Tag Archives: Anxiety

When it RAINs, it Pours

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This has already been an extremely busy week at work. Disregarding the fact that the Internet wasn’t cooperating for half of the day, the academic gradebook site was also broken today. So what that meant for me was

  1. No way for me to keep up-to-date on my emails unless I killed my phone battery
  2. No way for me to finish my October lesson plan (to submit for my teacher program)
  3. No way for me to write any of my essays (though they aren’t due until March)
  4. A stack of graded papers for which the students have no clue what they scored

It was a long day to say the least.

Actually, though classes have been running smoothly, it’s just been a really long week. And it’s only Tuesday. Go figure.

Though I wanted to stay home tonight and do my own thing, I had a few responsibilities. The main one was to go and see my therapist. (The other was supposed to be to run the dogs, but it’s a good 100000 degrees outside right now, so my breathing is just saying no to that one.)

I don’t know how therapy works for anyone else, but I’ve been going to see someone to talk to every month ever since I was in the sixth grade. That’s when we realized that anxiety was really an issue for me; that’s when we realized I couldn’t just sit by and have these bad days and even worse nights because of my fears about school and death and other weird things that no other normal 6th grader would ever think to worry about.

Needless to say, I think my therapist knows me truly better than anyone else. Even my husband and my parents. Even my best friend (my sister). It’s weird to say that; it’s not like we’re Facebook friends, work together, or even go to the movies on a Friday night. But she does know a TON about my life.

I think she also knows that as the years have progressed, I probably don’t need to talk to her for an hour every month anymore. Sometimes I think she wonders why I bother to show up. Again, I’m not sure how therapy works for anyone else suffering from any type of mental differences, but there are sessions where I just sit and talk about my life the entire time. Sometimes I walk out of that office wondering why I just paid someone so that I could update them on my life without feedback or really much response at all. Then I reflect and realize that sometimes I just need that someone that I can talk to about anything (and honestly everything) in my life. A therapist by definition is someone you can talk to about anything; she not only allows me to do that but knows when I am seeking advice and when I just need that unbiased shoulder to lean on a bit.

**With all of the above being said, my life would not be the same in ANY way without my amazing therapist. So even though I downplayed her part in my health just there, I’m only doing so because some days that is my perspective. She does a lot more than I ever really recognize.**

I guess tonight’s sessions was one of those times that I actually needed some advice. After everything that happened this weekend with my anniversary and grandma’s health, I needed someone to realign my thoughts back to their “correct” path. I needed someone to sympathize with me a bit and remind me that it’s never going to be possible to eliminate these stressors entirely, but there are plenty of ways to handle them.

My current issue? Dealing with the stress that is lingering in the back of my head while I’m at work. For example, teaching a class today, I wanted to yell at a bunch of kids who would not stop messing around and chatting when others were trying to pay attention. By yell, I don’t mean I wanted to tell them to stop (as a decent-ish teacher, I definitely did that); what I mean instead is that I wanted to yell at them to get the heck out of my room and not come back until they realized that they needed to grow up and that not everyone can deal with their immature crap! Obviously, as a teacher, I cannot let that irritation and anger show at any time.

What I realized tonight was that I wasn’t actually angry or upset with those kids. Were they more annoying than I may have liked? Possibly. Could they have been quieter so as not to distract the rest of my students? Definitely. But was my anger actually directed at them? No. At some point today I found myself thinking about all of this weekend’s events and looking ahead to this weekend coming up. All I was craving at the moment was some peace and quiet; no running around for errands, jobs, and puppy playtime until all hours of the night. What I needed at the moment was to know there is a time coming (soon) where I will be able to sit back and relax for more than 20 minutes at a time with no one else on my mind but the book I’m reading, the TV I’m watching, or the adventure that I’m going on. Unfortunately that backfired as I remembered how hectic and sort of messed up this past weekend was. Looking ahead, I realized I’ll spend this entire Labor Day weekend tearing down my old kitchen and replacing it with our new cabinets. (Even the thought of this last makes my stomach twist. I hate change, and while I know we need new cabinets and we are getting exactly what we want for our kitchen, I’m also nervous to see if the change in our own home causes me some anxiousness for even a few days.)

My therapist says it’s okay to have these stresses in the back of your head and to try to cope with them, even while at work. Even though my main responsibility is a bunch of young kids, I need to remember that I need to take care of myself first or I’m no good to them. Even more, I need to realize when things are going awry (as in the above example) and be able to step back and hit a refresh button or to just take a deep breath until I get my head screwed back on straight.

So I was reminded tonight of a method that I was introduced to when I was in sixth or seventh grade. The RAIN strategy.

Image result for rain acronym                                      Borrowed from mindful.org!

 

In any case, I have come to the realization in the last hour or so that I have started using RAIN subconsciously whenever I am having trouble with my anxiety. What I need to remember to do in the future however, is to use RAIN even when I am just feeling slightly stressed or “over” whatever the current situation is that I find myself in. Even my attempt at good happy thoughts today took a sideways turn for the worst; it would have been the perfect opportunity to remind myself of RAIN. Unfortunately, until tonight, I had forgotten to purposely force myself to think using these four steps.

So tomorrow my goal is this: Go into my classroom and find a place to store the RAIN sheet that my therapist gave me. It’s just a tiny slip of paper that can easily sit in my desk drawer or be taped under my keyboard. Yet just knowing that it’s there makes me hopeful that tomorrow will be filled with less negative thoughts and more positive re-directions for my kiddos and my brain. Here’s to hoping!

If anyone reading this has any trouble with anxiety or any other thought processing issue and uses RAIN, I would love to know how well it works for you! I’m looking for advice and examples all the time, so feel free to comment. Until then, I hope this reminder comes to you much faster than my therapist’s reminder came to me. Let’s just hope it’s not too late!

~B

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The Beginning of the Second

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Today is a new day. While I don’t often blog two days in a row, I felt I needed to today. If only for the purpose of letting everyone who read yesterday’s post know that things do get better.

That’s probably the biggest thing that I’ve learned with anxiety; even though it may seem like your world is ending or will never feel right again, it always ends up getting better.

I’m not really sure which of my many strategies helped me last night to get over the shock of grandma’s change in condition or my husband’s seeming lack of care about our anniversary. It may have been the writing, it may have been that I picked up a good book and got lost in it for a while. It may even have been the fact that I had a decent cry as I talked to my husband about grandma last night. What I think may be more likely though is that time helped to heal.

