Diagnosis: Anxiety

Anxiety Always

Anxiety Always (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You know that feeling in your stomach that makes your muscles clench but you don’t have a real stomach ache from eating too much and you don’t have a virus? That’s where anxiety starts for me. I’m literally writing this blog while having an anxiety attack and honestly, it’s not that easy to remain focused. Part of me thinks about throwing up but I’m trying to be calm, trying to breathe until I can’t do this any longer. I know you guys understand. That’s why I love blogging, for the people who read my blog. If you can’t relate to anxiety, I’m sure you can relate to other things I write about, humor, Pop Cop, my love of Food, Chocolate, Pizza (fine, with jam but only if the pizza is too dry) some of the ailments: Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and having the energy of a dying tick. Actually, an ailing tick may have more energy than I do. I forgot a few other ailments like Imbalalnce and such but it’s pathetic enough as it is, I won’t bore you with more details. I bore myself as it is.

My husband and I are (and I hate these words) “empty nesters.” We’re also in the “sandwich generation” another over popular phrase that is used ad nauseum. Basically we are a married couple, we just celebrated twenty-five years of marriage and both our adult children are in college. I have my mom who is still alive and my husband has both parents alive and they still play tennis. Amazing.

Like many people my husband just got laid off from his job a few days ago. That’s stress provoking, people. He works doing computer stuff which is what I basically call it but it’s something like Software Product Development Management. I know nothing about it but if you do or know someone who might be able to help can you please have them get in touch with me?  I’ll send it to him and it would really be an act of incredible kindness, no matter where you live. In any case, I can’t change things, I try not to worry about them and in the end, things will turn out the way they are supposed to turn out.

About a week ago I had the mother of all anxiety attacks when my son turned 21, my husband lost his job and my mother, who was a little sad because all her friends were moving, decided that maybe she should consider moving too. It was a long day and a tough weekend.  We all know I’m not very good at change especially three changes in one day but after 24 hours I was much better. Breathe in, breathe out. Maybe that meditation class was worth the money after all.

I’m trying to do the best that I can, even writing this all down has helped me become last anxious. Having my dog Lexi, literally lying on my legs so I can’t move, her face close to me, makes me happy. From a crazy, wild puppy she has become an affectionate, loving girl dog. She knows that I need to lie down a lot and when I am home, she jumps up on the bed and cuddles with me.

The anxiety has lessened. I know there will be moments of panic but from now on, we have to take it step by step. I give thanks for what we still have. I will try to keep reminding myself of that, whatever happens will happen. Worrying about it won’t do me or anyone else any good. There’s a reason for everything and now we wait.

Yellow Magic Madness # 36 The Little Yellow House On The Corner

"Where there is love there is life."

“Where there is love there is life.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tonight, my little yellow house is quiet. my dog is in her bed snuggled happily in her blankets; she looks like an angel when she is asleep. Other times she is the most difficult, stubborn, strong and crazy dog I’ve ever seen. I rescued her from the shelter, I saw her curled in a little red ball, asleep. We have had four trainers, books, gadgets, leashes, collars, any equipment you can imagine and she defies them all. Not that I would want to buy a dog from a breeder (though I am giving it serious thought for the first time) with the money we have spent we could have purchased a purebred, maybe two. This dog is wild, charming and adorable, sometimes we think she is part dingo. I love her to pieces.

My husband is already asleep, he has to get up very early on weekdays to trudge into the city to a job he really doesn’t like but at least it pays the bills. I am trying to focus on my kids coming home soon to visit; these three people are my treasures in life and there is not a day I take them for granted.

I am both a daughter and a parent. Sometimes it is hard to be in the middle, worrying both about my mom and my kids. You never know what the right thing to do is, you just try to do the best you can but sometimes it feels like a juggling act, no one is completely satisfied. We try to do the best that we can, that’s all we know how to do. I love my children so much, they ARE my world, I would do anything for them, instead of them, because of them. I not only love them but I like them as well. They are good, outstanding people, smart, kind, caring and adaptable which was never my strong suit but even I have changed. My husband and I always said I need 24 -48 hours to get used to change, and no one knows me like he does. I adore this man with whom I’ve been married for twenty-five years.

The night air is still, sky is black, I feel comforted. The air is different at night then it is during the day. My little yellow house stands underneath a vast sky of darkness. I can think more, be more peaceful, write, breathe in the evening. It’s at night when I don’t have to focus on anything else that makes me feel good, and at peace with myself. Life isn’t as complicated as I make it, I realize that at night, I need to remember that during the day.

