Posted in adventure, anxiety, Dreams, family, health, humor, kids, Life, Mental Health, mindfulness, motherhood, Musings, People, random, travel, women

What if Something Happens?

anxiety lies

Two nights ago, I had a stressful dream that my purse was stolen. I was with my boss, at a restaurant, and realized it was gone. I was so upset! It had EVERYTHING in it- my ID, my credit cards, my makeup, my money! I didn’t know what to do. And then I realized it had my car keys in it, too, and now the thieves could steal my car. What a nightmare. Literally. But, I woke up, chalked it up to another one of my weird stress dreams and moved on.

Last night I dreamed that my car was stolen. It was a new Nissan Pathfinder (in my dream) with leather interior and all the bells and whistles. I was extremely proud of that dream car. I went down the coast to see my sister in law, and I asked her if she wanted to see my new car, which, of course, she did. We went outside, but there were suddenly so many cars, and I couldn’t seem to find mine. So I thought, hey, I’ll just click the alarm button and listen for the sound, but…my keys were gone. Eventually, I realized my car was gone. I knew who stole it, but there was nothing I could do. I freaked out. I woke up, again, very stressed out.

A single dream like this would be par for the course for me- but two? Two in a row? I know what is happening here. As my trip grows closer, I am spending my waking hours planning and being excited, and for God’s sake, not imagining every single thing that could possibly go wrong while I am an entire continent away from my children. But deep in the dark and morbid recesses of my brain, the “what-ifs” are hatching, like terrible gremlins on a gremlin-hatching conveyor belt in the fear factory of my mind. If I refuse to give them any space in my waking-hours mind, they will come out wherever they can.

This morning, as I desperately googled “stolen car dream meaning”, seeking to reassure myself that my dreams weren’t a harbinger of crashing planes and imminent death, I realized that my anxiety had me right where it wanted me. Alone, afraid, and miserable at five in the morning. Wondering how mad my friend would be if I cancelled on her two days before our trip. Hoping I came down with strep throat so I had no choice but to stay home. My anxiety is so ridiculous that I wished illness upon myself to avoid doing something fun and wonderful. Let that sink in for a minute.

So, I took a deep breath, and made a plan. When my anxiety asks “What if something happens?” I will say, “Something will happen! I am going to have fun, and see a new part of the world, and expand my horizons a little bit.” And when my anxiety insists, “Yes, but what if something BAD happens?!” I am going to say “Something BAD could happen just as easily with me here as it could with me gone- something bad could happen at any moment of any day, but mostly, it doesn’t. So stop it.” And when my anxiety continues to pester me with thoughts and images too awful to transcribe for you, I am going to fight fire with fire, by reading and remembering all the wonderful posts about women who travel all the time and make it home safe, happy, and healthy. Other people do it every single day. I am no different.

My anxiety will tell me I should just stay home. But my therapist, who I happen to have at least a bit more faith in than my own anxious brain, told me that my anxiety is dishonest…but that I will never know that if I don’t stop listening to it all the time. The only way to combat anxiety is to do the thing it tells you not to do. I mean, unless it’s telling you not to kill someone. In that scenario, your anxiety is 100% correct, and you should definitely listen.

Because my anxiety doesn’t just want me to stay home. My anxiety wants me to stay home, keep everyone I love in the house with me, close the blinds, and board up the windows. If we leave, we leave in a group. My anxiety wants not only me as a prisoner, it wants everyone I care for imprisoned as well. My anxiety calls it “being safe”, but even I know that’s not honest. That’s not living. So I will take my trip, and I will not let anxiety win this one.

And if something happens? Well…what if something wonderful happens? You can’t stop living because you are afraid. You can, actually. You can stop living because you are afraid. But I have no intention of living that way.

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Posted in adventure, Dreams, Life, Musings, random

Launched into Gratitude

grateful

I have been awake for literally five minutes, so lets hope this is coherent, but, HOLY SHIT- I just had a whopper of a dream, and woke up so freaking grateful for my life. First of all, this was just a variation of a recurrent dream/nightmare I have at least twice a month, if not more. It’s always pretty much the same- I have either quit my job already or am in the process of quitting it, and at a certain point I realize what a mistake I’ve made and beg for them to take me back.

This one was no different, except that my boss has told me that, since this is the second time I’ve told her I quit, there is no way that I can come back, but she’ll allow me to finish up some of the things I am working on. While I am there, two different people whom I haven’t seen in years remind me that I owe them rather large sums of money, and I am distressed that they never brought it up until now- I could have easily paid them while I was working, but now I don’t know how that’s going to work.

