Tag Archives: self-care

Grateful for the weekend

7 Sep

*I had a migraine Friday night. (This is not what I’m grateful for.) Luckily I can catch them before they develop into a full-blown headache. But it still makes me want to lie on the couch in a dark room. But I’m grateful that I can take OTC medication for it and that I don’t get the full headaches anymore. (Please don’t let me have jinxed it.)

*I’m grateful to have a boss at my part-time job who understands health issues like that and allows me to reschedule my work. Thanks, WH!

*I’m grateful for friends who have coffee birthday gatherings and invite me. And let me bring a friend to crash it. It was so fun to meet everyone else and catch up for a bit. Thanks, JK!

*I’m grateful for having a friend like SP who is willing to go to the Renaissance Festival with me. And who laughs at the all the people with me. We always have a great time. Thanks, SP!

*I’m grateful for finding my friend ML at the festival who worked out there when I did 20 years ago and who still does. I haven’t seen him in probably 18 years. We lost touch and then he found me on Facebook. But it was so awesome to see him in person. And get the giant bear hugs from him again. He was the kindest person when I worked out there – always very welcoming. I have a soft spot for him (along with the other guys I knew out there: EC & MC). Thanks, ML!

*I’m grateful I was able to focus today and get a lot done. While not watching TV. It feels good to have accomplished so much! Thanks, brain!

For giggles…here’s me and MC while on duty…in 1996. How was that 18 years ago?!?

renfest

Does therapy end?

25 Aug

As you all know, I see a therapist. How often I see her depends on what’s going on in my life. Sometimes it’s every week, sometimes it’s once a month.

nuts
(I don’t think that ever happened.)

I saw her a few days after I moved. There were a lot of transitions going on then that I was nervous about. We scheduled a time for a few weeks after that, which I had to cancel. We rescheduled, and then she had to cancel. I saw her Saturday, which was about 6 weeks after I last saw her. Before my appointment, I was thinking what I wanted to talk to her about. And I realized – I didn’t have much to go over.

So we talked on Saturday about that. To her, it’s a good sign when patients start forgetting appointments or don’t have much to say. Almost every situation I talked to her about ended with “so I did this and this and it got better”. I have tools. I’ve learned that there are situations (like MOVING) that make me stressed and anxious, but I know how to get through them. There haven’t been any new situations or issues that I’ve really needed her guidance for a while.

But I know there will be. And I believe that everyone really could do therapy forever. The danger though is that therapy becomes a crutch, and a person doesn’t really learn how to with things on their own.

So does therapy end?

We decided yes, kinda. Because I don’t have much to say lately, I have and use good tools and self-talk for coping with situations, and I don’t want to give up my Saturday mornings, we decided to stop the regular schedule appointments. Well, I wasn’t entirely comfortable with that, so we’re going with every two months for now. (Of course, I can still call her and go see her if I need to in the meantime.)

But overall, it made me feel good. I’ve come a long way in the last 8-9 years. (Which is how long I’ve been seeing her.) I’m MUCH less anxious than I was when I starting seeing her. (For those of you who have met me in the last 5 years, you have no idea – this is less anxious!) I’m luckily to have found a therapist I really connect with. And I’ve worked hard to learn these new skills and tools to be able to cope. So YAY ME!

Tough week = yoga

20 Aug

This week has been tough so far. Apparently the universe hates me this week. Or my biorhythms are just way off. Who knows. But I decided to do a bit of yoga when I got home to try and clear the brain and body.

I have a subscription to YogaGlo which is awesome. yoga galSo many videos to choose from, so many ways to filter. I chose a basic one for 30 minutes that focused on stress reduction. I’ve used yoga before for that and it’s always worked well for me. I haven’t been in a habit of it for the last year or so. I’m hoping to focus on getting back into it after I get running on a regular basis again. (One step at a time!)

A strange thing happened when I started it today. It sounds weird (although not if you do yoga)…I felt the energy moving. I felt it going into places in my body that have just been closed off and tense. I felt my breathing deepen – far deeper than it has been in a while.

