Plinky Prompt: If you could switch blogs with any blogger for a week…

A self-portrait of the Bloggess, also known as...

A self-portrait of the Bloggess, also known as Jenny Lawson, an Internet blogger. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • If you could switch blogs with any blogger for a week, with whom would you switch and why?

    See all answers
  • Jenny And Me
  • I didn’t even have to think about this for one minute, the answer is

    easy. I would trade blogs with one of the funniest people who I feel I

    know. She’s my friend ( in my mind at least ) and I respect her and

    laugh with her and think she’s a very clever and amusing person. The

    only person that it could be, in my world, is Jenny, The Bloggess. If

    you haven’t heard of her, where have you been living? I have to say that

    she is downright honest, a little crazy, (those stuffed, dead animals

    she collects ( taxidermist??) creep me out a little but hey, she lives

    in Texas and she learned some stuff from her dad.) I’m a complete city

    girl but I’m not judging. So NOT judging. She’s open, honest and funny

    and if you get offended by some of her comments or language just move on

    and keep going, don’t come back. I think this woman, this writer is

    the type of person that will put on paper what you will try to come up

    with ten minutes later.

    I too, keep Xanax in my pocketbook for anticipatory anxiety, Jenny,

    and I’ve got your back. For real. I’m so proud of her success that I

    could burst and that has nothing to do with my blog whatsoever. BELIEVE

    ME. I am happy for HER. Jenny started a Christmas program for people in

    need, a few years back, and that was one of the nicest things anyone in

    the world could have done. It still brings tears to my eyes when I think

    about it.That’s heart, people, true heart.

     

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There’s A Wonderful Advantage To Getting Older That, I Bet, You Don’t Know

English: An anxious person

English: An anxious person (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

March 2013

I thought I was having a psychotic episode, the mere word itself terrifies me. Random words kept popping into my head like kernels of corn and it made me more nervous than I already was (if that was at all possible.). I took a low dose of  Xanax, a prescribed anti-anxiety medicine and waited, it didn’t help. It had always worked before, why not now?  That freaked me out too. I thought for sure, I was going out of my mind and it terrified me.

My husband was away on a business trip and I was home alone with our dog, Jax, during one of the worst blizzards; they were forecasting winds up to 60 miles per hour, major power outages and two feet of snow. I have been alone plenty of times before and have enjoyed it tremendously, but this time felt like one continuous nightmare, that lasted five days and nights. Jax stayed close to me and if the heat went out I could always cuddle with him, luckily when you have a dog you really don’t feel as alone.

Since I couldn’t calm myself down, I was sure I was having a psychotic episode and my huge fear of being restrained in a mental hospital/jail loomed in front of me. I’m not sure if I could have made myself any more anxious if I tried. I stayed up late, reading and listening to calming music, trying to take deep breaths until I was so tired that I fell asleep.

I had a planned appointment with my therapist a few days later and I couldn’t wait to get there. I told her my anxiety medicine didn’t work. She calmly said; “You should have taken two.” Her answer to my question about it being a psychotic state was ” “you are too old to start having a psychotic episode now.” For once, being older had a huge advantage. The one thing I could be thrilled about getting older. We had an advantage, who knew? That DID make me happy. Rejoice, older men and women!

She said it was just anxiety and “why wouldn’t you be anxious, alone, with a huge storm coming with howling winds that frightened many people?  The power could have gone out and instead of struggling with the ten page detailed instruction manual that I was obsessing about I should have just shoveled on more blankets and waited until the morning. Then, I could beg a neighbor to help me or as my shrink suggested “go to a hotel.”

I owe this woman a great deal of thanks, she is an incredibly smart and wonderful person. I like her and I trust her and if there is something serious we stop our talking and kidding around immediately and she has solid advice. Some people, even now, in the year 2013, still have a stigma about seeing a psychiatrist to  work out a problem. I just don’t get that, if you had trouble with your car, would you hesitate taking it to the mechanic? You just need to make sure, in both cases, that you go to the RIGHT person, the right match. I’ve met many frogs who called themselves therapists, this woman is a gem. A natural gem.

