Category: anxiety

Depression, Anxiety, Robin Williams

I hesitated to do this post because like when Whitney Houston died I didn’t want to just be one more maudlin grab at attention from tragedy.  Everyone probably knows that Robin Williams died yesterday of an apparent suicide.

It’s strange because if you had asked me if I was a Robin Williams fan before yesterday I would have said ‘not any more’.  His comedic riffs seemed outdated and I was not a fan of his recent show The Crazy One’s.

And yet, when I heard about it I started to cry.  I’m not sure I can even explain it but it impacted me.

The 90’s were golden for Williams and that was when I grew up. Just like with Houston I seemed to have outgrown Robin Williams but when something like this happens you remember and mourn for a little bit of that innocence which is lost.

3 of his films really stand out- Dead Poets Society, Aladdin and Mrs Doubtfire.

These movies all seem very different but they all contain varying degrees of his manic comedic riffing but also had a lot of heart.

Mrs Doubtfire

Along with Home Alone I can’t remember a movie making me laugh more as a younger person but it had real heart too.

Dead Poets Society came out when I was only 8 so I learned about it from friends when I was in high school and it is one of the first tragedies I remember responding too.  Before that the movies were for fantasy, laughter and entertainment.

Dead Poets Society

It’s interesting a few weeks ago I did my Disney Tag and I mentioned thinking Aladdin was a bit overrated but since I made the video I’ve actually been thinking about it.  I was going to watch it and see what I thought.  I remember seeing it and laughing at all the jokes and great songs.  I don’t know if those jokes bear frequent repetition but I’m going to watch an old VHS and see.

I did say in that video if I could pick any person from a Disney movie to be my friend it would be Genie. After all ‘you aint never had a friend like’ him.

But even Aladdin had a moment of heart for our Genie

I guess I just want to say one more thing.  I think the reason why I cried yesterday doesn’t really have to do with movies at all.  I have seen addiction and depression wreak havoc on my extended family and I think most of us can say the same.

In fact, I have not been immune from depression and anxiety myself.  I’ve spoken about it many times on this blog.  I had a period of my life where I was so unhappy that I honestly doubted whether I could feel happiness again.  I seemed to be presented with happy things but never felt any real joy from them.

I remember my mother asked me ‘why is this so hard? You’ve faced a lot of hard things.  Why is this so tough for you?’

I said ‘because every other time I could see the out.  I could see the ending but I don’t any more.  I feel like there is a black cloud over my life and it won’t go away’.

It took a nervous breakdown to wake me up and make the changes I needed so I could rescue myself.  I will never forget staring at a plate of spaghetti and thinking ‘why isn’t the rest of my life this good?’ It was really scary to jump into the unknown but it was either that or I hate to think what I would have done further down that road.

Life presented me with a way to rescue myself and just after I quit my job I was unemployed for 6 months.  People kept asking if I was bored and I’d say ‘no way’.  What I didn’t tell them is I was healing.  I was remembering what made me special and happy.

And that was when I started this blog because I was smiling again.

I was rescued and it makes me sad when others are not.  Please try to reach out to those you love and tell them you are there for them.  If someone is going through depression don’t judge, just hug them and help them rescue themselves.  Pray for them.

Anyway, I don’t mean to be sad but it was on my mind and I wanted to share it with you.  God is there for you.  He loves all of us and He wants us to be happy.

 I am donating to St Jude’s hospital in honor of Robin Williams. stjude.org/donate

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Missing My Race

Friends, I feel sad.

I’m still in a lot of pain but that has become fairly normal.  What makes me sad is missing my race.  For the last 3 years the Deer Creek Open Water Swim has been one of my favorite things to do during the entire year.  I looked forward to it like Christmas, maybe more so, and now it is out of the question.

I was able to sell my spot which is good but it is still a serious bummer. I was just reading a post on facebook and it all sounds like so much fun.  I guess they have awesome finisher medals and are doing the kayak raffle again.  I’m sure they will get a good turn out like last year.

If there was any way I could do it I would, but I can’t even stand straight right now.  Moving my leg hurts let alone kicking in the water.

