The Simple Life

It’s snowing now and at work we are keeping road conditions updated to the public and handling crashes, but as I glance out the window I realize how much I am looking forward to getting home.  Just picturing myself curled up on the couch with a cup of vanilla coffee, warmed by the fire in the wood stove, and gazing out my big bay window at the snowfall gives me butterflies.

I am learning to once again appreciate the simple things.  I am crafting my life in to a simple, peaceful, and beautiful experience here in my lovely little mountain town.  I no longer feel trapped here because I know I am the one who is designing my life here.   I am truly taking time to appreciate the gorgeous home God gave me as a healing place.  I glide across her warm wood floors and curl up enveloped in the warm colors I’ve painted on the walls.

My anxiety is very much improved these days but not by magic.. It has required quite a bit of effort.  As of late, I have been employing visualization quite often.  Whenever I have to venture out to do something that I know would usually cause me to be anxious.. I picture myself getting ready, leaving, making the drive, doing whatever I need to do and then returning home when it’s all done.  It sounds simple but it is helping tremendously…  In fact, I am starting to see a difference between myself and the other Moms around.

I was sitting at the YMCA the other day while my daughter was having dance class, and I got to chatting with my ex-husband’s live in girlfriend…  Let’s call her Miss Mini Van.  I say that because she’s very Suzie Homemaker-ish.  Betty Crocker-esque shall we say, and the first thing she did when they moved in together was trade her car in for a brand new mini van.  That cracks me up just in that she seems to be equipped with all the Domestic Homemaker genes that I don’t have.

Anyway, somehow I end up talking to Miss Mini Van about simplifying your life.  She snorts in her exasperation and says “Yeah right!” then dives in to a monologue about her kindergartener’s 5 costume requirement for 2 separate dance classes, not to mention that since she has now entered cohabitation, they have 5 kids combined and each with their own schedule…. etc, etc, etc.

Next I bumped in to yet another dance Mom who was also incredibly busy.  She regaled me with stories of her church volunteer service and having been bouncing from one meeting to another all day.

Several things happened.  First, their frantic energy did not affect me.  I sat listening and participating in the conversation but without being drawn in to the melodrama.  Second, I felt very removed from that lifestyle.  These women talked as though they were being dragged around by wild horses, like they had no choice in the matter.  Ohhh, not so, I thought. My life does not feel like that any more.  I no longer live in chaos, probably because I have been making progress cleaning out the chaos in my own mind.  I’ll be a devilish smile jumped to my face, because I felt like I have found the secret!  It felt good.  It felt really good.

I remember feeling like those women.  I was lost… like my life was running away without me.  I felt like I didn’t matter and all the things I was running around doing in life were about everyone but me.  Plus, I felt frantic inside.

Today I felt so different, and so very much at peace.  It was incredible.  So, I sat for a while and looked at my life.  I asked myself whether my actions, and my life are aligned with my values.  I do meaningful work.  My kids are LOVED, cherished, and well cared for.  I take time to enjoy simple things in life.  My kids have activities but they also have time to climb trees, and jump on the trampoline.  I make something beautiful to contribute to the world (my writing).  I pursue a relationship with my God daily, and my children know the Lord.  I am striving to be a more kind person, and I am teaching my kiddos kindness as well.

Things seem to be lining up beautifully.   Of course I don’t have every single thing I want in life…  I’m still working through issues.  I still want a partner, and I miss my friends who moved away but I am making major progress attaining that inner peace I’ve been praying for.  For the moment, all is well.

Published in: on November 20, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Raging Panic at The Register

So there I was traipsing through Walmart picking up groceries, and waiting patiently for the kid’s to pick out toys they had saved several weeks of their allowance to acquire.  I am standing in line at one of the open registers when I notice the restrooms blocked off by rolling shelves.

I can hear the cashier talking to the other customers telling them both restrooms have flooded through the drains on the floors and no one can go in there.  There is a small “family” restroom nearby but I notice there is a line and people keep heading in there.

I can feel my panic starting to rise, thinking that if I start feeling ill, there’s nowhere to run!  There’s no safe place.  (Never mind that I don’t feel ill at that very moment… It’s panic, not logic.)

My eyes start frantically zipping around the place, and I’m thinking… I’m in a huge store with hundreds of people and there is one tiny bathroom, with one stall?