Listening to crickets, the room is warm, I think back to old times, simpler times but I wouldn’t go back again. I love who I am today,  older, more appreciative and more at peace with myself. Grateful. I know what is important, I don’t need anything else in life.

Life, Celebrate It

Beauty

Beauty (Photo credit: TONY – M)

Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness (Photo credit: mbgrigby)

I’ve been a little down lately and cranky and I feel just a bit lost. I’m trying to get my footing in a very fast-changing world and I don’t know where I will end up. I know a lot of people, my age, who have felt the same way, even worse. The world is a very scary place, sometimes a very sad place and I know that many people are feeling its effects. I feel them too. How could we not? We’re getting older, if we still have parents, they are getting older and our children are just about adults. The sandwich generation is taking its toll, we are looking back over our shoulders wondering where the last 40 years have gone?

Today I talked to a very close friend who shut me up in about 30 seconds when she told me her aunt was having much more significant problems with her child, they had discovered two masses in his body and were in the process of finding out what they were. Hopefully, they were nothing serious but the stress they were going through was paralyzing. It left me embarrassed with my petty annoyances. Sometimes you just have to look at life that way. Yes, whatever you go through is real for you, no one is going to get down on you for what you feel, but in this life we all need to keep thins in perspective. Keep YOUR problems in perspective.

In the meantime, stop focusing on yourself. Today, as I had planned, I filled out the form to be a volunteer at a Hospice, something I’ve always wanted to do. A few days ago I joined a gym for the summer to finally get myself in shape. (I’ve already lost 30 pounds now I just want to be fit) I won’t have to look away from my internist or down at the floor when she asks me the “how much do you exercise question?” I am trying to help myself, to keep my mind and body busy.

If I do more, I will get more in return. I remember my father teaching me that, long, long ago when I was looking for a summer job in college and hadn’t gotten very many call backs from companies after sending out some resumes: “The more you send out, the more you call, the more responses you will receive” he told me. That was then, when people were courteous and he was certainly right, now, nobody seems to care. I spent over 20 years in Human Resources, calling every person, acknowledging every inquiry, what they do now is horrific. They don’t do anything, even after an interview. Nobody seems to care. They don’t treat people like people. What have we become? In a country that needs good manners the most for the discouraged or unemployed, people treat others horribly. My husband went through this years ago for 2 and a half years…we know.

If you need any helpful hints or have any questions before an interview, feel free to write me.

If there is nothing sparkling new in your life now or nothing to look forward to be thankful and appreciate what you have and don’t think about what you lack. Do some good in the world, some random act of kindness. Volunteer, offer someone who is elderly your arm to cross the street or carry their groceries. Hold the door for people, it costs no money and means so much. Celebrate what you do have and don’t cry over what you don’t. It’s really as simple as that.

Celebrate your life with wonder, grace and gratitude and even if you don’t feel like it, smile. Yes, smile. Sometimes if you “pretend”smile, it can help you as well as others. A very special teacher I had, long ago, called it “The Confidence Game.” It’s worth trying. You have nothing to lose.

I wish you peace, I wish you luck, I wish you hope.

The In-Between

Malheur Bière Brut

It’s the week between Christmas and New Years, a strange time. You are not yet finished with 2011 and you can’t wait to say good-bye but New Year’s Eve is not in sight just quite yet. It’s always been a long week for me. In our town, it’s nice and quiet, people go away for the holidays; the town has lots of parking, the streets are empty; it’s a quiet, gentler period of time. Personally, it’s a struggle. I remember the last Christmas we had with my dad many years ago, when he went into the hospital and how he died on New Year’s Eve, a day before my parents’ wedding anniversary. It’s not a memory that will ever fade in emotion or intensity.

For many years now I’ve tried to say goodbye to the old year, hoping, wishing, EXPECTING the New Year to be better. Not any more. As I’ve gotten older it just seems to be a pattern that happens every year. There are NO long bouts of happiness, there may not be long bouts of depression, but there are problems, pretty much, all the time. When you have a day that is problem free, celebrate.

A lesson for us who are no longer young, but older middle-aged ( I refuse to say OLD) is that we need to accept that our lives have changed permanently. I talk about this with my friends. For some of us it’s being in the sandwich generation, having children and parents (or parent in my case) needing, deserving more attention and care. It’s scary every direction we look. We are responsible for our own children, now independent teenagers and our parents who are no longer as independent as they once were.

