Posts

Still Growing Up

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I used to really enjoy drinking. I loved the initial surge from the first few sips. I loved the comfort it provided simply holding the glass. Drinking made me not care. If you really want to get into it, it was a release. It allowed me to let go of my reserve...my self-instilled constraints. I was definitely addicted to the chaos it created, the recklessness...the late nights, the built-in excuse, the ease in forging new connections (albeit temporary), the madness that can only come when everyone is beyond sloppy and the next day is a cascade of memories from the shitshow that was.

Obviously it wasn't all glitter and champagne and laughter.

Sometimes I look back at my younger self and wish my time was spent differently. Sometimes I cringe and simultaneously emit a small sound (a muted scream perhaps) when I replay certain interactions...situations.

I was incredibly selfish. It took me an unfortunately long period of time to learn and grow...to find what was actually important to m…

Glorious

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About seven weeks ago I sat on the curb outside of the Powhatan Motel in Pocahontas Illinois and cried. Tyler was in the adjacent restaurant checking us in. We were two days into our four day drive to New York from Arizona. We had just finished about 14 hours when I turned into the parking lot and drove under the pull through in front of the motel office.



Two things are worth mentioning. The motel was from a different era...a time when travel across the states was fresh and new, and motels like these were attractions in and of itself. This is of note because I'm fairly sure the pull through was designed before higher clearance vehicles were a thing.

The second thing worth mentioning is that my car is not a high clearance vehicle, but my bike was on top.

Within seconds of pulling in my senses were inundated. My car seemed like it was being held back by something, but I couldn't understand what. Noise, both foreign and impending, filled the vehicle. For some reason, my first tho…

Spirit Sherpa

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Ground cover, at least ankle deep, can be found close by many of the places Leah and I walk these days. She exhibits absolutely no hesitation before diving deep into the plants' unknown. I stand or attempt to keep up at the edge of these areas with my arm stretched out as far as it will go, the leash completely taut, and Leah all but hidden by the growth as she follows whatever scent her schnootz has become familiar with.

She doesn't care about what might be underneath. In fact, she's more likely wanting to stumble onto something...anything.

She loves it here.

Our apartment complex is surrounded by large, lush trees; and there are squirrels and rabbits and chipmunks running all over. We've seen deer and there is a woodchuck that lives on one side of the parking lot. The smells are probably as unreal to her as the views and waterfalls are to me.

If I'm sitting in the apartment working on my classes for too long, she sits directly in front of me and stares. If I don&…

Growth and Change is All

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Two nights ago I scrubbed my retainer with hydrogen peroxide. Earlier in the day I read that you can use it as a mouth rinse. Who knew? So I took care of my retainer, popped it in my mouth, and headed to bed. I mentioned it to my husband and he jokingly said something like, "I hope you didn't poison yourself."

I said "me too" and turned off my light. But sleep didn't come.

Instead, I spent the next few hours letting the thought that I may have inadvertently poisoned myself orchestrate a symphony of muscle tingling, rapid breathing, and chest tightening within my body. My mouth felt like this and my ability to swallow diminished. I was convinced.

Let me back up a bit. I didn't drink hydrogen peroxide. I merely scrubbed my retainer with it (which worked amazing by the way...basically brand new). And then after scrubbing, I rinsed and rinsed and rinsed (because I know who I am these days). I doubt I ingested any peroxide let alone enough to kill one of tho…

Round and Round I Go

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My anxiety seems to exist in a cycle. Is that how it works?

I actually started this post one month ago with those exact words, and today I feel the same way. I don't think it's a coincidence.

My period and the lunar cycle both seem to influence how my body and mind react to my anxiety. I only know because I cross referenced my little mood tracker app with my reproductive health graph. I've since learned that menstrual cycles do influence anxiety, and while I haven't researched my moon theory yet...I'm fairly positive I'll find some connection when I do.

Having said that, I think I've reached a plateau with my progress. I've stalled or something.