And it’s made me realize a few things. One, yoga really helps me. Even 30 minutes helps me. And two, boy have I been stressed. You’d think running would beat a lot of that out of me but apparently not yet. So I think this weekend, I’m going make a list (yay lists!): what am I so stressed about? And what can I do each day to help counter that?

Besides cocktails, of course. 😉

manhattan-cocktail

How terrible

12 Aug

I think everyone is still a little sad and shocked from yesterday. The death of Robin Williams is so tragic. There really are no words.

But people still try to say things. And the things that are pissing me off are the people who talk about his suicide as selfish and the people who talk about him not keeping a bit of the laughter he gave to others.

Clearly, these people are lucky to not have anyone in their lives that suffer from severe anxiety and/or depression. Because if they did, they would understand a little bit better and be a bit more sympathetic.

Depression lies. I’ve said it before, the Bloggess has said it before (and in a far better way than almost anyone can), Wil Wheaton has said it before, Allie has said it before. When you’re in a depths of an episode, you believe what your brain is telling you. And it’s not telling you the truth. And asking for help in that moment is the hardest thing to do. Even doing the one thing that could turn the downslide around seems impossible to do.

Selfish? No, what Robin Williams was not selfish. It was sad and tragic. My heart goes out to him that he felt nothing else could be done, that he felt so much pain that killing himself was the only way to end it.

Keep a piece of the laughter? Yes, he gave a lot of joy and laughter to others. But it’s not like he choose to not keep himself happy. This is an ILLNESS, people. When will our society start accepting mental illness as a real medical issue and start treating it as such?

I pray for his family and friends, all the people whose lives he touched. I pray that he now finds the peace that eluded him in life. I pray for anyone who has lost someone to this because this is probably bringing back all those feelings again. And I pray for anyone who is suffering from any sort of mental illness.

If you are one of them, like me and a lot of people I know, please get help. Call a professional if you can. Call the National Suicide Hotline. Call a friend. Even when nothing else seems possible, when all you can do is lie in bed and cry, please please please try to reach out to one person and say “I need you.”

And always remember, depression lies.

Relaxing is hard

11 Feb

I took yesterday and today off as vacation days. And they’re really hard days.

I have a hard time relaxing. I always feel like I should be doing something. The idea of just sitting and reading, or watching a movie, or just knitting is very hard for me to grasp.

relaxing
I can’t do this.

You see, before I started dancing, my life WAS just sitting around on my ass not doing anything. I’m much happier now as an active person. And my life now is super busy with work, the part-time job, and dancing. So I don’t get a ton of time to just relax. So when I do get more than a half hour, I’m not sure what to do.

For me, I feel incredibly guilty if I just watch movies or read all day. At the end of the day, I have horrible guilt that I should have done more that day.

But I desperately need these two days. I’m tired from having a crazy January with lots of overtime and dance camp. My boss even noticed that I seemed a little run down and encouraged me to take both days. He knows that I only take time after dance events or if I’m going somewhere. I don’t take time off just to be at home often.

I’ve been talking to my therapist about this issue. I mean, I really should be able to just have a day or a half day of nothing. So for me, it’s finding the balance between getting stuff done and just hanging out.

So yesterday, I went to the gym. Then I read for a while, then I watched movies while knitting. (Thank god for knitting…it really makes me feel like I’m not wasting time.) And by the way – did you know the Ken Burns documentaries are streaming on Netflix now??? I cleaned out some files. I went to dinner with a friend and went to the group class at the studio. All in all, not a bad day. Still felt a little guilty though.

Today, I made brownies and watched a movie. I’m not sure what to do this afternoon. I’d like to go to the gym, but it’s so cold. (One below with a wind chill of 18 below.) I could read more. I could do my taxes – not exactly a day off activity but still needs to be done. I could watch more movies while knitting.

I’m really struggling with what to do with my day that will be relaxing and yet not make me feel like a slug that’s wasted a bunch of time.  I know, first world problem, right? It’s so hard to be me – what to do with all my free time today?

What happened to December?

12 Jan

You may have noticed that I had just a few posts in between Thanksgiving and now. I had one about Showcase in early December because my friend AD asked me to write that. Other than that, I had a merry Christmas one, a happy new year one, and one about setting goals for 2014. There’s a reason for the lack of posts.

