Tag Archives: anxiety

Family Friday

Tonight, my baby (I AM NOT A BABY) comes home for five nights in a row. That’s never enough – I hate that Wednesday morning I’ll drop him off at kindergarten and won’t see him again until the following Monday after school – but I love my long stretches with my boy. In a month, we’re switching the schedule to eliminate the mid-week transition and I’ll get him for week-long stretches at a time (of course, this also means he’ll be gone for week-long stretches at a time, which is a major bummer…sigh). I would give almost anything to have him more. The sticky, cotton-candy kisses I got last night at back-to-school night are everything.

 

My other local family, the beer guy, is on his way to Belgium, which is his very favorite country, right now. He told me he’s eventually coming back, although for some reason, I had the return date wrong in my head (and on my calendar), and even though he kept correcting me, I still couldn’t remember the right date. I think I finally have it now, which means I’ll show up to the airport on the right day to pick him up and not leave him stranded for 24 hours. One of my favorite things to do when he’s traveling is to sky-stalk him with the Flight Aware app. He’s currently (as of this very second) flying over the flyover state of Nebraska. (Sorry, Nebraskans – but I’m from the flyover state of South Dakota…it’s just how it goes.)

One of my biggest challenges when I’m sans beer guy is to remember to eat and sleep. Yes, I know that sounds dumb, but it’s my biggest challenge. So I’m putting it out here that I will eat and sleep on the regular for the next few weeks. That means no skipping meals, no having “fruit salad” for dinner, and going to bed and to sleep at a decent hour every night.

This will NOT be me. Most of the time.

Fortunately, I have a lot to keep me busy. I’m wrapping up an editing project this weekend, just in time to get The Ruby Blade back from my editor to do revisions. I have a Raj chapter to write, I’m deep in Eleanor book 4, and I’ve started outline books 1-3 of my new series. Plus, all that kid time with the world’s best kid and future leader of a unicorn cult.

GAH! That bump!

 

SaveSave

Motivation Monday

Today is a very high-anxiety day. Chest-crushing anxiety. (I don’t know why. That happens a lot.)

Thanks to last week, in which I hit 85% of my exercise goals, I know the proper ways to start treating this anxiety.

I have my swim stuff in my bag (and, unlike last week, I packed a comb, flip flops, am charging my swim watch, and brought my goggles instead of the Bean’s). Tomorrow, I will run. Wednesday, I will yoga. Thursday, I will run. Friday, I will swim. And Saturday, I will run.

If I hit 5 of those, I’ll be happy. Even if I don’t get to my time/distance goals on each one, I’ll still be happy to get out there. (Friday, I didn’t hit my swimming goal, and was extremely frustrated until I remembered that it was my first time in the pool in a year and swimming 500 yards was better than all the swims I haven’t done. Some is better than none. I should probably get that tattooed on the backs of my hands and my forehead or something.)

Other things I am doing in the way of self-care include:

  1. Eating healthy and regular meals
  2. Getting back into the habit of meditating
  3. Reframing my life into positive “I am” statements.  (“I am a runner” NOT “I used to run more.” “I am an author” NOT “I write but still have to have a day job.”

Since I have trips planned to Mexico (October) and Spain (March), I also need to really dig into my Spanish refreshers again. I minored in Spanish in college, but haven’t kept up the practice. I could probably skate by with my limited skills and the fact that people everywhere speak English, but I’d rather make the effort – and since Bean didn’t get into the dual-language school, I want to start doing more Spanish at home so he at least has a shot at a foreign language while his brains are still malleable.

(Speaking of brains, I was texting with my PSM this morning and we decided that it was monumentally unfair that one person could have both a defective brain and a defective reproductive system. You should really only have to be stuck with one of those. Although, I guess since she and I are both graced with both breath-taking beauty and dazzling intelligence [well at least one of us is…], maybe this is the trade-off?)

I’ll leave you with a picture of my adorable Bean who’s been at the coast with grandma since Thursday. 

The Missing Link

I am doing really well with getting myself moving most days. I’ve walked, run, or done yoga every day this week so far. Overall, I’m eating much better and more regularly, which is a huge struggle for me. (Last fall/winter, I was so very stressed out that I generally only ate if someone was there to see that I wasn’t eating. I developed an extreme hatred of food and dread of eating to the point that the thought of eating anything at all would make me nauseated. There was a point that I had trouble eating anything that I had to chew and subsisted on a liquid diet of coffee, smoothies, and wine. Surprisingly, that is not a recipe for optimal health, which is disappointing, because I’m pretty sure that weight loss book would’ve been a huge hit and I’d be a millionaire by now. BUT ANYWAY.)

