Tag: 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  His comedic riffs seemed outdated and I was not a fan of his recent show The Crazy One’s.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

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.

DNF is Not a 4 Letter Word

For those of you who do not follow me on facebook you might not be aware of the recent drama in my life.  It started in the summer when my new friend Tanya and I started training together.  She was new to open water.  New to swimming in fact.  She is a student of my friend Kate who is a fabulous swim instructor for adults.  She’s introduced so many people to swimming and open water over the years and has helped me tons with my own stroke.

In July Tania mentioned to me that she wanted to prepare for a race but didn’t feel she would be ready for Deer Creek in August.  The next obvious choice was to take the trip out to Slam the Dam in Las Vegas at the beginning of October.  I have done this race in 2011 and it was a lot of fun.  I figured why not?  (I had signed up last year but various dramas kept me from attending).

So the training began and we got to blackridge pond as often as we could and we both saw improvement.  More importantly we had fun and became dear friends.

Tania and me.
Tanya and me.

Tanya is honestly good for my ego because she thinks I’m such a good swimmer.  I love to swim but pretty much always know I’m the slowest girl in the room and I’m ok with that.  I get the job done and that’s all that matters to me.  I’ve told Tanya repeatedly over these weeks ‘this is a hobby.  If it isn’t fun you are doing something wrong’.

That said, I’ve had nagging doubts about my abilities all along.  With my back and other chronic pain I haven’t been able to train as hard as last year, it was frustrating for me to feel like I wasn’t the swimmer I was just a few months ago.  These anxieties were made worse by the realization of a strict time limit at Slam the Dam.  For some unknown reason the park service would only give them until 11 am and then everyone has to be done.

This only gives the 1.2 mile swimmers 1 hour to swim.  The organizers have told me it is ‘plenty of time for a swim’ but they don’t understand or aren’t interested in nurturing new/nontraditional athletes.  My best time on a 1 mile swim is 53 minutes. At Deer Creek my time was 1 hr 2 minutes for 1 mile.

To make matters worse they sent out an email last week saying “If you are not adequately prepared mentally and/or physically, do not race”  What does that even mean?  I’m not mentally prepared for life let alone a race.  I mean who feels adequately prepared for something so monumental?  I bet if you asked Michael Phelps he’d tell you things he wished he’d done or worked harder on.  To me this was baffling and kind of mean-spirited. (and I begged for some kind of an accommodation but no go)

They have also made it clear that you will be pulled from the water if you go over time, which I’m ok with but I just wish the time limit didn’t exist.  It honestly makes me sick inside.  Sick for my friend.  Sick for me.  Sick for all the other new swimmers who will be discouraged from participating.  A side of me wants to throw in the towel and not make the effort to drive out there and be humiliated…

But where’s the victory in that? I’d say there is about a 50/50 chance depending on weather, current, course, strength, stroke etc that I finish the race.  My GSL time after all was 1 hr 24 minutes so not even close to the cut off time because of the strong current. (Thank you Utah races for not having a time limit or at least a strictly enforced one).

50/50…so I either succeed and have a triumphant moment or I get a DNF (Did Not Finish).  Even now there is a side of me that shudders when I say those words.  It is so outside of my nature to not finish, and yet isn’t it always a possibility in any endeavor?  At least anything worth doing can be a success or failure?

The funny thing is  the ingredients are nearly the same for a finish and a DNF- both have training, goal setting, driving, racing, happy friends and lots of people who say to me ‘I could never do that’.  The only difference is me and my pride.  Kind of silly…

I love what JK Rowling says about failure. ” It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default”

I don’t want to fail by default.  For me a DNF will be a DNQ (Did Not Quit)

swimmingHow do you guys deal with DNF’s and potential failures in your goals?  Its especially hard when it is so outside of your control.  What are your strategies?

I can definitely promise you this- I will not be swimming Slam the Dam again anytime soon.  If they only want athletes with a specific set of skills than they have got it.  This will be the last year myself or my blog are involved.  Too bad really…

I’ve gotten some great encouragement on facebook from the swim forums.  Thanks everyone!

More Delays

Some of you that don’t follow me on facebook may be curious to know where my house is at.  Unfortunately I don’t have great news.  The house is done and gorgeous but I can’t go through closing until the FHA on the complex gets approved.  I’m not going to hear anything until Tuesday because of the Monday holiday.  We have no idea if we will even hear anything then. I think I am going to go crazy!

To make matters worse we could go through all of this and get denied for the myriad of reasons FHA has. I’m trying to not think about that because it is highly unlikely but still possible and with so much time to stew on things the mind reels. Yesterday I caused myself to have a mini-panic attack trying to decide between keeping with the FHA loan or abandoning it and going conventional.  In the end, I decided to stick with what I have and not second guess myself.

So now it is just waiting. The house is done.  It’s sitting there and I’m waiting.

