Tuesday, June 14, 2016


It's so difficult for me to post on here. Not because I am so private (which I am) or because I'm so busy (which I am). I read a lot of blogs, and they all seem to have a theme, or an angle. They are a weight loss blog, a family blog, a stay-at-home-mom homeschooler make all my own condiments type of blog, an anxiety or mental disorder blog, a happy blog, a sad blog, etc etc etc. I don't like being fit (ahem, stuffed) into any type of container, I never have. I am many things and all of the parts of me make me whole. Some of those parts are happy and frivolous and watch The Bachelorette, and some of those parts struggle with a brain that is constantly in fight-or-flight mode. Some of those parts struggle with being a mom to a very spirited 3 year old, other parts struggle with finishing the job of parenting myself.
So. Do I write for my audience? Or do I write for myself? An audience, I assume, wants to read about either The Bachelorette OR Generalized Anxiety Disorder, but not both. But both make up me. I am anxious, I am a single mother, I am an artist, I am a struggling faithful, but I am also someone who loves reality tv and Starbucks.
Maybe I should just write for the sake of writing, and if no one reads - that's ok.

Friday, March 11, 2016

What are you afraid of?

Everything. I am afraid of everything. I feel fear every day - when I drop my son off at daycare, when I speak to someone at work, as I eat in front of others, as I complete my work, as I pick up my son, as I make dinner, when I put him to bed.
This fear ebbs and flows, and sometimes it strikes me for no apparent reason. I have been told that I am brave, I've even been told I'm fearless. The latter is insulting to me - if people knew how much fear I feel while simply calling someone on the telephone, they'd never call me fearless  again. I am far from it. And to call me that is to take away the bravery it takes for me to just live, to just do day-to-day things.


Monday, February 8, 2016


"Mommy, I'm stuck" my sweet boy says to me as he rides his tricycle through the house and tries to squeeze through a narrow spot.
"Turn around, buddy. There's plenty of room behind you."
He doesn't turn around. He is focused on going forward, even if there is no way to do so. He feels he is stuck, even though he has options - because they are not what he wants his options to be.
I spend a great deal of time feeling stuck. Some of the reason for that is similar to my son's: I am so focused on going the way I planned on going, I can't see that other options exist. Sometimes it takes me a great deal of struggle to finally see those options.
My life feels like thick, heavy mud that has formed a suction with my feet, my body, and my mind. I have spent so much time/effort/money following a certain path, not even considering whether that was the path I actually wanted, just putting my head down and powering through. And now, I am sinking deep into the mud of that path and I am screaming inside. My soul feels limp, lifeless. I am depressed and tired, so very tired all the time.
"Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire." (author unknown). I am fearless, but I am also, unfortunately, frozen. I am not afraid of anything other than spending a lifetime in a miserable state. But I feel like an animal in the middle of the road, with a car barreling toward it, and I am so paralyzed with uncertainty that I am unable to make any decision, and so I remain in the path of the car.
Not making a decision is still making a decision, I know. It is not the decision that I want to make. I want to have more control than that. But I get so bogged down in the logistics that I can't move.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Living Authentically

There are some people who go through their daily lives and (at least from the outside) it seems as if they don't even think about the things that I think about - what kind of mark am I going to leave on the world? Who will remember me and why? Am I living authentically - that is, am I living the life that will make my soul happy? I remember thinking this way when I was a little kid and wishing that I could just have a normal brain for a few hours, one in which questions and worries weren't constantly being played like a television that just won't switch off. I understand now that those questions and worries were the seedlings of Generalized Anxiety Disorder with a touch of OCD. Those questions are still constant, like the text scrolling by on the bottom of a television news channel.
I am most anxious when I know I am not living authentically - when the things that I am doing day to day are not setting my soul on fire, when I am just going through the motions. I have a Master's Degree in Elementary Education for a multitude of reasons but one of the big ones is that I thought it was a practical choice. There would always be jobs (albeit not in my home state) and I do love children. It would allow me to make a decent living and have summers off. I would be making a positive mark on the world and have a profession I felt proud to share.
If I could go back and whisper in my own, early twenty-something ear, I would tell myself to stop and think. To let myself imagine, for a moment, what it would be like to follow my passions and not what I thought was practical. To picture what my daily life would be like in a job that yes, I am proud of, but one that doesn't quite fit. It's like a shoe that is my size, but doesn't feel right.
Now, I am $60k in debt to a Master's Degree in a profession that doesn't fit. What do I do? Do I keep on living inauthentically, with my soul shriveling up just a little bit more each day, with my anxiety growing as a symptom of living a life that doesn't quite fit me? With that anxiety is its darker, quieter, and much more menacing partner: depression. Once that bad boy gets ahold of me, anxiety seems like a warm, loving friend.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

What Does Anxiety Feel Like?

For the average person with the average level of anxiety, I'm sure it feels a way I can't imagine. The same is true for someone with an anxiety disorder - an average person cannot imagine what it feels like.

It is a state of fear, of constant adrenaline, of fight or flight.
It is heart pounding, face twitching, gulping air, heightened senses, no peripheral vision.
It is loud and silent at the same time.
It is a thousand ugly voices screaming at you, contradicting each other and all demanding attention.
It is shame.
It is finding a place to hide, and telling yourself that no one wants to find you anyway.
It is a feeling of wishing it would hurry up and kill you because the waiting is worse than dying.
It is waiting to fail.
It is an empty, echoing hole where you sit at the bottom and know that no one is coming for you.
It is screaming silence.
It is numbing, piercing pain.

I have had a therapist tell me that my Anxiety Level 3 (on a scale of 1-10) is probably like most people's Level 7. I have had a therapist tell me that the fact that I am able to function shows how strong I am.
I don't feel strong.
Sometimes I feel like I am dying. My heart races, my thoughts are loud and jumbled, and I am intensely fearful of an enemy that is not there. How do you fight an enemy that you can't identify? It doesn't have a face. It speaks, but it doesn't have a voice. It robs me of my present, and doesn't allow me to picture my future. It stabs me in the chest with my past, over and over until, finally, it releases for a little while. But the worst part is - it comes back whenever it wants, without warning. There are things I can do to help minimize it - limiting caffeine intake, getting enough sleep, exercising, meditation, down time, talking about it. Some of those are much more difficult than others. The last one in particular. Anxiety is like an abusive partner - it isolates you and makes you think you're defective, that there is no one else in the world that struggles this way.
In my lowest moments, I believe it.