As I had time to reflect, I realized my husband would never blow off our plans on purpose. In reality, we didn’t have anything set in stone, so my assumption that we would hang out all weekend was confused with his assumption that we would spend all day together on our actual anniversary. Plus, as I talked to T last night, I realized that time flying by when people are having fun had a lot to do with it too. He actually admitted that he would not have been away from me so long yesterday, but he totally lost track of time. Even more so, I think time had a way of calming my nerves and making everything seem a little more manageable.

You see, sometimes an anxious brain will jump to the craziest conclusions. For example: my husband not spending a few hours with me means he clearly does not love me as much as I love him. Or better yet, the fact that my grandma is running a fever clearly means that she will suddenly die before I get to see her again. It might sound crazy, but anxious brains often travel to the very worst (and possibly most outlandish) assumptions ever.

Luckily, I’m here tonight to say that things did not go as horribly as I made them seem yesterday. Giving my brain time allowed me to come back to the truth of reality and to see that things aren’t all as bad as they seem. I was also able to talk things out with my husband so we could make anniversary plans for last night and today. He also convinced me to leave him at home for a few hours this afternoon to go and see my grandma. I tried to resist at first because I felt bad for being away from him on our anniversary. He didn’t let me get my way though, and I’m glad he was there to remind me what is most important.

Last night played out pretty well. I was still pretty upset when my husband got home, but he decided to take the four of us to our favorite state park. We had a picnic (though we didn’t have picnic food, so we improvised by picking up pizza from a local restaurant), watched as our youngest pup, Zoey, played in the creek for the first time, and took a short hike that we have taken on occasion before. Doing things as a group of four helped me realize how close of a little family I have and how fortunate I am to be able to spend any time with them at all. Going to the park also reminded me that even the simplest things mean the most to me, no fancy food or events required for my happiness.

This morning we woke up and looked through a box I had stored for our first anniversary. There were guest books, cards, and relics from our wedding day and honeymoon to look at. Then we cut our anniversary cake (for breakfast no less!) and found out that it wasn’t as dry and horrible as we thought it would be. As I gave T his gift, he started to light up and smile. Though he didn’t get me anything (miscommunication on both our parts), I was happy that my idea worked out well. Every time I asked him what I should get him, he told me the traditional first anniversary gift was paper. I could not think of a single thing to get the man that involved paper! So I finally settled for writing him a bunch of “Open when” letters for times when I am not around to remind him how loved he is. He opened the first today, which included a summary of our first year together. He has others, which he quickly put in order of how he assumes he’ll end up opening them. (One of the top on the list is “Open When I become anxious and you don’t know what to do about it. Shocker there!)

Around 10, we decided that we wanted to visit the restaurant we ate at on our first “dating” anniversary. We enjoyed the meal that evening and decided to go back. Unfortunately, when I called to reserve a table, no one bothered to tell us that it was a brunch buffet until 2pm on Sundays. When we showed up, we were invited to get our food off the buffet. Not only was that buffet expensive, but it had the weirdest combination of breakfast and entree foods. I am glad to say that my stomach is no longer cut out for buffets (yay for losing weight) but I also feel as though I wasted some of T’s hard earned money by not eating my money’s worth. Oh well…

Though I went to visit grandma tonight (she is doing better than she was yesterday), I came home so we could light our unity candle together and spend some more time before our hectic workweek starts again in a few hours. So overall, though it wasn’t anything super special, I have to say this was a great anniversary.

The thing is, I need to remember who I am. Who we are. While my brain was so muddled on our wedding day because I wanted everything to be so perfect and to feel so happy the entire time, I have to realize that we had a small family wedding for a reason. I have to realize that going to the park yesterday was one of the biggest highlights of my first anniversary. And more than that, I have to realize that there’s a reason that my favorite parts of life are the simple, relaxed, things that we do together. The more I got worked up about trying to make plans for our anniversary, the more fun I think I sucked out of myself in preparation for a weekend that ended up being special anyway. The more I tried to do “fancy” and “special” things, the more my anxiety built up and I got too nervous to want to do much of anything.

So for next year, I need to remember this: my husband loves me and loves doing the same things as I do. We could have taken a bike ride to the shore or even sat at home in our pjs all day, and he would have been just as happy. Though you often think it sounds cheesy in the movies, it is honestly true that all I need, and all my husband needs, in life is to have quality time to spend with each other.

Here’s to another happy year! Thanking all of you who helped me pray yesterday and continuing to ask for prayer in my grandma’s name. Thank you!!

~B

First Week is No More!

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It’s official; I’ve survived my first week of school again for the fifth year in a row! This one seemed extra long and drawn out, but I have to say that part of it was my fault. Who schedules an eye doctor appointment for the evening of the third day of school? And who then follows it up with Back to School Night on the fourth evening? I am exhausted.

I think that’s why I’m sitting here writing at this point. Because I get extremely tired and then I get extremely emotional. You see, this is the weekend of my first wedding anniversary. I have been anticipating this weekend for weeks. Did I think we were going to do anything super special? No. Did I even think I’d want to do ANYTHING this weekend after how long this past week was? No. Yet I didn’t think that I would spend this entire day with just my two dogs, my sister, and her dog. Nor did I think that today would be the day that I would get some horrible news from my family.

So as I sit here, at home, I’m reflecting on everything that has been going on in life, and I wonder, when do we take time for us? I know as a teacher that I did not choose the best weekend in the world to be married. At the time I was questioning whether I was even going to return to teaching after a horrible experience back in 2016-2017. I never knew that I would be this exhausted and unable to plan anything super special because no teacher in their right mind wants to take time off during the first or second week of a new school year! But I’ve adjusted. Or so I thought…

The other thing that happened this week is that my husband bought a new truck. Well, new to us… more like a 1990 Ford pickup that had problems with the light system and the brakes. I wasn’t worried about it at all; I have an uncle with a garage, a lift, and plenty of experience fixing up pickups. I also know that my husband can figure most anything out on his own if given the time. What I didn’t know was that, in our state, you must have a newly purchased vehicle inspected within ten days of purchase. Quite a bit of a problem when there are issues that clearly cause it to fail inspection. My husband has spent almost every night this week at my uncle’s place working on this truck. I am excited to be able to use it next weekend when we install our new kitchen cabinets and remove our old ones. I’m also excited about it because the vehicle search is finally over! What I didn’t anticipate was that my husband would plan to spend this entire day also working on the truck.

We had discussed minor plans for our anniversary, just small relaxing things that would allow us to feel like we were away from our normal reality. Maybe a motorcycle ride to a new location, dinner at a fancy restaurant, a hike, or a trip to the movie theater. Nothing huge. Just special little things. I picked up our wedding cake tier and planned to pull out our wedding album, cards, etc. to look through. I got him a small gift.

