i had the curtains shut tight in my room, door closed and locked, knife held preciously in my hand. i have no idea where the thought originated or how i knew that cutting would "help" because that's not something they teach you in kindergarten. but i just knew, if i cut myself, on my thigh, as deep as i could, that i would feel better. i had not been able to cry. all of the build up of emotions and no outlet. so i cut.

i remember the sharp zing of the knife as it slid in my skin. the pain didn't register. i cut 5 times, leaving four beautiful marks.

the physical aspect of it was wonderful. i finally broke down and started sobbing. and i did feel better. so much better. the endorphins released gave me a high of sorts, lifting me from the darkness back into my sort of light reality. and then the pain came. and it was glorious. it burned and stung for days. and the blood. so red. so real. it showed me that i was still alive, that i could feel, that i could function. i loved watching it ooze out of my skin.

to me, at that time, it was proof. proof that i was hurting. proof that my pain mattered. that what i was going through counts. it was physical proof of emotional pain.

and i loved those marks.

over the next months i would go on to cut my other leg, my sides by my hip, my chest from my breast bone down to my belly button, my neck, and my arm. the more my pain grew the more desperate i became with the cutting. i started where people wouldn't see and ended up in very obvious places.

there are lyrics from two songs that continuously play in my head when i think about self injury. one from maroon 5 "sometimes these cuts are so much deeper than they seem. you'd rather cover up. i'd rather let them bleed." and bleed they did. i hated putting band aids on my cuts. and the second "scars remind us that the past is real."

during my dark months i was stuck in the first song. driven to prove that though they looked like nothing, my pain was deep and real. and i wanted the blood. i wanted to feel life. now i feel like i've moved to the second song. i haven't cut in almost 4 months. but my scars remind me of my past. and reminders are ok. good even.

i do have my favorite cuts. the ones on my arm. i see them everyday and am reminded of all that i've been through to come to where i am.


*self injury is not good. it is not emotionally or physically healthy. it was part of my journey but i hope you won't read this and experiment with it. it is nothing to take lightly. if you are struggling with this or know someone who is there is so much good information at www.mayoclinic.com. type in "self injury" in the search box. though cutting was part of my journey, i hope it's not part of yours.*

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

the day you'll have

i'm a bit hyped up on matt bomer love !!! like super high. and anxiety makes "highs" higher -- so ya, i'm flying :)

i will try to contain all of my adrenaline and write ....

my sister and i were at the movies the other day and saw a commercial for "the odd life of timothy green." it looks super cute. one of the lines from the movie caught my attention.

the scene is a mom and dad dropping their son off at school for the first time. the dad waves and says, "have a great day!" the mom quickly looks to the dad and whispers frantically, "no, no that's too much pressure." the dad looks back at the kid and says, "ok, have the day you'll have."

have the day you'll have. so powerful in its simplicity.

if i can have the day i'll have - and accept all that comes with that (anger, sadness, joy, gratitude, anxiety, depression, hurt, peace, pain, etc) - then in my soul i will be still, because i will be at peace with myself.

i love the word still. last night i went to bed talking to god. i was rambling on about my feelings and finally asked, "what is this feeling growing inside of me? i'm content with who i am. at peace with me. comfortable in my skin. but i don't like any of those words. what is the word, god?" and in that moment it came to me : "still"

what a word. i am still. in my soul i am still. to me the word still encompasses the meaning of those other words : peace, comfort, content. anxiety is a funny disorder. it causes one to feel hyper emotions and for me that resulted in a jittery feeling. i was being shaken back and forth - heart racing, head pounding, blood pumping. meds have helped. so much. as has counseling. but my acceptance of me is increasing my ability to be still.


on a similar thought, a month or so ago i was having a particularly trying day. i was done. i wasn't sure how i was going to finish seeing my patients that day. i was exhausted emotionally and mentally. and from my sweet friend came this text : "today is not a day to excel."

that sentence saved me that day, and has saved me many days since.

so today and each day i'll :

have the day i'll have.

be still.

and. not overly excel.

