Anxiety as a Disability

When people tell me, “What do you have to be anxious about?”, I just want to smack them. Mental health is a HUGE deal lately and as someone with worsening anxiety, I take personal offense to anyone who brushes it off as nothing or says it’s “all in my head.”

Take today for example. My morning was ruined before 9am because of a phone call. It wasn’t anything particularly terrible, like a family death, but in my head, the accusatory tone of the person I was speaking to made me feel like a horrible person for doing what I was instructed (with regards to making the call) and for not knowing all the details of my claim process.

This led to a micro anxiety attack with tears and jaw clenching, and faded into a six-hour fatigue period. This fatigue is from my anxiety and is absolutely no fun at all. I spent most of my morning in a quiet, darkened room, and laying down trying to get comfy and relieve a minor headache. I had a funny show on the TV at a low volume to help distract my mind and I ended up taking a nap around 12:30. I didn’t have the energy to do anything. I didn’t even have the will to do anything except lay down and rest. How do people not think this is disabling?

And this was just after a minor attack. The one time I had a severe attack, I was so exhausted, achy, and fuzzy-brained that I had to call in sick for one entire day, and since it was a Friday, I had the rest of the weekend to recover. But it still took until Monday night for me to even start to feel better. A full four days to recover from a severe attack.

I’ve been tracking and monitoring my anxiety levels for the past two years and it’s progressively been getting worse, to the point where the attacks can be weekly, and the migraines and tension headaches I’ve been having, either as a result of an attack or as a precursor to one from the amount of stress I’ve been under, are up from once or twice a month to three or four times a week. Don’t worry, I’m off to see my doctor next week and I’ve made a list of anxiety symptoms that I believe are interfering with my daily life, as well as questions to ask. I’m also planning to ask if I should be seeing a psychologist more regularly to get a handle on this, because clearly I’m not doing well on my own.

I’m just tired of feeling tired and stressed all the time, and I’m worried that my anxiety will keep me from doing regular work again. Which is a sign that it can be considered a disability. Whether or not the disability agency thinks so is another hurdle I may be having to overcome in the near future.

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True Freedom

It’s very freeing, being out from under the yoke of your oppressor.

This was the very first sentence used to start this blog, and now it’s never been truer. When I started this blog, I had only made the mental decision to rid the toxic person from my life. I hadn’t deleted contact info, or social media contacts. I was always worrying about having to reply to awkward texts and having to be polite in them, even though I didn’t want to.

Now I don’t have to do any of that. I’ve deleted the contact info and social media contacts. I no longer expect to get any more texts, especially after I didn’t respond to the last one, though for now I’m keeping it as a reminder of what manipulation looks like. I am truly free.

Which means I can focus all my energy on my hobbies, my gaming, my writing! I’m on my second to last major character profile, which is proving difficult because he’s a mercenary. But I’m still there! My elemental ripple blanket is going so well also. I’ve moved onto the green, though I haven’t taken a full photo with the green on it.

And I’m working on my Final Fantasy gaming challenge, just got past Nibelheim in FF7 and I’m hoping today I can get to disc 2. However my cousin and her girlfriend are up for the weekend, and I don’t know how much time they’ll be spending up here visiting so maybe I won’t get to disc 2. But I’m still going to try.

And with that, my lovelies, I bid you adieu and never forget that you are the key to your own happiness. No one can make you unhappy unless you let them. Be true to yourself, let your nerd flag fly high, and rejoice in whatever makes you happiest. Much love ❤

Lost and Found

Now that things have calmed down a little and I’m more level headed, allow me to give you a little context for my recent explosion.

Monday morning I was sent a group text by Gia about getting together for a summer hangout time, since all four of us were home/in the state (we have a mutual friend who’s going to school in Arizona right now). Along the way of deciding dates and such, I made a simple, polite request for Gia to clean her apartment because of my health issues (allergies, mostly). I even included a remark that my allergies had been getting worse and that anything from animal hair to dust to pollen was aggravating my sinuses. And I knew firsthand that I wouldn’t enjoy myself if I had to spend most of the weekend with an ice pack to my face. Here’s where the first of the sparks fly.

Gia’s first response was half-heartedly sincere, but she had to point out that she ALWAYS tries to clean her place before guests arrive. Note the key word “tries.” Then she added that she’ll shave her cats and hire a maid service, and not to be surprised if her cats magically had all their hair back come the weekend we had settled on. If you can’t tell, this was heavy sarcasm. First off, the fact that she had to point out that she always tries to clean her place annoyed me because it’s a lie, unless cleaning house doesn’t include dishes or taking out the recyclables. Second, I can take a joke, but the sarcasm regarding her cats and a maid service was not only unnecessary but also showed me her true unwillingness to take my request seriously. For those of you who’ve had sinus infections or have allergies and no medication seems to offer relief, it’s no fun having your face hurt and not being able to do anything about it.

