Posted in Word Therapy

Please don’t tell me to relax

My eyes involuntarily fly open. The bedroom is dark but I can see a bit of light through the blinds. My husband and dogs are snoring, loud and out of sync. Thoughts race in my mind like the ticker at the bottom of a television news channel. Bills are due, money isn’t coming in fast enough, and the kids need stuff for school. My heart speeds up and I start to take deep breaths.

I pull my car into the turn lane behind a black minvan, the back windshield sporting Star Wars family stickers. I put the car into park along with the emergency brake. After 5 minutes the minvan moves up and I follow. I look over at the opposite pickup lane and see the car in the front, not moving. “Come on, turn! Don’t hold up the line dumb ass”, I say in the comfort of my car, the windows rolled up. I shift in my seat, letting out a breath when the car turns onto the school grounds. I inch forward for the next 10 minutes, trying to keep my head down when I’m not moving. Seeing a car in the pickup line not following the rules makes me tense up and scream internally. Pulling out of the school parking lot once my kiddos are in the car and buckled up means I can return to my normal self.

Both of the above situations are how anxiety affects me on a daily basis. I have always been high strung. I am a rule follower to a fault. If something is good happening in my life, a lot of the time I am thinking about what could go wrong. I am a control freak to keep my anxiety to a minimum. If I don’t see my kids with their class when I am there to pick them up from school, I automatically assume that somebody has taken them.

My husband posted this article on my Facebook page a couple of weeks ago:

11 Things People Don’t Realize You Are Doing Because Of Your Anxiety

As I read through the list it felt like the author was in my head. Half of them applied to me.

I mentioned in this post:

that the medicine has helped. But more helpful has been self awareness. Knowing that there is an answer for what is wrong with me has made me stand up taller. I don’t have to apologize for who I am. I can take things one day at a time. And when I wake up 35 minutes before the damn alarm goes off and my mind starts tripping, I can take control of the reins and tell myself it will pass.

Posted in Word Therapy

Friday Favorites aka Where I blabber about things I love: Everything British

In 2004 I was lucky enough to visit London after I graduated from college. Hubby and I stayed for a couple of days and ever since then I have had a soft spot for everything British.

Love Actually, Nottinghill, and About Time are some of my favorite Brit movies. All three are written by Richard Curtis. They are original romantic comedies set in England with diverse characters and soundtracks that make me feel things. Instead of watching Lifetime Network movies when I am in my twilight years, I will be watching these three (sorry Babe).

Later with Jools Holland is a weekly live music show. Each week four to five artists perform on the same stage, individually and sometimes together. There are always a different group of performers from Norah Jones, Declan McKenna, and Barry Gibb on a recent episode. The atmosphere reminds me of late night shows in the 80s (Nostalgia be hitting me hard in my 40s). Here is a clip from a show with M83 (check out Miss Thang on the keyboard with her fantastic hair and makeup):

I discovered Amy Winehouse after her tragic death in 2011. I of course had heard “Rehab” and “Valerie” but never really paid attention past that. A “Valerie” remix with Jay-Z popped up on Pandora one day and I heard something in her voice that I identified with: pain. My heart broke watching the documentary Amy and seeing the struggles this girl went through with her family and addictions. She had so much talent and couldn’t handle the pressure of every day life let alone fame. Ms. Winehouse is a legend in my mind and always a go to on my playlist.

The Graham Norton Show is another late night show on BBC but a talk show. Host Graham Norton is gruff, has a dry sense of humor, and doesn’t give a fuck. That makes him AWESOME. There is a couch for his guests and everybody is always having a good time (fake or real, it’s entertaining). I theorize that they get their guests good and liquored up in the green room before they come out. Throw political correctness out the window and I’m cracking up. Case and point:

Black Mirror is last on the list because it is my current favorite thing out of the UK and the new season comes out today on Netflix. This show has been described as The Twilight Zone for millenials but it is way more messed up than a Tiny Tina doll (The Twilight Zone episode that still scares the hell out of me). Electronics, social media, and their negative impact on our lives are a major factor in each episode . The first season has an episode regarding a pig, a princess, and a prime minister. And if you think that sounds like the beginning of a fairy tale you will be shocked. “White Bear” is an episode in Season 2 that is even worse and made me question my basic principles regarding life (dramatic, but you get the point). The husband and I can only watch one episode a day to allow ourselves to process and discuss it. It has made me look at tv a whole different way.

