Making these podcasts has actually been bringing me some relief from my daily anxiety. I sure hope they help you too. I hope you can relate, laugh, and just feel better that you aren't alone. There are so many brave warriors out there working on healing, loving themselves more, and finding tools to live a peaceful and calm life.
If you enjoy them, let me know. I like hearing from you!
Here are a couple from today.
Oh I'm way beyond the cute definition of a worry wart. I'm an overthinker, an overworrier, I'm oversensitive - oh I'm over everything.
But I'm me.
Yes, it is completely exhausting, but what can I do? I can't just "snap out of it". No pill makes it go away. I can't seem to just wish it, will it, and dream it away. What can I do?
Wow. That question really stumped me. What can I do? I mean, I'm thinking of things I am doing - therapy, healing, using tools, trying medications, trying herbs, getting support, talking to people, practicing, attempting to talk back to the anxiety - and keeping my faith. Yeah, I have to hold on to my faith (I'm not religious) - but a faith in myself - that somewhere - deep down inside - there is a voice - (Mental Girl) and she is pulling and guiding me to try all this stuff with the hope something sticks. I want to function, find some peace with all of this and live a long and healthy life.
Whoeeeee! What can I do? I guess that's enough right?
I started the podcasts. I really am enjoying doing them. I feel like they are verbal journals, little snippets I can share with you. I hope someone benefits too from listening to them. Here is the latest one: anchor.fm/mentalgirl/episodes/ep-e18ogb/a-a2sv1t
Well...what can I do? I guess I'll keep learning to ask that in each moment. Not the future. Not about the past. But about right now. What can I do now? I 'm getting ready for bed. I'm tired. Before I go to bed, I'll write down some things I did today that made me smile. Friends have been suggesting to have a gratitude journal. I've heard about it. So what can I do? I'll try that.
Thank you for reading my blogs. Thank you for being here.
Mental Girl and I have decided to do podcasts.
There will be singing, talking, sharing, and expressing feelings. So if you like something, please let us know!
I am also planning on taking my sessions with Ursula and making podcasts with the sessions we do together for those who would rather listen than read.
To listen to my newest podcasts click here: anchor.fm/mentalgirl/episodes/ep-e18dg6
I have been taking a few more steps forward. Oh boy, anxiety is stomping and yelling. I did tell it to fuck off yesterday, so I'm guessing it didn't like that much. But right after I said fuck off, before it could rattle and storm, I took off running. I ran four blocks. I huffed and I puffed. I'm not a seasoned runner. But it felt good. I took a little more steps walking back and forth with the anxiety. It was a rush.
Is that anxiety cured? Am I all done? Is running the cure? Is telling the anxiety fuck off the cure? No.
But it is a step. It is a step in retraining my brain, and reminding my brain that the real me is in there somewhere. Oh yeah, if you haven't read Mental Girl, than you may not know the real me can curse like a sailor.
I've been going up and down in my moods about how to do all this. I keep wanting it solved. I want to feel better. I want to change.
This morning after meditating (with a guided meditation) three times - yep sometimes one just doesn't cut it. I've got a lot of dark thoughts that just haven't let go yet. But after the third time I was up. I was ready to try something. I took my medicine. I stretched and did light yoga (trying lots of new things), had some breakfast and then before I knew it I was putting on my clothes and sneakers. Okay, I said, "I'm going out. Anxiety I know you are coming with me, but you need to know something. You can keep me safe if a saber tooth tiger comes out and jumps me, but that's it!"
I took the dog for her walk. I get a little nervous because she stops, starts, stops, sniffs and looks at everything. I get it. She's a dog. She wants her walk to be meaning. She wants to write cool stuff in her dog journal. I just get scared in those pauses the anxiety will pounce on me. See the anxiety is like a saber tooth tiger. But I remembered something my warm hearted kind therapist said which was take the time to look around and notice things. Let it be about Ruby (that's the dog's name) walk. Anxiety is selfish. It wants everything to be about it. So I began the process of allowing the sniffs, starts and stops. I wasn't perfect. But it was better.
I dropped Ruby back off at home and took off again. This time - yep - if you haven't guessed - I wanted to do that run again. So I set up, and took off for the four blocks of a run. This time there was some rattling in my head. I think anxiety might have been rolling around in there saying, "what the hell, I can't think, I can't talk. She's running!"