In any case, I ignored the sarcasm because I know that’s how her personality is. Next came the discussion of who would pick up who, what routes to take, etc. and after much discussion and a period of silence, I decided to make an executive decision: to have Jerad pick me up late afternoon that Friday so we could go up to Gia’s, and Gia could pick up our other friend around the time he was done with work. Well, earlier Gia had mentioned that she could get off work at noon and in my executive decision, I mentioned that she could use that extra time to clean her apartment before getting our other friend, not in a mean sort of way. I just know she’s busy with a full time job and she’s very tired after work and I understand that sometimes you just don’t have the energy to do something. Plus I’ve heard her mention to me several times she “ran out of time” or “didn’t have the energy” to clean the place up. So my suggestion to use the afternoon to clean was meant to be helpful, not hurtful.

Gia takes it as hurtful and responds with a photo that said, “Bitch, don’t tell me what to do,” and that I am not ok with her place and if the other two can think of a better place to meet, that would be great. To which I responded that I just wouldn’t come if she was going to be that way about a simple request. It should also be noted that I’ve been having an anxiety attack for about an hour and both of my parents have seen it and been trying to council and console me.

The next day Gia sends a message to all of us to “disregard and cancel all plans made yesterday. I forgot I had babysitting duties that weekend.” My first thought: Are you fucking kidding me? You triggered an anxiety attack on me for nothing?! And of course, this is where I snapped and deleted her from all my emails, my phone, and my social media. And then the narcissistic manipulator comes out and sends me a long text the following morning with this great sob story about how I’m immature for taking her off my social media and that I’m not the only one with medical issues; how this could’ve been resolved by a little self awareness and we could’ve talked it out like mature adults. But the way she wrote it makes it sound like she’s the victim, the only one with hurt feelings, and she pulled Jerad into it by saying something along the lines of having to mention her own health issues because “a little birdy whom apparently speaks for you had to lecture me since you apparently do not comprehend sarcasm anymore.”

I mentioned before that I recognized her sarcasm and ignored it. However, the fact that she blatantly attacked Jerad for no reason really irritated me. First of all I’m sure he wasn’t actually lecturing her. He’s too nice a guy for that. And second, I didn’t ask him to speak for me. He did that all himself, for which I thanked him in genuine appreciation for because sometimes it’s hard for me to speak at all, especially during an attack. I’m glad he wanted to be an advocate for me.

Since receiving this long text, I have not responded or risen to meet her challenge. I’ve had several long internal thoughts of writing a revenge letter or something about karma being a bitch, but up until now, I haven’t written anything down. It should also be noted that she pulled this same kind of thing when we were living together and having all the tension. She messaged me a big long spiel about everything we were both feeling at the time and when I responded via the messenger that I felt the exact same way, her retort, in all caps, was “And yet no words!” I don’t remember what else she put with that but I was hysterical and bawling my eyes out because I was desperate to end the fighting and once I calmed myself down enough, I managed to go out to the living room by her and apologize, even though I wasn’t the only one at fault. (I never got an apology from her.)

So I know where this trap goes and although I may have lost a 10 year friendship, I’ve found something more important. Confidence, self respect, and freedom from my tormentor. Being that this year is meant to be about taking care of myself and finding new things about myself, letting go of this abusive friendship is refreshing and freeing, and I feel so much lighter now that it’s finally over. It might’ve been messy and volatile, but it’s done and over with, and that’s what matters. No one has the right to bring you down and make you out to be the bad guy when you’ve done nothing wrong, though I will admit I wasn’t perfect either and things could’ve been handled better. But your reaction to a situation shows what kind of person you are, and if you need to walk away before things explode, to avoid getting burned, then don’t be afraid to walk away. Some things just aren’t worth it.

The Last Straw

That’s it. I’ve had it. I’m done.

I’m cutting all ties with Gia for good. I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life. I don’t need to be scolded for suggesting she clean her apartment twice in the same conversation (How dare I!) and be lied to about her ALWAYS having her apartment clean when guests arrive. Bull. Shit.

