anxiety

I’ll Show You My Room If You Show Me Yours

A few things that blew my mind this week

I read a post on Jennie Saia’s blog last night that excited me. The Room Of My Heart, as inspired by her friend, which has inspired others to make their own. You basically envision and design the room of your heart, so you always have a stress-free, safe place to be whenever you need it. Here is mine, and I would LOVE if you created your own and told me about it.

 

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I’m Down, But Not Out

*the views expressed in the beginning of this post are not necessarily the views of the blog owner. In fact, the blog owner is a little pissed about it, but HAD to let this part be written. Or Else. Capeesh?

You ever have one of those days where you just wake up feeling like a failure…at everything?

Consistently exercising – FAIL
Being a good daughter – FAIL
Being a good enough Mom – FAIL
Being a good enough wife – FAIL
Being a good enough friend – FAIL
Being a writer – FAIL
Being a good blogger – FAIL
Flossing enough – FAIL (okay, I’m being funny here, but it’s TRUE)
CONSISTENT IN ANYTHING – FAIL
Actually, I’m pretty damn consistent in failing, which would be a win if it wasn’t FAILING.

I’ve got the blues.

FAIL

Thank you for your time, I’m done now.

*******

OKAY BETH IS BACK. Thanks for indulging Negative Nelly. She has to be let out from time to time. I mean, she’s part of me so I’m forced to acknowledge her feelings. Probably. Whatever.

BUT

I’m gonna to turn that frown upside down

Welcome to the:

*Scraping myself up off the floor edition of TToT*

I hurt my back again. I’m not sure what I did, but I’m grateful. This back pain reminds me that I’m not being active enough. My muscles are no longer strong. It’s been a wake up call.

This happened over the weekend to our kitchen floor:

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We’re assuming it’s foundation problems, although we won’t know anything for sure until we have it looked at by professionals. We were pretty freaked, but then reminded ourselves: Our kids are healthy, and we are still IN our home and have our keepsakes and possessions, unlike tornado or flood victims. If all we have to worry about is how this might inconvenience us or what it might cost us, we don’t have problems.

It’s been over a month since I quit my daily migraine medication. NO MIGRAINES!! Well, there was that one six days in, but I’m not even counting that. I can stay off my meds! YIPPEEE!

Veganism has taught me to love cooking again. In the past I was not inspired to cook. Handling raw meat grosses me out (well, there’s some meat handling I enjoy…wink, wink), not to mention that most meat-meals are not my favorite. But now I’m loving exploring new spices and new recipes. I find myself skimming cookbooks, dog-earing new ones to try, and sometimes even cooking just for fun and freezing it for another day!  WHAT? I know!

I’m thankful for a warm day amidst a cold winter. The better part of this past week was FAHreezing, but this weekend was really nice. I walked the dog today and let the sun warm my shoulders. It was sort of magical.

I’ve learned some things about myself recently, which is good, because if you don’t realize your flaws they continue to be flaws. I’m a perfectionist who gets discouraged very easily. I hold my own standards (no one else’s) impossibly high, and then crash with disappointment when I don’t meet them, inevitably giving up, or not trying to begin with. I have beliefs about myself that are wrong, and they continue to road-block me from success because I believe them. I am terrible about comparing myself to others in every aspect imaginable, and then beating myself up for not being good enough.

If you have a day/week/month where you are at the bottom of the bottom…you only have up to go. Failures are there to learn from and improve upon. Negative beliefs are there to disprove. Flaws are there to make us human, empathetic, and dynamic. Bad things make us appreciate the good.

I’m grateful even when I’m blue, because at least I’m here, feeling things. I have the luxury of getting back up, dusting myself off, learning from it, and moving on.

And plus, how can I be sad when Downtown Abby comes on tonight??? RIGHT!?

Things are looking up.

Ten Things of Thankful

Do you ever get the blues? Do you ever feel like a giant failure in life? Do you compare yourself to others to your own detriment? Please tell me this doesn’t just happen to me!

I Wish I Blogged When My Boobs Were Exploding

My first baby was born over nine years ago. I can’t quite believe I just wrote that. Seems like yesterday his tiny, squirmy body was placed in my arms and now he’s almost as tall as me. YOWZA! But aside from the happy memories of bringing a healthy baby home, and the absolute wonder of it all (I fucking did that? I made a human? ME?), you wanna know what I remember from that time?

fear-panic-isolation-anxiety-frustration-angst-depression-anger. all at once.