Somewhere in there, I also got another job- it pays almost nothing, and guess what I get to do? I get to review porn and write edits for it! Hahaha! In my dream, I am obviously disappointed in my life choices, but trying to make the best of it…I believe I commented something to my co-worker (who is an ex of mine that I haven’t seen in years, and also one of the people who reminded me that I owed him money) along the lines of “I didn’t even know this was a job!” As if I were lucky, but really, my heart was sinking.  I got in my car to go somewhere, and the check engine light came on. Great! No money for that, either.

The dream just grew more and more stressful in that manner until I went to my boss and begged for my job back. She said no twice, then said “Okay, fine” in a way that made me think she was never going to tell me no in the first place, but that she was just trying to scare me. It WORKED. I was so relieved, oh my God!

Here’s the deal- I get bored a LOT with my job. I’ve been doing it for a long time, and I’m always wondering if there is something else I should be doing, something more fun and more meaningful. But these dreams are stark reminders of what it would really be like if I didn’t have this work to do- what my life would really be like without this paycheck rolling in. I’m spoiled rotten, and I forget to be grateful.

I woke up grateful as hell this morning. Big shout out to my subconscious mind for giving me the kick in the ass I need to see reality. I am blessed beyond belief. I can’t wait to go to work today!

Also, there was a giant bus crash full of school children from Malawi, but they all escaped unharmed. I thought I should add that in there in case it actually comes true. I didn’t even know Malawi was a place, except I must have, because I dreamed about it. And no, the TV was not on. I’m just weird, I guess.

Posted in anxiety, Depression, health, kids, Life, Mental Health, motherhood, women

My Terrible Thoughts

 

99problemsI don’t have a ton of time this morning, so this will get right to the point- I need to share about it before it fades away completely. Yesterday was a disaster. Not because a single bad thing happened, but because I spent the entire day worrying-no, obsessing- about what MIGHT happen.

And do you want to know what caused all of this obsessive worry? Well, I’ll tell you, but you better not fucking laugh at me (go ahead, I can’t see you anyway.). Okay, ready? Here it is: My daughter walked from her classroom down to the pickup area, with three other kids, and got a ride home from the lady who babysat her all summer. Yes, you read that correctly. No, nothing is missing from the story. That is what made my day into a living hell yesterday. We changed our routine.

For a “normal” person, this would have been a non-event. Or maybe even a big relief, right? No running across town on my lunch hour to pick up a kid and then trying to rush back within the 30 minutes allotted to me? Sounds great!

For me, unfortunately, every new situation, everything slightly outside of what I am used to, turns into this other thing. I imagine a plethora of things that might go wrong, and at least as many things that are extremely unlikely to go wrong, but still so scary. What if she gets lost? What if the teacher doesn’t get my note and won’t let her go? What if she gets lost and an adult offers to help her, only it’s really a serial killer and he lures her into his car? What if…what if I NEVER SEE MY CHILD AGAIN?! I know this sounds so silly that it’s comical, but when these thoughts are going through my head, they are terrifying. I get sick to my stomach, and my hands get clammy. No matter what I do, the thoughts keep building and growing more and more awful, and I honestly lose control of them. I don’t really know how to make them stop.

But here’s the thing- there is also a rational part of my brain that absolutely knows that I am being crazy. That none of these things are (probably) going to happen, and that I am ruining my day for NO REASON.

I just wish I knew how to stop being this way. Honestly, there isn’t enough CBD in the world to tackle thoughts that big.

Of course, my daughter made it home just fine. But I wasn’t fine. Do you know what panic like that does to your body? I could cry right now because I am still feeling the effects of that stress on me, 15 hours later. I went to bed at 7 last night, drained from all the worry.

This is just not okay. I have got to fix this before I start making her terrified of everything. Because that is where this is headed- not only will I be miserable, but I’ll have a child who is scared of the world. I guess I’m not done with therapy yet, huh?

Here’s to an easier day today.

Posted in Blogging, Life, Mental Health, mindfulness, Musings, random, Uncategorized

Little Stories

I’ve let so many days pass in between posts, and it’s mostly because in the mornings, when I usually sit here to write, I’ve been drawing big, empty blank spaces where the words usually are. I just sit here, staring at the screen, waiting, and nothing comes. Instead, when I am driving, or working, or sitting on the toilet five minutes before I have to run out the door to work, I think of these great posts that I will start, you know…tomorrow. Only tomorrow comes, and I can’t remember what they are, and the whole cycle starts again. So today, while I have a little time, I’m going to try to round up some of my scattered thoughts and tell you what has been going on. Here are some little stories:

Not My Story to Tell:  Lately, it has occurred to me that sometimes there are things I want to write about that involve other people in my life, and those people might not want me to write about them. As an overarching rule, I don’t generally censor myself when it is directly impacting my life, but…when it comes to certain people, such as my daughter or my mother, I just can’t. If you were to scroll back through all of my blogs, you would see that has not always been the case, but…you know…I’ve changed a lot. This is one example of that, I guess. That I now understand when it is not my story to tell. Maybe someday, in some other way, but…as much good material as those two give me, they need to know their secrets are safe with me. I reserve the right to poke a modicum of fun at them, and celebrate the good things, of course.