I deleted her contact info from all my emails and my phone, and unfriended her on Facebook. I’m done. Triggering a second anxiety attack over something so stupid is two attacks too many.

pocahontas-bye-felicia

Pre-Midlife Crisis

The reason this is titled the way it is, is because I’m not old enough to be having a midlife crisis, but I imagine this is what it would feel like anyway. Earlier I was trying to take a nap and after half an hour of limited shut-eye, I had a disturbing revelation, though not one I haven’t thought about before, but this time it felt as honest and true as anything I’ve ever felt.

I don’t want to be at my current job for the rest of my life.

If the last year and a half have taught me anything, it’s that I love editing and correcting people’s grammar, but it’s been nothing but a rollercoaster, and not the fun kind either. This has been the kind of rollercoaster that jerks you around and makes you want to vomit at every turn. Not for the first time, I thought, god, I’m bored with this tediousness. The same crap day in and day out, never knowing what to expect in the morning work-wise, and not getting paid enough for some of the bullshit I have to deal with. It’s exhausting. I just don’t feel like I can do it anymore.

More of the people I like working with have already left or are leaving soon and I’m down to maybe three people I actually like to work with because we communicate better than the new people. We’re being sent regular emails about how to improve our “efficiency” or new changes to something, even though we just changed it a few weeks ago. Most recently, we got a harsh email about a spelling mistake in one of our forms, and what’s ironic about that, the person who sent it, as the head of our department, made an error in the first sentence of his email. Ridiculous, right?

I’m not sure how much longer I can suck it up and deal with this nonsense. But I also don’t want to lose my only source of income and I don’t know how my family will take the news. I’m not even sure they will support me if I decide to leave.

Weight Loss: The Never-ending Struggle

Let’s face it: not everyone is happy with their bodies, and unless you were gifted with the metabolism of a five year old and can get away with eating whatever you want, whenever you want, and as much as you want, you may have dealt with, or know someone who’s dealt with, the struggle of weight loss at least once. I’ll admit I’ve been struggling with it my whole life and it never really seemed to bother me until middle school. And then in college it really started to bother me, because I spent a lot of time alone for six or more months and did a lot of stress eating. None of my clothes fit and I had to keep going up in sizes. I wasn’t really happy with anything about myself.

Then halfway through my sophomore year of college, my doctor at the time told me to lose 50 pounds in 6 months. I was like, yeah right, lady. First off, since I was literally fighting genetics, it was going to be more of a cliff scaling battle for me than a gentle, sloping, uphill battle. Second, the most exercise I did on a daily basis was walking from one end of campus to the other. But I decided I at least needed to try. So I started eating a little healthier (or as healthy as school food goes) and I tried taking the stairs more often, which in my case, meant walking up five flights and taking the elevator the rest of the way since I lived on the tenth floor. And I talked my roommate (Gia) into going to our health and wellness center for weekly Zumba classes. Which turned out to be a lot of fun. I absolutely loved them. By the end of the semester, I had managed to lose 20 pounds and I was super proud of myself for that. I tried to keep it up the rest of my college life.

Fast forward to after graduation. Gia and I found an apartment together and because of where she worked, she discovered this smoothie place which was supposed to be really good for you and the smoothies were like meal replacements. I had a good job at the time and decided to try this fad diet. Well, as it turns out, it was just a fad. I managed to get back down to my high school weight and was wearing clothing sizes I had never worn before. But after I lost my job and could no longer afford to pay for the stuff, I gained back everything I had lost, plus a few extra pounds, just from eating real food instead of drinking two of my meals. It was awful. And then on top of that, the falling out had begun and I was stressed out and stress eating again, even though I was still trying to work out in my room by doing stuff like pushups, sit-ups, etc. Now, since living at home, I’ve managed to keep a (semi) regular routine, though it varies week to week and I’ve found two things I never thought I would enjoy as much as I do. Yoga and Pilates. Yoga is more for pain relief and stretching tight muscles and Pilates is for toning, weight loss, and general overall fitness.