How can we look forward when we have no control over our lives? If I had to list the one thing that worries me most it would be the unknown, how life can change drastically in one second, for the worse. We have no control over anything, and the only way I can deal with that is not to deal with it at all. You have to try to live your life to the fullest every day, be thankful when there is a good day, ride the waves, bend with the wind. I don’t like the feeling of uncertainty and I know many others don’t either; we have no choice. We must try hard not to focus on it, remain engaged in things and people we love. Stay in the moment. Every moment.

So lift a glass of champagne or orange juice, chocolate milk or wine, for the good times, the ones we should treasure and try to remember. It’s the only way to get by.  To the Best 2012 that’s possible. Cheers!

I’m Participating in NaBloPoMo. May 1, 2011, “Maybe”

The Sandwich Generation

Image by MediaStorm via Flickr

It’s my mother’s birthday we are all celebrating with her. I also have to go with my son  a senior in high school to get fitted for a tuxedo for the prom. I’m being pulled in two directions at the same time. Maybe, I should stop worrying so much about what other people think and just do the best job I can. I’m not perfect but I am trying to be kind to everyone. I don’t think it’s working. I feel stressed.  I want today to be fun for everybody but I just can’t shake the feeling that my mom will be upset that I am leaving her brunch (after two hours) to do something for my son. The “Sandwich Generation” I truly cannot win but I know I am not alone in this situation. I thought I was over being a “people-pleaser” I guess not.

The Map To Nowhere Fast

Chronic pain

Image via Wikipedia

I have a weird feeling of unrest and stress, slimy blue- green and flourescent orange winding its way around my brain is how I picture it, how I feel it. No soothing colors of white and yellow and beige. Fake colors, unnatural.  I frown more than I smile and as hard as I am trying to focus on the positive it’s not easy. There is so much going on in my life that it’s hard to focus. I don’t think it’s just me though, I think it’s a lot of people.  It’s a feeling, not a good one, somewhere between the roads of anxious and depressed, stopping at weary.

There are natural disasters all over the world and I am sure we all feel, not only heartbroken for other people, but scared. There is too much sinewy stuff whirling around and no happy place to settle. What happened to my “happy place” images? Why am I only seeing the rain battering the purple flowers instead of the blooming of the flowers alone.

There is tension inside my house, we are in “the sandwich generation” that I used to read about. It isn’t fun, it’s scary. The “baby boomers” who have restless teenagers and aging parents who are alone or ill or depressed. I am that “baby boomer” now except I have the added affliction of my own “chronic pain.” Fibromyalgia and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis do not do me any favors, I walk along slowly, painfully, I stumble through different medications and expectations. Very low expectations.

I also have narrow-angled glaucoma which is a dangerous disease or as one unfriendly opthalmologist put it “you could go blind in an instant.” Quite a bedside manner, don’t you think? Needless to say, I stopped going to him. It’s funny that I barely write about this condition, maybe it’s pure, frigid fear. Maybe there is only so much pain I can handle. My brain and eyes get hammered, with laser shocks, every few months by a doctor that I once believed was very good. I don’t think so anymore. “In twenty years of practicing, I’ve never had a patient whose eyes kept closing up like yours do.”  Every time I go to the city he lasers my eyes again, because the hole he drilled into me has closed. He does this procedure either in his office or in the hospital with no pain relief; imagine barbed wire going through your eyes and brain, quickly, twenty or thirty times in a row. The eye drop he casually puts in gives me incredibly painful headaches (migraines?) I do know that the pain I feel is barbaric, no pain medications, no anesthesia, no break. Over and over again; fast and furious.

The gray, dreary day does not help me since I feel overwrought and unfocused. I am dealing with both chronic pain, (Fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis) and new back pain that feels like my back bent and broke itself during sleep like a twisted pretzel you find in any mall. I am trying to accept my life for what it is, both bad and good, often simultaneously. Change is in the air like a dog-sniffing a new scent, it’s just hard to predict when and where things will happen.

I read an article in the NY Times today about a young couple with a young daughter. Each parent has cancer. That, is a problem I say to myself, not the dreary workings of an often too-emotional, anxious and pain- filled mind. I am so sorry Nathan and Elisa. You and your baby have my prayers because perspective is the greatest gift of all. I will speak no more.