Be in love with your life. Every minute of it.

I have so many thoughts today. What I’m about to write will be really random (and just a few of them). I just feel like I need to get some stuff off my chest. After all, this is pretty much my online diary.

Thought #1: For most of my life I’ve felt alone. Alone in the sense that I don’t share or agree with the same beliefs, ideals and actions of most of those closest to me. One thing that I think we can all agree on is the fact that we’re all really passionate. This often results in conflict, distance or the “elephant in the room” effect where being together is just awkward. We are all pretty different; the only thing uniting us is blood and/or marriage. I think we can agree that we all care about and love each other to some extent. But that love isn’t enough to unite us. Instead we remain divided and some choose to take sides. This makes me really sad. It also triggers some self reflection. Here’s what I know:

  • I am selfless. There have been so many situations in my life where I’ve been able to set aside hurt feelings and differences for the greater good of something or someone else. Even if it results in further heartache for me. There isn’t much I wouldn’t do for the people I love, whether they realize it or not.
  • I’ve always been the bigger person. Sometimes this is exhausting. Apologizing even when you know you’re right. Reaching out to end an awkward silence. Struggling to stay silent on a controversial topic with a loved one because you value the relationship more than trying to convince them that they’re wrong. Supporting someone’s beliefs even if they differ from your own.
  • I always come from a good place. Sometimes I don’t tell you what you want to hear, but what I think you need to hear because I care about you and I think you may be headed down a wrong path. Typically my delivery gets me in trouble (I tend to be kind of blunt). I never say or do anything with the intent of hurting anyone’s feelings. I only say to others what I would hope they would say to me if necessary. I value honesty and facts.
  • I have a lot of empathy. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t let the same people hurt me over and over because I wouldn’t feel bad for them. However, we are all responsible for ourselves and our actions. Empathy is not always reciprocated (in my case, rarely). There comes a time when you have to come to terms with the way people are and protect yourself; despite understanding why they may be the way they are. We are all the way we are due to circumstance but we all can choose to be the people we want to be. I’m living proof of that.

Thought #2: My (new) boss of 8 months just tendered his resignation. Although he’s been my boss, I’ve been doing his job for the past year and a half at a pay grade 2 levels lower than him. He quit because he couldn’t handle the stress and demands of the job. Even though I was doing his job prior to him starting at my company, I wasn’t considered for the position due to “lack of experience” also known as age. Despite the fact that during my performance reviews I’ve always exceeded expectations (which I should be, seeing as how I’m a grade 11 doing a grade 13 job). The man they hired to do the job had 30 years of experience opposed to my 10, and he failed to meet one deliverable in 8 months. I’ve met all deliverables. So here is the dilemma: once they realized they hired a dud to do the job, they began to think that maybe I should’ve been given the opportunity. Now that he’s given his resignation, rumor has it I’ll be offered the job.

But not at a grade 13, a grade 12. Not 8 months ago, but now. Not before they hired a retirement aged man to do the job instead of 30 year old female me. This isn’t a job I love doing. It’s a job that allows me the ability to travel and live my life a certain way. So if I do get “promoted” to a 12, I’ll continue to do what I’ve been doing. But I’m extremely jaded. I’ll never forget what this company did to me. And I’ll continue to look for a new job.

Thought #3: I am stronger than my fears. For those of you that don’t know, I have generalized anxiety disorder. There are certain triggers that give me anxiety but I also generally have anxiety all the time for reasons I can’t explain. In terms of triggers, leaving the house and air planes give me a lot of anxiety. Despite that, I travel via air plane at least once a year and leave the house for days if not weeks at a time. I have a fear of public speaking and confrontation, and despite that I’m going to step out of my comfort zone and possibly take on more of that if I happen to get promoted as anticipated (because although I’m doing more than my current boss now, if I get promoted they’ll expect even more out of me). I do my best to not let my mental illness define me. Those of you who struggle know how hard that is. For those of you who don’t, try to have some empathy and just imagine.

Thought #4: I just got back from 5 days of vacation in the Bahamas. It was great to get away. Unfortunately, due to the anxiety described in thought #3 above, I stress ate while we were there and gained back 6 of the 8 lbs I lost before we left! It took me 2 months of eating healthy and hours of working out to lose 8 lbs and in 5 days and 4 nights I managed to gain 6 lbs back. Damn it!!!!!