each day i will be me. and that will be enough.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

the power of a prize

wow. i cannot express how good i feel. i feel like myself. happy. content. this past weekend of spoiling myself was just what i needed. there is so much rejuvenation in taking care of YOU first. there are so many things each day that yell at us. phones, internet, facebook, family, friends, music, tv, stores, and on it goes. each has something to say. energy to zap from us. and it gets to the point where all i can stand to hear and feel and see is silence. in the quiet of my home - or room - or closet - or car i find me. and i'm important. if i'm not being taken care of, i'm less able to be there for others.

one of my counselors explained it to me like this. "you are a car. and each day you have a set amount of gasoline (energy) given to you. when it's gone, it's gone. and it doesn't matter where you are or what you're doing, you're going to stop working."


when i first began this journey in 2010, i had maybe, maybe, a quarter of gasoline each day. i mostly slept. i was beyond exhausted. the meds i was being put on were necessary but they didn't help my energy levels at all. sleep was all i wanted. a walk up the stairs or a movie and my energy was gone. around summer of 2011, i could feel myself having more. i was at a gallon  of gasoline a day. i could go a little farther but still had to be careful. now, i would put myself at about 4 gallons - i don't want to get crazy and think i'm a hummer or anything, but my capacity is larger. AND i'm much better at refueling as i go. before i would drive myself into the ground and then get more gasoline. now, i refuel as i go. if i'm feeling tired, i go to sleep. if i'm feeling anxious, i take a xanax. if i'm feeling alone, i find my friends. if i'm feeling thirsty, i go to sonic. :) i still have crashing moments, but they are shorter and farther apart.

and perhaps one of the best things i've learned is, when i'm feeling down, i get myself a prize.


prizes are the most wonderful thing in the world. it is my way of recognizing me and all that i've overcome that day or week or minute.

the simple fact is, believe it or not, you deserve a prize. you deserve some self recognition. you deserve a HOOHAA, as my friend and i say. some of my favorite prizes are the wacky pack at sonic, sparkly pom poms, renting a movie on amazon, getting my nails painted, my electric toothbrush, and massages. prizes can be big or small. i don't get myself expensive prizes everyday, but if it's been an awful week you can bet your ass i'll be getting something H U G E!

now, if you're anything like me, your head is going to start saying one or all of the following, "it's too much money - you're working on a budget; that's dumb, you'll just end up throwing it away; it's not going to last forever; save that dollar - you have no idea what you might need it for later" and my personal all time 'favorite' "you're. not. worth. it."

let me be clear. all of these are simply not true.

the point of prizes is to celebrate the moment. it doesn't matter where the prizes end up, what matters is you overcame a difficult moment - you succeeded - and you deserve a prize! yes, money can be tight, we all have financial responsibilities, but get your friend the 99 cent birthday card and spend the other 3 bucks you would've given to hallmark on a wacky pack prize for yourself!


and here's the biggest secret of all :::

i'm worth it. and so are you.

Monday, May 21, 2012

sorry is a mean word

because as somebody with an anxiety disorder i use it w- aaaaa-aaaaa- aaaa- y too often. i'm sorry i'm sorry i'm sorry. well you know what, enough is enough, and i'm actually NOT sorry!

i'm not going to be all out rude. i mean there are times when it really is my bad - for example when i almost ran over a nice young man at the gas station today. he looked at me, i looked at him and mouthed sorry, and he smiled and we both went on our way. my bad.

but so often my head tries to tell me that everything is my fault. the awkward silence in the room, the speaker being late for the meeting, traffic on the freeway, notes not showing up at work, etc etc. you name it, apparently it's my fault. well guess what. it's. not. my. fault. anymore. ! 

"sorry" is a filler word. a get out of jail free card if you will. it eases the tension, breaks up anger, and re-focuses people on the true issue at hand. all because someone took the blame for a situation. well i'm done being that person. i'm not sorry that you were late for work because you left late and got stuck in traffic. not my problem. seriously, i have enough running around going on in my brain. i don't need to add your issues to it.

i do not have to apologize for others. if it's not my fault, let the silence speak.

i do not have to over apologize. "i'm soooo sorry. it's totally my fault." no. it's. not.


and i have begun to work on this, thought it's not as easy as it might seem. sorry is such a short quick word that solves a lot of issues. but does it really solve things.... or just cover up problems, like a rug does a dirty floor. the dirt is still there. you just can't see it. the problem is still there. it's just no one is talking about it.

so, enough with the sorrys!

on with the silence!

my new motto is : "think twice : no need to be extra nice"

