Tag Archive | anxiety

Deconstructing the bad day

Last week was one of the worst of my life.  Since then, I’ve been thinking about what makes a bad day, or a bad week for that matter.  Is it that the events of said day are truly horrible, or is it that we focus on the horrible, but ignore the good?

I’m inclined to believe that it’s the former.   Something happens to put us in a bad mood, and consciously or subconsciously, we focus on the things that will reinforce our bad mood–we notice the jerk who cuts us off in traffic, but not the person who lets us in.  We gripe about forgetting our umbrella, but don’t notice how wonderful the rain is.

Sunday, things turned around for me.  I made it to church–I’m claiming all three meetings, but that might be stretching it–I had what amounted to a therapy session during Sunday School.

I’ve been trying to focus more on the positive in my life, and let the stress go–something that’s nigh-on impossible for me.  I know that it’s foolish to worry about things that I can’t control.

For now, all I can do is focus on my schooling, and know that whatever happens, happens.  I’m trying not to stress, but that can always lead to stressing because I’m stressed out, which just turns into this whole big mess…

Panic

I passed an important milestone today–I had my first bona fide panic attack since starting school.  Yay?

I’ve talked about how nervous I’ve been about going back, but it’s been more of a “I feel so out-of-place” nervousness, not a “if you come any closer I’m going to hurt you” nervousness.

The really strange thing is said panic attack didn’t happen while I was getting ready to go to school, commuting to school, at school, commuting back from school, driving to Salt Lake to see my family, while I was with my family, or driving home from seeing the family.  No, this particular panic attack chose to strike just as I was going to bed.   So now I’m too freaked out to go to sleep, thus the updated blog.

The really crappy thing is I can usually pin-point the trigger of my anxiety, not so much today.  I don’t think it’s school–I’m not going so far as to say I’m over being nervous about school, but I don’t have anything overly stressful happening right now.  It could be family issues–Mom and Dad were in Salt Lake to consult with a doctor, who told them to come back on Monday, then again on Thursday (I like to drive, but I’m glad I’m not doing all that chasing.)

The most likely culprit I can find is money.  And not even real money, I’m talking hypothetical money–the money I’m saving to make a big-ish purchase hopefully before the end of the semester.  You know, the kitty that only has $25 in it?   The one that I’d like to see grow to at least $200 before I make a firm decision on which of the three technology-based items I’m considering would be the wisest purchase?

Yeah…

On an unrelated note, I’ve discovered something quite encouraging to me.  I’ve discovered on the days that I’m not updating the blog, I’m writing, or attempting to write, actual stories.   So, I feel less guilty about not updating every day, because (and please don’t go through the archives and find where I’ve stated anything differently) the whole point of “The Storyteller Chronicles” isn’t to post every day, it’s to get me to write every day.  Somewhere in the past few months, the distinction between the two got lost on me.

I really don’t think it was this scary the first time around.

One of several versions of the painting "...

Image via Wikipedia

Twenty-four hours from the time I write this, I’ll officially be back in school.

I’m more than a little freaked out at this process–I’m not looking forward to being surrounded by little 18-year-olds just out of high school.

I’m trying to remain calm, I really am, but the anxiety hit me like a ton of bricks about an hour ago.

Hopefully, I can get this freak-out taken care of today, and tomorrow, I’ll be calm and serene.

Fat chance.

The thing is, I know I have to go.  This isn’t like church, where I have a lifetime to overcome my fears and anxieties, I’m actually paying good money to be surrounded by teenagers.   And, as much as it sucks, getting out and being around people really will help with the anxiety–when I was working, I did get panic attacks, but I didn’t let them overwhelm me, I could excuse myself for a few minutes and go to the bathroom to calm down, but then I had to get back to work.  School should do the same thing, right?

So tomorrow, ready or not, I’m headed to UVU.  For one hour.  Of an LDS Institute class.  Which should make going to my actual college classes a little easier, right?

Administrative note:

WordPress unveiled a new feature called Zementa that’s supposed to make adding pictures and links easier.  I haven’t decided if I like it yet, but I’m trying it out for a bit.

Anxiety

I wish I could say that the lateness in today’s post is because I was off doing something amazingly fun, but alas, that isn’t the case.

Yesterday, I went to my sister’s house to help her get ready for the third (and hopefully last) birthday party that G has had this year. Unfortunately, I felt like I was more of a hinder than a help.

