Posts Tagged ‘health’

And now, a word from my rather despicable sponsor: Anxiety.

September 22, 2016

I usually post my book reviews on Thursdays, but today I need to set that aside for a moment to talk about anxiety.

Most of you know I suffer from anxiety – at varying levels, at varying times. It’s not something I’m ashamed of: I have an anxiety disorder. I don’t hide it. I firmly believe in talking about it so that I can educate others, hold myself accountable for self-care, let my friends know so they can help me when necessary, and generally let those who hear me know that if they’re closeted, they don’t need to be. Let’s erase the stigma, yes?

There are still times when my anxiety surprises me. I was watching a movie tonight. A critically acclaimed one – Gravity, with Sandra Bullock. It cold opens with a big crisis and a bigger trigger for me. I thought I could manage – Sandra is who plays me in the movie of my life. She’s my girl. But less than five minutes in, I was opening my laptop and googling the plot. If I know what’s going to happen, I can sometimes talk myself through the anxious bits and still enjoy the movie. (It got me through Everest, and that ended up being a movie I’ll rewatch again and again.)

Knowing didn’t help this time. I tried focusing on the project I was working on, writing away, head down, only occasionally glancing up at the screen or reaching over to rub The Boyfriend’s back. (Human contact is a huge plus when I’m sorta freaking out.) But I knew the characters were trapped in space. And space? Well, that just happens to be one of my triggers. I have nightmares where I’m trapped in space. Or in a big, black, endless sea of black. With no hope of finding home. Or my siblings. (I’m frequently tasked in my nightmares with finding them and getting us all safe.) This movie was taking me to Not Good places.

So I hit the brakes.

Or, I should say, I tried to. I wasn’t in full freak-out mode. I was just Pretty Damn Anxious. So I tried to handle it a bit modestly. I didn’t start screaming or hyperventilating; I turned to The Boyfriend and told him I didn’t think I could watch the movie any more. “It’s just a movie!” he said. And then he laughed at me.

I can’t tell you how bad it feels in the first place to be weighed down by this horrible and unpredictable thing called Anxiety. Add to that the knowledge that this stupid, awful Anxiety holds you back from things you’d love to be able to do. And try as you might to do those things anyway, sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t. And when you don’t – when I don’t, at least – you really, really don’t. It’s a horrible, gutting feeling.

If you’re the person on the outside, here’s a little advice: don’t ever laugh. Don’t dismiss or belittle someone for something that is completely and utterly out of their control. I already felt like a failure for not being able to get through a movie – a movie – about something that I know I will never, ever have to do. When I was laughed at, I felt like a person I was supposed to feel safe with dismissed my feelings, belittled me, and made me feel like I was less than everything I needed to be.

Anxiety is hard enough to live with when you’re in a constructive, healthy environment. Talking about it, talking my way through it to the other side of this setback, that can only happen when I feel safe. That might not be the reality for every person who is living with anxiety, but it’s my reality. If you’re in that situation, if you’re the person who’s supposed to be a landline, ask how you can help. And however foreign or silly the answer is, please, please do not dismiss it. Be a friend. Be kind. Be supportive.

Be kind. That’s the bottom line to so many stories.

The StitchFix that maybe made me pause.

August 16, 2016

You guys, I’m in love with my new stylist. Her prints and styles (with one misstep) are much more me than the last one. I love that. I love having “grown-up” slinky dress shirts I can throw on with a pair of jeans instead of just a pile of tshirts. But there’s one catch. (Uh, besides the fact that my girlies are money-sucking back-to-school creatures hellbent on bankrupting me.) We’ll get to the catch in a minute.

First, the clothes!

Here’s the slight style misstep:

Stitch2

I love the kelly green color – you know I’ve been trying to grab everything I can in that shade! But the 1950s piping that cuts down the middle of the blouse? Not my favorite. Still, the fit wasn’t that bad, so if it was the only thing I didn’t like, I’d consider keeping it. I saw the total for the entire fix, and it wasn’t un-doable, if I kept everything.

