Sooo….

Normally, under a heading like that one, you’d expect to see lots of pictures of things – quilt blocks, flimsy’s, scrapbooking pages, something. I have pictures…but none that I am going to post for the world to see right this minute. Why not, you ask? Well…since you’re so stinkin’ nosey…I’ll tell you the honest truth:

Everything I’ve started this week has stunk, big time.

There are rainbow string blocks (sort of based on inspired by this tutorial and this awesome tutorial.) There are actually two versions of rainbow string blocks, one of which is a quilt as you go method which I was l o v i n g until I realized that three layers of flannel would smother anyone crazy cold enough to get under it. And the other version, which I just started last night, just looks…wrong, somehow. The too-flannel blocks all went together so well and looked exactly right. These new sets of blocks don’t have the same easy going nature, and they are really frustrating me.

In that second link up there, you’ll notice that instead of using a rainbow theme, she’s using a dark/light theme which looks incredible. So today I dumped out all of my scraps (which had been sorted according to color, for ease of sewing rainbow blocks, of course) and divided them into two piles: one light, one dark. A good blogger would have taken a picture of that, but since I was surrounded by a mother, a nine year old, a sister, a brother in law, a really loud tv and a stress headache, the camera was the last thing on my mind. After an hour of sorting I laid out some dark and light blocks to see if I’d like it, and guess what? I loathed and despised every inch. How that is possible, when someone else’s looked so good, is beyond me, but that’s the truth.

I did manage to cut out over 50 ten inch blocks to use as foundation pieces for whichever quilt I eventually decide to make, but now I’m wondering if that was a waste of time as well. Not only are my ideas turning into mud, but the fabric that I have tested seems to bunch and curl and basically misbehave at every opportunity, so it may not even be worth using!

The other main area of life I’m working on, besides sewing, is my fitness. I’ve gained and lost the same eleven pounds in the last two months and am seriously sick of it. I feel like I’ve set myself into this pattern of eating perfectly for three or four days, then totally sabotaging any healthy standards for the rest of the week. Why I’m doing this to myself, I honestly don’t know. I’d say it’s just plain laziness but it doesn’t feel like that – I spent three hours cooking and packaging good food the day before yesterday, only to find myself succumbing to peer pressure and having ice cream sundaes for dessert with the family. I don’t even like ice cream! The Greek yogurt was right there…and I just grabbed the thing closest to me, the ice cream. Why?

I have not worked out – no cardio, no weights – since Tuesday morning. I know the why to this one, but I don’t know how to fix it right away. I had a horrible panic attack/high anxiety moment (that lasted an hour and half) Tuesday morning while lifting. It was a really bad one; I ended up throwing up, spending the next two hours shivering in bed, and basically being miserable and scared to death for the next two days. So now I am afraid to get my heart rate up at all. And the weights are smirking at me and asking to be thrown outside. I have an unreasonable fear, which I have had before; I overcame it before by setting a goal of working out a few minutes at a time, every day, until I wasn’t afraid to sweat and feel my heart beat happily. This time around it’s not working that way. I have a mental block in the way, and don’t know how to get it to start inching over…so I am trying not to obsess, because that doesn’t help at all.

BUT I am all done whining about my week. Tomorrow is Friday, I am taking the kiddo bathing suit shopping and getting to see my parents and my Brookie B, so nothing can stink too bad on Fridays!

What about you guys? What are you working on? What’s frustrating you? What are your Fridays like?

Advertisements

Do you ever have

Do you ever have one of those days when you wake up wrong and the day just gets more and more wrong from there? I mean, down to where even the easiest things to do right – like take a shower or throw a load of laundry in or decide what to have for dinner – end up feeling like they will turn out as wrong as everything else has so far, so you get to the point where you don’t want to do anything at all!

I don’t mean the same kind of ‘don’t want to’ as when you’re depressed or just emotionally swamped. I’m not even talking about the kind of frozen in fear ‘don’t want to’ that high anxiety or panic attacks can cause. I just mean, really, truly lacking in motivation and yet so stuffed with frustration that everything just feels wrong.

