Tag Archives: anxiety

The Most Outlandish Tale About Anxiety and Depression Ever Told.

 

Wait wait, the story doesn’t start here!  This is a blog hop, people!  Click HERE to start from the beginning.

I have the tendency to park at least 8,000 miles away from the mall, somewhere near that one overhead light that blew out weeks ago and no one ever fixed, the only sign of civilization a flattened soda bottle and an empty fast food wrapper and some guy in dirty jeans and a windbreaker in the middle of July smoking a cigarette by the soda bottle and fast food wrapper.

So now I was half walking half running to my car, fully expecting the elderly lady with the white hair to pop out from the shadows with a nail file pointed in my direction. My stomach was in knots and suddenly my fingers had turned into carrots, and there I was fumbling with my keys horror movie style while the invisible villain breathed down my neck.

Finally inside, I locked the doors and whirled around to check the backseat. As usual, no serial killers.

 
Almost home, my breath had finally gone from about-to-give-birth to some definition of normal, and instead of searching for a paper bag to breathe into I was now in want of wine, tightly drawn curtains and some depressing ‘90s alternative rock, so I changed into the Disney pajama pants I hadn’t washed in at least two weeks (they smelled a little questionable but I put them on anyway) and crawled into bed, ready to break the world record for feeling the most sorry for myself.

Click HERE to continue the story.

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A Not-So-Super Power

anxiety

A little conversation with a friend/fellow blogger last night sparked a realization that we share a pretty sweet superpower. I mean, this ability actually allows us to make things happen….with our minds.

More people possess this power than some may think. Your mother, brother, sister, alcoholic uncle, hell – maybe even YOU!

That’s right boys and girls, no cape or pair of tights needed for this one! I can do this with my eyes closed! In my pajamas! At work! While drinkin’ a beer! In the shower! While crying into a tub of froyo!

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…

anxiety girl

 

 

 

Not what you were expecting, eh? Well not every superpower is so glamorous, ya know.

Suffering from anxiety makes me feel a little crazy, but then I take a deep breath and remember I’m not the only one who thinks that ringing in her ears is every single person she knows saying something bad about her. I’ve even tried that whole “relax, stop giving a sh*t” thing, but yeah, that doesn’t work.

When I began dating my (now) husband, I was head over heels from the start. He was intelligent, hilarious, a very fine musician, and a bonus, extremely good-looking. But I wanted to, uh, “keep my cool”. Not seem clingy, ya know? I wanted to look all cool and stuff. If only he could have seen me tearing my own thumbs away from my phone’s keyboard, I wouldn’t have looked all cute and mysterious. Having a pep talk with yourself while in your pajamas – and probably watching a Lifetime movie – doesn’t file under either “cute” nor “mysterious” in my book. I wanted so badly to see him, all the time, but knew if he felt the same he’d contact me. And he always did. (And no, I don’t mean to say the man should do all of the work – in this scenario, he worked nights as a bartender, so I avoided “bothering” him while at work. But that’s another issue for another post!)

Anyway, my friend Sarah and I spent a lot of time together during the entire courting stage, and I have to thank her for not bashing her head against a wall for all the times she listened to my lavish stories.

Me: “I texted Joe, and he hasn’t texted me back yet. It’s been like, two hours.”

Sarah: “Dude, maybe he’s sleeping. Maybe he’s at work. Maybe he’s watching a movie.”

Me: “No, no he must have met someone else. His house must be on fire and he’s locked inside. Should we go save him? Maybe he left the country. His car must be broken down in a remote area with no cell service. Maybe his phone died. Someone stole his phone! OH GOD HE WAS ROBBED AND MURDERED!”

Sarah: “I really dislike you sometimes.”

Good thing I already roped him into marrying me. Love you, Joe. 🙂

On a podcast over at Peter DeWolf, Peter and ChowderHead discuss women, and expressing emotions; along the way something is mentioned about being the “writerly” type and the advantages and disadvantages that brings to the table in a relationship. For me, being a writer suffering from anxiety is like being that bull in that china shop. Every single thing I look at and listen to becomes a story in my head, ranging anywhere from mild to downright insane. Good material, I guess. ::sigh::

I wish the inside of my head looked as cool as my man Poe's.