Why? Because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing and I didn’t have any other friends who’d been through it yet. Oh I had acquaintances, but not close friends. I had books that pretended to prepare me, but not buddies who’d been there. I had no advice, no one making me laugh through the trials of breast feeding, no one telling me to hang in there, it just gets worse the hard part’s almost over. You know what I was missing?

THE BLOGOSPHERE.

I’m new around here, but as I’m reading all these HILARIOUS, AMAZING mommy bloggers I can’t help but feel a little pang of resentment that I didn’t have this resource when I was leaking milk and sneeze-peeing my way through sleepless nights. I would have taken anyone – ANYTHING – if it just felt like solidarity. If it just made me laugh or feel like I wasn’t insane. More than normal, anyway.

I’m reading The Mother Of All Meltdowns right now and OH if I had only had this book then! It’s SO funny! No one asked me to review it, trust me, this is all on me, but reading it is partly what inspired this post so I had to give it its due mention. If you don’t have it yet – do yourself a favor. And then follow all the authors because their blogs are GENIUS.

Okay, so maybe I didn’t have the insight and wisdom of other mommies when I was post-partum, or having to PUMP ALL MY MILK CUZ HE HAD A SUCKING PROBLEM WHAT THE HELL, through the potty training years (which just happened like a week ago BECAUSE I HAVE BOYS AND THEY DON’T CARE IF THEY SIT IN THEIR OWN FECES ALL DAY), or the tantrums, or losing naptime, or….or…breathe Elizabeth, breathe.

I do have it now, though. And now it’s going to help me with my third baby: my novel. They say the Universe has a way of making all things even. I believe that, utterly and completely. The Yin and the Yang. Karma. All that stuff. Balance Baby. Yeah. Can you hear the drums? Can you smell the weed sage? Kumbafrickinya….sing it with me…..

 

How about you? Did/does the bloggy world give you support during challenging times? I LOVE your comments!

Do The Lambs Still Scream, Clarice?

I turned my novel into an editor on Friday.

I tried to find a photo that would convey shear terror and elation at the same time. Like a girl, mouth wide open with a scream, covered in blood, but also in a tutu, twirling and dancing.

Couldn’t find it.

On one hand, the tremendous work of revising and editing just to get it ready for this stage is finally OVER. I’m free now to catch up on what I had let go. Turns out the shit hits the fan around here without me. It took me ALL WEEKEND to catch up on Mount Laundry, the frat house my upstairs had become, dishes, bathrooms….UGH. And the house being up to par only frees me up for the endless list of other things I need to catch up on: that oil change, and those bills with their pesky due dates. But now I can tackle it; that’s the good news.

On the other hand, every time I remember there’s someone reading my novel I want to spit up a little. Yes, people have read it before, but they weren’t professionals, whose aim it is to find problems.

What if she hates it?

What if she tells me it’s shit?

What if it comes back so riddled in red marks I’ll never see my way out of it?

What if she doesn’t love my characters like I do?

will this excruciating fear ever end?

I wonder if authors always feel this way, or do you finally get to a point of confidence in your work? Does Stephen King write The End and think I just shit gold!

I try, I try to quell the scary thoughts and replace them with positive ones: What if she loves it? What if she has great suggestions I can’t wait to implement? What if everything’s going to be just fine did you ever consider that you masochistic nut-job?

Last night I was on the computer. My husband came in and – seeing the expression on my face – asked if I was looking at a murder scene.

Kinda. I was on a website about formatting your novel for ebook. *gulp* Seems really overwhelming. I had to take a few deep breaths and remember the words I’ve been telling myself during this whole journey — the same ones I told myself in an earlier post, Hold My Hand Until I Can Fake It , Please : I need to just take things in baby steps, and know that there are amazing, supportive communities of writers out there to help me through these processes.

I just need to reach out and ask for it. Breathe in, Breathe out.

children-holding-hands-26131189

Writers/Authors: Do you still die inside when others are editing your work? What is the best advice you could give me on self-pubbing? Or the best place you would send me for resources?

Anyone: To show you how much I appreciate you reading all the way to this point, I give you this. Don’t say I never gave you anything.

I Don't Like Mondays Blog Hop

Hold My Hand Until I Can Fake It, Please.

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There was a time in my not-so-long-ago past when I wept without shame on an airplane, terrified to the point that a stranger (bless her heart, I’m so grateful to her to this day!) held my hand across the aisle to comfort me until we began to descend and I calmed down. Was this a horrifically turbulent flight across the Atlantic? Hardly. It was 45 minutes from Austin to Dallas. No bumps. It might have been cloudy, which probably hurled me into the panic attack in the first place. And I was on Xanax, people.