Next was a shirt I was kinda digging, and then I put it on and fell in love with:

Stitch2b

Cute print, a good length, the high cut near the hips helps lengthen my torso, a cute cut at the neckline without being all cleavage-y (a problem for us curvy girls), and it felt so slinky! A winner!

The jacket I loved and it would be super cute once Fall gets here (in another few months, but I understand that everyone else has Fall on the brain). Unfortunately, the sleeves were made for some anorexic Barbie or some such because I couldn’t breathe or move or even hardly get it on. Hmph.

Stitch2e

The dress, again, SUPER CUTE!!! I was madly in love with the print and the colors! The waist…well, that wasn’t quite as adorable. I liked that it cinched on the side – a little different from everything else I have. But the waist fell above my natural waist, but below where a princess waist would fall, so….little awkward. And not quite as flattering with the few pounds I’ve found this year. I thought about keeping it…but since I didn’t love it, I tossed it back. But made sure to tell my stylist how much I LOVED the print and colors. This is as me as it gets!

Stitch2f

Lastly, some gold earrings that I’ve been trying to win. Simple, gold, with a touch of flair that still can be worn with any number of outfits. They’re perfect for work (but not so much going out – a girl can only conquer so many challenges at once).

The jacket totally doused any hopes of keeping the entire Fix, so that meant the green shirt was out. The dress, too, as I’ve said. The blue print slinky top and the earrings were keepers. Which brought me to a decision point: what’s next? I have quite a few new pieces, but a problem has crept up. With health issues this year, I haven’t been running or even working out as steadily as I have in the past. The boyfriend likes to spoil me with dates where we eat tasty, tasty food, too – combined with the inactivity means I’ve gained a few (not so few) pounds since I started my Fix. And if I needed a reason to stop, I think it’s that the sizes I’ve put in are no longer fitting comfortably. I need to lose the weight I’ve put on before I can justify spending money making me look even better. I have work to do. Work on me, to get healthier, to not lose what I’ve spent good money on.

So this is going to be my last fix for awhile. I have a few months of summer left anyway; the goal is to be trending back in the right direction before I need to start worrying about Fall clothes.

Let the remodeling begin!

And how is YOUR Monday morning going?

April 15, 2013

These days it feels like I text Gracie’s teacher almost as often as I do her dad. I got a text from the very lovely Ms. G. on Friday to let me know that Gracie had flunked yet another practice STAAR test. Remember the problems we’ve been having off and on with Gracie about that? She’s still having them. She’ll ace the test one day, then rush through it the next with disastrous results. We’ll take away privileges, Gracie will cry and then swear to do better, and then she does do better, and the rinse, lather, repeat. I’ve never had this problem with Gracie before. She makes mistakes, sure – she’s a normal eight-year-old, after all. But she very rarely makes the same mistake over and over again. (Unless you want to count lying about cleaning her room. But what seasoned parent counts that, right?)

So I sighed when I got the text, and then tried to set it aside. Miss Gracie was going to her dad’s house this weekend, so there wasn’t much I could do about it right away. I texted Ms. G. back to let her know that Gracie was at her dad’s house that weekend. And I told her that I would be docking Ms. Gracie’s bedtime the following week since I didn’t have control over it that weekend. Then I went to the store after work and stress-bought this chair. I’d been eyeing it for months. Who says stress doesn’t have an upside?

Not that I was really very stressed. I knew Gracie would be fine. She’d straighten out. But I did start wondering that she might be stressed when she woke up this morning still complaining about her finger.

You see, last night when the girlies got home, Gracie immediatey moaned dramatically and launched into a story of how she was pretending to be a dog, and when she jumped off of her bed, her hands were out like this, but she landed on one of them like this, and then that finger right there? It got crunched. Or something. I’m not sure; I was cooking dinner and doing six other things and so I confess I was only half listening. I looked at the finger one of the times she held it out for inspection and it might have looked a little crumpled, but otherwise not very injured. It wasn’t like it was swollen and discolored or anything. So I just let her whine and mutter whenever she had to use it and otherwise ignored it. Hey, if it was making her feel better, what was the harm? When she told me again later how much it hurt, I told her she probably strained it or something and it would take a few days. She’d feel better in the morning, I told her. And usually, it’s true.

