R&IHiya friends, welcome back. Let’s set the scene, shall we? I am currently laying on the couch, surrounded by tissues, water, cough drops, and inhalers. There is also my homework somewhere under the blankets and pillows. I’ve been alternating between sleeping, watching TV (Rizzoli & Isles, I’m a sucker for crime procedural), working on homework, and reading. To be fair, that list is only happening between bouts of coughing or sneezing.

In the last three days, I have seen two doctors, the first of which diagnosed me with an Upper Respiratory Infection, the second added on Bronchitis. For those wondering, the reason I went to the second one was because my trouble breathing got worse and that tends to give the Asshole just enough wiggle room to turn my life into a recreation of Twister. Good movie, terrible real life.

For some reason, once everything has a name, it helps shut Asshole up. He can’t convince me I’m dying of some unknown disease if I know what I have. Don’t get me wrong, this does not stop him from trying his luck. Like most of the world, I don’t like being sick; unlike most of the world, I have to deal with some of the worst panic attacks I’ve ever had because I’m sick. I have been known to spend nights wide awake when I’m sick, even though I know not sleeping will just make it worse.

The past couple of nights I’ve been fighting with the Asshole, and trying to get better. Honestly, I just keep hoping to wake up and be all better. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m still holding out for it. Meanwhile, I’m popping cough drops like candy, I’ve gone through an entire box of tissues, my nose hurts, and I sound like I could audition to sing the theme song from Shaft (bring it on, Isaac Hayes). Can ya dig it?

As far as how I’ve been handling things, before today I might have said rather well. I am, however, hitting maximum handling ability, which means tonight will be spent curled up Whinyin bed just trying to keep the Asshole in his place. It’s only 9pm and I’m already debating going upstairs and assuming the position of someone who wishes to wallow in self pity. In case you haven’t guessed yet, I’m a massive baby when I’m sick. I’ve asked my mother if she agrees with this and she says she doesn’t, but I strongly suspect she’s lying to make me feel better in my feeble state.

Okay, I think this is all I have in me tonight. I’m knackered (I’ve also been watching a lot of British television) and my bed sounds really good right now. As usual, there are two numbers down at the bottom, the National Suicide Prevention Helpline, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Referral Helpline, use them if you need them. See you lovely lot tomorrow.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

SAMHSA: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)


Still Sick, Need Sleep.

Two trips to the doctor in two days. Anxiety and illness are competing at an 8, should be an interesting night. I’ll update you all tomorrow.

Short and Sweet

Hiya friends, welcome back. I hope you don’t mind but this is going to be a short and sweet post. I have generally been writing every night about my day, and then posting the next day. Well, yesterday I woke up feeling a little sick and it got progressively worse by last night, so I made the executive decision to sleep instead of write.

Sunday morning I woke up with a cough, and by last night the cough had morphed into a sore throat and pain in my chest with every cough. Being sick makes the Asshole think it’s play time, so he always find ways to wiggle in. It’s usually by way of trying to convince me that I’m really sick, and might possibly die. I spent a good part of the day just trying to push past feeling shitty – convinced it was allergies – and get some stuff done. Hobbs and I did do the food shopping for the month and I was actually really proud of myself for getting that done at least.

When we got home, I worked on some homework, and then just zoned and played some video games with Hobbs. We were in bed rather early, which is crazy for me, but I definitely needed it. In case you’re wondering, I went to a doctor today because I woke up worse. I have an Upper Respiratory Infection, but I’m on some stuff to help, so here’s to feeling better.

Of course, in typical fashion I had to get sick just as a new term was starting. Which means my life for the foreseeable future is going to be full of the humanities (not my favorite class). Okay, that’s all I really have to say today, and I have a shit ton of homework to do, and medicines to take. I’ll be back tomorrow, hopefully with more to report. As usual below are two numbers, the National Suicide Prevention Helpline, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Referral Helpline, use them if you need them. See you lovely lot tomorrow.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

SAMHSA: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

Singing Birds and Purple Pills

Hiya friends, welcome back. I am happy to report that my anxiety/panic was nowhere to be found this morning. Which means I was finally able to get all the stuff done that didn’t while I was busy dealing with the Asshole. Let’s talk about it.

My four daySo, I woke up rather chipper this morning – it was definitely a ‘right side of the bed’ start for sure. I was basically waiting for the birds to fly through the window to help me brush my hair. I actually think I whistled as I walked down the stairs. I was at a four and loving life. On four days, things get done, people. Notes get taken to get ahead for next term, kitchens get cleaned, meals get planned and shopping lists are written. I was on a roll today. I even debated cleaning the bathrooms…granted I didn’t but honestly, no one in a good mood chooses to clean toilets.