Full of cactus spines,

dripping with dangerous venom,
null

poke you til you bleed,
null

wrong.

Do you have those days?

Please say you do…because I am having one right now and don’t want to feel all alone over here in Wrongville.

So, you may be thinking, what could possibly have driven me to this amount of wrongness?

Well.

I’m pretty sure my dog’s dying.

I need to work out but am fighting a migraine and every single time I move my head splinters a little more. Not very fun.

I can’t sew or craft to save my life, which, considering how many years I’ve spent doing this stuff, it really does save my life and sanity. So it stinks to be so miserably cut off from it.

But the main thing that’s so wrong is that we have a huge thing to go to tonight with thousands of people and I really, really am dreading it. I know. They are just people, they’re all nice, it will be great once I’m there…I can hear it all, have heard it all, don’t really want to hear it again. I am allowing myself to be a little overwhelmed and I’m fine with it. I’m still going, I’m just dreading it a little.

So that’s my day right now.

How wrong is yours?

A word about fitness and my life

I don’t know if I have mentioned it here on this blog or not (I believe I have) but recently I have been working at changing some bad lifestyle habits and adding in good ones. I am using the word ‘lifestyle’ here because these are life-long habits I’ve been in, and more importantly, life-long ones that I am developing…it’s a lot more all-encompassing than the word ‘diet’.

First off, I’d like to say that I am under close doctor supervision, before anyone emails me to say I should be. I really am. I am seen every three months (or more often, judging on how the appointment went) and can get in to talk to my doctor whenever I need to (I am Native American and have great insurance benefits as a result of that.) I have a general practitioner I fully trust, a psychiatrist who has been supervising my treatment for nearly seven years, and an LCSW who is a great help to me and works hand in hand with my other doctors. I know this is a long introduction, but the point is, I do not recommend that anyone tackle the things I am about to discuss on their own – doctor supervision is important, and please seek professional advice, don’t just blindly trust what you read online as the definitive answer to any of your problems!

Whew, now that that is over, let’s get to the good stuff!

First of all, I weigh 179 lbs. Yes, I am brave enough to post that here, because I know that not very many people read this blog! (Also, I generally have no secrets and tell complete strangers whatever they want to know about me, in general terms anyway. It’s just how I am. Personality flaw.) Anyway, up until October 4th, I weighed 190. I have spent the past few weeks working hard, and have lost some weight as a result of that. More importantly, my clothes are fitting me better than ever – I even had to go buy smaller pants – and, most importantly, I can now walk 5 miles in 30 minutes, and my heart feels stronger and healthier.

That is the main reason I have started on this lifestyle change journey – to be healthy. I don’t want to be stick thin, I don’t want to be a skeleton, I just want to be fit and able to feel good about my fitness levels. My goal is to be as healthy as possible by February, 2011, as that is my next set appointment with my doctor to go over my cholesterol levels, and I want to see vast improvements in that area as well as my weight. Ideally, I’d love to get down to 130 or so, but again, I am not getting wrapped up in the importance of numbers. I’ll tell you why.

When I was a kid, I got picked on a lot for being too skinny. Most of the time I was the skinniest girl in my grade. It wasn’t until I got to junior high and started developing certain girly curves that I finally felt like I belonged, that I was no longer just the string bean with crazy hair. I finally looked normal, average, and that made me happy.

In high school I weighed about 120 at the most, even with a sizable chest. I never felt fat, but I never felt fit and toned, either. I remember complaining about how I could barely walk a mile without getting winded. My arms felt flabby and my stomach was never the firm, rippled surface that it could have been. Still, my overall body was fine, so I never put any effort into working out.

