Shhhhh….Be Still

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted<sup class="crossreference" value="(B)”> among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” ~Psalm 46:10

This is one of my favorite Bible verses.  Being Catholic I don’t know that many (we learn through stories instead of verses) but this is one that I carry in my heart.  To me it says, “For My sake Sherry, shut the fuck up…I got this!” 

Sometimes I forget.  Then, when I start the stupid cycle I described in yesterday’s post, any and all hope of remembering flies right out the window.  The bitch that lives in my head starts talking and nothing else has a shot at getting through my very thick skull.

Until I have a moment like I had yesterday.  A moment of clarity so sharp that it cuts right through all of the monkey chatter, all of the static and all of the negative self-talk.  I won’t say I’ve found peace of mind yet, but I’m a lot closer to it today than I was on Monday.  In fact, when I looked in the mirror this morning after my shower and the bitch started to spout off, I look in the mirror, and said (out loud),

“Shhhhhh….”  Then I closed my eyes and said, “Be still…be still…be still…and KNOW.”

And a funny thing happened.

It worked.  I managed to get dressed and out of the house with a smile on my face and in clothes that felt good on me.  I kissed the man of my dreams goodbye and was off to a job that I love.

So tonight I’m going to download one of the Tara Brach guided meditations that was recommended to me by many of you and practice what I preach.

Shhhhh….

Namaste

The Fog is Lifting

My fog is beginning to lift.  The anxiety I’ve been feeling over the last few weeks (maybe longer – probably longer…yeah – longer) is beginning to subside.  As I type this I’m coming off a bout of rapid heart rate/shortness of breath/mild dizziness which I’ve come to recognize as my own, extremely mild version of a panic attack.  I’ve had them for years but they’ve been almost constant for the past few weeks which is what initially called my attention to the whole anxiety thing.  Once I started really analyzing it I realized that, when it’s coupled with a wave of depression…well…if you’ve been reading this blog then you know what happens.  Sherry gets a ticket on the crazy train. 

In fact, if I’m honest, this particular train ride started around the holidays last year, culminated over the last few weeks and maybe, just maybe, is on it’s way to being over.  (Hmmm…If I remember correctly – that’s just about the time I started fucking around with my medication…point taken.)  HOWEVER the absolute best fucking thing about this whole mess is that, for the first time in my whole messed up life I’ve been awake, aware and sober for the whole freaking trip!  And, while it’s been quite a journey, I’m beginning to think that I’ve actually learned something about myself this time…little things that I’ve been filing away to look at later.

I think it’s later.

Yeah…it’s later.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

When I get depressed/anxious, I get a little bipolar.  Not in the clinical sense in that I’m not in control, but in the cause and effect way that I totally bring on myself.  The more depressed I get the more I try to artificially boost my mood.  The more I try to artificially boost my mood and fail, the more manic I get about it.  The more manic I get and still fail, the more depressed I get.  Can you say vicious cycle?  I think that you can…

Now, prior to getting sober I would just numb the feelings,when possible, with copious amounts of wine.  But it wasn’t always possible to get myself blotto and escape.  Before I started drinking at home, we only went out occasionally so I had to look for other ways to make myself feel better.  So I did stuff

Stuff that I still do.  Stuff like…

  • Sleeping all the time or wanting to sleep all the time. 
  • Enrolling in graduate school.
  • Looking for a new job.
  • Eating too much sugar.
  • Rearranging one or several rooms in my house.
  • Changing my hair color (length, style).
  • Planning an entire redecoration of my house.
  • Switching templates on my blog, switching blogs, switching back.
  • Either starting or thinking constantly about starting a new (several) diets.
  • Becoming way too critical of myself and listening to the bitch that lives in my head.
  • Exercising to the point of injury (my knee is shot but I’m still thinking about taking up running?).
  • Ignoring my yoga and meditation practices.
  • Making my husband nuts and obsessing about our relationship.
  • Baking (baking, baking).
  • Researching and analyzing (anything and everything).
  • Buying and reading so many self-help books that I end up completely confused about what’s wrong and what I’m supposed to do about it.

