Category Archives: Anxiety

One day … See You On The Other Side

Where does the time go?!  Why do some things never get any easier with time?  Why does my heart ache so?  Why does my anxiety level just skyrocket this time of the year? This weekend is so hard already for me.  Was in NYC and every time I heard a siren, I found myself nearly jumping off the sidewalk.  Too much sadness in the world.  So much on the news.  Sunday will mark 15 years since 9/11 terrorist attacks.  My life the past 22 years since my brother died in 1994, followed by my Dad’s passing in 1998 and then my fiance’s death on 9/11/2001- has been a long journey of loss, worry, depression, grief, anxiety, failure and slowly healing.  Each death, each loss, each time – something about my life changed and I lost pieces of myself.

Time does not fully heal all wounds.  I may still be broken, and my heart remains shattered…but it still beats and for that I am grateful.  The past few years of heartbreak and loss have also shown me much compassion and gratitude, and strengthened my faith. Some of my fear has diminished and I have more clarity, focus, determination to live fully for them.  I have found some peace.  Grief doesn’t end for me; doesn’t go away…but it does change.  Times like this weekend stir too many memories – good and bad.  Sadly, so many people believe that my grieving is a sign of weakness – but they are wrong.  Some people believe I lack faith – but they are also wrong.  My grieving after all these years is a testament to the love I shared with these men in my life.  The price I pay each and every minute, of every single day for loving them; for allowing their love to be a part of me.  So I don’t care if people think I am weak or mad.  I have had magic in my life and there is still fire in my will.  My brother, my Dad, Michael, my forever heart – they don’t just cross my mind, every once in a while – they live in it.  Always loved, forever missed.  In laughter and in sorrow, in sunshine and in rain – I know they are watching over me… my very own Angels in Heaven… until we meet again.

Grief is my shadow – following me everywhere I go.  Pain is manageable, dulled by my memories.  Ache is constant, made more hollow with sadness.  But then love and compassion fill me with light and hope.  Sunshine comforts me.   Some days I allow myself to just exist, no pressure and I get through it without guilt. I am able to find peace in moments of time, where I move forward, slowly with grace in my step, hope in my heart and smile through my tears.    Just breathing.

This song gets me each and every time … Ozzy Osbourne – “See You On The Other Side”:

Voices, a thousand, thousand voices
Whispering, the time has passed for choices
Golden days are passing over, yeah

I can’t seem to see you baby
Although my eyes are open wide
But I know I’ll see you once more
When I see you, I’ll see you on the other side
Yes, I’ll see you, I’ll see you on the other side

Leaving, I hate to see you cry
Grieving, I hate to say goodbye
Dust and ash forever, yeah

Though I know we must be parted
As sure as stars are in the sky
I’m gonna see when it comes to glory
And I’ll see you, I’ll see you on the other side
Yes I’ll see you, I’ll see you on the other side

Never thought I’d feel like this
Strange to be alone, yeah
But we’ll be together
Carved in stone, carved in stone, carved in stone

Hold me, hold me tight, I’m falling
Far away. Distant voices calling
I’m so cold. I need you darling, yeah

I was down, but now I’m flying
Straight across the great divide
I know you’re crying, but I’ll stop you crying
When I see you, I see you on the other side
Yes. I’ll see you. See you on the other side
I’m gonna see you. See you on the other side
God knows I’ll see you, see you on the other side, yeah

I’ll see you. See you on the other side
I’m gonna see you. See you on the other side
God knows I’ll see you, see you on the other side, yeah
I wanna see you, yeah, yeah, yeah, see you on the other side
God knows I’ll see you, see you on the other side, yeah
I’m gonna see you. See you on the other side

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Frozen With Fear …

I just learned that I have a new phobia – as if I wasn’t a mess enough as is: Pagophobia is an intense, irrational fear of ice and frost. I am irrationally afraid of slipping on ice and breaking something – especially my right arm and hand.  I can’t afford to break it again – it just will never heal.  After three years of being bit by a car, and over of year of mending, rehabilitation, I still only have 70% mobility in my right, used to-be dominant arm.