Also, in high school I realized I had a definite eating issue. Eating was certainly an area where I had a lot of obsessions and ignorance. There was no such thing as breakfast in our house; we’d have juice at school at the mid morning break if we had money and time. We qualified for free cafeteria lunches, but since eating in the cafeteria was for losers, I would often skip lunch as well as breakfast. It wasn’t until school let out and I was back home that I’d actually eat. I’d usually have sugared tea and a sandwich, and then not be hungry for dinner, which was usually a very unappetizing event anyway. I spent a lot of time purposely ignoring the fact that I was hungry and not eating enough.

As an adult, I gained a little more weight under my mother in law’s cooking habits. I weighed about 140 when I got married, and six months later we were overjoyed to find out I was pregnant. At this point in life, I’d been lifting weights here and there and running occasionally, but never seriously attempted to get in shape. I thought I was fine. Well, it turns out, pregnancy changed my life, and not in the way you’d think.

The day I found out I was pregnant, I weighed 150 pounds. Six weeks later I was hospitalized in a nearly comatose state. The treating physician was shocked when she put me on the scale – the number read 117. Four days later, it read 106, and before things got better, I was down to 98 pounds. I had a rare pregnancy disease called HG (another post on that coming someday) and it basically meant that I threw up about 6 times an hour, every hour, around the clock. I got grooves in the back of my front teeth from throwing up so often. It was horrific. A close guesstimate of how many times each day I was sick would be around 144 times. There was no relief, nothing helped, not even the newest medicines on the market. They put me on a PIC line IV and sent me home. Eventually, the HG disappeared and left me a wrung out, twisted up, pregnant rag doll. It wasn’t attractive, as you can see:

5 months pregnant

That’s me (a terrible quality scan of me, sorry for that) at just over 5 months pregnant. I only gained about fifteen pounds more than this the entire time I was pregnant. I never really even looked pregnant. It’s really sad to think about, especially since I was told I could never have more children because the chances were that the disease would be even more destructive than it had been the first time.

The disease had eaten through all of my fat stores and attacked my muscles. I suffered permanent kidney and liver damage, which have caused no serious complications in later life, which I am thankful for. To top it all off, I never really recovered fully before giving birth two and a half months early to a perfectly healthy little girl who weighed 5.4 lbs and was absolutely wonderful.

Now I was in a totally new situation – I was kind of like an invalid who’s suddenly been told she’s completely healthy now, and has a baby to take care of as well. I didn’t know how to develop healthy habits at this point in life, and even if I’d thought of it, this was before I met my doctors and had the support system I now have. I literally had no where to turn and no idea of what to look for in any case. I managed to get back on my feet a little at a time, but never took the time to work on getting a healthy body. It was survival, and that was all I could manage.

About a year after my daughter was born I was diagnosed with PTSD from the difficult pregnancy and traumatic birth, and entered treatment. At the time, there was so much to treat mentally and emotionally that there was no time or energy left over for me to concentrate on the physical side of things. Also, I didn’t really feel that I was in any physical danger anymore, so I didn’t see a need to work on that area.

Over the next few years there were a lot of battles in my life. PTSD was the tip of the iceberg as far as diagnosis go. Add to it General Anxiety Disorder, Acute Panic Disorder, OCD, Agoraphobia, and EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified) and you will have my full list of disorders. EDNOS is the most recent of them and the one I am currently trying to understand, as it effects my daily eating habits and seems to contribute the most to the problems I am dealing with now.

Along the way, I tried a few different medicines to help counteract some of these chemical disturbances my brain was going through. One of them, Paxil CR, worked for a while, even helped me quit smoking and stop having the constant panic attacks. But I’d find myself waking up in the middle of the night to eat because I was starving. Suddenly I was eating three and four and even five times a day, which was totally foreign to my life at all, and for once, I wasn’t even trying to eat things that were good for me. I’d have pizza and ice cream for breakfast and a cheeseburger for lunch! It was a ridiculous way to cope with the emotional stress I was under, and the medicine didn’t help. Eventually, I switched prescriptions, but not before gaining over 60 pounds in a year.