I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend. Thanks for reading!

Posted in Word Therapy

Friday Favorites aka Where I blabber about things that I love: Puppies (because I think we can all agree we need them right now)

Dachshunds. Pitbulls. Corgis. Chihuahuas. I love all doggies. They are not dogs. I don’t care how old they are, two months or 14 years. They are puppies, puppers, doggies, or any other ridiculous names I come up with. Put me in a puppy cuddle puddle and I am the happiest person on Earth. And Facebook and Instagram feed my obsession.

I follow 800+ accounts on Instagram and about 75% of them are animals (I counted). One of these accounts is For the Love of Ruby. Ruby is a beautiful pitbull who was born with a severe cleft lip and palate. She lives in Utah with her human mama Jen, who works for the Utah Animal Advocacy Foundation, and their everchanging group of foster puppies and kitties. Ruby is the sweetest and most gentle girl. Whenever I am having a bad day I go to her Facebook or Instagram page and am gifted with a sweet picture of her with the fosters. She is a mama to the babies just like Jen is to her. The page has educated me not only about pet adoption (#adoptdontshop) but also BSL (breed specific legislation), and how wonderful dogs can be, no matter what type they are. And with all the nasty trolls on social media today, it is a comfort to be on a page that is a community of animal lovers who just shower Ruby with compliments and love.

Roofus and Kilo is another page that brings me joy. These boys are also pitbulls who are defying stereotypes. They are joined by Sweet P (Penny), Moo, Lucky, Bella, and new addition Pearl. Their mama is Candace who also fosters puppies from her farm in Oregon. Daily Instagram stories will include Bella being the fun police, Moo pushing rocks up and down hills and licking them, Lucky eating strawberries, and Kilo doting on foster puppies. These dogs show such love for one another that is hard for me to not go out and adopt 12 more dogs every time I see them.

Other dogs that I love include Nana the Earless Pibble and Maya the Sausage (this family includes two dachshunds and a teeny HEDGEHOG). There is no way to rate their cuteness factor because it is always off the charts. I have been known to coo at their videos to the point where my dog averse daughter will roll her eyes at me.
But I can’t help it. This video shows exactly how I am:

So from now until November 9th I am going to try and stay off toxic comment feeds and revel in the gloriousness that is puppies when I have the time. Even if you don’t have my obsession I dare you to watch one of these videos and not come away smiling.

I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend. Thanks for reading!

Friday Favorites (Where I blabber about things I love)

Now that I have allowed myself to be happy, I have to be reminded of what does. When I am having a bad day it helps for me to remember why I am unhappy and something that will help me snap out of it. Two things that work are movies and music.

If you have known me for more than five minutes you know I could talk about movies 24/7. I love all movies, from old to new, action to horror, blockbusters to foreign. Asking me to pick one favorite movie is like asking me to pick my favorite kid (it depends on the day). But in the past couple of weeks I have been lucky enough to enjoy a few films that surpassed my expectations:

Netflix Rental: The Nice Guys

Director Shane Black made me love Val Kilmer and Robert Downey Jr. with his 2005 movie Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, a murder mystery set in Los Angeles. With The Nice Guys he has managed to duplicate the chemistry with Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling, another murder mystery set in Los Angeles, this time in the 70s. I can’t emphasize how much I love these men and the way they play off each other. Ryan Gosling has proven he can play the romantic lead (The Notebook), the straight guy (Crazy, Stupid, Love), and with this flick he is the funny man. He is the bumbling idiot to Crowe’s straight guy. The story is good but all I cared about was watching these men interact.

Currently in theaters: Queen of Katwe

Queen of Katwe is the true story of Phiona (Madina Nalwanga), a girl growing up in Uganda. She is introduced to chess by missionary Robert Katende (David Oyelowo), finds herself winning tournaments, and sees a way to get her family out of poverty. Lupita Nyong’o’s performance as Phiona’s mother gave me goosebumps and I am afraid I won’t be able to stop hugging David Oyelowo if I ever meet him. Both performances are powerful.

