Saturday, June 30, 2012

8 phrases to blog or journal by

soooooo i was keeping a running list of things i wanted to write about on my blog in an unsent email to myself ... and as i was reviewing it tonight .... i somehow deleted. and after a "damn" the above 'flashed' into my mind.

and it's so true. i'm coming out of the depression i've been in. thanks to amazing friends who have been there, understand, and are giving me validation as i move through this. and - A N D - a counselor who is very very good. i am grateful for all who have been and are there for me and i feel myself slowly rising out of the ashes of depression.

and so until my other thoughts and blog ideas choose to return, i am going to write about an exercise s taught me. she uses the following 8 phrases to focus her thoughts when anxiety has taken over.

i have found it so helpful. hopefully you will too :)


I am :: watching the 30th anniversary michael jackson special. idk why. i'm not an mj fan  - like sure his stuff is good, but i don't cry when he comes on. and i'm not 100% sure what's entertaining me more ... him or the audience! seriously those people are hilarious! emotionally, i am feeling well tonight. breathing and distracting myself with this show.

I feel :: tired, but safe in my house. i don't feel crazy or out of my head. i feel grounded and not too high or low. just about right

I think :: i should go to bed soon. and i seriously think the mj fans are so freakin' funny! crying, screaming, yelling, waving - ha! as if he can see them from where he is. some great stuff here.

I know :: that my sadness is getting better. that i am feeling more like myself. and that i will be well in time. everything in time. that's the reason for time - so everything doesn't happen at once. AND i happen to know that the spell check is not working on blogger which is irritating if that's how you spell it and if not then it's annoying -- either way ... bleh to it !!

I want :: chocolate. so. so. so. bad. seriously. it's no joking matter.

I wish :: i had a boyfriend. ah, there's so much more to say on that, but i won't.

I will :: take my meds and head to bed now that the mj show is over. and put socks on cause i seriously can't feel my toes but naturally the rest of me is warm. oh the simple joys of being me.

I will not :: hurt myself tonight - or tomorrow. or say mean things about myself. ya that sounds like a good plan.

~words ~
good. calm. peace. in. complete. o k a y. solid. rocking. grateRful. air. gentle. dreams.
all in this moment.
**all is well and all is well and all that matters is well**




Tuesday, June 26, 2012

this explains a lot

i remain in my slupped down state -- and there are so many things i want to post about -- but they are on topics i am passionate // feel strongly about -- and let me be real :: i just don't have that kind of energy. yes, even to write about these topics would zap me of any "keep her alive juice" i have left.

as i have been in this state a phrase keeps coming into my head "i have one minute left in my brain!" odd and random so let me explain .

it comes from the makers of kid history. they are a group of brothers // friends // brothers-in-law who get together and have their kids // nieces // nephews make up stories. the guys then act out these stories using the kids' voices and ... it . is . hilarious . !

my favorite is this one .

at 5:14 the 'kid' on the left is talking about a song he had just sung and wants the other 'kid' to guess what song it is.

to emphasize his point he says the following :

guess!
but ya, there's only one minute left in my brain!
time's running out!
so you better guess!

you will notice that the 'kid' who is supposed to guess is in his own world, focused on doing his own thing. and as funny as this sceen is - it's how i feel.

there is really only one minute of usable intelligence left in my brain.

and once it's gone, it's gone.


how many minutes are left in your brain?



Sunday, June 24, 2012

o . k . a . y .

this past week has been very hard on me - emotionally and physically.

sometimes when i am in a down slump i get super creative with writing and projects - which is a nice bonus if i'm going to work through some depression.

but this week i have felt less creatively depressed and just simply down. slumping along. and i've found it difficult to write and express my thoughts. to reach out to others - to write on my blog for the purpose that i want - to help those struggling with similar problems.

so my reaching out is going to be thorugh this statement -- it's okay to have down days and weeks. ones that slump and sloop around. where your goal is to stay alive. tread water. and breathe until you can get to a better place.

my friend a made up an acronym for okay which has brought me hope in my slumppie time.

o - openly

k - kindly

a - accepting

y - you

...as you are in this moment.