December was very difficult for me. I had a major anxiety/depression episode that started around Thanksgiving and went through Christmas. It wasn’t due to one particular thing – just a lot of little things. The main thing was the holidays – that’s always a difficult time for me. Plus, I’ve been missing Mr Big a lot lately – apparently I’m going through yet ANOTHER layer in grieving the end of that relationship. (I wonder how many more layers there are?)

So I talked to my therapist, I talked to some friends, I did some of the tricks I have to help with this. It was so bad for a while that none of that helped. But right after Christmas, I started to feel better. I jumped on that feeling and kept at it with the tools I have. And I’ve been feeling so much better since new year’s really. Just in time for work to get CRAZY busy – like crazier than it has been in years.

Although I’ve been feeling better this month, it’s just been too busy for me to even think about writing. Which makes me sad. But I think this week will be the last of the crazy craziness, so I should be able to pick up writing on a more regular basis soon. I’m thankful that I have you readers, and I hope you’ll come back.

Oh, and starting the 20th…DANCE CAMP!!

 

It didn’t get better

27 Nov

But then it did.

So when I last left you, I was starting to come out of my funk. But then, for whatever reason, I couldn’t sustain it. I fell back in the funk, and it got worse. On Tuesday, I took some medicine to help. It took the edge off a bit, but the anxiety kept creeping back up.

By Thursday, I was in horrible shape. My stomach was upset, I was incredibly nauseous, everything I ate made me want to throw up. That night, I talked to a friend of mine who is a GI doctor. He told me something I didn’t know: anxiety produces acid in the stomach. Even if you don’t feel heartburn, you can still have excess acid in your stomach. He suggested I try a Pepcid Complete to see if that helped. And it did. I took another anti-anxiety pill Thursday night.

I stayed home from work Friday. And I realized that morning that some of this anxiety was due to Showcase. I missed the last Showcase because of my broken foot. And apparently I had some doubts about whether I was good enough, about whether I could prove I was still a good dancer, about showing improvement since the last one I did a year ago. (To which my friend SP said “I don’t understand this ‘good enough’ you speak of”. And she’s right. Everyone is good enough. It’s just my stupid standards for myself.)

So I talked to my therapist Friday night and saw her Saturday morning. We talked about Showcase. And I just kept reminding myself about medal ball a few months ago. I was checking out of Bronze III, and at medal ball, I felt like every dance (all 4 of them) was going as perfectly as they could. There were mistakes of course, but I felt like I OWNED the floor. I really felt like I was a great dancer. So in thinking about Showcase, every time I got nervous or started thinking about being good enough, I just thought about medal ball.

I also realized that some of my anxiety was just from the fact that my ex-boyfriend has looked up my LinkedIn profile about 6 times in the last two months. It makes me miss him, and it makes me sad that we’re not together, even though it’s right we’re not together. So you know, once I had a good cry about that, I could move on.

Sunday morning I woke up for Showcase. And I was EXCITED. So excited! I felt I always feel on Showcase morning – like it’s Christmas morning.

And how did Showcase go? Like medal ball. I felt like I was a great dancer, I was happy with how I danced, it felt so amazing to be back dancing on that floor again. My teacher and I could not stop making jokes while we were dancing, just because I was so happy to be dancing and in such a good place that I couldn’t stop teasing him and being a smart-ass. And my parents came out to see me, which was nice. And a couple of my friends came out too, and their support means so much to me. I was so grateful for it.

So I’m doing much better now. SO MUCH BETTER. And I’m in that place again where I just want to LEARN ALL THE THINGS with dance now.

learn all the things

I just want to improve it all and fix everything. My teacher, of course, loves it when I’m at that place. I’m a lot easier to teach when I’m there versus the thinky place.

There were a few people who really got my through that week: MS, SP, SH, CS, DP, LS, and others. I’m lucky to have friends like that in my life.

And I’m so lucky that I’m happy with dancing again!!

Pissy rant ahead

17 Nov

Pissy rant ahead. But hang on til the end.

