A circle of blurred faces surrounded me, all talking at once. The level of chaos outpaced my own mind and I struggled to keep track of what was going on. Drugged and intoxicated beyond capable cognition, the world began to slip away once again. In the mess of voices, the realization of my fragile state caught the action of the paramedics and I was whisked down the stairs from the apartment to the ambulance. Because of the design of our place, a stretcher was worthless. They half carried, and half walked me down the precarious stairway. Once I was inside the bus, one of the paramedics joined me and began a pleasant conversation with me.
Blonde hair and blue eyes watched me intently. It may have been my lost mind, but at that moment, he had the most beautiful eyes that I had ever seen. Smiling, I was lost in his hypnotizing gaze. His voice was soft and inviting. I felt like I could listen to it forever, and I did listen to it the whole way to the emergency room. He conversed with me to keep me awake and cognitive of what was around me, and it worked perfectly. It also kept my mind off the fact my husband had not come with me. I did not notice this fact in the middle of everything going on; he was completely absent from my side.
Once inside the ER, I was forced to drink charcoal from a small cup, and it did not take long for it to make a reappearance. It was absolutely disgusting, and my toxic stomach contents were having none of it. Frustrated nurses yelled at me for throwing it up and then gave me another cup – but I never touched it to my lips. Without something to focus on, I was slipping away from the bright lights of the room. Metal walls of the elevator were my final memory before losing consciousness. I have no recollection of being in the ICU or being ‘asleep’. No dreams or thoughts; it was as if I went to bed and woke up the next morning but waking up this time was a much different experience.
Stirring in the hospital bed, my eyes opened several days after my arrival. I felt lost and confused at my surroundings, but my eyes fell on a familiar face and relief washed over me. I am sure she felt the swell of relief as well. My mom had driven about 740 miles in eight hours to be by my side. We later calculated that she had averaged about 95 mph the entirety of the drive, never being pulled over. There was always a driver going faster than she was, and they were the ones to get caught. Her foot never left the gas pedal, and I will never make fun of her panic.
Once awake and somewhat aware of where I was, I noticed the lack of a certain person from the room: my husband. This was something my mom attempted to fix, but it was only mildly successful. He came to visit me once during my entire stay, but never said a word and refused to look at me. He sat on my bed and I rubbed his back, but nothing I did to interact with the stone-faced body made any difference. His blatant resentment was more than I could overcome. I began to wonder if I went too far to prove my point, but it also seemed to be working.
The chaos from the apartment had compartmentalized in my mind, blurry and distant memories, just like that night.
Vlogcast seven, for the longest time and I feel it’s evident in my vlogcasts previous to this: vlog cast 1 through Vlogcast 6, I have a very heavy tone, I have, I’m very monotone and just recollecting those events I can safely recollect those events because I am actively working through all of that and unpacking all the time and leaning into every single every single trigger I get because I’ve learned how to rewire my brain.
I knew and I was aware that that was a possibility but back then when I was so enmeshed in that heaviness, so shrouded in it, it’s like, it’s like when I don’t know how many of you swim or have been in the ocean but you can you can go really deep and back then I felt like I was really, really deep to the point where it, I almost couldn’t tell which way was up if it weren’t for me just you know letting my body float but it, I just, I couldn’t hold my breath and get up there so I felt like it wasn’t a possibility to be happy.
I was so bogged down I felt like the universe was on my shoulders like I need to help take care of this person, I need to help my family, I need to make sure my grades are well – good- I need to, I need to make sure that I’m taking care of myself and doing things I enjoy, eat foods that make me happy, like it was very checklist e and text bookie and I didn’t know what I was doing and when I over the past couple years when I when I was resisting that I was on that teeter-totter point of resisting that concept that I could be happy and in spite of feeling this way but I can still love and be loved and, and you know just talking about that I want to cry.
Even if I had my Kim 3.0 that’s how I refer to myself now, Kim 3.0, I still have 1.0 and 2.0 inside me anytime. I see 1.0 and 2.0 and even sometimes have mine triggered I remember that at that time I didn’t feel like it was possible to be happy, I didn’t feel like I was worth it to be happy, I didn’t feel like I could smile and have a good time even when I felt like, in the dumps deep in the bowels of the ocean.