Thought #5: The Walking Dead returns tonight and since I just returned from vacation and tomorrow is Monday, I need something to look forward to. Anything that distracts me from reality is great.

And those are some of my current thoughts. Overall my soul feels heavy today. But it’s 50 degrees out and the sun is trying to shine through the clouds. It’s up to me to try and make it a great day. ☀️

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Perspective

This time of year is always pretty depressing for me. I currently don’t have a relationship with my Father or my Mother. My seasonal depression starts to kick in and I start stressing about those 10-15 lbs that I would like to lose by Spring. I start questioning my job and whether or not I’m really happy or content.

2 days ago I got into my first car accident. I got caught up at work and left an hour and a half later than I should have. I was side swiped at 60 mph on the thruway by a car full of men who didn’t speak English. After they hit me they tried to flee but traffic was backed up and when they realized there was nowhere that they could go they finally pulled over.

We were blocking the left lane of a 3 way highway during a high traffic time. I immediately went into panic mode and began to have a horrible anxiety attack. 3 of the men got out of the car and started circling my vehicle. The other tried to communicate with me but he knew no English and I didn’t know any Chinese. Once we stopped I called the police. The Officer was so good with me considering I was hyperventilating and convulsing uncontrollably. My glove box popped open when I was hit, it was dark and I couldn’t find my registration or insurance card. When I finally did find the documents I was shaking so bad I dropped them several times. The Officer was so patient and kind to me. After talking with us both (or attempting to talk with them) he indicated that it was clear by the damage that the accident was the other driver’s fault. He wrote them a ticket, gave me the accident report and we all were able to drive away at that point.

Perspective. This accident could have been A LOT worse. I may not have parents that I can call when things in my life go array, but I have a loving supportive husband that I got to come home to who comforted me as I continued to convulse for 3 more hours after the accident. Who called the insurance company and is working with them to get my car fixed. Who is there for me through thick and thin.

Do I still need to lose those 10-15 lbs? Yes. Do I love my job? No, but it pays my bills and allows my husband and I to go on vacations. Am I truly happy? Well, yes. Although I struggle with anxiety and depression, I’m alive today and my life could be so much worse.

Sometimes when we are feeling low we get a wake up call and change our perspective. Sometimes when we have a mental illness we lose sight of that perspective quicker than others. But we continue to fight the good fight and look for the positive. We continue to keep our heads up. Life is a roller coaster and I’m along for the ride.

“SAD”

I’m really depressed. I feel numb. Fatigued. On the verge of tears. Exhausted. I don’t know what to say and don’t want to talk about it. Emotionless. 

I spent all night last night having anxiety attacks staring at the clock. Finally around 5am I got out of bed and worked out for an hour, hoping to release some of the adrenaline. It didn’t help. I was just sore and anxious after.

My sister got baptized this morning. I’m not a religious person so going to church is uncomfortable for me, seeing as how I don’t know any of the songs, prayers, etc. I’m also am introvert so the small talk is torture. I know how much it meant to my sister that I be there so I went with my husband. As if that situation didn’t cause me enough anxiety, my Dad also went. My Dad and I do not have a good relationship and I had no idea how he would act towards my husband and I. I figured that he would be cordial since we were in a church celebrating my sister. Wrong. 

He acted as though we were invisible, blatently ignoring us. While he wouldn’t make eye contact with me, he disregarded my husband very rudely. Suddenly I became overrun with emotion and ran out of the church hoping no one would see me cry. After a few minutes I pulled myself back together and went inside. We didn’t sit with the rest of the family. We also didn’t attend the cookout afterwards since my Dad was going to be there and I didn’t want to risk conflict and ruin my sisters day.

I don’t even know why my Dad is mad at me anymore. Why he doesn’t want me in his life. This is the first time he’s rejected me in public. Normally he cares about perception – God forbid people know how messed up our relationship is. God forbid he is seen as the bad guy. But not this time. Usually he pretends to not be an asshole in front of people so that I look like the ass. Not this time. I don’t know why I got so emotional, I’m used to this. Just not in public. This felt like he finally threw in the towel with me. Chose to write me off permanently and wanted to make it known. 