That’s it. I’m just sad.

But there is a lot to be grateful for. I’m grateful for good friends who have been so supportive.  I’m grateful for all the prayers from family, friends, and my internet community. I’m grateful to anyone who has given me a ride or helped me out especially my friend Stacia and my roommate Regan.

What do you guys think I should do Saturday instead of just stewing on my missing the race?  I don’t have many options and everyone seems to be busy.  Any creative ideas?

I remember thinking in June that my life was going so well and wondering how long it could all last.  Well, July threw me a curve ball I wasn’t expecting.  Sometimes that’s the way life is. The Lord builds you up so you are ready for something hard (and I realize in the grand scheme of things my hard thing isn’t that hard but still it’s been tough for me).

I just wish I could swim in that race…Sigh.

On to next year!

A Nonworking Vacation

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Wednesday this week I am going on vacation!!!! Like a real vacation.

I am not exaggerating when I say I haven’t been on a real vacation since Japan in 2005.

I realize I’ve been a lot of places during those years including Hawaii three times but each time I was working at least at a minimum level.

Anytime I see my folks I end up working because my Dad is my boss. I’ve usually brought some checks with me, written wires, checked emails the whole nine yards.

My problem is letting things go that only I can do.  I never have had a sub or back up so if it needed to be done I had to do it.  That is hard to let go.  One time my boss told me ‘get off the phone and enjoy Hawaii!’.

It’s a problem many Americans are having.  See article

But not this time! My work responsibilities for Poler are minimal and can be done by other people while I’m gone.  My roommate is kind enough to get the mail and make deposits.  My supervisor and Dad are taking over wires and checks so that’s taken care of.  And as far as my new job goes it hasn’t started yet so no worries on that front!

2 of my Hawaii trips I was actually working and going to school so that was interesting.  My first trip I tried to get people to fill in for me but it was a disaster and I had to do an entire team project in 3 days or fail the class (sigh…).

Last year I got pretty close to real vacation in the trip to Disneyland but I still did some work and I will probably still check my email on this trip out of habit more than anything else (plus it goes to my phone so kind of hard to not check it)

Anyway, I’m very excited to be taking a true vacation and to a place I know very little about.  I never thought about going to Tampa or traveling to Florida but my high school friend Kim was kind enough to invite me and probably to her surprise I accepted.

She’s taking time off from her job and has purchased tickets to baseball games and other activities.  Thursday we are going to Harry Potter World in Orlando!

Mostly I am greatly looking forward to the ocean.  I love the ocean.  The first time I went to Hawaii was one of the toughest times of my life.  I was so unhappy and I went to the North Shore and called my Dad the day I was to leave and cried my eyes out.

It had been so beautiful and going back to the cubicle dungeon of my life seemed to much.  I can’t even tell you how many times I have been sad and thought of my beloved North Shore and felt happy again (I even have it featured in artwork above my bed and in my office).

I love the sound of the beach.  I love swimming in the beach. I love reading and then swimming and then reading.  I love wearing floppy hats and big sunglasses soaking up the sun and hearing the wish-wash of the tide.  It is heaven.  Last year I got to spend one day in Seal Beach, CA and realized that was the truly happiest place on earth not Disneyland!

I also hope to just relax, maybe go to a movie or two, watch the Survivor finale, go to good restaurants and have a great trip!

How fortunate I am to be in this position to take a trip.  I am so grateful for my friend for having me and to have the resources to travel.  I am also grateful that I planned the trip, accepted the invite and am making the effort to go.  It was such perfect planning right before starting my new job.  I could never have known it would work out that way but it worked out great!

I’m so excited to have a non-working vacation and hopefully I come back to you more tan than burned and full of great stories of my trip.  I will update the blog while I’m away but there will be a gap in videos.

If any of you have been to Tampa and have some suggestions let me know.

To travel!!

TAMPA mural

Existential Dread and Bologna

So I laughed harder today than I have in many years. Yes, years. The kind of laughing where you can hardly breathe and your side aches.