For another two years I was so consumed with chronic anxiety issues that my physical health went unnoticed. In the back of my mind I knew I had a problem that was getting bigger by the day, literally, but it was easier to ignore it rather than try to fight it and fail. I was sick and tired of being a failure at life, and didn’t want to add one more thing to the list of things I’d never be able to accomplish. I came up with dozens of reasons why I was suddenly fat, and equally as many reasons as to why I couldn’t change that or help it.

Fast forward to September’s doctor appointment. Up until then I’d managed to laugh off my weight gain. However, seeing 190 pounds on the scale made me literally sick to my stomach. And hearing my doctor’s concern over my cholesterol levels and lack of exercise finally made me realize I couldn’t hide any longer. There was no longer any other disease, disorder or abnormality to fight against; the biggest problem, finally, was actually with my own body, not just my brain.

So now I am a recovering hide and seek player who really needs to get stuff together in a hurry. And I need to do so without becoming compulsively obsessed or mentally unbalanced. So you can see why numbers are not the focus of my objective – I have been on both ends of the spectrum, from far too skinny to far too heavy, and I have realized that for me, and for the way I operate, worrying about the scale isn’t going to be a motivator. I find myself weighing in three separate times a day and if I’ve gained a half a pound, I panic; if I’ve lost half a pound, I also lose my appetite, as I don’t want to eat too much and send the scale rising again.

The other side of this coin is that the EDNOS is something I am trying to ignore, but it’s slow going. I can’t help thinking along the anorexic lines – “If I don’t eat anything I won’t get fat” – which ultimatley leads to the bulemic thought process – “I have to eat now, I am so starving, and everything looks so great, so I’ll overeat and worry about it later”. It is very hard to develop a balanced view of eating when you aren’t sure what the view should be! We are constantly told to eat less to lose weight, but in my case, I need to actually eat more (or, more correctly, make healthier choices and eat more often) to lose weight, and that is something I can’t wrap my head around.

So, for the past twenty days, I have been concentrating instead on making working out a daily habit. I do around 40 minutes of cardio every day. Then I do strength training for about 20 minutes, and if I have any strength left after that, I like to do a few yoga moves. It’s a lot of time to commit, but I keep thinking that this is supposed to be for life, and at the rate I am going, I won’t have much of a life to speak of. So it’s worth devoting the time to my future, now!

It’s only been twenty days but I feel so much stronger and healthier. I am learning to love being sweaty and out of breath; it is so nice to get sweaty and breathless on purpose rather than out of a panic attack. It’s an empowering feeling of control that is better than anything I’ve dealt with lately.

I still have a lot of work to do, a lot of steps to make, but to make this one feels wonderful!

I am not so good

at managing blogs when I am busy trying to manage my life! I have been accomplishing great things around here but haven’t had time to post. Yesterday I stayed home all by myself while DH and DD went to the grocery store. It was a first for me in over a year. I didn’t do anything productive while they were gone, but I did manage to stay here and not have a melt down, so that felt good.

I am still working (futilely) at getting to bed and getting up at a decent hour. I am now fully convinced that staying up too late and sleeping in too long adds to my depression in giant chunks. The trick is going to be figuring out a way to overcome this crazy sleeping pattern. So far I have been doing a little better than before – bedtime has been 2 AM rather than 6 AM – but my ultimate goal is to be in bed at 10 and up at 7. It’s a work in progress, but I am not giving up, which is the important thing, right?

I have also been keeping a journal, for the first time in a really long time. I am always afraid of making my notebooks and diaries ugly, so most of the time I don’t use them for journal writing but rather for note taking, messages, to do lists, stuff like that. I realized I needed a journal, though, so I racked my brain for something that would work and came up with…

a Steno pad.

