Monday Musings

I missed my writing session last night because I was busy gaming and trying to get leveled up for the final two dungeons. I’m about ready to finish the game, though I’m not sure I’ll get to it while I’m still out here on my vacation. But I will get it finished this month at least. However, I will make up for my missed session on Wednesday while I’m flying home.

Tonight I was thinking about how I’ve really not gotten a lot of writing done while I was here, and how I really can’t write when the TV is on in front of me, though I’ve managed to work around that a little by forcing myself to focus on my laptop while I’m doing a chapter edit. But what I really think the issue is, is the huge block that drops into place in my mind when my bestie’s mom comes home. The tension in the air is palpable, which makes it difficult to concentrate on any one thing, and so, no writing gets done. The most writing I actually did was a few nights ago right as I was trying to go to bed. Because it was dark and there was a little girl sleeping in the room with me, I had to type it up on my phone, but I had two pretty genius ideas come to me right before bed.

It shouldn’t surprise me. Most of my best ideas come either before I go to bed or immediately after I wake up. Or in the shower. I get a lot of ideas in the bathroom as well…

Anyway, while I was working today, I had a few thoughts come to me about an older fan-fiction I wrote while I was in college and they actually pull the story together better than the original. I guess not working on it in six years really helped, especially since I’ve been pretty stuck on my own novel. Plus it’s good to try something new just to get the juices flowing in my brain. Hopefully working on fleshing these ideas out will help me figure out how to continue with my novel.

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Update/Vacation Post

Hi again. Sorry it’s been a while. I’ve been enjoying some much needed time with my bestie and her daughter and I’ve been neglecting my blog.

So my doctor did not find anything wrong with my breast, which is great news. She gave me a prescription for birth control to try and ease some of the migraines I’ve been having before my period, and luckily, I did not have one this time. I had a minor headache, but I wouldn’t qualify it as being a migraine. So I’ll be taking those meds starting this weekend. And my doctor also changed my anxiety prescription from half a tablet to a full tablet, and for me to take it every day, which I’ve been doing and I feel so much better. I still don’t like the idea of being on prescription drugs every day, but if it makes me feel better, I guess I can be ok with that, especially since sometimes the anxiety springs up out of nowhere and my usual coping methods do absolutely nothing.

That being said, I still plan on using my regular coping methods of yoga, Pilates, meditation, writing, and video games to help lower my stress levels because I know they work. And maybe eventually, I can get myself off the medications again when I’m in a less stressful environment.

So my “vacation” isn’t really a vacation, as I am working while I’m here, but I enjoy the company. Watching a four year old is quite entertaining and noisy. And yes, she’s a huge ball of energy, which sometimes feels like she’s sucking the energy from us, but she’s so goofy. She always makes me laugh, and she’s a total ham when it comes to a camera. She loves having her picture taken and she loves videos of herself.

Spending time with her mommy is my favorite part. We’re like sisters and we don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like, so our time together is extra special. We help each other with our writing, we talk about everything in person (or via text if her mom is home), and we laugh at each other’s sometimes stupid jokes. It’s always good fun and I can’t get enough of hearing her laugh. I know she’s usually pretty stressed out and exhausted beyond reason and logic, and hearing her laugh makes me feel like I’m doing a pretty good job as a friend, that my presence helps her relax a little, even if it’s only temporary.

And with that, I’m going to try to do some more personal writing tonight as I had a few ideas last night for ways to fix a chapter I’m stuck on and I need to try and incorporate my sleepy ideas.

Taking the Plunge

I finally called and made an appointment to see my doctor about several things including my anxiety. The others include possibly getting back on birth control to help a hormonal imbalance that could be causing some painful new PMS symptoms (migraines to be exact) and a breast examination for my own peace of mind. I’m not sure whether there is something wrong but knowing that breast cancer runs in my family, I felt alarmed enough to make a call this morning to get in tomorrow morning to get it checked out. That alone is super scary for me, especially considering I’ve always been pretty healthy my whole life. And with my cousin being diagnosed with uterine cancer last year, it just feels like I’m in that particular age range to be susceptible and that scares me.

I’ll admit, I just took a couple minutes to frantically scan different sites and different symptoms to try and reassure myself, and my best friend is also trying to calm me down by telling me it’s not likely anything to worry about. And for now, at least, I now feel good enough to let go of all the worries and wait until tomorrow to see what happens. It won’t do me any good worrying about it tonight.

