Generation gaps are painful.

My Grandma is awesome. She’s been there for me my entire life, never forgets a birthday and we have a special bond. She lives in Florida now and I’m in New York so unfortunately we don’t see each other often. My Grandpa was a hard working family man who passed away about 5 years ago so my Grandma lives alone in their retirement community. I grew up idolizing my Grandparent’s marriage and relationship. My Grandpa suffered from debilitating anxiety, went through a rough time around 50 years old and retired early. He spent his entire life busting his ass at work so that his wife could stay home and raise their 3 children comfortably. He worked so hard that when his anxiety was too much to bare at 50 years old he retired early and my Grandma continues to live off of his earnings today (she’s 82 years old).

My husband and I just returned from Florida where we stayed with my Grandma for a week. I’m glad that I got to see my Grandma. We’ve always been close and every time after I see her now I think that it could be the last time. However, despite the fact that I know she’s a good person she said some things this past week that just hasn’t sat well with my husband or I. The only explanation I have for it is our generational gap. Let me explain.

This little old lady is nice to your face no matter who you are. It’s what she says behind closed doors that you would find appalling.

What I heard this week was racist. Hateful. Ungrateful. Without empathy. Towards all types of ethnicities. Sexual orientation. Gender.

People who know me know that I’m passionate about gender equality. That I judge people buy their actions and not what they look like. That I have a whole lot of empathy for those who are underprivileged. I’m not like this because of the way I was raised because I was raised by people who do not necessarily have these same values. I think I’m like this because of my generation. I’m a millennial who has grown up in an equality movement. My Grandma grew up when segregation was still a thing and you lived your life according to the Bible. You stayed at home and raised babies and made dinner instead of having a job or having a career.

Here are a few of the things that went horribly wrong this past week:

1. Grandma commented on every female’s appearance. “She’s hideous”, “she’s fat”. How about we judge people based on what’s on the inside, no?

2. Grandma insulted a gay couple that lives next door to her. She thinks they are bad people because they are gay. “I wonder what they do over there all day? Probably pile on top of each other – gross!”, “He likes men and that’s wrong”, “I bet they’re drug addicts and he picks up men at the gay bar”. My mother in law is gay. My poor husband listened to these insults all week and maintained composure until the end. A saint.

3. My Grandma blatantly does not like minorities. She says derogatory terms like “colored person”, tells me she doesn’t like Mexicans and says that if any of the women in my family ended up with a minority we would have been disowned. How awful is this thought process? My cousin married a Mexican woman and she’s lovely. She probably doesn’t know a minority personally. Ignorant.

4. My Grandma and I were watching the news one morning when she said “there are too many women reporting the news. This is a mans job. I like to get my news from a man behind the desk.” WHAT?! All of these things are horrendous. This one impacted me personally as a female who has a career and works hard to break that glass ceiling.

5. My Grandma never talked down on my Grandpa for having a mental illness until he passed away. Now she’s saying he was awful to deal with and she had to be his therapist for years and she’s happy he’s no longer with us. My Grandpa had awful anxiety. He treated my Grandma like a queen. Always. She had the best life because of him and he was always there for her when she needed him. When he needed her she was there, but resents him for it. Heart breaking.

6. My Grandma’s cousin married a man who lived a double life. He had 2 wives and had families with both. When her cousin found out she was horrified but stayed with him despite knowing he was involved in and supporting another family. Grandma said she had to stay and men just do what they want. My Mother was subjected to domestic violence by my Father. Despite that, my Grandma told her to stay with him. My Dad was beating the shit out of her daughter and she told her to stay with him. What??

7. I struggle with anxiety as well. My Grandma told my husband that he needs to beware of what is to come with me (thinking that I’ll follow in my Grandpa’s footsteps), telling him that I’m not confident. That I’m “mental”. Will be an “invalid”. My husband is my biggest fan and naturally came to my defense. That resulted in a heated exchange after which my Grandma told me that she thinks he’s “negative” and a “know it all”. That is not the case at all. No one knows how hard I fight.