From the time I was 14 I’ve been going through this with him. People say to me “he’s an asshole don’t let him get to you”, “he doesn’t deserve to have you in his life”, “don’t let him get you down”. I wish it was that easy, but I do care. He’s my Father. He has messed up a lot, but he’s my parent. I’m supposed to be able to call him when I have a bad day. I’m supposed to know that he will have my back when I fall. Care about my life. Be there for me when I need him. Love me unconditionally. But he doesn’t. I haven’t had a Father since I was 14 years old and it looks like I’ll never have one. That’s a hard pill to swallow. 

It’s also Sunday. The day where anxiety and depression take over every single week. I dread going to work on Mondays. I need a new job. 😔

Current events also make me depressed and anxious. North Korean threats to the USA and white supremacy rallies. I hope people realize that these white supremacy groups do not represent all white people. I’m so disappointed in humanity lately. 

I’m going to bed. 😞

Siiiggghhhh….

“Wash your hands”, “did you touch that?”, “here use this hand sanitizer”. What is life like when you’re married and you have generalized anxiety disorder and OCD? Horrible.

My husband gets frustrated. I get it, I do too. I would too if I was living with someone paranoid; directing me to wash my hands after touching certain door handles (although they’ve already been sanitized), touching my wallet or my phone (also already sanitized). 

I was a child that grew up outside playing in the mud. Showering was done but not because I necessarily wanted to. Touching everything. Eating everything. Not thinking about germs. I’ve always struggled with generalized anxiety disorder but not OCD. Until about 4 years ago. Every time I left the house and came back or touched the door handles going into the house I’d have to wash my hands. I’d always wash my hands before cooking which was normal for me but back then I could do it and then touch the tv remote, my phone etc. As time progressed I started over analyzing the things I touched after I washed my hands and determining that those needed to be sanitized. Now I find myself sanitizing my car at the end of every week after getting gas. Door handles in the house that are used when we go in and out. Faucets. Phones. Coffee cups that come in from the outside. Remote controls. The garage door opener/closer. Even the recliner handles.

How did it get to this point? I used to never even think about this stuff. What is wrong with me? I have a theory. 

I think sanitizing is an outlet for my anxiety. What I mean by that is I used to get debilitating panic attacks for years. I still get them now and then but as my OCD routines have gotten worse my panic attacks have gotten better. The generalized anxiety is always there but the full blown take me to the ER panic attacks have subsided. Is this a possible? I have no idea – but the coincidence is odd. 

The OCD makes it challenging to live. Leaving the house is a chore knowing that I have to come home and do my routine every time I do. Spending the night at other places besides my home (hotel rooms, relative’s houses, etc.) is horrifying. Airplanes make me want to gag. I love traveling, but this makes it so much harder. I stock up on hand sanitizer and use it constantly while flying. I’m probably a few flights away from bringing wipes and sanitizing the area that we sit in (I already bring them for hotel rooms we stay in).

My husband has become very understanding and supportive of me having GAD over the years; mostly thanks to therapy. But he has a hard time with the OCD. I can’t say I blame him. I’m not sure I could be married to someone like this if I was on the other side. “Just stop doing it – what’s so hard about that?!” Dude – you have no idea. Funny thing is he acts like I like living this way. I feel like I’m trapped in a mind telling me to do things that I cannot control. Telling me we’re going to get violently ill if I don’t sanitize. Giving me horrible anxiety until I go through my routines. Not the life I want to live either. 

So where do we go from here? The OCD gets progressively worse as time goes on. Would I trade it for the panic attacks I used to get? If I don’t sanitize it will give me panic attacks. What’s worse? 

If you don’t suffer with any of these mental illnesses I can only imagine what you’re thinking: this chick is crazy. But hear me out. I have a college degree. A full time job that pays well. I own a home. I have pets. A husband. I pay taxes. I’m fortunate to be able to contribute to society in some way. If you look at me on the outside you may never know how bad I’m struggling inside. Most people that find out I struggle with this look at me wide eyed; saying they could never tell. I walk amongst everyone else with a smile although inside I feel like I’m being gutted. I’ve learned to live with this and it hasn’t been easy. You never know what someone is going through. 