I didn’t, it didn’t feel like a possibility and over time, I started to recognize the kinds of energy I was attracting and I said I kept asking myself you know, how come I’m always feeling down, how come the conversations I have are really heavy all the time, is it me, is it, is it me and it wasn’t like, “Oh, it’s my fault. It’s my fault. It wasn’t anger anymore I felt…melancholy, like ah, it’s my fault and I shifted that to realize it clicked for me when I started getting into coaching and raising my awareness to just because I feel a way doesn’t mean I am a way.
That’s when I started to realize oh my goodness this whole time I’ve been setting myself up for minimal, I don’t want to say success but I’m going to say success I was not setting myself up for emotional success and success to me was healing. It’s so, *laughs out loud* I had been so convinced that because I was checking all these boxes off that I was doing pretty well but really I didn’t have the tools to keep myself accountable for the emotional healing that I said I wanted so when I joined, um, when I hired my second Life coach I want to say about September of 2019, I’m already losing track of the years here.
2019 I signed on for a 6 month contract to receive the coaching of a life time. *deeply exhaled and pronounced haaah* every single week it was either I felt depressed or anxious or both. Depressed, anxious or both and it would get to this climax of a breaking point. I was putting a lot of effort we met two times a week and I’m talking about several hours. I couldn’t hide. There’s a difference between couldn’t and wouldn’t. I could have flaked. I could have said yeah I don’t feel well. I had money I had invested so much money out of pocket more than I’ve ever invested in myself ever in my life.
I invested this energy, this money, this energy into something that I believed would help me stay accountable to the emotional healing I wanted. I got I think maybe two or three times I vocalized to the coach I really I feel like I need to quit. I need to leave. I need to drop out. I can’t do this anymore. I don’t want to do this anymore and she said, “Look, this kind of breakthrough you wanting… takes effort, conscious effort and you’re doing it firing on all gears right now and to be quite frankly, to be quite frank with you this is the worst time and quitting is the last thing that should be on your mind.” And you know I, I have wept when she said that she could have bought into my story like,
“Oh, yeah it’s really hard isn’t it. No, just it’s okay if you need to leave.”
I can’t like my eyes are getting moist just thinking about that moment it felt like just yesterday I was in a job again back to a part-time job that I hated it and I felt like my self-esteem was in the poop again I was still at home, um, feeling really a degraded sense of self-worth and I was going into debt for this program that I felt like I was this tiny little Krill in this ocean of a vast ocean of other whales: my peers.
I mean I didn’t at the time I didn’t compare myself but now that I see it you know we had our respective projects and journeys and all of that was unraveling in Facebook and for me I feel like,
“Who do you think you are right now? You really think you’re capable of doing this? You’ve never been good in school… you’ve never gotten the grades that were expected of you and look at you you’re not even using your degree?”
So, I felt really completely, completely lost again and I used to think it was this Pie in the Sky *ooooooo* idea of rewiring the brain to, to hack it into focusing on half-glass, glass half-full all the time. I was one of those people that was like *pbbbtt* you know good moments will end eventually so I never enjoyed anything. It wasn’t until probably the last year or so that I started to actually enjoy things again. It was a journey. Lots of crying, lots of relationships, healing, you know in their respective ways. I just… I was one of those that would get so triggered if someone suggested to do something to lift my spirits when someone tried to cheer me up I was very resentful, bitter and aggressive, combative, defensive and it, don’t get me wrong here, I don’t have regrets I do, well, I have no no I don’t have regrets. I am I’m not happy that people got hurt through my healing. I’m not saying that I condone the behavior I had: lashing out, pushing people away, cutting people off, flaking, not responding to people bullying my family, bullying myself. I don’t condone that but to those of you if you know you watch it now or later to those of you that are patient with me and allow me to go through my healing process I appreciate you. It’s been so hard for me to own my healing process. I know I’m not perfect at all and I know there’s no such thing as perfect and for anyone watching: I want you to know that there are really, there are really no right or wrong answers and healing looks different for every single person. I feel you. You’re scared to take that step. You’re scared to improve the situation in your life but I’m telling you even every action has a consequence be it positive or negative and it’s up to you to take that leap of faith and trust that there are no victims, no one is a victim in this world at all.
You’re stronger than you believe and in that process people will get hurt. Pain will happen and it’s inevitable I’m telling you that now. I’ve fought tooth-and-nail to resist the temptation to walk away from relationships, many over the past 10 years. It’s been a battle of my self-worth against people’s love for me and it’s been so touching what saying just thank you for those of you that have trouble accepting a compliment.