With a big marker, I wrote the date at the left hand top of the page. Then I flipped the page and wrote the next day’s date at the top of that page, and kept going clear through the month, one page for each day. At the end of the month, I wrote, “December Notes” across the top of the blank page after December 31, and then started January on the very next page. On the right side of the page, I wrote ‘Anxiety’ in the same marker. I wanted every page to have this organized looking header to make it easy on my eyes, as well as easy to fill in. Make sense? Okay.

The left side is devoted to jotting down the events of the day, in however many details and thoughts as I feel like recording. A typical daily entry will usually include the time I went to bed the night before and the time I got up, where I went that day, whatever house keeping I accomplished, how DD and DH are doing, etc. It’s not really so much about how I was feeling that day as it is a short list of everything that happened.

Under the Anxiety heading, I keep track of any anxiety and depression symptoms I’m having. For instance, under yesterday’s Anxiety column, I wrote, “having lots of chest pains and stress headaches, need to work out but don’t have the energy but I know it would help combat these physical symptoms.” I keep most of the focus of this column on my symptoms and thoughts about anxiety/depression so that I can easily refer to them and look over the last month and see my ups and downs.

At the bottom of the page, on the right side normally, I have also been writing down 5 things I am grateful for that day.

Then, at the back of the Steno pad, on the inside cover, I taped my period chart (which you can find in the post below this) so that I don’t lose it. On the front inside cover I taped a few affirmations and pointers about anxiety and life in general, just to have the reminders at hand and close by.

After all this organizing and preparing, you’d think I’d be faithfully devoted to this journal, but it’s actually been a rather freeing thing – I don’t feel guilty about missing a day or forgetting a section. I haven’t been able to write in this every single day, but the thing about this is, it’s easy to go back and fill in the days I missed. I can ask DH, “what did we do yesterday again?” and go back and fill it in under that date and not feel guilty. On those days I don’t always get to the gratitude list but I am usually able to remember any anxiety experiences I had based on the days events.

Despite missing days and having to go back and write it down later, I am proud to announce that I have written something for each day since December 13th. I am seriously proud of that as it’s the first thing I have been successful at yet this year! lol.

I would love to take a picture of my journal and post it here for you, but my digital camera died a quick but nasty death that’s left me feeling heartbroken and lost. And my scanner/printer is being stubborn so you are out of luck atm. I hope this description makes sense and also explains why I haven’t been using this blog as often as I have in the past. It’s not my daily/weekly journal anymore, but it is still my favorite place online.

Hope you are doing well and enjoying 2010 so far!

Anxiety and Confrontations

Today I was able to overcome some of my lingering fears about public places and went to meet with my friends. It ended up being a great success, but I was slapped in the head with the realization that I’ve had a lot of baggage where my friends are concerned and that there were things that I needed to get off my chest. I met one on one with my closest friend and was able to heal some old wounds and make some progress towards new depths in the relationship. Several times during the three hour long conversation, I was on the verge of leaving, not out of anger or sadness but out of a desire to escape having to deal with it. I would rather walk away than deal with real emotions. It wasn’t until I found myself actually crying that I realized how far I will go to avoid dealing with confrontations of any sort.

People with anxiety tend to be out of touch with our emotions. We allow ourselves to feel just a few things – fear, sadness, and anger tend to be the three most comfortable emotions we deal with. Yes, I just said that fear is comfortable; how, you ask, can I possibly think such a stupid thing? Well, the truth is, we are used to feeling fear. It becomes such a constant in our lives that we look for it even before we actually feel it. It is familiar. We are comfortable with the familiar in at least some ways, so that’s why I say it becomes comfortable to us to a certain degree.

As difficult as it was for me to sit and stay through the meeting and work things out, the rewards have already been more than enough. For the first time in six months I feel like I can have a clear conscience and move on. Isn’t that a good enough reward for facing a fear of confrontation?