simply powerful :: powerfully simple.

and so i will look forgivingly upon myself this last week and realize that i am me - good - bad. easy times - rough times. and all of it creates me. as i openly accept all my weaknesses and troubles with kindness my ability to extend that same mercy to others will increase. 

i will practice being o k a y with myself this coming week. whatever self that may be.

will you?

i feel safe ::



:: at night ::

i was talking to my friend a earlier tonight and told her that i realized [while walking my trash out at midnight friday] i feel safest at night. it is dark, it is (well in some places - not in tx) cooler, there is less activity and people. i enjoy the sanctity of night. she said something excellent - that maybe one of the reasons i like night so much is because it is less demanding on my sensory system. it is dark and color choices are really black or white, there is less to filter visually which = sanity to those with anxiety. it means less to think about, sort through, worry about. and there are less people which = less unpredictableness and more peace.


i like night. a lot.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

what if we all took a nap when we are tired??

would that totally change the world? i submit to you that it w o u l d.

think about it. how many people out there are cranky and upset and mad ... all because "secretly" they are tired.....??

statistics report 82.3% of people

( ... ok ... i made that up .. it was the .3 that gave it away, huh... bummer .. :p )

some countries take a siesta (aka: nap) in the middle of the afternoon, literally closing stores so that people can rest during the hottest part of the day and also during the body's natural ebb during the day. this is around 2 - 4 pm.

and though i love sonic and will always be loyal to it, they do happy hour - ie caffeine break - during this time because they know people are going to be tired and will respond to this sleepiness with the "only" thing they can do to finish the work day - caffinate! { i must say that was brilliant strategizing on sonic's part }

anyway - back to my point - what if we all rested when we were tired??

i finished my work day yesterday at 3 with a child who screamed//cried through the whole session -- and not only was he tired ... I was tired!

and so i did it - i took a nap. and slept well. and then got up and did a few things and went to sleep for the night. do i think i'm lazy or awful for not pushing through and doing all of the many endless things i can think up that i should be doing? absolutely. not.

i was tired.

so i slept.

and then i was more able to do what needed to be done.


*rest well ~ be well ~ alliswell*

Monday, June 18, 2012

--- i am the best me ---

--- and you are the best you ---
my a/c stopped working sunday night. and though i cried - balled actually - i was the best me i could be in that moment. i submitted a work order. i cried. i didn't cut. i cried. i took my meds. i cried. i went to bed.
that was the best me.
and today, they put in a whole new a/c unit - and after two hours of running it, my house remained at 80 - and so i'm being the best me.
i'm watching tv - and not cutting - i'm writing on my blog - and not screaming - i'm eating my dinner - and not hitting.
and that is the best me in this moment.
i love what dr. seuss has to say on the subject of
y o u

today you are you!
that is truer than true!
there is no one alive,
who is you-er than you!
shout aloud 'i am lucky
to be what i am!
thank goodness i'm not
just a clam or a ham
or a dusty old jar of
sour gooseberry jam!
i am what i am!
that's a great thing to be!
if i say so myself,
happy everyday to me!

live today, love today, embrace today.
and be the best y o u.

today

Saturday, June 16, 2012

two tales, one driver

STORY 1

setting:

a year ago at the mall - sunny day - blue sky - birds singing - all things well

characters:

me and my friend C

plot:

C and i were having a lovely time shopping at target - or ross - or the dollar tree - hmm those tricky little details ... when we decided that we were hungry. so she drove her car and i drove mine to the other side of the mall for burgers. i noticed that my car was a little slow .. not as peppy as it usually is. but i didn't give it much thought until i pulled into my parking spot at the burger place and ...

conflict:

... noticed that my emergency brake had been on the entire time -- tight enough to make my car sluggish -- not so tight as to burn things or make a smell to alert me to the emergency brake being ON!

resolution:

after thoroughly enjoying the humor of the situation and telling my friend how i had just driven with my emergency brake on, it hit me, sometimes i emotionally drive with my emergency brake on. there are days when i should really just stay put. stay parked. stay in bed and rest. but instead i get up and push and push and push . the end result is a sluggish, tired, weighed down me. and so i am giving myself - and you! - permission to have 'emergency brake' days//moments//weeks where the most important thing is to take care of me and how i'm feeling so that i can release that brake and drive well later.