Even like today a guy slowed down while he was bicycling and said, “Have a great day.” He kept staring at me and then he said, “You are beautiful.” And you know in the past I would have said you know which finger [in the video I pretend to put up my middle finger], and been very aggressive but I said… I stopped my bike and I turned I said, “You too.”
We’re, we’re so resistant to this concept that we deserve more, that we are actually are bullying our self and that’s something that, um, one of the fellow bloggers put on my last broadcast is that we bully ourselves and we don’t even realize we’re doing it. And I learned in my coaching when you determine that you are your biggest bully you know what you do? You stop, you sit with your bully and you listen to what it’s saying to you? Embrace those pieces of you that interfere: an inner demon, whichever words you want to call it.
I am going to take an intuitive guess that that voice, that bully is one you are taught to silence: how well is that working out for you?
I help my clients, I help my Kindred Spirits get breakthroughs. People that have been through therapy and counseling and talked, talked and talked to people and falls on deaf ears, it’s not easy especially when you have expectations for people to want to hear you, to see you having expectation hurts so much and that’s how I lived for the past 10 years almost 10 years of my life, I had these expectations for people to see me in expectation to be heard, an expectation that people will care. You know what happens when you have expectations, you’re setting yourself up to get disappointed.
That was probably the hardest lesson for me to embrace. So, it is a part of a pretty brief Vlogcast in, um, it took a lot of conscious effort, it took a lot of being responsible for my feelings cause saying sorry for hurting someone, saying sorry for hurting someone’s feelings, it’s squishing what you’ve done. It’s completely undermining any effort you’re putting in for yourself.
I have a suggestion this time not a question. Well, I guess it is kind of a question: how do you feel about being 110% honest with someone that triggers and pushes every button you have and tell them full force how you feel when you two have had that conversation? Write it down. Maybe you don’t even have to send it to them. Own your feelings and don’t apologize. How do you feel about doing something like that? Try it. It’s, it’s most powerful healing when you do a face-to-face as much as you can. It’s so powerful and I was blown away by the kind of feedback I got from my parents particularly my parents from my brother.
It’s probably, probably, is probably the most challenging conversations I’ve ever had in my life is with my parents and my brother because I don’t feel, um, back then I didn’t feel like I had any right to speak my mind and now that I have I’ve loved my family all the more. It’s so fascinating how much of that, how much of that baggage was mine and not theirs and I was taking it out on them.
So, I’m here pouring my heart out to you, you know, don’t wait to be friends with your bully. Bullying your bully is not gonna work, it’s just not gonna work.
If any of you have any questions or you want some feedback and support, um, my website is grounds for clarity. groundsforclarity.comWe do offer extensive coaching Services, one-on-one [or] in a group where, you know, we work with *laughs* you and this, it’s going to take a lot of effort, conscious effort and accountability.
And, please consider my suggestion. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, doesn’t matter how you grew up, your culture: this is for you. For you: not for the relationship, not for the other person — it’s for you. Put yourself first, try, I dare you.”
The suggestion I refer to in the aforementioned paragraph is the being 110% honest about your feelings toward someone, and NOT apologizing, no matter the external outcome. You are on a journey to own your feelings because it is a matter of life, or death. Truly. If we aren’t growing, then we are dying.
Rooting you on every step of the way,
Thought Founder of Grounds For Clarity, LLC
This is Vlogcast six. One of the major things I wanted to share revolves around what most artists, performers, people that are book authors, they share their personal experience and some of those completely shifted the way that they showed up in their life. And I know I mentioned in a former vlogcast that life is an experience, um, one of the things that popped up for me thinking about what I wanted to talk about or what what am I supposed to talk about is that that Paradigm I had so recently broken out of was that the world is designed to be fixed, it’s not there’s no fixing it’s impossible it’s not designed that way we’re all connected to each other everything that happens in the world is connected to each other nothing exists independent of another incident in the entire world.
So for us to believe that we can fix something is madness. Complete madness and that lesson, the series of lessons that would unravel happened after series of what some may view As A Series of Unfortunate Events: divorce. Not me but my parents.