Wow!  The total number of days between Monday, January 14th, 2013 and Thursday, January 28th, 2016 is 1,109 days.  This is equal to 3 years and 14 days.  I don’t want to lose anymore time, days to being afraid.

I am grateful that I am not completely paralyzed by my fears of falling.  I still manage to get outside, but I get so anxious, uncomfortable, slightly nauseous; I start perspiring, breathing heavier, walk slower …

I have learned that some people with this phobia have it severe.  They refuse to leave their house when ice or frost is outside.  Heard of a person who was so severely phobic that they couldn’t look at ice cubes or ice cream, buy frozen food, venture out in the snow or cope with ice crunch sounds like egg shells and crisps.

pagophobia

Lucky for me,  I still enjoy ice cream, and love ice even in my coffee.   I am grateful for these small pleasures and indulgences.  Life truly is too short to worry about falling … come spring time.

As if I didn’t have enough issues – mentally, emotionally and physically … moving forward … albeit slowly until spring time …with grace in my step and hope in my heart!


No More Silence ….

My Texan friend was walking the Grapevine Trails in Texas the other day and ran into a video shoot in the making. He shares the story of how he met the beautiful two women who make up the Nashville duo of Mersi Stone. They were shooting the video for their song Push Me – how very exciting. SO of course, I had to look them up and WOW I came across this powerfully beautiful song and video.

And with October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month – made this song more forceful and compelling. Take a listen – spread awareness. Take a Stand Against Domestic Violence. Domestic Violence Needs To Stop!

#TakeAStandAgainstDomesticViolence
#TakeAStand
#StopDomesticAbuse


PTSD … still …

Its been two years since I got hit by a car. And my anxiety, especially during the winter months, has not diminished. Lately, its at an all time high!! I am so afraid of slipping on the ice, breaking more bones. So much anxiety. I have definitely noticed how being hit by a car has changed the way I experience the city. Every time I see a taxi cab coming down the street, an almost daily sight, my thoughts rebound to my accident. Some changes, like never stepping off the curb until the light has actually changed, or looking both ways before crossing (sometimes twice), are probably good in a way. But all these inane thought race through my head in seconds – I am never again sure that a car will stop, and now my carefree walking in the city has come to and – abruptly and forever.

Although I recovered, for the most part, physically, I still walk around the city with a sense of permanent vulnerability. I still cannot cross many streets without looking both ways about four times and looking over my shoulder a dozen times while crossing. If a car gets too close, or if I think a driver turning my way doesn’t see me, I panic, break out in a sweat, and sometimes literally freeze. Sometimes, on crowded walkways, people stare, get frustrated with me, bump into me … all which just adds more anxiety.

Physically, I have been certainly recovering. But the last two years, I have became seriously depressed. Drugs did not help all that much. I was referred to a post-traumatic stress disorder therapist and during non-winter months, I think I am ok. But now my PTSD is at the forefront of my life. Waiting for the winter blues literally to leave so some of my depression can gradually lift.

For a long time, though, my life was defined by my accident. And I guess it still is -0 just when I thought I could put things behind me. So much is how much of my energy and time is spent on all the medical procedures, tests, rehabs, doctors’ visits etc., building anxiety, not to mention all that time I missed from work before they laid me off. And now looking to go back to work, I see how much I have really lost.

And the experience lingers, both mentally and physically. I have regained about 80 percent of my mobility and 70 percent of my strength, but it is just not the same. So many things I still can’t do, and this only leaves me more frustrated and disappointed. In my mind, I’ll never be the same and that’s heartbreaking to some extent.

And the fear and the vulnerability stay with me. I wasn’t paralyzed or killed, so I felt fortunate. Being hit by a car did, however, damage my sense of security and safety. I am still working my head around all of this.

I have become an exceedingly careful pedestrian. *sigh* I guess that is a good thing. I never got my driver’s license, I never quite liked cars nor traffic, but these days I am even more against them. I just pray to return to some form of stability — both on a professional and personal level as well as emotionally and physically.

I desperately seek and need the feeling of responsibility and accomplishment. I want my life back. But am keeping my true appreciation for why I am still here.