I, like others with this issue of anxiety, tend to bury my feelings because it’s easier than dealing with them. In the end, however, this is a completely absurd way of reacting or acting; we tend to become swamped all of a sudden with a rush of feelings and issues that we have no idea what to do with or even where they came from, because we are simply overloaded with feelings. This can happen at any time -out of the blue, or when one more thing happens, the straw that breaks the camels back. The saddest part – at least, to me – is that at the time I am busy burying, I don’t even realize what I am feeling! That makes it really hard to examine the situation that caused the distress.

For some reason i can’t quite figure out how to say what I am trying to say, the words aren’t coming out the way I want them to, so I think I’m going to wrap this up for now and maybe add/edit later.

But the main thought I want to leave you with is this: Don’t be afraid of your feelings. Don’t be afraid of the confrontation. You don’t have to lose your mind in a temper tantrum to get your feelings out and expressed. Be assertive, without being overly aggressive, and see where it gets you. The rewards are worth the effort, I promise!

Anxiety and goal setting


This subject has been on my mind a lot recently. With my desire to set a personal manifesto, a life plan, in order, I have been wondering what my goals are, where my dreams went, what I should set as milestones of success along the path. I remembered a discussion about this in my favorite anxiety related book, one I’ve talked about a few times now, From Panic to Power by Lucinda Bassett. It begins on page 168, under the subtitle “Know Your Dreams.”

“For many people challenged by anxiety, achievement simply means being independent and panic-free, being able to control their racing thoughts. No matter how you define success and achievement, you must be clear about what it means to you and what your goals are…the ability to define your goals and desires will help to alleviate your anxiety…

Lucinda follows this introduction up with several bullet points about goal setting.
*Begin to dream again.
*Be specific.
*Give yourself a time line.
*Make a plan of action.
*Take action.

This really didn’t help me all that much. If I knew what my dreams and goals were, of course this would be a great road map to success; but not knowing what I really want out of life was just ending me up in the same mental circle again and again. I kept reading.

A few pages later, on page 183, she introduces us to an exercise to help us know and define goals. The first thing she says is, “Stop ‘shoulding’ on yourself.” It’s time to make a list of all the shoulds in our life, both the ones we say and the ones we think others are saying. For example:
I should be a better mother.
I should be a better writer.
I should be a better housekeeper.
I should be able to control my emotions better.
I should be able to do this without my antidepressants.

You get the idea.

From there, you are supposed to take those ‘should’ sentences and change the wording in them to make them into goals, with the thought process working something like this: “The challenging thing about being a better mother is that it means I need to take time away from other areas in my life to devote more time to my children. I can do this by eliminating A,B and C, and while this will be challenging because it is hard for me to say no or make changes, I know I can do it with the goal of being a better parent in view.”

Now, keep this information in mind and follow my jumping train of thought here. Bear with me, it’ll all come together in a second.

It’s time to introduce another one of my favorite sites. Tip Junkie has great information, wonderful links, and lots of inspiring ideas. A reoccurring feature on the site is the Personal Assistant tips.

December’s PA entry is all about planning and organizing our schedules. At first, I thought, this is something I won’t even attempt, so why bother reading it. But then, I scrolled down the page and came across this paragraph: Let’s start the month off right and make a list of the things that are causing you added stress. Make a list of the big ones as well as the little ones. Is something in the house that’s broken, is there an insurance issue you need to take care of, do you need an extra trash can upstairs to help keep things tidy?

Once you’ve thought it out and made your list, next plan a day this week as your “ongoing problem day” and finally resolve those issues that need to be resolved. You’ll be glad that you did!

Even as I read that, I had at least three stressful things that belonged on this list dancing through my head. I thought about getting a piece of paper and writing them down, but at the time it seemed like too much of a chore. As I went about my day, however, I kept coming back to the subject of stressors and then goal setting seemed to settle in on top of it, and a light bulb went off!

If I write down the things that bother me in my day to day life, a pattern should become obvious fairly quickly, and then I will have a ready made list of goals!

For instance:

Things that are stressing me that I can change:
My garage is a disaster.
My room is too full of clutter.
I need to clean out my closets and drawers.
We need a better home school routine.