Halfway through a frustrating task that should have been very simple, I felt a panic attack coming on.  I excused myself, and tried to go outside–which of course is G’s favorite place to be, as long as he has an audience.  And look!  Aunt Cori trying to keep her sanity is a perfect audience!

All of my instincts were screaming at me to get home–right during rush hour.  Sis, wisely, didn’t let me leave.  She explained to G that I was going into time out, and couldn’t be bothered, and had me go into her guest bedroom, and try to relax.

I made it home safely–it’s a good thing I like to drive, and don’t mind traffic if I’m not in a hurry, but today…well, it’s been rough.

I had found a gift card for a local movie theater in my wallet that I’d had for three years.  On the back, it said it didn’t expire, and the website verified that I still had the original $25 on it.  I tried to make it to a movie, but couldn’t make it out of my parking lot.  I then thought that maybe I could go to the aquarium–I like the aquarium, and it might be nice to be able to take my time.  Yeah, the realization that it was Saturday, and would thus be full of kid stopped me.

I’m worried about what’s going to happen when school starts in a couple of weeks.  I can’t go to school if I’m so agoraphobic.

At the moment, I’m only registered for three classes, and one of them is online–I am wait-listed for two more classes, I’m number 1 on the wait-list for one class, so I’ll probably get in to it, and number 24 on the other, so I have a little less hope for getting in to that one.  I guess that starting slow might just be the best thing, easing myself, and the dogs, into the idea of being out of the house for long periods of time on a nearly daily basis.

Speaking of the dogs–I’m not the only one at my house suffering from severe anxiety.  Lulu’s been pretty stressed, and therefore clingy with all the thunderstorms we’ve been having, and she’s really not used to me going out without her.  When I was trying to make it to the movie theater, I was fighting to even get down to my car, and I could hear Lulu scratching at the door and barking, because I had the nerve to go outside without her.

One of the classes that I’m taking is yoga–I’m going to try to take a PE class every semester.  I might as well use this going back to school thing to get in better shape, right?  I hope that a) I’m not too fat to do yoga, and b) that it will help me learn to control my anxiety.

I did decide that I need to spend more time outdoors, even if it’s just on my balcony.  Sitting on my balcony, surrounded by my potted plants (in various stages of life, I’m either hit or miss with plants, they either thrive or die) without a book, without a computer, without anything to distract me (besides keeping Max from playing watchdog) is very relaxing.

I hope that when school starts, I can get into a routine, and things will calm down.  Because I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

Sisters

Okay, first the random, administrative stuff.  I don’t get tons of comments, but it kind of freaks me out when I see my picture next to a comment my mom made.  So, until I can get back down to my parent’s house, and tell their computer to log me out of every web browser, I’m turning off the avatars in the comments.

I know, you’re all crushed.  But it shouldn’t be for more than a week.

I guess I didn’t know how stressed these last two weeks had made me until this afternoon (er, yesterday afternoon.  I missed the midnight cut off to have this post on the 25th).  The Roommate had invited a bunch of friends over for dinner.  She did invite me to join them, but I was feeling a bit shaky from…everything.

So, you know how I don’t handle crowds?  Well, I found out today that it’s even worse when they’re all speaking a language I don’t understand.   I slipped out under the guise of taking the dogs for a walk, and headed up to Sis’s house to pick up some things that I managed to leave their last night.  Notably, my camera and my sanity.

I don’t know what I’d do without her.  Things were hectic when I got there–they had some family friends over–again, lots of kids running around, but after the company left, and after her kids went to bed, she and I had a good long talk, and she managed to calm me down, and ease some of my anxiety.

I really hope that when school starts, and I get into a routine, that life will get easier.  I don’t handle change well, and right now, I’m such a stage of flux.  And the last two weeks have been…emotionally difficult.

As horrible as depression is all around, I think the worst thing it does is make me doubt myself.  Even things that I know I can do well, I doubt my ability in.  I see the mistakes I make, but not the triumphs.   Depression sucks every bit of self confidence I have out, until I’m so convinced I’m going to fail, that I don’t even try.  And I guess that’s why I have a hard time telling my family “no”, because when I get into those bad ruts, they, especially Sis, are the ones that pull me out.  Sometimes, kicking and screaming, but no matter how I fight, thus far, it’s always turned out for the better.

