“Lasso My Tastebuds…”

Hey friends….welcome back. I know I’ve been absent for a while but I swear I have good reasons. I won’t talk about them yet, but I will soon and then we can all be on the same page. Right now, though I’m gearing up to go to a comedy show AGAIN, except this time it hasn’t been cancelled. I figured that means it’s a good time to give all of you guys a nice update on the CBD oil and how everything seems to be going so far.

First things first, tonight’s show is Kyle Kinane. He’s hilarious and if you haven’t seen or heard anything by him I highly recommend it. I’m super excited to go, and I can actually feel that now thanks to my little foray into CBD oil. I can honestly say that I was completely expecting to wake up this morning and be confronted with an incredible amount of anxiety and panic. Imagine my surprise when I woke up with not even an inkling of my previous nerves, I was feeling a bit crappy BUT for a completely different reason (ear muffs fellas) stupid owning a uterus.

Once I was fully awake I enjoyed my morning vape. Ohhhh, I left out that I got new oil and oh mama it is rather tasty, like yummy strawberry vanilla custard, pretty much cake people…my CBD oil tastes like cake! It was a step up to say the least, the last one tasted like toothpaste and they gave it a funny name Alpine Breeze, that’s false advertising if I’ve ever heard it….anyway, I digress.

My point is, I’ve been able to leave my house, and live amongst people (not that that’s any real great thing). Five months ago my life revolved around this computer, my cat and dog, and books….things are definitely improving and I gotta say it feels lovely. Now the general public gets to hear my amazing sarcasm and humor, lucky them huh?

Well, I hate to cut this short as it feels nice to be back here writing again, but it’s time to take off for my night filled with humor. I promise I won’t leave for that long again. Until next time…

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Pomp and Circumstance

Hiya friends, welcome back. As I promised last week this is my full report on the happenings of my first excursion with CBD oil. This past Friday, my youngest nephew graduated from high school (cue the sappy moment intermingled with the horror that I’m that old). The easiest way to do this is to basically run through the entire day, don’t worry I’ll edit the boring stuff out.

The day before I was pretty anxious and I kept having to find inventive ways to keep my brain occupied so as to not get too bad. I played video games, The Division is an amazing game, I highly recommend it. I used the CBD oil throughout the day, and tried to gauge how much and when to use it to avoid the worst of the panic attacks. It seemed to take the edge off them, which made me feel a little more comfortable with using it the next day.

Then we came to the day of and when I woke I was fully expecting that familiar feeling of dread crushing in on me, but….it wasn’t there. Instead I felt a full range of emotions. Excitement for seeing my nephew walk across the stage and receive the diploma that he’d worked so hard to get. Happiness that it mattered to him that I was there. Sadness at how grown up he is now, and that the little boy he once was is just a memory now. But, pride was probably the biggest one, he did work his ass off and he succeeded in it, and because I remember teaching him how to read when he was 5 and well without reading…you get the picture. I also had a moment of shock that anxiety seemed to be the farthest thing from my brain, it was amazing.

As the day progressed, I used the CBD oil a few times to keep myself from dropping into anxiety and panic. I really didn’t want to let anyone down, not my family, not my nephew, and especially not myself. Then it was time to leave, I was dressed and ready to go thinking to myself, “Oh boy, this is about to go wonky.”

During the drive, everything stayed comfortable for me, which was a completely new feeling. I used the CBD a few more times just to make sure I wouldn’t get inside and go all upside down. Then it was time to put it to the ultimate test, it was time to go inside, find a seat and sit through the ceremony. After finding my parents, we all went to find seats and get ready for the pomp and circumstance (see what I did there?).

I was taking pictures and talking to my family, and it was only after my nephew and his graduating class had walked in and sat down that I realized I wasn’t panicking, there wasn’t even a hint of it.

THE CBD WAS WORKING!!!

So, there I sat waiting to hear my nephews name and being proud, for more reasons than I could count. I sat there from 6pm to about 8:30pm (tons of speeches), and never once did I feel the need to flee. I wasn’t in fight or flight mode, I was calm and enjoying myself. I can’t begin to explain how that feels, when you’ve spent so much time locked in, literally and figuratively, to finally find something that works and makes you feel just a little bit like your old self. My nephew wasn’t the only one graduating that night.