STORY 2

setting:

two days ago - driving out of my parents' neighborhood. recent construction on the main road i was attempting to pull out onto. lots of orange cones and signs and directions. very visually overloading. crossing two lanes of oncoming traffic to make it to the median and merge with outgoing (?) or going the way i needed to go traffic.

characters:

me and snoppy (my car) - guest appearance by the nice man in the mazda, fast driver in the jeep, and punk neighborhood kid in the lime green kia.

plot:

i'm still having some stomach issues -- so needless to say i'm not feeling super fabulous. and when i'm in physical pain it's like that part of my brain grows and shrinks other 'thinking' parts of my brain. so many normal things that are usually simple become very difficult. such as making decisions. i see the mazda (driving in the lane i'm in) and the jeep (driving in the other lane) - who is ahead of the mazda - both coming my way. and i think to myself "surely i can make it across to the median" while at the same time thinking "and not only to the median but merge into the outgoing traffic lane" while at the same time thinking "is there even an outgoing lane? i can't tell!" while at the same time thinking "huh maybe i can't make it" while at the same time thinking "there sure are a lot of orange cones throwing off my driving groove"

Conflict:

when amidst all of these brilliant thoughts it hit me : "YOU'RE SITTING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MAZDA'S LANE SWITCHING GEARS FROM REVERSE TO DRIVE AND THE PUNK KID IN THE LIME GREEN KIA IS BEHIND YOU!!!! YOU'RE STUCK!" so so awesome. 

resolution:

i did what any calmly confused person would've done in my situation : smiled, looked to the mazda driver, put my hands up and said 'i'm so sorry' he then signaled that he was moving to the left lane since i was sitting in his lane, and calmly drove around me. after the jeep and mazda drove away i pushed the gas pedal down, found out quickly i was in reverse, changed to drive, and made it across the lane and a half of traffic i had left to cover and merged gracefully albeit confusingly into outgoing traffic.

and so another nugget of emotional truth from my driving experiences : sometimes we are parked / stopped / stalled in oncoming lanes of emotional shit. there will be times when the shit will signal that it's going around us (such as the nice mazda man) and we are able to smile anyway and let go of the hurt ; other times the shit will switch lanes but flip us off, leaving us feeling hurt, confused, and M-A-D, making letting go of the situation much harder ; and then there are times when the shit sees us, smiles, and hits us right upside the face making our emotional journey the hardest, because before we can let it go we have to clean it up, look at it, sort through it, and let's be real, that's just gross.

loved this more but it wouldn't load onto blog :)


SUMMARIES OF STORIES

in my journey i've experienced all three of these shit flingers. the ones that go around and i can let go quickly and easily : the ones that flip me off and leave me spinning in circles confused as to whether i'm coming or going - good or bad - broken or fixed : and the ones that smack me upside the face leaving it impossible to ignore and forcing me to examine what happened, why it hurt so much, how i can forgive and let go. (btw - this last one is the hardest - and that's why i'm grateful for counseling)