I start to pace, thinking “I’ll never get in there!”  These are just the thoughts I’m conscious of.  I’m sure there are five zillion unconscious thoughts that are zipping through my head so fast I can’t grab them.

By this time my panic has risen so high I start to worry that I’m going to scream or freak out or something… or even if I wasn’t physically ill at the moment, the rush of adrenaline might push me over the edge.

My heart is racing, and trying to jump out of my chest.  I feel like crying, and I know I’m taking short breaths and starting to hyperventilate.  So, I firmly tell my kiddos to put their toys in the basket, we’re leaving it– Mom doesn’t feel well.

“Mom’s sick, we’ve gotta go.” I say over and over.  My kids are gracious, but confused.

“We’ll come back another time and get them, ok.  Please, we’ve gotta go.”  They followed after me with concern, but it didn’t take too long for my son to realize we weren’t coming back that day… and he had gotten the very last ninja on the shelf.

He was positive it would NOT be there when we came back (and he was right, btw).  At that point, he was not so gracious.  While trying to calm my panic attack, I also had to field questions from him all night as to why we couldn’t go back right then.  THEN when I recounted the story to my therapist, I nearly panicked again.  The whole situation totally sucked, save for one thing…

My panic and anxiety used to run rampant all over my life.  Even my therapist was perplexed because there was no clear logic, no pattern at all it seemed.  Now that I’ve got the hormones starting to balance, and have cleaned out a good deal of emotional debris…  This panic attack was like a big red arrow.  It was pointing right to a starting place for some unresolved stuff.  Progress!

I knew the restrooms being blocked off was an obvious trigger, so I started to mull over WHY.  One of my oldest memories is of being a small child crying in the bathroom.  I locked myself in there thinking this place had everything I needed (or almost everything)… safety, peace, water to drink, and also the potty.  I could just stay in there forever.

I even remember scrawling a note telling my mother I was running away, and placing it in the sink.  I was trapped in a fairly miserable childhood filled with physical, verbal, and emotional abuse, as well as a total lack of safety and consistency.  So, ever since I was a child, the restroom has been my safe place and my escape.

As I struggled with Irritable Bowel Syndrome in my 20s, once again the bathroom was my saving grace.  When I had an IBS attack, I was quite often doubled over in pain from all the cramping, etc.  It seemed the longer I waited to have a movement, the more painful it got.

Over the years, the restroom is where I have retreated to when I’ve been in any type of physical pain, or in a state of panic and I needed a cool quiet place to calm myself.

OK, so I understand that but why am I still reacting this way now?  I’m in no way unsafe.  I’m not ill or in pain and I’m certainly not trapped anywhere.

My counselor’s answer was that it’s become a sort of biological reaction.  Something to do with my brain chemistry.  My brain has been trained to look for a safe place (the restroom —  goofy, I know) and panic when it can’t find one.  Apparently, it’s a form of claustrophobia.

We can re-train my brain, but it’s going to take some time.  My therapist tells me it’s something that was learned a LONG time ago, then reinforced time and time again throughout the span of my life.  I’ve got to be patient with myself.

After this experience, it took me days to completely shake off the anxiety– I know it’s lingering because I need to work through all the junk from my past that starts bubbling up in those situations, but I’ve got things to do the next couple days, so I’m putting it off.

At this point, it’s been 4 days and I finally feel like I am able to breathe, and it’s a good thing because I have some work to do… I’ve got all those crazy thoughts to journal through, examine, throw out and replace.

Published in: on November 18, 2012 at 9:00 am  Comments (3)  
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Mind Control

So, I’ve been reading Eat Pray Love…  That’s right, I said reading it.  The movie was a good adaptation of the book but I wanted to know more about this journey to enlightenment taken by a 30 something woman after a divorce.  I find it intriguing that I am chasing down the same inner peace at about the same age Elizabeth Gilbert was when she took the trip and wrote the book.  In fact, I asked my counselor if there was some developmental thing that happens to us as we sail out of our twenties and in to our thirties.

“Why yes” he said, and recommended a book, which, of course I promptly bought on amazon.  More to come on that.

Eat Pray Love is a fantastic book.  Emotional, passionate and quirky funny as well.  I highly recommend it!