Next time, though, you never know…

I have confidence it’s confidence I lack

If the response to yesterday’s post is any indication, I’m not the only one who loves bread.   I’ve boughten more yeast, and feel like I should try again, but I don’t want to heat up the house with the oven.

Last night was rough.  I couldn’t sleep, despite being exhausted and having been awake for the previous 20 hours.  I was stressed about having lost my GPS (really?  How can I have lost the one tool I own who’s sole purpose is to help find things?) and school.  But I fixated on the GPS, even getting out of bed at 3:30 am to look for it.  I literally had a dream about looking for my GPS.

School is was really has me worried.  I was supposed to attend an orientation on Thursday, but it’s been pushed back to Monday.  I was looking into where I was supposed to go, and found a link with brief biographies of the orientation advisors.   There are eight of them.  One is my age, one is 25, and the rest are 19 or 20.

Crap.

I’m fully aware, if not really comfortable with the fact that a lot of the people I’ll be surrounded by when I go back to school will be ten years younger than me.  I’m not really happy with it, but I can live with it.  I wasn’t expecting the people helping me to get adjusted to going back to school to be ten years younger than me though.

It makes me feel old.

And I’m fully aware of all of you out there in Internetland laughing at the 29 year old woman for feeling old.

And I know that if I don’t go back to school and get my degree now, I’ll never do it–that the longer I wait, the harder it will be, and the bigger the age gap between me and the other students will be.

I guess I’m feeling like I’ve lost my twenties to depression.  I was never interested in doing all of the fun, crazy stuff that college aged kids are supposed to do.  It’s only begun to bother me recently, and I guess that’s why I get uncomfortable around young adults–I look at them, and I see all the opportunities that I missed because I couldn’t leave my room.

I know it doesn’t do anybody any good to dwell on what might have been.  Except, you know, speculative history writers.   The best I can do is to make sure I don’t lose the next ten years, or twenty, or the rest of my life to depression–I know I need to get out there and do the things that I need to do to be happy, to improve myself, and to be comfortable around other people.

I just hope I can get some sleep in the mean time.

In case of emergency, call someone else.

For those of you who are curious, I think we’ve figured out what happened to Max yesterday.  See, the dog that lives next door to my parents thinks their yard is her yard, and she doesn’t like the little dogs that occasionally come and invade.

When Mom let the dogs out, Dixie was probably around.  Of my two, Max is definitely the aggressor, so he’s usually the one who ends up in the power struggles with other dogs.  Dixie probably chased Max off in a direction he wasn’t familiar with.  If he wasn’t completely lost then, he may have run into other dogs who continued to chase him further and further away from the territory that he knows.  Maybe he was trying to get back to the house where he lived before he came to me; I don’t know.  I really don’t think he meant to run away, I honestly think he just got lost.

All I know is that the first words the girl who rescued him said to me was “He’s been so sad.”  Of course, Lulu and I had been quite sad, too.

I’ve been thinking about how I handle myself in times of stress, and the answer is, not very well.  Yesterday, I did what I needed to to get Max home, but my instinct was to find a corner somewhere, curl up in a ball, and cry.

My reaction to Mom’s “I’ve been a school teacher for 20 years, and this is a Very Important Lesson” voice doesn’t help, either.  I know she’s trying to help when she says stuff like “You need to take Max and Lulu for walks around the neighborhood, so they’ll know how to get home”, but what I hear is “This is your fault, because  you didn’t make sure that Max and Lulu know where we live.”

Although, I’m not sure that Max and Lulu know where they live, they tend to get confused as to which stairwell leads to our house, so trying to make sure that they know where my parent’s house is might be a losing battle.

Turning anxiety into confidence

I was happy an hour ago.

Really.

This afternoon, I went up to my sister’s house, I needed to take care of my ticket (by taking care of my registration before paying the ticket, they knocked 25% off the fine), and I needed to return a Buzz Lightyear toy that G left at my house, and Sis convinced me that I needed to see E crawl, a skill he learned yesterday.  (He hasn’t figured out that he can move one hand at a time, so he’ll pick both hands up, causing him to do a nose dive, scootch his knees forward, then do it again. It’s hilarious!)