and all of this leads me to one conclusion - something S told me a lot at the beginning of my journey and reminds me of now and then - "trust the process." it will be painful. it will be messy. it will hurt. but in the end it will be worth it. so be in the moment. and trust what is happening in your life.


~~~ trust the process ~~~

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

maybe my super power is vomit

because i seem to be really good at it these days ... i don't know how i would use it to save the world ... but people tend to give a generous bubble space when you're bent over  a bowl/toilet/car doing something so totally against nature ...

so maybe i could be "vomit girl! giving you the bubble space you deserve!"

or something like that

... the first part of this may be deemed tmi for some .. so skip to the 'high five' if you feel you qualify. if not, read on.

two weeks ago i started having stomach cramps/pain which lead to vomiting and diarrhea. ugh. i thought it was part of my 'conversion' of anxiety to physical symptoms, so i addressed those symptoms by taking an over the counter heartburn medication. it eased the pain and stopped the other two things and i thought allwaswell.

fast forward when the two week treatment was over bringing back the vomiting and diarrhea. i will spare details of each, but let it be known that neither are good. i know it is not being caused by a virus. i can tell that something else is going on. i also started having blurred vision and seizures again. i called my psychiatrist who upped my xanax and told me to see a gastroenterologist. i have an appt to see her in two weeks. until then, i'm taking the over the counter stuff again, eating ginger snaps, drinking gatorade, and staying as cool as possible.

(.............and praying that it is not being caused by this because the last thing i need//want is more to deal with..................)

so i gave myself a high five today -- in fact -- i gave myself the HIGHEST of fives because of the reasons checked.


and i also happen to be breathing therapeutically through it all.

which brings me to what i really want to write about.

therapeutic breathing.

you may be thinking that you are an excellent breather. you've been doing it for 10 20 30 or more years. and you have been breathing...  but there can be more to it. when you take a deep breath, filling your diaphragm, keeping your shoulders down, and filling your entire being with air, you will notice a difference. your heart rate will slow down, your mind will clear, you will focus on the act of breathing and being, and that will ground you.

part of the 'fun' of anxiety is hyperventilating. i begin to freak out and 'chest breathe' (yep i just made that term up). this means i'm expelling too much carbon dioxide with shallow, quick breaths.

air is important. we kinda need it to live.

and when you don't have the right amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your blood so many neat things can happen such as : dizziness, light headedness, fainting, blurred vision. oh ya, it's a blast.

when i feel my chest clamping up and my lungs  beginning to squeeze shut, i stop, and fill my body - all the way down to my toe nails - with air. that visual is what helps me get back on track, take good deep breaths, and calm down, allowing me to focus on the situation that has come up and not get stuck on the symptoms of my reaction to the situation.

S signs all of her emails "~remember to breathe~" and it's such a simple, powerful statement.

pause, breathe, reflect.

i put the word 'air' on my bathroom mirror in vinyl lettering to remind myself multiple times during the day to breathe slowly. when S and i text we always send each other 'peace and air' because those two things make for a much better day.

i also have this reminder in my home :


*will you treasure every breath today?*


Sunday, June 10, 2012

cupcakes

when i'm sad, i crave cupcakes. so i made some today. and i have to say there's nothing like biting into that perfectly round, moist, delicious chocolate cake. coconut pecan frosting is my favorite, so it always adds the correct finishing touches to my cupcakes.
i like the smell of them cooking. the look of them on the counter cooling off. the taste of the coconut and chocolate.
everything about cupcakes is soothing.
i was talking to a good friend of mine this past week. i had just gone through an upsetting situation and wanted her views and advice on what had happened.
while we were talking she brought up an interesting point. something i had learned in school but forgotten. she talked about how as students we are taught to address our clients as the person first, the disability second.
(ex: this boy has autism. not - this is an autistic boy.)
as i have seen patients in my career, i have always remembered that i am first working with a person - a human - someone with fears, pains, emotions, victories, and life in them - secondly i am working with the disability they have.
while i was listening to her, it became very clear to me that at this point in my journey, i CHOOSE to be defined by my disorder because finally after YEARS of not knowing, after years of keeping it all in i have validation :: my known “normal” no longer has to be so.
