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.

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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…🙏


It’s time to get back up.

I want so bad to write a positive blog post about how I overcame my anxiety and conquered the day. But I can’t, because I didn’t. In fact, I was up all night tossing and turning thinking about how hard today was going to be at work. How hard it was going to be to hide the bad anxiety I was feeling from the rest of the world. How hard it was going to be to focus. How hard it was going to be to sit at my desk all day while this adrenaline flowed through my body. How hard it was going to be to keep it together in front of my coworkers for 9 hours.

Then the morning came and I decided that I wasn’t strong enough to endure all of that today. I just don’t have it in me. This weekend was rough. It took everything that I had on Saturday to go grocery shopping. Sunday we were supposed to go to my Father In-Law’s for dinner but I convinced my husband that inviting him over to our house next weekend for dinner would be better because it’s closer to Father’s Day and he wouldn’t have to cook. Truth is that I just couldn’t handle going over there and I didn’t want him to have to go alone and explain to everyone why I wasn’t there (they don’t know that I struggle with debilitating anxiety) so he would lie and I don’t want him to lie to his family over me. After being so high strung this weekend, this morning I had to listen to my body tell me that I can’t be strong anymore. That I needed to recuperate mentally.

When I texted my boss and told her that I wasn’t feeling well and needed to stay home (I can’t tell her I struggle with GAD, then she will likely think that I’m weak and cannot handle my job, which may or may not be the case thanks to the stigma surrounding mental illnesses), she told me no problem, feel better. I snickered to myself after reading that text. I would do anything to feel better. I think I have tried everything there is to try (within reason) to help the symptoms. Whether I’m home or not, this dreaded anxious feeling does not go away. It’s just easier to manage when I’m in the comfort of my own home opposed to being in the office. I’ve been at this new job not even 2 months, and I’ve already had to use 2 PTO days because of my anxiety. I’m supposed to be getting a lap top so that I can work remotely when needed, which should help as long as my boss continues to be flexible with me. I’m hard working and I have good work ethic, but I need a job that is flexible due to my diability. So now I’m home, disconnected from work and trying to get myself to relax. Feeling guilty about not being at work for the reasons above. Reasons that I simply cannot control no matter how hard I try.

I suppose that I can end this post on a positive note. This morning when I rolled over and told my husband that I didn’t think I could do today his response was “Then don’t, take care of you”. He didn’t make me feel useless or worthless like I was making myself feel. He didn’t judge me. Living with mental illness is really tough, but it is easier when you have a good support system. I don’t know what I would do without my husband and a good friend who also struggles with anxiety that I can talk to without feeling judged. For them, I am grateful. ☀️ 

Here’s to tomorrow…


 

Working with GAD

If you’ve been following my blog you know that I suffer with generalized anxiety disorder (“GAD”). I say I suffer because most days are really hard for me. Especially work days.

Having a career and being successful is really important to me. Sometimes work is a great distraction for my anxiety and I look forward to getting in the office and getting busy. Other days the thought of going into the office and hiding my anxiety all day is so daunting that I have to call in “sick”. Living with anxiety is really hard but having to hide that panic when it creeps up in front of a group of people in a public place is even harder. I’m in a position at work where I have to attend meetings and speak in front of people. Sitting in a conference room full of people for 2 hours is legitimate torture. I sweat, I get dizzy, I can’t form sentences, I can’t control my thoughts and I can’t focus on anything but the time and how much longer I have to wait before I can get the hell out of there. Excusing myself in front of a group of 10 is embarrassing but sometimes I need air. What are they thinking of me? Do they know that I’m having an anxiety attack? Am I sweating through my clothes? Will they notice if I don’t go back into the meeting?

I’m a good employee – hardworking, reliable, willing to take on just about anything. But on days like today where I can’t muster the courage to face this demon in front of the world, I feel worthless. Pathetic. Replaceable.

How much easier would it be to work and deal with life if I could just come out and tell everyone that I have GAD? How great would it be if they were accommodating to me if I had to work from home a day here and there when I’m having a hard time or sneak out of a meeting without explanation if my head starts to swim? But really, how amazing would it be if I could do all of that and have no one think that I was lying. That I wasn’t suffering because on the outside I look normal.

Today was the first day since I started my new job a month ago that I couldn’t face going into the office. I couldn’t go into the office. I don’t have a laptop yet so I couldn’t work from home, so I used a PTO day. My boss seemed to be ok with it but I am not. Instead of focusing on calming myself down and gearing up for the week the thought of disappointing my boss today (even though she said “no worries feel better”) and having my GAD affect my career is making my anxiety worse. I have a lunch with my boss’s boss on Wednesday, an after work- work function Thursday night and an all day town hall with my entire department (hundreds of people) on Friday. How am I going to survive this??

The same way I’ve survived until this point in my life. It’s really hard. Today I feel weak. Like I just can’t live this way anymore. No I am not going to hurt myself and I’m not suicidal. I’m just so tired of fighting. I just want control of my thoughts and emotions. I just don’t want to be judged. I don’t want my disorder to negatively affect those around me. I JUST WANT TO BE NORMAL.