Nevermind… I’ll find somebody new.

I have spent the remainder of my week and weekend attempting to make my Facebook as private as possible.  I even went so far as unfriending my mother (she knows I did this) and anyone/thing else that might be attached to people who need not base their opinions of me as what is on the internet.  Ironically, the only way to know if this worked would be to badmouth a slew of people, but funny enough, aside from this mini passive-agressive little rant here on my blog – I’m not going to.

I went out West last weekend to see my mom for the first time in well over 4 years.  I went out there with zero expectations and I was in a far better head-space than I was when my trip was originally planned.  I decided to go now because, well, I have nothing else really going on – in September I lost my job.  9 people were let go in what was hopefully, for the sake of an already overworked department, one of the last rounds of layoffs for a while. 

I looked at the layoff as the punchline to an already shitty year.  It’s was around the same time last year that things took a turn for the worst – depression, bad bad thoughts, even worse actions, and a rotating door of doctors and therapists and learning which friends are lean-on-able and which are not.  Losing my job HAS to be the catalyst to something even more fantastic and wonderful looming over the horizon.

So anyway, back to Washington – it was a very quiet visit with my mom, which is what I think I needed, and maybe she needed too?  We really just sat around her house watching DVR’d episodes of Maury and Jerry Springer and Steve Wilkos.   I took her mini-van for a couple little drives, mostly to Silverdale…  I went by muscle memory and was able to find the house I lived in when I was in Bremerton – the same blinds were up in my old bedroom.  I found the mall, I bought a new bra (because the one I bought as a post-surgery gift to myself finally crapped out, 2.5 years later) and I went to Target and got myself my first pair of Converse sneakers. 

Because I insisted mom not take time off work while I was there, I hopped the ferry on Monday morning for the fastest jaunt to Seattle ever.  I also wanted to see if I would still feel, what I call, “The Skyline Rush” (I so just made that up).  Basically, because you can’t see Seattle from Bremerton, you are on the ferry for a good 20 minutes or so before it turns a corner and the cityskape starts to unfold in front of you.  When I lived out there I was 20, and I remember even blogging about how amazing the view of the skyline made me feel.  It made me feel like I could accomplish anything – that I would eventually find my way and I could be successful.  Ironically, it was leaving Western Washington that would start the journey to where I am today.  It might be that very reason why I felt much more content and excited when I was on the ferry BACK to Bremerton.  Not that I didn’t feel a rush with the cityscape, or enjoy my time walking around Pike Street or finding a little yarn store… but I also had a panic attack on the way into the city, just before I saw the skyline.  It was not very fun, and may have tainted my big-city dream.

But on the way back to Bremerton, I stayed on the balcony outside as long as I could stand (it was chilly!) and I didn’t look back at Seattle fading away – instead I looked towards the other ferry dock that would eventually lead me back to my own living room where, you know what?  Life isn’t so awful.

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Take these broken wings and learn to fly.

All the crap going on elsewhere in my life is seeping into the one place that I felt I had under control: Work.  I’m so behind in everything and yet, I find my mind wandering and I feel a little helpless – wondering when/if the next rounds of layoffs could happen and, will I be one of them?  I know this should make me work harder, but it really just makes me numb.

But anyhow, I went in to work today and while there I called my mom to discuss my upcoming trip to see her.  I haven’t been out west in over 4 years and for whatever reason, it seems like when I travel it’s around September-ish.  (Anxiety-prone me thought it was a fantastic idea to fly on 9-11 last year.  I did not sleep the night before my AM flight.)  During the course of the conversation, something set me off and I had to get off the phone.  I quickly got up from my desk, walked into the women’s restroom, straight to the handicapped stall, locked it behind me, and slid down the wall in the corner opposite the toilet and bawled.  Like, hyperventilating, bawling.

It’s not the first time I’ve done this.

And had my coworker not been there today, I mgiht have actually just stayed at my desk to have this breakdown, but perhaps it’s better that she was there and I could be alone. 

Once I was able to peel myself off the floor I grabbed my purse, shut off my computer and called it a day.  To make depressing matters even more depressing, it was raining when I got down to the ground level.  I was still pretty sobby and needed to talk to someone (but not yet my mom) and called one of my besties (for lack of a better word).  He talked me down off my mental ledge and even made me laugh by the end of the conversation.

Still, I gave up for the day.  This is not abnormal for me – I could be making the best progress ever on something and if something sets me off in the wrong direction?  Game Over.  I wish I knew why I find it so damn easy to give up.  I don’t think I was always this way, or at least to this degree. 