I'm careful. I'm not an experienced runner, but I figure some natural exercise heart pounding would be good for me. Anxiety makes my heart pound, but I don't get the rush like I do with the run. I did the four blocks and then slowed down with another short walk back home. I talk to anxiety as needed. I talk to myself. Most of the time I hold my phone up to my ear, so if any neighbors or people walking by just think I'm some kind of a stock broker making deals. I've usually got a serious look on my face when I'm speaking with anxiety. But there are times my phone is in my pocket and I'm just talking to myself. But it's ok. I look around, and most of the time, no one is paying attention to me.
Oh, am I cured? Is anxiety all gone? No.
But that's another goal. It's not about ridding oneself of all anxiety - being cured in an instance (although - I still hope that could it happen - I mean it could right?) - but until it does, I'm trying to just get out. Talk back to anxiety. Talk kindly to myself. Try to do all the steps suggested by the people who are trying to help me and be supportive. I'm trying to be patient with myself. Listen to myself.
The real me is in there somewhere. I can feel her. She gets up me. She listens to Mental Girl. Wow, she is fierce. She took me on a run!
Okay, I'm going to write, right now.
If I don't get some of this shit out of my head...it will just rattle up in my noggin, making more stomping noise.
I'm fucking trying! I really am! I am in therapy and doing spiritual work. I'm doing acupuncture. I'm trying new things. I'm taking baby steps.
Ok...so I'm fucking bummed. The medication didn't work for me. I mean I'm really fucking bummed. Also, I haven't heard back from the doc yet about another solution, another try. So I sit with myself and of course...think! Think! Think! Think!
I went out for some walks today and had some rip roaring, waves crashing, bumpy fucking ride panic attacks. One that actually made me dizzy. I thought I was going to bolt and run home screaming like a madwoman. I didn't. I kept talking to myself. Yep. I talked to myself. I've been doing a lot of that while out for my walks. I take my cell phone with me, stick it up to my ear and talk. No one who sees me knows I'm just talking to myself. But it comforts me. I tell myself I'm real. I tell myself I'm here. I tell myself good job.
Today I told myself I'm human. I told myself it's ok that I'm scared. I told myself it's ok that I feel pain. I talked back to the mean voices in my head. I spoke with the nice voices in my head that said, come on. You are not a failure. They said, you are working through this; it will take time; we have patience with you, join us.
So do I have depression, panic disorder, OCD, ADD, or all of the above? Should I label myself? I mean, I didn't give myself the labels, these are diagnoses that I'm given. Should I just say I'm trying to heal the pain in my mind? I'm trying to heal. I'm trying to heal!
For those of you waiting patiently, searching for the clues to help with her struggles, Mental Girl says keep searching for the loving voices. Join me, we need the loving voices in our heads more than ever as we wait patiently to figure out the right mix of food, help, medications, herbs, whatever it is that will heal us. We need to be compassionate to ourselves while we ride the rocky waves.
I send to you brave warriors out there....huge hugs for your struggle, your bravery and your endurance. Keep talking. Keep walking.
First day on the new medication. I actually just took my first pill. I woke up this morning early. I have so many vitamins, potions and now new meds to take...that I realized I need to get up earlier if I'm to get through it all and start the day before my brain begins to convince me staying under the covers in bed is the better idea.
I've never been a morning person. The morning is very difficult for me. I begin to panic early and then my mind races with anxiety.
I'm trying to just be a person. I may not be a morning person but I can be a person who gets up in the morning to get things done. These are important things that will benefit my family.
I started the day with meditation. My mind really was racing. I didn't focus as well this morning but I did hear some of the words. Remember, you learned to walk. You didn't know how to walk when you were a baby, but you learned. I heard kind words in my ear wishing me a good day. There are lots of guided mediation recordings on youtube. Find one that works for you. Find a voice that resonates with you. I have saved some for morning and evening and sometimes during the day.
After my meditation it was time for my feet to hit the floor and for me to stand up. I did.
Oh I really wanted to go back to bed. The covers were so warm. The thoughts were under the covers keeping me awake. I didn't sleep well, waking almost on the hour, with nerves or to go to the bathroom. It was not a restful sleep. But I had the thought, well you can stay under the covers and nothing will get better; or you can stand up, try to move around, and let's see if some of these new changes will make things better.
It felt worth a try and I got up.
The animals were all looking at me. We have two cats and a dog. It looked like they were thinking, wow she's up a little earlier.
I fed the animals.
Cleaned the cat box.