Mental Health

Today is National Depression Screening Day, ‪Bipolar Awareness Day, and ‪‎World Mental Health Day. I have lived all my life with family members who are manic, depressed, alcoholic dependent, and have extreme personality mood swings, and are most times than not in complete denial. I myself suffer from depression and all too aware. I know sometimes when I look back, I am completely lost. We all need to work together to work on increasing our awareness, acceptance and be more patient. Help eliminate the stigma.

This quote by Spike Milligan resonates with me: ‘It’s a gift and a curse. You get the pain much worse than anybody else, but you see a sunrise much more beautiful than anybody else!’

This is how I feel so many times…You start to wonder if maybe something has come over her and she’s finally coming around. Maybe this is the start of something better, more peace, less tension. You even get a little upset wondering, “Well why can’t she just be like this?” And that’s the part that keeps you sucked in, thinking she can someday rehabilitate her attitude and behaviors toward you after all this time. My expectations were always off track. I felt that I just held onto just hope. But I learned that sometimes it’s that very hope – false hope – that keeps us inappropriately connected. You want what you can’t have – a mom who’s proud of you, a grandma who doesn’t pit people against each other, a sister you can trust. When you can accept the face value of your painful situation instead of the fantasy, it gets easier to live with.

Now that doesn’t mean you alienate yourself from the very people you love but drag you so deep down. Sometimes we just have to be inwardly and outwardly strong, brave, patient. Breathe. Count to ten. Limit the contact. Call once in a while, be around for two hours at Christmas, or have dinner once a month. You may need to set some strong boundaries when they start to treat you poorly. That might mean getting up and leaving their house, hanging up the phone, carefully choose what gatherings you attend, etc. And truthfully, it means setting your expectations pretty low. Casual activity that doesn’t get emotional is ideal, unless they are so destructive you should cut them off completely. Lucky for me I have not had to cut any family member out completely.

Sometimes you can stay around and take it, hoping they would get into a better mood; other times you just have to leave and wait. Pray. Hope. There is always hope. If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it….truer words have not been shared.

“Every day may not be good…but there’s something good in every day”
-Alice Morse Earle

I choose to live my life with awareness, hope, faith, patience, and grace in my step.


Just venting…

Life. Life sometimes really sucks. Period.

Being a divorced, single, childless woman in my 40s battling cancer yet again is just a sad state to find myself in…again.

Divorced Female, Going Bald, Undergoing Chemo and Radiation, Going Through Menopause, Weight Fluctuations, Mood swings…

Oh yeah, isn’t that the first profile you would click on if you were searching for the love of your life or even just a new ‘friend’ online? Dating in itself – or, I should say, finding someone to date – is never easy. Finding someone when you happen to be bald, going through chemo and/or making daily trips to the hospital for chemotherapy and radiation makes it a zillion times more complicated. Trust me, I know. I have tried it. I am not sure why I have tried it but I did. Logically, I knew it was not the best idea. But heck, I guess I am bored, optimistic, stupid?!

Going through cancer treatment can be really tough for a single woman. You may not have a friend or family member who can be there for you like a partner. You may also worry about how a current or future partner will react when they find out you’ve had cancer.

Perhaps the most private scar left by cancer is the damage done to your view of yourself. My self-image is completely distorted at times. I constantly find myself worried if I can ever catch up, keep up or even get going on most days. I wonder how active I can be and even how long I will live. If I ever even allow myself to think about remarrying one day, I obsess about if I should ever involve a partner in such an uncertain future.

In the past, concerns about having children also affected my relationships. I became infertile many years ago with my first bout of cancer. So alone I am.

I have been single most of my life. And I live by this quote by prixie: “Single is not a status. It is a word that describes a person who is strong enough to live and enjoy life without depending on others.”

Yes I am scared. Tired of not having someone special around. But the reality is I am my own person, and if I can’t enjoy being single, how can I enjoy being with someone else?