So now I sit here waiting for my husband to return. I shouldn’t be upset at him for trying to get the truck done. It needs inspected in the next four days. But with this being our anniversary weekend, our FIRST anniversary, I at least thought there would be a bit more effort on his part. A bit more… care? I know he cares for me, and I know that he likes spending time with me, but he’s a guy. He wants to play with his new toy. I feel dumb for even putting blame on him because I know that deep down.

I think the real reason that I am upset is because I just got back from my parents’ house. I was picking up my wedding cake, but while I was there my dad gave me some news. Apparently my grandma’s cancer has spread so far into her bones that even a single fall would break most any of the bones in her body. While it cannot be fixed, they are at least helping her to manage the pain and trying to stop any further damage. Yet for the past few days, grandma has also been running a fever. She is showing signs of infection, but there is none to be found. So the doctors are guessing that she may have cancer that has traveled through her bone structure and into her brain. It’s the only part of the body they have not yet examined to check for why this fever and shortness of breath is occurring. To check the brain, an MRI needs to be scheduled. Except grandma is 84 years old, gets claustrophobic, and swore she would never have another MRI done in her life for any reason. So we aren’t sure whether she’s even going to allow them to check her brain. Plus, with her shortness of breath appearing for no real reason, no one is sure that anything is going to help at this point. Her bones are weak, her body is weak, and I think she may be tiring of this long fight with her cancer. The one thing I know about my grandma is that she didn’t spend so many years in this family with all of these other stubborn people around her to not have picked up some stubborn of her own. For that, I am fearful.

I know I spoke with grandma many times over this past summer. We mostly discussed the gossip of the town and our family, just because that’s what is most comfortable to talk about at this time. But there was one conversation we had about how far grandma was willing to go to beat this disease that has taken over her body. If she is sticking to any part of that conversation whatsoever, I have a feeling she won’t let that MRI happen. I am so grateful for the fact that grandma is at peace with what is happening. I may have my own personal regrets (being too busy to visit her often over the past few years for starters…) but at least she knows that I love her, that we all love her and she is still the one making the best decisions for herself. At the end of the day that is most important to me.

Except now that I am home, waiting for my husband to want to do something for our anniversary and thinking about my grandma being so suddenly sick compared to the last time I saw her, I cannot help but have all of this built-up emotion that I’m not sure what to do with.

The thing about anxiety is that it manifests itself in so many new and different ways that it could take a lifetime to learn how to deal with every reaction my mind decides to have. Just when you think you have it all under control, you realize you really don’t. At the end of the day, I know other people have gone through similar things to this. Yet this seems like a horrifying thing to me right now.

The important thing is for me to remember my coping strategies and for me to find the one that works right now, in this moment. While writing helps, I’m not sure this post will be enough this time. I may need to do more to find peace in my own current situations.

In the meantime, I hope anyone reading this will send a prayer up for my grandma. While I know time is limited, I also know that showing up at her doorstep so soon after hearing this news is the wrong thing for me to do. So I just pray that she makes it longer, even if it’s just a bit longer. Just enough time for me to get to see her again, have another one of those amazing, eye-opening conversations. Maybe one more episode of the Price is Right. If that can’t be, then I at least pray that she is still in that mode of peace, that she is still okay with everything that is going on. I’d appreciate anyone willing to help me out in prayer too.

~B

This Funk that has Me

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This Funk that has Me

Oh Lord guide us. Show us Thy Will and Way in everything.

This is the quote that comes along with the devotional I read for yesterday. Though it’s a day old now, I feel like it’s no less important to me at this moment. It seems like every year around this time I go through the same stages. There’s excitement that I get my student rosters and get to go back to being a bit more social than I am during the summer. Then there’s the anxiety and nerves; what am I forgetting to do? What if this group of kids is practically uncontrollable? What if, like so many jobs before this one, something goes wrong and I cannot bare to work under the current circumstances and need to make drastic life changes again? What did I do with my whole summer and why did I waste so much time? This list goes on and on…

I don’t think I’d be struggling so much with this right now, except a few things are colliding together this year. First, there’s the normal end-of-summer emotions (see above). Then there’s this horrid drenching downpour that has not ended in the past five days. Even when it’s not raining around here, the clouds and sky are so dreary that it just puts you in a mood. I have an older cousin who has to use a special lamp to give himself a certain amount of sun each day. Sometimes I feel like I have this same issue (sorry, I don’t remember what it’s called) because the lack of sun after a day or two is so depressing to me that I just get into a funk. Right now I’m in a big funk. Finally, there’s the fact that I did a lot of physical work and tasks this weekend and slept horribly. We all know how humans are on barely any sleep; if you aren’t sure, let me just say that I am the worst person in the world to console or talk to or try to get to accomplish anything when I am tired. My anxiety lashes out and I’m just useless.

I am in a major funk.

adult alone anxious black and white

Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

Sometimes I feel like I am overreacting to everything around me. Take the other night for example. My husband and I were making dinner. Normally we cannot be in the kitchen together at the same time because we each have our own method of madness and they clash horribly. However, he was making something on the stove and asked if I’d mix up some chicken salad. I said sure, an easy enough task right? Once I had it mixed up, I covered it and put it on the counter to wait a few more minutes until he was done with the cooking portion of the meal. As I’m sitting in my living room, I hear a spoon clacking against the glass bowl I had used to put the salad into. I called to him and asked if anything was wrong. He simply said, “The salad is too chunky.” Any normal person would probably be responding with a simply “oh okay” or an “I’m sorry”, but I’m no normal person. I am the person with anxiety who is currently in a major funk. What seems like the easiest task in the world has now been done incorrectly (by me) and I am not too happy about it. So I take a deep breath and let it pass.

The week has been going like this, including its fair share of stupid, silly examples of things that are irking me. While it seems like many of them revolve around my husband, I can assuredly say that he is not the main problem in any of these circumstances. It’s more like… the husband or the dog or the other dog… the other day I was upset at my phone because the battery ran dead too fast for my liking. It’s quite ridiculous. I see now that the problem is more than likely just me.

So I try to step back. I try to remember that years of dealing with my anxiety has led me to a point where I have plenty of strategies to combat this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. I know the triggers (or at least most of them) and I can do a pretty good job of either avoiding them or meeting them head on. Right now, I’m just trying to step back.

Yet sooner or later everything just gets to be too much. It’s nearing the end of July and school mode is here. Then there’s the tiredness and the anxiety. Then there’s the simple every day communication that sometimes just doesn’t go as planned (again, see above). Sometimes it just feels like I’m not where I’m supposed to be in life and that I’m not doing something that I should be accomplishing. Now I’m not talking about chores or tasks, I’m talking more about the thing that is missing in my life that would help me to get rid of this funk. I’m not naive, and I know my anxiety will never be cured. We’ve been there and done that with those thoughts. It’s not happening. I feel like I’ve mostly come to terms with that, but right now it just feels like there’s this big black shadow lingering that I need to try to get rid of. This funk.