It wasn’t better this morning. Gracie “Ow!”ed her way through getting dressed. Sniffled her way through breakfast. Grabbed a tissue to blow her nose and told me it hurt even when she was holding a tissue! (She sounded so offended when she reported that last bit, like the finger was hurting like this on purpose!) I looked closely at her finger again. It was a little puffy, maybe. And there was a bruise and a small red line near her knuckle, but nothing pronounced. I still thought it was probably just sore because she had twisted it or something. Not broken. Surely, not. But once the doubt set in, I remember that when my finger was broken, it hadn’t really hurt any more than when I’d jammed my finger. And it hadn’t looked broken either. Oh, those doubts. They’re stinkers and they refuse to go away.

And that is how I came to text Ms. G. bright and early this morning, letting her know that our Gracie-girl wasn’t just trying to get out of a test. She wasn’t having “test-tummy” as we call her stressy tummyaches. I told her that I was having doubts about whether to x-ray it, so Ms. G. ran some experiments. She said Gracie could wave at her, and gave her a pretty solid “pinky promise” and seemed to be fine. Then she told me that she had Gracie wash her hand and the bruise washed off. HA! Well, that was one problem solved. And if Gracie was performing better for Ms. G. than she would for mama, then maybe that was more than one problem solved. Which would be excellent, because who has time for x-rays on a Monday? Not this girl, that’s for sure.

Oh, Monday. You’d think I’d expect this of you after all these weeks. But keep in mind as you read this, dear bloggy audience,  that I’m sitting here typing this in a sundress, with open-toed sandals and a spring-weight 3/4-length sleeve cardigan because the high today is going to be 92°. Even our low was only 69° this morning. So it’s not like my Monday isn’t without an upside. Hmm…maybe if the ER had a patio and free Wi-Fi, I might not be as on the fence about those X-rays…

And the bad mama award goes to…

September 21, 2012

Let me say in my defense: Bee has a spelling test today. She has a spelling test and she doesn’t know all of the words, no matter how many spelling drills we’ve done. She has a spelling test, doesn’t know all of the words, and is rather very anxious about it.

So of course I didn’t believe her when she started crying about her cheek hurting at breakfast.

I thought she had bitten her cheek while she was sleeping. Or was even maybe making it up. Or perhaps a molar was coming in. So I snapped at her and told her to eat and toast and jelly and simply chew on the other side of her mouth. I snapped at her that we didn’t have medicine for that. (Oh, the unreasonable amount that kid likes medicine for all of her very specific ailments.) I snapped that if she didn’t eat, she would be hungry all day, that lunch was a looooong time away.

She kept crying anyway.

Long, pokey minutes later, when she still hadn’t eaten more than one square of toast, I told her she could eat or not eat. She chose not eating. Because her cheek hurt. She threw her toast away (while I snapped that she was being wasteful, of course) and sniffled her teary way to the bathroom to brush her teeth.

When she came out, still a wee bit teary, I had calmed down and felt rather ashamed of myself. “Come here, Bee,” I said. I gave her big hugs and then asked to see her cheek. I wanted to make sure there wasn’t an absessed tooth or anything. Because how stupid would I feel. That? That is called foreshadowing. Because as Bee was opening her mouth – barely – and complaining that it hurt, mama! I noticed that her ear and jaw were visibly swollen. And though not quite bruised, it hurt her – a lot – for me to barely even tough it. Swollen glands. Really swollen glands.

I. felt. horrible.

No wonder it hurt for her to move her mouth or talk or eat or brush her teeth. And here I was making it ten times worse by making her cry. So. Bad mama of the week right here. And if it’s strep, I’m giving myself a bonus prize. Woohoo.

I’m totally blaming those baby snuggles.

March 5, 2012

On Saturday afternoon I packed a container full of homemade chocolate chip cookies, a few baby gifts, the girls and some books (for their entertainment, not mine) into the car and journeyed through vast jungles of construction to the other side of the metroplex to visit my friend Amanda. Even on her own, my sweet friend would be worth the adventuring; with a brand new baby to snoogle, I would have braved tornadoes, hail, blinding rains, road closures and a presidential motorcade.