I even managed to go out to dinner, that is something that hasn’t happened in five years. All in all, the day was a massive success. I couldn’t be happier. I swear by this now, and I can’t wait to make more plans and get out of the house this summer.

Well that was my entire day, it was great, and I had fun. I hope you all enjoyed reading it as much as I liked living it. Oh, I’ve been told to put this in here as well…Congratulations to the class of 2017. Until next time…

Venturing out for Sanity

Hiya friends, welcome back. First let me apologize for being absent last week, oh mama what a week it was. There was some massive stuff happening, but I guess I can’t be too pissed because it gave me something to write about today.

*WARNING* Everything that follows is my own personal feelings and experiences, remember while reading that your mileage may vary.

I know I’ve mentioned before that the medications my doctors put me on didn’t work for me, we tried a few and needless to say it was a lost cause. Which left me trying anything and everything to find some sort of relief. Here are some of the things I’ve tried…

Deep breathing, it helped for a while and then I was right back to panic central.

Yoga, ha I did learn on thing from this, I am NOT bendy…AT ALL!!!

Journaling, I still do this, and while it helps me sort through the problems, it doesn’t lessen the anxiety.

The list goes on my friends, seriously ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you. I even forced myself to have panic attacks by going to places I knew would cause one, not smart, but I was running out of options.

Then it happened, a doctor suggested medical marijuana, and I immediately thought to myself, ‘Ummm, yeah no.” I’m anxious enough without THC adding to it, so this option didn’t make sense.

Enter CBD oil.

CBD (cannabidiol) oil gives you the calm without the high, it’s natural and non-psychotropic. Which means you can use it without having to worry about impairment or paranoia.

I’ve been using it for about a week, and even with everything happening I didn’t freak the hell out. I kept my head, and didn’t panic as much as I usually do. That’s a fucking win in my book. I know it’s not a cure all, but if it can help me even a fraction I’m going to give it a shot.

So I ordered a bottle of the oil and a vape pen (I’m being told to add here that “Vape is life!” Don’t ask.) Well I recieved the oil but not the vape, cue the serge of anxiety at not having it in time for my nephew’s graduation ceremony, and having to break yet another promise that I’d be there because he asked me to. There was only one thing to do….I had to leave the house to get one.

Dun Dun Dun…

Immediately my anxiety kicks into high gear thinking about all the possible ways this could go wrong, or all the lovely new places I could have a panic attack, all the strangers that could see that…ugh. See, it’s a bitch.

But, I did it. I got what I needed and now I sit here with this monster of a vape, I’ve affectionately named “The Beast,” and hoping a little CBD before the graduation ceremony and I’ll get through it without any major incidents. *Fingers crossed*

Well, I will let you guys know next Monday how everything went…wish me luck. If you want more info on this I’d be happy to direct you to some helpful stuff I’ve found, or maybe even do another post including everything I’m using. That’s all for tonight, I hope you all had a wonderful week. Until next time…

The Anxiety Cheat Sheet

Hiya friends, welcome back. I was talking to a friend the other day and she told me that a person she loves has been dealing with some anxiety lately and she wasn’t sure how to help. This obviously gave me the perfect idea of what to write about for Mental Monday.

As I sit here writing this I’m having anxiety issues, complete with a few lovely panic attacks. What better time to write this out? (Side Note: if you’re curious, writing calms my mind and keeps my hands busy, it’s a twofer.) What I’ve decided is people need a cheat sheet of sorts, to help them figure out how to help when someone they love has anxiety.

(Warning – This is a long one, my friends. You might want a snack or at least a drink. What follows is what helps me, and while it might not help every anxious person in your life, I’m sure mixing and matching them can work for some. Strong language may follow, I can’t seem to not cuss/swear/curse when talking about this.)

Ten Things to Know That Will Help You Love Someone with Anxiety

  1. Try to steer clear of phrases like “calm down,” any forms of telling them to relax, or sentences starting with “You just need to…”

As an anxious/panicky person, I can tell you right now, telling me to calm down does the exact fucking opposite. In fact, it brings the anxiety straight to the front of my brain where it beats on the glass and gets really fucking annoying. Telling me to relax pretty much has the same effect, trust me I’d relax if I knew how. Lastly by starting a sentence with “You just need to *insert really helpful idea here*” just makes me realize even more that you are fully witnessing my spiral into chaos. Even in the worst, deepest moments of my anxiety, there is still a little voice screaming from the back telling me to “BREATHE DAMMIT,” we know what we need to do.