Emotional Hangover: This past week, I experienced a 24 hour period of great stress. The funny thing about me that I am just figuring out is that I am GREAT while the traumatic event is happening. It’s when it has passed that I completely fall apart. And it doesn’t always look or feel as if it is related to what I just went through, either. The day after the storm had passed, I found myself suddenly worried to the point of paranoia over my youngest daughter. For the record, she had nothing to do with the stressful situation, and so I couldn’t understand why all of the sudden I was in a near-panic state over her safety. It finally hit me what was going on, and being able to understand it helped me let it go. But I also went to bed at like six o’clock for two nights running, and I am still, several days later, not quite myself. Which leads me to the next story…

Extra Sensitive: I shy away from the word “empath” simply because it is thrown around quite a bit with lots of connotations that I am not 100% comfortable with…which is actually kind of funny, because I may not be comfortable with claiming them (psychic phenomena, gifts, powers, all that woo-woo stuff) but I am totally into all of it. I just don’t think they are necessarily linked, always. I think everyone has the ability to sense things they cannot see, but some people have just honed those abilities out of self-preservation or even just intentionally. I know that people who have grown up in homes where it benefited them to be on their toes at all times, living with volatile adults, are often extra sensitive. I think I fall into this category. I love people, but I prefer to be alone. When I am with friends, large groups exhaust me. And when I am around someone who is not okay, it drains the life right out of me. I can generally tell when someone is lying, and I sense how someone is feeling no matter what they say to the contrary. Again, I don’t think this is truly unusual, aside from how much it affects me. This is the thing I need to work on. I think it is interesting, though, to think about how the energy people give off impacts other people. I once, long ago, was with a friend and three people who had just done something terrible showed up at his house. I had no idea what they had done, but the energy rolling off of them was the worst I had ever felt. It was like a black fog. I will never forget it as long as I live.

On a Lighter Note: This past week, I have been working hard on my online Tarot course, and I LOVE it! I’m so excited to learn all about each card and what it is supposed to mean. I’ve worked my way through the minor arcana, and will be starting the major arcana today. Fascinating stuff! I love learning new things, and the idea that I will be able to do readings for myself and friends without consulting the book for every card is just so awesome to me!

Also, I don’t know if I mentioned it, but I decided two weeks ago that I was done dieting and tracking my food and obsessing over all that shit. I even deleted all my tracking apps (except fitbit, because it’s too fun). So far, this has not worked in my favor. I’m giving myself one week to get my shit together, and if I can’t start eating like a normal person and not hoovering everything in sight like I have a free pass, I’m going to have to start tracking again. Loving myself does not mean gobbling my way straight into obesity.

So, there you have it- that’s a little of what’s going on with me, and what’s been on my mind this week. Hopefully, I’ll get back into my blogging groove and be back here really soon. Until then, have a wonderful day!

 

Posted in Addiction, anxiety, Depression, faith, Life, Mental Health, Musings, recovery, twelve step

Life on Life’s Terms

life on life's terms

 

 

I am having the hardest time ever with this post right now. This is the third blog I have started, and I am determined to finish this one, no matter how much I may hate it. Here’s the thing: I am having a shit time right now, for a number of reasons. None of them are big things, but a bunch of little things strung together, causing me stress and a general feeling of unease. I don’t feel comfortable with my life or in my body right now, and it’s bumming me out.

Here’s the thing, though. I understand that this is temporary, just like everything always is. My face has erupted like Mount Vesuvius, but…it is going to go back to normal. Eventually. I had a bunch of unexpected expenses come up all at once, but…they are going to be dealt with. Financial ruin is unlikely. I haven’t had time this week to buy groceries or get to the gym, and it sucks, but I will get back on track. It’s not the end of the world.

In my addict mind (and maybe in normal minds, too, I have no experience with living in one of those) everything is extremely black and white, all or nothing. Every time I get off track, I feel like I have failed utterly, and there will be no coming back for me. Which is ridiculous- I have millions of examples in my own life where that has not ever, not once, been the case. And yet, I persist with this wrong thinking. My mind often works against me, and it can be exhausting.