(ie: don't be sorry when you don't need to be)

***unless it really is your bad -- then do the right thing and say sorry***

Sunday, May 20, 2012

facebook boundaries

pretty much, there are no boundaries on facebook. sure, you can set your privacy settings to the highest or strongest possible. but if your information is out there, people can and will find it. i remember when i first got a facebook account. i was probably 15 or 16. right at the height of my anxiety struggles. i would have literally anxiety attacks before checking it each day. and yes, it was each day, because i also have a little OCD in my. awesome. my throat would tighten, my chest constrict, my breathing would become shallow, and i would hear echos of each person's post ringing through my ears, "got the job - here comes $70,000 a year! : i'm pregnant! : in a relationship :) : guess who's engaged??!! : baby's first step : i love this guy : nominated for prom queen AND WON! : got accepted into yale, standford, and harvard - how do i choose?? : 4.0 all the way baby! : high school class president - thanks for your vote! : : : : "
and on and on and on it went. and of course with each status there were 50 million likes. i on the other hand would think and worry and write/re-write a clever update and get 1 like. talk about sadness.

anyway, all of this came out sounding to me "you will never be as good or as clever or as superb as me. you are not enough."

and so i deactivated my account. a few months after coming home from my church mission, my sister said i needed a fb. i had been thinking about it. i missed the people i had met. i wanted to see how they were doing. and i had vowed that THIS time around i would only friend those people who i actually, truly wanted to friend. not friend them because i felt guilty or had to or any other reason. they had to be my friend in real life to be my friend on fb. so i let her set it up and finally got to the point where i would get on. then -- thanks to my OCD -- it became a pattern. alarm goes off in the morning, check my email, check my fb, and check it throughout the day. i don't know how something so seemingly harmless can be so addicting. did i get any likes? any new friend requests? am i popular?? for crying out loud! i'm not popular in real life - why the hell would i be popular online!! sheesh. anyway. i was brutal in my accepting or sending of friend requests. i stuck to my "friend in real life friend on fb" motto -- until the guilt trip of 2010. i got a message that said, "i thought we were friends but i guess i was wrong" - ouch. so i accepted them. and that started the slow trickle of blurring the lines between friend, not so much friend, and work relationships.

all of this blew up in my face thursday. oh that evil thursday. hmmmm, i'm realizing after typing a paragraph that i don't want to go into the details of what happened. it is enough to say that i unfriended someone and talked to my therapist about it. he said that he thought it was smart. i was protecting myself. he said it much better. wish i could remember the exact wording. anyway. i was confronted about the unfriending and have decided to take a fb break.

one week. i just finished writing in my journal. serious emotional vomit happened. i chose the three main areas of my life where i am trying to create and maintain boundaries.

with my parents. going well.

with my friends. super.

with co-workers and families i work with. weakest.

i realized i needed to take some time away from the constant news feed of daily personal information, and just be. think about who i want in my life. how much time am i spending on fb? what will i do with that time instead? if i return, what new boundaries will i bring with me?


for a person struggling with an anxiety disorder, boundaries are the scariest thing. but let me be clear.

You. Are. Allowed. To. Set. Boundaries.

they are healthy. they are good. they are right.

safe at sonic


i. love. sonic. it's so simple. sonic is my safe place. having anxiety requires one to consider "safe zones." places he/she can go to think, breathe, relax, and be. where there are no expectations, it is quiet, and a bathroom is close. yes. bathrooms happen to be very important.

one of my dearest friends taught me so simply that "you are always safe at sonic." she would say that to me at least 4 times a week to remind me - during the beginning of my journey when i had really crazy times - that i was allowed to say "ENOUGH" ,,, i was allowed to run away //// i was allowed to take care of me .... i could go. and things would be fine. and i would be safe.

and so started my passion for sonic. i started going there a few times a week and have worked up to everyday except sundays. sometimes i go twice a day. when i was super crazy, i would take my notebook, order a drink, and write. no one bothers you there -- except to offer you a mint or ranch -- and you can stay for as little or as long as you need. i have taken naps there. it's true.

