Self reflection.

Well, Hawaii was amazing as usual. Lots of hikes, volcano views, waterfalls, beaches and awesome weather. Celebrated 5 years of marriage to my husband and ate way too much. I also had some realizations. 

1. Vacations are necessary. Always. For someone who struggles with mental health issues, getting a break from the daily grind and going somewhere where I don’t have to worry about doing anything is the only thing that eases my mind a little. I find that I do less worrying and more reflecting and I think that’s important. 

2. Dreams are good to have but they need to be realistic. Since the first time I went to Hawaii in 2012 I’ve wanted to live there. I’ve applied for jobs there and we have gone back for vacations but the reality is that it’s an expensive place to live and I can’t move there without a job. That said, a realistic goal may be to retire there and continue to go on vacations there every few years. I just need to come to terms with that.

3. You are not a bad person if you let go of people that hurt your soul. This one is complicated. Let’s just say that I have a Father that doesn’t really want me in his life but pretends to others like he does thus making me look like the bad guy despite the fact that he never talks to me. I’ve tried for years to get his approval, his love, shit even his acknowledgement to no avail. I’ve spent a lot of time and tears dwelling on this relationship. One night while in Hawaii I found myself laying awake in bed, listening to the waves and reminiscing on the past and the present state of things with my Father. That was when I decided it was time to just let go. Breaks my heart but it is what it is and I’m walking away knowing that I gave an honest effort. 

4. Finding your passion and making it your job is a must. I’m dreading returning to my job as a compliance officer at a regional bank. I’m not passionate about being a compliance officer working in banking. I don’t look forward to going to work everyday; in fact, I dread it. I have so many anxious sleepless nights and moments of frustration during the work day that it consumes me. But what am I passionate about? Nothing that will allow me to make similar money and continue to live the lifestyle I’ve grown accustomed to. Good news is I make an honest living doing something I’m not ashamed of. Bad news is I have no sense of fullfilment. I hope one day it comes to me.

5. My body and mind has changed a lot in the past 5 years, and that is ok. We were married in Hawaii in 2012 and went back to he same resort we were married at for our anniversary. In 2012 my new hubby and I went out to dinner at a nice waterfront restaurant and the waiter took a picture of us. I thought it would be fun to take an identical picture at this restaurant 5 years later, until I saw the picture afterwards and compared them. What did I see? Well my husband is still very handsome. The scenery is still beautiful. But when I looked at myself I felt sad. In the 2012 picture I was thinner, had way less anxiety, looked more attractive and overall my happiness was visible in my face. 2017 me was heavier in the face, had bags under her eyes, looked exhausted, and although the happiness was still visible in my face at that time I lost my spark. After reflecting some more, I’ve been through a lot in the past 5 years. Too much to share in this posting. 2012 me was in her early 20s, still getting a grip on adulthood and making immature decisions (like running away to Hawaii and eloping with my boyfriend of 7 years when we had no money). 2017 me is established, responsible, and more mature. And I have the emotional scares to prove it. My mental state is different. I don’t look bad in the 2017 photo. It’s just who I am now. And In another 5 years I will look even more different. I need to be ok with that. 

6. Facing your fears is necessary, even when your anxiety tells you there is no way you can do something. Listen. I have GAD, OCD and depression. I live in a constant state of fear. Fear of flying, fear of driving, even fear of being at work. But in order to live I need to face those fears every single day. I’ve been to Hawaii 3 times now. I live in NY. It’s anywhere from a 12-14 hour flight not including layovers. For someone who hates flying, being in the air that long and having to take 3 flights to get somewhere is the worst. I drive myself absolutely crazy the entire month leading up to a trip where I have to fly. But no matter how much I hate it I push myself because if I didn’t I wouldn’t have the memories. The experiences. I wouldn’t be living. Honestly most of the time I surprise myself when I fly. Yes, I have panic attacks pretty much constantly but at the end I’m amazed by how strong I can be when I’m really determined. And for that, I am proud of myself.

Now I just need to adjust to being in the eastern time zone again and get the sleep I need to be productive on my first day back in the office on Monday. If only I could keep this anxiety at bay…😔.

It doesn’t matter where you’re going, it’s who you have beside you.