  1. When/if they decide to tell you what the hell is going on in their brain, please for the love of all that is good in this world do not make them feel dumb, or weak.

Do you have any idea how much courage it takes to battle your brain every day? How many times it would be easier to let your brain win the war? Instead, you choose to push yourself out of bed every morning, or try to push yourself out of your comfort zone and fight back, that is not weakness. As for the dumb factor, we have called ourselves crazy enough for a lifetime, we don’t want to worry about those we love doing the same. It’s bad enough to know your brain is trying to sabotage everything without having to worry about judgment from someone you love enough to share your issues with.

  1. You don’t need to have all the answers to our problems, whether they are real or imagined.

We don’t even know all the little moving pieces of the shadow that follows us everywhere, we certainly don’t expect you to. I know in my vulnerable moments when I actually express the thoughts swirling in my brain, I’m not looking for someone to make sense of it or analyze it with/for me, I just want to share it with someone because when the thoughts are out in the open the shadow isn’t so scary. Think of it this way, it’s kind of like walking in the woods, if you’re with someone the darkness doesn’t seem so massive.

  1. It’s scary as fuck, for BOTH of us.

The feelings that happen in the height of an anxiety or panic attack scare us, even when we’re used to them. The first time you watch the person you love hyperventilate, or break down in tears, or shake so violently you worry there is something else wrong, is scary. That’s okay. It’s okay to tell us it scared you because then we can tell you it scared us as well. Like I said, being used to them doesn’t make them any less frightening.

  1. Pushing through isn’t always an option.

Sometimes the only thing you can do is curl up on the couch and watch the world move without you. In these moments, we might need your help, not in a physical way but emotionally, sit with us, hold us if we’ll let you. You don’t have to talk because sometimes words aren’t needed, just lend us some strength. It’ll help us find our way through, it gives us an anchor to hold onto until it’s over.

  1. Just because you love us, doesn’t mean you always have to like this part of us.

It’s completely okay to not like our anxiety. It’s a bitch when you plan something for weeks only to have the person you love bail on it because their busy fighting an internal war. Just because we can be overly emotional doesn’t mean we expect you to keep all yours concealed for fear of “triggering” us. If you’re mad, say it. If you’re hurt, say it. I know some won’t agree with me here, but I find it comforting to know I’m not the only one who gets annoyed by my anxiety/panic attacks. They get in the way, they’ve changed us, we know this, and when you admit you know it too we won’t hold it against you.

  1. Anxiety and panic attacks are not one size fits all.

When I’m about to spiral the same collection of things happen, but what happens to me might not be what happens to your person. Anxiety is about as diverse as people are, and it’s wise to remember that. Like I said at the beginning, some of these things might not work for them, but they will work for some. It just takes time, as shitty as that sounds, it takes time and patience to figure out what we need from you…which leads me nicely to the next bit.

  1. Have some patience.

I know this sounds obvious but you’d be surprised how often I have to remind people in my circle of what I’m about to share with you. I fight a battle every single day, I wage war on my brain and sometimes I even come out victorious. I’m used to battling alone, and I’m willing to bet yours is too. Walls go up when you worry about everything, reinforced by those before you who gave up on us because we’re too much. If you want those walls to come down and you want to be let into the inner workings of our anxiety, BE PATIENT! When we finally trust you, and it will happen, we will trust you with everything we have and then some. Don’t make them regret it.

  1. Feel free to do some research.

When I first was diagnosed I researched everything about anxiety and panic attacks. It’s completely normal to want to know more, and it might give you more insight into what’s going on when we can’t fully explain in the moment. Plus, it shows your anxious friend/SO/family member that you care enough to get yourself educated on the topic. Oh, as a side note it also opens a line of communication, which is huge. Once we see you’re taking us seriously, we’ll be more comfortable talking about it with you.