PS How many people are getting anxious just watching this dude?

Carry on Tuesday: Time will pass and seasons will come and go.

Trixie-a rescued kennel dog

Trixie-a rescued kennel dog (Photo credit: waycooldogs)

The Time In Between

How would you feel if you woke up one ordinary sunny morning and realized that you were now old? No, really, old. It wasn’t from a horror film or a nightmare but it was just realizing what you were seeing up close, really seeing in the mirror. It happened to me, from one night to the next and I was absolutely horrified. That couldn’t be me, could it? Really? Getting older is something I talk about with friends, in the abstract, I talk to people around the same age that I am or family members, but not seriously. Sure we all have some gentle fears for the future and the unknown but we can all relate to it. Any fears we have go away with our yoga class and deep breathing exercises.  Until the day, that one different day, months later, when you are not able to breathe and my heart felt pain all the time and those thoughts become wilder and it truly is alarming. My husband, Gary, called 911 and the ambulance came eventually. Oh, how I didn’t want that, all that fanfare, stretchers and backboards and people taking my pulse and giving me oxygen with the whole street outside, I hated it but I knew there was no choice, so I closed my eyes and with my wicked sense of humor, pretended to be dead.

When the doctor finally came in to see me in the Emergency Room and told me that my heart was perfect and that I had experienced a panic attack, I couldn’t decide if I was relieved or embarrassed at the diagnosis. All they did was hook me up to some oxygen and some sort of sedative and soon I was sleeping. When the doctor ( he looked about 14 ) said I was okay to leave he gave me a prescription for anxiety medication, little orange pills for when I felt this way again, which was probable,”for people your age” the young intern said cheerfully. He said “probable” not “possible” and “for people my age.” What the hell was that supposed to mean? Even though I was groggy, I hated him just for that.

It made me think alright, I guess I couldn’t deny any longer the little things that were happening to me. Like that I  had no hearing at all from my left ear, that my muscles had atrophied so much that when I walked up a flight of stairs I wheezed and clung to the stair rail and that when Bootsie, our dog passed we didn’t replace her and we had been such dog lovers because dogs became too much trouble for us.

Gary started sleeping next door in the “extra bedroom” because of his snoring and sleep apnea and after a while, I got over the loneliness and I really didn’t mind having a room all to myself. I  just stopped caring and this was easier for both of us. Time was whizzing by, seasons came and they left but the routines remained the same, it’s not as if they were traveling the world or doing exciting things, truly they were JUST the things we did every single day.

Wasn’t I just young? Wasn’t that just yesterday? First, playing on the street corners with my friends, then high school and college. Growing up to be independent and living on my own. Getting married and having the two joys of my life, our son and daughter, then they left us too. It all went in a circle but it kept spinning over and over again.I wore jeans and sneakers in college and I still wear them except now I need orthotics in my shoes. My pants are from the “mom” section and my daughter, when she comes to visit with me, rolls her eyes up in disgust.

Time passes, seasons come and go, people die and babies are born, things are fair and yes, unfair and we have no choice but to hang on for dear life. We need to choose to either fight fiercely for the ride or just give in. Today, Gary and I are going to the animal shelter, we have talked about it; we want to adopt a dog again, hopefully not a dog that needs to run around a lot but a dog that needs love, just like us. We will continue to live and fight, get out of bed and walk that dog, together, for however long we have. We’ll name her Trixie.