Washed my hands. Yeah, I have to say that. Washing my hands is a huge part of my rituals.
Then began the vitamin ritual. Lots of deep breathing as the OCD thoughts were making their rounds.
It was then time to make some breakfast. Normally, I would skip breakfast if I felt like it. The new meds call for something on my stomach. Also, I've become quite thin from the worry, stress and nerves - and eating has become added to my to do list. Oh I long to enjoy food again, not just something I need to do to keep myself healthy.
I made my breakfast of oatmeal, blueberries, added some butter for fat, and a splash of milk. Oh and some cinnamon. I sat down and looked on Twitter. I have a lot of friends on Twitter who also suffer with mental illness. They are supportive, kind and inspiring.
After eating, it was time to take that first pill. I got so nervous. I started to have those nagging thoughts. I'm on pills now. Is this good? So many people say to do it "naturally". Don't take pills.
I've tried the natural route.
I've tried to do this without anything.
I needed to try something else.
I spoke with a lot of doctors, healers, and those who understand mental illness. So many said it was time to get rid of the shame about taking western drugs. There are many medicines that help and heal people. There are people that need it. I shouldn't feel bad.
I stood up and got a glass of water and went into the bathroom. I held my new medicine container in my hand. Wow, this all was feeling like such a big deal. Why do I make everything such a big deal? It's a pill. Just take it! Take it! Stop being so dramatic.
I have a mental illness. Everything about me is dramatic. It's okay to feel these feelings, I told myself. It's okay. Deep breathing.
I took the pill.
There is no poof! I'm not cured. Actually I'm sitting here, as I write this, and thinking...okay. I'm here. I took a step. I'm trying something new. And yes, I'm still me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. I really want to be okay with being me. That is the goal.
I hope this helps. I'll let you know.
Keep trying. Keep trying. Keep trying. I tell myself over and over. I also say to you. Keep trying.
Take those deep breaths.
I'll say to all of us.
Talk to yourself.
Be kind to yourself.
I'm here. You're here. We are working through all of this, the best we can.
Thank you Dr. Hochman, who after months of searching for the "right" fit of a doctor for me to prescribe medicine. I found you. Wow. Lo and behold. I didn't expect it. But there you were, with kind eyes, a ton of experience, and the confidence to help me start something new.
I am trying new meds. Let's see how it goes.
I was diagnosed today with ADD. After 49 years of being on this planet, and Dr. Hochman after spending time with me and listening to my story, diagnosed me with ADD. No one ever looked in this direction.
I start tomorrow on the new meds. It will be a new beginning. I'm not used to being in charge of taking medicine every day. But if this works. If this helps my mind function. Well, then here we go new addition to my life.
I'll keep you posted!
Again, thank you darling sweet Dr. Hochman, for seeing me, hearing me, and trying to take care of me.
If you ask most of us struggling with mental illness, we can tell you, we are quite creative when it comes to the gloom and doom outlook we have swirling in our mind. We can come up with a lot of interesting stories.
Wow! It's like - Stephen King should call one of us when he needs some inspiration.
Any of the directors out there searching for some kind of dark, action, crazy scary movie - should come on over, sit in my head for a while. I could help with some ideas - probably get you a blockbuster. Some actor would get an award for playing one of the characters I've got yelling and screaming in my head.
Jeezableez! Yeah, that's made up. I make up words. I make up a lot of things. Well, I don't make up panic attacks. But I do make up the scary scenarios leading up to one.
So all this creativity in my mind? It needs to go somewhere. It certainly has caused some havoc in my world.
I'm going to come up with one right now:
I imagine finding more and more communities filled with people with the intention to come together and help, support and nurture one another. No one feels alone. No one is afraid. Everyone has enough. These kind of communities gain attention and start to spread. More and more of them come to fruition.
I imagine coffee shops where you walk in and those suffering with mental illness nod or tip their hat - smiling. You know another sufferer has walked in the cafe. You know it. But instead of hiding your head in shame, and that person hiding their head in shame, you look at each other and a beaming smile of encouragement comes over your faces. You say to each other, "You're here! You got up! Good for you! So nice to see you!"
I imagine more clinics opening up with wonderful healers, doctors, nurses and helpers. They are there to help those suffering, who don't have the financial means to get help. And they get it! These clinics are painted beautiful colors - colors that stimulate the mind, body and spirit. These are places that make people feel better, more connected, and they get the help they so desperately need.