In case you were wondering – Baby Buster was worth it.

Oh sweet jeebus, I forgot how sweet babies smell! And how they just burrow into your chest and arms, completely surrendering. It’s a good thing I didn’t have the proper-sized car seats in my car or else I would have made a run for it. Surely Amanda would have traded two medium girlies for one sweet baby boy. The girls were busy keeping her 3-year-old entertained – or maybe it was the other way around?

All of this lovefest is to explain how, in the middle of all our catching up, Amanda and I came to talk about working out and getting back into shape and running. Yes, running. I think you can see where this is going. Amanda used to be [is? can you ever really stop?] a runner. And she’s gone out for a few long walks, a few runs, these past few weeks. What a difference that second baby makes in needing a little alone time for mommy! I remember it well. She remembered that I had done the C25K program awhile back…

And that’s when the really, incredibly stupidbrilliant idea struck.

We could Couch-2-10K. We have an entire year before the Cowtown. I want to start running again. She wants to start running again. I know I do a much better job when there is guilt and reckoning involved. And bonus! I get to spend a lot more time catching up with my friend! Who I am sure will soon want to kill me. Oh, you had a baby and you’re still adjusting to life with a toddler and newborn? And fulltime job? And husband? And massive construction-filled commute? HERE! RUN WITH ME! WE CAN DO A 10K!!! M is for Mommy, M is for Murder and M is for What the hell was I thinking? Only no it’s not. Except it really is.

And THAT, my friends, is what I am totally blaming on that sweet, sweet baby and his intoxicating snuggles. Without him messing with my mind, there’s no way I would have come up with such a crazycakes plan.

Toasty, yes, but not hellish.

January 24, 2012

I was starting to think I’d made a mistake.

My friend Corrie had convinced me to try a hot yoga class that she used to attend. It was a new year, darn it, and she was going to start again. It was very casual, she assured me. A woman who was neighbors with her doctor ran a yoga class out of her garage three nights a week. And not just any yoga – hot yoga. I didn’t pay much attention to that part until I started telling people what I was up to.

“Hot yoga? Yikes. Let me know how that goes.”

“Ohgod. Good luck with that!”

“…..” That was the jaw of several other non-commentators hitting the floor. Kinda like they almost wanted to throw up. Which, coincidentally, was how I was starting to feel now that the consensus was starting to be that I was going to keel over and die.

Thank god I had Corrie to reassure me. “Don’t worry. It’ll get better. It’s intense at first – I threw up my first time.”

By this point I was having serious reservations, but the thought of getting out of the house and passing out hanging out with grown-ups once a week sounded good enough to me. Also? Time spent with my partner-in-crime is never wasted.

So, off we went. The instructor – whose name I’ve forgotten, but who seemed really nice and peppy, just like half the class I went to school with at Holy Cross – greeted another girl (really – girl; as in, maybe 17ish) who was starting yoga that night. I was all, “Oh! Yay! Me, too!” and the instructor told us to take a time out any time we needed, not to worry if we couldn’t keep up or match the poses exactly – we’d get the hang of it. I barely bit back that I was planning on faking it if I had no idea what I was doing – that fallback position had helped me through plenty of other jams in my life. But I’d try just to glance around me to see what everyone else was writing on their quiz…er, or how they were contorting their bodies.

And then we started. I did so flippin’ much better than I thought I would. I think part of it was that my imagination had distorted my expectations so much that there was no way I’d fail that badly; part of it was that Jillian’s 30-day Shred had prepared me to some degree. I wasn’t the skinniest or the bendiest or the girl with the most stamina, but I held my own. Only one did I feel like maybe I might throw up if I didn’t throttle it back. I took a sip of water and sat down on my mat. I noticed a few others (the class was packed – there were maybe 12 of us in there) had sat down as well. But then they moved into a bendy twisty tree thing and I know I can bend my leg like that…I wanted to see if I could do the rest of it too. Turns out I can.