One of the most fascinating things I found when reading and looking at the author’s journey, then looking at mine…  It’s mind control.  Not some creepy, stranger trying to make you crazy kind of mind control… but controlling our own thoughts.  It seems to be the key to the entire process.

“You are, after all, what you think.  Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.”  –Elizabeth Gilbert

For a neurotic writer or artist like so many of us (Elizabeth Gilbert included) the first step, I think, is to quiet the mind.  You can’t control your thoughts if they are whipping through your head so fast you don’t know what they are.  Plus, I had become an expert at staying so dang busy I had a thousand other things to think about and distract me… keep my mind crazy busy.

The task of quieting the mind is much more difficult than it sounds.  I mean, how many people do you know who have trouble sleeping, sometimes all their lives, because they can’t shut their brain off?   The author does talk about how some people are naturally blessed with a quiet mind though…  Ha!  That has never been me.

Meditation seemed to be the key for Liz Gilbert.  She ran off to an Ashram in India and wrestled with it and struggled.  For me, I guess what has slowed my mind was my own personal exile to the graveyard shift and then the systematic removal of my closest friends one by one.  It’s left me alone with nothing but my thoughts for long periods of time, bitching and grumbling about it the whole time.

Once I give myself some time to work on grappling with and finally subduing my mind, then I can look at the thoughts that are flowing in and out of there and choose what to keep and what to get rid of.

“You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day.  This is a power you can cultivate.” –from Eat Pray Love

Once again, not such an easy task because my mind works incredibly fast, and it turns out is filled with all kinds of poisonous stuff.  It’s jammed with memories of childhood abuse, memories of my own actions in relationships that hurt the people I loved, shame, guilt, TONS of fear… and some really nasty things I’ve been saying to myself over the years.  I did NOT want to look at those.  I didn’t want to be alone with those thoughts, but then again, how can you fix it if you don’t look at it?

So, finally, I look at them, feel them but then what?  HOW the hell do you change them?  For Elizabeth Gilbert, she seemed to do this in meditation.  By having a conversation with herself, looking at the thoughts, feeling them, accepting them and comforting herself with loving affirmations.

For me, I need something more concrete and less mystical.  That’s where Dr. Phil’s Self Matters book comes in to play.  He’s got it all organized out and lined up.  Among other things, he recommends journaling all those thoughts and experiences, and then challenging them with 4 questions.

1.  Is it true?

2.  Does it serve your best interests to hold on to this belief?

3.  Are your thoughts and attitudes advancing and protecting your health?

4.  Does this belief get me what I want in life?

And then writing some positive, accurate and authentic thoughts to replace the bad ones.  It might sound silly but I’ve tried it and it works!

Amazing how much of our own personal inner peace is derived from the thoughts we think.   I would say most people go through their entire lives without ever doing this soul work, because it’s hard and it’s scary and unpleasant.  Most people prefer to remain unconscious, distracted, and treating only the symptoms, not the root causes… but I have never been “most people.”

The slowing down of the thoughts, looking at them and digging through that is really tough…  and then replacing them with positive.  That’s brutal too.. but I find much positive and reassurance and unconditional love in getting to know God.  For me, I’m sure there is no way I could have accomplished even what I have done so far were it not for knowing God…  so one last quirky quote from Eat Pray Love..

“Look for God.  Look for God like a man with his head on fire looks for water.”  –Elizabeth Gilbert

Published in: on November 15, 2012 at 9:00 am  Comments (4)  
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Everything is as it should be…

The “feel good” I got after those several emotionally intense days right in a row–  has continued!  I feel fantastic and have found myself with an amazingly positive attitude and plenty of energy (but not too much as to feel anxious).   I love it!!

Captain Amazing was thinking I was floating on Cloud 9 after The Ambassador of Ambiguity’s visit… and that may be partially true but I know that in the past, I’d have been looking for the next thing.  The next call, or text, or visit and I’d have been frustrated when if it didn’t come right away.  Not so the last few days…

I now feel like he’s off in his life, growing and changing — and I’m doing the same.  God is doing a work in both of us.   I can see how trying to maintain a relationship while the both of us are going through all this might well be impossible.  I think it is requiring quite a bit of solitude for both of us.

When the time is right, I think we’ll come together again…  but that time is not now.  If by some chance I am wrong, things will still be ok.  I’m content to let God unfold his plan.  I know whatever it is, it will be for my good.