Oooooh, that sure feels better than gloom and doom. I think I'll do a little more of this. Would you like to join me? I'll meet you in the coffee shop, called You do You. First cup of coffee is on me. I'm glad you're here! You're up! It's nice to see you!
When someone hurt my father's feelings, he was out. That's it. He pulled away. He just couldn't take the interaction, couldn't do the work in healing, couldn't or didn't want to work through it with the person. So I learned to do the same thing. When I feel threatened, hurt, shamed, bullied, I pull away. Fast. If I feel I can't communicate with a person, or feel it's too overwhelming, I pull away. That's it. I'm not proud of this. I would like to hang in there. I do with certain people, but they are the ones who can really get in the trenches with me. I can't do the back and forth anger thing for too long (if it doesn't seem like there is a solution in sight). If my anxiety says leave, I pack. I've done this with a few friends. For some reason, I just couldn't handle them. I couldn't hear them, nor could they hear me. We needed a translator and when I couldn't find one, I packed. I am truly sorry for this. I've been thinking about a few of these friends. I wonder, if I had hung in there, would we have made it through that tough time? Or was it time to move on? And that's ok. I'm not sure.
I'm in a challenging period of my life now. I'm dealing with a lot of anxiety, anger, sadness - tons of feelings. I'm trying to hang in there with myself! But again, I do feel bad and hope in some way these friends either received love when I left to fill that space, knew on some level that I was in too much pain to deal at the time, and know I do send them love even though the relationship altered.
I want to write a letter to all of them. Maybe one day I can send it to each of them. Maybe it's ok to allow what is to be what it is.
So here it is:
I'm so sorry I abruptly closed off from you. I wish at the time I had more strength to explain all of my feelings for having to push myself away. I hope you know I will always have good memories of our friendship. I wish you well. I really hope your life is filled with so much love, and that one day (hoping it's already happened) you think of me fondly and really understand I only did the best I could in the situation I was handed with you. Pulling away from people is a learned thing. I'm really getting that now. I'm sorry if I hurt you. I'm sorry my anxiety lead me to believe I couldn't stand stronger and try a little more to explain my position to you. Again, I did the best I could with the tools I had at the time. I'm learning new tools. As I learn these new tools, I do think of you. I think of happy memories. I also do think of the sad ones. I think of the sad times when I thought you no longer understood who I am. But I guess, I actually forgot who I was which was why I had to cut off abruptly from you. Once again, I hope you are happy. I hope you feel loved. I hope you are cared for.
I send my best wishes to you through this letter. I'm hoping each one of you feels it right now.
My very best,
Going through the pain of a mental challenge takes a lot of courage, bravery, patience and love. Actually I should have written love first. Well, maybe it's good I put it at the end. LOVE. Hopefully that word, being on the end there, will make it so it sticks out to your eyes and then will tell your brain to begin practicing it on yourself.
Today I struggled. I've been struggling for a few months now. I am in a holding period. I am waiting to find the right doctor, considering medications, holding on to hope, and learning to love myself as is. It feels weird. It feels weird to say to myself "I love you." But it IS important. I'm starting to believe my mind and body can hear me.
As I lay in a quiet place today, breathing in and out, I began to let the idea of self love, self kindness, self compassion take a ride through my body. I began to say the words. "I forgive you. I accept you. I love you." Yes, it did feel awkward. But it felt like a necessary step in the healing process.
I didn't mean for all this to happen. I didn't mean to have panic disorder. I didn't mean to struggle with OCD. I didn't mean to have so much anxiety, that I tried to manage, hide and push down - that the whole thing just came flooding to the top. So now, my body and mind are saying "Wait! Wait!"
I get so frustrated, down on myself, feel shame, guilt, embarrassment, frustration - why do I have this? Why can't I be.....(yep that word) normal? Urk. Let's not use that word.
Now is that helping the healing process? No, it makes it worse.
Someone near and dear who is aiding me with trying to heal my body and help guide me through this process said to me "Why don't you give self love and care a try?"
Okay. Again, it's awkward. But I'm giving it a try.
If you, like me, are struggling with a mental illness, depression, panic, OCD - ANY of the painful sometimes debilitating anxiety disorders and forgot this step, join me.
So many of us who struggle are so kind, creative, funny and just want the world to be a safe and happy place. So many of us just want to create a safe haven for our awkward selves. So many of us just want peace.
All right...so you and me. Let's make it awkward. Say it with me, to yourself. "I forgive you. I accept you. I love you."