I’ve been in a horrible funk the last two weeks. I read blogs like “Hyperbole and a Half“, “The Bloggess” and Wil Wheaton’s, and I admire how open they can be about their struggles with mental illnesses. And I think we should all be that open about it. But I still want to hide that part of myself. I hate that part. I hate that my brain is wired for that. I’ve come to accept that I’ll never be cured of it. All I can do is try to manage it when it flares up.

Mine shows up as anxiety. I’ve learned A LOT over the last seven years or so how to cope with it and how to have less of it. Those of you who knew me 10 years ago can attest to that. But I still have it. Usually, I can tell what has triggered the latest episode. Then if I deal with the trigger, the anxiety goes away.

Sometimes, it takes a while for me to be able to figure out and deal with the trigger. Until then, the anxiety shows up as a lack of confidence in myself and in my value and worth to the world. Then it starts showing up as losing my sense of humor, making poor eating choices, and not being active.

A few weeks ago, I noticed an episode was starting. And I (still) have no idea what triggered it. And it slid down the slope so quickly, I never had a chance to catch it.

And it’s been awful. I had a long talk with a friend of mine about a week ago, and he was trying to help me figure it out and pull me out of it. God bless him. But nothing worked. But while talking to him, I heard myself saying things about how I hated being this person, I hate being around this person so how can I ask anyone else to be around me, nothing I do matters, I don’t know how I can contribute anything, blah blah blah. SIGH.

So here I was yesterday, still in a funk, still feeling anxious. I slept about 3 hours Friday night (I love it when my old friend insomnia comes back). I’ve had a ball of knots in my stomach for about a week. I’ve been unable to stop eating crappy food – way too much sugar consumed lately. And all I could think about was what was wrong in my life.

I kept mentally going over the list…

I’m overweight
My foot still bothers me sometimes where I broke it
I don’t have enough money
I’m tired
My cardio stamina has not come back fully from my foot and my bronchitis
Who would want to hang out with me really?
I have nothing to offer anyone

And it spirals from there.

Now, the rational part of my brain knows this is not true. It knows that there are lots of things I can offer. But as the Bloggess says, depression (or anxiety) lies. Your brain tries to tell you differently, and it’s wired to believe it.

So yesterday, I had a dance lesson first thing. I went to it exhausted and drained and anxious. (Thankfully not anxious about my dancing.) It was an OK lesson. My teacher and I got a bit short with each other, mainly because I was pissy. Which made my responses to what he was saying be short. And he was trying to pull me out of it by giving me a kick in the pants. Which sadly this time did not help me. So I was getting more and more frustrated with myself. Not thinky. Just frustrated about being THIS PERSON on my lesson and in my life. And wanting to get over it but not knowing how because all the tricks I have weren’t working.

I left the studio and was going to go to the gym. I got into my car and immediately burst into tears because I was so frustrated with myself. But also, I clearly needed to process something. I’m still not sure what. So I cried in my car for about 10 minutes. Once I stopped crying, I decided that I was too tired and emotional to go workout. Probably not the right decision but this is what anxiety does to me. Instead, I decided to be a productive member of society and run a crap ton of errands.

Then I had about an hour to kill before group class. The only reason I went to group class was because I knew my friend CS was going to go, and we usually have lunch afterwards. I knew it’d be good to hang out with her, so I knew I would go to group class. To kill time beforehand, I went to my favorite coffee shop. I finished reading the book for book club next week. Then I had about 20 minutes to kill.

Then I thought about this blog I follow. I think the author writes to remember the good times in life, not the bad. Maybe I’ve been doing the opposite and have been focusing on the bad and the negative. I am Irish after all. So what if I deliberately tried to focus on the good things?

So I decided to start a list. Brainstorm what is good in my life…physical, emotional, talents, gifts, anything positive. No censoring except for censoring out the bad and the negative. Just write.

So I did. And you know what? I had two things on it: I have great hair (yes, I’m vain about it, it’s the only thing I’m vain about) and I can dance.

Again, I know there are a lot more things. That’s just how deep the anxiety hole is right now – I can’t even see the rest.