So with the possibility of getting diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, I copied the list of triggers for me from one of my last posts to have on my phone for when I’m asked, and also some notes about when specifically I’ve been getting these possibly hormone-related migraines. I’ve had migraines before, or possibly stress induced tension headaches, but I’ve never had the “aura” I always read about. Just when it’s really bad, I have an extreme sensitivity to light and sound, and I already have some light sensitivity most likely from the light color of my eyes (no idea whether that’s true or not). As I was making this list of dates and what seemed to provide relief, I noticed a definite pattern. That they all happened around the same days of the month, with the exception of one, but as it was the starting point and I wrote down exactly what happened, I can assume there was a slight shift in hormones that can account for the difference in the dates. Not surprising, since I’ve been monitoring them since September, but annoying nonetheless. And since I’ve also used birth control before to regulate my hormones, my hope is that getting back on it might make these migraines go away or at least a little more bearable. Especially since next week I’ll be traveling and not at home where I’m best prepared for it.

I’m a little scared about discussing my anxiety openly as well, mostly because I’ve never really done so in any great detail and I’m afraid of being told it’s nothing and to “lay off the caffeine,” which I’m not on. The only thing I usually take that has any caffeine in it is my PMS meds when my cramps are unbearable, and they’re usually not too bad. Plus I haven’t quite connected with this doctor yet like I did with my previous one, who moved to a different clinic, which forced me to have to find a new one on the fly. But so far, when I’ve gone to see her, her diagnoses have been accurate. First a sinus infection, and then the decision to send me to physical therapy to see if they could help with some minor pain in my knee, which led to the notion that it wasn’t actually my knee hurting, but something in my hip and after a week of some recommended hip exercises, I’m at a point where I barely even notice the knee pain I was having earlier. So as it stands, she’s two for two. Granted, my hip hurts a little more, but I guess when you’re trying to strengthen some muscles you didn’t know needed strengthening, a little pain is to be expected.

So yeah, tomorrow I am finally taking the plunge to see about doing what needs to be done to help me be a better me. Or to at least get some unanswered questions answered, hopefully. This being an adult sucks sometimes.

An Open Letter to My Best Friend

I wanted to write this for my best friend, to reassure her that no matter how many new friends I make, she will always be irreplaceable to me, and I know this will probably make her cry, but I want her to know just how much she means to me.

To my bestest of best friends,

I know you’re scared that I’ll make new friends and forget about you. I know you’re afraid I’ll leave you behind if something better comes along, because you don’t feel good enough. And I also know that the biggest regret I have was not staying in contact with you while I was away at college.

As I sit here, in tears myself, I think back to that feeling of utter loneliness my freshman year of college and how much time I spent by myself. How I would sit in front of my tiny tv eating popcorn, chatting with random guys online, and eventually ending up being emotionally and verbally (well, textually) abused by one of them. Your own posts detail a much worse situation during this same time period, but there is one clear message that I can take from both of our situations. We were miserable without each other, always looking and hoping for someone to see our pain and reach out to help us.

As it was, fate, destiny, social media…whatever you want to believe, brought us back together. We weren’t much better off, me being verbally and mentally abused by someone I had thought to be a friend, you under constant attack from your own family, but at least we had each other. And I appreciated every night I spent venting to you, even though I’m sure you got sick of it after awhile. I think I still have journal entries from that time and there was so much anger in me. But you listened and let me get it all out. Even now you still let me vent to you, and I want you to vent to me more, no matter how hard it is or how stupid it might sound. You walked me through one of the darkest times in my life and I regret not being there to help walk you through yours.

I’m stronger and more confident now because of your support. I’ve gained a little bit of trust that I had lost before, and I genuinely believe I can tell you anything and you won’t judge or criticize me. You might tell me I’m weird, but coming from you, that’s ok. We’re both weird. It’s part of why we work. Our demons get along swimmingly. You’re part of the reason why I started this blog. You opened my eyes to see the truly toxic people in my life and made me want to do better and be better myself. And I know you won’t stop pushing me to be my best because you can see the potential in me even when I can’t see it myself.

And even though we have our ups and downs, like when we’re fighting and not talking to each other, I remind myself that we’ll make it through the hard times too. Most times it seems like we’re not the ones fighting, but instead our own anxieties fighting against each other and making us think something’s wrong or off when it’s not. And that’s scary, because I always seem to know when I’m in the wrong after the fact and that makes me feel like an absolutely terrible friend, like I’m not good enough for you.

But I want you to know that I will always be there for you whenever you need me, to vent, to cry, to just talk. Whatever you need, I am here for you. I do care about you and your well-being, your mental state, and the environment you’re forced to live in. I care about your daughter as if she were my own. And I will always make time to see you and spend time with you. I love you so much and I can’t imagine not having you in my life, because you are irreplaceable to me. You are the best friend I’ve ever had and I will never be tired of reminding you of that. I’m grateful to have as awesome a friend as you. ❤

Group Meet-Up

I’m feeling ambitious tonight. Two posts in one night? Sure, why not!