Ahem.

Yes.

Exercise: good!

Food: mostly good!

Mindfulness: coming right along, but I have been slacking off a bit this week.

So, you ask with bated breath, on the edge of your seat, white-knuckled in anticipation, what is that missing link of which Amy speaks?

This is me, today. I’ve averaged about 5 hours/night for the last I don’t know how long. Some people may be fine with that, but I am not. I need between 6-7 hours to be fully functional.

I could probably turn off the light in my office, pull my blanket over me (it is unreasonably cold in my office) and fall asleep right now. Sadly, siesta-ing is not a thing in the US or I’d do it.

My problem is that I just don’t go to bed. I’ve had insomnia in the past, but this is not that. Once I’m in bed, I listen to my “go to sleep” meditation, and I’m out within the 12 minutes the meditation runs 95% of the time.

BUT BUT BUT! I need that time to be awake and at home and present! And since I’m going to bed too late, I’m not getting up early enough to have it in the morning.

The other problem? I really, really like my housemate. I enjoy spending time with him just existing. We watch a couple shows, chat about our days, and usually are working side-by-side on the couch on various projects (websites, blogging, writing, playing mindless games on our phones [that one might just be me]).

But this lack of sleep is really starting to take a toll.

 

I’m good at making positive changes – the last few weeks have shown that. Now I need to address this one thing that is making it harder to maintain the rest of my positive changes. I’m sans housemate for the next three nights (although the wee one will be home, but he’s usually asleep by 7:30, so I’m not too worried about him keeping me up) and I am going to go to bed (in bed, lights out, meditation playing) every night by 10:45.

I’ll report back on Monday and let you know how it went. My dream? That I did this without fail for three nights in a row and then used my newfound energy to run (Saturday), do a strength training routine (Sunday), and write about 6-8K words on The Ruby Blade.

Acceptable? If I get anywhere remotely close to success (as in, I don’t stay up until midnight watching tv and playing phone games and not writing).

Happy weekend!

 

Three Things Thursday: Health & Wellness Edition

Funny story! I’ve been having some…uhhh…issues with my lady bits for a few months now. As soon as I was re-hooked up with health insurance, the very first thing I did was make an appointment to get that checked out. It was pretty exciting! In addition to scoring my “now you’re 40” mammogram, I won a transvaginal ultrasound! (Yes, it is just as much fun as it sounds.) I also won a second doctor’s visit that came complete with a surprise bonus pelvic exam and a surprise cervical biopsy. (Nothing says Saturday afternoon fun like an unexpected Kevorkian curette all up in your business.)

ANYWAY, the diagnosis is that my endometriosis, which has been decently well-managed for the last few years, is angry and trying to kill me. In addition to being wickedly Vitamin D deficient, I’m borderline anemic because of delicate lady reasons.

The doc and I decided that the best way to deal with this is a complete hysterectomy. I’ve been trying to convince someone to cut out my baby-growing shizz for nearly 20 years, and now that I’m 40 (and sterilized), apparently I can make that decision for myself without consulting a man. (When I tried to get one when I was 23, I was told that I couldn’t because my future husband might not approve. Some random hypothetical dude’s opinion was more important than mine. Tell me about why we don’t need feminism?) However, I need to take 2-3 weeks off work for a hysterectomy, and since I’m in week 6 of my new job, not only do I not have the time built up, but it seems kinda unprofessional to disappear for almost a month. Nothing says I’m using you for your health insurance like scheduling a major surgery less than 2 months into your job.

 

So…in the meantime, what am I going to do to managed this horrific situation? I’m glad you asked.

