Day by Day

photo 1(1)
Today was a bit easier. I had a lot that took my mind away from my troubles. It was a lot of fun celebrating our Student Assistants; to thank them for being amazing, hard-working, drama free fabulous workaholics. Is it okay that they’re workaholics?





photo 2We gave them all mustaches along with other little gifts that remind us of their contributions: an etch-a-sketch, a pack of crayons, glitter glue sticks, a chevron covered notebook, a can coozie with “I’m not in charge, I just know what you need should be doing” emblazoned on it. You know, the usual stuff.








photo 3(1)They’ll be with us for another week but then we have to let them go for the summer. Remember how I hate saying good-bye? Yeah, even for my Student Assistants, who will be back in Fall, I still feel a pang of sadness.

Or maybe it’s because I know I have to do a search, interview, hire and train new students for just the summer. Ugh. At least I have the process books in place. So I can refer to those when I’m training.

I’m going to miss this merry bunch.




For Rodney, Just One More “The Promise” by Tracy Chapman


If you wait for me
Then I’ll come for you
Although I’ve travelled far
I always hold a place for you in my heart

If you think of me
If you miss me
Once in a while
Then I’ll return to you
I’ll return and fill that space in your heart

Remembering your touch
Your kiss, your warm embrace
I’ll find my way back to you
If you be waiting

If you dream of me
Like I dream of you
In a place that’s warm and dark
In a place where I can feel the beating of your heart

Remembering your touch
Your kiss, your warm embrace
I’ll find my way back to you
If you be waiting

Oh I’ve longed for you
And I have desire
To see your face, your smile
To be with you wherever you are

Remembering your touch
Your kiss, your warm embrace
I’ll find my way back to you
Please say you’ll be waiting

Together again
It would feel so good to be
In your arms
Where all my journeys end

If you can make a promise
If its one that you can keep
I vow to come for you
If you wait for me

And Say you hold
A place for me
In your heart
A place for me in your heart
A place for me in your heart
A place for me in your heart

Incommunicado: My Love for Joseph (Rodney) Evans

In 1992 I had the distinct honor of meeting and becoming friends with Joseph Rodney Evans. I’m not sure how we met, I know we met through mutual friends but what I didn’t realize was how much of a friend he would become to me.


Evans. JoRod Evans.

Before I go on, I want to apologize to my dear Rodney, to Editor Man as I called him my senior year of high school: I apologize for the copious amounts of typos, incorrect grammar usage, and incorrect placement of punctuation. I never did learn how to do that right, sorry, Bud. To the rest of you, I apologize for the random quirk that will no doubt pop up in this post. Rodney would understand even if you don’t.

As we entered our Senior year at good old Enterprise High School, I went in with such a lack of confidence hidden under an easy laugh and stupid jokes. So much had changed for me between the end of my junior year and the beginning of my senior year; a lot of emotions and things that I was unable to process at the time. I’m not sure now, at 39, I’m any more equipped.

Rodney, as I knew him, became my best friend, my confidant, my Dear Abby, my big brother, my little brother, the guy who would go to extreme lengths to make me laugh. Being a ridiculously silly 17-/18-year-old girl I loved him “like a brother” (yes, go ahead and say that in a high-pitched Valley Girl voice). I didn’t fully realize just what an amazing person he was and how much he loved me, as he loved all his friends, until I was much, much older.

And so our senior year he listened patiently to all my boy angst, all my body angst, ALL my angst and ALWAYS had a really stupid joke at the ready to help me laugh; and beautiful words to remind me of my self-worth. I know I’m not the only one who benefited from his pure friendship. The people he called “friend” probably didn’t realize the extent of what that meant to him. We were not only his friends, but his second family.

What I know now that I wish I could make my 18-year-old self understand is just how precious that friendship was. What I didn’t know then, and probably something I continue to try to learn to this day, is the meaning of friendship. He knew what friendship was; true, pure friendship. He was totally unafraid to express his love for his friends. It was us – we were afraid of accepting his unconditional love. How stupid could we have been? Here was a REAL friend saying, “Hey guys, I LOVE you! You guys are amazing people! You guys are awesome!” and we were like, “Dude, ssshhh!” Stupid!

But I can hear Rodney now. He would say I should stop beating myself up; that yes, I was being stupid but did I learn from it? Okay then let’s keep going. Don’t forget I love you!

When I left for college he gave me a journal, “The Soul Sister’s Guide to Life After High School Or Rodney’s Reminders Or Towanda’s Fact Book Or Friends Always: Words from Editor Man”. The book is filled with his wisdom, his love, his really awful jokes, a book of him to take with me to school so I wouldn’t be afraid or lonely. This journal was the most beautiful gift I had been given. I might have thrown away all the letters and notes from those days but that journal is still with me.