The first divorce I experienced was 2008 and then two more divorces around 2012 ah, no it wasn’t 2012. I want to say about 2014 2014-2015 wow the years are really flying by I think my math is failing me here but about 4 for about 4 years ago is when my parents got divorced a second time and I choose those particular events again I shared in a vlogcast before I’m very perceptive to shifts and changes energetically, attitude-wise and behaviorally in my personal and closest relationships and those are with my family members and I found that the way for me at the time that worked was to really immerse into and lean into what’s happening,
Why what has brought this feeling up? So, instead of making it personal, about me, taking offense, getting mad, lashing out yes I still did those things but then after you know I’d I pause and I really opened my mind to experience saying that in a completely different way. I’m open to experiencing this and in a different way what, what kinds of things can I do and say and ask myself and really it was, how it must be for them experiencing this experience from their side, from, from their vantage point, from their life experience and trying to really get to the core message that came up for them that had nothing to do with me and nothing to do with them it just was something.
This something, I mean, I have the terminology now and it’s ego. So, how I responded when things didn’t go well, it was very stressful for me because I took it personally even though I took the steps to emotionally detach from the situation. Lots of tears shed, lots of frowns, lots of, um, abusing self care as a way to cope with not dealing with feelings or experiencing, really experiencing feelings and now when I interact with family, close kindred spirits, friends whatever word you want to use co-workers, it’s really not about taking things personal, we are put on this Earth, to experience one another, to experience with around us to tap into different levels of awareness so we can experience things in a completely different way.
Um, my experience with divorce is going to be different from someone else’s because we were at different levels of our awareness at different times and that’s really all it’s about it’s not about oh you’re handling the situation the wrong way, you should be doing this or that’s not healthy or this or that like I’ve heard it all. All the criticisms, all the judgments that could be happening that’s really a projection of the other people’s insecurities onto me about how I should be handling the situation, how what I’m doing is wrong.
It took a lot and heapfuls and heapfulls of moments for me to finally let my anger out and express how disgusted I was with constantly telling, being told and feeling like I could be doing something better or I could have changed my attitude there or I could have smiled more or I could have dealt with that in a healthier manner how about I just am. And if you have a problem with that, that’s probably your shit, not mine. Let’s repeat that again…how about it’s not me that has the problem, I have nothing broken about me and I don’t need to be fixed if you have a problem with how I’m navigating this experience that’s your shit not mine and we tend to, I experienced this too where I didn’t put that for lack of a better word boundary up to say no this is my experience, I’m going to experience it the way that feels right to me and I’m going to choose because there’s something here that’s reflecting something within myself that is meant to be experienced in a whole new way.
Nothing personal truly nothing personal at all. Had this conversation so many times with other people it’s nothing personal, truly that’s not a cop out, truly, is nothing personal. I am just another human being being human just like you and if I want to tap into and if I feel called to or drawn to or something about the situation is expressing this different level of awareness I’m going to go with it because why, because my intuition is guiding me in that direction. When I stopped trying to control the situation, when I stopped trying to micromanage feelings, when I stopped apologizing, when I stopped rationalizing and just let go of trying to be in control all the time, things got a lot less personal, really quick. But it took years of me bashing my head against the wall to finally get it: there are no right or wrong answers. At all! And to, obviously that’s going to be interpreted in a slew of different ways.
The point is, anytime we get triggered by something, anytime I got triggered by something let’s put this back on me, anytime I got triggered by something, anytime I get triggered by something I distance myself emotionally from that and I go, “Huh, that’s really interesting. Just because I feel a certain way it doesn’t mean I am that way. If I feel like an asshole, doesn’t mean I am an asshole. If I feel like I’m being a bitch, it doesn’t mean I am a bitch. If I feel like I’m being evasive, avoidant, if I feel like I’m backing out, it doesn’t mean that I’m weak. Just because I like doing multiple projects, just because I like having different sources of income, just because I like, it doesn’t mean that I’m this transcendent, sun shines out my ass, person. The only reason I bring this up is because these are observations that I make of myself and others bring to the table of me.
What is so…this is a lot easier said than done and it looks different for everyone, of putting your foot down, declaring that you’re not the world’s doormat anymore and being open to experiencing an experience, experiencing an A-N, experience in a whole new way. Because maybe you’re tired of experiencing life in this way and you want to experience it a different way. I think that’s amazing. That is awesome. You’re tired of feeling like shit, if you’re tired of pretending to be happy all the time or maybe you are happy all the time and you want to experience some deep, melancholic stories.