  1. Endometrial ablation next week. Go ahead and click the link You know you want to. This outpatient procedure ought to eliminate/greatly reduce the worst symptom, allowing me to concentrate on managing the others.
  2. Strict AF diet & exercise regimen. The last 18 months took a toll on my physical health. Stress/divorce/job loss/working from home/moving (twice)/single momming – all of this resulted in an upwards weight creep and a downwards fitness creep. If I want to manage the symptoms, I need to be good at taking my supplements (gotta get my blood happy again and definitely need my once-a-week mega-dose of that D) and losing the weight that stress and anxiety and depression gave me. (Honestly-that’s a shit gift and there’s not even a gift receipt.) I’ve been doing better at meal planning (and following it!), and even when I didn’t have my planned meal yesterday morning and had to stop and get breakfast and lunch, other than indulging in a cold-brew, I stuck to the plan and got veg and fruit heavy items. Oh? And it was all fucking vegan. (I’m vaguely considering being an offal-tarian, wherein I’m vegan except for organ meats.) (Maybe an ovo-offaltarian? I do like eggs.) I’ve set aside time every day for a walk, and am 3/3 this week.
  3. Stress management. I have several weapons in my stress management arsenal that I’ve been working on (with varying degrees of success) implementing.
    (i) Daily meditation (nailing it!)
    (ii) In bed by 10:30 every night (needs work!)
    (iii) Therapy (holy fuck, it’s hard to get a therapist to call me back to schedule an appointment)
    (iv) Light therapy in my basement office (I am rocking this one)
    (v) Acupuncture (both for pain & stress management…this needs to be scheduled)

So there you have it! More information about my reproductive system than you knew you needed. What are your go-to strategies for stress management?

Three Things Thursday: mental health as told by Dean Winchester .gifs

  1. I’ve been at the new job for a month. Although there are some things I don’t like about the job (98% of those things are “having a job;” I’d prefer to be independently wealthy), I feel like a completely different person than I did two months ago. It’s kind of amazing how much self-worth is attached to “earning money” and “receiving the respect and appreciation of your colleagues.”
  2. Other good news on the mental health front: I’ve had two panic attacks in the last week. How is this good news, you might ask? I’ll tell you.There was a time when I was having panic attacks on a nearly daily basis. Starting about four months after Bean was born until almost a year ago, panic attacks were a part of my daily life. My only hope at that time was that I wouldn’t get one while driving over the Marquam Bridge. I tried a wide variety of medications to quell the panic attacks and get the anxiety under control. Nothing really worked, but I did get to take a lot of extremely addictive drugs and then wean myself off of them. (Aside: the other night, the Beer Guy and I were watching a comedy special and the guy was talking about being prescribed the same drug and how not fun the coming off it was. Psycho solidarity is a real thing.)ANYWAY – back to panic attacks. About a year ago, they mostly disappeared. There were times when my anxiety was higher than others, but the chest-crushing, can’t breathe, probably hyperventilating, maybe passing out, am I sure that it’s really just a panic attack and not a cardiac event this time? episodes were mostly gone. (Instead, I got a fun uptick in the number of aural migraines!) So why am I asserting that the panic attacks are good things (well, at least not awful things)? I think I’ve finally gotten back to a place where my general anxiety is low enough that my body can actually have a panic attack. Like for real-I was too anxious during the last year to have a panic attack because my body legitimately couldn’t work up any more adrenaline because it was all in use. (OMG, maybe I had adrenal fatigue. That’s a real thing, right Cat?) (Heh. She hates it when I say that. #science #psm)So, in short (’cause I am not a tall woman.), my mental health progression over the last year or so has been like:

Fake it ’til you make it…

 

And maybe someday, I’ll get here…

 

  1. One last piece of good news. I wear a fitbit that not only tracks my steps, but also my heart rate. I spent a number of years as a fairly physically fit person. I ran a marathon, did several sprint triathlons, more 5Ks than I can count, and thought nothing of heading up to Forest Park to run 10-15 miles on the trails. The last two years have not been good for my physical fitness. Stress and single parenting took a huge toll on my fitness levels (and my weight, obviously). My resting heart rate, which two years ago was about 54, was up to an average of 74 a month ago.  One month on the job (with the requisite leaving the house, walking about, and lowered stress), and now I’m here:

 

So much win! (Ha! I typed “so much wine” on my first go. SELF! It’s 8:30 in the morning. No wine for you!)

It’s a small step, but an important one for my overall mental and physical well-being. (Now, I just need to make it through my imaging appointment tomorrow without needing a paper bag, and it’ll be clear sailing…)

Have a great Memorial Day weekend, Americans! (And a great regular weekend, everyone else.)

There was no way I wasn’t sharing this once I saw it. I care about each of you too much.