I have been spending some time reading “The Word” as christian culture calls it.  When I hear a sermon, whether it be at church or on TV occasionally (love Joel Osteen), I make notes in a journal specifically for spiritual stuff.  I went through all my notes and spent hours looking up the verses that had been mentioned.

I read and pull from the scriptures things that kind of speak to me in my current situation.  Like, for instance, while I am currently having to work with Mz. Hienous–  I might feel cautioned reading Matthew 7:6 where it says “Do not give dogs what is sacred.  Do not throw your pearls to pigs.  If you do, they may trample them under their feet and turn and tear you to pieces.”

So… in doing this, I kept finding scriptures that said things like “I will restore you to health;  heal your wounds”.  I found things that talked about a city being rebuilt and about a feeling of “peace & security” there.

I have been overcome with a feeling that things are just as they should be.  I am not worried about why The Ambassador hasn’t called.  I just feel at peace with God’s plan for me.  I feel content to let Him do His work and encouraged, even excited by a deep belief that He is working all things for my good.  My ship is about to come in… I can see it on the horizon!

This may sound super holy roller to some of you…  but I’m not sure how else to explain it.  I’ve been telling myself these things for what feels like a really long time, things like “He works all things for my good” but I haven’t FELT them.  I have repeated them, sort of trying to convince myself but they hadn’t made it down deep on the inside where I actually felt them.  I still felt scared and worried.

This week I’ve started to FEEL those things.  I feel a SHIFT.  I think it’s a combination of my spirituality and the therapy.

My therapist told me that therapy is much like traveling up a flight of stairs, and this it feels like I stepped up to a new level this week.  It’s working!  I can feel it now and WOW, it’s AMAZING!

I am gaining the feeling I’ve been working for… a feeling of peace and calm deep inside.  I don’t feel like every situation in life is going to affect me heavily, and toss my emotions around like a leaf in the wind.  I am really starting to feel like… whatever happens, it’ll be ok.  I’m feeling confident and alive…  I’m starting to feel like I can face anything life throws my way.

I still have work to do, of course.  I still feel anxious at times, and I’m sure if I tried to jump in the car with someone else and drive out-of-town I’d probably have a panic attack…  BUT I see a bright glimmer.  My ship is coming in…  I see it on the horizon!

Published in: on November 6, 2012 at 9:00 am  Comments (6)  
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An Overwhelming Emotional Experience

I had been journaling about my recent break up the other day when I realized that it wasn’t so much The Ambassador I was angry at for some of the things that happened… but at myself.  I was really angry at myself for seeing some things and not saying anything about them.  I once saw him chatting with a girl on Facebook.  He quickly closed it, and I told myself I had nothing to worry about… but I still think about that.  It bothers me and I should have said something.

There are a few situations like this that are still gnawing at me today and I realized it’s not him I need to forgive really…  It’s me.  Forgiveness is a peculiar thing.  For instance, I have read that the more you try to will forgiveness, the longer it takes… and even more frustrating…  It seems forgiving yourself is often much harder than forgiving others.

So, I had come to the realization that it was myself I needed to forgive but I wasn’t sure how to go about.  I was pissed that I was weak and afraid and didn’t say word one about it.  I just held it in, and it still bothers me to this day.  I was angry that I had been so afraid that I held back some things and didn’t protect our relationship.  I was also angry at myself about this anxiety bs.  I feel like I am scared all the time.  Where’s my strenght?!  What have I become?

I turned this over in my mind through out Sunday morning.  I had to pick up my kiddos from thier Dad’s house.  He co-habitates with a woman who has 3 of her own children…  So, as you can imagine, it gets chaotic over there.  I was trying to help her find some tights, and as I stepped in to her room and saw clothes piled up, and drawers packed so full you couldn’t open them– she and I both started feeling overwhelmed.  My little girl even started to tear up.

I comforted her and calmed her down.  As I did that, I realized that I am going through this rough time so I can teach my children how to find thier peace as well.  The world is much like their Dad’s house.  It can get chaotic and wear on you and it’s filled with people who just keep buying more junk and piling it on the top instead of managing what was already there.  Filled with people who care more about how things look than what they actually are.

I am learning how to find peace in a crazy world, so I’ll be able to teach that to them too.

