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Holy Crap, My Brain Is Scary.

(WARNING. This post is VERY stream of consciousness and VERY much rambling but…you know…that’s how I roll some days.) When I was at my Catholic High School we had these GREAT weekend retreats (actually associated with my CHURCH not my school) called “SEARCH” which I really don’t remember too much about, other than I loved it and I got to be a leader once and that I always went home with this deep and fervent desire to START MY LIFE OVER and BE BETTER and DO AWESOME THINGS and ROCK THE CASBAH. You get the point. I know a lot of it was due to the emotional rawness of the weekend. We talked a lot about God and Faith and we bore our hearts to our small groups in dark rooms and we didn’t sleep at all so we cried a lot and none of us ever wanted to leave and go back to the real world. There were trust walks where you blindly followed your group and ended up in this spiritual moment in this room with the most wonderful picture of Jesus every painted, the one where he looks like he could hug your pain away. And we all just emptied our hearts and felt renewed by God and friendship and Faith. You went back to school on Monday and you were ready to just BE THE BEST YOU THAT YOU COULD BE. It was brilliant. It never lasted past first period. But still! It was brilliant! I need something like that in my life. Some sort of something that inspires me, that recharges me, that shakes me to the core and motivates me to walk the path I’ve been avoiding for so long. Heather wrote about “trying to create a new mindset. I’m tired of being a slave to my anxiety, and instead of just complaining again and again and again that I hate feeling anxious I decided to do something about it.” I have been here FOREVER. I’m just sick of talking about my emotional attachment to food and my anxiety and my self-hatred and my…well, you get the point. I am constantly making these vague and half-hearted attempts at improvement, but really with no direction or guidance just kinda vague, “Maybe I won’t eat four Cadbury Creme eggs today…” kind of way. Spoiler Alert: I ate Four Cadbury Creme Eggs on Tuesday. Let me say this: I don’t hate “free time” like Heather does, my anxiety doesn’t manifest itself like that. My anxiety almost paralyzes me into ending up with “free time”. I am so overwhelmed with what needs to be done that I DON’T KNOW WHERE TO BEGIN and so I sit in a zombie-like state, staring at the laundry and the dirty dishes and decide, “Hmmm…maybe I’ll eat instead.” I’m starting to think that I really need to do more to try and ease some of these horrible symptoms I’m getting. I know many people try things like cbd isolate wholesale, and apparently, this can be quite effective in helping to ease anxiety. ANYWAY! I’ve been there for SO LONG…in the WANTING TO BE BETTER place but I feel like I’m not making BIG progress with my emotional issues. With my fitness? Sure! With my social anxieties? Sure! But with that general feeling of sadness/anxiousness/stress that permeates my life? I’ve not made any progress in that general mindset. I was thinking of taking some CBD for a trial period and see if it benefited me in anyway, I didn’t really come to a conclusion but you could check this select CBD review here out for yourself. I’ve heard lots of people find CBD helpful as a treatment for anxiety. Anxiety is pretty horrible and people are willing to try everything to try and ease the symptoms of it. After all, the research that’s been done into anxiety and cbd hemp oil shows that it can actually reduce anxiety symptoms. Basically? I still have points during every day where I don’t understand why people believe in an afterlife. At least once a day I think, “The only perk of dying is that there’s finally an end to the stress and the sadness. Why would anyone fear that end?” (This is not the same thing as being suicidal, by the way. I’ve been there, that’s more of a, “I wish I was dead so the stress and sadness would end.” Those days with those thoughts are long gone…THANK GOD…these days are more like, “Why would I want to go to heaven and just continue worrying about my family still on earth?”) (Yes. I get that most people envision an afterlife where that anxiety and sadness doesn’t exist, but in my head, my soul can not exist without anxiety and sadness, so if my soul lives? So does that.) (Parentheticals are fun!) That’s how pervasive the anxiety and sadness can be, it essentially creates a person who will never fear dying. If someone said, “You’ll die tomorrow,” I’d be sad and make amends and say goodbye, but there would always be a small part of me that would say, “Whooo…no more stress.” So, while I’ve made progress in small elements of the sadness and the anxiety, the BIG PICTURE is still the same. It still permeates too much of my life. Of my days. Of my thoughts. And I feel like I need an awakening of some sort, like the religious retreats in high school…something to shake me to the core, to turn me around, to change my view. But those retreats in high school never created permanent change either. I guess it’s like going Carb Free or Fat Free or Foods With Only Five Letters…you can lose weight fast, but the real way to create permanent change is to change your LIFESTYLE. Not your diet. So, while these powerful life-shattering events and diets and moments can make you cry and inspire you, probably the only REAL way to lasting change is to continue to trudge through the daily activities and try to take those baby steps in the right direction. And hope that eventually you see the big changes. And that’s the hard part. It’s hard to find inspiration in small changes or small shifts. Those Big! Inspiring! Moments! And! Events! make it easy in the wake of those events to make a new decision, but as those ripples fade, so does your motivation. Which brings me back to square one. Longing for one of those weekends of inspiration and joy, even though I know they don’t bring lasting change either. But, like Heather, I’m just so tired of talking about it all the time. I’m so tired of looking at the crumbled foil wrappers in my hand and thinking, “Well…that could have gone better.” I’m tired of looking at the piles of laundry and the dirty floor and thinking, “I’m not sure where to start, so I’ll just read instead.” I’m sick of losing my patience and forgetting the joy. Heather ended her entry with this:

But that’s just it. This isn’t about dreaming. This isn’t a bucket list. It’s a collection of small things that I can do frequently to add some much needed levity to my everyday life: 1. Laughing with my kids 2. Listening to and sharing new music 3. Visiting new places 4. Photographing new places 5. Catching up with friends in person 6. A great meal with friends 7. Warm weather, loud music with the windows rolled down in my car 8. Long phone calls with my mother

And man, I just don’t know. I look at her list and I see, “Yes! Those things would make lasting change because if you enjoyed those things more your life would become less anxious! I get it!” But here’s the thing. I don’t know what my list would be. I try to think and I want to steal hers. “Laughing with my kids! That’s a good one!” But I don’t think that’s mine. Because what are we laughing about? And are we making a mess I’ll have to clean later? And should they be taking their baths? Have they eaten yet? What should we be doing besides laughing? And seriously…they’re going to start fighting in two seconds about who gets to laugh with me more. AND THIS IS NOT FUN. I don’t know what my list would be. What brings me joy without anxiety? I’m not sure I can separate the two. I’m not sure I can think about what brings me joy, without IMMEDIATELY thinking about what stresses me out. I like Heather’s list, many of those things bring me joy too in my own variation (I’m not a music person though) but it’s hard for me to think about the JOY without also the STRESS. So, maybe I start a step backwards? Or maybe I still start with that step and try to figure out how to be IN THE MOMENT and enjoy those things without thinking about the stress? BAH. This is why I run trails. It brings me joy but the only thing I can think about while I’m out there is: WHERE DO I PUT MY FOOT WITHOUT DYING? Even road runs can be stressful because you can zone out and just become hyper-focused on the things causing you stress. But the trails? Which I only do on Sundays? Those runs are ALL about where to put your foot and you can’t zone out on anything stressful without falling to your death. I’m going today to buy that Brené Brown book. Maybe the whole thing will speak to me more and teach me how to build a joyful list without erasing it all because IT ALL STRESSES ME OUT. I’m proud of the small areas of improvement in my life, but as long as sadness and anxiety permeates my life and affects my eating habits, those small changes don’t help the big picture. I would like to make of list of, “Things that bring me joy,” without erasing everything on the list because, “Wait…this one also stresses me out.” (Jeezus H. Christ, Kim. Could this entry be ANY MORE RAMBLY? I swear I could write another 14 pages with the same lack of focus. It’s like my brain is just puking into this content box in now order or rhythm or anything and I CAN’T MAKE IT STOP. So, I’m stopping here. Even though I want to puke some more out. I’ll buy the book. I’ll report back. I’ll try to write something tomorrow that isn’t A) About my overwhelming anxiety or B) About the upcoming 5-year anniversary of my Dad dying. Maybe I’ll write about something light-hearted and FUN! Wouldn’t that be nice?)

15 thoughts on “Holy Crap, My Brain Is Scary.”

  1. I read you because I adore you, but I always can relate so much with the anxiety and the fear that comes with letting it go. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression my entire life, and I’m like you, I think of things in a slightly different way. Like with Dooce’s list, yeah, I’d be worried about the after, if everyone was laughing and having fun and whatever, I’d have trouble letting go and just enjoying the moment.

    I will also get the book and try to find some time to read it. I’ve been re-inventing myself, trying to deal with some very dark and scary demons, and this might be what helps me to surmount that issue.

  2. I think if anyone could self-help herself out of this it would be you. But you know that Heather would be the very first to recommend professional help when your emotional/mental health is out of control.