When Hobbs got home from work we went to Bed, Bath and Beyond, armed with coupons (cause how can you not be, they send them out every single day), and a plan for a new spice rack. In the end, we didn’t get a spice rack, but there is a new food scale and meat thermometer downstairs ready to go. When we left the store, Hobbs asked if I wanted to eat out tonight, and usually, I just laugh at his silly proposal of normalcy, but it was a four day and I was feeling daring. Hobbs and I haven’t actually eaten in a restaurant, alone, for a VERY long time, and I would usually say that is due to crippling anxiety and debilitating panic attacks that no one needs to see, but after tonight, I’m thinking that might not be the only reason. Within five minutes of ordering our food, Hobbs had a hand covered in barbecue sauce. His depth perception is shit and he legit poured it all over his hand while trying to get it into a little cup. That wasn’t all Sir Bonehead did, either. We get our food and are enjoying some light conversation between bites, and the next thing I know, there’s barbecue sauce all down his white shirt. Seriously, I can’t take him anywhere. I know I’ve said it a lot this post but I really love four days.

While we were out to dinner, one of the conversations that came up was the blog and how it was going. Hobbs was with me when I was diagnosed and Panic1subsequently watched me try everything in an attempt to get my brain to sit down, shut up, and be “normal.” He has also seen every high and low I’ve ever had on this journey. He asked tonight if I was going to be talking about some of the darker moments in my mental health history and recovery, “like the shitty meds they tried that I got rid of? Or the time the darkness almost swallowed you?” I told him that I was planning on being very honest, but I also wanted whatever I wrote this month to be organic. I have a list of topics that could be talked about, but I’m trying to let them tell me where they fit.

So, for Hobbs, I want to talk about my choice to not take medication. I know that the hope is, by taking medication, if the right combo could be found, everything would stabilize and I might be able to feel more like I did today on a regular basis. The issue is, when I took the medications the doctor prescribed, that’s is not at all what happened for me. I can remember it so clearly, after a week of not being able to leave our apartment because I couldn’t make it through the door without collapsing to the floor and struggling to breathe, I made the decision to see a doctor. The first appointment was with my GP. After hearing my symptoms, he referred me to a psychiatrist that worked in his building. The week leading up to that appointment was fucking horrible. I was convinced that they were going to lock me up or have me committed, because as I was telling myself “no normal person reacts to the outside world like this.” Please remember I didn’t know anyone with anything like this, so I was positive this was me losing my damn mind.

The day of the appointment rolled around, and as I walked into the office I was chairimmediately on edge. I just felt like something wasn’t going to be right. Lucky me, I didn’t have to describe my feelings, because the doc had a front row seat to one of my more spectacular panic attacks. Within minutes I was in full-blown fight or flight mode, fingers gripping the arms of the chair (looking back I felt cheated there wasn’t a couch), I started to hyperventilate, my legs were shaking uncontrollably, and my stomach was churning. I was wound so tight in that moment, I bit my lip and the next thing I know, I’m holding a tissue to my mouth trying to stop the bleeding. The doctor talked me through it, I can remember hearing her voice saying “Listen to me, focus on my voice, breathe like I’m breathing.”

Fifteen minutes. That’s how long it took her to calm me down, fifteen minutes. When I could breathe at a normal rate again, the next words out of her mouth were, “How long have you been having panic attacks like that?” I also remember my very intelligent response, “What?” For the next thirty minutes, she proceeded to ask me questions all about the feelings that I’d been having (shocker, huh?) and how often they were happening. When I told her every day, more than once a day, the look on her face made me realize something was wrong with me. Out came the prescription pad, and I left with instructions to take a pill once a day and that she would see me in a week. I remember having a feeling of relief as I got in my car. I was broken, but I also had a name for what was happening now. That was the day I was diagnosed with GAD and as she put it, “a strong shot of panic to boot.” I think she was trying to make me laugh, it didn’t work, I don’t think she understood humor.

When I made it home, prescription in hand, I sat on the couch and bawled my eyes out. I was relieved that I knew what it was and that these magic pills would help, and I was distraught that I knew what it was and I was now officially “crazy.” I don’t think I moved until Hobbs came home, and the first thing out of his mouth when he saw me sprawled on the couch was, “I take it the appointment didn’t go well?” I just held the pill bottle aloft and shook it. I might have mumbled something along the lines of, “crazy pills, chill pills, same difference.” I think I totally expected him to grab his shit and screw out the door. We had only been married three months, and his vows said nothing about staying with the crazy girl. Instead, he took the bottle, read the label and said, “I’ll remind you tomorrow morning to take them after breakfast.” Interestingly enough, I knew right then I had made one of the best decisions I’d ever make in my life when I married him.