Kraft American Cheese, Sleeping, Anxiety And Yoo- Hoo

Slumber

Slumber (Photo credit: weesen)

Some people drink when they are under stress, others turn to cigarettes, some to drugs. It soothes their souls and it may take the edge off of their anxiety. The people who drink red wine can boast that it is medicinally beneficial, heart healthy in fact. Others like scotch or beer or ooey- gooey sweet stuff with vodka in it, like a spiked punch. I do none of the above, when I am anxious all I do is get into my bed, surrounded by layers upon layers of blankets and sleep. Really, I do. The only food my stomach allows me to eat is a Kraft (orange) American Cheese Sandwich on soft bread with soft butter or margarine spread and a box of Yoo Hoo to drink. That’s it. I lose weight during this period of anxiety but really, it isn’t any fun and definitely not worth it, well maybe worth it a tiny bit.

There is nothing more relaxing to me than”hibernating” under mountains of blankets, snuggling with my pillows and escaping life’s problems. Do I know what I am doing? Absolutely. Do I choose to do this? Yes. It is my way of dealing with overwhelming stress without any addiction except the warmth of my bed, no alcohol or drugs needed. Sometimes I say I am just going “to rest” and we all know what that means…..

I acknowledge what my problems are, I’m not crazy, this is my coping mechanism. I can’t change the situations at hand for the better so I have to live with them and instead of being the hyper-oh-my-God-what-are-we-going-to-do person that I already have been for 24 hours, I try to balance that with pure avoidance therapy. It’s cheaper than a lot of other coping mechanisms and I can do it anytime I want.

There are only specific foods that I CAN eat when I am that, shall we say, out of sorts? American cheese (Kraft Individualized Orange slices) and bread, soft butter and Yoo- Hoo to drink (boxes). This is my comfort food and I will absolutely have it every single day, it is the only thing I WANT to eat and CAN eat when I am this upset. It soothes me. I can eat it five times in a row, even ten. It depends heavily on the situation. Tonight, I actually ate something different since we were at a restaurant but the only thing that appealed to me was ravioli stuffed with butternut squash. I couldn’t look at my husband’s rare burger though admittedly I did try a bite of my son’s steak. It tasted delicious. My own food was soft, mushy and comforting and it certainly was in the same genre as my American cheese sandwich. Club soda with lemon was definitely no substitute for my beloved Yoo- Hoo. They should really stock that in restaurants, don’t you think?

Things are a little better now, not completely but we are coping. I’m off the complete American cheese sandwich but am still into small portions of soft food like the baked ziti I made today. It wasn’t my exact comfort food but I’m trying to branch out a little. Even I try to be flexible after my 24-48 hours guaranteed American Cheese/Yoo-Hoo Festival. Sometimes. it even works. Sigh. Okay. Rarely.

*my admiration and thanks go out to Kraft and Yoo-Hoo companies.

*Woody Allen’s Other Sister

English: Woody Allen in concert in New York City.

English: Woody Allen in concert in New York City. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was practically BORN thinking about my mortality. It is amazing to talk to people older than I am (and I’m pretty old) that go into a sudden depression realizing they are getting old for the first time. Did they not know this was coming? I was born to be old, born worrying, born afraid. I could definitely be Woody Allen’s little sister. *Relax lawyers, I KNOW I’m NOT but I am so like him, it’s scary. I’ve always been a pessimist despite years of therapy. I thought for sure I failed every test when I aced them and any irregular (or regular) symptom had to be cancer. Describing myself as a “worry-wart” is too kind.

I have tried prescription drugs to alleviate my stress and anxiety but nothing works all the time. Even with medication I still see gloom and doom. I was fortunate to hide it from my children when they were younger, I tried so hard and it worked. Why can’t I do it again?  As they got older, they knew me better and have seen the real me. Plus, it’s a more dangerous world now than it was twenty years ago. I can’t hide anything from them, especially my son, who picks up vibes about me with just a “hello” and vice- versa. (He got that from me). My mother used to call me “over-sensitive” a word which I have always hated. I may not have known WHAT was going on but instinctively I knew something wasn’t right. I can sense things before they happen.

There are some days where I wake up and automatically go through the Rolodex (Google it) in my mind. It can go from a doctor’s appointment, a friend who is dying to security issues (the world is coming to an end, pork has salmonella, don’t eat at any restaurant (did YOU see 20/20?) a plane crash….) I categorize them all under the umbrella of: Health and Safety.