What made me laugh?  Well, lately the website buzzfeed.com has been doing a bunch of surveys to determine all kinds of things like ‘Which Jane Austen Heroine are you Like?’ or ‘What superhero are you?’ etc.  They’ve become popular with my friends so I mozied on over to take a few as a lark.

The first one I got was quite the ominous survey ‘How will I die’.  I mean who doesn’t want to know that?  Would certainly help when purchasing life insurance.  So I filled out the survey and the results pop up. I am not altering this in any way.  This is what it told me:

“You will be suffocated by existential dread. An unbearable sense of the sheer pointlessness of it all, once tamped down by booze, drugs, and the occasional, ultimately meaningless sexual release, eventually becomes too much for you”

That’s rough…Who knew I was both so thoughtful and such a rebel. So existential dread is defined by our friends over at wikipedia as “It is used in English to describe an intense feeling of apprehension, anxiety, or inner turmoil. In other languages…. it is used regularly to express fear.

Also existential philosophy is the brainchild of Soren Kierkegaard. The idea is you use your brain to perfect yourself and separate from the empty, meaningless world. (Catcher in the Rye with all the ‘phonies’ is an example).  Anyway, who knew that it had such a hold on me enough so that it would suffocate me and lead to my death’.  No more deep thinking for me! 😉

‘After sitting alone thinking about the earth and all the shallowness and emptiness I thought ‘why not take another survey? I mean it won’t mean anything but I might as well’…

So I found one that seemed pretty innocuous ‘What sandwich are you?’  Perhaps I was eating lunch and needed some guidance but you won’t believe what I got as my sandwich.  Again, I am not making this up.  It said:

‘You got the Sad bologna sandwich. Look at your life. Look at your choices” Now I’m really experiencing some existential dread.  Look at my choices?  Look at my life?  I never knew I was so off track.  And it’s not just a bologna sandwich but a sad bologna sandwich.  Even my bologna is sad. Now that is existential…

What’s a girl to do?  Existential dread, a sad sandwich.  Look at my life choices…I’m a mess.  A bit of an academic mess that likes cheap mystery meat but a mess!

But then I found some comfort in an article in the Huffington Post and again I am not making this up.  It said:

“New research shows Tylenol may have the unseen psychological side-effect of easing existential dread….We think that Tylenol is blocking existential unease in the same way it prevents pain because a similar neurological process is responsible for both types of distress,”

Phew!  What a relief.  I’ve got to stock up on tylenol.

But what do I do about my sad sandwich?  And my life choices? When I see bologna in the stores it’s going to have a  whole new tragic appeal to me.  How can a sandwich be sad?  Evidently if it is my sandwich it brings on all kinds of anxiety, distress and sadness.  Perhaps the poor life choices have something to do with the tylenol too!  Maybe that will help me get a happy sandwich?

Anyway, I thought it was hilarious, but I implore all of you to watch out for any existential dread posts or if you see bologna in my fridge give me a hug and ask me how those life choices are going.  You may be my only hope!

existential dread

Nanowrimo: Writing a Mom

frazzled mom

So for the month of November I am going to be posting sections of my book so hopefully I can edit a little along the way.  As I have previously said on the blog there are 2 main characters, Marnie and Becca.  Becca is a stay at home Mom, army wife with 4 kids.

I want to share with you my introduction to Becca.  As I’ve never been a stay at home Mom can all of you give me some feedback?  I’d really appreciate it.  You can message me if you feel more comfortable.  Don’t worry about offending me.  I’ve got very thick skin.

I haven’t had a chance to go over grammar so this is mainly on character and realism of the scene.

I will also be posting my introductory scene of Marnie probably tomorrow.  Fun!

So here goes, Becca:

Becca introduction

“Sir take a look at the scene?” Spencer says as he shows me the human view screen.  I can see Marnie and Becca.   They both look like they have been run over by a horse.  Tired, haggard, worn out.

Becca is at her home surrounded  by her four kids.  “Mommy,  TJ won’t leave me alone.  He’s bothering me”

“That’s not true.  Julie won’t stop bothering me” says JT

“Ugh.  Would you both stop bothering me!  Geesh.  Could the 2 of you get along for one second!”  Becca says with a hint of sarcasm.