The bathroomCut to two months later and the magic pills hadn’t done shit. I was still crippled by my anxiety. I had spent more time face down on the carpet than anywhere else in my apartment. My dosage had been adjusted and played with, and still nothing. The next appointment, Doc decided to wean me off of those and try something else. From there, we tried two other medications, and then finally the doozy. The last pill got ripped out of my hands, by Hobbs, within a month. I was worse and he could see it. I went from maybe being functional at certain parts of the day, to being…yup I’m going to use the term…a basketcase. I couldn’t even take a shower, I would get up and go turn the water on and Hobbs would come in 15 minutes later to find me crying on the floor in the fetal position. I remember thinking one night, that it would just be easier to die in my sleep, than have to walk into that doctor’s office and try another fucking pill. I knew I didn’t want to die but I did want this feeling to stop. I wanted to stop seeing the bad outcome in everything. I wanted to be the happily married newlywed who made people sick because she couldn’t stop gushing over her new husband. I needed to feel alive, and not this shell of the person I used to be. At my next appointment, I walked in and said, “No more pills. If you can’t help me without them, then you can’t help me period.” That was the last time I saw that doctor, and the last time I ever took a pill.

Now, let me explain something: just because they don’t – or maybe can’t – work for me, does not mean they won’t work for everyone else. Maybe my brain is the rainbow.jpgadverse to meds, who the fuck know, all I can tell you is they didn’t work for me and that’s why I don’t use them. If you use them and have found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, I’m very happy for you that you have. I will never judge anyone for how they choose to handle their life. Whether you take meds or you don’t, we are all on this fucked up ride together.

Okay, I think this is the end of this post, because honestly, it’s harshing my four day. Not to mention it’s like 2am, and I have to be up at 6 to give the furry overlord his drugs. Remember, there are two numbers down at the bottom, the National Suicide Prevention Helpline, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Referral Helpline, use them if you need them. See you lovely lot tomorrow.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

SAMHSA: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

Rollercoasters and Mazes

Hiya friends, welcome back. Holy shit, I have had a very weird day. After yesterday, I was hoping today would be a little better, and luckily, it was. The Asshole didn’t hang around all day, but he did make a few guest appearances. My friend likes to joke that the week of my period should be known as “date week” between Flo and the Asshole. Personally, I love that visual; a passive-aggressive woman sitting at the bar, drinking a cosmo and chatting up a greaseball chugging bourbon on the rocks, while Lady in Red plays on the jukebox (see what I did there?). A little humor among an otherwise shitty time.


roller coaster
This makes me think of the Asshole standing in front of the roller coaster.

The day after a particularly anxious time is a somewhat uncomfortable one for me. It’s almost like I’m caught in between two realms. One where I am feeling really drained, and the other where I just want to move on. This feeling tends to cause me to roller coaster through the day. I’ll be fine for a little bit and then the anxiety hits again; it’s a constant feeling of up and down. This is what I felt today. Sometimes it’s even more annoying than the actual anxiety or panic, because at least when that’s over my body can relax. When that feeling of up and down happens, it’s like my entire body is on high alert just waiting for the next panic attack to swoop in.


So, I spent most of my day having (and preparing to have) panic attacks. Granted the ones that ended up happening weren’t terrible, I’ve had definitely had worse. I like to refer to this as rolling panic attacks, I think it’s very fitting. They just sort of happen and then wane off. I don’t know if anyone out there has panic attacks but every doctor I’ve ever seen told me not fight them. Just let them get on with it and move on. There are many things I’ve tried that doctors told me would work, and quite a few of them didn’t (at least not for me), but I learned very quickly to stop fighting the panic attacks. When I fought them it seemed like they were growing and would quickly get out of control. I’d literally be white knuckling my way through them, all while trying to get them to just stop.

We went to the store tonight, just a quick trip to get a few things until we can do

Pretty generic, but close.

a proper shop this weekend. Now, when I go out anywhere, I try to lock the Asshole up inside a maze. Before we walk into anywhere, I sort of go quiet because I’m focusing on fortifying the maze to keep him from busting out and causing me to run out of the store. I know the maze sounds absolutely ridiculous but it has actually worked.


This is one of those weird things where, if you don’t struggle with something like this, it’s hard to imagine having to retreat inside and build a maze inside your brain, all for the purpose of being able to do something as simple as grocery shopping. Honestly, though, this is less annoying than having to leave a shopping cart full of food as you quickly walk to the nearest exit. People tend to stare when they see a someone moving fast toward an exit, which makes me feel even more anxious because I can’t only imagine what they’re saying about me.