So I found myself trying to get some exercise today (strategy #1) and that didn’t work because the weather was still sucky and now I was outside in it. Plus the dogs were begging to go along, so I took them… Zoey doesn’t always like to walk on a leash like a proper girl, so that wasn’t much fun. Strategy #2 was to just buck it up and get the stuff done. So I took a list of the things that were bugging me and I just started knocking them out. Though now I feel more tired than I was before and no more happy to know that those tasks ended up leading to more tasks (go figure). Strategy #3 is to talk it out, but sometimes it’s impossible to just tell someone else how you are feeling and have them comprehend it like you feel you need them to. So we went, we tried, we lost that one…

Welcome to Strategy #4, where I read and I write and I try to stay away from anything and everything that will make me more tired or more upset. Let’s face it, a piece of paper and pen or this blog is not able to talk back. So unless my brain conjures an issue, this time should remain fairly peaceful.

~~A pause here to encourage anyone struggling with anxiety to try some of these strategies!!!~~

Which is how I ended up reading today’s devotional and reviewing yesterday’s. Though today doesn’t come with a direct scripture or any special quote, I still find yesterday’s pretty significant. Oh Lord, guide us. Show us Thy Will and Way in everything. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that this is a thing. I’ve been a Christian for a very long time, but sometimes it is so difficult to remember that God is really in control here. While my body might feel like crap and my mind might seem to be in an even worse place, I need to try to remember this. That God has a Will and a Way. That He is trying to do what is going to be right for my life in the end. He knows for sure that I’ve been here and gone through similar before. He also knows that even in times of these difficulties, I always end up finding the light at the end of the tunnel. The only real problem here is that I hate being in the tunnel and just waiting for the light to come around. I can’t stand it that I have no control over certain things, and even my mind likes to take its own little field trips to anxiety land sometimes. (I also hate how this might be making me sound crazy, but what am I going to do? I need to be honest here or this post is not going to make me feel any better.)

God has a Will and a Way. I need to remember this.

Also in the devotional book God Calling by A.J. Russell is today’s little blurb:

I am your Lord. Lord of your lives. Controller of your days, your present and your future. Leave all plans to Me. Only act as I bid you.

You have entered now, both of you, upon the God-guided life. Think what that means. God-taught, God-guided.

Is anything too wonderful for such a life? Do you begin to see how wonderful life with Me can be?

Do you see that no evil can befall you?

Let’s just say that as much as I want to believe no evil is in my life right now, I’m having a hard time seeing it. I’m having a hard time feeling as though the sadness and destruction in not only my life but our world right now is not somehow evil.

shallow photography of usa flag

Photo by Sawyer Sutton on Pexels.com

Yet I do recall times when I felt like this before. I remember feeling like there was no hope for us or our lives would be changed for the worse forever when the war against Iraq started after 9/11. I remember thinking that it would be like World War II all over again. While it hasn’t been some fun happy thing, I can at least say that I watched as God guided us through some of those terrible war times without having it result in quite as much evil as my mind had originally concocted.

I recall being engaged to a man that I was not meant for and trying so hard to please and to fit in when I wasn’t supposed to… though I didn’t know it until the whole thing was over, I was led to a better place in my life. To realize the horrible mistakes I could have made or the realizations that I may never have… I have to believe that God had His Way with that one.

I think I’m getting it now; I’m getting to a place of peace and to a place of realization. That even though I may still be in this funk later, I am okay with it for right now. I am just going to put everything to God and do some praying and just hope that the funk goes away soon. Even if it’s only here for one simple reason, I am going to try to believe that it is here for a very important but small reason. While I may never see directly what that reason is or understand why this time in my life had to happen, I’m going to try my hardest to just let it be. To not fight it, to not anguish over it, and to try not to really make it any worse with my anxiety.

To anyone who is still reading up to this point, I thank you so much for listening to my rambling. I’m sorry this post was more for my benefit than anyone else’s. If you did read this far though, know that it means the world to me that someone was willing to try to put themselves in my shoes for a few minutes here. Like I said, it’s not always the anxiety that is all the trouble in my life, sometimes it’s just trying to get someone else to understand those feelings.

So here’s to getting out of that funk and to hoping none of you are currently in one. If you are, feel free to reach out because I’m sure that if I can’t help you with your own problems, we can just be together. In our funk. But never alone.

~B

Step One: The Exploration

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Step One: The Exploration

I’ve decided to try to keep up with my writing now that so many interesting things are going on in my life right now. Hopefully I’ll be able to do so. I’ve been so busy that some of the only time I have to myself to write is my lunch break at work. A measly 25 minutes to myself that I am now going to use to communicate here, with anyone who cares to read my blog. Before I run out of that time, I should probably get to the point…


 

I have finally succeeded in my evil plans to convince my family that we need another dog. Some of my motives for this plan are selfish and some are completely selfless. The biggest reason that I want them to get a dog is because I love dogs and cannot wait to have an interaction with another one. That’s the mostly selfish part speaking. The other side of me has so many selfless reasons for wanting a new pup in the house. Mainly, T and I are thinking about moving in together sometime this year. Well, he wants to buy the house and I will slowly transition to that house. So it may be sometime this year or it may be early next year at the latest (unless our plans fall through). In any case, my family would be left without a dog in the house, because there is no way I am allowing them to keep my pup in their home without me! (Sorry, but there’s me being selfish again.) Plus my little Jasper is still such a puppy that his energy is outrageous. I wish I had enough time in a day to fully wear him out like I can do during the summer time. Unfortunately, with work and my long commute, that’s just not possible right now. I do the best I can and appreciate my family’s help so much, but with us all having jobs and him being super hyper… I’m thinking another little pup will help to play with him and wear him out. (Maybe that’s selfish again?) One thing I know is unselfish though is that the vet is always concerned about how shy and timid Jasper is. Surely this is because of his background of abuse and shelters, but still. They would like Jasper to be a little more outspoken (if you can imagine that) and a little more playful with other dogs. Anytime he’s around another one, you can tell that he’s curious and interested, but that doesn’t always mean that he is willing to play or even sniff at them before hiding behind me or trying to run away. I guess it all really depends on the dog that he is around. Dogs that bark louder are scarier to him, smaller dogs are ones he thinks he can at least run away from faster than their little legs can carry them. But I digress…