because with a name comes understanding – or at least a reason. i believe it is very important to see beyond the disability to the person - and in my case i don’t feel like i’m not being seen. in fact i feel like i’m more seen because i have a word and a way to deal with what i’ve been given.
a disability or disorder doesn’t have to define you but for me i feel like in so many ways it has created me. i’ll allow for environmental influences and relational influences – but until you live day after day with the crushing, consuming weight of anxiety you’ll never know what ‘being defined is’.
one day i wrote out my feelings like this : 60% of my life is anxiety is; 20% is me taking care of me; 10% is work; 10% is church.
i say this because beneath every new situation, every walk into familiar stores, every moment where there are people, there is anxiety. there is fear, there are thoughts, there is ‘fight or flight’ and panic, and sweat, and the battle to keep it all under control and not have a seizure or run away screaming – and the push to deal with it, be in a group with people, and be well. 
CASE IN POINT :::: yesterday. i'm at a friend's baby shower. i’m doing good. or so i think. i’m in the moment. but there are people i don’t know. conversation that needs to be made. decorations that need to finish being hung. and i’m H-O-T. and as i've talked about before heat triggers my anxiety response.
so i start sweating. and i keep sweating. even after i’ve sat down. and am sweetly listening / participating in the conversation. but the sweat continues. i want to run. ...what to do what to do...
a thought enters : remember, your counselor has said you can go to the bathroom, warm your hands, cool your face, and take a minute to calm everything down.
OH HELL YA!
so i go to the bathroom – without even making excuses to anyone. and i just take the hand towel there and get it wet and wipe my face. i don’t care what people will think about that wet corner. sweat is sweat. too hot is too hot. i cool my face and neck. i pause. i look in the mirror, breathe deeply and suddenly i could function again.
i knew i was still going to be hot out there so i allowed myself to get a fan. i didn't spend time worrying about the thoughts of other people : "oh she’s fat that’s why she’s hot ... ugh look at that sweat on her temples"
Note to Self: letitgo. and pump that fan.
i took care of me and my anxious response and was then able to calm the heck down and enjoy my time there.
me embracing me has not been easy. but i am beginning to be much more comfortable in my 100 degree skin.
at this time in my life, I choose CHOOSE to be defined by my anxiety. because in reality it is a choice i can make. finally i have something to identify with. yes, that’s it. it gives me a sort of identity. an explanation. an excuse if i need it. and i’ve wanted that for so many years.
maybe one day i won’t want that. and i have the confidence that at that point i’ll be able to change the definition of me.
but until then I AM AN ANXIOUS GIRL.
not a girl with anxiety.
*and this is ok*

Friday, June 8, 2012

past the point of pretending

i'm. not. perfect.
there. i said it. the three scariest words of my existence. i literally spent years being as perfect as i could be. i don't mean like in dress or popularity -- but in my work, at school, and at home.

perfect was what i knew.

see, anxiety is so interesting. as i've stated before it turns irrational thoughts "you have to be perfect" into reality "i HAVE to be perfect." i remember this most in my teenage years // 20 and 21. there was no time for mistakes. and so many things encompassed mistakes. anything less than an 'A' on a test. having assignments in school or for church done weeks in advance. not saying anything to anyone that might upset them. worrying endlessly about the things i did say and what kind of impact they had on the person. beating myself up for my always less than perfect performances - even though i continuously had people telling me what a great person i was, so on top of things, so together. but when you have low self esteem and live in an irrational world, it's NOT OK to accept compliments. you have to shrug them off quickly. and work harder.

the internal "beatings" i gave myself always began as thoughts which then manifested themselves in a physical way - teeth grinding at night, gastritis (an inflammation of the stomach) and perhaps the greatest punishment - migraines. i would also have tics and weird break outs of blue veins and acne - so super fun - but the three mentioned above are the ones i remember the most because, quiet honestly, they caused me the most pain and were therefore traumatic.

it wasn't until i got on medication that i finally knew what it was like to have one thought at a time. during my 'before i got help' years i remember racing thoughts, each screaming frantically for attention because it was just positive it W A S the most important thought ever. i never had one thought. it was always many.

and that's exhausting.

looking at my past 19 months of 'taking care of me and getting help' i see how brilliant it is to be ok. to be me. i don't have to be perfect. in fact. i hate -hate- that word. it only brings to mind the unachievable. and guess what...

i can be me. i can be ok. and it doesn't involve perfection. it involves acceptance.