The most difficult thing for me about going through cancer yet again is doing it single, alone. In the past, I had a much larger, strong support network so I was hardly ever alone. But now I find myself more alone. At a time when closeness is so much more important, I feel so utterly singularly alone. During this time, my treatment, I am trying so hard to be brave and not complain too much. But staying quiet and calm, doesn’t prevent me from being lonely sometimes and longing for someone to hold me at night and whisper that everything is going to be alright. Or even just to take me to dinner, make me laugh, smile and forget about cancer for a little while, make me feel desirable. I have friends who take pity on me and take me out for dinner, and make me laugh but its just sadly not quite the same thing. Sometimes I just so desperately want to ignore the cancer.

Nearly everyone I encounter who has or has had cancer – friends, people at the hospital, family, people in books and on TV – were either married or in a serious relationship when they were diagnosed; or children with caring parents. Not me. I am in the very vulnerable single state and not having someone to hold my hand every step of the way, makes me wistful, if not angry sometimes. But instead of just being jealous of others in relationships with supportive loving partners, feeling sorry for myself, I keep trying online dating. It makes me feel somewhat normal.

Within minutes of posting a new photo online, I had e-mails from men ready to shower me with attention. Of course, most weren’t exactly my type, but you need to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince, right?! lol

I guess I am lucky somewhat … I have had some really interesting email exchanges, but alas have not found the man of my dreams during treatment. Still, dating during treatment restores my self-confidence, reassures me that I am still attractive, and distracts me enough moments at a time. The way I see it, is that everyone is unique and carries baggage of some kind and this is only one part of me, I guess. Just tired today of carrying all this baggage. Tired of my hand dangling alone.

So yes … Life. Life sometimes really sucks. Period.


I know I will see you again …

I get so more melancholy and turn more quietly inward – especially between August through September. I have lost so many people I truly loved. For the past 13 years, I dread today. I dread the anniversary and the repeated replays of the planes, the impacts, the fireballs and the collapsing towers.

It truly is like ripping off a Band-Aid … but my heart feels this open wound. Today, 13 years ago, I lost four true friends, one my irreplaceable heart, my soul mate.

The days will always be brighter because he existed. The nights will always be darker because he’s gone. And no matter what anybody says about grief, and about time healing all wounds, the truth is, there are certain sorrows that never fade away until the heart stops beating and the last breath is taken. Always my heart ♥mm♥ …(Excerpt from Tiffanie DeBartolo, God-Shaped Hole)

I have come to realize that destiny can hurt a person as much as it can bless them, and I find myself wondering why – out of all the people in all the world I could ever have loved – I had to fall in love with someone who was taken away from me.

One day he was there and then all of a sudden, he is gone. There’s less of him each passing year. And you wonder where that part went – if it’s living somewhere, outside of you, and you keep thinking maybe you’ll get it back. And then you realize…it’s just gone.

Many say it’s easier to burn than to build; many say it’s easier to hurt than to heal…But I say you lose when you give up what you love…And I’ve lived my life without that long enough.

I hold pieces of him; I hold them so tight that they eventually become pieces of myself that am still learning to grow from but never away from. I hold onto them so tight that they eventually become the only pieces that can hold my shaky bones together. They become the only pieces that can keep this broken heart of mine held together…

Have you ever thought that if one thing hadn’t happened, a whole set of things never would have either? Like dominoes in time, a single event kicked off an unstoppable series of changes that gained momentum and spun out of control, and nothing was ever the same again. Don’t ever doubt that a mere second can change your life forever. It can. It has. Everything does really happen for a reason.

I’ve got no more illusions…I know I’ll see you again…but for today, I am allowing myself to fully experience the full impact of my loss. Grieving all over again. Grief…I am following it, crying when I want to, yelling at God, screaming into my pillow, and avoiding most people and definitely the news.

Grief is itself the only medicine I need right now. And anyone who doesn’t understand this or who can’t accept, stay away from me. So fake better stay away from me.