I’m afraid that’s all I have for today, folks. As usual below are two numbers, the National Suicide Prevention Helpline, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Referral Helpline, use them if you need them. I’ll see you lovely lot tomorrow.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

SAMHSA: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

Unedited and Unapologetic

Hiya friends, welcome back. First things first, my damn app lied to me, stupid period showed up today, and of course, we are having record high temps. In case you’re wondering, heat + period = a very anxious and unhappy me. Now, I’m not at ten or anything, but when these things combine I definitely end up finding a new normal for a few days. Right now, it’s 12 am, and I’m easily bouncing between a seven and eight.

MonstersLet’s walk through the day because I swore to be honest. I had trouble sleeping all night, while I love the warm weather, being too warm causes me some serious sleeping problems. Basically, I get too warm and my brain translates it into not feeling well, ie being warm equals having a fever which happens when you’re sick. What’s weird is that typing that out makes me realize how outrageous that really is, but that is pretty much how the Asshole operates. He takes something completely natural, like a beautifully warm spring day, and it becomes illness and sadness. He really is a dickhead!

I think because I struggled to get to sleep last night, I just knew waking up this morning was going to be shitty. Before I even opened my eyes, I knew the Asshole was in the room. I could feel the heaviness in my chest, and the cramps told me something else had showed up early. I tried to do my usual check-in, but honestly, within a few seconds, I knew it wasn’t a good idea. Like I said yesterday, sometimes it’s just going to make matters worse. I also knew immediately why it was happening, and while normally I might try to lounge in bed for a while, I needed to get up because there were things to be done. Mainly, a dog barking at me to go out.

I got up and tried to get my stuff done, truthfully I just wanted to rush through it so I could kind of wallow in my cramps, PMS, and who knows maybe annoy the Asshole by making him watch all of the crime documentaries I can find on Netflix. I mean, if he’s going to be around and ruin my fucking day, you bet your ass I’m gonna get annoy the piss out of him. Seriously, I keep trying to convince myself that it’ll scare him off, hasn’t worked yet but I’m not giving up. Okay, that was a tangent, and welcome to my ADHD.

Locked upAfter a while today, I think I just took my own damn advice from yesterday and sort of wrote the day off. Side note: I did watch a crime doc show on Netflix. I basically did just enough to ensure that the dog didn’t piss in a corner of the house. I didn’t cook dinner so we ordered out. I didn’t work on getting ahead for next term. Oh, I also went for a drive in the AC (Hobbs forgot his meter at work, so I took him to get it). Screw it.

It did get me thinking though and I wanted to talk about how when the Asshole shows up it can become really difficult for me to do certain things. The best way to explain what I’m talking about is to use these posts as my example. I love to write, it’s something that I enjoy doing and at times I even think I’m pretty fucking good at it. Enter Asshole, and my passion turns into loathing. I find myself struggling to find words, and when I do find them – if I find them – they sound stupid.

Full disclosure: I began this post last night, and I’m still working on it today. I have written and deleted sentence after sentence because they just sound lame, and I immediately think someone will read them and think I’m stupid. There is honestly no other way to put that, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t try to make it sound a little less…stupid. I hate when I struggle with almost anything, especially my creativity because it’s something I feel is very defining to who I am. So, when Recordsomething comes along and fucks that up I tend to be left feeling extremely defeated in the end. I will second guess every single word that I’ve typed, every sentence I have uttered to anyone throughout the day becomes a sticking point in my brain. Imagine having a record player in the room you’re always sitting in, it’s always on, there is always noise coming from it, but it’s constantly repeating the same line. That is what it’s like when the Asshole decides I’m shitty at something. Particularly idiotic things I’ve said or written become immortalized in his “Greatest Hits,” to be pulled out and replayed when he decides I need to be knocked off my high horse. I have a saying that I have told everyone in my life at least one, “you can never make me feel as bad as I can make myself feel.”

This is what my day was like yesterday, this is the honesty I promised you. There are times when I make jokes about my brain and how it fucks with me, and I can pull myself out of the loop and laugh at the Asshole’s attempts. Then there are times like now, where I can feel the burning in the back of my throat from tears I refuse to let fall. It’s a bitch when your own brain works to effectively dismantle everything you think you know about yourself.

I think it’s pretty safe to say this is all you’re going to get out of me today, my friends. As usual below are two numbers, the National Suicide Prevention Helpline, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Referral Helpline, use them if you need them. I’ll be back tomorrow, and I hope you guys will too.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

SAMHSA: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

Taking the Scenic Route

Hiya friends, welcome back. It’s about 10:30 pm, and I am just now getting around to writing this post. I found myself quite busy throughout the day, between the housewife duties, and prepping for next term.

