This is how ……..

Stress. I have stress. I am stressed. Stress and I are tight right now. Like conjoined twins tight.

Going into detail about all the things that are stressing me at this moment will be a very long list…so lets just say that there are a lot of factors contributing to the levels of stress in my life. Work, emotional, physical…just about everything. Choices that need to be made, steps that need to be taken, work that needs to be done…

So instead of listing the things that are stressing me, I am going to share with you the weird and wonderful ways in which stress…

  1. Neck spasm. I get this wonderful burning feeling that runs all the way down the left side of my body that kind of escalates in my left trap. This gives me pins and needles in my left hand. Heart attack? Wouldn’t be surprised!
  2. Severe Migraines.The simple process of breathing sends my skull with waves of crushing pain
  3. Sleep walking. Yes. This happens. The other night I fell asleep fully clothed in my bed and woke up without my pj pants on my couch. All the lights on. No idea how I got there.
  4. ADD. I cannot focus on anything. Its like there are misfires everywhere in my brain. I go from: have to buy milk, milk comes from cows, toaster toasts, skulls, oh hey look shiny! So yes…logical train of thought: Zero
  5. Water retention. I bloat like a puffer fish. I look like the Oros man. I look like the zombie in the second season of The Walking Dead that they found in the water well. My double chin rivals that of Honey Boo-Boo’s mothers!
  6. Shake it baby!  I think I get temporary case of Parkinson’s. Sometimes it gets so bad that I can’t hold or lift a cup of coffee to my mouth and need to use a straw to drink anything, Hot or cold.
  7. My stress spot. Eczema. There, I said it. I have this spot on the back of my head/neck that is my stress spot. And I will scratch that spot till it bleeds. Gross right?
  8. When I am not sleep walking…I am not sleeping. Insomnia. Insomnia like a BOSS. My brain will be so active I could probably write a trilogy of epic proportions…if my ADD didn’t keep me away from actually staying on one thought. So my trilogy would start with a rainbow pooping unicorn and end with a serial killer from Jamaica who’s calling card is a bag of weed and instructions to a hidden treasure.
  9. Lastly, and by no means leastly (? Yes I know I just made up a word), procrastination. Why do you think I am writing this? I have a shit ton of work to do…and yet I am writing this and pinning like a mad woman on Pinterest.

High-functioning anxiety looks like… 23c365f6af44dd8272a6b5fd1d1f9938

Over-Achievement. Hyper-Activity. Perfectionism.

When it sneaks out, it transforms into nervous habits. below the belt sarcasm . Fast pace walking. Running my fingers through my hair.

If you look close enough, you can see it in answered text messages. Flakiness. Nervous laughter. The panic that flashes through my eyes when a plan changes. When anything changes.

High-functioning anxiety feels like…

A snake slithering up my back, clamping its jaws shut where my shoulders meet my neck. Punch-in-the-gut stomach aches, like my body is confusing answering an email with being attacked by a lion.

High-functioning anxiety sounds like…

You’re not good enough. You’re a bad friend. You’re not good at your job. You’re wasting time. You’re a waste of time. Your boyfriend doesn’t love you. You’re so needy. What are you doing with yourself? Why would you say that? What if they hate it? Why can’t you have your shit together? You’re going to get anxious and because you’re going to get anxious, you’re going to mess everything up. You’re a fraud. Just good at faking it. You’re letting everybody down. No one here likes you.

All the while, You appear perfectly calm.

It’s always looking for the next outlet, something to channel the never-ending energy. Writing. Running. List-making. Mindless tasks (whatever keeps you busy). Doing jumping jacks in the kitchen. Dancing in the living room, pretending it’s for fun, when really it’s a choreographed routine of desperation, trying to tire out the thoughts stuck in your head. 

It’s silent anxiety attacks, hidden by smiles.

It’s always being busy but also always avoiding, so important things don’t get done. It’s letting things pile up rather than admitting you’re overwhelmed or in need of help.

It’s that sharp pang of saying the wrong thing, the one that starts the cycles of thoughts. Because you said too much, and nobody cares, and it makes you never want to speak up again.

It’s going back and forth between everyone else has it together but you, and so many people have it tougher than you.

Get your act together.

Suck it up.

You’re not OK, you’re messing everything up.

You’re totally OK, stop being such a baby.

