Posts Tagged by anxiety

How One Day Can Change Your Life

Here I am…on the longest flight I’ve been on in over 10 years, writing to you at over 36,000 feet.  I’ve shocked myself today.  I woke up focused and had very minimal anxiety getting to the airport and even boarding the plane.  Maybe I was just THAT tired or maybe I’m actually dealing with this better.  I took an Ativan once seated so I could take a nap for a while, but that only lasted about 1.5 hours and once again…I’m ok!

This all might seem silly to a lot of people…this fear of flying thing, but it really is rooted in a not so pretty place that I’ve never gone into detail about here.  You see, I wasn’t always liked this.  I LOVED to fly when I was younger.  I traveled all over the U.S. including San Francisco, San Antonio, and Denver.  I traveled internationally to England, France and even spent 2 months abroad in Ireland.  Traveling was exciting…so many opportunities are available once you step off that plane!  

But when I was 21 years old, the world changed….September 11th happened.

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On that day I was living 5 blocks from the World Trade Center in a studio apartment at 33 Gold Street.  I had just started my final year at New York University and I was working in the Box Office at the Hammerstein Ballroom, one of the top concert venues in NYC at the time.  To say I was loving life was an understatement.   Well you know the story of the day so I won’t rehash that business, but to say the events greatly effected me is an understatement.  And it didn’t happen right way either…  

Soon after 9/11, I traveled quite a bit…to England, Arizona, Florida…but with each trip my anxiety grew.  I moved out of the city to Hoboken, NJ across the Hudson river, but I was still commuting in for work and school every day.  Soon I started having trouble on the subway, going through tunnels and being on bridges.  This is a problem when you have to use at least one of those things to get in or out of NYC.  My fear of being trapped, like I was on 9/11, was becoming overwhelming and crippling.   

I ended up having to leave NYC because the stress of having to go there everyday was too much.  Well that wasn’t the ONLY reason, but it played a large part in our decision to move to CT.  However the problem with that was now that I no longer had to face those fears everyday, my reactions were 1,000 times worse when I actually did.  I would have a full on panic attack driving over the George Washington Bridge.  I wouldn’t take the train into NYC or take the Subway for almost 8 years.  Getting on a plane was out of the question.  B and I actually DROVE to Florida for our Honeymoon…it’s amazing that man actually married me.  And the worst thing about all of this was that it was affecting my health because all of that stress would cause my UC to flare on a regular basis.

It was after that long drive to Florida that I finally woke up.  I couldn’t live my life like this anymore…I was missing out on LIFE!  B also turned to me and said, if you ever want to go to Disney again we are flying.  Well that right there is motivation enough to change! 🙂  With the help of a low dose of anti-anxiety medication and the will to face my fears, I am slowly working through all of my fears.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I need help here…

Now look at me.  As I finish writing this, I am sitting in my hotel room at the Disneyland Hotel after taking a non-stop flight from NY to LA.  That’s almost 6 hours on a plane people!!  I am having a blast at The Happiest Place on Earth with the love of my life and later this week I get to go the the CrossFit Games!!  How could I have denied myself these experiences?  

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I’m not saying it’s easy, it’s far from it!  Last week I had a panic attack just thinking about traveling, but I’ve learned how to calm myself down and try to relax a bit.  Exercise really helps!  I’ve also learned that talking about it helps.  Sometimes you just ned to get all the crazy out because you otherwise feel like this…

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So there’s the backstory to all of the anxiety-ridden posts you’ve seen and probably will continue to see over time.  It’s amazing how that one day almost 13 years ago completely changed my life, but looking back now it has only made me stronger.  I’ve had to overcome some major shit, but I’ve been trying to do it with a smile.  🙂   

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The Crazy Train Is Pulling Into Town

I’m traveling next week which means guess what the Crazy Train is pulling into the station.  I’ve never been shy about the fact that I’m not a big fan of traveling.  Travel by car, no big deal.  Travel by rail, meh it’s ok.  Travel by air, the world is crumbling.  Unfortunately traveling by air really is the only option when flying to from the east coast to the west coast if you want to get there in a timely manner, so clearly the world is crumbling all around me.