Once we got to church, the kids took off to thier children’s classes and I stood in the front row, heart wide open, singing praises… feeling the tears run down my face.  (That happens quite often for me.  I’m the church crier.)  The Pastor got  up to speak and talked some about trying to find peace in a wild world.  I wasn’t too surprised because when the Lord is trying to tell me something, he often tells me more than once… but when he started talking about counting your blessings… all the things that God has done for you, I had a startling experience.

Parts of my life flashed through my mind like they were on a movie screen in fast forward.  It was old things, but today too.  I was flooded with all the ways the Lord gives me strength every single day.  He has rescued me, carried me through and sustained me.  Although I felt weak, what flashed before my eyes were a million different things He gives me strength in each and every day.

I am out here in California all alone, thousands of miles away from my family.  I have lived an extraordinary life…  it may feel ordinary now, but even in that–  I am doing what everyday joes just don’t do…  I’m writing a book, employed in meaningful work, crawling through therapy.  All the things flooded over me like a tsunami and I was racked with sobs.  They were tears of overwhelming joy.

I was so moved and overcome with tears that I almost ran out of there… but instead, two of my girlfriends who know most of what has been happening with me…  Swept around me like mother birds and held me in their arms until the service ended and I could take a break and tell them what happened.

I don’t know how else to explain the power of this even to you, except to say that it was completely overwhelming.   I had an emotional hangover for the rest of the day….  but joy came in the morning.  🙂

Published in: on October 28, 2012 at 9:00 am  Comments (3)  
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Neurotic Frustration

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
–Robert Frost

One time The Ambassador told me he had to drive out-of-town to go to a meeting for work, and he had such an incredibly high level of anxiety that he wanted to quit his job, run home and hide under the covers.  I fully understood that the other day when I had to drive out-of-town for a training class.

It didn’t make any sense because I lived in that town for years… I even worked at the facility where we had the class.  I know that building like the back of my hand.  STILL, it felt like every muscle in my body was clenched as tight as it would go for the entire drive.  The anxiety also upset my stomach some.  I almost made myself late because I had to stop twice to go to the bathroom.

When I finally did get there, I realized there was a whole LOT of people crammed in to a room two sizes too small.  That didn’t help.  Mz. Heinous being nearby didn’t help.  I had a really high level of anxiety all day long.  It was incredibly uncomfortable… bordering on excruciating.

When I finally did get home it took a good two hours for me to calm down.  I wrapped a blanket tight around me and sat on the couch writing an email to my therapist.  I was beyond frustrated.  I have been at this for like 5 months now and still…. I can’t even drive myself to the city without panicking the whole way.  I remembered all my adventures when I was young…   I have rapelled down the side of waterfalls, stood toe to toe with Marine Generals, traveled, played, ridden over The Brooklyn Bridge, walked in to NBC studios, traipsed around Manhattan, explored LA, been to packed clubs, and outdoor concerts… and I felt like I had been robbed of all of that.

I asked my counselor if we are on the right track.   Once again I found myself wondering if it would work… if all this emotional pain and therapy and time and money I’m spending would actually work.   Will it really resolve the anxiety?  Will it all be worth it?

I spoke to my friend, who’s a nurse and pointed me toward the hormone imbalance.  Most days I feel like the cream and vitamins I am taking to manage the imbalance is working… and then I have a day like that day.  CRASH.

My nurse friend pointed out that I have come a really long way.  She mentioned that a couple of months ago when I first consulted her, things were so much worse.  I was having anxiety like that every day… even trying to drive the measly 2 miles to work.  She said looking from the outside in she could see the difference.  She also reminded me that this trip was a higher level than my everyday routine.  She said it’s going to take time.  Sometimes even 6-9 months for the progesterone cream to fully correct the imbalance.

When I saw my therapist for an emergency session, he mentioned it’s been 5 weeks since I have had an episode like that where I felt out of control.  Of course, I haven’t been out-of-town in 5 weeks, but I remembered what the nurse said about it being a higher level.

Also, what else am I going to do?  Go backwards?  I don’t think I could do that if I tried…  and I don’t want to.  Besides, God is leading me down this path… and it’s hard.  It’s frustrating, emotionally painful… brutal even, but I am going to continue walking that path to its completion.  It’s been absolutely the most emotionally difficult, and trying time of my whole life but even if I wanted to jump the tracks…  I wouldn’t even know what other way to go.