  3. I’m treading lightly because while I’ve been reading your blog for years, I don’t actually know you. So I will say this: in my experience what helped me tackle a lot of this was a small dose of prozac. I’m not saying medication is for everyone or that you should do it. I’m saying that for ME, prozac quieted the storm and all those voices in my head which gave me time to breathe. I was only on it for a year and weaned off without a problem. Six months later, I still feel like I’m in control of my anxiety and I still have the joy I was able to find once that constant stream of negative thinking was silenced.

  4. I am not at ALL against meds for this type of issue, I just keep thinking, “It’s not that bad YET…” Hee. I know that, by definition, I’m not the best judge of that! HA! But for some reason, that’s what keeps me from seeking professional help. Also? Our insurance is not perfect in regards to mental health, so it’s a bullet in the budget I’m not quite ready to take yet. But man, not a day goes by when I don’t re-evaluate to see if…maybe TODAY…it sees like a good call to make. 🙂

  5. Seriously, this entire post could have come straight from my head last night. I even read Heather’s post and looked up Brenee Brown’s book on Amazon. Just like you I get inspired by things, like Brenee Brown’s TED Talk on Vulnerability but that inspiration barely lasts into the 5 mins. I wish I could figure out the secret to change. How do i do it? How do I follow through with it?

    Thanks for sharing this, at least I know I’m not alone 🙂

  6. Why are you inside my head?! I’m sitting here reading your blog at work because I’m so overwhelmed I don’t even know where to begin. I stared at the computer screen for five minutes before that. I’m do understand where you are coming from and would like things to change.

    As for medication…I’m on it, it helps a bit, but I still need to deal with my triggers. I’m thinking of going back to therapy, as I get release and coping mechanisms other than food or shutting down.

  7. Exactly! I’m sitting here thinking to myself, given how many times you’ve written about your anxieties, Kim, surely someone has suggested counseling already, but I don’t remember you (Kim) saying why you haven’t tried it (or why you’ve tried it but it’s not for you?). Surely you’re not against it, right? Most communities have facilities with sliding scale payments if the cost of counseling makes you recoil — but on the other hand, many insurance plans include it (albeit perhaps not an unlimited number of sessions).

  8. But wouldn’t you rather “nip it in the bud” while it’s (possibly) easily treatable with a few sessions, than wait until it’s a trip to the ER? There is no shame in getting help. Almost all of us need it at one point or another — and that’s OK!

  9. I had to comment to, at the very least, empathize. I SO HEAR YOU! My anxiety is more like yours than Heather’s… the less productive I am combined with the more I have to do, the more anxiety I experience and the more paralyzed I become. Then there’s that whole perfectionist thing and also basic fear that I am not safe in the world. Fun times! I saw a therapist for a while last year and it was really, really helpful. She told me it would take some time (years) to create a new mindset and live in that mindset full-time and she was right! I am far less anxious these days (I find being aware of my emotional state helps a ton… when the anxiety hits, I know it, and I have a plan I follow to handle it.), but I most certainly still have anxiety, oftentimes about totally dumb things. It’s definitely a process… I think the thing that helps the most is remembering two things: slow, deep breaths. And that the anxiety is a temporary state. That really helps when I have to make a decision and I’m crazy-anxious… I remember to breathe and do nothing… it always settles down to a point where I can make a non-crazy decision. But anyway, don’t beat yourself up over the bad days… they, too, are temporary. And you’re not alone!

  10. I was in that place for a long time. I’d create things to stress about if things were going smoothly. I saw my dad going through the same thing, and getting worse as he got older, and that’s when I took action. I talked to my general practitioner, because my insurance doesn’t cover mental healthcare. She prescribed a low dose of Prozac. I cannot praise it enough. I rarely stress eat anymore. I still feel my feelings, I haven’t turned into a robot, but life finally feels manageable. My GP also recommended Brene Brown. She’s been very helpful, as well.

  11. does his insurance (or employee care network, for lack of a better term) provide anything like “first 6 counseling/mental health visits for free”? i’ve worked at a few places now that each offer something similar, and it’s at least a good gauge to determine whether or not it’s something you want to pursue…without paying out all the $ to find out.

    xo

  12. I read the book a year ago. It is earth shattering. Embrace it and be prepared for big changes….starting with how much kinder you will be to yourself and how drastically that act alone will alter your Universe. I am SO excited for you. So much so that I am compelled to reread the book myself, having realized I’ve fallen back into some of my old ways as of late.

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