I wish the inside of my head looked as cool as my man Poe’s.

 

But like I said before: I have the ability to put this power to use any time, any where. Like that time we flew to Disneyworld and I sipped away on my Jack & Diet while in my mind the plane malfunctioned and nosedived into the ocean and Joe and I said our romantic goodbyes and everyone attended my funeral, even that girl I hate, any my mom said something really nice, and everyone cried, then they buried me WHEN I SPECIFICALLY SAID I WANTED TO BE CREMATED. Ahem.

Some days I’ll be on an elevator at work and picture my entire day coming to a halt because I’m stuck for hours on the damn thing. I even consider how bad it would suck, depending on the temperature in there.

Some nights I’m on the train or walking to my car and I keep my phone at the ready in case I’m mugged or an attempted rape occurs. But that’s because these things really happen, because the world sucks sometimes, and it’s a good thing to be alert in these situations.

So would anyone else like to reveal themselves? Don’t be shy. We’re just extra special.

 

 

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Let It Burn

A friend of mine suggested doing something she thought might aid in pulling me out of this frustrating funk.

“Write down every fear, every negative thought,” she said. She suggested I write down all of those things that have been plaguing me and running my mind ragged for the past few weeks, then take a lighter to them. She told me, “It’s a cleansing process. It may be your minds way of saying, ‘These thoughts do not exist anymore. They are nothing but ashes.'”

I loved the idea, and woke up yesterday morning, crawled out of bed and grabbed some paper and a pen. After writing out the list – with a bit of a shaking hand – I headed outside with the paper and a lighter. I gave myself a pep talk, some sort of speech with a witch-like ritual feel to it, and rolled my thumb downwards so the flame burst upwards from the top of the lighter. I took a deep breath and held it to the paper, and watched as the edges curled and blackened and the list I had written disappeared from the bottom up.

It felt good, I thought I could feel something changing.

Then the flame grew three times its size and I freaked and blew it out.

Sigh.

The majority of the list was gone, with the exception of the first negative thought on the list: “I am fat.” But I wasn’t too concerned. The list got more intense as it went on, hence the reason I was sure to start burning it from the bottom. I made sure nothing was left smoldering and proceeded to sweep up the ashes and dump them into the kitchen trashcan. The remnants of the list are still in the ashtray out back.

While I wasn’t able to completely trick my mind into getting rid of the negative nancy mood I’ve been in, it was a step in the right direction. I’ve been able to distract myself from my depression for longer periods of time. I just wish I could dedicate a blog entry to something other than this – but it’s still taking over when I put my fingers to the keyboard.

Joe’s Christmas shopping is finished, and I can’t wait for Christmas Day so he can open all of his gifts. He stares at the packages under the tree and tells me I spent too much. I told him he doesn’t even know what’s in them! He’ll get over it when he’s ripping them all open, hehehe.

“You don’t have to control your thoughts; you just have to stop letting them control you.”
— Dan Millman

Words to live by.

 

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All Cozied Up

Meow?

 “When we are present in each moment, the past gently rolls up behind us and the future slowly unravels before us.”

– Rev Richard Levy

 

 

 

I come to you from the safe haven of the living room couch, beneath two fuzzy blankets – one adorned in Christmas colors, the other wrapped carefully around my head – a candle scented as “Winter Wonderland” burning bright, stories of local shootings and more job cuts and a mall Santa who got robbed all booming from the television. Joe is sitting on the back porch in frigid weather, smoking cigarettes and chatting with his mother on the phone.

Joe’s parents – who live in sunny Florida – will be arriving this Christmas Eve, and I can hardly wait. Our parents will be meeting for the first time this year (Joe and I have been together for two years), and there is definitely a piece of me that is rather nervous about the four meeting. I mean, I’m sure they’ll get along. I’m sure they’ll adore each other! But put a bottle of booze in front of any member of my family (myself included), and things can get a bit out of hand.

We’ll make the baked macaroni and cheese and hope for the best.

(Love you, mom.)