I’ve come a long way. If that same woman saw me now, she would beam with pride. Hey, I’ve flown to Hawaii since then – sans Xanax! Yes, I was nervous, but I acted like I wasn’t. That’s the key. You just have to fake yourself out – tell yourself you are a pro. Put your head up and walk right in there like you’ve done it a million times. Eliminate any doubts that pop up immediately – SQAUSH! Because you don’t have doubts, you’re a PRO. Stewardess, can I have a pillow? Me sleepy – YAWN.

My point is, sometimes I require hand holding.

Which brings me to the now. I have a finished novel. For two years it’s been my WIP, and now WTF? I’ll tell you WTF. An OCEAN of information. An ocean in which I am a drop of water. The good news? I have found writers to be the most generous and supportive people on the planet, and I’m not just sayin’ that. I have connected with dozens of dynamic, talented, brave, amazing writers who are now my lighthouses. And they just keep comin’. I’m beyond grateful.

After two years of researching the subject, I’ve decided to self-publish. It’s A LOT of work (no matter which publishing route you take) but I’m determined to put the best possible product out there. I want it to be a labor of love, a collaborative effort with a team of people to help me with the stuff I can’t do (professionally edit, cover design, etc.) and I have a lot to learn along the way. But I have a plan…

BABY STEPS.

If I look at the big picture I’ll end up on the floor in the fetal position hyperventilating in a puddle of my own drool. So I’ll take one step at a time. Right now I’m revising and shopping editors. That’s IT. I’m not allowed to think about anything beyond that. I can read about the beyond all I want; I can flag links about formatting, or cover design, or whatever… but I can’t DO. I won’t dilute the quality of what I’m doing now with stress about the future.

I’m going to stick my head up and walk right into this process, baby step by baby step, and if I get confused or overwhelmed – and I will – I know I have an incredible community around me to light the way, or maybe even hold my hand for a little while.

What came first…

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I have anxiety. Or I should say I had it. Or, I have it but I’ve overcome a lot of it, and what I haven’t overcome, I’ve learned to deal with. Did that make any sense?

I’ve had it since I was little. I have distinct memories going back to the age of seven…but I never told a soul. I didn’t know what I had, didn’t even know it was something to tell someone. So I went through life and figured out my own little strategies to get through it (or avoid situations that triggered it altogether).

In my late twenties, I finally got a clue what I had been suffering with. It had a name. It was a thing. I couldn’t believe it. As I learned about anxiety, it explained so much about why I was the way I was. Puzzle pieces began to click. And I began to kick its ass. Don’t get me wrong, this was not a swift ass-beating. It took y-e-a-r-s.

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Lots of people have anxiety of all varieties. Some a lot worse than me, and I’m so thankful that I have come so far and conquered so much. I feel triumphant that I don’t have to medicate to fly anymore, or that I can slow a runaway heartbeat when my anxiety is triggered – and it does still get triggered. But, I’m in control and that’s an incredible feeling.

(case & point: It took me 3 days to publish this post. Turns out it’s quite a naked – not in a good way – feeling to reveal a vulnerability. But I’ve learned that the scariest things I face are almost always the most rewarding, so I grew a pair and did it.)

However, my struggles with anxiety are not entirely what this post is about. It’s about how it has helped me be a more effective writer. Yes, that’s right. My anxiety helps my writing.

How, you ask? It’s called imagination. Basically, part of anxiety is the “what ifs.” If you have anxiety you know exactly what I’m referring to. You worry about every bad thing that could happen in any given situation. But you don’t just worry about it; you picture it so vividly that your body reacts as if it’s actually happening. The bitch with anxiety is that you’re reacting to panic, fear…terror. Not pleasant feelings to be coursing through you with the intent and ferocity of a runaway train.

It’s a genuine physiological response to imagined stimuli. One that comes so naturally to me after all these years, I can do it at will. But not just with fear.

As a writer, if I want to convey the passion of a kiss; the terror of being chased by a killer; the thrill of being that killer on the chase; the fury of betrayal, or the heartbreak of loss…I put myself there. Really there. Enough to have the goosebumps. The tears. The pounding heart.

You might argue most good storytellers can do this. I would agree with you. So following that line of logic, maybe this is a gift inherent to writers, and perhaps my ability to make my mind think I’m in a situation – enough to feel it; taste it; smell it – is the reason for the anxiety. I don’t know. It’s the ole chicken and egg scenario. It doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that I found a silver lining in an otherwise shitty thing, and that’s awesome.

Did you find a silver lining in anxiety, or something else shitty?