I have been spending time posting pictures of pups to Facebook and tagging my family in them. I have sat down with my sister and told her all the reasons I want her to get a puppy. Then, since we had to get permission from the parents, I sat down with my mom and tried to convince her that when I move out the house will be too quiet. Once she saw the light, it was all over…

There are two applications pending right now, both for two little male terrier mixes just like my Jassy. They are brothers, named Danny and Duncan, and they look exactly like Jas. I really hope one of them comes through for us, but we’ve been told they have other applications in line ahead of our own. *Fingers crossed* This adventure is a fun one all in itself. Too bad I can’t help all of the little animals that need homes. 😦


 

Now for the even bigger, newer, scarier exploration (what I was supposed to be blogging about this whole time)… THE MOVE

Yes, that’s right. It is looking more and more like T and I may find a house that we both like and agree to move into. I’ve previously been spending my lunch breaks researching: financing, steps for finding a house, actual houses and lots, etc. I think I’ve spent over 10 hours in the past three weeks or so doing some sort of housing or mortgage research. Since we don’t live real close to each other to begin with and we both commute to work in the opposite directions, our possibilities are highly limited. Right in between our parents’ houses are those lovely little places called HOAs, which we are totally not interested in dealing with. Then there are the super over-priced houses smooshed beside each other in a teeny weeny development. Let’s just say it’s not going to happen.

So yesterday I came across a tiny little gem; with barely 0.4 acres of land and just over a 1,000 sq. ft. home, I was skeptical that T would like it as well. But he said that it looked like a decent place to start: in our price range, in the right geographical area, and not so completely run down that we would spend the next 10 years fixing it up.

Luckily through all of this, my mom has a realtor for a friend. She has been so amazing. She’s always willing to answer our questions for free, wants to suggest lenders and brokers to us to help us save money on the mortgage, and is willing to show us any house that our little hearts desire to look at.

Which brings me to my biggest piece of progress in this entire thing… we are looking at our first house this SATURDAY! Wow, I can’t believe I said it out loud. The thing is, I’m super excited because for once in my life I can actually imagine completing this step of maturing. Yet it makes me nervous to think about this huge step and to anxiously await to find out how perfect for us this house actually may or may not be. If that isn’t enough, T is semi-nervous too. I’m glad he was willing to admit it to me, but at the same time, I can’t help but feel that our nerves may play off of each other’s. So I told him that I would support him and he says he’d do the same for me. And even if we find we aren’t ready for the big move yet, I guess only time will tell and we will be stronger for any of this anxiety we have felt.

Need to go eat lunch now before I’m late for my next class. I feel so much better having written (gotta love anxiety like that!)

~B

I am ashamed…. (and I wish my coworkers would know)

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This is me. This is my story.

When I was in first grade, teachers and my parents started to notice a change in me; I didn’t want to be anywhere but home, and I hated school for all it was. I was the weird kid that no one really understood and yet I was the one who had a ton of friends. There were instances that year where I would feel so sick to my stomach that I would request to go to the nurse. Sooner or later everyone decided I was faking it because I wanted to go home. But you know what? I wasn’t faking.

When I was in second grade, I had to make all new friends. Very few of the kids in my first grade class were in my same second grade class. But that was okay; I knew how to adapt and I knew how to be friendly. Those, I guess, are two traits that I’ve always had going for me. At least until I started to feel homesick. Then it was right back to people not believing that I felt sick to my stomach all the time. And still… I wasn’t faking.

Third and fourth grade passed in a blur, but I remember that fourth grade Math teacher. I actually think I learned a huge life lesson from him as I look back on his class today. But then, then all I saw was someone who was out to make my life horrible. He gave me my first (and my last) B on a report card. Everyone thought I was a perfectionist. And guess what? I may have been, but I was more than that.

In sixth grade, peers started to think we were old enough to date. I was part of this popular clique who thought it was a great idea to hang out with “boyfriends” and talk about our “love lives.” Oh how naïve children can be! By the end of that year, a boy had “broken my heart” so badly that I had even more problems than I had in any previous grade. I would be up all night crying my eyes out, begging not to have to go to school. Any time there was a test, I would get so nervous that my hands would turn clammy and my stomach would knot. Everyone still thought I was being a perfectionist. Truth? That wasn’t even the half of it.

By the end of that year I had started to see a therapist. She helped me work through my emotions and finally let everyone know that I was not some unhealthy, weak child. No, I was suffering from anxiety disorder. Talk about a shocker there. And yet: It’s not like there was a cure.

By seventh grade, my friends decided it would be cool to play sports. I did too, at least that first year. But as my grades rose above the others’, they started to look at me like I had five heads. Their solution was to cheat off of my tests and talk crap behind my back. Why? Because they thought it was the cool thing to do I guess…

In eighth grade, I still dealt with the drama, but even more than that was the teacher/field hockey coach who screamed in my face that I ran “slower than her grandmother, who was 90!” Needless to say, that sport dropped out of my playlist. It’s not like I had asthma or anything…

Also in eighth grade was the flight of the friendships. I literally had to make all new friends as my old ones thought it was cool to treat me like I was a leper just because they were jealous of my grades. The teachers’ solution? Just ignore that anything is wrong.

By my first day of ninth grade my anxiety was so bad that I knew things weren’t going to work out in my favor. On that first day, three main things occurred.

  • The PE teacher called me out for trying to “skip out of” gym class activities. Why? I had broken my finger playing softball that summer and it was still in a cast. But apparently playing volleyball was still expected.
  • The English teacher asked if we had any questions about our summer reading. I had a question about whether we were allowed to combine our own notes from the stories with those from spark notes. Her answer? I had better not be planning on cheating my way through her class because she could see right through me and I had another thing coming if I thought she was stupid enough to believe that I was innocent. The truth? Someone else mentioned spark notes to me and I just wanted to make sure I was doing the right thing by not including those notes in my essay.
  • The school might not have been big, but that didn’t stop me from being late to the bus that afternoon. The bus driver’s reaction? I better learn to carry all five hundred pounds of my textbooks with me if I intended to ride her bus this year…

I had a complete anxiety attack the minute I got home. Things were never really looking my way, but that day had been beyond ridiculous. If the kids could gang up on me, and now the teachers too? I had zero hope of ever surviving my life in high school.

My parents’ solution was to speak to the counselors, have me tested out of grades and courses so that I could avoid those teachers who had bullied me into submission. The guidance counselor had a lovely reply; stay in your courses or leave. We won’t switch your courses and we won’t allow you to prove that you’re smart enough to skip a course.

My solution? Leave school and do it my own way.

Three years later I was in the top ten of a graduating class of seniors where I was technically only supposed to be a junior. A few months later? Instead of spending all of my hard earned money on a private institution where I had received almost full scholarships, I applied to an online school where I could work and pay my own tuition.