It’s waking up in the middle of the night sobbing because the worst-case-scenario that just went through your head at high speed seems so real, so vivid, that even when it’s proven to be untrue, it takes hours for your heart to slow down, to feel calm again.

Because how “OK” are you when a day without a plan is enough to make you crumble? When empty spaces make you spiral at the very anticipation of being alone with your thoughts? When you need to make a list to get through a Sunday: watch a show, clean your kitchen, exercise, answer five emails, read 10 pages, watch a show… ?

It’s feeling unqualified to write this piece because I’m getting by. It’s when you’re social enough to get invited to things, but so often find yourself standing in a room where it feels like no one knows you. It’s being good at conversation and bad at making close friends because you only show up when you feel “well” enough. Only text back when you feel ready. Because you’re afraid they’d hate you if they really knew you. That the energy would overwhelm them, and you’d lose them.

So you learn to reign it in. Channel it. Even though sometimes you do everything right (exercise, sleep, one TV show, five emails, 10 pages…) and you’re still left with racing thoughts, the panic. The not good enough’s.

When will it be enough?

Having anxiety means constantly managing motion that can be productive or self-destructive, depending on how much sleep you got. Depending on the day. Depending on the Earth’s alignment with Mars. Depending on…

It’s when “living with it” means learning how to sit with it. Practicing staying in bed a little longer. Challenging the mean, unrelenting voices that say you’re only worth what you produced that day.

It means learning how to say, “I need help.” Trying to take care of yourself without the guilt. It means every once in a while, confiding in a friend. It means sometimes showing up even when you’re scared.

It’s when answering a text impulsively and thoughtlessly is an act of bravery.

It’s fighting against your own need to constantly prove your right to exist in this world.

It’s learning how to validate your own feelings. That even though you don’t feel like you’re enough, and you’ll never be enough, it’s knowing you’re at least anxious enough to benefit from help. That admitting you need it doesn’t confirm voices’ lies. That taking a break doesn’t mean you’re a failure.

It’s finding your own humanity in the anxiety, in your weaknesses. It’s trying to let the energy inspire you, instead of bring you down. It’s forgiving yourself when it wins.

It’s a way to live, with this constant companion. Your bullying twin. Collapsible luggage you can bury away at a moment’s notice. Shove it under the bed. Pretend it’s not there until you can’t fit anymore. Until you can no longer ignore it. Until you have to face it.

A first good step is staring at it straight on and calling it by its name.

High anxiety can be a natural consequence of a busy lifestyle, but its existence is akin to the chicken and the egg. Which came first, the anxiety or the busyness? Am I always moving because I’m anxious or am I anxious because I’m always moving?

Either way, it’s not a noble way to suffer. It’s not a “better” way to be anxious. Just because you’re “functioning” doesn’t always mean you’re happy. And just because you’re functioning doesn’t mean you shouldn’t slow down, breathe and take one damn second to be happy the way things are.

In this very moment.

This quiet, short moment.

To remember the peace you found in that second of silence, until the electricity starts again, and you’re forced to move.

So this is how I stress…and currently I have all the symptoms. At least I can still laugh! Even if that laugh is slightly manic and leaning toward the hysterical nature of The Joker (circa Health Ledger/ Jared Leto). But hey…that’s why they have wine! And the gym…yoga helps….

Now let me get my shit together and get some work done…oh look, a bird

Some life lessons…and random thoughts

This post was going to be one about honesty and lying and how we find it so difficult to be honest. And it is still going to be…but I have come across so many other ideas that I feel I need to express and that have been sitting with me for a while now.
So, call this a life-lesson blog entry. Or a random brain fart entry. It is yet again one of those things that I need to write in order to get it out of my brain.
I need to do that every now and again when things get too crowded in there.
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Firstly, I heard a comment on a show I was watching yesterday: “Whats so complicated about being honest?”