I’m my own damn movie and I can’t ever seem to have a happy ending OR  when I do, I’m afraid I will jinx it. I always play out different scenarios in my mind. What if “my fill in the blank”_______ husband, daughter, son, mother, sister….dies? What if I die first? Will my children be alright, how can I do this to them, I’d feel so bad, and guilty too. I’m feeling pangs of anxiety in my stomach even writing this….just so you know.

The clinical term is  “anticipatory anxiety” it’s no fun but it doesn’t happen all the time. I can’t help it when it does but I do try; sometimes deep breathing works or focusing on something else or playing with my dog, even walking. If you don’t have it, consider yourself blessed. Try to be an optimist or as my dad used to say “Worry when there IS something to worry about, not before.” Try and look at the glass half full, as the expression goes, not half empty, cracked and overflowing with mold and deadly chemicals, like I do. You’ll be happier and have an easier life. Trust me, I know.

Carry on Tuesday

angel

angel (Photo credit: M@rg)

Title : Old and wise
First line: As far as my eyes can see
I stare at an old photograph, taken in 1991, of my father and me.  It was taken in my husband’s and my first garden, actually our only functioning garden, ripe with carrots and beans and peas and three types of tomatoes and corn that the raccoons ate. My arm was around my  father’s neck, my dad and I are grinning. We both looked incredibly happy, his eyes: grey-blue, old and wise, saying without words ” I knew one day you would have your dream.”  I am 6 months pregnant in the photograph; it had taken me over 2 and a half years to get pregnant. During that time, I shed more tears than I thought possible. In that photograph, in the late afternoon sunshine, with my dad, both of us were beaming.
During the long phase of infertility however, I was poked and prodded and put through every invasive test known to woman-kind by my doctor and everything was done in complete secrecy. I was ashamed, it was all my fault.
Only many years later did magazines burst into publication with articles describing the shots we had to take, the mood swings, the twice daily blood tests and ultra-sounds, the stress and depression we felt. Back when I was desperately trying to get pregnant, we kept our feelings to ourselves. Sometimes we shared our lives with the other people in the infertility office, a very strange, yet delicate friendship. You wanted your friends to get pregnant but not at your own expense. It was a double-edged sword. Close but not too close.
The photograph before me, which stands framed on my table now, represents both the good and bad; ultimate happiness and deep depression. I was pregnant and standing next to one of my favorite people, my dad. Sadly, he died when both my children were young but at least he knew they were born. No one could replace him for me, no one could have felt more dramatically upset than my mom and I. He was my mother’s husband, but for me, he was my hero. He knew me better than anyone. We had the same personality, my sister and my mother still do. Without our spouses and kids, our nuclear family consisted of three; our mother, my sister and myself; a triangle is a tough combination. I can’t understand how they think.
I’ve had to fight on my own, grow-up, remain firm and I have done that; it’s hard for me to even remember what it was like having someone who understood me so well, having an ally in the family. I look up at the clouds sometimes, I look as far as my eyes can see and beyond that, for a sign from heaven, from my dad. I am one of those people who definitely believes in those signs, that bodies die but souls don’t; that love NEVER dies. How could it? I know my dad still loves me as I love him. When he first died I got many, many signals and messages. As time passed, I got fewer. But I know, if I truly needed him, he would, without a doubt, send me a sign to show me that he is still watching over me and that love is everlasting.

NaBloPoMo #4 On Marriage

time.

time. (Photo credit: .through my eyes.)

Two young people with promise in their first kiss, laughter in their eyes,

a glance becomes a knowing look.

Everything is new, different, hard to acclimate, two people struggling to become a couple.

Years go by, like milk chocolate tasting slightly stronger, and less sweet

dark chocolate melting more easily on your tongue, surprisingly less bitter.

The intertwining of the two after many years, differences not so apparent anymore.

