My Daily Ransom

Facing the Unknown…

Who Me, Anxious? — March 22, 2020

Who Me, Anxious?

I didn’t realize that I was having a panic attack until I was preparing to fly back home to Ohio when we lost my brother Josh. I was on the phone with my doctor asking about something completely different and the concern in his voice made me feel terrible! But of course, him being the amazing human that he is, he guided me into a small space of comfort and I began to breathe in a more relaxing state but not quite back to normal. That’s when he dropped the bomb of reality on me. “You’re having a panic attack.”

Boom! What? How could that be? Shouldn’t I know if I have a panic attack? Wouldn’t I be able to read my own body and know when it’s going haywire? Apparently not.

I didn’t have time to reevaluate my reality or perception of my emotions and reactions. My doctor said he was going to prescribe me something to help me on my disturbing journey home and we could talk about it when I got back to Austin. However, when I picked it up at the pharmacy the pharmacist told me to be careful because it would turn me “into a zombie” so I didn’t take it at all. Looking back I wish I would have taken it. It wasn’t until I got back and spoke with my doctor that I decided to use it when I needed it.

Fast forward to the current day and the state of affairs that are happening globally. My anxiousness can overflow my bloodstream as I read article after article and my heartbeats faster and faster until I feel it vibrating my brain. My mind goes straight to two main fears and unfortunately, with an anxiety filled mind or not, I fully believe them to be accurate beliefs and fears.

My mind goes to the fear of my Mom being exposed to the virus that’s taken over our Mother Earth. Not only is she “high risk” for catching it due to her suppressed immune system, she’s SUPER “high risk” for complications of the virus. So I try to calculate how she can be exposed and how likely is it to actually get to her. Many times I believe she’s taking all the precautions she can and there’s a faint chance of her coming into contact with it. All her doctors are canceling her appointments & tests, she doesn’t leave her home too often and her friend is helping where she can. THEN! That’s when I realize! Starr has to go out into the world to help my Mom and she’s going to bring it to her unknowingly! Or my grandparents, one has Alzheimer’s pretty bad now, but the other one is dragging the other out to eat and whatnot. My Mom has stopped going to their house to visit. But that won’t last too long because it’s my Mom’s Mommy who has Alzheimer’s and she wants to be with her as much as she can before she forgets who her first born is. (My heart shattered into a million pieces as I typed that out.)

Next thing that flashes bright in my face like a spotlight heating me up and I’m sweating while panting out of breath; A thought that haunts me daily but it’s now under a microscope and I see it so clearly. The idea of me contacting the virus and due to my underlying health issues, I succumb to it and leave my parents childless. What an appalling thought to even stomp around in my body but it does. I can feel it in my spine, in my stomach, on the back of my neck.

Anxiety is something, at times, I’m not able to control and that’s extremely hard to admit. My mind races with fears and realities that I’m not able to contain and I can feel angry or I can feel overwhelming heartsick. The anger is something new to me so that’s even more combating. I try to recognize it when it starts oozing into my being, yes my being because it fills my entire body not just my mind. I can’t just snap out of it so I take walks, I take a shower and say everything I’m thankful for starting with the water. I cuddle with my puppy dog and sing or talk to her. I spend time with people who bring me happiness. Even then, it is still there so I spend sometime alone with my thoughts and let them be and try to talk through them.

Anyone else anxious like me?

What and Where Is Your Happiness? — May 28, 2019

What and Where Is Your Happiness?

What is your happiness? Do you even know what or where it is? Are you afraid of your happiness?

I’ve been working on finding my happiness or should I say happinesses. Sometimes I forget that I have happiness in many different aspects, in different moments, feelings, activities, shapes. Sometimes my happinesses last for seconds, minutes, hours, and days. But it always passes which is apart of happiness. It can’t last forever.

Yes, that’s the phrase we all hate to hear, “It can’t last forever.” because we never want the happiness to leave. We want to be happy forever and never feel sad or hurt. Our goal is to always be happy but that’s not life.¬†Happiness is fleeting but only in that specific moment. It finds its way back to us even if it takes longer than we’d like.

For me happiness is something I feel a lot of guilt having and truly feeling. This is a topic I’ve spoken about many times. The guilt that I am privileged to experience sincere happiness when my brothers, Josh and Adam, and my Bubba (my step-dad) no longer get to have is heartbreaking. The guilt, in an instant, can be paralyzing. My happiness disappears and I feel angry or sadness about losing them. And people say, “But they would want you to be happy.” or “They wouldn’t want you to feel this way.” That doesn’t change the emotions I bear during these times. It makes no difference what they would want, it’s how I feel.

So what is MY happiness? How do I find it and accept it? I have started telling myself that I’m worthy of happiness. That no matter what I have or haven’t done in my life, no matter what I have or haven’t said in my past, I am worthy of feeling happiness. And since happiness leaves us so quickly, I can’t allow a split second of it to pass without fully participating in that moment.