There are, there so many people on this planet, we could experience something without personally, physically, you know, like I said we’re all connected, experiencing it for ourself. Being open to receiving that maybe someone else’s experience is going to directly challenge yours and what you held to be true and what you held to believe was, was fact or what you held onto so strongly as a basis of making sense of who you are. I think most of us don’t know who we are and that’s okay. What’s so wrong with that.
I tell this to my Kindred Spirits all the time: you don’t owe me anything. I don’t expect anything of you. Makes no sense the way you were five minutes ago is not the way I anticipate you being the, in the next five minutes or for the way you were five years and you wake up and one day you decide that’s just not who you are, that’s fine. That’s phenomenal. And trying to make sense of everything, trying to put everything in its cubby-hole, trying to you know go slow to go fast, there are moments for that there, I mean there’s so many different turns of the phrases, words, phenomena, labels, titles, um, you can read piles and piles of books all day long, there’s so much information out there that teaches us how to experience things in different ways but instead of just going out there and experiencing it we’re literally just sitting and experiencing.
I inadvertently limited myself by falling into this, this trap that I have to make sense to everyone, that everything I do has to make sense to people I work with. Having to fulfill all these expectations of what people have of me and feeling obligated to respond, obligated to be in someone’s life, obligated, obligated. Expectation … *deep exhaled sigh* it’s enough to make someone’s head explode. I know that’s how I felt until recognizing that nothing belongs to me even though I feel a certain way doesn’t mean I am. And as an entity all my own… there’s no, there’s no connection– forced, expressed or implied with anyone or anything. It’s always a choice. That’s something when I get in an ego State of Mind– you know: victim, angry, rationalizing or putting others before myself –when I catch myself in those states of mind I go, “Okay, is it a choice? Is this where I want to be? Is this how I want to feel? And is it actually who I am?”
So just raising my awareness, asking myself those empowering questions of, yeah it kind of hurts and it kind of doesn’t have to hurt. It’s about experiencing and shifting our relationship with those negative feelings has been a journey. I just had a zoom call yesterday with our Community Mental Health folx and one of the things I talked about was toxic positivity. It’s when you are bombarded with information wherever you may be predominantly social media though, where you see everyone’s feed saturated with positive things– it’s not really representative of the whole– and it also subliminally can send this message of, “You’re not supposed to be negative, that’s not how, that, that’s not normal, you shouldn’t be…” But over time what I experienced anyway from that toxic positivity was a denial and a suppression, avoidance of anything negative.. so that whole, “I’m fine.” It’s gonna come come bite you in the ass eventually. It sure bit me in the ass.
So, one of the things that I’m actively doing and constantly actively doing is just checking in with myself, you know, how to, what’s triggering and what’s coming up and recognizing that there’s advantages and disadvantages to every point of view the rationalizing part of it so just being candid, open and honest. That being human is something that we constantly will experience and it will not stop. The self-doubt, will not stop, the fear of what people will think of you will not stop, feeling not good enough will not stop having that message there will not stop but what can stop is letting it be in control. It doesn’t have to be in control.
Question: in what area of your life could your experience expand if you were to be more emotionally detached? So, in what area of your life could be experienced differently if you practiced detached involvement? In what area of your life could you experience things differently if you practiced more detached involvement? So, detached involvement just is basically experiencing everything in the moment and then taking yourself out of the story and really looking at it and it in an objective way That’s a tool that helps me all the time and I spend less time stumbling around on my face. I think that’s something all of us would like to experience a little bit more: just less self-doubt, less fear or less shrinking and less, uh. diminishing ourselves. Have a, you know make your morning your afternoon and evening whatever way you want it to be.”
Playing it small in life, holding ourselves back, hiding, downplaying our true selves, is unsustainable in the run. I tried it. It doesn’t feel spectacular and it permeates through every aspect of your life. Do you hear it in my voice? I was all over the place! So what?! Tell your story! 🙂 I believe in you.
They say do not panic. Try telling that to someone who lives daily with anxiety and panic disorder.
My biggest issue over the past weeks has been depression. There is no getting around the fact that when things get severe depression usually hits me.
I suffer, among other things, with seasonal affective disorder. April is generally a transitional month before my life picks back up. We are living in unusual times, and that means learning new things. Right now, anxiety is deciding that it’s going to fight for its own place in my life.