Habits that used to annoy me, about you, I find don’t matter quite as much

In fact, I find myself doing it sometimes but keeping it a secret with a sly grin.

Twenty-four years of marriage, we reach for each others hand

to thread our fingers together like an embrace.

Reassurance is a holy gift.

I don’t want to think of one of us gone but someday

one of us will be forced to live alone.

Live in the moment and with a deep, deep breath I try to push my thoughts away.

For a second or two,

I am fearful of the thought of living without him.

Growing old is hard enough, but if I grew old with you

I think I would be able to handle it a little more easily.

But, we don’t know the story of the rest of our lives, do we?

Stay with me, old man, and I will try to stay with you too.

Once in a while, panic overwhelms my courage and I become paralyzed in cold ice.

Along with gratitude and grace,

I am so humbled to have you in my life.

Your booming voice and stomping steps,

I don’t care about them anymore,

I just care about you and me, together.

For as long as forever will be.

Begging For A Diagnosis

Sad Little Girl

Sad Little Girl (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I found myself in the waiting room of my Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist this afternoon actually praying for an inner ear infection. Yes, that’s what I said. I was praying for a diagnosis that would be fixed with a quick supply of an antibiotic, preferably a Z-pack. Done! No such luck. My ears have hurt me on and off for weeks. This was the second time I had been to the doctor in two months. Not only did my ears hurt but my entire face, under my eyes, my head, my forehead, my entire body was aching, as if I had the flu but I knew I didn’t.

Please, I groaned to myself, let me have an ear infection, or a throat infection, even eppiglottis, the dreaded disease that I have received so much mail about when I posted a blog about it. (* Calling Eppiglottitis A Bitch Is A Vast Understatement) Even that I could take if I have a diagnosis but no, my throat was fine, my ears were “perfect” I felt like I was five years old, alone, horrible and to the doctor I looked “good.” I’ve felt worse and worse and I don’t know why. The doctor told me it was probably my Fibromyalgia/TMJ……Nothing I didn’t know already. “Gee, I’m sorry,” he said “wish I could do more.” He patted me on my shoulder as he stared at my breasts and promised to call in a prescription strength type of Advil (which, he never did.)

My only hope is that I have my physical next week with my Internist ( a woman who does not even BELIEVE in Fibromyalgia) but at least she can run some blood tests and send them to my Rheumatologist. This is SO FRUSTRATING. Everyone just wants to throw different drugs at me and I don’t really want to take them. Take this, says the Rheumatologist and this, says the ENT,  but you need energy so take this, and there is nothing for pain so just live with it. I am tired of living with it and I can’t discuss this with my sister (or even have her READ THIS ENTRY) because it is not a safe topic for us. We can talk about many things, this is not one of them. Unless she can give me concrete examples of what exactly she would like me to try and how I can pay for it.

All I know is that I have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia for six years now and after it got better, it has now gotten worse. Does Fibromyalgia get worse? Is this something new? Can I live like this? Is it the weather? An anxiety attack? I feel so vulnerable and so lousy that I cried in the waiting room from feeling so poorly.  I noticed a father with his teenage daughter; I missed my father who would have known how to kid me like that father did. I missed mine so desperately. Do emotions come to play in all of this? I think it’s probably all of the above and none of it is pretty. Not for me, not today, not until I feel better. I’m complaining, in writing. I should just shut up.

*https://hibernationnow.wordpress.com/2011/02/03/calling-epiglo…understatement

Finally, I Am So “IN” Repost

anxiety

anxiety (Photo credit: FlickrJunkie)

For the first time in my life I’m in fashion and not following a trend that started four years ago. I am cutting edge; I am “IN ” because I get ANXIOUS.  I’m not talking about buying Uggs (I did buy those 4 years after they came out)  but I still wear them year after snowy year because they keep my feet toasty warm. Apparently, talking about anxiety is now fashionable and trendy. I’ve been popular for this newly accepted diagnosis all my life, I just never knew it. I could be President of this club, and CEO if not founder and major stock holder. The stock market is practically riding on my shoulders, okay the world.