the system of sonic is brilliant. 1) they have a clear menu with delicious choices -- burgers, chicken, tots, and ice cream. if you are feeling the need for a prize (which is super important and i will address the idea of a prize in a later post) they have toys. and the drinks. the possibilities are truly endless. whatever you want, you can have. 2) after deciding you press a red button. red only happens to be my favorite color. and a delightful, cheerful, positive person says "hello, thank you or making my sonic your sonic. what can i get for you" my sonic your sonic. yes, i am part of something greater. thanks for the reminder. 3) place your order and wait. soon they come with drinks and food and all is right once again with the world.

i'm a drink gal myself. during my crazy days, i would get a drink. cold helped ground me. i could feel myself leaving my body, and having something cold to drink helped me stay. my energy was extremely low, so i stuck with a vanilla dr pepper or coke. now i mix things up with fruit punch and sprite and ocean waters. but always - always - always. sonic ice.

i would one day like to meet the inventor of sonic ice ,, perfect chew size pieces soft on the teeth. crunch, cold, delightful. simply delightful.

i would sit and write and write. or cry and cry. or think and think. here's a sonic journal entry 9.21.2011.

"i know the fear of a rabbit being hunted. i just texted that to S and it is so correct. i am planning my escape frantically, desperately searching for a Way out of this circular maze. i am mad with fear - crazy at being right - crazy with being wrong. my mind is fried by unknown and unspoken worries - my heart pounds a steady medicinal rhythm - as it is under better control than my thoughts. my mind is wild with imaginations of situations and circumstances i will never be able to succeed in and i cannot calm down. i am at sonic and just happened to glance up and notice a lovely lit water fountain a moment of peace. too much happens all at once and i crumble like overcooked cake and i break at the mere touch, verbal or otherwise. i do not fear for my life - i do fear that a moment will come when i give in and hurt myself again - oh, it will feel so good to feel the sting of the knife and the release of hormones which deceptively say "alliswell." unless you have been here, you will never understand the living, breathing, all consuming power of an anxiety disorder. disorder - for those who seek the most order comes disorder. cold soda splashes my throat and burns its way down - grounding me. my breathing has returned to an acceptable - though not normal - pace. my thoughts are focused on this task - my mind strains to focus on this - though scenes from horrible situations yet to happen flash behind my eye and for a moment shots of adrenaline sear my chest - quickly squelched by the medication fire fighters. i wish it upon no one to feel the pain of communication blown out of proportion by an irrational mindset. am i calm enough to cleanse my mind and soul and write what is disturbing me?"

wow. rereading that, i see the day when it happened. i know which sonic, where my car was parked, and i remember the racing fears. one day i hope to compile all my writings in many journals and on stashed pieces of paper into one book. i love the creativity that the anxiety brings out in me.

so. all of that is to say, that sonic is a safe place. a safe zone. there, i can process, be, think, act, sleep, drink, ,,, ,,, ,

and alliswell.

Friday, May 18, 2012

spoil me friday

well, dear readers, i survived yesterday. you might have noticed my post yesterday was serious with an underlying message of needing to be understood. yesterday was a bad - b a d - bad day. i cried. all day. and it was good in the sense that i released a lot of pent up emotions... but it was so bad.

after surviving - and i literally mean that - yesterday, i decided today was a day all about me. all about whatever i wanted and i could have anything , do anything , and the answer was yes!

i started off my day with a massage from my wonderful friend Windy. we talked. we connected. i felt the pain and loneliness and hopelessness of yesterday melt as my friend lovingly helped me release extra feelings stored in my body.

then i went and picked up my meds :) and got my oil changed -- and was firm in my decision to NOT get the transmission fluid changed (for only $119 sheesh!) and to keep my air filter just the way it was. as a bonus my car got washed and vacuumed. it's so clean.

after that i went to lunch with my sisters. and seriously they are incredible. they are prepared for any emergency. anything i needed they had.

next was my counseling session where i talked about my progress, my goals, my frustrations, my sadness, my happiness, and in the end, i remembered and recognized my progress. i am not a failure, no matter what my head may try to tell my heart. i am a success. i am me - and that is a success.

a trip to the hair salon was after that -- oops no i went to sonic :) -- then to get my hair done -- a PERM! it looks so great and i'm loving the curls.

home home jiggity jig where i showered and then had the pleasure of my dear friend, ashley's, company for the night. we watched a movie, ate pizza and ice cream, and talked. oh how i love her.

what a rejuvenating, refreshing, and rewarding day it has been.

