Archive | June, 2012

A Comprehensive and Ongoing List of Things That Give Me Panic Attacks

27 Jun

And when I say “comprehensive”, I mean “I’m discovering new, fun things every day!”

1. Large groups of people in an unfamiliar environment
Twice as bad if it’s hot. Three times as bad if there are kids screaming.

2. Noise
Maybe because I’m an only child that grew up in the country where the only noise was Kirby or the lawn mower, I find too much noise very, very overwhelming. Interestingly, I am perfectly content at the race track (without ear plugs. Sorry, Mom.)

3. Fireworks
They’re noisy. And they’re bright. And people make a lot of noise when they see them.

4. Being lost
I doubt there are many people who ENJOY being lost, but it sends me into a tailspin. I cannot carefully craft every minute of my day if I don’t know where I am.

5. The Phone
Yeah, I know. How much lamer does it get? The cell phone age has made this increasingly easier, but I still despise calling people on the phone. (Unless they’re friends or family, of course.) Especially panic inducing are lists of phone calls. Returning one message is no big deal, but put a list in front of me (even of team captains who KNOW ME), and I will require a handful of drugs to complete the task. Better yet… give the list to someone else, because if you leave it with me, 95% of the time it won’t get done.

6. Ferris Wheels
I got stuck at the top of one at a Hormel company picnic when I was aprox. 4 years old. It felt like days. I still have nightmares. (Ok, that last part was a lie. But thinking about riding one makes me wanna curl into a little ball and rock back and forth for a while.)

7. Driving in winter weather
Since the accident I had in high school, even the thought of driving in snow/ice gives me a headache. Wonder why I moved to south Texas?

…that’s all I can think of right now. But I’m pretty sure putting thought into this list will become a line item of its own.


Wise Words from the Keeper of the Crazy

27 Jun

So…. I have a tendency to be a little…. dramatic?

I like to think I can blame this almost entirely on anxiety.

Most of the time, my mood is very middle of the road. The medication makes your highs not as high, but your lows not as low (and when you’ve had those lows, you’ll willingly take this middle ground, because the alternative leaves you unable to function for stretches of time. And no one likes a friend/girlfriend/employee who can’t get herself out of bed and into the shower.)


Sometimes, the crazy breaks free. Usually, this is due to an outside source infiltrating my happy little world. This time? It was an evil antibiotic, bound and determined to ruin my good name. And coupled with the crazy? It damn near happened. (Note: This is a story about me taking an antibiotic, anti-anxiety medication, and drinking, all at the same time. Yes, I know that at 27, I should’ve known better. Yes, I know I shouldn’t drink on my anti-anxiety medication in the first place. No, that does not normally stop me. Usually, if I’m going to have a side-effect, it’s going to be “tired”, not BAT SHIT INSANE. Are you done with the lecture now?)

I found myself trying to wrangle the crazy and get her back into her cage this past weekend. It’s been a while since she’s come out to play, and truly? I DO NOT MISS HER WHEN SHE’S NOT AROUND. Most of the time, she makes an appearance when I’ve been drinking (my mother says this fancy trait comes from my father. Lucky me.) She also loves amber colored liquor (whiskey is her favorite). Cutting out the 7 & 7’s (gross, seriously, when was I ever so desperate to get drunk that I resorted to Seagrams 7?) and Crown Royal, and finally getting the medication right has done a pretty nice job of keeping the crazy penned up over the last three or so years.

I should’ve known better.

Apparently even my beloved Corona reacts badly with this certain antibiotic, and the crazy made her Houston debut.

After fireworks fueled near-meltdown (am I the only person who hates fireworks? They’re so loud and bright. And terrifying.), I found myself in a blacked out world of drunkenness. Which, had I done the appropriate research, I would’ve learned was a distinct possibility with the combination of fun things I take. Who knew? Not me! Or, unfortunately, the unsuspecting person sharing a hotel room with me/the crazy.