People change with age. Experiences. Time. Truth is, that woman I grew up idolizing has always been this way. She’s just old now and doesn’t care about who she hurts or how she makes others feel.

I love my Grandma. But I’m disappointed in her lack of empathy and ignorance. I know there is nothing that you can do to make a 82 year old woman change her thought process. My husband tried.

What is interesting is that my Mom’s thought processes are between my Grandma’s and my own. I can only hope that the next generation continues to move in the right direction.

Love is love. We all bleed red. None of us are superior. It’s what’s on the inside that counts. Equal work equal pay.

Advertisements

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. ☀️

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.

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…

They say, “time heals everything”, but I’m still waiting…

Exhaustion. Fatigue. The result of prolonged anxiety. I’ve definitely been in a rut since returning from Hawaii. Work has been busy, now that Spring is here my yard is in need of an overhaul and Hallmark holidays are coming up that I dread. One in particular – Father’s Day. 

A reminder of my non-existent relationship with my Father. A reminder of the resentment I hold. A reminder of how much I wish things could be different. Usually for these holidays we spend time with my in-laws since my Mom and Step Dad live out of town. Lately spending time with anyone but my Husband or leaving the house in general is a real drag. Perhaps another sign that I need to make some changes in my life.

Other things on my mind: my cat still has a growth on her head, need to call the vet tomorrow. Feeling guilty for asking to work remote tomorrow despite the fact my boss(s) said it was ok. Stressed about the volume of work that I need to do. Need to finish removing shrubs from my gardens. Need to pick out new shrubs and order mulch. I understand a lot of this is “first world problems” or to some people not really problems at all but when you have generalized anxiety disorder all of these “to-dos” are overwhelming. I also really need to lose weight and stop eating my feelings. 

I’ve been thinking about writing a novel. I like to write – it distracts me from my self and is a good outlet for me creatively. After weeks of thinking about the storyline of my book I had a dream Saturday night that wrote my book for me. I tend to like twisted books and movies and always pictured myself writing a twisted novel or a self help book for others struggling with my mental disorders. Looks like someone else made the decision for me. Now to find time to write…

Hope everyone has a great week! 

Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles, it takes away today’s peace.

“This is a great opportunity”, “You will get a lot of exposure with senior management” my boss says to me as she tells me that I will now be taking minutes on a new committee at work. 

For a normal person, she’s right. For someone with GAD, she’s wrong. But she doesn’t know that. She can’t know. I smile quietly and nod, leaving her office. What an opportunity, the woman in me says as I try to make a name for myself in corporate America. How am I going to do this, I think to myself as someone with GAD.

This meeting is in a different building than I work in, once per month, for 2 hours. 2 hours in a cramped conference room with several people. Before I was given this role, my coworker did it and didn’t bat an eye. Tomorrow is the first meeting and I’ve been sick about it since Friday. 

Mondays are hard enough for me as it is, now add this. Add the unrest in our department and mandatory meetings with HR this month. Add my job description changing for the 3rd time in 6 months. Add being borderline bullied by coworkers who don’t like me because they assume I make more money than they do. Add a long commute into the office and a scary walk in from where I have to park. Add a meeting with the head of our department (my boss’s boss’s boss) regarding the new role he wants me to play. Add the fact that it’s a role that I haven’t played before. Add that I don’t feel empowered at this company to make any changes. Add the daily discomfort that I feel working at this place daily. Add GAD, depression and OCD.

What do I do? Start looking for a new job? Suck it up and do my best to power through it? Continue to hide in plain sight? 

I watched the movie Me Before You this morning. I found myself bawling, not because he was choosing to end his own life leaving her heart broke (very sad, I know) but because I was thinking about how I would feel if I got in an accident and became paralyzed. Better yet, what kind of life am I living? Am I living this one life the way I want to? Am I living each day like it was my last? Am I truly happy?