Almost a week out from our 12 hour flight to Hawaii, my favorite place on earth. I cannot wait. I wish I was in a position to never return to my reality here at home. When I say that I mean my job; day to day as I know it, relationships I have with certain people that drain my energy. Since I was little I always looked forward to going on vacations – any excuse to run away from difficult situations and my anxiety. 

That’s what I usually do. Situations that make me anxious drain my energy and the only way I recharge is when I escape. Otherwise the life gets sucked out of me and I feel like I’m drowning slowly and everyone is just standing around watching me screaming for help but not hearing me. Reaching for a hand but they turn a blind eye. The life drains out of my eyes and no one notices. 

My husband and I went to see Logan this morning at the movies. I try to avoid the movies at all costs because sitting still and being overstimulated for hours gives me more torture than pleasure (thanks GAD) but every so often I make an exception and suffer through it for a movie my husband really wants to see that I do too. For those of you who have seen it, Logan dies saving his daughter Laura. While Logan is taking his last breaths the two share an emotional moment where he pretty much tells her that he cares about her despite not showing her much love and emotion throughout the movie, even after finding out she is his daughter. So why am I telling you this? As the lights came on I realized I was sobbing. Yes, it was sad when Logan died but I think sub consciously I was thinking about my own relationship with my Dad. My Dad has a wall up with me, and visa versa. We don’t show emotion to eachother. We don’t interact like a father and daughter typically do. He doesn’t even really acknowledge me. Seeing Logan finally let his guard down with Laura made me so happy. How would she have felt living the rest of her life if he didn’t let her how he cared about her? Would she have regrets? Would she feel alone? They say actions speak louder than words; and I agree, but sometimes, especially when it isn’t obvious how one feels through action, words are necessary too.

Ok that was deep. Anyway, I have a busy week ahead at work as I prepare to be out of the office for almost 2 weeks. I have no back up so whatever I don’t finish will be waiting for me when I return. And that burden will be weighing on me the entire time I’m gone. Yay. 

Did I mention I can’t wait to get away? Oh and that I’m terrified of flying? That my anxiety is ruining my life? Well I am, it is. But I’ll get through it. Always do somehow some way. 

Oh and 4/9 is our 5 year wedding anniversary. Staying at the place we were married in Hawaii. ❤️

My cat has a growth on her ear and I’m afraid it’s something bad. This cat was there for me when no one else was. Send good thoughts her way that it’s nothing bad please! 😻

Have a great week. 🙅👙🐬🐠🌺🌴☀️🌊

Sunday Blues

Sunday nights. Where anxiety takes over. Physically, I feel like crap. Mentally, I’m preparing for a crazy week at work. New management is making my work life difficult at the moment. A blizzard is on its way. 3 weeks until we leave for Hawaii. A normal person would be excited. All I can think about is what may go wrong. I feel like I have a cold, again. Daylight savings time kicked in and we lost an hour today. 

I’m trying really hard to be positive. On a positive note I went shopping at the outlet mall and went to Target at 1pm on a Saturday. You’re probably thinking – so what? For me that’s huge. I’ve avoided going out in public during peak times for years. I also went to Lowes and BJs today during peak time. Whhhaaaaatttt! 

Anyway, essential oils are helping me sleep better. Lavender, peppermint and lemongrass are my go to for the diffuser. If I’m having extra bad insomnia frankincense knocks me out but I feel kind of hung over them next day. 

I’m debating writing a book of poetry. Does anyone even read poetry anymore? I find writing so calming and I love poems. Maybe a novel would be better? 🤔

Time to give hubby a haircut. Sorry this post is so random.

Have a great week. 🙃

“It’s time.”

“Ok, that’s it. I think it’s time that you see a Therapist…”. When he said the words my chest tightened and my eyes welled up with tears. How did I get to this point?

As my husband said those words to me I was disinfecting his phone as soon as he walked in the door. When I heard him pull into the garage I turned the water on in the kitchen sink so that it was warm when he walked into the house so that he could wash his hands right away before touching anything. I was sanitizing all of the door handles. I was sanitizing the kitchen faucet. I even sanitized the coffee cup that he brought into the house from a local coffee shop.