So my curiosity, my need to prove myself, and my inner rockstar carried me through the evening. It was amazing, to tell you the truth. The incredibly intense heat might be a problem in summer when it’s already 140 in the garage, but I tolerated it fairly easily. Thanks to everyone who built this horrible picture in my head beforehand! Heh. Honestly, the entire experience was amazing. It was the most interesting  together/alone feeling. I was conscious of everyone around me most of the time, but you spend the entire 90 minutes inside your head, focusing on your body and forcing the stress out and away.

A pretty cool way to spend an evening if you ask me. Having a friend to hold you accountable, to drag and be dragged by, well that not only makes it more fun and more likely that I’ll return, but increases the odds of some off-the-wall adventures along the way.

Like a ride at Disneyworld.

November 18, 2011

I haven’t been all bloggy-bloggy about it (for once), but my back has been bothering me for a few weeks now. The pain level pinged OOCH! enough on the pain-o-meter that I thought it might be a kidney stone, especially given my history and ensuing paranoia, so I thought I better go in for x-rays.

The good news: no stone. The rest of the news: who the heck knows why I’m in pain! Goodtimes.

So, in the course of letting everyone poke and prod me, all the doctors decided the next step would be a CT scan. Which is great if it spits out a little tickertape with answers at the end, but… here is where I tell you I am extremely claustrophobic. Like, I almost threw up during my c-sections because the drape was too close to my face, kinda claustrophobic. [Sidebar: Whyyyyy don’t they warn you that the drape is only about six inches away from your face before you go in? Stupid television setting up unrealistic expectations. Grumble grumble mcgrumbly.]  When I confirmed that the CT scan was the one in which they load you into a tube headfirst? Yeah, not so good.

As I booked my appointment (hey! they had an opening in a few hours!), I tried to remember every CT scan I had seen in Grey’s Anatomy. I remembered how even when the machine caught fire, the dude was okay. And then there was that one time the guy was stuck in there for 45 minutes. But every other time, the patient was fine. I would just close my eyes before I went in, and not open them for any reason until I got out. Oh plans and their illusions and control.

So I get to the facility, not having eaten anything all day. (While booking the appointment, the nurse says to me: “Don’t eat anything else or drink anything, either.” Me: “Don’t worry, I’d just hurl it all up anyway.” Nurse: “Oooookay.”) I sign in and read some more Silence of the Lambs to calm myself down. I don’t even want to know what my blood pressure was when I was called back to the CT room.

It was a frickin’ open CT scan. A big doughnut. You think someone might have mentioned that!! All that worrying for nothing. Oh, sure, I tried closing my eyes for a minute when I was lying down on the moving table thingy, but that made me dizzy. So I kept my eyes open as I moved in and out of the magic doughnut. My favorite part was watching that spinny thing inside. It was totally like those spinny things Jodie Foster flew through in Contact. Heh. That was even cooler than being out of there in under ten minutes from the time I signed in. For the win!

And possibly even better than that, I know I have answers coming on Tuesday. Even if we don’t know what it is, we might know what it isn’t. Until then, pass the eggnog and turn up the Christmas music. Nothing helps you ignore back pain like getting ready for Christmas!

Five Things I Love About Running.

October 14, 2011

I did it (again, really, since I already did this C25K thing once already) – I conquered my week of 12:00 of running. To celebrate my badass self (ha!), I give you Five Things I Love About Running. (Otherwise entitled, It’s Friday And I’m Too Tired To Be Creative. DEAL.)