The result? I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in teaching like I had always dreamed but never thought possible. Less than a year later, I had a full-time teaching job and even a year after that, I had graduated with an MA in Physics education.

If you think I’m stupid, you have something else coming. But even more important than that, if you think that I don’t care about my students, you’ve lost your mind. If you think I don’t feel their pain when the boys give them cat calls in the hallway, think again. If you think I don’t know what it is to be embarrassed by a superior, a leader, a teacher, an administrator, you’re wrong.

What ashames me most now is that I’m part of a system that I never really believed in. I’m part of a school where these things are actually happening to students every day. No, our kids are not perfect. They are far from it. But the reality is, that’s how they are supposed to be. They’re kids. Yes, they want to learn. Yes, they want to be leaders (at least most of them). But many of them just don’t know how. And if any of them are anything like me, they just don’t have the confidence in themselves to call out their peers and deal with the repercussions.

That’s why we are supposed to be there; to support them, to guide them, and to gently correct them along the way. But what I have been hearing lately pains me. For not just one, but for many of my kids, they feel as though they have been yelled at over issues that are trivial compared to other things. Some feel as though they have been sexually bullied by peers who are even younger than themselves. I’ve heard from the little ones that language has suddenly become an issue, and even more than that, I’ve learned that those who used to trust us barely trust us anymore.

While I don’t know what all has changed and I don’t understand why we are all struggling to adjust, I just want it to be made clear that this school is struggling. The students are struggling because the teachers are struggling. And that is only true because they are trying to juggle the administration’s changing and the changing of some of the most important parts and people in their lives. And truthfully, it’s not administration’s fault by any means, but when everyone looks to them to be the leaders and things don’t work out… where would most kids want to point the blame? No, not just at administration or the teaching staff; our kids point it at themselves too. That alone should show you that we have kids who are unique and one-of-a-kind where I work. That should show you the good that is in them.

But until something changes, until someone up top starts screaming from the rafters, nothing is going to change. We’re stuck in a tornado where we cannot climb out. And my only feelings on the issue are not that I am struggling or that I have no communication with the other teachers anymore. It’s more that I’m scared; scared for the kids who have anxiety like me, scared for those who need to focus on their work and not all of this drama. I’m scared for the students who now believe they’ve done something wrong when all they’ve done is try to hide in the shadows so they don’t become a laughingstock to their peers.

My kids give me hope. My kids give me happiness. To know that none of them at work are suffering the way I did; that fact used to propel me through my job each and every day. But now… now I fear that some of them are feeling the stresses and anxieties that I used to feel (and am feeling right now too). I fear that I’m doing nothing to protect them from what should never have to happen to anyone else but me. It’s my duty to say something, my duty to let everyone be heard. I might not be able to change anything, but I sure can lend an ear. And, if anyone important is reading this… I just ask that you take the time to self-reflect some too. We’ve asked the kids to do it. Now let it be our turn. Just to make sure that we aren’t the field hockey coaches or English teachers of my past. Because if I can stop just one child from feeling the way that I felt growing up, then I’ve changed the world.

Not Just Another Memorial Day Post

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First, I don’t want anyone to think I am rude. I am thinking about those who we are supposed to be celebrating today for Memorial Day, however; I don’t have a whole lot to say on the event, unless you consider discussing BBQs and cookouts as an actual Memorial Day “part”. I know the holiday is about more than that, but since I don’t know many who have been in the military, I don’t have any of them to hang out with or thank today. Hence, they are in my thoughts, but this post is not about the day.

You know what I have come to realize this weekend? Quite a few things actually. From staying over at my boyfriend’s house for hours and hours this weekend to going to a party for the first time in a couple of years to being outside and getting attacked by my allergies.. this has been a super eventful weekend. Here are the main things that I accomplished this weekend.

  1. Went to T’s graduation. (See previous post…)
  2. Spent a day with my mom for the first time in… forever!
  3. Spent almost 3 whole days with my boyfriend. Yay!
  4. Watched a whole bunch of people drink and act like idiots.
  5. Watched a creepy guy flirt with multiple girls at once.
  6. Watched creepy guy accidentally flirt with me while my boyfriend wasn’t around (coincidence or no?)
  7. Went to the park and took a hike around the lake with my entire family.
  8. Slept in way longer than I should have on any given day.
  9. Received my diploma in the mail (finally!)
  10. Ate at Texas Roadhouse to celebrate T’s graduation.
  11. Went to the drive-in movies and saw Tomorrowland.
  12. Gave the dog a “spa day”, including a good brushing (or three), toenail trimming, and some hair cutting… plus a bath!

I think those are the main things. But through each of those events, I have learned at least one thing. I think the biggest thing I realized is that I sometimes need some time alone. Don’t get me wrong, I love having time to spend with the four people that I love most in this world, but I am so relaxed to just be able to sit here right now and type without worrying about a schedule, timing, etc. I don’t need to be anywhere today, I don’t have any major responsibilities today, and I have no pressure on me right now whatsoever. This feeling feels… great!

Second, I have learned that it is ridiculously impossible to schedule equal (or anywhere close to equal) amounts of time with everyone that I love and who deserves my attention. I have had moments recently where I feel like I am neglecting those I love, and that feeling is awful. I mean, I’m not neglecting them, but with everything going on in my life this weekend (and right now in general), I feel like I barely get to see some people. I don’t think I’ve seen my grandma since Dad’s birthday in April… 😦

I also think it’s important for me to realize that this is my last day of freedom for quite a long time. As I glanced at my calendar this morning, I realized that I will be late home from work every day this week except for Thursday. Yay me! And what’s worse, my anxiety is on high alert because of the crazy schedule, my break in routine from this weekend, and a couple of other things. As much as I was looking forward to going to Hershey Park last week, I now wish that I didn’t have to go at all. But I know the kids (at least some of them) are relying on me to be a buffer between them and some other chaperones, so I know I have to go. It’s just too bad that it’s so late at night that I will be getting home and so horrible that I just get nervous about these things instead of excited or happy. 

Oh nerves… I think that is what really wraps up what I am feeling right now. I’m just a bundle of nerves. About work, about my schedule and routine, about people that I care for. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not having a full blown panic attack or anything, but I just feel this underlying nagging sensation… like any minute, everything will start to seem way worse than what it is. 

I have to go now… my schedule is calling me again. Wish me luck!

~Me

The Most Important Lesson is Always the Last

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Robin Williams

I’m sure that people around the world have heard the news by now. Yesterday, this lovely man passed away. This post will be about him, but even if you did not appreciate his acting talents and comic relief, please continue to read. 