The answer is no. I enjoy the intellectual part of my job but the truth is I do it for the money. I live my life in fear everyday due to my GAD. It wouldn’t matter what my career was, where I lived, who I was with, everyday I will wake up paranoid and in fear due to this mental illness. I love my husband and I’m thankful for the life we live, but does he deserve this, am I worthy of love or am I holding him back? 

This is the type of shit that runs through my head constantly, each day, leaving me exhausted as I do my best to appear normal and get through the day doing my job the best that I can. It is hard. It is draining, mentally and physically.

But this is my life. We only get one. And despite this monster in my head that haunts me everyday I must keep going. I must make the best of it and not let it control me.

And that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Breathe in….breathe out…

Head up, stay strong, fake a smile, move on…

Literally everything gives me anxiety. Thoughts, actions, nothing at all. It’s almost always present.

Busy weekends make for rough weeks for me. The things I have going on are things that probably wouldn’t make most people anxious. In fact, one of the things I’m doing most people look forward to because it relaxes them. 

The weekend started with helping my Sister move a few yards of top soil on Friday night after work. Let’s say I’m really out of shape and my entire body is still sore today. Saturday I cleaned my house, weeded my gardens, went to my Sister’s to see her horses, got my oil changed, came home and did laundry, went grocery shopping, and started to gut our master bathroom for remodeling. This morning consisted of waking up, meal prepping for the week (trying to lose a few lbs…!) and continuing to gut the master bathroom. 6 hours later, I’m taking a break to blog, getting something to drink and trying to stay upright (it’s 90 degrees outside). I’m exhausted.

Going to work everyday makes me extremely anxious. I sit at my desk and try to push through panic attacks while trying to maintain a somewhat normal façade. So Sunday nights are usually really hard for me as I dread that and it drains the life out of me everyday. You may recall in a previous post of mine that I had a bad panic attack while getting my hair done about 2 months ago. As a result, I’m now petrified of that happening again, especially because it was so obvious that my hair dresser asked me if I was ok and I ended up running out with wet hair. I’ve since told her that I suffered with anxiety and, to my surprise, she offered to do my hair in a private room in the salon. How lucky did I get that my salon has a private room? Even though this should make going a little easier (if I freak out at least it’s only in front of her and not the entire salon), I’m still so anxious about it. To top it off it’s on Thursday, so I have 4 more days of anticipation. As I type this I can’t help but feel completely ridiculous. This illness is horrible.

I also  have various meetings this week at work that I’m going to have to sit through that are going to test my strength as I fight through panic, trying to hide what is really happening. This coming weekend is a long weekend (thank god), but it’s going to be a busy one. Family will be in town and the master bathroom project will continue. This part of my family knows about my anxiety (well, some of them) but they don’t get it. I told my Dad that I had Generalized Anxiety Disorder and just last weekend he asked me “How’s the anxiety? Better? You need to just take a deep breath and calm down, life is good”. I just smiled and thought to myself “you have no idea…”. And It’s true. People who don’t have an anxiety disorder have no idea about the struggle. They have no idea what it’s like to have no control over your thoughts (or your body), and how frustrating that is. If only I knew what triggered this. If only there was something that I could do (besides quit working and become an absolute hermit) that would make this better or better yet make it go away. But even if I did do that, I would still have anxiety. It’s a part of me.

In a nutshell, I’m already wishing away the upcoming week. Wishing away the long weekend. I look at it all as more obstacles that I have to somehow get through. In 2 weeks my Husband and I are going to Cape Cod for a long weekend. Staying at a nice bed and breakfast with no plans. We’re driving there so I don’t have to fly. I’m even anxious about that. I miss the days where I could actually genuinely enjoy things without zero worry.

Welp, it’s time for me to get back to work. 😩. I’ll leave you with a picture that makes me happy, and envious (it’s 90 degrees in my house and I want his life). Oh, and also a picture of the progress we have made so far! Until next time…🙏