It didn’t take much talking to convince Sis to go shopping for school supplies with me–I’ve decided that I’m going to UVU, and have started on the process of getting my acceptance finalized, and the credits that will transfer transferred, and I know there’s a few things that I’d need no matter what, namely, a backpack, notebooks, and pens and pencils.

On the way home, I was thinking about what a big step this is, and a conversation I’d had earlier in the day, and my confidence started to slip. I thought about my previous attempts at school, the train wreck that is my emotional life, and money.  Always that stressor, money.

I know that avoiding doing for fear of failure, or making a mistake is not living life, neither is being so afraid of conflict that I let other people dictate my every move.

On the drive home, I noticed a few billboards for Intermountain Health Care that had slogans like “Turn anxiety into confidence”.  I know the message that they were trying to convey was along the lines of “Medical issues are scary.  Our staff is knowledgeable, and will educate you so your disease or the disease of your loved ones is less frightening” but I took a more personal message from it–that I really do need to turn my anxiety about life in general into confidence.

I wish I knew how.

One of the things that I was noticing more was all the ads, all the signs that surround us on a daily basis.  Every single ad, every billboard, every package of every product was designed by a graphic designer or artist (some of them were me–I used to work in a sign shop, and I took a detour on my way home from work, which lead me past a couple of signs that I designed).  One of the things that I’ve worried about, and have had worried about to me was the availability of work.  Mom, I’m going back to school to make it easier to find work. There are jobs–and hopefully, by the time I graduate, I’ll be able to find a company that needs an in-house designer, or an ad agency that’s hiring, or something else.

And it’s what I love doing, and that makes all the difference, right?

It’s been stormy the past few days, and I’ve wondered if that’s had an affect on my mood–I think it has, but not directly.  The dogs were crazy yesterday, and I was mad at both of them, but, according to the book I’m reading now (Inside of a Dog: What a Dog Hears, Sees and Knows) that was likely because the higher winds were kicking up all sorts of new and exciting smells.  Today, the rain has calmed everything down, including the dogs.

The other thing is my bad hip has been aching constantly–again, likely due to the changes in the weather, and it’s hard to keep a positive outlook when you hurt so badly you think you’re going to throw up.

I really am trying to stay positive, even if I’m prone to crying at random moments (most of the time it has nothing to do with the moment I’m actually in–but rather something I’m thinking of.)  What happens next is too important–I can’t blow this.

If you need me, I’ll be huddled in a ball in the closet.

I’ve been having panic attacks all day long.  It’s not too surprising.  Yesterday was, well, it wouldn’t have been too stressful for someone who didn’t have to watch every penny.  For someone who does…

It’s been hard to make myself leave the house even long enough to take the dogs for a walk.  There are other things I need to do, like take books back to the library, that just seem beyond my grasp right now.

I’m wondering if going back to school was the right decision, and even if it really was my decision.  I don’t like being pushed into things, but am too much of a whimp to push back.  So I generally go along, and then, when I think I can get out of doing whatever it is someone else wants me to do, quit.

And that’s why I’ve never accomplished anything in my life.

Actually, that’s not true.  I had to fight to go on a mission.  I’m glad I went, I’m glad I stayed for the late transfer.  (LDS missions for young women are 18 months, with transfers, where you could possibly change the area of service and/or your companion every 6 weeks.  Because of this timing, the transfers are either 3 weeks before your 18 month mark, or 3 weeks after.  The sister I went to Canada with went home on the early transfer.  I stayed for the later one) But still…when I got home it didn’t take me long to realize that the Canad Winnipeg Mission didn’t need me, I needed the Canada Winnipeg Mission.

I’ve tried to channel some of this anxiety into my writing, but with utter failure.  Yes, I want my characters and my readers to feel tension, but trying to write it when having a panic-attack day…well, it’s like pouring oil onto a fire.

I’m jumping all over today.  I hope you’re following.

The dream I had before waking up this morning was…well, odd, even for a dream.  I was listening to/watching a music video for a country song.  I don’t HATE country music, but I don’t remember the last time I chose to listen to it.  Well, except for some of the old-school singers, like Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson or Patsy Cline.  Anyway…

The song was a woman who had called to talk to someone about her life.  She was saying that everything was good, that she had moved on, and found a new love.  The chorus of the song went “I just wanted you to know.  Tell Joe.”

Like I said, I don’t listen to country music, so I don’t know if that’s a real song or not–it’s very possible that I was really hearing it from the clock radio of one of my neighbors.  If that’s the case, I’m super embarrassed.