Check insI guess, the smart way to do this from now on is to just jump into my day. The first good thing I can report is that I had no anxiety last night, I actually fell asleep rather early (1:30am is early, no matter how you look at it). I woke up and did the usual mini check in with myself. In case you’re wondering what a check-in is, let me explain. Within the first couple of minutes after my eyes pop open in the morning, I take a couple seconds to take a mental inventory. I’m basically just seeing where I am along my scale. In all honesty, I try not to spend any more than a minute doing this, only because it can lead to jumping numbers. Example: I wake up at a lovely four, and then spend too long taking inventory and the next thing I know, the Asshole shows up and starts his “Greatest Hits” playlist, and hello ten.

After the check-in, I just went about my usual morning routine. Ya know, get dressed, take the dog out, brush teeth, double check that I gave the cat his insulin..etc. There was a little hiccup when I realized we didn’t have a lemon for the marinade for dinner. Now, I knew last night we didn’t have a lemon and that Hobbs was going to grab one on his lunch and drop it off to me. This tiny fact did not stop Asshole from popping up with hisAnxiety Girl two cents, “What if he doesn’t remember, and doesn’t bring one, then there is no marinade, which means no dinner, which means Hobbs will have blood sugar issues all night, which means he could end up in the hospital…” Logically, I know this isn’t the natural progression of things. IF he did forget, I would have just made an adjustment to dinner and we both would have eaten, no big deal. One of the fun things about anxiety is Spock (geek hint: Spock is highly logical) plays no role in it. I am constantly thinking worst case scenario. It’s pretty safe to say I’m who you want on your apocalypse team; I will make sure you are prepared for everything.

The hiccup didn’t last long and pretty soon I was well into my day with no blips on the radar. I got my lemon and prepped dinner (which, in the end, was delicious), cleaned and had a long and lovely catch up with my best friend who currently lives across the country. All in all, my day was pretty good, and I’m thankful for it. I can only hope tomorrow goes just as well, but if it doesn’t I’ll find a way to push through and you guys will get to hear all about it.

Speaking of pushing through (oh, that segue was seamless), that’s the other thing I wanted to write about today. After I was diagnosed I got told to push through the anxiety A LOT, usually by people who had no clue that sometimes that’s just not a fucking option. Family and friends, well the ones who knew, would constantly say, “It’ll only get worse if you don’t push back,” which again is a fairly logical idea. To be fair, my issue wasn’t with their logic, it was more the fact that they had no idea what was happening inside my brain. I said yesterday that the early days of my anxiety were terrible, my brain was whirring with these horrible things. I would try and push through so no one knew what was happening. One of the better examples I have is about a particularly grueling trip to WalMart. I smiled the whole fucking way through that store, but in reality, my brain was constantly searching for the closest exit, just in case something happened and we needed to get out. Then there was the night at Olive Garden where I sat in the car while my family stuffed their faces full of delicious breadsticks and salad, simply because the thought of stepping foot in the restaurant caused my stomach to audition for the Olympic gymnastics team.

I guess, what I’m getting at is, sometimes it’s not possible to just “push through.” Sometimes the only way to survive with your sanity intact is to run the fuck away as fast as you can. In the beginning, no one ever told me that running away was okay. I thought that if I couldn’t push through I was somehow failing at having anxiety. I had a doctor once parrot that stupid fucking quote (and I love me some Robert Frost), “the best way out is always through.” Fuck, that annoyed me. I remember thinking, “Easy for you to say, Doctor Jackass. You’re not the one in physical pain because your brain is a giant asshole (see, told you he named himself).”

Not OkayIt would have been so helpful to hear just one person say that it was okay if I couldn’t always push through. Sometimes, you just need to live in that feeling for a little while, and that’s okay. Sometimes, you have to retreat inside and engage in mental martial arts with an asshole, and that’s okay. So, I’m going to tell you – the person who can’t just “go through” – what I wish someone would have said to me seven years ago: if you can’t push through today, it does not mean you have failed yourself. Sometimes, you have to take the scenic route to get to the other side, and sometimes…that’s where the prettiest flowers grow. Sometimes, pushing through looks less like smiling through the agony and more like continuously waking up to fight the same battle every day with a tear-stained face. Mental health/illness is not a one size fits all thing, we all have a different journey to take to find the happiness again. I used to think that I was failing, but now I see what I’m really doing – I’m finding my strength through the struggle.