2019 was great for me as a human being from about May to November. I wrote the novel that I have been working on for years, and generally, my life was great. I had no real complaints. I was beginning to find my place and leaving my house more and more. Then the unimaginable hit me, I lost my mom, and with that loss, I lost myself. Depression was my friend for most of January and February, but I was getting out in the world.
March was supposed to be great, but as we all know, life changed. We had social distance ourselves more and more. Now it is getting even more restrictive to leave your house as things are not going so well out there in the world. My anxiety, already on its edge, has shot up over the last week. I have been dealing with intense panic attacks and anxiety that seems to have no end. I have been here before, oh so many times.
I can admit the fear comes from the possibility of catching the coronavirus. It compounds my anxiety when I have to inevitably leave the comfort of my home. Sure, you can go weeks at a time without leaving, but eventually, you will need something essential and have to go out. You can wash your hands, carry hand sanitizer, and be as careful as you can, and it is no for sure thing you will not catch COVID-19.
Then there is the fear of if you can get things delivered. My medication was due this week, and my pharmacy is asking that we do only deliveries. There is real anxiety that, through no fault of their own other than the fact that they essential. That someone down the line had to deal with them that are infected with the virus. Even though I had no direct connection to the delivery driver, he or she has to be interacting with people. There is no guarantee they could not carry the virus. Perhaps if there is more testing it would be different, and maybe it would elevate some of my anxiety.
Fear can be a dangerous thing for our mental health, and if there was a good chance that the government actually cared, it would be different. I have never been much for giving into the types of fears. Things such as the coronavirus, it feels different. Like it is an inevitable thing that you can catch because, from some of what people that are working on the front lines, 1 in 3 people are carriers.
I wondered today, am I being irrational? I would like to hear from you.
As always, one last thing. If you have to go out into the world, make a plan, and limit yourself to exposure. Get items delivered if at all possible and make sure that you sat thank you to those who have to work in this crisis. If you see a nurse, paramedic, grocery store worker, delivery drivers, or anyone who still has to brave the world because they are essential, be kind. These people are the real heroes of this pandemic. Always stay safe.
Anxiety. If you have ever have increased anxiety at the best of times, it can worsen as we continue to live in a world of social isolation. Anxiety, for me, has always been a subject that I can write about from so many different angles. I have on this blog and also in my memoir.
My official diagnosis when it comes to anxiety is social anxiety and panic disorder. Right now, I am dealing with anxiety in several ways. I take a benzo, clonazepam, and I do other things that help me cope with my anxiety like breathing techniques, meditation, and writing. My ultimate de-stressor. I have not had a large number of panic attacks per week when things are good, but lately, I have dealt with them more.
It is less to do with the coronavirus and more about the stress of delays in my books and having to stop a significant book signing as a local bookstore. Add that to the weight of not knowing if agents are looking for authors. I need one because I am close to the end of editing my fantasy fiction novel. The uncertainty in life has made my anxiety more pronounced.
The Reality of Fear
If I could sum up all the fears associated with my own anxiety, those that are rational and irrational, it would be likened to drowning. Now I have never drowned, but when I was six, and at my hotel at Disneyland trip, I nearly drowned. I was saved by my sister.
Anxiety can cripple you, increase your heart rate, make it hard to breathe and make your thoughts irrational. I have thought during one of the worst panic attacks of my life that I was going to die–a very absurd idea. From what I know, you can’t die from a panic attack or anxiety. But the fear associated with it is genuine. Fear is an interesting thing because when you are in a panic attack, the fears in our lives are exponentially increased.
The fear is real at the moment, but eventually, when you can refocus, the fears become something you can change. It comes down to recognizing triggers in my experience. An example, late at night after I take my Seroquel, it can feel as if my body is shutting down, that is its job. But the fear sets in at times because anxiety and panic attacks do not let you know when it is coming. It is always at the most inopportune time, it is not? At times I hyperventilate, making the fear of not breathing seem extremely real when the reality is I am causing the increase with my irrational thinking.
What Can You Do? Well I have a few Ideas
Handing anxiety is not a one size fits all method. It comes down to what works for you. I have some ideas that will work. A thought journal after an increase in anxiety or panic attack, or even during if that is possible, can help you pinpoint your fears and triggers and come up with strategies to combat.