There always seems to be a flavor of the month diagnosis, last year it seemed it was Bipolar and in the last few months, the newest and most focused on illness seemed to be Bipolar 2, (I can imagine a Bipolar 3 diagnosis soon). No disease is funny but when you start putting numbers after the diagnosis it feels like an  iPhone upgrade, with each upgrade things are a little bit different but you still need to buy new headphones or a different speaker.

My friend, Jenny the Bloggess always talks about her bouts with panic attacks and how, on the road, to plug her new book people have stopped to offer her Xanax. Last night while watching an HBO show called Newsroom a character had to go outside because of her anxiety and she didn’t have her Xanax with her. Look fellow anxiety sufferers, we’re even on television, HBO no less!

I’ve never been embarrassed or ashamed at the fact that I get anxious at times. I told my children about it when they were old enough to understand,  just as if I was a diabetic that had to take medicine. Some people are anxious, some are not. I would say my anxiety definitely started in my early childhood when I constantly had to be reassured, each night before bed, by my very nurturing father who would answer a list of questions that I had, same questions every night (I have OCD Worrying) I guess back then, in the old days, people didn’t send their kids to a doctor for an evaluation or to a psychiatrist, it was “just one of those things;” I was always “too sensitive or over-sensitive. I suffered with anxiety until I was in my early fifties when I finally got diagnosed and received medicine to help prevent anxiety attacks and medicine if I have an anxiety attack. I have what is commonly known as “Anticipatory Anxiety” and I’m one of many, many people who suffer with this.

There is NOTHING to be ashamed about worrying or being anxious. You worry because you care and you feel scared. You are fearful of bad things happening to you or to your loved ones or scared about planes, or elevators OR like one of my ex-friends, scared about everything, which is tragic. Unfortunately, she was even scared to go to the doctor and scared of taking medicine so her phobias piled up on her every year like a bloody car crash. There is so much help available if you are suffering, but you must consult a specialist.  My life turned for the better when I stopped worrying obsessively. So, we’re now out of the closet (not that I was ever in) we’re human, everyone deals with life in a different way. It can get better, trust me.

Keep your *Xanax or Valium or whatever you take with you but only use it as needed. Sometimes, the thought of having an anxiety med in my handbag is enough to deep breathe the scary thoughts away. Sometimes.

* I am in no way encouraging people to take medicine, without being under a physician’s care.*

*Obviously I am not a doctor and I am not dispensing advice, I’m an anxiety sufferer who wants to help others.

*I am not getting paid for this (I wish).

Plinky Prompt: What Stresses You Out The Most

    • So Stressful!
    • “You Worry Too Much” DUH.
      stress I stress myself out by worrying. Worrying about my kids, my husband, my dog, my mother, my sister, my friends, victims I don’t know and I worry about myself. I worry about sickness, death, and the flavor of the week on the news i.e. terrible shootings. Worrying about worrying. I “pre-worry” when I have absolutely NO CONTROL over any outcome. In psychiatric terms it is called “anticipatory anxiety.” What good does that do me? IT DOESN’T DO A DARN THING. Yes, I know this but sometimes it’s hard to switch the channel. I am too sensitive in both a good way and a bad. I am incredibly sensitive to others, compassionate and intuitive at the same time I take on other people’s issues to heart and feel for others. A lot. I have tried to change a million times with no luck. I have heard “You are too sensitive” so many times I could scream (especially when it is said by totally insensitive people) I KNOW THAT, I DID NOT CHOOSE TO BE THIS WAY. So, give me a break. I do deep breathing, I’ve tried all the tricks but this is who I am. PLEASE, TRY TO BE understanding, know I worry because I love and I care. Maybe I care too much but don’t you think that’s better than not caring at all? If I could be a cold-hearted, non-worrying-bitch I’d have a much easier life. Sorry, no can do. I worry. I care. And that’s okay.
    • Previous Answer

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