In the meantime I’m trying to curtail my anxiety and fears as best I can.  Mostly I’m trying to distract myself from the boxes and the continually rescheduled moves and the looming loan and closure and some moments I do better than others.  A lot of the day my brain feels like it is going to explode.  Like I’m in a big vice and it gets tighter and tighter.  I’m left wondering what I can do and the answer is nothing and that makes things tighter and tighter.

So all there is to do is wait and sigh and try to distract myself.  I wish I could explain it better but the attempt feels totally futile.   I’m not stressed out, I’m not even anxious.  You know that feeling when you are just about to throw up, like your insides are going to pop outside of you?  That’s how I feel all the time. I wish I could help it.  I wish I could make it go away.  I wish I could grow up and deal with things better.  Sorry I’m really trying.

I am trying to make things nice for my tenants by ordering a POD to be delivered at the house on Monday so they can do part of the move on Monday if they wish.  It’s the least I can do with all they have put up with.

And all I can do is wait…

Control

I am relaxing tonight after a long week.  Work on my house has been clipping along and it looks like I can do the walk through on Monday! Still not sure on closing because of an FHA approval that is ‘in process’ (that is all the government will tell us.  Sigh!).   The house looks great and I’m very happy with it.

It makes me happy as well that my tenants are happy with it and  “LOVE it” (from their text caps and all).   They certainly have been through a lot waiting for this house right along with me and I’ve been so grateful for their patience and kindness.  I definitely chose the right people to share a home with!

Strangely the building (and waiting) of my house was actually the happy part of the week.  It was a very intense week at work with end of the month and end of the year responsibilities.  I’m still packing up my house and had a full schedule.

The real mess started with my soon to be roommate staying up at my Dad’s rental while my house is being finished.  I felt bad but the situation got worse with a break in, her laptop getting stolen and a missing person’s case forcing the police back up to the house.  Then to make matters worse I was still showing the house to potential tenants.  On Wednesday someone looked at the house and LOVED it.  They said ‘we want to sign the contract and get in asap’.

In fact, they wanted to get in the house on Saturday (tomorrow), giving me only 3 days to get the house cleaned, carpet cleaned, move my Dad’s stuff, get it ready to go. Not to mention getting my roommate moved ( I feel so bad about that! The woman deserves Sainthood for all she’s been through).

At first I said no way but then the money convinced me to give it a try.  (Stupid!).  Me and the manager worked very hard to get everything ready but with the snow storm it became clear yesterday that it wasn’t going to happen.  We didn’t want to endanger the cleaners or make things unsafe.

I tried to call, text and email them about the delay and didn’t hear back from them so we kept on working.  Stacia, the manager, worked after getting a root canal done that morning!  Then finally at the end of the day (while I still got my 8 hours in for my regular job and missed my swim!) they sent me a text saying they got ‘cold feet because of the storm’.  Sigh…

It was super frustrating.  I just wish they had expressed some concerns to me sooner or at least been more up front with me yesterday so we hadn’t killed ourselves working on such a tight deadline.  I’m exhausted!

Anyway, it’s just as well.  What made me think of this is I was talking to someone today and they said

‘I’m more of a Spartan when handling such things’

and

‘Why waste energy and anxiety over things you have no control over?’

This made me feel a little sad because I hate being weak.  Sometimes it feels like everyone else is tougher, stronger, braver, better than me and I’m a big wimp.

Here’s the thing I realized- Maybe I am the Spartan because I do get through it all and channel anxiety in the best way I know how?   I take the burden of my fears and worry and still complete the goals in my life.  Doesn’t that in a way make me twice as tough?

Here’s the second thing- I also do it for the most part completely alone.   Yes, I have family and friends who love and support me (thank you!) but as far as the day to day financial, work, social decisions of my life I take all the pressure and have to make all the decisions.

I know women who have made almost no decisions independently of a spouse or parent in their life, ever.  I think it can be hard for these types of people to understand the pressure, anxiety and fear that can go into each choice.

If I have a fear that everything will go wrong and an anxiety for the future maybe it is because I’ve fallen flat on my face enough in life to know how much it sucks?  I think in a way it is a protective instinct.  To protect me from the pain I try to prepare for it.  I also feel like once I had my first panic attack my brain changed and I just don’t absorb things like I used to.  I fear going through that again because it was awful.

Just look at this house- it is 100% all me.  I made every choice as far as colors, size, dimensions, income property, tenants, everything.  Getting the loan, picking the location, going through closing will be only me.  Again, that is a lot of pressure. If it fails I am the one that is blamed.   It is the same way with my work- all 3 of my jobs. Yes, I have associates and support but in the end it is me alone in my apartment working.  No substitutes, no excuses.

And I do it all with a diagnosed anxiety disorder…maybe I’m not so weak?

Here’s the third thing- Asking the question ‘why worry about things you can’t control?’ is sort of redundant for anxiety sufferers because

I can’t control my anxiety!

Yes, I can channel it; and yes, I can learn to react to it more effectively but at a certain point it is there and just like any other illness you have, and you must work with your body to respond in a healthy way.