  1. Your support means EVERYTHING!

Support us when we tell you what we need. If they say they need to see a doctor to figure everything out, support them. If you’re at a party or out somewhere and they suddenly need to leave, support them. If they beg you to distract them from the weirdness happening in their brain…well, support doesn’t seem right here but just do it anyway. Trust me, every single anxious person will agree with this one, support is key. When they break through on the other side they’ll know you helped them through and words can’t express what that means. We know how to battle alone because anxiety is extremely isolating, but to have someone on your side makes it easier to keep fighting.

BONUS

Just a little hint as well… Anxiety causes nervous energy, and when that’s focused on bad shit you’ve seen the destruction it can cause. Now imagine if that nervous energy was focused on their feelings for you. See what I’m getting at? We’re fiercely loyal, incredibly protective, and our emotions run deep. While having anxiety or loving someone with it can be a pain most times, it can also be rewarding.

 

There you have it, my cheat sheet. I hope this was helpful to you guys, because honestly writing it was a pain in the ass, but the silver lining is my anxiety seems to have passed. Until next time…

The Anxious Minds Parley

Hiya friends, welcome back. First off I want to apologize for not posting on Friday, I had a ton of stuff going on and honestly just didn’t have time to write a post. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way let’s get mental. (Terrible pun)

Anxiety is a bitch, if you have anxiety or a panic issue you know how bad it sucks. I am super lucky in the fact that my support system understands my wonky brain now, but it wasn’t always that way. Looking back on the years since my diagnosis there were some rough times when it came to explaining what was happening to me. I searched everywhere for articles and tools to help me convey what I was feeling, and sometimes it still wasn’t enough. My family had trouble with the fact that I wouldn’t go to family parties or be around on holidays, my friends got annoyed with me for bailing on plans or showing up and leaving quickly. In the early days, I would get mad that they felt slighted when I was clearly the one dealing with this shit, but what I’ve come to realize is as hard as it is to have anxiety, it’s even harder to watch someone you care about suffer with it.

For my family, they only saw their loved one go from an outgoing and happy person to someone who couldn’t handle being outside my house. My friends watched me change from the girl who loved to hang out and have fun, to someone who couldn’t bear to be in a crowd. It wasn’t me they were mad at, it was the situation I was in and they couldn’t help. If it was hard for me to come to grips with this, I can only imagine it was equally as hard for them to see.

I was reminded of this fact this weekend when my mom made this comment, “I didn’t invite you because I didn’t know if you’d feel up to it.” My immediate response was anger and frustration toward her for saying something so flippant, but then I remembered, she’s trying to be helpful in the only way she knows how. She has never felt like there was an elephant sitting on her chest as she struggled to breathe. She’s never had to feel like the entire world is spinning so fast and yet you’re not moving. She has never had her brain actively working to sabotage EVERY. SINGLE. THING in her life and she’s powerless to stop it. She doesn’t know how it feels to sit in a room with a doctor and dissect every detail to find the root of the problem. Yet, I am expecting her, and the rest of my family and friends, to understand what’s happening to me as though they have.

I guess what I’m saying is, I ask them to cut me some slack more often than I care to admit, so shouldn’t I give them the same courtesy. In all honesty, I don’t think I wrote this post for anyone other than myself, I need the reminder sometimes.

Well, that’s that my friends. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, and if you’re a mother, Happy (late) Mother’s Day to you. Until next time….

From Meltdown to Let Down

Disclaimer: Mental Health is as diverse as people are, please keep that in mind while reading. Your mileage may vary. Oh, one more thing, mind the harsh language…

 

panic

Hiya friends, welcome back. I know this is going to be shocking but there is more to me than being a bibliophile, and because of that I’ve decided that Monday’s here shall forever more be known as Mental Monday. Well, now that we’ve established that…let’s get mental.

Maybe the best way to start this is to explain what I mean, I have GAD (three letters that simply mean everything scares me, also known as Generalized Anxiety Disorder) and a panic disorder, causing just enough panic to make me agoraphobic. (I know, right?!?! Could I really be any cooler?)

Basically, my brain likes to overanalyze everything and then deduce that the obvious response is fight or flight. I have spent the last 5 years trying to get control of this with no medications. I mean, I like the TWD as much as the next person, but I don’t like being a zombie. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t tried to use other things to cope, mostly booze, which didn’t help me at all.