“After a while you learn the subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul. You learn that kisses aren’t contracts and presents aren’t promises. You learn that loving doesn’t mean leaning and company doesn’t always mean security, and you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much. After a while you learn to build all your dreams on today because tomorrows ground is too uncertain for dreams, and futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight. After a while you learn to accept your defeats with your head held with the grace of a woman and not the grief of a child. After a while you learn to plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone else to bring you flowers. And you learn that you really are strong, that you really do have self worth, and you can endure, and you learn and learn, with every “goodbye” you learn…” (Veronica A. Shoffstall)

“I am not the happiest person. In fact, in the battle between joy and misery, I’d say that the latter often seems to prevail. I don’t like this, and every day I refuse, for the eighty millionth time, to put up with another minute of it. But the world does what it does, and I often find it disagreeable. After all these years, I’m kind of resigned to that. But I do have one thing on my side: I have enormous faith. And hope. I am not speaking of the kind you find in church or in the afterlife or in heaven or in the Saint James Bible or in the Hare Krishna’s that we all encounter changing flights in the airports of the world, I am speaking of a simple faith that says that one way or another, no matter how many times I stumble and stub my big toe, somehow life is going to work itself out.” (Elizabeth Wurtzel)

candles


I often miss this little girl…whose dreams had no barriers, who believed in a world where anything is possible. with a heart that was full and unbroken.

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Let Go of Grudges Day…

I have declared today, “Let go of grudges” day. In honor of #GoRed for women to raise awareness of heart disease, I say we let go of all that hinders a healthy
heart for all.

I am all about forgiveness and moving forward. I have written many times, that I imagine people dead, so I forgive them; more for myself. I don’t live my life
with regrets. I don’t think anyone owes me anything. I am solely responsible for my feelings, actions and reactions. I believe grudges are for those who
insist that they are owed something; forgiveness, however, is for those who are strong enough to move on. So, let’s move on. When we choose to forgive, its not like we are condoning the bad behavior; we are not relieving the responsibility or to excusing the behavior. To me, forgiveness is a personal act that can transfer emotional control back into our hands. Its my choice now. I don’t seek an apology from the person who hurt me. I just forgive them quietly in my heart. Don’t let pride dictate your life. Nor away your choices.

If we are unable to let go of a grudge, we waste time stewing over it – time that we never get back – it’s lost time. We let the anger from holding a grudge, make us bitter. And this has long lasting affects on us – our lives, our health – health problems that result from the anxiety, depression, increased heart rate, and elevated blood pressure that grudges can cause. Just sad.

Confucius once said, that to be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it. So, remember it, learn from it, and move on.
Charlotte Brontë wrote, “Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs.”… Yes, I couldn’t agree more. Life is too
short. Every day a gift, working on making each day a blessing.

I don’t mind the wrinkles near my eyes and mouth – I have earned them! When I smile, light shines brighter from my eyes, and I pray only nice words come out
of my mouth. With God’s grace, I will let go any resentment I may feel. I want to be free, unburdened or weighted down with regret and grudges. Even
those who have wronged and hurt me, I forgive.

“Let today be the day you stop being haunted by the ghost of yesterday. Holding a grudge & harboring anger/resentment is poison to the soul. Get even with
people…but not those who have hurt us, forget them, instead get even with those who have helped us.” – Steve Maraboli

Everyone, have the day you have – no pressure. I will walk forward with my head held high, my heart pure with grace, hope and faith.


Living alone…and loving it….

Living alone always sounds so good, doesn’t it? You’d have complete control over the remote control. You could always finish the last of the cereal without feeling guilty about it. You could walk around naked every morning. The possibilities are endless. When you live with someone, their very presence sets some kind of limitations on our behavior. I have to admit, living alone might be liberating but it can also make us behave like an insane person. Lol But I don’t care…I am embracing my quirkiness.

Does anyone remember that “Sex and the City” episode where Carrie explains to her friends the concept of secret single behavior — those little things we do when we’re all alone that we’d never do around someone else? Yes, the single-occupant home can be a breeding ground for mild eccentricities. Think of Claire Danes’s C.I.A. employee in “Homeland,” who turns her Georgetown one-bedroom into a control bunker for an ad hoc spying operation. Or Kramer on “Seinfeld,” washing vegetables in the shower.

When I find myself bored, and feeling like a fat couch potato, I tend to start running in place during TV commercials. I sometimes start talking in conversational Spanish to myself. I leave my bras on the door knobs. I also tend to wear men’s pajama bottoms. My refrigerator basically consists of Pepsi, cheese, ice cream. I subsist largely on tuna, crackers, microwavable popcorn and M&Ms…sometimes on cereal. I can go weeks and not actually have a full meal when I am home. I don’t adhere to regular meals nor conventional meal times. I sometimes find myself going to the kitchen 6 times a day and find little items to munch on, grazing on nuts, chips.