I know this is all over the place, but I want to end on this – which are things I want to say aloud, but never will (unless this counts as aloud… does it?): If you aren’t in my day to day life, you have zero idea what I’m really going through in my head.  You probably don’t know that I spend more time alone than is healthy for any human being.  You probably don’t know how many times a day I contemplate who would miss me if I wasn’t around – or worse yet, how long it would take for someone to notice if I weren’t around.  You might think that for a 30something with no “obligations” such as a husband or children I’ve got it easy – I am out all the time, living the high life, without a care in the world.  I am NOT the monster you might have made me out to be in your head.  Blame for things far out of my control have been placed on me for much too long.  I would like to write you off, but I don’t, because I still cling to a hope that there might someday be normalcy.

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Just breathe…

I would like to try to put into words what happens to me during a panic attack while I am driving.  Should my friends ever come across this, I fear they will never get in the car with me – or at the very least, I hope they understand why sometimes I need to slow down or pull over.

It’s almost as if a thought flashes through my head: I’m going to pass out.  I’m going to pass out and swerve off the road. This thought jolts me so much to my core that my heart starts racing.  I’m pretty sure somewhere in the middle of it all I hold my breath.  My foot gets off the gas pedal and I quickly shift positions in my seat to ‘wake myself up’ or maybe it’s to snap myself back to reality. 

I sometimes will roll down the window because the air will sometimes help me realize, “Hey fuckhead, you’re driving.  Chill.”  Sometimes it makes the noise of the traffic around me exacerbate all the feelings – like, oh crap there are cars around me and what if I Do swerve off the road?  Where will I go?

I look in the rearview and if I see someone coming up quickly this might make things all the more panicky. 

There are times where driving is fun and carefree and I can blast the music and forget about panic.  I wish I knew how to make those times be ALL the time.

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I hope you’re as happy as you’re pretending.

It’s amazing how a year can change things – my last post was all about self-improvement and this year… this year I feel as though I am on the verge of a breakdown.  I literally saw a Doctor last week and said to him, “I’m not entirely sure what I am more scared of: you hospitalizing me, or you not hospitalizing me.”

I type this from home – I’m not in a hospital.

I’m trying to pinpoint when it all changed.  I seemed OK when I was in New England for my family trip/friend’s wedding.  I did some really, really dumb things in Rhode Island, most of them involving drinking too much and getting behind the wheel.  Maybe that was a bit of a wake up call for me, I don’t know.  I remember feeling the warm fuzzies in Rhode Island, thinking that I could actually live there again.  Then, somewhere in the afterparty of the wedding, looking out at the Atlantic from the inside of the bar at the Andrea hotel I realized while all the people I visited are near and dear to me, they didn’t know me through some of the most important years of my life – nor did I really know them.  If I moved back, could it be the same?  Would they get me, and I them?  I wasn’t so sure.

Getting back to Chicago, things felt weird, and different.  I alienated myself from my friends for a good month.  I cancelled my Halloween party and instead decided to have some of my gal-pals over for knitting.  In the midst of gabbing about one of the missing gals, I realized I had been written off without my knowledge.  I simply thought there was a case of ‘sudden boyfriendage’ that had happened and eventually things would turn around.  They didn’t. 

But this opened the door to me meeting some (at the time I thought) fabulous gay men.  They turned out to be a bigger disappointment than the gal friend I had lost just before.  I guess they helped me make it through the holidays though.  Sort of.  I had vowed that this year I wouldn’t be available to be the token cat/dog sitter for the holidays.  This year, 2011, I was going to be in Mexico, or some other place that was not Chicago.  I can tell you now, this plan won’t be happening either.

January came and went, February came and went but I felt renewed hope around my birthday – 33 was going to be a great year.

And then I took the NCIDQ – which is really an understatement.  I got so disgustingly sick during the prep class, then when the actual test came around, I walked out of the practicum.  I couldn’t figure out the solution to the problem and spent the last half hour of the test time trying to figure out how I was going to tell everyone I was a failure.

I put a LOT of pressure on myself to pass that test on the first go around.  So much pressure that when I didn’t pass, I picked up a habit for a few days that I’m not proud of and won’t repeat here on this blog.  It’s nothing illegal, and I didn’t drink myself into oblivion (by this point I’ve been sober since October of 2010) – just not worth going into.

I moved to the suburbs.  I love my new apartment but I am admittedly even more alienated than I was in the city.  My panic attacks, especially while driving, seem to be worse.  I went to the city last weekend and had to pull over on the highway, twice. 

I started to see the hypnotherapist last year because I wanted to be off medication and I wanted to combat my anxiety attacks – instead I’m on more medication and my anxiety is worse.

What kills me most with all this is on paper my life is pretty damn good: I enjoy my job, My new apartment is fantastic, I am relatively healthy (aside from panic and whatever is going on in my head)…  I don’t even know for sure, but I feel like I’ve lost weight or I’m at least more confident in my body.

So why…  why do I feel so utterly lost?  Why do I feel as though I could burst into tears at any second, and sometimes do just that?  Why do I think being alone with my thoughts is better for me? 

Why am I posting this on the internet for all to see?  One simple reason: I remember how therapeutic blogging was for me at one point.  Even if it ended up being the same rambly crap over and over – just the act of typing whatever was on my brain seemed to help. 