  1. Being pissed off helps. My pace is better, my endurance is better, songs song groovier floating through my earbuds if I’m just a little upset at someone or something. It’s gotten to the point that when I am really stressed at ThePlaceWeShallNotDiscuss, I get a little annoyed if it’s not a running day. Running saps everything out of me, including all that icky stress. Win!
  2. Those crazywacky thoughts that inevitably happen. Sometimes it’s further along in the run, sometimes it’s almost right outta the gate. But at some point the exhaustion takes over and the silliest thoughts fly through my head – like the time last winter when I was marveling over how hot I was, and thought if we could only make our houses run with us, we could save SO MUCH on our heating bills. Yeah – see?
  3. The point when I reach the top of the massive hill slight incline on one side of my loop and everything seems so! much! easier! for a good while. Sometimes you’re just so flippin’ thankful for the little things that you stop feeling all outta breath and exhausted for awhile.
  4. I love when a kickass song comes on and I just can’t help dancing down the sidewalk while I’m running. Yes, I look crazy. But do I care? No way! Everyone should be as confident and as full of fun as I am. When I’m running, I rock. Betcha booty.
  5. I feel so. frickin. PROUD of myself every time I finish. I did something for me. Myself. And I DID it. I didn’t procrastinate. I didn’t justify sitting on the couch or running errands or doing something else. I ran. I took control, did something I didn’t wanna do – something I used to think I couldn’t do – and I did it. Taking action is pretty intoxicating. And so is running. I? am all kindsa awesome.

Not a bad feeling to head into the weekend with, is it?

And I think I’ll stop looking.

September 23, 2011

No, not for the cupcakes: everyone will be happy to hear I found those. You know, after I pulled apart half my closet, went to my doctor’s appointment, and then saw my sister’s comment about where they were stashed. Of course, the downside was that I was so pitifully sick with The Plague that I couldn’t muster up any appetite. So instead I’ve brought them to work as a reward for making it all the way out of bed and across the city. In other words, we’ll see how long I hold out today.

No, my ‘not looking’ is more about how helpful my darling childrens are when I’m not feeling my best. Gracie, in particular, kept asking what she could do to help me. There wasn’t much – I don’t make much of a mess just lounging on the couch all day and the girls had spent dinner with their dad. But there was a dishwasher full of clean dishes to put away. Gracie started putting away the dishes she could reach – the tupperware, pans, and doo-dads – and stacked neatly on the counter all of the dishes that needed to be put away in the upper cabinets. Bee, on the other hand, was feeling left out because there really isn’t enough space for two people to move around next to the dishwasher. So I put Bee in charge of putting the silverware away. And this is what I found last night when I went looking for a spoon to stir my hot apple cider:

I’m not looking in the rest of my cabinets.

Defeated by Awesome.

September 22, 2011

I am not having the very best week. Things are uberhectic at ThePlaceThatShallNotBeDiscussed, I had a small unbloggable mini-crisis, and then I came down with The Plague a head and chest cold. It’s not all that unexpected, really – The Plague has been making its rounds and several people at ThePlaceThatShallNotBeDiscussed have already had it. It’s four days of misery, compounded by sleeplessness and an extra helping of not being able to breathe for those of us who are so asthmatically inclined.

But! My point is that I happened to mention all of this to my sister yesterday morning just when I started to feel the full effects of The Plague. Our convo went something like

Me: Whine, whine, whiney, blah blatherton.
Kim: There are [Hostess] Chocolate Cupp-cakes hidden in your tornado closet in the back of the L-shape to the right, between a box and the wall.

Peeps, I literally got all teary eyed. I had hidden treasure in the guise of Chocolate Cuppa-cakes waiting for me if I could just make it through the day! That is love, yo.

Well, I didn’t make it through the day. I went home early because, well, no one wanted to catch what I had. That and the fact that I at least moved every project I was working on off my desk and to the next person for approval. Turns out going home for a nap and stronger drugs is quite the motivator. Also – cuppa-cakes! So I came home, swallowed some pretty, pretty Dayquil and Mucinex, and headed into the closet.

Uh….I couldn’t find the cuppa-cakes.

I checked behind (almost) all the boxes. Of course, I was pretty fuzzy-headed and the body-aches pretty much dulled most of my energy, so maybe I didn’t check quite as hard as I needed to. But still – thwarted by the awesomeness of pre-hidden treasure for crappy days. Not to worry – I am home again with The Plague today and even though I could barely get the kids out the door to school, I will somehow get the closet straightened and Find. My. Cuppacakes.

Even if it’s the last thing I do before I die of The Plague.