I still don't feel like me and that is really, really hard to accept. I still feel detached...like I'm watching myself experience my life. I still consistently get caught up questioning the point of all of this...most especially my purpose. It's hard because I so badly want it all, all of these feeli…

Dipping In

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*Depersonalization- a sense of detachment from yourself, as though you are an outside observer of your own mental processes or body.
*Derealization- is the perception of unreality, with your entire surroundings appearing unreal, dream-like, or distant.
In previous posts I've talked about the "cloudiness" in my head. Depersonalization and derealization are what I'm actually referring to. In my opinion its easier to say (and for me to accept) that my mind is "cloudy"; because it takes someone who is really okay with expressing their vulnerability to share how they feel detached from their own mental processes or how some of what they're experiencing in their day to day appears unreal and distant.
For months though I didn't have a description for the cloudiness I was experiencing; and while it might be embarrassing in a mental health dark-side kind of way to admit it, not understanding it was way, way worse.
I first read about the terms a little over a m…

Releasing the Dam

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The other day I sat down and created a mind map of my physical/mental state over the last half year. The more I read about anxiety and depression, the more I understand that while the medications I took over the summer ignited this deep, (and at times) life-suspending anxiety...there's more to it than that.

There's a whole lot more to it.

I can look back at that day I got stung and regret my going to the doctor when the skin on my face inflated so much that it basically enveloped my eye. I can look back and wish I had made some other decision than to go down to the river that day. I can even look back and reprimand myself for not listening to my instincts when I began to think that our seeking out the isolated area of the river was a bad idea. The "regrets" and "take backs" that persist for my actions around that time are plenty; but focusing on all or even any of them does absolutely nothing to help me move forward. Or so I've learned.

I hate to admit …

Thru-hiking

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I've read an awful lot about being present over these last few months. It's suggested for those with anxiety and depression, and really it should be suggested for anyone who cares about living life. It's something that has been really hard for me to accomplish because for those first few months post bee sting I kept wishing for my days to pass. I was physically a mess and mentally, I wasn't any better. I'm not wishing my days away anymore and I am able to give more attention to the concept.

To be present.

What does that even mean?

On average we spend 40% of our day immersed in thoughts that have absolutely nothing to do with the moment we are actually in. We plan dinner. We plan for the weekend. We plan vacations. We make to-do lists of all the "stuff" we have to do. We daydream.

And our thoughts are not all future related.

We remember the past. We reminisce with favorite memories. We also, unfortunately, think about the stupid shit we've said and do…

Exposing Myself to Exposure Therapy

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I've been sitting on the fact that over these last months I've built up a pretty intense fear to go for long drives...desolate drives, as well as plane rides. Even though I've regularly been working through my anxiety, this is one aspect that is kind of hard to work out logistically...committing to a day spent driving or having the funds to fly somewhere for really no other reason is kind of hard to make happen. I've been hesitant to set up any real trips in fear that I'd have to back out or that I'd end up being incredibly uncomfortable. Neither of these outcomes are appealing.

I absolutely hate feeling like I can't do something. I especially dislike my recent feelings of being trapped and isolated when people mention activities that in some way requires travel.

While my dad was here this last summer we all decided to head up to Payson to check out Arizona's Natural Bridge National Park. Tyler and I visited before and really liked it. It's an absol…

Looking Forward, Strengthening Habits, Being Present

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Perhaps it's the new number at the end.

Maybe it was the morning soak in the hot tub.

Maybe, just maybe, it was Pitbull's New Year's Eve Revolution in Miami welcoming in the new year with some much loved nostalgia.

Whatever the influence, I'm ready to get down to setting my 2017 goals. I'm pretty big on goal setting. I've made this part of my transition from year to year for quite a while now. My husband reminded me last night that this was how our Cycle the Coast trip began. It's how I began the switch from teaching to taking classes myself and ultimately deciding to change careers. It's me basically envisioning and designing how I want my life to be.



This year I'm going to play around with a graphic so that I can better visualize the different areas of me, I would like to focus on. The link is to the article, but it's also explained in this video.




I've been pretty influenced lately by the aspects of my life that appear to be out of my con…