And it’s the one thing I haven’t tried yet this year.

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You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

Over the past couple of months I’ve been on a self-improvement mission.  Well, I guess I’m always on a self-improvement mission, but I feel like certain things are finally clicking into place – perhaps that’s a better way to put it.

I think it started with the hypnotherapist.   I had asked my GP what she thought of Hypnosis as a means to combat my anxiety/panic attacks and she was all for it.  My main goal is to not have to medicate it with antidepressants because they make me feel worse.  Not in a panic sense, but I tend to gain weight on them, and the last time I was on them I literally lost the ability to cry.  You would think that would be a good thing, but sometimes you just need a good cry and when that is taken away from you?  It pretty much blows.

Anyhow, to find a hypnotherapist I first saw the acupuncturist who worked in the same office as my GP (because GP didn’t know who to refer me to).  Acupuncture doc gave me the recommendation to see my current hypno-doc and voila!  To be honest, we haven’t really divulged into full-out hypnosis yet.  That should be next week.  We’ve spent several weeks talking about my history and my goals.  She’s way easy to talk to and I feel comfortable with her – which is awesome.

I had also started seeing a chiropractor, but that really started because I was sore after the rear-ended-car-accident thing.  With her she’s been adjusting me using the activator method and I feel better after each visit with her as well. 

A common theme has emerged from my GP, Hypno and Chiro: Yoga.  They all want me to be doing it.  Hell, my former teacher-now-friend has been talking yoga to me for years.  It might be time I actually do something about it.  I hesitate to even say this, because the thought of tossing money out scares me, but… there is a gym really close to my place that has some good reviews and is cheaper than the last one I was at.  I’m thinking about it.  It has Yoga classes pretty much every day, plus other classes that look interesting.  Should I put forth the cash?  I just might.

Stay tuned. :)

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The little details.

I got to thinking earlier today that parts of my life would be simpler if I was blogging/journaling on a frequent basis. 

I came to this conclusion while I was at my Chiropractor’s appointment today.  I’ve had this weird pain in my foot for “a while” now, but can’t quite remember when it started.  I know it wasn’t super long ago, but I know it was hurting before I had the car accident (which, is another story all together).  

By process of elimination, I have determined this strange foot pain started on June 18th.  Here’s the thing: had I actually been blogging I could have gone back and found the precise date I started bitching/whining about it.  Instead I had to flip through my dayplanner to find out when the accident was, check to see when I went to a concert, check to see when a birthday party I attended was… etc. etc. 

The mundane little details of my life aren’t important to everyone else, but this simple little aspect of yammering away online was once a very useful tool.  I wonder if I ought to get back to it?

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Everchanging Dreams

When I was a kid and played “pretend” with the girl who lived in the apartment above mine it was always a tug-of-war about who got to be the “lawyer”.  That was the dream job in our scenario and more times than not, I got stuck being her lackey accountant.

As time evolved, the game changed and the best role was “teacher”.  I think I kept this ideology and career dream until I dropped out of high school and realized I couldn’t exactly preach to kids to stay in school when I myself didn’t feel the need to follow it through to the end.

I started college several times and at one point I was on course to become a nurse.  It made sense – I have 2 aunts that are nurses and are very successful at it.  Fate stepped in one semester and on a whim I took a couple of design classes and that was all it took for me to realize this was one dream I did not want to give up on – I wanted to be a designer.

And what I find interesting is that even though I’ve found my field, I’ve gone through many changes as to what I want to ultimately DO with this passion of mine.  As a starter design-student you can’t help but think, “Man… wouldn’t it be fun to be a designer like the people on Trading Spaces” (because this was just hitting its peak when I started school.  Then you find out those people aren’t designers, they are decorators and as snobby as it sounds: there’s a clear difference between the two.

So TV was out, but maybe residential design was the way to go?  I mean, I certainly enjoyed decorating my own apartments – how awesome could I be with an unlimited budget and a condo overlooking Lake Michigan?  Working at a small showroom where it wasn’t unheard of for a dining table to go for 10K made me rethink, “Do I really want to work for people who need to own a dining table that costs as much as my first car did? And really, how often do they even SIT at that dining table?” Residential was out.

For a long time there was a certain design firm that was the goal.  Having their name on my resume would have meant that all the work I did in school would have meant something.  During an unemployment stint back in 2007 I interviewed for an administrative position with that firm – something I was more than qualified to do and though it wasn’t my “dream” to be an admin, I thought it would get my foot in the door.  I did not get the job.

I’ve been at my current job for close to 2.5 years and love it.  Is this the latest version of my “dream”?  Perhaps it is.  Maybe in a few years time I’ll want to take off in a different direction but my point is this:  Dreams change and it’s ok.  I have embraced this when it comes to how I earn my living – it’s the other dreams I have that I find hard to accept how they are changing, but that’s a whole other story.

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