As simple as this question sounds, it is layered with doubt and insecurity and is actually quite complex.
People lie. It is what we do. We lie to save face, we lie to protect, we lie to hide…we lie on a daily basis.
I am not talking about massive, life altering lies and if you have, then the lie must have protected a hurt or your damaged soul to have told such a lie and to the receivers ” Before you cast the first stone , look within your own closet for skeletons. I am talking about those little white lies that are so quick to form and so quick to be dispensed. One can almost understand and justify why we lie to others, but what gets me the most is that we lie to ourselves. We tell ourselves lies about ourselves on a daily basis. We tell ourselves that we are okay, that we are coping. We tell ourselves that we deserve to be treated the way that we are. We try and justify our actions through lies. Why? Why would you lie to yourself? It is probably the most damaging thing you can do to yourself! Because, in all honesty, you are hurting no one but yourself. And if you look at it that way… doesn’t that make you want to think twice about how you see yourself and your life?
I am guilty of this. I lie to myself all the time. I tell myself that I deserve to be treated like shit. I tell myself that I am not good enough to go after my hearts desires. I even tell myself that if I’m lied to, cheated on, it’s okay because I’ve lied before, it’s what I deserve…
There are so many things that I lie to myself about… because it is easier. It is easier to face a lie than what it is to deal with the truth. More often than not, the truth is harsh. It hurts and it is like a slap through the face. Stupidly enough, one of the things I have been passionately lying to myself about is that I am okay with being alone. That I am okay with being single and that I don’t want to be in a relationship.
Telling myself, I deserve the scraps of  that, so called relationships of my past have been thrown my way…What a load of bull!
I deserve the best kind of relationship. I deserve to be with someone who loves me, accepts me for who I am and who is proud of me.
Proud to have me in their life.
I don’t want to be a little secret. A occasional time-filler. I deserve better than that.
That is also why I am now going to be very honest with the people in my life. I no longer have time for people who don’t make time for me.
I am tired of going out of my way for others when they don’t even give me the time of day.
People who make plans and promises and then cancel? Sorry…you’re out!
People who only contact me when it is going bad with them? I am not your psychologist.
I have people in my life who are actually in my life. People who have stuck by me and who I have stuck by, through thick and thin.
They are few, but they are quality. The rest…well the rest I am no longer going to even make an effort with.
I was promised so much by “family/friends” only to have them cancel on me because something better came along… that’s not right. And that is a lie of love for your family and a friendship.
Another thought that I wanted to write about is that of life and living and all that fun stuff. I don’t want to die knowing I did not live.
We get so caught up in work and relationships and commitments and stress that we forget to do the one thing we were created to do: Live. Even as I am writing this I know that I am guilty of this. There are moments in my life that I can say I have truly lived. But they are completely overshadowed by my absolute fear of life. I am so scared of taking that risk and doing what it is that I want to do, that I freeze and accept that this is as good as it gets. This can’t be as good as it gets. Because if it is then I demand a refund. Living paycheck to paycheck, barely making it by, constantly being broken down by people who are “superior”… They never experienced what you have been through or going through,  so you must have asked for it?!?
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Is that life? Is that how its supposed to be?
I understand that we all need to make a living. I understand that not all of life can be an adventure and extreme and fun. But what I do know…is that this is not the be all and end all for me. I deserve more than this.
I have been dealt blow after blow after blow the past few months and I am really getting sick of it now. All I am asking for, is one good thing to happen. One ray of sunshine that can light the way. I know I am a fighter and I know that I will get through whatever is thrown my way…but it would be nice if what is thrown my way is something positive.
Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means wallowing in self pity about the way things are. I mean, I have some pretty amazing people in my life and I have a lot to be thankful and grateful for. Its more of a…if I can just get a leg-up.
Just that little boost, then I can get out of this final layer that I have been stuck under.
I am ready for new challenges, new adventures, new opportunities. I know I have so much more to give. I know I have so much more life in me!
Fuckin’ hell! I have been through hell and back and I have come out on top and I am damn proud of that. I know I am strong.
I know I am a fighter and I know that I will conquer anything that comes my way.
But even a fighter needs the war to end some time. My war has been going on for long enough. So…even if my last ray of sunshine is simply that it catches the last of …light…and that lies and pain of my past have stolen my identity, my self and caused havoc in my life.
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Letting go. That will already be like a burst of sunshine.
I guess what I am trying to say is: Be honest. Not only with those around you, but with yourself as well.
It is scary as hell and you will probably be met with resistance and rejection and who knows what else.
But you will also be met with gratitude and respect and unexpected awesomeness (of this I am convinced).
Live. Even if all you do is take 5 minutes a day to do something that you absolutely love to do. Those 5 minutes of selfish enjoyment can go a long way.
De clutter. Remove the people in your life who suck the life out of yours.
Stop making excuses for people.
Stop giving them second, third, fourth and fifth chances. They don’t respect you or your time.
So why should you bend over backward to accommodate them when it is convenient for them?
Never stop pursuing the life you know you deserve. Never settle for mediocre, the good enough or safe… Don’t let fear rule your life.
Love. the people you love with all that you have.
And tell them that you love them.
As much as you can.
You never know when you wont be able to anymore.
Appreciate the small things. A perfectly made cup of coffee. A crested Carolina Wren singing outside your window.
A sunset after a hectic day at work. The feeling of waking up at the crack of dawn and pursuing your passion before the world starts to wake up. Dancing around to your favorite song without fear of looking like an idiot. No one looks stupid when they are doing something that they love.
Don’t be afraid of looking like an idiot! Try that new sport. Dance to your own beat. Sing as loud and  horrible as you can.
Tell someone how you feel. Embrace your inner child. You will be surprised how many people are out there…just waiting for you to come out and play