Assuming it’s not, though…

I am starting a new chapter in my life, one that I’m terrified of.  Maybe my subconscious is telling me that while it is going to be hard, everything will be fine.

Part of me wants to say that I don’t know who “Joe” is, but I do.  I hope it was just a convenient name that rhymes with “know”, but more likely, I’m being told to let go of a good friend and crush, who moved away and recently dumped me from his Facebook friends.

I hope that as I start school, as I get into my new routine, things will get easier.  They should, right?

Really, what’s the worst that could happen?

It’s just shy of 1 am as I start writing this. I’ve been sitting on the couch for the last four hours, not watching TV, not reading, not really even paying attention to what I was doing on the computer. Just–occupying space and not going to bed.

Yesterday, the 2nd, was the anniversary of when my Brother-in-Law proposed to my sister. There are three holidays in February, and he chose the least romantic one to propose. Sis and the bro-in-law went out on a date to celebrate, and I watched the kids. Nothing too remarkable happened, except E let me know that he didn’t like the thin, vertical stripes on the shirt I was wearing. Seriously, the kid’s 3 months old, and he’s already complaining about how I dress? Sis thought that he was tired, and found the stripe overstimulating. All I know is I spent the rest of the evening sweating in my quilted jacket, just trying to keep the kid happy.

I love my nephews, I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea about that, and I love spending time with them. It’s just when I get home, I tend to get more depressed, especially since E was born. This has become problematic, because my sister is my go-to gal when things get too tough. She often invites me up to spend the day with her and the kids, but I’ve had to decline on more than one occasion, because even though the kids would cheer me up short-term, in the long run, they’d make things worse.

Random side note–is the train that’s four blocks from my house and on the other side of the freeway really (softly) rattling my pots and pans? Why haven’t I noticed this before? Is is just that that train going faster than it strictly should through an urban area?

So, on the way back from my Sister’s house–after a quick stop at the Wal-Mart (another side note, the Wal-Mart on 56 West in West Valley City is WAY nicer than the one in Orem. What’s up with that? I know they sell the same cheap crap, but the one in WVC is cleaner, brighter, laid out better, and has isles wide enough that someone can be unloading a pallet, and not block the entire aisle for shopping carts. I think it’s bigger, too.) I was thinking about how I run from relationships. It really doesn’t matter if the relationship in question is romantic or friendly, I’m too shy to pursue companionship of another human being, and too oblivious to realize when someone is pursuing a relationship with me. When I’m forced into a companionship, like, say, with a roommate, I tend to withdraw into my personal space as much as possible. And I wonder why I’m always alone.

I do have a few friends who have pushed past my shell, and I feel like I can let my personality show with them. I treasure these friendships, but again, am too shy to, say, go over and spend the evening playing card games or watching movies at these friends houses. Which sucks, because I love card games and movies.

I don’t know why I’m so afraid to be myself around other people. I don’t know why I feel like I’ve got to present a perfect façade to the world, and not let anyone know I’m anything less than the ideal person–never mind my weight and the fact that I rarely do my hair and makeup. What’s the worst that could happen? People would know that I’m not perfect? They can tell that just by looking at me. That I’ll get yelled at for something trivial? Yeah, that sucks, but if someone is yelling at me because I smiled at the wrong person, or said “hello” at the wrong time, then they are the one who has the problem, not me.

Logically, I know this. I like to think that I have a fun, quirky personality, and am an enjoyable person to be around when I get over feeling like I have to be perfect. I like to think that I’m funny (although, I’m reminded of Terry Pratchett when he said something like “People who boast about their sense of humor often don’t have one”) and witty. I just don’t dare show anyone.

All these thoughts have been tumbling through my head, wanting to get out. I’m still shod and wearing my coat–I usually get rid of shoes as soon as I can after coming in the door–and I’ve been home since 10 pm.

I know the things that I have to do to break out of my shell. But it’s so nice and cozy, and the world outside is so big and scary. I know that only good things could happen from being more social, but it still scares me to death.

Random side note #3–it’s not the train that’s rattling my pots and pans, it’s my neighbors dryer. And what’s rattling is the stuff I bought at a thrift store yesterday, and is still sitting on the kitchen table. I just happened to notice the rattling when a train was going by. I think I need to go to bed now.

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