Tracking your mood several times a day in a notebook with the time, the level of anxiety with a simple scare of 1-10, and maybe a thought or two can also be effective in knowing when your anxiety is at its peak. Mine peaks around three in the afternoon and at times late at night right before bed. We are in a technological age and so CBT books or working with your therapist on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a great option. I find music is the great equalizer alongside writing.
We are now living in unprecedented times when whole countries and states are in lockdown. The fears we now live in are a reality that we have to face when it comes to anxious feelings. With so many of us now sequestered at home, there are bound to be anxious fears about what is going on in the world.
I wish I had all the answers, but I am only the sum of my experiences with panic attacks and anxiety. One thing you can do above all else when looking for how-to solutions to handle anxiety. You can educate yourself. We have information at our fingertips and researching the technical stuff is important, but read the blogs of others. There might be something I have not talked about that could help you. Above all, anxiety is natural, and though it may feel like forever to many, it can be something that can be controlled. I have whole other posts about benzodiazepines that I will be writing in the future. These medications, if taken long term, can cause severe effects with anxiety and panic attacks. That is a post for another day with said, stay safe out there, The Bipolar Writer is thinking of you.
I feel it settling into my stomach. It’s a very familiar churning. I’ve not had breakfast yet, so it could be that. But I also feel the little beginning of a pounding in my chest – the beginning of what might be a panic attack, if I still had those (I don’t, thanks to an old program that I went through called Attacking Anxiety and Depression). I feel an absolute discomfort and I know where it’s coming from. I’ve written many blog entries over the last couple of weeks and what I was hoping would happen is happening but it’s making me uncomfortable.
I try to be an honest writer. I have always written the same way that I talk, which is why you will often notice me starting sentences with “and,” “but,” “so,” things I know, from English classes, that I shouldn’t do. But I try to write as if the person I’m talking to is right in front of me. I don’t write formally because I don’t speak formally or think formally.
Because I write as if I’m speaking, what happens is that the real me always comes out. As these posts are being created – some of which have been published and some of which are sitting waiting to be published – I’m starting to get a very clear picture of who I am, my positives and my negatives. I’ve been examining myself for decades so none of this is new to me; I’ve just not been doing it publicly. Each entry is a little mirror. It’s scary.
I want to be honest but I also want to be a good person. I don’t like my flaws. I overemphasize them, as do many LSersD (long-time sufferers of depression). I underestimate the good about myself; I’m sure we all do that. I realize that by being honest, I might sometimes alienate people from my blog. I realize that by being honest, I might sometimes have opinions that aren’t popular. I could carefully edit to try and block out the negatives but the things that are negatives to some people are positives to others and vice versa. And so I’m feeling the familiar churn of fear in my belly, in my gut, because my blog is absolutely a presentation of my SELF to the world.
So why put myself through it?
Because all in all, I feel like I’m an average person – that’s not a bad thing, that’s a good thing – and I do believe that all of my positives, all of my negatives, by putting them out there, they just might help someone. So I’m going to go ahead and suffer through it and try to be authentic, try to be honest, try to help people where I can, and try to face up to the reality that there’s a lot of responsibility in having a blog.
This August was a happening month for me. I got everything that I had my hands on, was at the peak of happiness and wellness. Probably I have never been so productive in years as I have been this August – slept well, ate well, started gym, wrote poetry and blogs, attended workshops, sang songs and strummed my guitar and what not! But as I always believe: everything is temporary, so was my phase of happiness. Soon things turned chaotic, I began to lose composure and also, lost the ‘happy’ phase.
Phases of depression are cruel, you know. It jolts you, breaks you, kills you within but doesn’t let you die (even if you want to). It makes you suffer to the core but doesn’t let you escape from it; much like eternal damnation in hell. You know it will always be there till the last breath and you sort of learn to live with it but, don’t want to live with it at the same time. It gives you a ride to your worst self and makes you believe that that’s all you are. It leaves you with feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, discontent, and all that is negative.
Living with bipolar disorder isn’t easy, my friend. It throws the best and worst at you, and takes back both leaving you only with a feeble hope, hope that things will get better. As the ‘happy’ phase kicks in, it gives you all the positivity you could ever think of (or maybe, can’t even think of), fills you with so much vigour, vibrancy and enthusiasm, makes you feel like there’s nothing better but, soon depression ‘the sad phase’ slowly peeps in and takes away all at a gush. It replaces all the positivity with brutal negativity; all that was filled is now just a void, an endless void. You toss and turn, try to forget it like a bad dream but it throttles you by the neck and pushes you to the depth.
