Posted in Calming the Voices, Word Therapy

Anxiety, Panic, and Pessimism: Take A Seat

Back at home.  A house, while smaller, has character and a tranquil backyard (my kids are so tired of hearing about the character of Fullerton houses but I am in serious architectural hog heaven).  There are so many places we want to visit in the OC that I have to keep reminding myself that those places aren’t going anywhere and neither are we.  And for the first time in I don’t know how long, I’m not stressed about bills.  That is when the voices start to close in and try to sabotage my brain.

I have had a good life.  I grew up in a nice home, have loving parents, and was never really told no.  In adulthood I met the love of my life and we have two great kids.  But I also grew up feeling less than, was bullied relentlessly, and never felt pretty.  My husband and I have survived hard times but they have left their mark.  They put me in the lowest place I have ever been.  Those times made me stronger, weaker, and made me appreciate what I have.  But it also introduced me to my greatest fear: a feeling I never want to revisit.

These days I am the manager of our household, making sure everybody is taken care of and is getting what they need from their life.  That ranges from making sure hubby is getting the time to study calculus after work, to the kids having an after school activity to work out their energy, to Oscar getting his daily walks to stretch his old legs.  I exercise, write, clean, and read.  I of course always want more time to write but how can I complain?  I know how lucky I am.

Then I start to hear, “This can’t last.  Happiness doesn’t stay.  The happier you get, the harder you will have to fall.  Before Prozac those thoughts would make me believe I was alone in this feeling.  I now know that isn’t true.  But Prozac hasn’t chased away the “happiness is fleeting” thoughts.

I’ve never considered trying to calm or manage those destructive thoughts before.  Being rational wasn’t an option and all I did was let the panic take over.  I know I can only control so much and the rest is life telling me who is in charge.  Deep breaths, being responsible, and continuing to work hard is my new way of combating the negativity.  And try not to be so hard on myself because I have recently learned a lesson: Being nice to myself is not only good for me, it is also good for the ones I love.  Such a hard lesson to learn and continue to believe.  I feel like I have to train my brain like writing it on a chalkboard over and over again.

Posted in Calming the Voices

The Arizona Effect

With anxiety and depression, stability is something I crave. A routine, bills paid on time/in advance, and a job that provides. I don’t need to be a millionaire or have expensive things. But in the past eight years, life has made sure that stability has alluded us. Some of it has been due to our choices and the rest is just life giving us a kick in the ass to build character.

Four months after my youngest was born, my family was living in one room in my sister’s house. The job situation was dire. A month after that we were renting two rooms in a friend’s house in Arizona. For the next 10 months we endured jobs coming and going. Money was tight to the point where I lost weight because I wasn’t eating to save money; all while nursing an infant (not one of my brighter moments). We finally made the decision to move back to California and tackle the job market, figuring we had nothing to lose by being where we felt we belonged. Luckily, hubby got a temp job that turned into a permanent one.

Fast forward four years and hubby’s job is making him sick and growth in the company is nonexistent. With my support he decides to fulfill his dream of owning a business. He quits his job and throws himself head first into the pool cleaning world.

It is now late 2017. We have sold the business after running it together successfully. We had our ups and downs with the business and learned so much. But with the election results in November, we gained a new perspective. The small community that we have been raising our kids in started to feel different. We witnessed ugliness that we didn’t see before or maybe we unconsciously ignored it. Friendships that we thought we could count on were lost in this new world. While we were down in the streets of Los Angeles protesting, people around us were saying we needed to accept this political environment and to “get over it.”

As a result, our life goals have changed. We have new wants and dreams. So rather than stay somewhere because we “should” and feel isolated, we are rolling the dice again. Hubby is ready to go back to an office environment. He wants to go back to his hometown where family will be.

This is the exact opposite of stable. New job, new town, new home, and new school (for the kids). Do we stay somewhere just because we have been there for a long period of time and it’s what our kids know? Is that what sacrifice is? Or do we show them that we are willing to take chances if it means the possibility of happiness and success?

The unknown and uncertainty of it grips me with terror. I imagine a new job not working out and us becoming homeless (this usually occurs at 4 am in the morning). Rationale reminds me in the light of day that we will be fine no matter what but my brain won’t allow to me let go of the worst case scenario.

So that’s where I’m at. We are throwing our whole life up in the air by taking this chance at happiness. We could fail miserably and have before. But I think as much as I want steadiness, taking a chance feels right.