Today I found out that my friend, my “Soul Brother” died. I knew I had to find that book. I walked in the door and said, “God, I need that book.” And there it was sitting on top of a box. I knew I had to find it because the messages in it, while written to me, was written about all of us, everyone he called a friend. There’s a tiny section that I’m not going to share because it’s, well, just between Rodney and I (I can hear him giggling). However, the rest of the book is not just about me. It’s written to all of us and I want to share that with you. I’ll post scans of the book, but for now I’ll leave you with this prayer he wrote:

Lord, You said that whoever asks for something in your name or where two or more shall agree, it will be done. Each night I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior, that you guide and protect my friends throughout their lives. Lord, keep them company, and allow them to know the joy of love. And this I ask in your name, Amen.

Rodney, thank you. You were very greatly loved, even if I couldn’t show you. You will always make the Friendship part of my heart glow. Thank you for giving me the gift of being your friend. Forgive me for not being a better friend to you. But most of all, thank you for teaching me the meaning of friendship. I hope that I can do you justice, Sensei. I will be your Grasshopper until the end of time.

I gave up

I gave up. I had enough of this drawing exercise – I asked for help. I got some of it. And I ran out of time and patience. But I’m done and sick and tired of trying over and over and over again to never get anywhere. It was supposed to be a door knob. It’s crap. It just looks like a really bad, lopsided wormhole. I’m almost a week behind in this class and my sanity is just not worth spending another 4-plus hours wasting page after page after page and not getting anywhere.

So I quit. I’m trying to remember something a psychologist and cellular biologist once said, “You have four choices: 1. Do what you have to do and enjoy it. 2. Do what you have to do and hate it. 3. Don’t do what you have to do and enjoy not doing it. 4. Don’t do what you have to do and beat yourself up for not doing it.” Ultimately, choices 1 & 3 are the best two she said for health and wellness.

I have chosen #3. Now that I’ve said that I’m done. Good night.



Week 3…The Final Stretch

TRIGGER WARNING: I will be writing about my fear of puking.

This is it. This is the final stretch of a good chunk of my anxiety. Then it will just be school and not school and…. I’m feeling pretty chill though after a friend told me of a stomach bug going around the office below ours, which is something I just hate. I mean, sure no one likes having the pukes, but I have Emetephobia: the fear of vomiting.

I’ve gotten to a point where I’m not nearly as freaked out by it as I used to be. It used to be that life shut down if I even thought something might cause me to vomit. Last year my doctor ignored my insistence that one of the meds she had given me was making me vomit. I spent more than my fair share worshiping the porcelain goddess. My doc still insists that I have no idea what I’m talking about. I told her, “Well, no, I don’t think you know what you’re talking about because I have the ER paper work to prove that I actually got dehydrated from the last time I took your med and puked my guts up.” She just shook her head at me. Seriously?

I’m going to be fine. I will myself to be well. Or at the very least – be well at work. That’s where my Emetephobia is still bad. I’m terrified of getting sick at work. Especially if its the vomiting and runs kind of sick that I tend to get whenever I get sick. Such a mess. I’ve prayed that the Lord would let me stay well at work and that if I had to get sick at least let me be home.

But I’m believing and praying that I will be well and not have to deal with this stomach bug at all. Please God, let it skip me! At least, let it skip me through Saturday!

Is It Wednesday Yet?

IMG_0074 I found out that I love working with my iPad. I love my little stylus and drawing and trashing the paper over and over. It makes me feel so much better about all the tree killing I do at work (we make a lot of copies).

My mom is a painter. She does these really wonderful botanical watercolor paintings. She picks each of her paintings apart. We’re very similar that way when it comes to our art. So is my dad. He makes jewelry and he frets over the pieces because he wants to make sure everything is just so.

Tonight a classmate of mine and I talked about our perfectionism. That everything we do we are our own worst critics. We’ve both admitted to break downs early in the quarter. And we admitted tonight that the madness has to stop.

So we’re committing to recognizing that we’re on a journey. We’re improving in our craft right before our very eyes.

So drawing on my iPad, releasing the perfectionism and just playing. The goal for tonight: sketches. That’s it. Just sketches for ideas. Nothing too elaborate. Don’t need to be correct even. Just ideas on paper. Man, how refreshing and fun it was to just do this.

Seriously – if you are a perfectionist you have to try these drawing apps! It’s really freeing.


Yeah, I have nothing tonight. I’m so ready for this week to be over so I can…keep working this weekend because I volunteered.


Dang this heart of gold!

Week 2: Feeling Keyed up

I don’t like feeling keyed up. In fact, the things that make me anxious often tend are things that make me physically uncomfortable. I don’t mean, “my pants are too tight” uncomfortable, but the “I should never have lit that candle because the smell makes me want to barf and I have a head ache now and I want to barf and I’m dizzy too which also makes me want to barf” kind of uncomfortable.