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Don’t get me wrong.  I actually love to travel once I’m there.  I love to experience new things, eat new food and meet new people, but it’s the getting there and the IDEA of being away that gets me all worked into a frenzy.  You see I am a creature of habit, like most human beings are, but I find a lot of comfort in both my routine and my home.  This has gotten worse as I gotten older and also as I’ve become very happy with my life at home.  I love my house, my cats, my neighborhood, my friends…why should I leave??  Well there is a great big world out there that would be a shame to miss out on.  My rational brain knows this, my crazy brain is convinced of the following:   

  1. My plane will crash, be hijacked, etc…  Out of the roughly 3,000+ flights that leave the NYC area per day it will surely be mine.
  2. An earthquake, probably “The Big One,” will hit California while I am there.  I have no idea what to do in an earthquake, not do I want to find out…they are terrifying!
  3. My house will catch on fire.  One of these days, that crazy wiring set up in my basement is going to freak out and start an electrical fire.  I don’t really care about my belongings as much as I worry about the cats in that scenario.  Which leads me to…
  4. I will never see my cats again.  But the worst part of that is that no one will think to go take care of them so they will starve OR no one will want them and they will get separated and/or sent to a horrible home.  Beth Stern, if you are reading this, please take my cats if some shit goes down.

This is all ridiculous, I know, but writing it all out actually helps.  It helps me to actually put some rational thought to these fears.  I need to stop freaking out over things that I can’t control (WHAT?!?!) and just enjoy life.  I wouldn’t get on a plane for a very long time and I missed out on some important things in life, like seeing my grandparents one last time before they passed.  I can’t let that happen again.

Is this to say that the next few days leading up to my trip are going to be a breeze?  Oh hell no.  My brain is already going a bagillion miles per hour and I am starting to make lists, upon lists, upon lists. Oh and wait until the anxiety poops start…that’s always fun. Poor B has to put up with this…he’s such a sport 🙂  But it’s all worth it.  I get to visit Disneyland again, attend the CrossFit Games (!!!), dip my toes in the Pacific Ocean, and most importantly has amazing opportunities to grow my business.  So yeah, I’ll jump on the Crazy Train for a bit…at least it keeps things interesting.

Do you get travel anxiety?  What do you do to help it?

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The Anxiety of Change

As an anxious person, doing something like quitting your job is completely unnerving. Yes I’m beyond excited to leave this job behind and to move on to bigger and better things, but as I enter this final week it is becoming clear that this is not an easy transition….for a few reasons. Anxiety

Giving Up Ownership

Having been in my role for over 5 years, I have a feeling of ownership over many areas of my job.  There are upcoming events that I have planned, partnerships formed and budgets in jeopardy.  I am working diligently to get a plan in place before I leave, but there is part of me that is having trouble giving it all up.  It’s hard to think of someone taking over all of the hard work you have spent years creating.  You don’t want to see it changed or fail.  I know I need to just let go and move on but I have pride in the work that I’ve done. Although you might not be able to tell my my desk at the moment…

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Seeing How My Decision Affects Others

This has by far been the best decision for me, but it is hard to watch how something so good for me has such an impact on others.  First are my colleagues.  This has dropped a large amount of additional work on them and due to poor management (a large part of why I’m leaving) it looks like it will be awhile before my position will be filled to fill that void. It also has made a few people have to make tough decisions about their own positions that they wouldn’t have thought about otherwise.  

Second are our members and the community. I work for a non-profit, member based association.  All the work we do is for the benefit of our members whether it be through education, legislative efforts, business partnerships, group discounts, etc…  By benefiting the members, we provide service to the community at large.  I would hate to see things fall through the cracks and have a negative impact on that side.

Yes, I know this all sounds very egotistical.  Can my resignation REALLY have such a big impact?  Maybe it won’t, maybe it will actually be good for the organization to get some new blood and some new ideas in there.  Honestly, I really hope so! However seeing how this is all being handled, it’s making me concerned.