Horror movie (because October): Hush

Every October hubby and I (okay, me) make a list of horror movies that we want to watch. We’ve watched The Babadook, both Evil Dead movies, and The Loved Ones in past Octobers. We started this month with 2016’s Hush. It is the story of a writer who lost her hearing when she was a teenager due to bacterial meningitis. She lives in a cabin in semi reclusion. During a night of writing she becomes the target of a psychotic intruder who plans on terrorizing her for as long as he can. It was TENSE. At 87 minutes it is a short film but I couldn’t have handled any longer. It is a battle between the two about 20 minutes in and is filled with so many twists and turns that I didn’t know how it was going to end. John Gallagher Jr. plays the intruder and he was so good that I didn’t even recognize him from other movies that I have loved him in (rent Short Term 12, you won’t regret it)

As for music, I grew up on pop (Rick Dees was the voice of my childhood) and 80s soft rock (long live KOST 103.5). When my husband I started dating, his love of all kinds of music rubbed off on me. Pink Floyd and Johnny Cash quickly became favorites. Having music on in the house is our normal. Rocking out to Youtube videos during dinner is something my kids can’t get enough of. We listen to a lot of alternative music because we’re cool, obvi. These songs and videos are my current jams:

Zipper Club, “Going the Distance”: This song makes me want to watch John Hughes’ films like Breakfast Club or Pretty in Pink. It belongs on the soundtrack for all awesome coming of age stories, reminding me of 80s bands OMD or Human League.

Empire of the Sun, “High and Low”: This Australian duo are the BEST. Their costumes and makeup brings back the fun in music videos I watched as a kid. Add some pop music where you will be singing the chorus days after you hear it and I am in LOVE.

The 1975, “Somebody Else”: The saddest song of the three. But as a big crybaby, I love a dramatic love song. And The 1975 are aresome (Yes, aresome)

I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend. Thanks for reading!

Posted in Word Therapy

Angry Kitty

Angry Kitty from Lego Movie has been my spirit animal for the majority of my life:

I am short tempered, impatient, and very sensitive. I was unhappy and depressed. And when I started to near 40 a few years ago, it dawned on me that it was okay for me to be happy. I had some breakdowns in family relationships and friendships end. I started to believe that not everything was my fault. On my 38th birthday I went out and did 38 good deeds. That felt good. Ever since then I try to go out of my way to be nice every day. A smile, saying good morning to a stranger, and opening the door for others. I’ve also known been known to go up to women and compliment them. That is my FAVORITE. When my family and I were at LACMA a while back, there was a lady that had on the brightest and most fun outfit. I told her that the outfit made me happy. She thanked me and said she started dressing for her little boy once she had him. How sweet is that? That conversation made me feel good for the rest of the day. But full disclosure: being happy takes work.

Even though I was able to tell myself that I was allowed happiness, I knew I would have to make it happen on my own. I exercised, wrote, ate better, and even tried meditation. That helped but my emotions were still up one minute and down the next. I had also been diagnosed with an ovarian tumor which required me to be on birth control. And because of the hormones in the pills, I felt even more up and down, with no in between.

I should have gone to the doctor’s. But I have an aversion to doctors. Right after I had my 7 year old son there was a lot of upheaval in my life regarding my husband’s job and our living situation. Stability was not a factor. I went to the doctor’s for a physical. The doctor asked me during the appointment how I was feeling. I said not good and depressed. He responded by saying, “I can fix your chin for you. Give you an implant.” I was stunned into silence and didn’t bother answering. Fast forward a few years and I am having another physical with a different doctor. My son was being a little bit of a devil. The doctor was trying to tell me some stuff while I was trying to control him. The doctor lost his patience and informed me that I should probably get a babysitter next time. Thanks for the tip, DOCTOR ASSHOLE. And my last trip that I will bore you with involves me seven months ago, having the worst case of bronchitis that I have ever had (I was having panic attacks brought on by not being able to breathe). The doctor asked me if I smoked. I said no. He said, “Are you sure?” So yeah, doctors in my area can kiss my ass.

In May my husband suggested I try some over the counter medication. He gave me some suggestions and they included fish oil, a multivitamin, and a mood enhancer. The mood enhancer was natural, which made me comfortable. And within a few weeks I felt better. These were just some of the ways:

Day to day inconveniences roll off my back
Deep breaths actually work
I am not as hard on myself which means I am not as hard on my loved ones
Social situations (where I normally replay every mistake I made over and
over in my head afterwards) are a lot less stressful

5 months have been passed and I can’t believe I went so long without taking them. They haven’t solved everything but now I have that voice in my head who tells me it will be okay. It’s a nice balance to the voice that is constantly telling me I can’t do it, that there is something wrong with me, and it is all my fault. But now I have the ability to focus on the positive and not let all the negative rule my thoughts.