To me, there are so many benefits of living alone including the freedom to come and go as we please; the space and solitude to recharge in a plugged-in world; kingly or queenly domain over the bed; control over the TV remote. Being solo, I am also free to indulge in my somewhat odd behavior and habits…that “secret single behavior” I tend to get up periodically in the middle of the night, and munch on a few plain M&Ms; sometimes I stand naked in the kitchen at 2 a.m., eating peanut butter from the jar and gulping Pepsi from the bottle; I love eating cold pizza in the middle of the night / early morning. I can go days, weeks and let my whole apartment fall apart on me; work 24/7 or just be lazy and no one cares, no one complains! I sometimes practice what I want to say or write out loud, and my little dog, looks at me like he’s actually listening. I wouldn’t discuss what I’m writing with my dog if someone were around.

It’s a difficult thing to adjust when I have company over or when I go to someone else’s house. So I seldom do. I feel so overwhelmed and anxiety sometimes makes me turn down invitations and stay home…alone. Crazy, persistent thoughts wander in my head… “I’ve got to share this room with other people? We have to organize showers? I have to actually comb my hair?”

I have basically been living on my own since I was 17 and loving it. I seldom feel lonely nor fearful….what does get to me at times, is paying all the bills by myself. Sometimes, I imagine how nice it would be to split the Internet or electricity bill.

Living alone affords me a true chance to recharge. I look around me, and I understand we predominantly live in a society built around extroverts, who get their energy from being around other people. But I have always been an introvert – and I need to build my energy and strength by being alone.

I think I am more surprised when some people don’t consider me an introvert. They think I am outgoing and enjoy being around people. But in reality, I really prefer to spend time with my dog. I would love to find just one special person but I will always need time to myself at the end of the day to regroup. Living alone allows me to build my energy back up so that I can go and spend it with others. Even for work.

Living alone isn’t the same thing as living lonely. I enjoy my own company — so much so that sometimes I fib that I have plans on a Saturday night so I can stay home for a date with my DVR and a glass of red wine and box of chocolates. But when I am feeling a need for connection, I reach out for it. For me that can be as simple as walking downstairs, go to the bakery, get my hair or nails done. It can also mean meeting up with a friend — one who lives alone or not — for a quick catch up.

I need and love my own time for self-discovery. In my experience, so many people are afraid of being totally alone. But I’ve learned to really enjoy my own company. When I first started living alone, I had this weird discovery that I could go a whole day without using my voice — sometimes I’d hit the grocery store and buy something I didn’t need just to test that I could say “thank you” to the cashier. But then I discovered something far easier — I started talking to myself. Yes, and talking to my dog has taken on a whole new meaning.

All people have private selves – different at-home selves that are different – in big and small ways – from the self they present to the world, to work colleagues, etc. I do believe though that people who live alone spend a good deal more time exploring them and enjoying their private self.

Love…A sense of independence, self reliance, decreased stress and responsibility. Call me selfish, there’s something so liberating about knowing that at the end of the day I can come home and not have to worry about the needs of anyone else. No one will have left a dirty dish out (well, except maybe me) or the cap off the toothpaste, or the toilet seat up.

I do think people who prefer to live alone, must have good management skills. At times, exercise extreme self-control. Otherwise, I would be a fat, out-of-work alcoholic.

What sometimes worries me is that I am too set in my ways. Concerned that my quirky habits won’t be accepted by others. That I may never feel comfortable living with someone. It would be too difficult. I don’t think I can take the quirks back….nor do I want to. The longer I live alone, the less flexible I become. I am a light sleeper and I can see sleeping with someone on a daily basis could prove to be an issue. I think if I were to ever fall in love again, and want to try living with that person, would need to find a home with double master bedrooms and bathrooms….and don’t even get me started on closet space! When and if I decide to share my living quarters, I would definitely need to be with someone who has lived alone, also. So we can commiserate and help each other re-socialize and un-quirk. 🙂


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