This list could easily turn into…

Goals for the month of December:
Clean out and organize garage.
Edit book shelves in my room.
Clean out one dresser drawer daily.
Set aside two hours each day to do math, reading and one other subject in school, forty-five minutes in two subjects, half an hour in another.

And then (just stay with me, it’s almost over, I promise) this list could evolve into a master list of goals to help me stay on top of things.

Master List
Four hours of schooling each day
Two loads of laundry a day to keep bedrooms clean
Sort through closets every summer

You get the gist. It’s really just a matter of breaking down impossibly huge tasks into managable bits, but for me, the important thing is that setting these goals and working towards them should help with my anxiety, and it can with yours too. The trick is to not get too caught up in the minor details and just think about the things that really bug us. We can always change our lists, but until we start paying attention to the things that bother us and figure out how to be comfortable in our daily lives, our anxiety will always be a threat in the background of our existence. We don’t have to be afraid it will jump out and scare us silly every time we turn a corner; we can be proactive and look for the triggers to stop them ahead of time.

Let’s have some whining, shall we?

Today is all gloomy and almost rainy outside and it is gray and unfriendly. I really wish I could stay at home in my flannel pj’s under a quilt and watch movies all day long, but that’s not going to happen. I didn’t go outside even once yesterday, not even to the store or to check the mail, so I am forcing myself to go places today. I am sure I will feel more energetic about it when I am up and around, right?

I do have some new thoughts on goals that I figured I’d post here. I’m still working my life plan but I’ve narrowed down a few things I want to work on.

1 – post more pictures to this blog. One thing I’ve noticed through my daily trolling on my favorite blogs is that there is lots of pictures and new content. Also, I need to start tagging things better. It’s become as messy around here as it is in my house!

2 – speaking of my house, I am determined to get rid of stuff. Every room has at least one or two things that can go down the road without anyone noticing too much. It’s time to get to work.

3 – I am giving up some of my hidden habits to make room for spiritual things. I am sadly lacking in self discipline and would much rather spend time on recreational stuff than on my bible reading, but it’s time to get it together. I realized last night that I’m a lot happier when I’m more focused, so that’s what I’m going to do!

4 – the last thing I’ve made a firm decision about is that I really need to work out every day. I have been avoiding this because of my anxiety. It scares me to feel my heart beating too fast and to be sweaty and breathing hard, but it also scares me to think of the damage I am doing to my body by NOT getting enough exercise. I think I’m going to start with lifting weights.

That’s about it for today’s post. I realize I’m not being quite as cheerful and upbeat as I could be, but the truth is, I am operating off three hours of sleep and I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed with life in general, so at least I’m not crying, right?

Off to lunch and the store, bbl…

Today

was a fail in many ways. I slept a total of three hours last night so I was NOT good company this morning. We went to Wal Mart and somehow spent $100 after we just spent twice that last night, and then we WONDER where all our money goes! lol.

I didn’t work on my quilt, I didn’t do house work (beyond the dishes, making my bed and clearing the table off a few times and doing laundry, but that’s cause I have to do those things every day), and I spent an unholy amount of time playing the Wii.

On the flip side, today was a success in many ways. I took a nap in the afternoon, and that in and of itself is a total rarity these days. I am back to the land of no sleep, in case I haven’t mentioned that here yet. Nightmares and chest pains and extreme insomnia do not add up to a good night’s rest. I’m in the stages now where I stay up all night until I just can’t hold my eyes open anymore, and even then I can’t really sleep. So to be able to lay down and take a long nap is a total gift.

I also worked on my altered book journal for about an hour tonight. I haven’t posted pics of it, but it’s a fun project and it helps me work through what I’m feeling and thinking. It helps to have to slow down and put things into words. Maybe I’ll be able to post some pics here soon. I am back to using Keri Smith’s 100 ideas for prompts and ideas. I’d forgotten I’d pasted it in my journal until tonight, so it was a happy surprise.