Welp, that’s all I have to say, I think. I mean, I could say more but there’s still like 28 posts to write for the month. It’s been a few days now, I’m sure you guys know what’s coming next. Below are the numbers for the National Suicide Prevention Helpline, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Referral Helpline, use them if you need them. See you lovely lot tomorrow.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

SAMHSA: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

It’s All In My Head…

Hiya friends, welcome back. So, here it is, my first real post documenting my month for you. The way this has to work, as I’m writing in real time, is that my posts will be a day behind essentially, I hope that makes sense. For example, I’m writing this on May 1st, and it’ll go up on May 2nd. I’m sure as we progress through the month, it’ll become easier to understand.

anxietyThe easiest way for me to explain what I go through to you, is to use the same explanation I give my family and friends who don’t understand how my anxiety works. I use a scale system, so for example on a typical day, my anxiety is humming in the background at about a four – maybe five – which means this is my “normal.” Really though, all this means is my brain isn’t conspiring against me constantly throughout the day, it’s a manageable annoyance. On a day where my anxiety is particularly terrible, I’ll be at a ten as soon as I wake up. When this happens I know it’s going to be a shitty day, and I’m going to be lucky to accomplish anything at all. During the bad days, just getting out of bed becomes my gold star moment.

The next thing we should cover really quickly is how I refer to my anxiety. I’m a writer, so I tend to personify things, needless to say, my anxiety is no different. His name is Asshole. Not my most original name, I know, but it’s fitting and honestly, I think he named himself. He is an asshole, and there are times that I absolutely loathe the sight of him, but in the clear light of day, I am often reminded that it’s my fucking brain that created this asshole.

Okay, I’ve procrastinated enough, let’s do this. I guess I have to start with lastI'm glad you asked night because that’s when shit went down. One of the things I’m very aware of is how my anatomy impacts my anxiety. I’m not mincing words here, so fuck it. When my period is impending it seems that Asshole goes off the fucking rails. Here we are (quick consult of the handy app) 4 days out from my period and I was pretty anxious last night and this morning. On the scale, I was about an eight. I tend to sort of struggle once I hit anywhere above my “norm,” the only thing that changes is how I struggle. Sometimes, it’s as simple as I just need a reset. In those times I curl up with a book or on the couch and just let the feelings pass. Thankfully, this is how my day went today. I just sat here at my computer, binge-watched some YouTube (currently watching a documentary by Stephen Fry about his Bipolarity, which I highly recommend!), worked on homework, and threw myself into writing this. Within about two hours of waking up, I could feel the Asshole backing up a little. My brain slowly came back to being mine, and the other shitty symptoms just let go. Don’t get me wrong, this is not the usual way things happen for me. I think, sometimes I just find my rhythm quicker. That’s also not to say that my anxiety and panic isn’t happening at all now. I still feel off, but I can manage it and work through it.

Now, with that out of the way, I wanted to talk about this idea that as a society we can believe that someone has diabetes, even though we can’t actually see it, right? It’s a physical ailment, they have a sick body. But we cannot fathom that someone could potentially have a sick brain?

I mean, Hobbs has Type 1 Diabetes and the only way people would know is if you notice the thin tubing running from his pump to his pocket, or if you shake his hand and see the tattoo he sports in place of jewelry. My issue is that while you can’t actually see his illness, he has absolutely no problem telling people that he’s diabetic. Funnily enough, the one thing I’ve never seen happen, is someone tell him that he doesn’t have this particular illness, or someone say that he just needs to get over it. Cut to someone asking me why I ran out of a busy store, or why I left a party, and me saying that I have an anxiety and it was just too much so I needed to leave. Wanna know what I hear a lot? “Oh, no you don’t.” “That’s all in your mind.” “Just relax and it’ll go away.” (No shit it’s in my mind, hence why it’s called a mental illness.)


It's real
You knew I had to throw in some sage words from Dumbledore.

Why is it so hard for people to believe it when someone says that they have a mental illness? Is it just the fact that they can’t see it? I will say I try my damndest not to let it get to me, but I’d be lying if I said it never did. I live with this thing that affects my life. Every. Single. Day. Mental health is just as important as physical health. It’s real and people every day are dealing with these unseen problems. Here’s a pro tip for you: never judge someone because you never know what they’re dealing with.


And that’s the end of my time today, folks. As usual, there are two numbers at the bottom, the National Suicide Prevention Helpline, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Referral Helpline. I’d say until next time, but really I’ll be back tomorrow.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

SAMHSA: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

A Month Inside My Brain


Hiya friends, welcome back. I don’t know if you guys know this, but May is Mental Health Awareness month. So, I’ve made a decision: this whole month, in an attempt to help reduce the stigma and bring awareness, I’m going to be documenting my personal month dealing with mental health.