The solution? I believe it must be to just acknowledge that my wrong thoughts exist, be aware of that, and then work around them. Sometimes, I can think myself right into a corner, wedged so tightly that I can’t even move. Like, moving a muscle seems impossible, seriously. That is when I need to find the strength to haul my ass up anyway, and get some shit done. If I let myself sit in my mess for too long, that is when depression comes calling. And if you’ve ever dealt with depression, you know how hard that can be to get out of, and how scary it feels when it’s breathing down your neck. Inaction is not my friend in this situation.

I keep thinking about how, four days ago, I wrote a post about laughter, and how weird it may seem to any attentive readers that I am now writing about something quite the opposite of that. Maybe you will think I am nuts…hell, maybe I am. But here’s the thing- life doesn’t care how great I felt last week. Life just shows up, and does what it does. What I have learned in recovery is that I am supposed to be living life on life’s terms, meaning I deal with what life serves up, to the best of my ability, without taking anything to change the way I feel. This is harder than it sounds sometimes. Not the part where I don’t take anything, I’ve grown used to that. It’s the part where I cope with it well that eludes me sometimes.

I get nervous. I get scared. I feel like a lot of people depend on me, and I don’t know if I am up to the task. I retreat. I close up. I shut down.

But I always, always, always (so far) pull it together in the end. I always find a way to come out the other side of my feelings intact. I have a 100% success rate so far of not destroying my life completely, as long as I stay clean. I may not be feeling my best today, but tomorrow…who knows? Hell, later today I might feel better. You just never know. My job is just to hang in there, do my best, and wait for things to change. Because they always do, for better or worse.

Posted in Blogging, family, kids, Learning, Life, Musings, People, random

6th Time’s a Charm?

charm

Hi! You probably think I have been avoiding you, but let me just clear that up right away- it totally isn’t you, it’s me. I’ve just been…meh. By “meh”, I mean- indifferent, blank minded, disinterested, just BLAH. I am trying to push through that right now, since I have basically decided that no matter how badly this blog sucks today, I am just hitting publish anyway. I apologize ahead of time for that.

Actually, I have written- a total of 6 blogs, none of which I felt compelled to share with the world upon their completion. The truth is, where usually, the thoughts and words just flow forth, and somehow, as if by magic, the end presents itself rather neatly- that hasn’t been happening recently. I honestly don’t know what is going on, and I haven’t been in the mood to try to figure it out (back to the disinterested thing again), I just figured I would leave it alone for a minute, and come back later. I certainly didn’t mean for it to be three weeks!

I have been feeling the strangest way, lately, and it really makes me nervous. You know, I have been through some STUFF in my lifetime (most of it self-inflicted) and I have been down about as low as a person can get. The thing is, I always had this little spark in my heart, or a determined spirit, this thing that propelled me forward, made me push back when life tried to take me out. The reason I am a little nervous, lately, is because I am just not feeling that right now. I know that I am capable of great strength- I have proven this to myself again and again, and yet…I’m just so goddamned TIRED. I already know that I am strong and capable- why do I need to constantly be? That is what I want to know…when the f%@k can I just relax?

And I know, I know- I am the one who put myself exactly where I am. I chose to have another child at 35, which definitely changed the trajectory of my life. I do not regret that for a moment. I also chose, almost a year ago, to disentangle my life from the life of my daughters father, making me a single mom, yet AGAIN. This also was a significant change to the structure of my world. I still feel it was my best option at that time, and what needed to happen, but you know…I think it has been HARD. I  mean, WAY harder than I thought it would be. This past year, though good in so many ways, has been exhausting. I am trying to find my footing, to figure out how to be this super-mom, devote myself to my family and my career, try to fit in writing, try to take care of myself, try to take care of the dogs, the house, the bills, all the money (or lack thereof). Jesus Christ, no wonder I feel like I’m shell shocked…when you lay it all out like that, it doesn’t sound so crazy, does it?

Anyway…I also think that maybe I have gotten so used to responding like a champ to a crisis, I may not really know how to rise to the occasion of every day life. Like, I am only my best self when I absolutely have to be. Right now, I have been at my job for nearly seven secure years, which, if you are me, is like- I don’t know, nothing short of miraculous, honestly. This month marks the third year I have lived in my current house, another first for me. I don’t do this- keep jobs, phone numbers, addresses…even my hair color has been dramatically unchanged for quite a while now. And consistency is great- for kids, I hear, anyway. In all honesty, it has given me a chance, for the first time ever, to kind of figure out what is going on in my life. I’ve been still enough to see myself.

