Thursday, December 11, 2014

Set Backs and Such

I had a panic attack today, which is kind of funny because I have been telling people in recent weeks that, yeah, I had anxiety once that was debilitating!  But I'm over it now.

Apparently I'm not as over it as I thought.

I have been careful in the last year not to overwhelm myself with too many activities, and be busy more than a few days in a row. However, I have a tendency, when I start feeling better, to push faster than is wise....and it always catches up with me.

I imagine this panic attack has been brewing for about a week, I've been way busier than normal, I haven't been eating quite as well, and the new responsibilities I've taken on at work are starting to feel a little heavy. I've been more reactive with my coworkers, and nit picky details have worn me down.

I'm not sure exactly what the trigger was this afternoon, but I started to feel panicky.  It may have been all the work I need to finish by the end of the day, and all of the things I needed to accomplish tonight to prepare for a trip this weekend. I remember thinking about how my boyfriend had asked me to go to his neighborhood HOA meeting since he couldn't be there, and that I was planning to go, but with all the other things going on it seemed like that HOA meeting would prevent me from getting everything done.  In my mind, I was letting my bf down big time by not having the capacity to go to the HOA meeting, I had just found I let some things slip at work, and I lost it.

I called the bf and left him a nearly hysterical message about how I was overwhelmed, and that I was sorry, but I wouldn't make the HOA meeting.  This was approximately 8 minutes before a client meeting.

After hanging up, I cried, hyperventilated, and generally panicked. I then pulled myself together enough to sit on a web conference.

The bf called a few hours later, and I tearfully walked him through what was going on.

I think the most upsetting thing about the whole episode is that I had said to myself 'I am never going back' ...not going back to the stress, anxiety, unhealthy habits, etc.

I have forgotten how disastrous panic attacks are to ones day... I couldn't concentrate afterwards, I felt scattered and exhausted. I felt like I was a huge disappointment.

I was barely functional for several hours.

This is not the place I want to be.

The bf reminded me that it was about the middle of the month, and that he's noticed that I tend to be more emotional during that time.  I'm not entirely sure what my hormones are doing, but there is a time between my period and ovulation that I seem to loose it a bit.

We also talked about how I've had a bunch of body work lately- acupuncture, chiro, and lymph massage that could have stirred some things up.

I'm hopeful that it's just a convergence of events that led to this, and that I'm not slipping into a new normal, because I desperately don't want to go back.

Monday, August 11, 2014


I've recently started trying to make sense of the last year.

The short story is on July 27 of 2013  I found a lump in my left breast and didn't handle it well.
Even when the results of various imaging work came back benign not once, but twice.

At one point, a friend who is a cancer survivor on Facebook posted an article that talked about how once remission status was reached, a person didn't necessarily feel totally relieved, or go back to their normal self.

I really identified with the article, not because I had cancer and survived it, but because when the benign results came back, I didn't  feel relieved. I kept thinking 'but it still could happen'.  I also haven't gone back to my pre-lump self- as I mentioned in my last post, I'm struggling with who as was versus who I am now.

I realized two or three months ago that I'm doing a really good job at fixing the physical aspects  that were at the root cause of my health issues- mainly hormone imbalance that has probably been going on since late high school or early college.

I also realized that finding the lump for me was an emotional shock, one that I had not realized was present until a few months ago, and one that I was not doing a good job at addressing.

I  think the awareness that the shock was present was key- the fact that I  recognized it helped lessen the shock a little bit.

One of the treatments I sought out that helped the most with the emotional shock was going to a very gifted lymph massage therapist that also does advanced energy healing (CJ at LymphWorks in Fort Collins, CO), which was in early July 2014.

Since then, I feel like the shock is primarily in the background, instead of at the for front of every day. I've also been able to look at the experiences of the last year more objectively.

During on of my more objective looks, I realized something else- finding the lump and the resulting treatments to address the hormone balance were fairly unexpected.  I thought that I was doing a pretty good job at living a healthy life,  I don't smoke anything, don't drink much, don't participate in risky behaviors, and yet .... I had some health issues.

At the time I didn't realize how bad my stress and anxiety  were in the years leading up to the health issues, and how much stress and anxiety can adversely affect ones health.  Had I truly known that, I probably wouldn't have been surprised.

But I didn't know, and the lump seemed to come out of the blue, and I think that's one of the reasons I  just didn't handle most things well after July of 2013.

I often wonder now how other people I know would have reacted in the same situation. Would they have been more calm?  More open (I didn't tell anyone for several months, and even then kept it relatively quiet)?  Not been bothered much?

There was a period of about 2 months last December and January where I  basically became a hermit.  All of the dietary and lifestyle changes that I needed to make were overwhelming,  so I stopped going out, stopped talking to friends and family, and just learned how to take care of myself.  I had disabled my Facebook account a month or so earlier, so I  really had no idea what  was going on with every one else.  I thought, if I can barely handle whats happening in my own life, I certainly don't want the added stress of knowing what's going on in other peoples lives.

The nice thing about being a hermit for a few months is that I really learned what it meant to take care of myself.  While I still struggle to balance self care and the rest of my life, I've gotten much better at it.  I've also gotten much better at saying no to things that will make maintaining that balance more difficult.

It's been just over a year since I found the lump.  I'm hoping that this year I can put all the worries and shock related to finding the lump aside, and just focus on my new lifestyle and diet as something that I want to do to live a healthy life, instead of something I have to do out of fear.

The recent (and future blogging)  is one of my attempts to make sense of things....maybe if these thoughts aren't rattling around in my head, maybe if they're written down somewhere, I'll stop needing to think them.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Blank Canvases are Immobilizing

This past year has been difficult for me, for various reasons.
I have made several changes in my life, from diet, to the way I take care of myself, to work responsibilities, and in that process I have been changed.

I suppose when I started all the changes, I figured there were things about my life that would change, but that my fundamental personality would stay they same.

I was wrong.

The problem with fundamental personality shifts is that you retain the memory of who you were before, what you used to do, what you used to like, and how you used to react to things....kind of like program settings.

When you try to apply your old life settings to your current settings it is confusing, and doesn't work out very well.

For example,  since I work from home and don't see other humans during the day, I was alllllll about going out and socializing in the evenings.  It didn't really matter what else was going on in my life, I was up for just about anything at anytime.

Now I find myself starting to avoid  most social situations if there will be more than a handful of people. Sometimes I avoid one on one time too.

It's not that I'm unhappy about avoiding social situations, either.  I'm actually quite pleased about it.  I've been relishing quiet time more and more.  I like hanging out with my dogs and putzing in the yard.

The issue comes when I compare the two settings, I suppose because I don't fully comprehend how I went from one extreme to the other.

In some ways if feels like I'm starting over- now that I understand I don't HAVE to live by my old settings, I can choose something different!

However, I am one of those people that have found blank canvases terrifying, immobilizing. There's so much opportunity  that the choices are overwhelming.

I find myself drifting.

I feel like I need a plan, any sort of plan, to give me some direction.

Compared to where I was a year ago, this is not a bad place to be .

I just don't know how to figure out what to do next.