And that just in the last two weeks.  Multiply that by 40 years and you can see how I’ve gotten into some of the issues that I’ve gotten into…add alcohol and…boom…instant fuckedupedness.

This is the first time since I’ve gotten sober that I’ve gone through a full cycle and been aware that I’m taking the crazy train the whole time.  Now that I’m approaching the station and will (hopefully) disembark soon, I’ve decided to put the brakes on some of my insanity and maybe take a more relaxed and realistic look at things. 

  • I’m deferring my graduate school acceptance to at least the spring semester.  If I’m still gung-ho then, I’ll move forward.  If not, I’ve dodged that particular bullet.
  • I’ve spoken to my boss about what I can do with this job that I have rather than trying to jump ship and get myself into a totally new and maybe not so good role.  After all, that’s how I ended up getting laid off all those years ago – instead of staying with the job I had where people knew and loved me, I sought out and got a new role that ended up being redundant. 
  • I’ll keep my doctor’s appointments because I’m still not feeling right but, since God has my back, the appointments are another 3 weeks away – ample time to slow down and reevaluate if necessary.
  • Stop obsessing about my weight and my diet.  Now that the crazy train is slowing, I’ll bet my reliance on sugar and chocolate will also slow and I’ll be back on a better path soon.  That will also take care of the baking.  I’ll review the material I ordered on bariatric surgery but I’ll probably end up throwing it in the garbage.
  • I’ve begun meditating a little again and I’ll bet money that and my yoga picks up again very soon.

It’s funny what a difference a day can make….well…maybe not.  In the shower this morning I prayed for God to draw me a picture, or hit me with one of His bricks, or just be a little more specific with me because clearly I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer when it comes to my own sanity.

Poof!  The fog is beginning to lift.

Gotta love those answered prayers.

Namaste

Talk Therapy

Oh you guys…thanks so much for all the wonderful comments and suggestions about relieving my anxiety.  It means so much that you took the time to leave a note.  So much.  I’m going to look up all the authors and podcasts you suggested, I’m scheduled for my doctors’ appointments next month and, as soon as things let up at work, I’ll be walking and doing yoga again.  The breathing I can do NOW if I can stop long enough and remember.  I will definitely try.

While I was thinking about this all freaking weekend, I figured out something else…I have closed down a little and stopped talking.  I’m holding things in that have absolutely no business hanging around in my head where the bitch that lives there can play with them.  Specifically, I don’t talk to the hubs in the same way that I used to.  If I am talking to him and he’s not really paying attention (you know, focused totally on me like I’m the only woman in the world that matters…all while he’s driving or watching his favorite show or trying to do a million things at once for the kids) than I shut down.  I lock it up and wallow in self pity and listen to all the ugly things the bitch is trying to tell me.

Yep…now there’s healthy processing for you.  I oughta write a book on that shit.

See, back in the day, I would verbally vomit on my husband on a regular basis.  Didn’t matter what he had going on or what was on his mind, I would regale him with all of my problems at work, problems with mother and sister, problems with myself…just problems.  Then, once it was out of my face, I could let it go.  And if I couldn’t, I’d wait until date night when a sip of the grape would loosen my tongue a little more and I’d REALLY get going.  He was my therapist.  My personal guru.  Nodding appropriately, not trying to actually fix anything (after we went through John Gray training), just listening and letting me work through it.

I miss that so much.  We still talk, but things have changed.  I quit drinking.  Plain and simple, I don’t have the booze to get me going and lower my inhibitions and shut up the bitch that lives in my head so I don’t second guess everything I say AND read more into this response than is actually there.  Date nights are completely different now.  We end up talking about lots of other stuff going on in our lives…okay – we end up talking about either my work or our kids…but still.  It just seems like so much trouble to even start a conversation about what’s going on in my head that I don’t feel like I have the energy.  I know there’s not enough time – either he’s rushing to get home to the dogs or we’re done with dinner and we have to leave the restaurant.  Where we used to go to another bar for a drink (or six), now we just go home; and home for us (thank GOD) is a hustling and bustling place that is not conducive to deep, extremely private, conversations. 