Truth is, I’ve been thinking the same thing lately. I realized that my OCD was getting worse when I started taking alternative routes to and from the ladies room at work so that I could wash my hands one extra time before getting back to my desk. I sanitize my hands after I touch anything. I had even gone as far as to sanitize the button and zipper on my pants because the thought of touching the stall door in the bathroom at work to lock it and then using the ladies room horrified me.

“You’re going to get sick, there’s no avoiding it.” “Hand sanitizer isn’t effective you know.” “You can’t live your life in fear like this.” Listen. To say things like that to someone who doesn’t have OCD and GAD it may be effective. You may be able to reason with them. There is no reasoning with me. If a study came out tomorrow that indicated that hand sanitizer didn’t kill germs I would still continue to use it.

This has affected my life in more ways that I could imagine. I avoid public places unless I absolutely need to go. I avoid children (not a kid person anyway but besides that they carry a host of germs). I avoid shaking hands if possible. I don’t touch door handles.I fear going out to eat because more than likely the kitchen in a restaurant is not up to my standards of cleanliness. When I look at things I can visualize the living organisms on them. I know this isn’t normal.

I’ve been to therapists before. Talking about my issues makes me really emotional because I feel unworthy, crazy, depressed, like I have no control over my thoughts and actions. Confronting the fact that you have mental health issues is never easy. Therapists have taught me anxiety coping mechanisms. They have also prescribed me drugs that have made my condition worse. I do not want to be medicated at this point and the thought of opening up about it is dreadful.

That night I had a major meltdown. I sobbed so hard I was hyperventilating. I didn’t feel worthy of love – although I know my husband is just trying to help, I understand his frustration. I couldn’t imagine being him in this situation. So I need to figure out what to do about it.

There are so many things going on in my life right now that are making me so anxious. There was a reorganization at work which has resulted in a lack of role clarity for me and a change in senior management which means more changes to come. I have a doctor’s appointment next week that I’m dreading during work hours. I have a coworker that isn’t speaking to me for reasons I do not know. I’m 20 lbs heavier than I would like to be and despite eating healthy and working out my weight isn’t budging. I have to somehow make it through a 12 hour flight (24 hours total) when I’ve become petrified of flying. I have to seal my countertops. I have to have some of the landscaping in front of my house re-done because large bushes and trees have died as a result of last years drought. My cats haven’t been to the vet in years and one of them has been peeing outside of the litter  box and the other has gained a substantial amount of weight and I think he may have diabetes (he gets diet food, I don’t know what else to do). My relationship with my Father is stressful. I fear the direction in which the country I live in is going – our President is a hot mess TV personality and doesn’t have a clue of what he is doing. The floors in my house need to be re-done. My bedroom needs to be painted. I need to sit through a 3 hour hair appointment and not freak out. I have to get blood work done every few months for a thyroid problem I have developed.

A normal person would read that and think it could be a lot worse. I agree. They may be thinking that’s not so bad – I do that all the time. So do I, but it keeps me up at night. It gives me high blood pressure. It gives me migraines. It depletes me of energy. It makes me tremble. It makes me cry. It makes me sick to my stomach. It makes me eat my feelings. Makes me unable to breathe. Makes me absolutely exhausted. 

Just needed to vent. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. 


 

Sunday Depression

Sunday depression = waking up and realizing you have to go back to work tomorrow. For most people Sunday depression happens because the work week is a drag. For me, it means I have to go back out into the world and hide my anxiety, OCD and depression. I have to pretend that I’m not being destroyed on the inside while in meetings or on conference calls. I have to force back the adrenaline that surges through my body all day and remain seated at my desk in order to do my job. I have to wash my hands every time I touch a door handle, put in my key code to enter another suite, shake a hand or get sweaty palms because the thought of the germs that could be spreading makes me crazy. The anxiety of doing all of that discretely while hoping that nobody asks me “are you ok?” is terrifying.