A job transition is in the works, the Christmas shopping isn’t done, the anxiety and depression continue to undulate with the melodies of my favorite Christmas carols. All I can say is that the genuine laughter is coming back into my voice, the stomach aches are fewer, and normal meals have made their way back into my skimpy diet. Something to celebrate! I look forward to family coming together this holiday. I believe it may be the cure.

While I’ve avoided the subject up until now, I have come to terms with the fact that the sudden onset of this “funk” hindered my ability to completely finish NaNoWriMo. But – I’m trying not to get too worked up about it. For a first attempt, 72 pages added to my novel is still something to celebrate. Over 20,000 words in a matter of 2 1/2 weeks is something to celebrate. There’s always next year, right? Real life put my fiction on pause for a while, but I forgive it. Sometimes, these things can’t be helped.

There’s something about being wrapped up, warm, cozy, slippers on, the Christmas lights all ablaze. Maybe the warmth brings up a subconscious memory of being back in the womb, when the most important decision of our lives was to decide which side of the sack to curl up in. No? Maybe.

I made a yummy dinner of Chicken Parmesan with a tomato & basil topping, paired with a side of red potatoes mixed with onions and peppers. It was pretty delicious. Thank you, Rachael Ray. Simple, quick, inexpensive. Highly suggested.

I’ve been working on gettin’ domesticated.

Hope everyone is in the holiday spirit, and that the Christmas shopping is done (or close to it).

Happy. Holidays.

 

 

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Ridin’ the Rollercoaster

I keep finding it – or, rediscovering it – for periods of time, only to have it ripped from my grasp once again. I’m finding it in the tiniest of things this week: a hot shower, my favorite lotion that smells of cherry blossoms, a favorite television show, a kiss on the forehead. When it comes to me, I struggle to keep my arms wrapped tightly around it, but it always squirms and gets away again.

I’m focusing now on happy thoughts; of a future filled to the brim with love.

How does one wake up one morning and look in the mirror, only to barely recognize the person staring back at them? I’ve been avoiding mirrors lately. I never was one for confrontation.

The person I was – I am – is trying to push through this. She wants to continue on with the wonderful life she has in front of her. She wants to exercise, and write, and laugh and smile. This alternate being that has replaced her barely ever has a smile on its face. It is the polar opposite of the sunny person it currently overshadows.

I’ve started to give myself pep talks. Has anyone else ever done this? When I can bare to stare into the mirror for longer than 10 seconds, or when I am alone in the car or elsewhere, I list, out-loud, all of the positive things in my life, as well as positive things about myself.

A few examples:

1. You are blessed with a man that loves you. Cherishes you. Would throw a lasso around the moon for you. Is handsome and funny and deeply, deeply caring. Don’t ever forget it.

2. You have lost weight, you have come a long way, you should be proud of your accomplishments. And – even when you’d rather stay in bed, get your butt to the gym and sweat it out. Don’t forget how stress-relieving a good workout can be. It may be the solution you’re searching for.

3. Eat. You. Must. Eat. Praise yourself for each meal you give to your body. It will reward you with comfort and less stress.

4. You are not alone. You are not crazy! Others – as you have seen and been told – have gone through this before. Do not be afraid, or be laden with guilt. Guilt will only make you feel much worse. You’ve done nothing to feel guilty about.

5. You are caring. You are needed. You are wanted and loved. You are capable of making others happy, and making yourself happy, and being a full blown adult. Do not let your past creep up on you. It is simply that: the past. You are an adult making adult decisions. Things are different. So very, very different. (In a good way.)

Sadness, depression, anxiety…they make some want to go into a childlike mode, which is what it has been doing to me. You crave a parental force-field to lift you up out of whatever nonsense is going on in your head. And hearing your own mother tell you “it’s normal” can make a big difference.

I’m still trying, but I’m getting better. Surrounding myself with family is the best gig for me right now. It’s still a struggle to leave the house, but soon I’ll be able to do it without wanting to run right back inside. It’s like rediscovering how to make your way in the world. Scary stuff.

Thank you to everyone for the support. It’s put a real smile on my face.

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Climbing Out of That Hole

I hate to follow up on the lightheartedness of my previous post with this dark one, but even through the few moments of joy I experienced this week, something a little more sinister has been weighing on my mind.