When I was first diagnosed my family and friends had no idea what was happening to me, neither did I honestly. I can still remember the first panic attack I ever had, it was outside a restaurant and I was convinced I was dying. My parents kept telling me to “Just breathe,” but I couldn’t, I couldn’t stop the overwhelming feeling that I was suffocating in my own skin. I figured it was just a one-time thing and went about my business as usual.

Until it happened again, this time in a store.

I knew something was up, and I knew I needed to figure it out. I made an appointment with a doctor and was told, “It sounds like you had a panic attack. It was probably just residual stress from everything that’s been happening in your life. It’ll pass.” It didn’t fucking pass, in fact, they got worse. Another doctor visit and they decided to try medication, saying it would help. It did not help, it just made it worse. Another doctor, another pill, another moment of false hope. I gave up on meds after that. (Side Note: Just because they didn’t work for me doesn’t mean that I believe they don’t work for anyone. If they do help you, I’m so jealous and yet so happy for you that you found relief.)

Cut to now.

I have plans tonight!!! I’m supposed to go see a show, one that I’ve wanted to see for a VERY long time, and there is the anxiety. I am so worried that I’m going to panic in a room full of strangers, who probably could care less what the hell is happening to me, but my brain says, “everyone will see, you’ll be embarrassed, people will KNOW!” Did I mention that I really want to go?

UPDATE: The show got fucking canceled. Can you believe that? I was so determined to go and enjoy myself and then wham, cancelation. Did you know there is an emotion that makes you feel really bummed out when something like that happens? I didn’t know that, I actually had to ask if it was “normal” to feel let down when you were, in fact, crazy anxious and panicky all week.

I don’t really know how to end this honestly, welcome to my brain. Until next time…

Just Beyond the Veil…

I’m not sure if it was the rain that woke me up or the fact that I couldn’t breathe, but whatever it was I’m awake now and I know sleep won’t come again tonight. Sitting up I swing my legs over the edge of the bed and press my feet into the cold floor.

“Ground yourself, focus on the cold.” Looking through the gap in the curtain I know it’s early. “Great the sun’s not even up yet and I’m already talking to myself, should be a great fucking day at this rate.” I sigh and push myself towards the window, knowing that fresh air will help.

“It won’t help.” A raspy voice says from the chair in the corner. “They say talking to yourself is a sign that you’re going crazy.”

“Fuck you, and who says that?” I don’t need to turn around to know who is in my room, we’ve met before.

“People…”

“Save it dickhead, I know what you’re trying to do and it won’t work. Why are you even here?”

“I always forget how sweet you can be in my company.” A chuckle bubbles from the dark. “But, to answer your question, I’m here because you keep inviting me back.”

“I don’t…” I whisper, knowing even as the words leave my lips it’s a lie.

“You don’t…what? You don’t invite me in? You don’t want me here? Oh, I see. We’re in the denial phase again. What fun!”

Looking down, I scowl at my white knuckles and slowly peel my fingers from the sill. I know how this goes, we’ve played this game before. Every time it’s the same, a battle of wills, who can outlast the other. Steeling my face, I spin around to look at my tormentor.

“Not bad, you were quicker this time, but judging by the fact that I’m still here it’s not good enough. A for effort though.” Through the darkness, I can’t make out his face but I know he’s smiling.

“You actually enjoy this, don’t you? At least I don’t get off on people’s misery, I’d say that makes you crazier than me.” I know it’s petulant but I don’t have many options here.

“I never claimed sanity, I leave that to you.” The shadow shifts somehow growing darker and continues. “You might as well put that face away, it doesn’t scare me. Especially not when I know what lies beyond it, all those feelings you hide from everyone, you can’t hide them from me.” The shadow stops talking as suddenly as he started.

“While you were rambling about how good at your job you are, I remembered the most important thing.” Taking a deep breath, I walk away from the window and step in front of the shadow. “If I invited you then it stands to reason I can kick your ass out.”

“Well, well, well…look who came to play.” Rising from the chair he circles me, applauding my newfound confidence before bending to whisper in my ear. “Well played this time, but I’ll be back you know I will. I’m always waiting, watching, biding my time…I’m always just beyond the veil.”