This afternoon I had a somewhat planned, somewhat impromptu meetup with three people I’ve only just been introduced to. Like Maka from one of my earlier posts, the girl I met today, Lucy, was introduced to me by my mom, who had gotten me a name and a phone number which I then used to find her on social media. Again, I made the initial friend request, sent messages, and off I went on more new friend-making. I had wanted to do a face to face meeting with Lucy and the other people going to this anime convention I’ve been wanting to go to now for a month, just to see who they were and get a feel for the vibe they gave off and whether we would mesh as friends, so we discussed schedules and places, etc., and today ended up being the day.

I arrived at our meetup place first, and for a good ten minutes was silently panicking that no one would show up and that I left the house for no reason. Well, they did show up and the greeting I got from Lucy was by far the friendliest one I’ve ever gotten from someone I’ve never met. She came right up and hugged me! That just made my whole day better. She had also come with her fiance, Terry, who is one of the other people in this group and shortly afterwards the third person, Chloe showed up. And the energy they gave off was exhilarating. Lucy was just a bundle of energy, like a hummingbird on speed, and she was happy and chatty and it wasn’t exhausting. It was refreshing. She has so much enthusiasm for, well, everything we talked about. The flow of conversation moved as quickly as my brain likes to move, which is to say, we’ll start on one topic and move to another without needing anything to transition. (And if that didn’t make sense, let’s just say the conversation was very fluid and tangential.)

We discussed cosplays and times and hotels, and possibly doing another meeting yet this week. And there was talk about different anime and Netflix and fabric and all this LARP talk, which I didn’t understand entirely (I got the gist of it, but not being part of their specific group made it a little hard to follow), but listening to them talk about it felt like how I talk to my best friend about my book and its characters, and her book and her characters. I felt like I would fit right in with this group and came home bubbling with energy myself, which is pretty good after another crappy night’s sleep. I’m super excited to be going to this convention with them. Just have to buy tickets yet…

Who knew making friends could be so easy? I guess when you’re around the right people, it just happens naturally, and I feel like I’ve found more of the right people.

Why Not Me?

Sorry for not posting for a couple days. One of my last writing sessions was moved due to me getting the opportunity to visit my new baby cousin. ^_^

When I was concocting this post in my head, initially it started as this long rambling tangent about the crappy morning I had had, which included waking up super early for no reason and then possibly having a panic attack in trying to fall back to sleep, but I’ll shorten it up for now.

So yesterday the one college friend that I still currently like, Jared, asked to come down to my house to watch the football game with me and my family. I hadn’t originally planned to watch it, but I was tired and told him sure, come on down, I could use a hug. (He gives really excellent hugs.) When he got here, and after I had come up from downstairs after shutting off my video game, we sat on the couch together watching the game. Now, a note about this guy: He’s the only straight guy in my trio of friends from college, and again the only one I’m on good terms with. And we’re friends, but it’s a tiny bit complicated. We’re pretty close as friends. We like a lot of the same video games, so when one of us gets really excited about one, the other shares in the enthusiasm. We’ve spent time together with just the two of us and have cuddled on a couple occasions. He also knows about and understands my anxiety, since I felt comfortable enough to tell him about it after he moved back here, which means he also knows about my issues with Gia, and he’s genuinely tried to smooth over some of the friction between us in a way that felt like he was swooping in to the rescue when she got a bit more sarcastic than was needed. And he likes a lot of my posts on social media, which at first struck me as odd because he didn’t do that when he was living out of state. I initially thought it might have meant something, but then I stopped thinking about it and went about doing what I normally do.

Now last night, he told me about this new girl he’s dating and hasn’t told many people about yet, and I’m ok with him telling me all this. He’s told me about pretty much all of his past girlfriends and how some of his issues with them arose and basically ended them all, including his recent engagement. Still not a big deal to me. I smile and nod and show genuine interest in what he’s talking about because I genuinely want him to be happy. But sometimes I also get on this train of thought of, “Why not me?”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not actively pining for him, but for me the thought process of dating him is simply about convenience. I wouldn’t have to go through that awkward get-to-know-you stage, we already have a lot of common interests, and the things I know next to nothing about I try to show an interest in and not just brush it off as nothing. He knows about my anxiety and doesn’t mind it; he actually gets it and knows that I will do certain things because of it. And I’m a nice enough person. My sarcasm and snarkiness are not overdone and off-putting (I don’t think…), I have my own income, and we’re perfectly comfortable with each other on a lot of things. I think what bothers me most about his seemingly lack of interest in me is that sometime during college he was interested in dating Gia and after seeing what a disgusting slob she is, I’m a little hurt to not be noticed.

