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Showing posts from December, 2017

When I Grow Up I Want to be a Failure!

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Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

“Without failure there is no achievement.” -John C. Maxwell
I wrote poems and short stories, but anxiety told me they were worthless. I took creative writing classes and was told I had talent, but anxiety said they were wrong. One of my poems was published in a book, but anxiety said they probably publish everyone who submits a piece.
I always said I wanted to be a writer like Stephen King when I grew up. That dream never went away, but the confidence in myself did… not that I ever had that much confidence to begin with. I had a portfolio of my poems, short stories, and writing assignments that I’d collected for years. When I was 19 or 20 I threw the whole thing in the garbage. It was nearly twenty years before I tried to write again. I was so sure that everything I had ever written was worthless.
I’ve had a bad habit of finding something I’m passionate about, getting excited about it, and then deciding there’s no point because I’ll fail anyway. That’s…

The Girl Who Ran – or – The Tale of Three Divorces: How Anxiety Affects Relationships

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Photo by Leonard von Bibra on Unsplash

The fact that I’ve been married three times has turned into a running joke. When I discovered that my number of divorces will also be three, it became a lot less funny to me. I try to keep a sense of humor about it, but some days it’s hard… especially when I think my anxiety has played a big part in the failing of many of my relationships.
My parents fought a lot when I was young. I vowed to never stay in a relationship that made me anything less than happy. As a result, I’ve always been quick to run away from relationships. Sometimes I’ve fled at the first sign of a temper, or an inclination that things might not go how I want. Other times I’ve given a few chances - a few - before running.
Remember that my anxiety already existed before any of these relationships, but they definitely gave it new shapes in my life and how future relationships worked.
Husband #1
My first husband had a horrific temper. It didn’t come out until after we were married. He …

Frosty the Anxious Snowman -or- Jingle Bells, anxiety sucks, Robin laid an egg…

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Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash
Much like Frosty anxiously trying to find the right temperature so he doesn’t melt, I anxiously navigate through holidays trying to avoid situations that will throw me into a panic attack.
I seriously despise holidays. (Though I suppose Martin Luther King Jr. Day is okay. It doesn’t typically involve large family gatherings.) You’re in a small space filled with a bunch of people. You’re expected to contribute food and make small talk. You have to put on a happy face and wear a mask so your family doesn’t see who you really are and judge you… or is that just me?
Don’t get me wrong, I love my family. Most of the time, once I get there and get settled in, I’m okay.
Most of the time.
The exceptions were holidays with my soon-to-be ex-husband’s family. There are so many of them, and I never felt like I fit in. I basically spent every holiday with them trying to be invisible.
The thing I hated most about holiday gatherings at my ex’s grandparents’ house was t…

Mom, Don't Read This One: Anxiety and My Sex Life

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Photo by Drew Hays on Unsplash
Warning: Don’t read further unless you want to hear about my sex life.
More serious warning: Possible sexual abuse triggers ahead.
I ended my post titled Sexual Abuse by saying “for the love of god, if a girl says no – whether she be a friend, girlfriend, or wife, it fucking means no and you deserve whatever you get if you don’t stop.” I have good reason to say that. I never would have said I was raped. Not until recently, anyway. A big problem with society these days is they think of rape only as involving a man abducting a woman in an alley, beating her up, and holding a knife to her while penetrating her. That’s not always the case.
If someone says no, it means no. Period, the end, do not pass go, do not collect $200, do not keep pushing.
If someone says no and you beg, plead, and eventually talk them into it, that’s rape. I have quite a lot of experience with this one, unfortunately.
An early long-term relationship is probably the cause for this parti…

Breathe out the Bugs: How to Deal with Panic Attacks

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Photo by Sam Valdez on Unsplash


Like I mentioned in my last post, panic attacks happen pretty regularly for me. Living with Generalized Anxiety Disorder means learning and practicing coping mechanisms, breathing techniques, recognizing triggers, and educating friends and family alike to help you with these techniques and so they don’t think you’re a freak.

Okay, so maybe they think I’m a freak regardless.

RECOGNIZE YOUR TRIGGERS

Make sure you recognize your triggers. People often think I’m weird because I’m typically half an hour early to everything. I know that being late is a big trigger for me, so I do what I can to avoid it. Crowded places are a trigger, so I always have an exit strategy when attending social gatherings. Disorganization can be a trigger, so I keep a lot of spreadsheets. I’m currently obsessing over my expense spreadsheet and have already paid most of my bills for December - I’m writing this on December 8.

Clutter is a trigger, but I have two kids so not a lot can be …

She Couldn't Breathe

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She couldn’t breathe. She couldn’t see. The world was red. Her mind was numb and going in a thousand directions at once. Her heart was racing. A shot of pain told her she had been clenching her jaw for who knows how long.

What was going to happen to her? How long would she be in this hell? Would she die? What about everything she had to live for? Did it even matter? She couldn’t move. If she could just move, it would be okay. She could escape. But she was shaking.

Suddenly there were hands gripping her arms. “No! Get off of me!” she screamed.

"Baby, it’s okay,” said a calm, soothing voice. She knew that voice. That voice could induce panic in an instant. That voice could be terrifying. It could also calm her down and make her feel safe.

"Just breathe,” the voice said again. Slowly, the world came back into focus. Her heartbeat slowed, her breathing returned to normal. It was just another panic attack.

Everything would be okay.

Wouldn’t it?

That is a short story I wrote in respons…

Sexual Abuse

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This has been weighing pretty heavily on my mind lately. I’ve kept my mouth shut for decades because I didn’t think it was worth mentioning. With all the sexual harassment allegations flying around, and so many people saying they’re being blown out of proportion or defending the abusers, I just can’t keep quiet anymore. Seems as though I’m losing the ability to keep my mouth shut about a lot these days! When I was in high school, before I got my drivers license, there was a boy on the bus who I considered my friend. He started making comments, pretty much daily, about my breasts. Sure, he was joking and meant no harm. But he didn’t think about how I might feel about the comments. I’d always change the subject. Being the non confrontational shy gal I’ve always been, I couldn’t just come right out and say he was making me uncomfortable.  Then there was the boy at work – this would probably have been my senior year of high school – who started commenting on my breasts, and then actually gr…

Discovering Anxiety

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Most people wouldn’t think twice about making a call to order pizza. If the website to their favorite pizza place was down, they’d just shrug and pick up the phone. I haven’t made a call to order pizza in years. What if my brain freezes when they answer and I lose the ability to speak? What if dyslexia kicks in and I give them the wrong delivery address? What if I forget to order my favorite topping, and then — gasp — have to call them back? If a pizza place’s website is down, I’ll order from somewhere else. Sometimes I’ll give up and make a PB&J. I know those “what-if” questions probably sound ridiculous. Most people wouldn’t think twice about calling for a pizza, and would likely think I’m crazy for having so many concerns about such a mundane task. But that’s my life. Anxiety is the driving force behind nearly every move I make. Doctors couldn’t find a medication that would help me for the longest time, despite having been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. On top of that…