Stepping Into the Unknown

Oh I don’t deal well with the unknown.  I often times wish I was a risk taker.  Someone who could go whichever way the wind takes them and figure it all out along the way.  Nope.  I’m a planner.  I like organization (I know…it doesn’t look like it from the state of my desk!).  I like structure.  I like spreadsheets!  So this leap of faith is nerve-wracking!  

As I get closer to being out of my current position and finally on the road to doing something I love, I am getting SO MOTIVATED! Yes, I’m nervous.  Yes, I’m having frequent panic attacks.  But you know what?  I’m happy.  For the first time in a long time, I can say that I actually feel happy.  My family hears it in my voice over the phone.  I keep spitting out ideas at B (he probably wants to kill me by now!).  I see opportunity EVERYWHERE!  Oh man…I’m so ready to do this.

Change is terrifying. Whether it be a job, a move, a child, a relationship…it’s all scary and that fear is what stops so many of us from finding and doing what we love in life.  I know that it has stopped me for YEARS! No more.  I’m doing this and I’m going to be happy and healthy from now on.  I’m going to BE RAD!  I hope you will too. 🙂

How are you going to BE RAD this year?!

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When Your Ducks Can’t Be In A Row

Sometimes things don’t always go as planned.  Who am I kidding…things really never goes as planned.  For someone like me who likes to be organized and have all my ducks in a row, I’m not the best at handling situations that are not what I expected.  I’m not really a roll with the punches kind of gal…I’m working on it, but it’s taking some time.

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So when the past few months threw me curveball after curveball, my first reaction was to retreat.  Hibernate.  Hide from what was going on.  And I’m sad to say, that’s what I did. It’s no secret that I’ve been a bit quiet here and on Running at Disney.  I’ve felt like if I don’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say it at all.  I felt like if I really wrote about what was going on I would perceived as whining and complaining.  Surely not one wants to listen to me complain.  

I’ve come to realize that there is a difference between just complaining and having some real issues that I should be talking about not only for my own sanity, but that maybe it might just help someone else.  Life isn’t perfect and I probably shouldn’t pretend that it is.  But I guess I feel like if I actually SPEAK about what’s going on, it gives it more TRUTH and in turn gives me those feelings of FAILURE that I don’t know how to deal with.  Oh such a ridiculous dilemma…

Well despite all that, I need to let it all out.  Last fall kicked my ass.  All of the travel I did took a lot out of me mentally, which in turn manifested into some seriously physical issues.  I started having very bad dizzy spells after starting the Lurong Living Paleo Challenge and then some bad flares with my colitis.  I’m not sure if the paleo diet caused my dizzy spells, but it continued to get worse and after about 5 weeks I started eating grains again and almost immediately felt better.  

I had a colonoscopy in October that showed my colitis has progressed from mild to moderate, which was a serious blow.  My doctors are recommending that I go on Humira to attempt and get my disease in complete remission, but I am very hesitant due to the serious side effects of the drug.  No decisions have been made yet and I’m still taking my time to weigh my options.  

After that news, I fell into a bit of a funk due to a wicked combination of being scared about this new diagnoses and the cold weather that was beginning to set in.  I love to hibernate in the winter, but this was going to a whole different level.  I canceled two trips to Walt Disney World, that included a few races, which is totally unheard of for me.  Disney is my happy place and I didn’t even want to go there.  Basically, I needed to focus on getting my head back in the game and getting my body healthy again…meaning rest and recuperation.  It seemed to have worked.  Thankfully my friends were there to help pull me out of the funk and forced me to go to the gym and go out for dinners.  B was there as my sounding board, my confidant, my comedian.

So once December came I started feeling much better.  My colitis was getting better and my symptoms were subsiding.  The holidays actually started putting me in a better mood (which is odd for me since I am normally the Grinch) and I felt myself turning around.  I started making gains at the gym even though my hips were giving me some problems.  I was feeling productive at work and more like myself again…I was no longer going to take the easy road!