acceptance of me. of who i am. of how i live. of the choices i make. of the good days when i totally rock at work. of the bad days when i totally suck at work. of staying inside where it's cool. of going to sonic once - sometimes twice - a day. of loving the extra chunk on my body. of accepting my cut marks and scars - inside and out. of realizing that my best will not be your best. of not comparing. of being at peace with who i am.

because i'm ok. i'm flawed and imperfect and just right.

yes, that's it, isn't it? i'm just right.

and so are you.
what do you see?
 the rough ~or~ the diamond?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

the greatest story ever written

the bathroom in my apartment has had somewhat of an attitude the past 6 weeks ... deciding it was ok to leak and drip and drip and leak ... for weeks.

maintenance workers have been out eight times to wet vac the 'stuff' .. drill holes in my shower wall .. hammer out holes in my shower ceiling .. and the latest and greatest .. sealing everything with wax ..

and let me just be very clear - you. DON'T. mess. with. a. crazy. person's.
s p a c e.

you just don't. it's not ok.

because it really - i mean really - messes with them. and they begin to panic and tic every time that awful drip drop is heard. they will also begin to flip out in public places, swearing they felt a drop from the ceiling or saw it fall. hmmm. oh how the imagination can ... well, imagine.

and so. i found myself hopelessly drowning not only in the bathroom's tears, but in mine. why wasn't this being FIXED??!!

surely, there must be a life lesson i'm supposed to learn before it'll go away. but like any good put-er off-er i decided to just keep calling maintenance. and let them 'fix' things.

well, it came to me in the shower the other night. one day i'll write a post about the power of a shower. oooo - it rhymes. but yes, back on track. it came to me that in a way, my reaction to the dripping in my ceiling was parallel with the grief cycle : denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.

this cycle is something i went through in all stages of its glory (sarcasm sarcasm) 19 months ago when my conversion and anxiety disorder became very um we'll say noticeable in my life. i literally was not // could not be the same person i had spent 21 years being.

i had to learn to slow down. breathe. therapeutically. (which is not easy letmejustsay) listen to my body. respect my journey. trust the process i was in. recognize that i am allowed to be different and make changes in my life. and there has been so much more that i've learned. this is just some of it.

when i realized that this dripping was a type of grief cycle and perhaps a reminder from god to look back on my life and applaud all that i've overcome in that last 19 months - i wanted ILLUSTRATIONS!

because nothing makes a story more fabulous than pictures.

and so with the help of my dear friend and artist, jamil, i present :

A Short Autobiography of Me


*note: the pictures need to be uploaded again - post in progress*

and i suppose that last picture sums up so much. breathe through the good. breathe through the bad. as S would say
"all is well and all is well and all that matters is well."

*alliswell*


Monday, June 4, 2012

thumbs up

... for rock and roll :)

i've been breathing - to stay alive and for therapy purposes - and i've been 'walking in my peace and beauty' anyway. so much more on air and peace later.

but until then. let this tide you over.

(ya i know you wait on bended knee for my next post :p )



walk peacefully anyway ~ and ~ remember to breathe

Saturday, June 2, 2012

there are moments

when it seems living for a lifetime with this anxiety disorder is just too long.

how can i bear it?
this pain.
it's so hard. and so few understand.

i am laying here in my dark room crying. my anxities got the best of me and i tried for an hour and a half with a lot of meds in me to try and fall asleep. but there are just certain situations it will not let me let go of.

let it go. three words. sounds simple. but the things that take up space in my mind are not physical. if it was a rope or a paper airplane or a piece of grass -- something i could touch, sure i could let that go. i could hold onto it until the moment i choose to let it go. and then it's gone. the burden or pleasure of that thing is gone.

but letting go of something in my mind that i have 'awefulized' into something so great i feel the pressure of it in my pounding chest is much harder to do.

and so finally i cry.

tears of great mourning and pain and weight.

i don't want to be like this // feel like this // struggle with this - forever. foralife.

if only it relieved the pressure in my mind.


i. cry. tonight. i. cry.

Friday, June 1, 2012

feeling wheel



my counselor gave this to me today and. i. love. it.

sometimes i want lots of words to describe how i'm feeling. ex: i'm feeling happy and i want to describe my feelings with lots of words like daring, playful and optimistic.

other times i'm so overwhelmed that i just need a simple word to describe how i feel. ex: i'm feeling stupid, inferior, sleepy, and i'm isolating = i feel sad.

either way - whether i want descriptive words or one simple word - it's all right there in a lovely circular shape.

and as my counselor said, "no feeling is bad. they are here to teach you."

how are you feeling?