This is so hard to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced that out of control feeling but believe me it is real.  I actually feel I have handled things pretty well considering.  Believe me if I had given into every moment of anxiety I felt I would have been way more of a mess!

So there you go world- Just think about it when you use that CONTROL word because what is in my control as far as anxiety may be just as challenging as my control over FHA approvals or anything else.

CONTROL (Maybe that’s why I like blogging I can control it and it is all mine!)

What do you all think about control and dealing with pressure?  I’d be especially curious to hear from my single friends that have to do a lion-share of the decision making and how they deal with that? Especially singles who have purchased homes!

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Trying to figure everything out
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Worrying Rachel
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Try to smile through the fears

An Absorber

Something has been on my mind that maybe all of you, internet world, can have some insight into.  Maybe you can relate?

Do any of you have friends who seem to be able to handle just about anything that is thrown at them? What I mean is I have friends and family in my life that never get unglued, never feel panic or anxiety, and we are talking after dealing with some serious trials and yet they bounce back so well.  Do you have people in your life who keep a constant calm while the world is swirling around them?

I envy those people.  As much as I try I just can’t do it.  In fact, I have to consciously allow myself to express anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed or the problem only gets worse.  The whole reason I had my first panic attack was because I balled everything up inside of me for 3 years until it exploded. I learned the hard way that keeping it all in my head only made things a million times worse for me.

This week I am feeling haggard and worn out.  Trying to manage 3 jobs, moving, waiting for the house and the loan, managing my tenants, finding tenants for one of my Dad’s properties who wants to be in by Saturday which necessitated the moving of my tenants (sigh…) and going to a new ward.  All of that in one week!

And yet I think of my friends with special needs kids or a myriad of other challenges and my problems seem so small; yet that doesn’t stop my brain from feeling like it is going to explode.  My heart starts to race.  My head aches.

I guess when it comes down to it I wish I could be more of an absorber.  It makes me feel weak that life wallops me so often.  I honestly try to be stronger but again that can make it all worse.   I see little improvements in how I handle anxiety and I ALWAYS finish what I start but the journey can be rough.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve turned into kind of a lousy adult because I come unglued so easily.  Things seem to make me nervous or anxious that other people don’t even care about.

For example, I was talking with a friend about my frustrations over being alone for Christmas and she mentioned all of the great things she did when she was alone at Christmas and it made me feel more frustrated.  It just feels sometimes like others have it all figured out and I am playing catch up.  Do you ever feel that way?

I think the challenge is finding that balance between improving myself and self-acceptance.  I want to do better and I certainly don’t want to feel anxiety but then I also want to acknowledge what I am feeling and deal with it in a constructive way.

I don’t know if any of this makes any sense so please tell me if you see any of this in your life?

How can I do better?  How can I be more of an ABSORBER?  What do you do to manage anxiety in your life in a productive way?

On a related note, one of my frustrations is that it is difficult to adequately describe how I feel.  Stress definitely doesn’t encapsulate it and anxiety is really too clinical for most people.  Pressure or feeling overwhelmed is the best I can do.  I think this image says a lot more than my words ever could.

ID-10087052

Two Week Notice

stress11

Today I found out that my house is officially delayed by 2 weeks…sigh.  The cabinets took longer to install and now the countertops aren’t ready until next week.  I might get lucky and things will be done sooner but at this rate I wouldn’t count on it.  I have increased my leave date in my apartment complex and let my tenants know.  They were all bummed about the delay but understanding, which I am SO grateful for.  I really found the best people ever for my new place.  Everything would be so much more stressful if they were unhappy.

The truth is it is out of my hands but that is exactly what makes it so nerve-wracking.  I am just at the whim of this other group, tossed about from one week to another.  That is very frustrating, but also the nature of the beast.

Any of you out there have any strategies for dealing with the next few weeks in a healthy way? Maintaining my anxiety, not getting to worked up, etc?  I kind of wish I hadn’t started packing so early because it adds to the sense of chaos and lack of control in my life, creating more anxiety, but how was I to know? As late as last week they were still committing to the 31st as the end date so you have to prepare for that.

I’ve been trying deep breathing, my sleep hygiene, exercise, essential oils, and even some medicine on occasion, but what other tools help all of you out there dealing with anxiety during intense times of change?  I would really appreciate some feedback on this one.

Have any of you built a house? Perhaps you can relate to what I’m experiencing.  I’m now realizing what a bold move it was to dive into not only home ownership but a build and an income property and I know that is part of what is overwhelming.  However, on the same breath I know it is right but the right things can be overwhelming and full of anxiety (ie pretty much every day on my mission…).

I would love to hear your experiences from any of you that have been through home builds.  Unless it’s horror stories.  Save those for another day!

At least I know what’s coming and am not waiting in limbo for contractors to get back to the builder.  That was worse than a delay.  In the meantime, I’m trying to count my blessings and manage my anxiety that is nearly constantly bubbling inside me (I told my Mom today I can’t help it.  It’s just there all the time.  I can help how I respond to it but not make it go away).