During the ‘happy’ phase you live with the fear of encountering a sad phase soon, and during a ‘sad’ phase you live with the hope of soon encountering a happy phase. Strange, isn’t it? But the best part about this swinging mood is, it gives you a taste of both happiness and sadness to the extreme. Just a consolation, I know.
Now that I’m down into the dumps, everything is a mess. My daily life is a big, big mess. My diet, sleep, daily activities, productivity, every single thing is messed up. Past haunts, present is clueless, future scares. But nevertheless, I’m living with the hope that ‘happy’ phase might soon kick in and my pain will then subside.
My last post and this one are going to be a little contradictory because circumstances have changed. I previously said that I am mentally ready to take a break from therapy, that I am in a good place to be independent.
Now I can’t wait to see my therapist on Monday morning because my anxiety is weighing on me. It’s not the worst I’ve ever experienced but I feel that the anxiety is growing each day. I really want to talk through what’s happening in my mind. I want to cry in her office and spill my guts.
“What is making you so anxious?” you may be asking.
Change has always been something that I hate whether it’s good or bad. One of the best times of my life was living in England but I was depressed for a big bit of it. I did a lot of isolating myself and watching every Wes Anderson film alone in my flat.
As I may have mentioned on here before, I am moving out of my childhood home and into a house with my boyfriend of 2.5 years. The thought of not being in my comfort zone that I have been in for almost all of my life makes me so scared.
I’m walking around the house taking in every inch of it. The carpet beneath my bare feet. The view of the street outside my window. The beautiful counter top in my bathroom. All of it so familiar to me.
I need to grow up which comes with a lot of discomfort, something that also makes me anxious. I will have to adjust to so many new things and leave many of my comforts behind. Mainly my cats, I will deeply miss not having them sleep with me every night.
I’m only moving a few streets away from my mom’s house where I live now but once I move all of my things out, I won’t have any true comfort to return to. My bedroom has always been my solace, my safe place. Without everything in it, it’s just a room.
It’s the equivalent of taking away my baby blanket.
There are lots of things I’m looking forward to in my new house such as truly feeling like an adult instead of a teenager, spending more time with my boyfriend, cooking in my own kitchen and having a porch.
A few years ago I wrote a poem about how my mind is like the night sky. That the darkness is my depression, anxiety and all of the bad stuff while the stars are the happiness and positive stuff. I look up and I focus on the darkness instead of admiring the twinkling stars above. I’ve rarely been the one to look on the bright side.
Does change make you anxious and/or depressed? If so, how do you cope with this? I’ve never seemed to find a way to positively cope with change so I’m open to all ideas!
Sometimes I’ve thought about how others would react if I passed away. Everyone’s had that thought I’m sure. Wondering who would cry or who would attend the funeral. It’s hard not to imagine the church setting empty during your funeral. It was a long time before I felt people in my life would get upset if I died. I never thought of killing myself, but I never thought anyone cared if I was alive or dead. Finding the motivation to keep going every day with those thoughts can be difficult. I don’t know how I worked through that.
Now that I know people, I have people who would mourn my absence if I passed, I still struggle with motivation. I know those closest to me love me, but I’m not happy with my life. I’ve felt trapped in a hole for too long and there’s often no escape. I keep going somehow but I hate living. I hate that I can’t receive my basic needs. I don’t want to live in a world I can’t afford to live in. Will things turn around for me this Summer? At least I’m saving money but most of it will disappear if I don’t have a job in the fall.
I have many passions and many reasons to keep going. Pursuing those passions does not always sustain my finances. If anything, it costs more to be creative with little return. No appreciation. No support. It’s hard to continue doing what you love when no one loves you for doing it. I’m taking steps to change my situation. The future is still unclear, but I’m feeling positive. If I plan well enough, I can do what I love in a sustainable way. I can pay my bills with my passions.
It will be a long time before I’m 100% self-employed, but I can see the light at the end of tunnel. It’s years away, but I can see it. I don’t want to die because my goals are reachable. I don’t want to die because I never want to hurt my friends that much. I have many reasons to keep going. I’m holding on to all those reasons as long as I can. I’m forcing myself not to give up. My fear is what will cause me to give up. What will make me decide living is too much? I hope I never find out.