I didn’t break anything (I hope?), and no one got stabbed (I don’t think?) but I made a real fool of myself. Nice move, SS. I also remember 0.0% of the entire incident. For which I am truly grateful, because I think I would die of shame if I actually did remember it. It’s bad enough that it had to be witnessed by another human being.

This led to three (yes, three) days of incredible embarrassment, guilt (because I can feeling guilty about anything), and remorse.

And I STILL feel like a douche canoe!

I guess the moral of the story is… well. I’m not really sure there is a moral. Walk softly and carry a big stick? If you also have a crazy, remember to invest in an expensive padlock and throw the key into a really deep river?

No, the moral is… it happens to the best of us. We can’t time it – there is no scheduling your staff meeting around the crazy’s visit to town. Surround yourself with people who love you despite your crazy (even if your crazy makes them inclined to take a short vacation from you post visit – can you blame them?) Have someone on speed-dial who can understand you when you’re crying because you’re embarrassed that the crazy made an unwelcome stop at your fancy hotel and terrified that you ruined something important. Stock up on ice cream to placate yourself during your self-imposed exile.

And for God’s sake. Google your prescriptions before you take them.

Now, I have to go to Home Depot and buy a new padlock. Anyone know where I can find a deep river in this part of Texas?



You’ve been on my mind.

24 Jun

Sometimes, you just need a guy with a Texas twang to say what you feel and can’t say yourself. (Thanks, Randy Rogers, for being “that guy.”)

Randy Rogers Band – In My Arms Instead

Cause you, you’ve been on my mind
And I wish you were here
Beside me tonight lying in this bed
Cause I, I’m just not the same
I walk down these streets; I swear I hear your name
But it’s just in my head
I wish you were in my arms instead

Spring Cleaning

18 Jun

Yes, I know it’s June. Yes, I also know that I live in Texas and spring is about three days long. This isn’t about actually cleaning anything (please, I only clean on very rare occasions and even then only for very special guests).

The last few months of my life have been incredibly tumultuous. (Hey, now there’s a real grown-up word!) Without going into detail or casting blame, I’ve spent the last few months feeling like I was in a losing battle with someone I used to consider a very close friend. I felt like I had to hide a part of my life that was very important and means a lot to me, because this person would get angry if I revealed it.

That is not how you’re supposed to live your life. You’re supposed to be able to tell your friends stuff (especially when you’re mostly all kinds of happy and content) and not worry that they’re gonna get “mad” at you. You also shouldn’t have to worry about THEIR friends getting mad at you. Your real friends will be happy because you’re happy.

I would like to share with you one of my very favorite quotes. It’s really hit home over the last week, and I think it will make sense to a lot of you, as well.

“There comes a time in life when you have to let go of all the pointless drama and the people who create it. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh so hard you forget the bad, and focus solely on the good. After all, life is too short to be anything but happy.”

And I can honestly tell you… right now, I am incredibly, incredibly happy. No one and no situation is perfect, but right now I’m smiling more than frowning, and that has to count for something, right? I can’t tell you what’s going to happen tomorrow, or next week, or 5 years from now… but I do hope that I can always remember this feeling of happiness, if only to know that it does, indeed, exist for me.

The people who have been a sounding board and support system for me over the last few months mean the absolute world to me. They are my real friends. And ding dang – I am just so lucky to have them.


I’m having a tough day.

11 Jun

I’m having a tough day.

There isn’t really a “good” explanation, but I suspect that because my brain is an asshole, I am not allowed to have a really, really, super fun weekend and then ride that out into the work-week.

In addition to this (or possibly this is the actual reason), I have realized that for the last three days I have neglected to take my medication, which leaves me somewhat unable to cope with the outside world, and yet completely incapable of releasing emotion in any kind of constructive manner.