I am going through a glorified “funk”. Or, am in the process of pulling myself out of said funk. I’d say it’s been more than a funk, because it definitely crossed that fine line into depression. All those things I enjoy doing? Those things that normally make me feel good, energized, like I’m making something of myself in this world? I haven’t done any of them. No writing. No exercising. No eating (and I love to eat). A piece of toast smothered in pumpkin spice cream cheese (my favorite) on Wednesday afternoon looked to me like a piece of toast smothered in feces. Sorry – you get the picture, right?

I haven’t gone out. I want nothing to do with anyone or anything except mindless television, and a bit of reading to escape my head. It’s scary, that paralyzing feeling of fear, of guilt. It’s like you’ve been completely submerged in water, you reach for a breath but can’t find one. You’re sinking slowly and there’s no hand or branch or anything to grab on to up above. You flail your arms like crazy but no one and nothing is strong enough to help you out of it.

Sheesh, just writing this is forming that lump in my throat.

For days I’ve been trying to find the source, but to no avail. No traumatizing experience, no loss of someone close to me, nothing. It hit me suddenly, right after Thanksgiving, like a ton of bricks, right upside the head.

My entire life I’ve dealt with small periods of depression, so when that familiar feeling started crawling its way into my mind and stomach, I was immediately frozen in fear. It’s like that dream. You know the one – where you are running and running, but you’re not getting anywhere? I tried as hard as I could to run away from the feeling, but it caught me anyway. It wrapped its cold, depressing hands around my entire body and squeezed.

It’s forced me to spin the reel of my past, my present, my future; it held my eyelids open, and forced me to watch. It’s tried to make me regret, doubt, question, be fearful of. Everything is exactly where I want it to be – I consider myself very blessed, very lucky – but everything came crashing down on my head at once, in this crazy overwhelming way that made me want my mommy. It made me want to curl up in a ball and be left alone and never face the possibilities of life.

I’ve gone through every possible scenario (against my own will!) of life; every possible path, every possible ending. And then the guilt sets in. But why? Then the anger, brought on by the feeling of guilt. Am I crazy?

One morning, as I opened my eyes expecting a day like any other, I was suddenly terrified of losing everything that is so important to me.

I apologize if I’m bringing you down! The point here is that I kept these ridiculous thoughts in my head, feeling guilty, feeling crazy, until I decided to talk to Joe, and to some girlfriends about it. The good thing out of all this?

I’m not crazy – or so I’ve been told. I talked with several people who could relate (including my own mother…the biggest help of all). Apparently I’m allowed to be afraid, and that doesn’t make me unworthy of the wonderful life I live.

I’m getting better (I ate dinner last night). And the lump in my throat is slowly melting away. While I’m still a bit shaken, a bit sad, a bit afraid…my mind is putting the pieces back together. I’m waking up early again. I’m actually hungry today. For now, I’m filled with the fear of being alone. I’m anxiously waiting for Joe’s car to pull into the driveway.

I can only be grateful that I pulled myself out of that dark place before I fell too far down; then things would have gotten serious.

I’m still struggling to write, and exercise…but I’m getting there. It started with this (and my previous) blog post. Forcing myself into something I enjoy is making all the difference.

I am so grateful for my understanding family, my amazing boyfriend, my gentle friends.

If you are depressed, or know someone who is, encourage them to talk about it. Talking does wonders.

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A “Healthy” Dose of Crazy

Me, first thing in the morning. Attractive, eh?

My car needs a good wash. There’s laundry to be folded. I have 3 unfinished short stories and a novel screaming my name. The milk expired 2 days ago. Do you ever just want to scream and throw yourself overboard?

I have anxiety (me and a thousand others) and sometimes the smallest of tasks can send me into an unorganized fit. But I suppose being overly concerned about making the bed is better than not caring at all? Maybe. At least I get things done.

But that feeling is then pushed aside on the days when I can barely drag myself out from under the sheets. What then? The car remains dirty and the laundry stays in the basket. Cue the anxiety again.

I need a vacation.

Oh, so true.

 

 

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