 

I’ve never really been the kind of person to have favorite actors, singers, bands, celebrities, and idols. I find it silly that these people who are doing jobs just like us are “prized” and treasured more than anyone else in the world. It seems to me that each one of us has a unique talent, and just because I am not creative and silly enough to be a comedian or actor, doesn’t mean that there’s nothing special about me. Until today, if you had asked me who my favorite actor was, I might reply any number of ways: Nicholas Cage, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Ralph Waite to name a few. But recently, things have changed…

It’s sad that I realize this change today of all days. Why not yesterday or a year ago, I wonder. But the main point is that I have realized that my favorite actor is Robin Williams. And, unlike the ways that most people choose their favorites and their idols, I would reply with this name for reasons other than his acting career. Sure, without even realizing it, I grew up with Robin’s talent: from Genie in Aladdin, to acting in Flubber, Robin Williams was one of my most watched actors. Even in recent years, I have enjoyed his comedy abilities in movies like RV. The thing is, while this man had a big career, he had an even bigger heart and more brilliant mind. 

As news spread of Robin’s death, people continued to talk about him on social networking sites that I frequent. In the past twenty four hours, I’ve read a list of all of his acting performances, the awards that he has won, and read quite a few of his most famous and touching quotes. 

So what makes me wish that Robin were still with us today? Besides the fact that he was too young to die, I find it important to note that he had the right outlook on life. The advice that Williams spent his life instilling in young children and adults alike is reason enough to love him for the man that he was. Even better, he knew how to make every person smile in some way. 

I never even met this man, but I have to say that he has one of the biggest hearts that I have ever heard of. I suddenly feel the need to print a picture of him and hang it at my desk at work- not to be creepy, but for inspiration. If ever there was a person who I would like to learn something from, it would be Williams. 

And as the title of this post states, the most important lesson to be learned is always the last. While speculation has arisen about the cause of death in this incident, it seems that Robin committed suicide. This, unfortunately, is not a new subject to us, especially when it comes to the death of celebrities. But the thing is, even though Robin may have been depressed and may have had problems, he spoke out about things that could make a difference in a person’s life. He taught us how to care, laugh, take joy in life, and enjoy the company of others. At the end of the day, maybe the most important lesson that he ever taught us was this:

It is never too early to let people know what is going on inside of your head.

Maybe a higher power was working in this man’s life to take him away from us all so early; maybe there is a bigger plan for his numerous talents than any of us on Earth may realize. But regardless, it is never too early to talk. Whether Robin Williams did or did not have depression problems, whether he did or did not commit suicide, he has given us all the opportunity to sit back and think about our lives and the lives of others. Suicide and depression are real issues in a majority of people’s lives today. Even if Robin’s problems were unnoticed and unspoken in regards to his friends and loved ones, he has given us this opportunity to learn more about each other. If any of us are suffering from mental illness or are feeling alone in our lives, we need to realize that now is the time to speak up. Now is the time to stop being ashamed and afraid of the truth, now is the time to believe in ourselves and put the smiles back on our faces that Robin was able to instill in us all these years. 

I pray that we all learn something from this death. And while I hate to make a big deal out of a person’s passing, I am truly feeling for his family, friends, coworkers, and the world right now. Many other actors and celebrities have died before Williams- unfortunately many will also follow. I’m sorry that I haven’t taken the time to inspect their accomplishments like I am now doing for him. However, I too have learned that people are more than meets the eye and something can be learned from everyone on this planet. 

If you are still reading this, please take the time to pray for this horrible loss. Please also take the time to rethink the experiences that you have had recently. Be sure that no one you know is suffering from anxiety or depression right now. If they are, reach out to them in whatever way you possibly can. And if you are one of the people who fall into this category, seek help on your own, for you never know if it will come to you before it’s too late. 

In closing, I would like to say that God has gained another beautiful angel, and that Genie now is, truly, free. 

For more about Robin Williams’s life, simply search his name on Google and begin to read articles- they are abundant and ever-varying. To get you started, I will share my favorite post on Robin so far. 

Also, if you or anyone you know suffer from anxiety or depression, please contact Common Ground’s Suicide Prevention/Help Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

To all of you, God Bless. 

Friday Mash-Up: Maybe the Inspiration I Needed

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Mash_Up

There are about five million thoughts running through my head today. That’s how it’s been lately; that’s why I haven’t been writing much. I continue to strive to pull my mind together and get focused on any one topic for a certain period of time, but those topics that jump out at me and stick are all negative and stress-inducing. After the past few days, these are the last things that I need to be thinking of. So, instead of forcing myself to suffer through for the sake of my blog and my strength of character, I have copped out and avoided writing for the past few days. I think I may finally be coming back to it. Slowly, one second at a time, I think my life might start feeling like mine again.

All of this may seem sort of confusing to you all, especially since nothing tragic or drastic has happened to me in the past week. But anxiety has a funny way of sneaking up on those of us who think we have control and are purely happy with our lives. In an instant you can feel like a stranger in your own world, uncomfortable around your comfort zone. This is what has happened to me recently; and it isn’t the first time it’s happened either. I’m growing, unhappily used to the procession that my life decides to take. Sometimes I have control over it, and sometimes I don’t. Maybe in truth, sometimes I don’t want to. God makes everything happen for a reason, that I truly believe. But believing that makes taking a stand against things that occur in life even harder to deal with or justify. 

Anyway, the inspiration that I needed may have come in a very familiar form, one of my personal favorites. People may think I am the clingiest, most childish person of my age group. Because the thing is, my rock, my inspiration: it is my family. There are three other members of my little clan, plus a bird, two dogs, a kitty, and a fish. Some of them live what seems to be worlds apart, but they all hold a place in my heart and help me even when they do not realize it.

So while I’ve been waking up late, sitting around on the couch all day, and falling to sleep extra early, these people that I love have been encouraging me to get off my butt and do something with my life. It’s true and I know it; I need to find my balance again and get back to being my happy self. The only way to really do that is to DO something! I know, but I’m reluctant. I’ll keep being reluctant until I can put all of these scrambled feelings behind me. 

I’ve been talking a lot to my boyfriend about difference of opinion lately, and being openly, brutally honest with those that I love so much. Especially those that I love so much. He has helped me grow in more ways than one, even in the last few days.

My sister is my hugger. She gives the most physical affection of anyone that I’ve ever met. She has inspired me to believe that hugs are good things, that physical touch doesn’t make you weak, and that you don’t have to be five to tell someone you love them. So lately, she has been my hugger. Every time she sees me, I get a hug. She tells me she loves me, and doesn’t pressure me for more. That, to me, is help enough.