I often wonder how many of us make decisions like addicts… only changing when it becomes MORE uncomfortable to stay the same than it is to change.  Going backward… definitely worse than continuing forward.

Published in: on October 21, 2012 at 9:00 am  Comments (4)  
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Growing Pains

I am making tons of progress in my personal growth.  I can feel it because I am having some serious growing pains.

I have begun to tackle my anxiety issues.  Anxiety and panic issues have colored my life for the last few years.  I have come a long way, as they went from damn near running my life–  even a stroll around the corner so the kids could ride their bikes at the elementary school was some days too much for me,  to now just popping up at the most inconvenient times.

Through the myriad of experiences I have had in my life, I’ve developed a panic reaction to riding in a car with others.  It’s very hard for me to go anywhere and let another have control of the vehicle.  Although, I can cite many experiences that have led to this unease, there is one in particular that keeps leaping forward in my mind.

I was married at the time.  It was our anniversary, and things hadn’t been going all that well.  My ex-husband had become an angry and depressed person who would do nothing to try to improve his state of mind.  Everything seemed to piss him off.

He did a great job on my anniversary gift that year though, and managed to sneak my engagement ring out of the house to have it repaired (it was missing a small stone) while I wasn’t looking.

I can’t say I was as thoughtful that year.  My baby boy had been born a few months before, and I was grappling with some medical issues.  Not only does pregnancy beat the daylights out of my body, but apparently it makes my body in to the perfect storm for growing kidney stones.

I had grown an enormous kidney stone during my pregnancy with my son, and had to have a lithotripsy procedure to try to break it up making it small enough to pass.  After the procedure it was supposedly small enough to pass, but Docs were sure it was gonna hurt like hell and sent me home with a Vicodin prescription.

On that particular evening we found someone to care for our two children, and headed out to see a movie with friends.  I didn’t even make it half way through the movie when I started to get uncomfortable and headed to the restroom several times.  I finally realized I was passing the stone.  We had to leave.  I’d left my pain pills at home.

My ex was not happy to be inconvenienced in such a way, but got in the truck anyway.  My pain and nausea was growing in intensity and as we left the parking lot my ex-husband asked me if he should turn right to go to the hospital or left to go home.

“Hospital” I replied, but nope… he turned left.  We lived some 30 minutes outside of town and I spent the entire trip making him stop repeatedly so I could attempt to vomit along the side of the road.  I was in a lot of pain and by the time I got home my pain level was so high, the Vicodin did nothing to relieve it.

At home I was also trying to keep it together since my children were there and wanted attention.  They were scared and wanted me to comfort them.

We tried a lot of things, but nothing was relieving the pain.  I stood in a hot shower, which seemed to take the edge off.  I thought I’d never get out of that shower, but eventually I did.  I had to make the 30 minute trip back in to town to the hospital.  My ex was quite irritated by this, which seriously pisses me off when I think about it.  I was the one in so much pain I could barely move.  Fuck him for being so put out for having to help me.

What I should have done was have a giant fit when he didn’t turn to go to the hospital.  That’s where I went wrong.  I just let him make that decision for me, and I shouldn’t have.  I should have trusted my instincts and made him turn around.

Through that experience, and several others… in failing to protect myself, it’s as though my body took over and decided it would panic whenever it realized I was not in control of the vehicle.  The anxiety in turn pulls all my attention.  I can think of nothing but avoiding the panic, and so I lose out on enjoying the situation as well.  It’s a vicious cycle.  I get worried, which puts my focus on the anxiety and upsets my stomach, which makes the panic worse… and on and on we go.

Seems bizarre to me that I can’t simply jump in the car with someone, even someone I greatly trust, and zip off for a day in the city.  Hell, there were times I couldn’t even zip over to the grocery store without making The Ambassador turn the truck around.  It’s a real bitch.  In that moment with my heart racing, sweating bullets, my stomach churning, I can think of nothing but getting home.  I just want to stop the panic, no matter what I might be missing out on…. and I realize I am missing out on A LOT.