I know I’m not going to barf, but the feeling that I’m out of control of how I’m feeling. The nice thing is that just admitting it makes me feel a little better. That, and I’m going to go to bed in a little less than an hour. I’m wiped.

Why did I light that dang candle? Oh that’s right, in the New Age store it was touted to inspire creativity to the sufferer smelling it. It’s not outside on our porch. I’ll let the creatures of the night take it away – maybe a possum or one of the two strays we feed will want it to decorate their hidey-holes. I will never light that dang thing again. Now I remember why it was sitting in the corner of a room collecting dust – blech!

I was creative before I light the candle. I’ve been pretty busy today. I had two projects to turn in. I was messing around with the background of the calendar I was trying to make. That’s it below. The only piece that’s mine is the bust of the Madonna and Christ child. The sugar skull painting, which I love is one I found on I ended up with another background altogether – the guy with the umbrella. The illustration came from The Graphics Fairy (LOVE her vintage graphic stock!). I don’t know why I am stuck on using vintage pictures in the background. But that’s what I ended up with.

Untitled-2  wdeckermiller_pBp1

















What a day. I’m terribly glad its over. One day down, five more to go and then there I can relax. Until then I will soothe my anxious soul with school work, work work, and flipping between Breaking Dawn 1 & 2 and Veronica Mars Season 2 – I know, I know, don’t judge me. I am mentally ill after all.

The Skinny. The Low Down. The Thing We Don’t Talk About.

I did not go on my trip to see Sarah in Philadelphia. I’ve been trying to figure out how to say that and the reason why for the last few days, only to be spared from thinking about it while I had the worst head cold ever last week.

While I don’t need to justify to anyone other than Sarah and myself, I feel that visibility about how an anxiety disorder can wreck things is something that I should share.

Double Trouble!

Double Trouble! That’s me on the left and Sarah on the right. What the heck am I wearing? A purple tank top? WTH?

Two weeks ago when I picked up my blog again, school being the biggest reason I don’t write in it, I posted a couple of times about the trip and my worries. That week I had also been given some bad news about my health that require huge changes (with little support for how to make those changes by my doctor). So by Wednesday of that week I was so in a tizzy that my anxiety was acting out in other ways besides the usual panic attacks.

This is something I’ve been able to track – sometimes when I’m really anxious about something I will instead project my anxiety onto something else instead of the thing I’m actually anxious about. Why? I have no idea. This time it was school. I’m on the quarter system so I go to school for 10 weeks and then have a couple of weeks off before the next quarter begins. I’ve been going to school since September 2011. All four quarters: Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer.

The stress of school, working full time, and trying to not let that stress interfere with my relationship with my husband is really hard. I sometimes fail miserably and the balance goes all wonky. I was only into week 2 when my anxiety about the trip started. I should have really considered my school schedule along with my trip before I made any plans. But as someone with my disorder, I often feel guilty that my anxiety and depression keep other people from having any fun with me. The “People Pleaser” in me comes out in full force instead of being honest.

So I had crying break down. I did a couple of stupid things – remember I’m projecting my anxiety – and emailed some professors and classmates about the “unfairness” of a class we are required to take. I’m so embarrassed. It was a stupid email. Finally my husband asked me, “What is really going on?” And that’s when I broke. We decided together and later validated by Sarah and my therapist that the trip just wasn’t in my cards just yet. Oh its there, and its going to happen but maybe not when I’m not going to school and working and maybe not after I’ve gotten some crappy news that equally makes me anxious but also depresses me.

So there it is. I didn’t go. I ended up catching a horrible head cold and spent my vacation time in bed. But it was the best stay-cation ever. I really needed the rest and the sleep I got. I’m back at work today. Yesterday I did some homework. I feel a little more clear headed than I did a week ago.

I’m also not stressing about school. The class is crap. That’s how I feel about it. I know several other people in my class who feel the same way, so at least I’m not alone. I also talked to my professor and he knows how badly I’m struggling and has offered to help me as much as possible – as long as I ask for the help. So we’ll see. I’m shooting for a C in that class. It’s not an A or a B but its realistic. Finger’s crossed. Six more weeks to go.

Baby Steps = Mini-Adventures

Today was an amazing day. But I need to back up…

I work in a department that focuses on teaching and supporting service and leadership opportunities to our university students and the community. I’ve worked there since May 2012 and was immediately impressed by the students’ passion for service. My office has several different types of service projects that students can participate in throughout the year. Some are on campus, in our community, and some require travel, even internationally. At the end of the year we hold two awards ceremonies for the students to honor them and the work they do. One is the Presidential Service Award and the other is the Impact Awards (where we honor not only the students but our community partners for their service too).

I started to think about my first time as an undergrad. I never did service. I think I did two service projects but only because my theater honor fraternity, that I was Vice President of, decided to give it a shot. But never sought out service projects on my own. So now I that I’m back in school I thought, you know, I should give this a shot!