As for my husband, I feel so much guilt. We’ve been married 5 years; together 12. My mental illness has progressed steadily over those 12 years, mostly since we’ve been married. Is it fair for us to be together? For him to have to put up with my antics. This isn’t what he signed up for – or is it? If it were him how would I react? There are so many things going through my mind right now. He’s started to give me a hard time about it and is borderline becoming unsupportive. “In 10 years you won’t be able to work or leave the house at this rate”. Maybe he’s right. My heart breaks every time I’m forced to think about the reality of the situation. This sucks. Anyone else going through this and if so, how do you cope?

This roller coaster we call life.

Human emotions are something else. When an emotion strikes me, it strikes me hard. People around me may not be able to notice, but inside I’m feeling all the feels. Happiness, sadness, anxiety, depression, uncertainty, all of it. There’s one emotion in particular that is quite frightening.

Love. There are a lot of feelings associated with love. Trust, vulnerability, infatuation, admiration, lust, etc. Love is scary. Truly loving someone is giving them the power to tear you apart but trusting that they won’t. Trusting that they will always do right by you. Trusting that they put you first. Trusting that if something is wrong they will communicate with you. 

Like with any other matter, you learn a lot about love, trust and communication as you go through life. People will leave scars on your heart. Bruises on your self esteem and insecurities. Pain on the soul. Despite all of the emotions and unknowns that come with loving someone we do it anyway. We go through the pain, the scarring, the bruises despite knowing that eventually, intentional or not, we are bound to get hurt.

I’m not just referencing love with a significant other. You can go through all of these emotions with a parent, friend or other family member too. People that are put in your life that you love. So why do we put ourselves through it and risk the pain?

Because no one is perfect, including you. You may have caused that same pain that you feel from loving someone. You may have made a stupid decision or unintentionally hurt someone you love without realizing the pain that you would inflict on them. Love is a risk that we all take. Being in love is a great feeling. The highs are high and the lows are low. We do it for the highs.

Ok I’m done with my philosophical-ness. Life is crazy and I’ve accepted that. It’s ok to feel. That is your right and no one can take that from you. Trust your intuition. 

I’m sitting in the parking lot about to go into the salon to get my hair done having an anxiety attack. Damn this anxiety and all of the mental and physical ailments that come with it. Just this once, I want to walk in there and not feel like I’m on the verge of death. Not look at the clock sweating. Not thinking about what the absolute worst scenario would be and how I would get out of it. Just go in there like a normal woman and come out feeling fabulous because my hair looks fly. But no. I’ll come out with fly hair but my shirt will be soaked in sweat. My stomach will hurt. Extreme exhaustion will wash over me and I’ll be emotionally and physically drained for the rest of the day until I get the next surge of adrenaline before my next attack. Joy.

Happy 4th of July people! Remember, despite what some people may tell you, America has always been great. If you think otherwise I encourage you to spend some time in other areas of the world, such as the Middle East or certain areas in South America. 🙂

It doesn’t matter how slow you go as long as you don’t stop.

It’s Sunday night and I’m sitting front row on the struggle bus. 

Ever hear of those people who love their job so much they say it doesn’t feel like work? Does that really exist? I went to beauty school right out of high school because I liked doing hair as a hobby so I figured I would like it if it was my day to day. As soon as I got my first job in a salon doing hair full time it wasn’t fun anymore. 

I ended up going back to school and got a degree in paralegal studies. I love problem solving, research and writing. I worked in a law firm for a few years before getting into the banking industry. I enjoyed it at first but now not so much. As time went on my anxiety got worse, more and more was being demanded from me and I’m now getting really burnt out. Feeling the need for a change because life is too short to hate your job this much. Not sure if I need a career change or just a change of scenery. 

On another note, my husband and I put down 600 sqft of pergo flooring yesterday. It was our first experience doing flooring and took 14 hours. Yes, we are still married after that but it wasn’t easy. Just kidding. It looks awesome. I woke up today feeling like I legit got hit by a bus. My entire body aches! I can barely walk. Doing 3 flights of stairs tomorrow at work should be fun. My fingers even hurt.

On a mental health note I’ve been having an anxiety attack for about 4 hours now. I’m exhausted but my heart is racing. My stomach hurts. I’m dizzy. Clammy. My mind is racing.  I hate this. I don’t even know what else to say. Besides shout out to Prince Harry. In an interview he recently confessed that he has struggled with anxiety for years and perfectly described what an anxiety attack feels like for me.

Now back to binge watching Homeland and trying to calm down. Sigh…

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.