The interesting thing is, you are probably going to see one extreme to the other, and everything in between. Like most people who live with mental illness, I have good and bad days. I have days where leaving the house and going grocery shopping is just easy peasy, and then I have days where I’m literally forcing my ass to get out of bed. Though the month, in addition to chronicling my life, I’m also going to be talking about all the things that work for me, and all the things that don’t.

Fun fact: I’m both excited about this and fucking petrified. Just being this brutally and unapologetically (which is very hard for me) honest about my day to day when it comes to my mental health is scary. On one level I know it could be helpful to someone who just might want to know they aren’t alone. On another, it’s frightening to put myself out there like this.

GADI guess, the best way to start this is to give you my rundown. In case you’re new and don’t know, I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and a panic disorder. I think the anxiety and panic was always there growing up, but I was probably just too busy to really focus on it. I wasn’t actually diagnosed, by a real doctor, till about 7 years ago. My life has been a rollercoaster ride of trying to find some semblance of normalcy ever since.

To be truthful, the first year after my diagnosis was hard on me. I tried medication after medication, and doctor after doctor. I seriously struggled with finding myself among the anxiety. It was a scary time in my life, and I think that boils down to never knowing anyone who was dealing with anxiety. I mean, we’ve all heard someone talk about something making them anxious, or feeling anxious, but no one ever told me the full effects of anxiety.

My first anxiety/panic attack was horrible, I was certain I was dying. My heart was racing to the point where I was positive others could see it beating out of my chest, then the chest pains started that made me think I was having a heart attack. I was sweaty and cold all at the same time, and I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath. The nausea and dizziness made me scared to move, which only heightened the panic. Oh man, it was rough, and looking back now, I honestly can’t imagine having to go through that first attack again.

I couldn’t believe people weren’t talking about this, I mean, people had to be dying from it? (Side note: that’s a lovely example of my anxiety right there…my brain takes something completely normal, and not life-threatening and blows it out of proportion.) But then again, in the beginning, I didn’t want to talk about it either. I just had this fear that people (including family and friends) would judge me, or think I was “crazy.” Cut to 7 years later, and now I see how talking about it helps. I mean, it’s really two-fold, I get to get my feelings out, which makes my brain sit down and shut the fuck up, but, by talking about it, I can help someone like me. Someone who may be newly diagnosed and looking for a face in the crowd, looking for anyone who understands just so they know they’re not alone.

Spidy senseI guess, in a roundabout way, what I am trying to say is that I can only hope that by doing this for the entirety of the month of May, that maybe one person will read something that resonates with them. That being said, here is my promise to you: I will be unflinchingly honest about my mental health. Whether it be good or bad, you will read it. Thrown into the daily posts, I’ll try to talk about the how’s and why’s of mine, what works and doesn’t for me, along with all of the ups and downs I’ve lived after anxiety showed up.

You will also notice at the bottom of every post there will be two numbers: the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Referral Helpline, because this is a very real thing. I encourage anyone who is struggling, or feels lost – or knows someone who is – share the numbers, use the numbers. There is no judgment on the other end of those numbers, only help…and hope. Which, to be fair, we could all use a little more of, mentally ill or not.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

SAMHSA: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

Another Reason to Celebrate!

Hiya friends, welcome back. March is totally a celebration month for me, let’s see…my dad’s birthday, Hobbs and I celebrated 10 years (I wrote a blog post about this one, check it out here), and I get to celebrate two years of sobriety. Oh, and if you’re wondering because you read that post, yes, I will have a cheeky glass of alcohol-free wine every once in awhile. Trust me, those two bottles Hobbs brought home Wednesday are now at a bottle and a half.

That’s right, my friends, I quit drinking alcohol two years ago today. It was a decision born from a few really bad months of nonstop panic and anxiety attacks, and a very personal conversation with a family member. I figured in celebration I would give you a little explanation of my decision, the hell that followed, and the realizations I found out of the bottle.

I’m not going to say this was easy by any means because holy shit it was hands down the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. This story is full of anxiety and uncomfortable emotions and in the end a deep sense of accomplishment. This is the story of how I quit drinking.

Two years ago, I was drinking probably a bottle and half to two bottles of wine a night…alone. If we went out with friends and my anxiety got the better of me I could put away quite a few rum and cokes in a night. In turn, I woke up every morning with a hangover that always prompted me to say, “never again.” Ultimately never again never happened before this night.


Keep Calm Wine
Or in my case another bottle!


It was about 10:30 and I had been drinking since noon (wow that sounds bad to say). I got a phone call from a family member and I just remember hanging up and vowing to never drink again. I looked at Hobbs and told him that no matter how much I begged he was not to buy me anymore. I also made the decision to hole up in my house until I was certain I could be trusted around alcohol without temptation sneaking in.