LOVE is in the air tonight

I LOVE Valentine’s Day. For as long as I can remember it has always been my second favorite holiday, next to Christmas. Now, this isn’t because I’m one of those lucky girls who is always showered with gifts from cute boys, I don’t even see it as being about couples.
No, I have always loved Valentine’s Day because for me it is the one day of year that you can truly open up and tell someone you love them, which is something we as a human race, quite frankly, don’t do enough.
We get so scared of being true to our feelings, for fear of rejection, for fear of getting hurt later down the line; sometimes though, we simply neglect to say anything.
February 14th? A love celebration…
Or not?
Reading through social feeds today was a bit confusing. Some were doting love on others, some not…
Some made sarcastic attacks on “Valentine’s Day” and some were just normal…
Now I question, what is it about this particular day that people tend to be blissfully in love, unhappy and/or just nonchalant? I celebrate Valentine’s Day, I celebrate Fat Tuesday and I will not disclose why… LOL…your imaginations can go wild on that one, just remember I’m innocent, LOL…
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So, I Google (I mean research) and find some quite disturbing things about this particular day on which we celebrate (or supposed to celebrate) love… The origin of this day is quite unromantic to say the least… Firstly it is linked to some Roman fertility festival that took place from 13th to 15th Feb, whereby men sacrificed dogs and goats, and used the hide of the sacrifice to whip the women (gruesome much?) alternatively men would draw the names of women from a jar and spent the duration of the festival (or forever) with that woman… Secondly there is a story of St. Valentine, a Roman priest who married young couples against the command of the Roman Emperor Claudius… St. Valentine was captured, tortured and subsequently beheaded on Feb 14th…

So I guess we can see why Feb 14th and also where the name comes from, however based on those origins, how on earth did today become a day to celebrate love and present chocolate, flowers and gifts to our beloved ones?
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The day was first associated with romantic love in the middle ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished (Shakespeare things). In 18th century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by gifting flowers, offering sweets and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines“). In Europe, St. Valentine’s keys are given “as a romantic symbol and an invitation to unlock the giver’s heart”, as well as to children, in order to ward off St. Valentine’s difficulties. Then came the 19th century where Hallmark mass produced greeting cards and I guess civilization just bought into it – great business intuition guys, LOL…

So there we have it…February the 14th is actually an unromantic day and very much a commercially packaged money making scheme…I can hear many guys gasping a huge sigh of relief, but just because I have given you reason not to go the extra mile on this day doesn’t mean your beloved ones will excuse you as easily so tread lightly my fellow humans…

Either which way you look at this day, I strongly urge that this day is not seen as THE ONLY day to celebrate love, it should be an everyday affair… and so too with it, love should not be expressed in gifts (although it is nice) it’s the things you do, the things you say and how you make your loved ones feel…after all show me a human who does not value time spent together over a box of chocolates… or thinks more of a wrapped box than being wrapped in your loved ones arm and I will bluntly tell you that person is not human at all…
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I have always used this day to tell all my close friends and family that I love them, for I do, and I couldn’t be happier to have them all in my life.
There are so many good people in the world and they all deserve to be told they are loved and appreciated.
I hope you all have loved-filled day with your significant others, but I also hope you can find the time to drop a message to your friends and other loved ones to let them know too how very important they are.
To my friends who are reading this: I love you.
Happy Valentine’s Day!