I’m missing out on great times with friends over it, because I can’t be spontaneous and I don’t want to make the drive to the city.  Missing out on incredible food, because when I do manage to go to the city, I don’t eat for fear my stomach will get upset.    I even remember a time I was sitting on the top of a hill with Captain Amazing, looking out over the city lights and I couldn’t enjoy it.  He wanted to give me that great experience, and I just sat there rigid as a plank of wood, waiting for the minute he turned the car around to take me home.

During the last 5 years I have traveled to Texas for work multiple times, and also to Denver for work in my last job.  Fantastic experiences, but I have to admit I spent almost the entire time in my hotel.  Riding in a cab is a special circle of hell for me with this anxiety.  I did venture out and see Fort Worth once but it was a very very reserved outing.

Even inside the hotel, in these world-class business conventions, I wasn’t able to fully enjoy it.  Crowds also make my anxiety fly in to the red, so when I had a chance to experience a casino night that was like walking in to a 007 movie, complete with cage dancers and all, I stayed for only a short time then I was back in my room.  Not only do I get completely distracted by the anxiety, but having your heart race like that drains the energy right out of you.  The trek getting there…  to the airport, through security, in a cab to the hotel… was all excruciating.

At one point I thought the anxiety was a physical issue.  I still believe I have a magnesium deficiency that causes many of the symptoms, but that’s not all of it.  I take a magnesium supplement (and a couple of others to calm the nervous system) every day, but the occasional panic remains.

I can’t tell you what it’s like to be riding in the truck with a gorgeous man and keeping it to myself that I’m in my own version of hell.  It’s not fun.  I’ve started just telling people, which has been good and I have learned that people are most often quite caring and concerned.  I’ve also learned that A LOT of people struggle with anxiety in one form or another.  They understand. Even The Ambassador has his own debilitating anxiety times.

Lately though, I know that I have been letting my anxiety rule the roost.  In “Calling in The One” the author says of fear, that the fears never go away.  The only thing to be done is to face them head on, name them and dethrone them… So that’s what I’m on a mission to do.

I’m done with it.  I’m finished with this anxiety, and have put it in Gods hands to remove it.  God can certainly work miracles, but I don’t expect him to just yank this overnight.  I am listening for ways to work through it and get it out of my head and out of my life.

With anxiety many say the only way to get over it is to just do the action anyway…  So, I’ve been going anyway.  Getting in the car, and driving, despite the panic–  but this is no solution either.  It simply reinforces that when I get in the car with someone else, I’m going to have panic and severe discomfort.  I need to heal it from the inside out.  It’s like I’m walking around this world just afraid of everything.

So, I am talking to myself about it everyday.  I am working through what has put me in this position and promising myself that I will speak up if I need to.  I will protect myself and not let my boundaries be violated.  I’m also reminding myself to let go and let God. Surrender and trust God everything will be ok.

My anxiety has been relieved much from this, and when the panic does creep in, I confront and comfort it like I would a frightened child.  The conversation goes a little something like this…

Cadence:  What is it that you are so afraid of?

Anxiety:  I’m afraid my stomach will get upset and he won’t stop the truck or I won’t be able to find a bathroom right away.  Then I’ll be in pain and full of panic, with no way to make it stop.

Cadence:  I understand that you’re scared.  If you’re stomach gets upset, I’ll make sure he stops the truck.  We’ll find a bathroom or even stop along the side of the road if we have to.   panicking about it will only make it worse, so let’s let go of that.  There will be a way to make the pain stop.  It’s only temporary.  How often does that happen anyway?  That your stomach gets so upset that it’s painful?  rarely these days.  It’ll be ok.

In confronting these fears, I’m also finding that most of them are irrational.  Just like a frightened child, I can not let them run the show.  That does nobody any good.

Unplanned the other day, I scooped my kids up and took them to the city, and I did so with virtually no anxiety.  There were a couple of times when it tried to creep in but I managed to talk it down.  I was able to enjoy SO much.  The drive up there.  The meal.  The relaxation of just wandering around the stores with out furiously rushing through the activities so I could back home and back to my safe place.

I’m getting my life back.  This anxiety is on its way OUT.  I’m going to live my best life, right here, right now.  Forgive me for being so churchy these days, but…

Psalms 34:4 I sought the Lord and he heard me and delivered me from all my fears.

Published in: on April 22, 2012 at 9:00 am  Comments (8)  
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