Tag Archives: anxiety

I feel you, and it hurts

YesI love this quote. Because it is exactly my life. All the time.

I love how a necktie on a mannequin can inspire a color palette for a design idea. I know (and so does Mike) that I’m most likely going to break down into tears overwhelmed by the beauty/stillness/sadness/love/passion in paintings when we visit art museums. I am way too happy to walk the aisles of the linen section feeling the blankets, testing for the ultimate in softness. I accept that I can get overly happy for others I barely know because they’re excited about something wonderful happening to them. It’s weird; but it’s fun being joyful like that.

Sadly, there is a dark side to being so sensitive. Every good thing about being highly sensitive ying yangs with something not as inspiring or happy. There is an exhausting, depressing, harmful side that when unchecked can take me down a rough road. Because being this sensitive is my life, it is a constant struggle to balance the beautiful inspiration everywhere and feeling everybody’s everything. It’s exhausting because this is my life all the time.

All.

The.

Time.

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So when things hit the fan, I have to be careful. Or down the yellowed with grime brick road I go. I still struggle to protect myself from “bad energy” (I hate using quotes as if it’s just a metaphor for something that’s not really true). This last week was a doozy energy-wise.

I finally had to check myself because I could feel this pull – exhaustion, feeling sick, struggling through the brain fog. I checked in with a friend, too, who understands my sensitivity all too well. We agreed that I was not protecting myself from negative elements around me.

My friend and I had lunch. He got me soup. It’s over 90 degrees right now in Florida. But that soup was life giving. It was like eating soup when you have a bad cold, shivering with fever. It fills you with warmth. I swear my friend put a dose of healing energy into that soup too. He’s cool that way; magical even. By the time we broke to go back to work I felt much better. He helped me get some clarity, release the monkeys I was trying to corral, and embrace the only monkey I have ANY control over: Me.

Then I had 5 days to myself. Five glorious, detoxifying days to myself. I feel so much better. Mentally/emotionally it was easier to maneuver in life today. I’m still grateful for being able to feel the texture of colors and see music. But I am grateful to have a friend (friends) who help me realize when I’m spiraling, when I don’t need to know something because it really doesn’t have anything to do with me, and encourage me when inspiration strikes. Because, for all the bad of sensitivity, there is the beauty. I choose to embrace the beauty as much as I possibly can.

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Being Rude for My Sanity

how-to-get-through-a-panic-attack‘Tis true. Please do not tell me to calm down if I am having a panic attack. I’ll probably hit you or cry. Probably both. You’ve been warned.

I know what I need to do to get me through a panic attack. And that might just mean that I have to walk away from you, not attend your party, go into a dark room and come out when I’m ready.

In other words, sometimes my illness makes me seem rude. But if I don’t follow what I know to get me through my panic attack (and to lesser extent, an anxiety attack) the hurt will rain down on me.

No one likes a friend/co-worker dry-heaving in the car/office.

I’ve been fortunate enough (I guess…some days it doesn’t feel very fortunate) that my co-workers feel comfortable coming to me and chatting about their lives. A co-worker mentioned recently that I should have “therapist” added to my job description. Sometimes a secretary is a lot of like a bartender-type therapist. You come to us because you think we know where everything is (usually we do *wink*) and then that leads to some belief that we will also listen to your life stories.

But being so approachable has drawbacks. The big one for me: If you have a stomach ache and feel sick to your stomach and tell me about it I’m probably going to lose my shit. I have Emetophobia: “a fear of vomiting. Most people don’t know that this fear is common enough to have its own name. Yet vomit phobia can be a disabling condition which severely limits the lives of those who struggle with it.”

Yeah, disabling doesn’t even cover the panic attacks I used to have. A large and belly-full belch could incite gagging in me. Seeing someone chew their food with their mouths open would create a panic attack. Emetephobia is a real thing. “Some are afraid that they will vomit. Others are afraid of seeing others vomit. Most have trouble describing what they fear will happen if they vomit, or see others vomit, but vaguely fear some terrible loss of control, a catastrophe from which they won’t recover. They fear insanity, death, endless vomiting, and so on. Most times they can recognize that these catastrophes aren’t really going to result from vomiting. But when they feel that vomiting may occur, then they don’t feel so sure.”

So, please, please don’t take offense if I ask you to stop talking to me about your stomach ache and upset tummy. I don’t want to be rude but at the same time I don’t want to have a panic attack. A co-worker today was quite ill. I don’t know what happened, thank God, but after seeing my co-worker leaving the office looking horrible I started to get those feelings of panic. I was taught how to rationalize what is obviously an irrational fear, but I needed sometime by myself to do it. Which I couldn’t get. So I had a conversation with another co-worker, who luckily did all the talking while I talked to myself in my head, and was able to calm down. I did my best not to run in fear (which I’ve done) when I saw my other co-worker. Later I was able to offer a ginger ale. I keep a stash of them in my desk drawer if I should feel queasy for any reason.

Maybe some day I won’t immediately freak out, even if just in my head, when someone isn’t feeling well.

 

“Overcome Emetophobia: Fear of Vomiting.” Overcome Emetophobia: Fear of Vomiting. Anxiety Coach, 5 Aug. 2014. Web. 4 Sept. 2014.

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 Pinterest.com. 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.

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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.

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.