The new year was looking bright and on January 7th, we got some news that would change everything.  I was pregnant.  Wow…me pregnant…whoa.   B and I were in a state of shock for a few days because we had always been on the fence about starting a family.  We were very happy with our life, make a comfortable living, travel when we want and sleep in on the weekends.  Having a baby is a HUGE change and we were never 100% sure we wanted that.  But we were in the mindset that if it happens, it happens and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.  We were ok with that.  Well that was until it happened.

About a week in, we both started getting really excited.  The morning sickness and fatigue was setting in making it a reality.  We were talking about moving B’s office to make a nursery, how we were going to tell our family and hoping that our crazy cat wouldn’t turn on us when we brought a screaming human into the house.  We both really wanted this all of a sudden and we were happy.    

While having my first ultrasound, I knew my doctor’s silence was not a good thing.  She moved that wand around way too much and was taking a few too many pictures for my liking without pointing out the head or heartbeat or any of the other things you see in the movies.  Clearly, there was no heartbeat and that was not good.

My doctor wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt that I wasn’t as far along as determined by my last period.  So I had another ultrasound 5 days later, but the result was the same.  Not heartbeat and no growth.  I had miscarried and my initial reaction was that I failed.  I failed my baby and I failed my husband.  My inflamed body that I am in a constant battle with had failed.  My doctor reassured me that this is perfectly normal and over 25% of women have miscarriages in their first trimester.  There was nothing I did to cause it and nothing I could’ve done to prevent it.  She even shared her story of miscarriage with me.  But still I didn’t know how to feel.  I didn’t know this baby, it never even had a heartbeat, yet I felt a huge emptiness that I just didn’t understand.  

I quickly scheduled a D&C to removed all of the “cells” so I could move on and try to put this behind me.  I started crying going into surgery…there was part of me that just wasn’t ready to let go even though I knew I had to.  What if the doctors were wrong?!  But I knew they weren’t.  And that’s when the grief set in.

The past week has been a roller coaster of emotions…just when I think I’m back in the station, there is another lift hill followed by a 200 foot drop and a double helix to turn my stomach and start the waterfall of tears.  I’m worried about B and how he’s handling everything…I’m trying to stay strong for him, like I know he is doing for me.  

On top of the emotional side is the physical side of healing which is something else I’m not good with.  In my mind, I need to get back to “normal” as soon as possible.  I want my life back, I want my body back.  But will all surgery comes healing and rest.  I haven’t been to the gym in two weeks, I feel weak, vulnerable…I HATE feeling this way!           

But with everything in life, time will heal…both the emotional and the physical.  I have a wonderful support system, a wonderful husband, all who understand and are grieving with me.  I didn’t know this baby, but it is a loss still the same.  A loss of an idea, of hope, of the happiness that could’ve been but that is now filled with sorrow.  Each day gets a little easier and life is getting back to normal…I can actually begin to see my ducks getting back in line.  We are taking some time to ourselves and trying to laugh as much as possible because that really is the best medicine.  Well that and cats…cats are probably the BEST medicine. 🙂

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I Made It! Anxiety and All…

Two weeks ago I wrote about my super fun struggles with anxiety (insert sarcasm here).  Well anxiety aside, I overcame those fears and made my way out to Colorado and California.  Ok, ok…it wasn’t as easy as just overcoming my fears but what matters is, I made it.

Shockingly, B and I were packed and ready to go early in the day so we managed to get a good night’s sleep.  I think I’ve gotten this packing thing down to a science now, which clearly eases my anxiety.  All the flights were thankfully uneventful and I made it through with minimal problems.  I also had the help of some medication so I could relax and sleep….that’s always a bonus 🙂

Still a bit doped up... What's going on with my hair?!?

Still a bit doped up in Denver…
What’s going on with my hair?!?

Well tonight it starts all over again.  I’m leaving for Florida tomorrow for a relaxing trip with some of my best friends.  I’m definitely not as anxious this time around.  I feel like the more I travel the better I get at it.  And now with California under my belt, the flight to Florida will seem short…I hope!  Plus, I get to spend the week here:

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Nothing but excitement here!  Thanks again to everyone who shared their stories of anxiety with me and how you overcome your fears…it was all incredibly helpful!

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