During one of our staff meetings people started to talk about the extra help they could use for various events, and that if anyone not involved in the event wanted to volunteer to let them know. This was really directed toward our graduate assistants and our AmeriCorp *VISTA rep. I emailed the directors and told them that I wanted to volunteer.

Today was amazing. I joined my colleagues and 600+ university students for our annual fall day of service. I went around to the different service sites and took pictures and Tweeted with our event hashtag. Being an event photographer is something that makes me feel really confident. Also, going out and about to places I don’t know by myself on my own is something that would have made me feel really anxious, triggered my IBS, and generally make me feel miserable. My day started at 6:40 a.m., hit the day of service event until 12:30 and came on home.


BUT it doesn’t end there – I went out and had lunch at a restaurant BY. MY-SELF! Mike was out hanging with some friends and I needed lunch. My friend Rafa has this great quote on his office door. It basically says that if you make friends with yourself you’ll have a friend forever. I took myself out to lunch and enjoyed my own company thoroughly.

This is not to say that I don’t do things myself, I do, but usually its hanging out at home. I rather enjoyed going to the restaurant. I took my iPad and read a book and just sat and enjoyed the quiet time, my wonderful lunch, and treated myself to a nummy dessert.

Overall, I’d say it was a good day. I did somethings I that used to be a challenge that didn’t even feel like a challenge and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is what I want from my life. Confidence. Good times.


Still Trying

I still have so much anxiety about this trip. I wish I didn’t. It would be really nice to be excited about the trip. I’m debating on making a list of what makes me anxious about this trip. In my head all the reasons are absolutely ridiculous, which makes sense for an agoraphobic. None of our reasons for fears are sound.

Instead of making a list of the things I’m afraid of, at least I’m not making that list tonight, I’ll make a list of things I’m actually excited about. Maybe that will help me feel better.

1. Seeing my best friend. I mean, duh!
2. Getting out of FLORIDA!!! I know that people who don’t live in Florida think Florida is sunshine and beaches and Disney. But my Florida, the real Florida of non-vacations, is oak tree pollen, year round vegetation that blooms and expels this hideous yellow pollen that coats cars, standing water, buildings, anything standing still (even ponds that aren’t still!). And I’m allergic to it. Year round I’m sneezing, I’m itchy, I’m sniffling. At my worst, like this past weekend, my eyes swell up, I get hives, and I’m drugged to the gills with Benadryl and can’t get out of bed.
3. Being in cool temperatures! Florida is still hot in October. Sometimes we will get a nice couple of cool evenings at the end of the month, but that usually happens every other year. Last year was our nice, cool evenings. This year it will be hot. I’ve checked the Philadelphia weather every day and getting excited about having to possibly wear a hoodie or fluffy, fuzzy socks.
4. Chilling out. Vacations are always nice. It’ll be a working vacation as I still have homework I have to do but it won’t be working all day and homework all night….then again

crap this list is becoming less about what I’m excited about and more about the things that make me anxious. CRAP! Okay, okay. Maybe this post should be about what I actually have control over.

1. What I eat. I can control what I eat so I won’t trigger an IBS flare up.
2. Doing my homework. I have this week to buckle down and do the best that I can with my homework. I think I need to schedule office hours with my technical drawing professor because that’s the class that’s throwing me for a loop. Okay, so that’s a good plan.
3. Just talk to Sarah about needing time to do homework. She is taking some art classes herself and suggested I bring my sketch book with me. I guess I thought I’d be doing less technical drawing (it says drawing for design – a lot of us were under the impression that we were taking a graphic design specific drawing class, not a technical drawing class).
4. Make sure I’m drinking lots of water. Been drinking too much soda – a no no for those with anxiety and depression.
5. Call my therapist and talk to her. That’s the first thing I’m going to do tomorrow. She’s pretty cool. I’m hoping she’ll give me some tips. I have lots of tools for calming down in a panic attack and some ideas on how to calm anxiety; but sometimes I just need to re-hear it.

Ugh. I hate this. I hate this illness so much. I hate how it can twist normal worries into catastrophes. Or even non-worries into worries and then catastrophes.

You know, I would love, LOVE to hang on to this one thing that makes me excited. I’m a photographer. Well, I like to think I’m a photographer. I love iphone-ography too. I’ve seen some really amazing photographs taken on phones. I use my iPhone more than I use my DSLR. Anyway, I want to take pictures of myself in the airport. In the plane. Of the clouds outside the window. Of Sarah and I at the airport. And then do it all again on the way home. That, for some reason, is something I think is marvelous. A lot of the artists I follow on Instagram take photos of their adventures from start to finish. I remember thinking a while ago how I’d like to have an adventure I could document start to finish. Guess I’m getting my wish granted.