The thing about most anti-depressants is they bottle you up. Your highs aren’t quite so high, but by comparison, your lows aren’t quite so low. Unfortunately, what comes with this is an inability to let the feelings out (ie: by crying, carrying on, or being generally annoying in an impressive and totally girly kind of way), so you’re stuck with not really being able to FEEL the feelings, but also not really being able to purge them.

In times like this, I tend to withdraw inside myself. I want to talk to my friends (in fact I absolutely crave interaction with them) because I know it will make me feel better, but I also know that I will be unable to verbalize what I’m going through, annoying them and making me feel worse because I can’t explain it.

So I guess “I’m having a tough day” will have to do.

I’d Be A Great Santa

8 Jun

So, if you know me, you know that I plan fundraising events for a living (although most of you, including me sometimes, don’t really know what that means). If you don’t know me… I plan fundraising events for a living (a walk and a 5k). And now that we’re all on the same page:

I’ve come to the conclusion I would never be able to have a job where making lists, checking things off those lists, and creating spreadsheets, time tables, and site layouts were not the norm.

When it comes to anxiety, having a plan is a huge comfort. 98% of my job involves coming up with a strategic plan, following that plan, and preparing for anything that might go wrong. (But knowing that if you’ve prepared enough, the chances of anything going wrong are slim-to-none.) I like the security that comes with knowing what’s going on. I’m the kind of girl who updates her Outlook and iPhone calendars constantly, and might have a meltdown if for some reason they don’t sync.

Let me give you an example.

When I worked in Wisconsin, I managed four walks: Madison, Milwaukee, Green Bay, and Wausau. Three were within six weeks of each other. That’s a lot of spreadsheets. It’s not uncommon to go to sleep thinking about work (I used to tell my boss I could hear his voice while I drifted off), but I tend to dream about my events. This particular walk season, I managed to have a dream that the colors in my Excel spreadsheet did not match my shoes.

No, really.

And I had to spray paint my shoes to match the spreadsheet.

You can’t make this kind of shit up.

I think this might be an example of how I can sometimes take things to extremes, but it also illustrates just how detailed the plans need to be to provide comfort. (No, I did not actually spray paint my shoes. Obviously I would just change the color of the spreadsheet. I mean… I would never do something like that. That’s crazy. I certainly did not do this for the event last weekend. Shit. Excuse me, I have to update some spreadsheets before anyone sees them.)

Hey baby, what’s your sign?

7 Jun

This is my horoscope today (I’m an Aries, in case you were wondering, and if you know anything about astrology, that probably explains a lot):

You spend a lot of time worrying about how others view you. Instead of assuming the worst, try to see yourself through your lover’s eyes.

It’s understandable to be concerned about what others think, but you’ve also got to follow your heart and be true to yourself.

Focus on your assets and let your flaws fade to the background.

(Ok, fine – this is a combination of my “daily couples” and “daily singles” horoscope. I’m in that weird place where I don’t really know where I fall, and both were relevant, so I combined them. Feel free to send your complaints, and I’ll file them in my “It’s my blog and I don’t give a fuck” folder.)

Worrying about what people think is a common side effect of my anxiety. Because the flaws seem so magnified in my mind, OBVIOUSLY they’re glaringly apparent to the outside world. Regardless of how you feel about the whole horoscope thing (I like to read mine because it makes me take a second to stop and think, but I don’t normally put a ton of stock into them), sometimes it’s nice to know that you maybe aren’t the only one who feels the way you do. Kind of like when you read this blog, and you see how bat shit I am sometimes, and you either think… wow, I’m glad she hit every branch of the crazy tree on the way down instead of me, or – wow, I’m glad I’m not the only one who obviously was dropped on their head too many times as a baby.

I read something the other night that kind of struck me: When you compare yourself to other people and/or when you are feeling insecure, remember that you are comparing your behind the scenes with someone else’s highlight reel.

I hope I can remember this, and that it can calm me in times of anxiety. And maybe you, too?

PS: I apologize/you’re welcome for my prolonged absence from blogging. I’m back now, and I can totally tell how happy that makes you.