Even the time we went to stay at Ritz for our anniversary, conversation was stilted.  I tried to start up a little but he didn’t seem interested and, just keeping it real here, since it was my first romantic weekend without wine, I was feeling a little out of sorts myself.  I wanted to talk about how I was feeling but I was sure he was sick to death with hearing about my recovery and how I was feeling so I just kept it to myself.  (I told you…that bitch starts talking and all rational thought leaves my head.)

I’ll figure this out and come out on the other side.  This whole recovery thing, while wonderful and exciting, can be hard sometimes.  I told the hubs this weekend that many times I sit and ponder, what goes on in the heads of people who are not addicts, or clinically depressed, or homonally unbalanced.  I mean…what do they think about?  What would I do with all that free head time?

Namaste my friends…and thank you.

Anxiety

…and I’m here to kick your ass.

I don’t know what triggered it and I don’t know how to circumvent it but this is what I believe is going on with me right now.

Anxiety.

I have never thought I had any issues with being anxious.  It never occurred to me (I know…I’m a special kind of stupid) that it might be an issue.  That’s because every time this feeling would come over me I’d pick up a glass (bottle) (bottles) of wine and make the feeling go away.  I’d go all day, white knuckled until I could get home and get that first sip of ‘ahhhh and then proceed to obliterate the rest of the evening.  And then do it all over again the next day.

In fact, toward the end of my drinking I didn’t get beyond mildly anxious before I picked up my trusty glass, so I know I couldn’t/didn’t recognize it for what it was.

Anxiety.

(This is one of those brick upside the head moments for me so bear with me while I work through it.)

I’ve noticed the last month or so that I’m not sleeping as soundly as I had been.  My shoes don’t fit.  I can’t get comfortable.  I put it off to weight gain but I haven’t gained any extra weight.  My freaking skin doesn’t feel like it fits.  I can’t shut down my brain long enough to pray or meditate.  I don’t feel like I’m being a good wife or mom or coworker.  I’m having trouble breathing.  I’m kind of itchy on my arms and legs.

Heart attack?  Not likely.  The flu?  Nope.  Allergies?  Nuh-uh.  Anxiety?  Um…maybe.  Who am I kidding…yes.

This isn’t just feeling anxious – I, like everyone else, feel that from time to time and it passes.  This is something that has been slowly building like a tidal wave rumbling away, out in the ocean, slowly making its way to shore where it feels as if it will completely overwhelm me at any second.  And I’m trying to run…in sand.

I’ve been thinking about my pink cloud.  It’s been gone for awhile now.  I think it was eaten by anxiety.  I know it was there in the beginning of my sobriety, went away for awhile and then came back stronger than ever.  I can read back through my posts and see that.  But for the past few months it’s been gone.  I’ve been looking around to other things to try and get it back.  Food.  The hubs.  The kids.  The house.  Work (let’s apply for several new jobs shall we?).  School (graduate school anyone?).

Sound familiar?  I’m looking outside for something that should be coming from inside but that can’t get in because anxiety has build a goddamned (little g) fortress around me and won’t let me get to where I need to be.  It wants wine but I have long since moved past that and won’t wake that motherfucker up no matter what happens.

And it’s not that I’m unhappy, it’s just that I can seem to find peace.  That inner smile you get when the rest of the world is losing it’s mind and you know it’s going to be just fine.  You know…Faith.  I had it in my hands for the briefest of moments…I want it back in the worst way.

Funny thing, at the beginning of the year I chose Faith as my word for the year.  I think I chose it because I knew I needed to work on maintaining it.  And that’s what I’ve been trying to do but Anxiety has gotten in the way.  I don’t believe in Satan or hell as we’re taught to believe it when we’re young, but I do believe there are evil forces in the universe that work to separate us from God (Higher Power, the Big Guy…whatever) and I FIRMLY believe that anxiety is one of them.  It clouds my head and my heart and makes me crazy and not able to pray.  Yeah…that’s evil if you ask me.

Now comes the hard part.  What in the name of all that is holy do I do about it?

I’m taking calls…the lines are open.  What do you do about anxiety?

Namaste