So some of my happinesses come from little things and big events. My happiness is living back in Texas where I am able to be physically active each day. I can walk my pups in the morning and the evenings no matter the time of year. My happiness is being with my nontraditional family of my significant other and our pups. My happiness is laying on the couch with my dogs and man watching tv. It’s tasting that delicious dessert I’ve been craving for days (sometimes weeks!) and just allowing the pleasure of tasting it to take over my mind and body. My happiness is getting a text of the campsite where my Dad is staying or a SnapChat filtered picture from my Mom. My happiness is having a career that I enjoy. My happiness is planning for my future and things I want to accomplish. My happiness is laying in the sun reading a book. My happiness is talking with my best friends. My happiness is exploring new cities.

But I also have happiness in other aspects. My happiness comes from learning to love myself. Looking at myself in the mirror and actually LOOKING at myself. The happiness of being able to enjoy being myself fully and completely. The happiness of setting goals for myself and knowing I can accomplish them all. My happiness is knowing that I have talents and I cannot waste them any longer.

So, I’ve found happiness again. And yes, it’s always fleeting just like yours. But we have to know that we are worthy of our own happiness. A happiness that no one else can give us but ourselves. A happiness that no one else can take away from us. Remember, we can never be happy always. We have to have moments of growth in pain and anguish. And happiness may hide away from time to time. But keep working on finding that happiness again because you are worthy of it. Even if it doesn’t feel like it right now, you are. If I’m worthy of it, so are you.

 

Depression and Grief Are Not The Same Thing — December 21, 2017

Depression and Grief Are Not The Same Thing

Depression and grief are not the same thing although they can coincide or trig the other.

Depression has been something I’ve struggled with my entire life. Grief has been something that has sprung up throughout my life but the past five years has not left my side.

As a young girl, I can remember hating myself. Hating the way I looked, the sound of my voice in my head, the way my hands looked as I wrote and colored, every little thing I did, that made me who I was, I hated. I have journals filled with spewing hatred about myself. My first thoughts of suicide came before the age of 6. I always felt as if I wasn’t good enough for my family. Maybe, if somehow, I was better, smarter, prettier, more fit, more athletic, funnier, happier, so much more, I could make their lives more fulfilling.

I struggled with nightly terrors. I had the same nightmare for years every single night. It never failed. We lived in Pennsylvania at the time and I would dream about a trailer we lived in on a hill (we actually lived there when the dreams started but continued even after we moved). It would start with an army of soldiers that would come marching from the right side of the property where the garden was. I could see them coming from far away and I would yell for my parents and brothers to come into the house but no one ever did. The soldiers would get up to us and I watched as they shot my father, then my mother. My brother Adam and I would hold hands and run into the house to hide with Josh running with us. Adam and I hid in a cabinet together and Josh hid in one by himself. I could somehow see though the walls. I watched as the soldiers came into the house, open the cabinet where Josh was and they would shoot him. Then they’d open the cabinet where we were hiding and shoot Adam, right there beside me. They never hurt me. They would leave after they killed everyone and I would be left alone, crying and begging for my family to wake up. Then I would see them all get shot again and again. I had that dream for years. I’ve had it about a dozen times since I’ve been an adult.

I’m sure that fed my depression as a young girl. My depression and anxiety would hold me so tightly I couldn’t speak. Still at times I would want to say something to someone but I physically couldn’t speak. It’s as if I was frozen and my tongue and throat couldn’t move. The words would repeat again and again in my head but nothing actually would come out of my mouth. That’s another reason I always wrote in notebooks or whatever I could find to write on/it. That still happens to this day.

I had a boyfriend in college who would get so frustrated with me because I would be upset but I couldn’t talk. I’d just grab my notebook and disappear to write. He once grabbed my notebook and said, “Fucking just say what you want! Don’t run away and write shit in this fucking book! Just say it!” If only he knew how badly I wanted to speak. I longed to say what was on my mind but I’ve always felt as if…maybe…maybe I didn’t deserve to feel what I was feeling. Maybe the pain I felt was because I wasn’t a good person or was doing something wrong. I thought, if I’m doing something wrong, or upsetting someone, why should I get to express my emotions. I was in a prison of self hatred with no self worth.

With grief in the picture, now I feel guilty about being upset because my dad and brothers don’t get to have feelings or emotions. Why should I get to have them when theirs were cut way too short? So my lifelong depression gets amplified with the grief of the loss I’ve consumed these past few years.

I know to many this all probably sounds crazy. And maybe it is. But depression can play some crazy games with your mind, with your thoughts, with your life. Maybe this is a new way for me to speak without having to use my physical voice. Or maybe it can be a voice for someone who feels or has felt the way I do or have.

I plan to write more on this topic, for now I need to stop.