My mom is the hard one, the one who keeps saying “You’re stronger than you think,” while I sit here trying to cop out of everything. She’s got this tough, brutal love about her, but deep love that means the most at the same time. She is the one you go to when you don’t want to do something but know that you need to do it. She tells you the truth regardless of situation, at least as it stands from her eyes. Sometimes it’s a good thing and sometimes it’s not, but regardless, she is there.

Finally, my dad- the worrier of the group. If anyone has ever had such unconditional, ridiculous, incomprehensible love for someone else it is my dad for his family. Sometimes I cannot get along with him (probably because we are so similar), but most of the times knowing he has my back is all it takes to snap me out of my funks. This week he encouraged me to get off the couch and move. To do something, just like everyone else has been saying. But instead of giving me emotional reasons why I need to (like my head needs to get focused on important things again), he gives me physical work to do to help me get motivated. And so, thanks to Dad, my new motivation has become the garden. 

I’m a farm girl at heart, one who can easily be at peace with nature. As long as it’s not some scary, dark forest with weird noises or anything horrific like that… So the garden, at least at this time in my life, has become the perfect distraction. I have made it my goal to clear all of the weeds, appropriately thin out the beans, discover all of the new pickles, and create some bigger, better, straighter rows of plants than our garden has seen in years.

Anyway, my laptop battery is about to die, and while I have a lot more to write, I guess it will have to wait until I get inside to plug this baby in. (Don’t expect to hear back from me for a few hours- I’m unwilling to give up the peace and quiet of the nature outside just yet.) But when I do, I’ll tell you some of the small things that I realized when working in the garden today that many of you may never have even thought of. And, E, if you are reading this, I am going to write that little piece about my childhood that you and I had been discussing. But like you said, it takes time for genius- there’s no rushing about it! 

Talk to you all soon!

Ditching the Norm and Focusing on Important Matters

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So here’s the thing. I haven’t posted in a few days. And it’s not because I haven’t wanted to, it’s because I haven’t really known what to say. It seems so simple to just keep up with my normal posts each day, but this weekend brought some matters of my life into focus and I cannot get them out of my head now. 

I’ve mentioned before that I have anxiety, but it’s not just your every day anxiety. I get severely anxious when dealing with certain situations. This weekend the biggest issue was homesickness. I tried to take a vacation all by myself like the big girl adult that I am. I had support from my family and God to watch over me. But even with all of that support and help, it wasn’t enough. I couldn’t get control. And, needless to say, it stunk! What was supposed to be an amazing week-long vacation turned into a one-day trip, with two twelve-hour drives before and after it. 

Please do not get me wrong: there were moments where I was truly happy and content to be there. But they were overridden by a feeling of extreme dread, nausea, and anxiety. I had people there with me, talking me through the entire thing… I had constant access to a phone and the ability to talk to my family at home. And somehow, for some reason, it wasn’t enough. 

So I’m sitting here today on the couch, trying to find a good reason to get up and move. To do something to distract myself or make myself feel better. I’ve eaten a decent meal, watched some TV, and moved around a bit more than yesterday. But I still feel so stuck right now. Stuck in my own body, stuck in this situation, mostly, stuck in a rut. 

Why am I writing this? Not only because I hope that others with anxiety will understand that they are not alone, and not only to educate others about how it actually feels to deal with this day in and day out. Mostly, it’s because writing makes me feel better, and talking makes me feel way better. But right now, everyone is working and I’m here all alone. Not alone in spirit, but alone physically. 

The trip this weekend was fun and amazing in a lot of ways, but something coming up in my life is going to be way harder than that trip, and I don’t know how I’m going to deal with it. An overnight trip with my students. It’s looming before me on the calendar, just over a month away, but it’s already got such a grip on my anxiety that I can barely think of anything else. I honestly feel like this new job and field trip thing are part of the reasons why my vacation became so unsuccessful. I was so focused on these stressers (without even realizing it) that they played a huge role in my anxiety this weekend. 

I don’t want it to be this way, to feel this way. I don’t like the fact that I feel so much weaker than everyone else that I’ve ever known. But this is who I am. I’m so torn right now between accepting myself and embracing my flaws and trying to work past them to become something better.

I came to the realization yesterday, while talking to my boyfriend, that I overexert myself to try to improve. And that’s when I end up in situations like I am now: stuck and feeling awful. I want so badly to be better than what I am now that I sometimes lose focus of the fact that I am me and I am okay the way I am. There may be things in life that I may never be comfortable with: being unable to spend the night away from my comfort zone (the house) is a definite disadvantage in the world these days. But maybe it’s easier to deal with that hill when it’s necessary and to not pressure myself to just “get over it” already. 

And here’s the thing too; something I’m not sure anyone else relates to. But I hear things in people’s voices when they speak to me that I’m not sure are really there. No, I’m not saying I’m psychotic and hearing voices or anything like that. But discussing my anxiety issues with anyone makes me feel like there are expectations there that I’m not sure really exist. When my parents tell me “you’ll be okay, just go and have fun”, I end up reading into that more than I should and thinking that I need to have fun regardless of what else is going on. It’s like I immediately put this pressure on myself to be something that I’m not. Granted, it’s something that I want to be, but I’m just not there all the time. 

People always tell me that I’m stronger than I think I am. And maybe they are right. They encourage me to try new things, go new places, and be independent. It all sounds so good, so great really. I’d love to be as carefree as some of the other people in this world. To be able to throw it all to the wayside just because I can… would be paradise to me. I tried it this weekend- I just packed up and left. I said to myself you know what, you want to go, so go. And I said my goodbyes and I packed up the car, and went on the road. But being that carefree didn’t work. When my anxiety got triggered, I wasn’t prepared for it. It was right in my face and I had no attack plan. 

I feel like I should be so proud of myself for what I did; for packing up and leaving because it’s what I wanted. I should be so proud of myself for reaching my destination and being where I wanted to be. But I feel like a failure too. Because I couldn’t control myself, I couldn’t manage my anxiety. And more than anything else, I worried and affected people that I love in such a negative way that part of me wants to regret ever even trying. 

I don’t know what lies ahead for me. I’m not sure when I’ll be feeling better. I’m slowly trying to accumulate myself to a routine that I can stick to. Routines help me a lot. But even after I start feeling better, I fear I’ll be no closer to knowing how I should act, how much I should push myself to grow, and how to be settled and content with the person that I am. So many people love me, and maybe a huge part of my problem is that I don’t appreciate myself in that same way. 

Here’s to trying though… just for the sake of trying. And here’s to hoping that if any of you out there deal with anxiety, you don’t feel this horrible right now. We all deserve to be happy regardless of when or where that happiness occurs.