everyone deserves a spoil me day. rachel's orders :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

anxiety explained

let me describe anxiety for you...
drink that 2 liter bottle of cream soda. yes, cream soda. it has just the right amount of caffeine in it for you to relate to anxiety.

ok, now i'm going to give you half an hour to begin feeling the effects of the caffeine - from here on referred to as anxiety - in your system.

you will notice a few changes. first, you are hyper aware of everything. sounds, lights, people. you will feel jittery inside.. this is your new normal. your mind will be jumping from thought to thought without ever coming to a good resolution on anything. and let's not forget the physical heart pounding. yes, you can feel your heartbeat and you realize how wise it is to have skin covering that thing, otherwise it would've been out of your body and hopping down the street hours ago.

now, this is anxiety. functioning in a constant state of "hyper." remember that nothing, i repeat nothing, is "no big deal." everything is a B I G D E A L. everything matters. and everything new causes a spike in your anxiety level. going into a new grocery store, calling to make a dr appt, conflict - oh conflict, we are going to come back to that one - people talking to you, going to new places alone, or even known places alone because there is so much un-predictable-ness there, going to the movie theater, taking a walk in your neighborhood, going to the gym, walking into a restaurant and telling them how many people will be in your party, filling you tank up with gas - and heaven forbid the keypad doesn't work ... because you're already in a heightened state of anxiety .. now if pushed, you will go into full panic mode. a panic attack. all of the feelings of anxiety plus racing thoughts, cold hands and feet, sweating head back and chest, a disconnected feeling (dizziness//light headedness), and a wall of fear that can and sometimes will literally stop you from doing what you were doing.

this is how i lived my life. school - oh school. my anxiety got so bad in college that my fingers broke out into turquoise veins. the tips of my fingers. everyday before i left for school. i didn't know what it was then. now i know it was my body trying to get blood to my extremities. because you are fighting against yourself. you are in "fight or flight" mode but you have to act calm because what you are doing is really quite "normal." you are not running from a man eating tiger. you are going to your college classes. and work. if i was 1 minute late for work i would begin to panic. because the food for panic is irrational thoughts. ex "i'm going to get fired, everything will fall apart, my paycheck won't match up, i'll have to stay longer" and on it goes. at my first job out of college in my chosen profession i literally went to work each day prepared to be fired. it never happened - in fact i got a 40% raise - but that's not the point, the point is i was constantly in a state of irrational anxiety.

now that you understand a bit, add to this trying to sleep or carry on a conversation or working. because i had to push through the anxiety to do these things, it came out in other ways ... teeth grinding, my jaw ached all day because i was grinding all night. migraines, which literally shut me down for hours. the pain of light and heat was//is blinding. beginning at age 12 i had a headache everyday that i took 3 ibuprofen for. after those "went away" (or rather after the med stopped working) i began having migraines. stomach cramps. the acid in my stomach would churn and churn causing a burning that never went away. and crying spells. age 15 : i started going to college. and maybe it started before then, but i remember everyday before i left for school, sitting on the floor in my room, sobbing. sobbing. for a good 15-20 minutes. then i'd get up, dry my tears and go to school. i began taking a vitamin b supplement a year or so later which helped, but i was still emotional.

in order to stop the panic or return to your "normal" anxiety functioning level, you have to push through all anxiety provoking activities. so you are at normal, you have to go to school or work and it spikes, you live in a heightened HEIGHTENED state of anxiety for fill in the blank number of hours, then the pain eases and you return to "normal" and feel so much better. but a phone call from an unknown number, a last minute activity, or something unplanned (and therefore unprepared for) spikes that anxiety. after the activity is over, you return to "normal" and have a crash or sorts - for me i think it was my crying spells when i was younger, now i experience depression.

it is the filter through which everything must pass. you live life through anxious lenses.

please remember that you are also hyperventilating during this time because you are not breathing properly and therefore not filling your lungs with air.

and on the outside i//you can look like a put together, focused, and determined individual. on the inside you are falling apart.

conflict puts you into overdrive. because there are too many people involved with differing thoughts and opinions and perspectives. or getting into "trouble." i struggled with this one today. if i think i have done something wrong or made a mistake or messed up in anyway, it gets bad super fast. i begin to panic, my thoughts race, my body begins to pump adrenaline, and i cry. i sobbed for an hour this morning over a situation that i knew was ok, but my irrational anxiety brain took over and i couldn't calm myself down until it all turned out -- exactly as i knew it would.

this is anxiety. it is real. and it sucks.