That being said, over the past five months I’ve noticed a trend. I’m neither losing nor gaining weight. I’m maintaining it. Which, honestly, after 10+ years is kind of a relief. Am I happy with my current weight? No. But I’m stronger than I was then, I’m more flexible than I’ve ever been, and I’ve also been able to step back a little and find what makes me beautiful in my own eyes, which I’ve never been able to do until the past few years. I’m chubby. My best friend will say I’m not but I am. I like to think I’m cuddly and plush, and besides my sinus problems, which were gifted to me by my mother, I’m the healthiest one in my family, aside from being overweight. But I keep pushing myself to try and be better. Most days, that means just finding the energy or the will to work out, and most times I feel better afterwards, albeit sore and sweaty. And I think what’s hardest about learning to love yourself, is seeing what’s beyond the mirror and into what makes you special. Your shape and weight do not define who you are. I’m overweight and I love to work out and eat healthy foods like salads and fruits and veggies, but I also like my junk food. I’m addicted to Pringles and chocolate. But my weight isn’t going to define me. It’ll just push me to be stronger and to do better for myself, because I’m the only one who can. Fad diets are only good if you stay on them. And only you can decide what makes you happy, if you’re willing to look past the mirror and see the beauty within. Much love and respect ❤

Too Little, Too Late/Making Plans

I know today isn’t my usual posting day, but I have a fun story to tell from yesterday. I was visiting my cousin-in-law and her new baby with my mom, and I was texting my friend Jared, who lives in the area, but was in school. We have this thing that if we’re passing through the area, we text each other something silly like, “Waving hi from ‘x-city’, etc.” and so I texted him saying I was in the area. Anyway, as I’m sitting on the couch cuddling with my baby cousin, I get a message out of the blue from Gia saying something along the lines of, “Hey, I feel like I haven’t heard from you in ages. Just wanted to check in and see what’s up with you.”

My first thought was, “Oh, NOW you decide to message me, after we haven’t spoken directly to each other since January, and even then, I left early on New Years Day because I didn’t want to be around you.” I think I may have actually rolled my eyes too. In any case, I responded so as not to appear rude, and come to find out, the only reason she messaged me was to see if we could get together for lunch at the end of the month because she’s coming home for a family vacation. So, in all honesty, it’s not that she’s making any special effort to come and see me just for the heck of it. She’s only asking to see me because she’ll be in the area anyway. At least Jared and I make more of an effort to see each other just because. I’m actually thinking of planning a trip up there again soonish. Clearly, I was putting more effort into the former friendship with Gia than she was.

So my plan is to be busy on the day she wants to get together. Or, maybe I’ll go and rub my latest adventure in her face, since she couldn’t be bothered to give me a solid yes or no answer on the matter.

Now, for the other, happier part of this post. Wednesday night, my mother made the mistake of taking me into the store she works for in order to find a color combination of fabric I liked for a shirt they were doing as a demo for one of their education classes. We ended up getting fabric for the shirt, as well as three dresses, the pattern for which is for a different class at the same store. After we got home, she had me help her cut out the pattern for both the shirt and the dress, which actually wasn’t too bad, despite me having to use the scissors I’ve had since kindergarten. They’re literally four inches long and terrible for pattern cutting because of their size.

Anyway, we got the patterns cut and while I was actually in the store, I was very excited about picking out fabrics and thread and zippers, all that stuff to make clothes, and when I was looking for the adult Belle dress pattern, I ended up finding four cosplay patterns I really wanted. And the best part? I got the four of them (plus one other one, our own copy of the shirt pattern) for less than the price of one because they were all on sale. So super win there! I also mentioned that I would really like to learn to make my own cosplays because I’m kind of a weird shape, and a little on the larger side, and I don’t feel comfortable ordering from someone else without knowing how it’ll fit when I get it, especially since most commissioned orders like that are expensive because they’re all handmade. At least if I make it myself, I can try it on as I’m making it to see how it fits.

The problem with that is I don’t actually know how to sew…But mom told me she would be glad to start teaching me as soon as next week, since she has three days off (as of right now) and we can do little projects during my afternoon work breaks, and possibly at night when she’s home. I also got an offer from one of my new friends, Lucy from a previous post, to get together with her for a sewing day and she would help teach me how to sew. She tried to set up yesterday as our day, but I was gone most of the morning. 😀

She did mention getting together on Sunday, as that’s her usual day off, but I already have plans for Sunday as well, so I’m thinking about doing it the following Sunday, since that next Monday I’ll be helping my parents clean our mountainous Christmas collection. And I really would like to sew. Our home economics class in high school basically taught us how to handle a baby and how to cook. I’ve only hand sewn two things in my whole life and only because they were on a seam so it looked pretty easy. And to my knowledge, the sweater I sewed is still intact. So now, I would like to learn what I would consider another essential life skill, even if it takes me a little while to get the hang of it. Plus then, I can make my own cosplays and feel the same source of pride I imagine other cosplayers have after spending hours and hours of time on their own outfits. I have a deep respect for those people, and being among other cosplayers puts me in my element. Being able to make my own outfits would just add to the circle of my reinvention.