“Mom, I have a book on hold at the library.  Can we go pick it up?” Callie her 8 year old was brilliant but very persistent when she had a request.  “Can we?  Can we?”

“I don’t know.  Cal.  I will try.  Can you go with a friend?  I have to make dinner?”

“Wa, wa, wa, wa”  The baby Addie falls and bangs her head as she crawls into the kitchen.

“Mom, can we go.  Can we go?”

“Callie if you ask me one more time we are never going”

“What.  That’s not fair”  Callie begins to cry and storms off.   Grabbing the baby  Becca tries to calm her and kiss her forehead.

“Poor thing.  Here’s some kisses”

“JT pulled my hair”  Julie yelled pulling at Becca’s skirt.

“Look you go to your room, and you go to your room” pointing at JT and Julie.  “I need you to think of how lucky you are to be a part of a family.  Your father is counting on you to keep our family going while he’s away”

Becca’s husband is in the army and was on the tail end of a service deployment sent to help at Hurricane Teresa in Mississippi.  While grateful that her husband had the chance to serve other people and the country sometimes she wished he could serve her more.  Being a single Mom was hard.

“Look everyone the babysitter is coming and I am going to come in an hour and you are all to be on your best behavior. You’ve got it?”

Seemingly right on cue the phone rings.  “Mom” “JT says.  It’s for you!”

“Hi Mrs.  Richmond it’s Claire and I’ve got a temperature and don’t think I can make it tonight.  I’m sorry”

Becca’s heart sunk “What?  How come you didn’t’ call sooner? Now it will be too late to get anyone else?”

“I’m sorry but I kept hoping I would feel better.  I really am sorry”  Claire says with a cough into the phone.

“That’s Ok.  I hope you feel better.  Take care.  Bye”

“Bye”

Becca didn’t know if she was going to cry or scream.  Tonight was to be her night off.  Her night off to spend with her friend Marnie, her best friend from the time she was 8 years old.  Lately it had seemed like they were living such different lives and they hadn’t seen each other for months.  Something like this would always happen.

As she began to call Marnie’s number Addie pulled at the phone and began to cry.  Babies seemed to know when they were just being held and not the center of attention.  Everything was a mess.  Everyone in the house basically hated her at the moment and her long anticipated relief was going down the tubes it was almost too much.

“Hi Marnie.  I have bad news”

Chapter 3

“Bad news?”  Marnie would like to say she was surprised by Becca’s call but she’d learned to never buy tickets in advance for anything with her best friend.  Reliable was not her middle name.

“You have to be kidding!”

“No.  The babysitter called and she’s sick.  There isn’t time to find anyone else.  The kids are all upset and I have to make dinner.  I’m really sorry”

“This is the 3rd time you have canceled on me.  It’s not easy for me to free up time in my schedule” Marnie begins to say and then changes her tone not wanting to cause a scene “It’s ok.  I understand”

“Let’s keep trying”  Becca said in an exasperated tone.

“Ok.  Love ya”

“Love ya back”

Why Blogging is Good for Singles

Long title to this post I know.

Here’s the deal- being single is hard.  People can pretend like it isn’t and want you to talk about rainbows and butterfly’s but it is hard.   Why do you think people cry at weddings? It’s a primal urge to find someone who loves you and can share a life with you.

From the beginning of time marriage, love, companionship was defined as a part of human nature.  God told Adam and Eve ‘it is not good for man to be alone’.

So where does that leave us singlites? We have to set the primal needs aside and most of the time pretend like they don’t really matter, like we are strong enough, independent enough to not need them. Sometimes we even fool ourselves into believing we are better because of our defiance of human nature but this is mostly lip service for an ache that is always there.  It may cause us to feel defensive because like any wounded creature we bark back at those encircling us.

Fortunately most of us have to function so we bottle up that ache and only bring it out from time to time when we feel pricked or particularly bruised.  You try to remain hopeful but then you’ll have a moment where you are driving and you realize ‘I haven’t been on a date in a year’.  How did this happen?  It’s hard to feel hopeful in those moments.