So I went to group, which was fine. Then me and CS went to lunch with her husband MS and our friends SH and SH. And it was actually a fun lunch. I started to enjoy myself a bit, which I haven’t been able to do much recently. Then we split off for the day. I had an appointment to have my hair colored. So I went to the awesome Jennifer, and she colored it. I love seeing her for my hair. She pushes me to try new things but in a very gentle way because she knows me. I enjoy chatting with her. And she makes me feel beautiful. This time, she added slightly more red to the color. And when she dried it, she curled my hair. So I had fancy hair, which made me feel so good.

Then I met SP for dinner. She really wanted a doughnut, but we couldn’t find parking near Glam Doll. So we ended up at Butter, and I could feel myself relaxing more and more the more we talked. I got to hear all about her most recent trip, we talked a little about my issue the last few weeks, and then we just caught up. I always have a good time with her! Afterwards I needed groceries and she did too, so we went grocery shopping together. And we ended up making fun of so much stuff in the store. Like the Barbies. And the Twister Skip game. And trying to find window insulating kits. Which we walked by about 3 times before we asked someone for help. And the how to speak Wookie toy. And the sandwich post-it notes. And the Christmas music samplers. Oh good, we laughed for about 30 minutes straight, I think.

And by the end of the day, after crying a little and seeing Jennifer who made me feel pretty and laughing with SP, I felt so much better. I slept all night and have had a productive day so far today. Laundry’s done (almost), food is made for next week, bills are paid. I still have a little knot in my stomach. But I’m hoping I can cling to how I felt last night and this morning, and just keep building on that.

Because I hate being the anxious insecure person. And I want to be who I normally am now. And I will fight to get back there.

Because Showcase is next weekend!!! And I’m ready for it. And I will ROCK IT.

I saw this on Facebook on Friday and need to have a giant version of this framed:

Don't stand in your way

Because really, I am and I do. And I need to get out of my own way.

Staycation

12 Aug

I’m off work this week. I realized that I hadn’t taken a week off since last August. What????? How did that happen? So a week off it is!

And for the first time in 4 years, I’m also taking the same time off my part-time job too. So I have a whole week with no work of any sort! I’m so excited.

But I don’t want to be a sloth and just sit on the couch all day every day. So I’m going to be deliberate in what I do each day. I’m also trying to use it to break my TV habit.

I’ll report back at the end of the week. But so far, so good!

Body image is relative

5 Aug

Body image is a fascinating thing to me.

Because of the city I grew up in, and having poor self-esteem for so long, I tend to be very critical of how I look. My body shape. And the extra bit of fat around my middle. And I’ve talked about that before. But it has gotten better over the last few years. Mainly I think because I’ve lost a few pounds, but I’ve gained muscle, and I know now that I will never look thin because of my curves. Which is an OK reason to not look thin. And of course, dance has given me self-confidence which helps.

But I’ve noticed lately that body image is a relative thing.

I work at a large public university. Large public universities are notorious for staff bringing in food to share or leftovers from lunch meetings being made available in the break room. As a result, I’ve noticed that most women to work there are overweight – more overweight than I am. (This does not apply to development officers. They’re like pharmaceutical reps if you know what I mean.) So when I’m at work, I don’t feel short, and I don’t feel fat. I don’t think I look quite like this…

Healthy-woman

…but more like how I actually look probably.

But then I get to the dance studio or the gym. I think the mirrors at the studio are warped. In both places, I feel very short and fat.

fat-girl

This is fascinating to me. Why does where I am impact me about how I think I look so much? And how can I carry how I feel at work to the rest of my life?

I wonder how much of it goes back to confidence. I am very confident in my work – I know I’m good at what I do. And I’ve known that for a long time. Work is probably the place I feel the most confident. Except for the dance floor at Showcase. Hmm, I’m just making this connection as I write. So it all comes back to confidence. So is it all a matter of faking it to make it? If I act confident, regardless of whether I am or not, will I feel better about my body shape?

Interesting thoughts to ponder. But it’s far too late to ponder tonight. But knowing me, I’ll ponder this a lot. Of course, I’ve probably given this way too much thought as it is. I’m just interested in getting past this body shape issue I have.

Let me know if you have any thoughts!

 

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