(www.mayoclinic.com has some amazing information on generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. great to use when trying to explain or understand.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

today i have learned

a few things ..
one - i have decided to never devalue a gift by saying, "oh, you didn't have to do that." of course the person didn't have to do that! clearly he/she wanted to. i wasn't standing there forcing him/her to buy the gift, wrap it, and bring it to me. instead, i'll be gracious. the more excited the receiver is about a gift the happier the giver is.

two - i work with kids who have trouble communicating verbally, non-verbally, and socially. some of my kids are low level, ie: can't hear, talk, walk. others are typically developing physically, their speech just hasn't caught up yet. as i was driving home today thoughts about my kids swam through my head...

what if the frustration we feel with others is actually a reflection//reaction to the frustrations we see in ourselves? their inability to communicate the way we think they should is actually a mirror image of our own lack of ability to communicate and connect. we are social beings and is there anything more frustrating than not being understood?! my kids hit and bite and scream. they are saying the best way they know how : "YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND ME!"

and what do i do? i would like to hit something (or someone), throw things, yell, and scream but i bottle up my feelings, withdraw, and write. my secret hope is that maybe if i understand me better i will be able to communicate better with others and have them understand me and me understand them. and while total withdraw is not ok, looking inward - "taking a swim in lake you" (for psych fans!) - is actually a good thing. as i see how my hurt started and what it came to be i begin to understand the process of human emotion. i am not expert, but i can tell when people are down, and i hope that my sad times will make me better able to connect and help those hurting ... heal.

so, i'm not going to return hitting for hitting or anger for anger. instead, i'll breathe. take a moment. understand that this kid or this adult or this being in front of me is not the problem. i'll listen to them, perhaps i'll hear a cry of frustration "i can't talk!" or a plea of pain "i am hurting."or a sob of silence "i don't know what to do." and then, when i understand, only then can i help.

and three - totally random ,, but i saw an empty milk carton flying in the wind today after a car raced past it and the thought entered my mind "what would it look like if a full gallon of milk was thrown from a car going 60 MPH? how would it explode?"

and that got me home :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

a day in the life

i realize i should probably do a few things ... work on my driver safety course for example (because yes i speed and yes i got a ticket, again) ... finish my patient notes for the day ... read the book my counselor recommended - or do the worksheet he gave me ... make dinner ... exercise ... but the simple fact is i don't want to do any of those things, and so in the words of ellen degeneres "procrastinate now, don't put it off!"

my life has been normal, uneventful even, today. a patient of mine wasn't there when i got to the house, my other four were good. i found humor in the embarrassing question of the cashier this morning, "How are you doing ma'am?" as he was ringing up my tylenol, tampons, and variety of chocolate.... !! (and may i just say i wanted to shout at him, "you're not blind! how do you think i'm doing??!!)  showered after getting home, turned my a/c down to 70 because i am H O T pretty much all the time, and so the day progressed.

so many rambling things i want to talk about, but i think i'll stick with what my friend sent me in an email :: don't let the rush rush you.

so often i let the rush of work, anxiety, home, cleanliness, 'to-do's', and the like rush me. i get wrapped up in a pace i think i should be running when in fact i'm not a runner! or a jogger! or a walker! i'm a mosey-er! i like to mosey. that's how i walk. i like to look and think and just be when i walk. seriously, where would i be in such a hurry to go? the whole point of a walk is to be on a walk, right? or is it a checklist thing.... in my world, it's to walk, not to check something off, so i mosey. or meander. but never do i run. physically. :)

mentally, i run. too much. worry. too often. think. over-think until my poor little brain is fried. and so, when i feel the rush rushing me, i will remember to slow down. to focus on what is most important, and let the other things go. i will s l o w d o w n my thoughts and do my best.