On the other hand, when he told me he wasn’t sure about telling Gia about this new girlfriend of his, it made me think that maybe he doesn’t want to attempt this “dating friends” thing again because this “fling” with Gia didn’t end well. I mean they’re still friends, but clearly there’s still some barriers between them. And I totally get that. Being as he’s one of three people I feel I can trust and tell almost anything to, I wouldn’t want to lose him as a friend either. So instead of letting these feelings linger, because this isn’t the first time I’ve felt this way, I used them as inspiration for a character in my novel who is in a similar situation, which gave me a chance to put into words exactly what I was feeling and make use of those feelings.

What Anxiety Is To Me

I could not get this off my mind this morning so here it is. I was thinking about what to say to my doctor when she asks, “What makes you think you have an anxiety disorder?” because I know she’s likely to ask a variation of this when I next go in and ask if she or someone else has the ability to determine whether or not I have an actual disorder. I haven’t really wanted to know before, because to me, not knowing means not having to face it or the stigma that may come with it. But at the request of my best friend, I intend to ask at my next appointment, and I realized this morning that knowing what I may have will give me closure over it because then I won’t have to worry about what it is or read through a dozen different articles trying to figure out where my symptoms fit in.

I’m still very hesitant about seeing a therapist regularly only because I’m not sure I can afford it or if my insurance will cover it, and I already have problems talking to strangers about things I like, let alone my problems. On top of that, I’m very distrusting of doctors because so far, they have not given me a diagnosis or answer for something that I didn’t already know. When I went in to have my headaches checked out at the request of my mom, the doctor told me they were likely caused by stress at work, which I had told my mom a dozen times. A few weeks later when I had my first and only seizure, I went through a whole bunch of tests new to me, including an MRI, EEG, and EKG to see if they could find anything. Well, even with all those tests and blood work, the neurologist that I saw said he didn’t know why I had had that seizure. Quite honestly I had come to the conclusion that it was caused by me hitting my head when I fell.

So going in to possibly diagnosed with an anxiety disorder is daunting not only because I’m scared of the answer but also because I’m scared of being misdiagnosed or being told it’s nothing and to do such and such things to bring my anxiety levels down, which is something I’m already doing. Like little to no caffeine, regular exercise, and writing to empty the chaos in my head. Even little behavioral changes like trying to make small talk with the cashier at Wal-Mart or meeting new people one on one, or even just doing this blog to write out things I’ve never really put into words before and letting the feelings go so they don’t drag me down. I’m doing all of this now so I can avoid therapy in the future.

So here is what anxiety is to me. It’s having to make and know plans in advance so I can mentally prepare for that future event. Usually a week in advance is ideal, but I have made exceptions for last minute plans that were made a day in advance. It’s also replaying conversations in my head continuously trying to determine if I’ve said or done something wrong and overanalyzing everything to the point of feeling like everything I’ve ever done is wrong. It’s having to listen to music through headphones while grocery shopping in order to stay calm and focused enough to get everything I need as quickly as I can. It’s about avoiding people to stay home and chill where I know I’m going to be more comfortable anyway. It’s asking someone to make phone calls for me, especially for doctor’s appointments or talking to insurance people, because I get nauseous just thinking about it. It’s asking someone to go with me to a new place because I’m afraid of going by myself. It’s getting irrationally angry about something so insignificant it shouldn’t bother me, but it does, like channel flipping to avoid commercials or making noise just to make noise (like tapping a spoon against a glass bowl or screwing around with ringtones while I’m trying to listen to the tv). It’s about worrying unnecessarily over minor mistakes at work and the fear of being fired over something as small as a misspelled word.

All of these things, and some I haven’t mentioned, are what anxiety is to me. Everyone has different triggers but what we share is a fear we can’t control or sometimes even understand. And trying to explain it to someone who doesn’t have anxiety issues is like trying to explain why we exist. It’s impossible for them to fully comprehend our mental states, although there are a select few who really do try to be supportive and understanding (my mom is one of them). If you know someone who has anxiety, don’t be afraid to reach out to them, but let them come to you at their own pace as well. It’s hard to talk about and hard to trust someone with something so personal. And don’t try telling them to get over it or that they “should” do something just because it worked for someone else. We need to do what’s best for us and only we know what that is.