Maybe THAT is the bigger issue- maybe, for the first time ever, without any outside intrusion, without anyone else to distract me, I can see myself. Perhaps I have been settled for long enough to understand the parts of me that need a little work, instead of rushing off to the next place, or thing, or whatever, and sweeping the bigger issues under the rug. My rugs are no more- just me and the issues. I think that may be exactly what is going on, and I don’t think I am entirely comfortable with that. But, I’m a firm believer that everything happens exactly when and how it is supposed to, for the reason it is supposed to, and that it always works out in the end. So, I guess I will wait, and try to be patient.

Hmm…well, I hope that made a modicum of sense, and that perhaps one person who reads this will take something useful from it. It certainly served its purpose for me! I wrote some sense right into my head, how do you like that? Well, here you go- I guess it’s better than nothing. If not, well…there’s always the next one. Talk to you soon…I hope.

Posted in Depression, escape, family, Goals, humor, Learning, Life, Mental Health, Musings, random

The “Tired” Trap

yawn

I think I have mentioned this before- that people tend to get the impression from me, because I am animated and expressive, that I am just brimming with energy…well, let me tell you, NOTHING could be further from the truth. I am the girl who once fell asleep in a bowling alley- while it was open for business, and PACKED- across several hard, plastic, bucket seats. When I am tired, my day is over, period. There is nothing anyone can say to talk me out of sleeping, and no place that I cannot fall asleep at, if necessary.

This sounds like a dream come true (hahaha) to insomniacs, I know. The problem doesn’t seem like much of a problem at all when you would LOVE to be able to sleep. But, on the opposite side of the equation, you have me, Rip Van Winkle’s love child, who can’t resist the Siren’s call of sleep, even when it’s like, I don’t know, five o’clock in the evening. The time change this year, and the shortening of the days has destroyed me. The minute it gets dark outside, my body is like- “Okay, time to roll it up for the night.” Meanwhile, my kids are like “Mom, we haven’t had dinner yet.” I have coined a new moniker for myself lately, as a direct result of having to stay up later than my body clock thinks is just, and so my body trudges on while my brain sleeps. It is “Mombie.” See? Like Zombie, only with “mom” in the front.

On Friday, I went to bed at 6:30 in the evening and slept until 8:30 the following morning. Now, that is just ridiculous by ANYONE’S standards. My four year old went to bed with me, and watched TV until probably 8 before she fell asleep. I don’t know what time I went to bed Saturday night, but last night, after Camryn’s birthday party insanity, we both passed out around 6:30, only she woke up at like 8, woke me up by pulling my hair, and placing a cold, empty bowl over my face (she has gotten creative, I guess). I got her whatever she needed and then promptly went back to sleep. With her, of course.

The thing is, I used to be able to just take a nap, and then move on with my day. Now, I know, ideally, if you are going to bed as early as I have been, taking a nap at 6:30 is not very smart- any naps should be taken by like noon, at the latest. But it seems to me that, lately, I can’t ever wake up from a nap, not completely. I usually just go with things until they start to bug me, and this is starting to bug me. I am sleeping my entire life away. I am up right now, but I could totally go back to bed and continue to sleep, indefinitely. As a matter of fact, it seems like the more I sleep, the tireder I get. Which makes no sense at all, except that it is what happens. Hmm…

So, first and foremost, I am going to strike the words “I’m tired” from my vocabulary. Sometimes, I say things so much that I start to believe them.  Second, no more naps. I am going to push through- God knows there are plenty of things I could be doing around here besides sleep. ( On a side note, I think that may be precisely WHY I am slinking off to sleep all the time. Total avoidance of other, less enjoyable chores and things to do). Third, I notice again and again, that when I am exercising, I feel a thousand times better. In the build up for Camryn’s party, I wasn’t able to find time to walk or go to the gym, but I am going to do both today. I guarantee that I will feel less exhausted by the end of the day. I don’t know why that works, as it seems to be the opposite of what a tired person would do, but it does work. There is also the whole general nutrition side of things, which I have written about before,  and I know that the foods I eat effect me greatly. I think it was Saturday night that I caught myself musing “I have not eaten one thing that was good for me today.” And it was true! It wasn’t even challenging to eat like I had a total death wish, either. Easy as pie. (hahaha, I am just full of unintentional jokes today)

So, here is the plan- walking, working out, if not NONE, then at least LESS crap food. No naps. Oh, and water, water, water. And finally, no more saying “I am SO tired.”

UGH.  Just talking about it is making me…less energetic. So, how about you? Have you, or are you now, stuck in the tired trap? How did you get out? How do you plan to get out? Are there any tips you may have for me? Seriously, please share, because this whole situation is just BUNK. I need your help!