Contributing to my Sunday depression is the fact that I have been eating clean 85% of the time, meal prepping my lunches at work and working out 3-5 times per week and all I have been doing is gaining weight. I don’t doubt that some of it may be muscle, but I just tried on the shorts that I wore on a vacation last Spring and my muffin top is off the charts. My husband and I are going to Hawaii in 8 weeks. So I have 8 weeks to squeeze myself back into the shorts – but how am I ever going to do that if I’m gaining weight like this!? So today I didn’t get up and work out. I got up, meal prepped, did some retail therapy and now we’re ordering pizza and wings because that’s what people in Buffalo, NY do and I’m tired of depriving myself only to put on weight! Plus it’s Superbowl Sunday…

I have an appointment on Wednesday with my primary doctor for a physical. I hate this doctor. She has no bedside manner and no empathy. I simply see her because it seems no other primary doctor in my area is accepting new patients. I also need to see if she will give me something that will allow me to fly 12 hours and not freak out. Let’s hope she pulls through. I’m going to do my best to get through it without taking anything but just in case. For my husband’s sanity, really. He’s a saint for dealing with me.

I’ve been using an essential oil diffuser at night. After spending hours on Pinterest I found a concoction that allows me to sleep 3-5 straight hours but I wake up feeling hung over. So far frankincense and lavender have been working the best for sleep but lemongrass is my favorite. I’m trying to figure out how to deal with my mental issues without taking medications. If you have any homeopathic remedies please share!

Ok I’m off to watch Revenge Body with Khloe Kardashian (I know what you’re thinking) and feeling gross about myself as I devour pizza and wings.

Go Falcons!!!

Have a great week everyone!


 

 

Be positive they said, things will get better they said. 

If you live in America and did not vote for Trump to be your president, chances are you wake up everyday with a feeling of uncertainty and anxiety. Add to that Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), depression and OCD and you have yourself quite a mess. People who do not normally feel anxiety are feeling it right now. Although this is only Trump’s first week in office, he’s managed to divide the country even further, provoke fear where unnecessary, provide “alternative facts” to the public and threaten human rights. I can’t imagine living in a country like this for the next 4 years and to even think that way is heartbreaking. I don’t have much hope for the Trump administration. 

On another note the reorganization happened at work. I now have the same boss but a different reporting line, which I think will be better. Hopefully the culture of my department will shift from negative to positive. 

We are going to Hawaii in 9 weeks. Can’t come soon enough. With all the chaos going on I just want to run away from reality. When I’m there I feel free from the burdens and restraints of my life back at home. The scenery is calming. The smell takes me away. I plan on turning off my phone while we are there and not looking at social media. 

They say history repeats itself. That is proving to be true. I’m not really a person of faith so I can only hope that everything will work out. I haven’t posted in a little bit because I feel like a Debbie downer lately. I don’t know how to even end this post on a high note. Blah. 

Be a good human. ✌️❤️

Suspense

I’m paralyzed. Feeling bound and gagged. Blurry vision. Sweating. My heart is pumping fast, I’m gasping for air. “Am I having a heart attack?” My body feels tingly. All of my muscles are constricted. My eyes are wide and overstimulated. It’s taking everything I have to not to cry or scream. I’m being choked by something invisible. I want to surrender but I have no control over my mind or body. I can’t focus on anything in particular but my mind is racing. My body wants me to stay still but my brain wants me to fight. I’m feeling doomed and defeated, spiriling out of control. I would do anything to make it stop.

My breathing begins to slow. My heart beat is calming down. My body feels like it weighs 1000 lbs. My throat hurts.  I can’t form a coherent thought. I can’t keep my eyes open. My muscles begin to slowly un-tense, leaving behind knots that will undoubtedly give me a headache soon. I don’t want to be around anyone. I don’t want to talk to anyone. I just want to be alone.I’m completely exhausted and depleted of energy.

Alone I am, traumatized by what I just experienced. I hate when this happens. “Why me?!” I think to myself. “What caused this?!” – a question I never have an answer to. Most of the time it just happens. Knowing it can happen at anytime, I have altered my lifestyle. I don’t leave the house much. I don’t go anywhere without a plan. I avoid certain people and situations. I get lost in the depressing realization of my reality and get down on myself. I don’t deserve anything I have in life, even the things I work hard for. I’m not worthy of love in any form. I’m cheating my husband of a good life with a “normal” wife. I could go on. I obsess over everything. Even create problems when there are none.

These are feelings that I have almost daily. Sometimes provoked, oftentimes unprovoked. This is life with generalized anxiety disorder, depression and OCD. This life is hard. This life takes a lot of courage. This life takes a lot of strength. This life is exhausting.