That’s where this blog comes into play.  The fact is I can only get so far by myself.  Think about it- in the rush for self improvement I will only improve those things that are the most natural and pleasant for me to address. There is no companion or helpmeet to give me a dope slap and say ‘shape up’.

And friends are amazing but typically not present enough on a daily or even weekly basis to provide the type of feedback a girl needs for true change and growth.  They are the happiness in life but as far as life coaches they can fall short.  Even parents as great as they are can find it hard to relate to the worries and fears of a single, solitary life.

So, you put on your happy face and you share your feelings in the one way you have.  Sometimes I feel like this blog is my spouse and that I’m wondering what he would say and what suggestions he would offer.  I wonder what movies he will like and if he is a reader or thinker like me.  Does he like sports?  Is he good with kids or a bit of a mess like me?  For a second you can suspend belief and talk to him through the great mass of internet blur.

I’ve always said that the greatest compliment I could receive is if someone read my blog and then wanted to go on a date with me.  It would be like someone seeing my heart and then saying ‘I like that. I’d like to learn more’.

At least I know for sure that God does understand.  And he has His reasons for any challenge.  If there are things I need to improve He will tell me.  I do not have to wait until heaven to get the dope slap from deity.  Believe me.  I’ve felt it and I’ve lived it.  That makes all the difference.

But…you still miss and wonder and cry a little.  And then you talk to Him and write to the world with hope and gratitude.

That’s what its all about.

Here’s the deal- Being alive is hard and no matter who tells you to think of butterfly’s and rainbows it is but there are outlets and hopes.  He does make a way to not be alone.

I am hisNobody ever reads my thoughtful, pondering posts so if you agree or learned something let me know. 😉

ps.  If anyone wants to set me up I’m totally game. See I’m still hopeful. 😉

pps.  Hopefully this post isn’t too depressing.  I just have to share my feelings in the outlets I have.  Thank you!

No Sleep

Last night I got no sleep.  I was tired all day and had to go to the house in Alpine to show someone around.  Worried I would be a drowsy driver I drank some caffeine around 4:30 and I bitterly regretted it by the end of the night.  Plus, my ambien prescription is out and that seems to be the only thing that really helps.

It was a long night.  I kept trying different strategies but nothing worked.  (Deep breathing, counting sheep, listening to audiobook, reading, nothing).  Finally around 4:30 I gave up and decided to start working since I was up anyway.  Its peculiar  because usually this happens when I’m worn out or frazzled but I felt fine.  No real stress. The only thing I can put my finger on is that stupid diet coke I drank.  I used to drink a super big gulp everyday, sometimes 2 and it wouldn’t affect me much but not any more.

I tried to take melatonin but it wasn’t helping.  Nothing was helping.

How do I get in these cycles  you ask?  Well, I stayed up too late during my recent trip and ever since then I’ve had a hard time going to sleep before 2 am.  Sometimes more like 3 am.  My body will be tired but my eyes will be wide awake.  At a certain point you start to have anxiety about not being able to sleep and it gets worse and worse.

I know it affects me in many ways.  Luckily I have a job that is flexible and I can even work late at night if all else fails.  But its hard to be motivated to exercise when you are so tired and a lot of the swim masters are at 6 or 6:30 and I’m sorry but I need more than 4 hours of sleep a night.

Last Fall I went to an insomnia specialist and she helped me get things on track so perhaps I need to see her again.  Meanwhile I’m trying to stay up till 8 or 9 tonight so I don’t wake up at some crazy hour.  Its literally painful.  My eyes hurt, head hurts, my stomach is bothering me and I have no appetite.

I don’t mean to be complaining.  Its just insomnia is the worst!

Do you guys have any strategies that work for you? I’ve also done the sleep studies and have a cpap but it makes my insomnia really bad so I don’t wear it often.  Some days my room helps me a lot with all its beautiful darkness and other days my whole body feels tight and I can’t relax.

Tired Rachel
Tired Rachel

By the way, this is my 700th blog post.  Pretty crazy right! Thanks to all who read it.