The first few weeks were…rough. I felt horrible and my anxiety was at an all-time high. I barely got out of bed and when I did it wasn’t for very long. My head was spinning, my heart was racing, I felt sick every day, and I was barely sleeping through the night, but I had made a promise to myself to stop and there was no way I was gonna let myself down.

Within two weeks I had made my decision known to everyone in my life who mattered. I kept thinking that by doing this I had not only more support but also people to call me on my bullshit. I knew by having Hobbs, my parents, and my closest friends in on my new journey they would keep me honest and accountable. Looking back on this now I can remember being really proud every day that I wasn’t breaking. I took the embarrassment out of it and I was really open with people. “I don’t know if I’m an alcoholic, but I do know that I have a problem with drinking.” See, my grandfather was a drunk, so people would tell me that it runs in the family, but I knew I couldn’t let it get to the point of no return.


Pink Clouds
Pink Clouds of lies!


Inside of six months, I was feeling better, I didn’t think about drinking and I honestly didn’t even miss it. It was right around this time that I did have the thought that I could drink and never let it go there again, but I never did, I didn’t trust myself. After some research, I found out that this is what recovering alcoholics call the “Pink Clouds.” You start thinking that you can drink without going back to that place, but when you do it’s a slippery slope. I decided to stay away from it altogether.

I was also still struggling with these bouts of feeling great and then going right back into feeling shitty. My anxiety was still being a dickhead, I was panicking at least once a day (and that was a good day). I came to this sudden realization of why I drank like I did, I was coping. I was using the alcohol to be “normal,” letting my brain take a break by getting drunk. If the brain was pickled no one could see my struggle. If I dumped enough alcohol down my throat I could mingle and talk without this nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach that at any second something could go terribly wrong.

I had a shrink tell me once that everyone has coping mechanisms, it’s just some of them are better than others. She then told me that I was the proud owner of two, a good one and a bad one. On one hand, I was never really uncomfortable making jokes at the expense of my anxiety, I used then – and still use now – humor to keep people at a distance. I figure if I make the joke before you can, I win and no one will ever know how anything is for me. Humor became my escape and ultimately became the “good” way to cope. On the other hand, I drank like a fucking sailor during Fleet Week. (For those playing the home game, if you don’t know what Fleet Week is, it’s a week when the Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard dock active duty ships in a port and spend the week ‘sightseeing’ which is code for drinking.) And in case you haven’t figured out where this one falls on the spectrum of coping mechanisms, it’s a bad one.

I knew drinking gave me a sort of false bravado, to be the person everyone knew, the girl who wasn’t afraid of a racy joke or who wasn’t afraid to tell someone to go to hell and the quickest route there. But underneath that was just me, the girl who was both of those things but just wasn’t sure if it was alright to be. I had been through some shitty things in the years leading up to the anxiety and drinking and it definitely changed my perception of the world and I can say with all certainty it changed who I was as a person. Now don’t you go feeling bad for me, this isn’t a sob story, and we all have some shit in our past that changed our future, but I digress.


Good friends are hard to find.


When I quit drinking I also realized a few things about me that my pickled brain hadn’t really had time to see, mainly because I didn’t give it the time it needed before my next drink. The biggest thing I learned was when you change, people change. I made this decision for me and my life, I don’t know if I expected everyone to jump on the new bandwagon but I definitely didn’t think they’d all jump ship together. I guess I’m not too shocked, sober me is quite different to liquored up me. I have less tolerance for ignorance and stupidity, I’m also an adult sober so there’s that. The next thing I figured out was that I like me, granted I can be difficult and I never turn down the opportunity for a pun, but I like being me, anxiety and all.

I think something that really did shock me was just how much booze can cover. It’s a liquid, but damn, you pour enough of that on and you’ve got yourself something of a buffer. Being sober made things clearer, I saw the good and the bad in my life and I set about finding a way to actually fix it. Bandaids weren’t working anymore, I needed to dig out the infection and clear the wound. (Gross analogy, but you get the picture, right?) In the end, I learned that I was tougher than I thought. I learned to face things that I was too afraid to deal with, and I stood toe to toe against them and sometimes I failed. But a lot of times, I walked away the victor with the battle scars to prove it. I’ve never regretted my decision or the things and people I lost because of it. I mean, I still have my humor to get me through such traumatizing events as losing a few fake friends because I don’t drink anymore.

Well, there you have it, my friends. That is the story of how I quit drinking. Please feel free to ask me any questions you might have. Until next time…