And finally, I was able to make a little progress on my life plan/map. It’s a really visual thing so far. I used to know someone, well a few someones, who keep these perfectly neat and organized lists and everything is easy to read and aligned and orderly. I am not one of those people and personally, I don’t see how those rigid lists do any good any way. I need messiness and creativity and room to move around without lines fencing me in, and that’s what my life map looks like right now. I’m having a good time with it. Do a google search on Life Map, some of the links are amazingly inspirational.

That’s it for tonight folks, I am off to toss and turn and cry and sweat and mourn…and eventually, I may even sleep! lol.

Significance Journaling For Anxiety

In my quest to have a fulfilling life, I usually find myself crafting in one way or another. I sew, I quilt, I write, I make things. A project that’s been hovering around the edges of my brain lately is making a recycled journal to write in daily. I was thinking about using a lot of unlined paper and a lot of white space to make the journal; I’ve found that it’s easier for me to take notes on totally blank paper then it is to use lined paper (I’m not sure why, this is just a personal preference. I’m not trying to dog lined paper by any means, lol.) It seems more freeing and less restrictive, and I like to doodle all over so it looks a little better without those blue lines behind everything.

Anyway, I was on youtube this morning looking at different ways to make journals, different book binding techniques, etc. I came across this video about Significance Journaling that really sparked my interest. It’s something I’ve never heard of before, but it instantly made sense.

The gist of it is that every day, you write down something significant that you accomplished during that day. It doesn’t have to be a world changing event. But it’s also not just a regular diary entry where you gripe about how much work you had to do and how the day made you feel. It’s just a simple list of important things that you did that day that you want to remember.

How does this tie in with anxiety?

All too often, those of us who suffer with anxiety beat ourselves up one side and down the other about all the ways we’ve failed in the past, are failing right now, and will fail in the future. We are never good enough for ourselves. Nothing we do is valuable, because we are so busy worrying about what we used to do wrong, are doing wrong, or may do wrong in the future, that our present moment loses any value that it deserves.

Forcing yourself to step back and look at your day from an outsider’s point of view and search for the important task(s) you accomplished will change your point of view about yourself.

It’s another twist on the whole idea of talking positively to yourself and being your own best friend. And when you take the time to sit and think about it, then write it out, then reread it later, you are being kind and loving to yourself.

In my journal (which I will be making today at some point if all goes as plans) I intend to have a Significant Accomplishment section, a Gratitude section and a diary section. I think it will help me to be more organized with my thoughts and more aware of what I’m feeling, which can only make life better, right?

Here’s an example of what my entry for today will look like:

Gratitude Journal – I am so grateful for the sunshine outside my window! After a week of rain, it is refreshing to see the blue sky and hear the birds. My garden has even begun to grow again, so I am grateful for the fresh rain as well. Also, I am grateful that my sisters trust me with their babies. Baby laughs are contagious. They make me smile.

Significance Journal – Today I hugged my daughter and told her I loved her when she crawled out of bed. This is significant to me because it never happened during my childhood. I am being the kind of mom I want to be.

So, what about you? What are you grateful for today? What Significant things did you accomplish today?

Something that helps me

Something that helps me deal with anxiety is crocheting. In the last two days I’ve made three dish clothes and learned two new stitches. (There would be pictures if I wasn’t tired tonight. Maybe I’ll edit this and add them over the next few days.) I’ve found that repitive motions, like using a crochet hook and yarn over and over, really relaxes my head and helps me sort things out. It seems to bring an inner calm.

What works for you when you are stressed?

Oh, and a quick PS – a LOT of people recommend working out to deal with things. I fully intend to implement that technique in the future. Right now, anything I do that raises my heart rate too much has been really scaring me, triggering the I’m having a heart attack train and effectively destroying any benefits from the work out itself. I have been doing yoga poses and slowly working my way back up to a full work out over the last week.

So comment and tell me what helps you so we can all try it!