will you?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

H. H. A. L. T. T.

there are so many things that have been floating around in my mind that i want to blog about .. how my life became a journey .. who i am and what i do .. more general information stuff about my disorder and how it has changed my life and my expectations .. but tonight, i cannot get this acronym out of my mind .. so i guess that's my way of telling me this is actually what i want to write about.
HALT is an acronym that i found on a self injury awareness website. it stands for "hungry" "angry" "lonely" and "tired." i added an extra h for "hot" and and extra t for "thirsty." there was a period of time during my journey when i turned to cutting as a way to lessen the emotional pain i was feeling by creating physical pain as a release. it worked. i cut my legs, sides, stomach, arms and at one point tried to cut my neck. in a different post i'll talk more about this and even post pictures of my first cuts. i know it was not a healthy thing to do. mercifully i haven't cut in almost 3 months. !! it's hard though. during part of this time i was also depressed and suicidal. when i found this acronym it clicked inside of me and gave me something to do before i acted in the moment and cut or did something else. as i am growing, i find that i am using this much less for moments when i feel like i want to cut, and more for moments when i am depressed, extremely anxious, unhappy//out of sorts, etc.

H - hungry .. so often my mood is lifted by a little snack or a meal .. work and schedules are good, but if you're not eating regularly then start penciling in time to eat. it really is that important. i try to eat well .. though my family would probably think that's hilarious - but i am doing my best for where i am right now.

H - hot .. i added this one because with the medicines i take it effects my nervous system and makes me hot. like hot hot. seriously i think my body temp has been raised to like 150 degrees and i'm always sweating. and i hate that. anxiety is such a funny thing .. it makes me go into "fight or flight" mode taking blood away from my limbs (fingers and toes) leaving them ice cold and spurs everything else into hyper mode = sweat. so if i'm hot i'm cranky ... maybe because i'm in the middle of a panic attack .. maybe because i'm worried one will happen if i have all the physical symptoms .. either way, i find it best to turn down the ac and sit under a fan. stay cool and calm.

A - angry .. am i angry? anger is such a powerful emotion, but it's not really what's bothering me. anger is a stronger emotion that protects the "little sister" emotions of hurt or pain. when someone asks how you are, you really won't get an understanding reaction if you say, "oh, my feelings are so hurt." but if you say "i'm totally pissed off!" people get it. i don't know why, i just know it's so. try to calm down. i like to write and use bold and underline and CAPS to express how i'm feeling. eventually what is really hurting me comes out, my anger goes away, sometimes tears come, understanding is had, and i can move on.

L - lonely. i wrote in my last post that i like to be alone, and it's true, but i also get lonely. living alone is different and difficult. i am blessed to have family close and dear friends who understand me and want me to come over to their homes and just be there. so i can choose if i want to stay alone or go be with people. sometimes i'm stubborn and bask and wallow in my loneliness. other times i can get over myself and go be with people who cheer me up. being alone is not good when you want to harm yourself.

T - tired .. naps are good. i repeat NAPS ARE GOOD! naps are so good. our bodies need rest. i'm of the old fashioned idea that anything under 2 hours does not count as a nap .. but as i am constantly evolving i will admit that we are all different and you are the expert on your body. if 10 minutes will do the trick then grab a pillow a soft blanket and claim the couch or your bed. if you're more like me, scoot pillows, gather blankets and settle into your bed for a nice long rest. either way, slowing down, resting, and becoming "un-tired" will help so much.

T - thirsty .. did you know that our bodies often confuse thirst for hunger? so if you're feeling out of sorts and think it's your tummy, don't forget to add water to that mix. ice cold water is so wonderful. when i became "crazy and paranoid" i quickly learned that one of my greatest anxieties was being someplace out of my home, becoming desperately thirsty and never being able to find water. yes, i understand now that that is quite unrealistic, but at the time the thought that not all of my thoughts are sanenever entered my head so i did what any person would do .. i solved my problem and bought a "crazy cup." (i named them that :) and mine goes with me everywhere. i always have water in it. it's always a hand reach away. best decision i ever made.

asking myself, "am i hungry, hot, angry, lonely, tired, or thirsty?" has saved me from making decisions that would hurt me. i feel better when i take care of me.

it's ok and good to take care of me.

Peaceful Silence

"and remember what peace there may be in silence." this is a line from the poem desiderata by max ehrmann. it is a poem i dearly love and have in my home.
"silence is golden." and old saying that i do not think was referring to the color of silence, though perhaps if we were to visualize "silence" it would appear in golden streams of glory.

"let us be silent that we may hear the whisper of god." a sign hanging in my bathroom holds these words. i read them a few times everyday. do i hear god? am i silent? am i listening?

"be still and know that i am god." be still. know that god will take care of what i cannot. in my stillness be silent and listen to what he will say.

"and whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul." also from desiderata. what if i kept greater peace in my soul, leading to a stronger stillness, and a longer silence, so as to hear god's plan for me. and what if his plan was simply to tell me each day how much he loves me, how great he thinks i am doing, and how all truly is well.

something about the shower increases my insightfulness. i think it's the humming of the water running down the tub sides and a break from phones, computers, people, and the rush to be needed right away. to be needed is good. but every person needs time alone. and in the shower it came to me that i like being alone. i like to come home to a still house, a quiet nest, one that is clean and safe and comfortable. i do not want to 'be alone' forever, but for this season of my life, i am content. one day, i sincerely hope that i will find a man who's 'alone time' is compatible with mine. someone who i can see and feel near but who will not push himself on my space. someone who will respect the privacy of my space. my soul. my stillness. my silence.

yes, indeed, alliswell.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

blog title

well ... i'm still awake. and considering it is technically a new day, i thought i'd go ahead and post again. i want to explain my blog title as it is very important to me.

about 3 weeks ago i was home and showered after a long work week and feeling down. my therapist explained my anxiety cycle to me like this : "you live in a state of panic and high stress but your body can only sustain that for a few days before it crashes, leaving you feeling down or depressed." needless to say i was on the depressed end of my cycle. work had been rough that week. my a/c was leaking. i was upset with my seemed lack of progress in my life. why, WHY, was no one appreciating me?? or what i was doing?? or the great things i had accomplished??

and if my life had been captured in film in that moment, it would've been shot, starting far out, then zooming in on the heroine - me - rising up from her bed, pushing aside sheets and pillows, brushing back her uncombed hair with her knotted fist, disheveled pjs draped over her shoulders, all creating the epic moment when she realizes, "i deserve a standing ovation!"

for every breath i take, for every tooth i brush, for every pillow i fluff, i deserve recognition and appreciation.

here is an excerpt from my journal entry that day ::

today, as I stumbled beneath my load it came to me quite clearly in the shower … I could damn straight use a standing ovation! From my kids at work! From my co-workers // supervisors! From my friends! From the people I pay so FREAKING much money to each month! From my counselor! From my doctors! FROM MY FAMILY! From the moths I pass as I leave my apartment each day! Because in my world, every step is a victory. And Who Sees It? I go to work and get behavior. I get belittling talk. No thank yous from the families I work with each day. No cheer from the people at the car wash. No pat on the back from people at church. The simple fact that I’m wearing pants on the right part of my body .. a bra under my clothes .. and a shirt that is facing forward gives me the RIGHT to clapping and cheering from every single person I meet!

will i always have posts so evolved and clear? no. way. but i want to give the reader a solid idea of truly where i am emotionally so that the posts laden with swear words and doom don't throw him/her off as much.

i am a constant work in progress. and my work deserves applause.

*listen, i think i hear clapping*

Friday, May 11, 2012

...beginning in the middle...

i was trying to think of a strategic way to start my blog ... something that seemed coherent, natural, correct even .. and then i decided that really sense nothing about my journey matches these descriptive words, i might as well start in the middle, with my thoughts on a phrase from a friend :: "don't walk fast, never walk fast."

as most things do, enlightenment on this phrase came to me in the shower. i finally got how this pertains to my life. i do not have to "walk fast" in my thoughts, actions, or words. i do not have to walk fast in my personality. i can be me. in fact, i was created by a loving god to be me.

there is such freedom and relief in realizing that i do not have to live up to unrealistic standards i once created for myself. i do not like the sun. i just don't. it's hot and makes me sticky. and guess what?! as i "don't walk fast" i realize that i don't have to like the sun or being outside or running or tanning. it's not me. and it doesn't have to be me.

i love being inside. i love cool and dark places. i humorously referred to myself this morning - as i was talking to me in my head of course - as a sort of bat//sloth : content in darkness, content in slowness. that is me. and as i "never walk fast" i accept that it doesn't ever have to be me.

i am allowed to have my likes and dislikes without explaining them to anyone. i am enough, just the way i am. i am worthy of all the good i have received in my life.

i am enough.