I have been following different people at different times in my journey, since it started in November of 2016. There are people who inspire me, people who have become friends, and colleagues in the authorpreneur world. (Yes, that was an intentional spelling, we do combine as authors and entrepreneurs). As a result of my own curiosity and desire to learn, I have discovered that I have issues with anxiety.
I want to explain my own beliefs. First, I believe in the magic of the universe mixes equally with science. In addition, I also have a strong sense of faith. My faith tells me that I do not have to understand how they all mix together, but that they all begin with God. To clarify, I am not writing to preach, but rather to explain why I can openly accept the beliefs of others while staying true to my own.
So, are you still with me? Good. Now that I have given you a basic understanding of my own personal belief system, I can move on to what is prompting me to go there. I have friends who are believers of the magic of the universe, and one of them shared posts about anxiety.
It is more than just being stressed out.
I see a lot of the signs of anxiety in my life. Being a stubborn person, I am strong enough on an average day to use the mind over matter theory. This allows me to carry on without these signs ruling how my day will go. If I am in a situation like I was a couple of weeks ago, on the other hand, things can escalate quickly. Consequently, there are times when I do not know what is happening. Therefore if I don’t recognize the signs, I cannot manage how I am feeling. This can be scary, as a result.
In the past, it has led me to the hospital to make sure my heart is okay. It is. On the day I went to the hospital, I was having a full blown panic attack. There is no reason why I was panicking. It was my anxiety. Until I was aware of what was happening, and since the symptoms were similar to what a woman can experience when having a heart attack, I went to the hospital. Once I understood that my heart was okay, I started to feel better.
The mind can play tricks, as it did in the situation I described above. It can react in a panic attack, and leave me wondering what caused it. As an overacheiver who is all too often too hard on herself, I frequently become overwhelmed. If I am being completely honest, sometimes it happens on a delay with me. I can be perfectly fine and finished with whatever should have made me feel anxious, and then at a later time my body will react. Fun times.
More recent signs have been showing up when I am driving my car. No, it is not road rage I am referring to. It is venting, for a lack of better terms, while I am driving. This has happened in relation to my planning to be on time for something, and angry because circumstances are going to cause me to be late.
I have written about this a little on my own personal Facebook wall, and if you are a follower, then you are already aware that I have been yelling in my car. For example, I try very hard to be on time. As a result, when I am going to be late because of something like the snowplough driver going by and leaving snow in the way of me moving my car or forgetting something at home which I need for the event I am going to, the anger inside of me can cause a meltdown.
When the cork pops on the bottle of my emotions, there is a lot of force behind it.
I recently had a book signing event at a large book store. It is a well known chain within Canada, Chapters. It was a big deal. I left with enough time to arrive early. While I was on the road, I realized I had left my signs at home. Consequently, I had to turn around to go and get them. As a result of this I began losing my composure.
My husband happened to be outside working on widening the driveway and shoveling. I got him to go get the signs, and I continued on my way. After I drove away, I had a mini meltdown in my car. I yelled at myself for being late and I yelled at my husband for not going with me to support me. In addition to the eruption of my frustration, I had a few tears while I expressed my feelings. Guess what? It wasn’t anger or the things I was yelling about which caused the meltdown. It was anxiety.
I try not to keep things bottled up. When I do, it inevitably causes me to have meltdowns. For instance, I certainly never realized until recently that every time I have experienced a meltdown, that the underlying cause was anxiety. most importantly, having this knowledge is something I am going to be able to deal with a little better the next time I am freaking out.
I am glad I know what is happening.
Knowledge is power. With this information, I can learn how to avoid the meltdowns if I know what the cause of them is. I can’t say that I will never freak out or have a meltdown again. As an emotional woman, I know I need to express what I am feeling to be able to grow as a person and to be more creative. Accepting my emotions in various situations has already helped me in both of these areas. As a result, it doesn’t mean I have all of the answers, but it does give me some clues for what to watch out for.
After that, all my worrying, when I arrived at the book signing event I was right on time. On the other hand, I was a jittery mess. When the offer of coffee or water from the Manager on Duty in the store was made, I passed.I chose to have a piece of gum in my mouth, to help calm my nerves. This alone did not calm me down.
Therefore, I was an anxious author until two really good friends showed up. I had packed my own camera, but when they arrived, my friend who also takes amazing pictures was one of the two who came to see me. He took some really great pictures of me at the event, and I will share them here.
The power of friendship.
After my friends came to see me, I noticed I was calming down. As a result of seeing them, I relaxed, so much so that I was able to finish the event with ease. Upon my own reflection, I think the reason I was having such a hard time was both the location of the event, and feeling like I wasn’t getting support. Of course, I absolutely understand that my family and friends support me, and most importantly I know it. I just had to see some familiar faces in the crowd on that busy afternoon to help me remember.
My first book, From Where I am Sitting…A Collection of Cat Tales is available to purchase locally at Artful Persuasion, Chapters, Westminster Books, and Whimsy. If you do not live in Fredericton, you can visit my Bookspage to order your copy online.
In addition to my first book, I am currently writing my second book, #Tishspiration: The Art of Surprising Yourself as well as writing a short story draft for submission to an anthology. The Tishspiration Newsletter is going to be sent out in March, so don’t forget to sign up to get your copy, right from the start…and I just announced yesterday I am working on Tishspiration Station, my Youtube Channel with weekly #Tishspiration videos.
Finally, I want to say thank you to my friends.
In conclusion, I want to thank Ginger for bringing the posts to anxiety not only to my attention but to help many people who have seen them. I also want to thank Matty for taking the pictures and showing up with Ash on my event day. It really meant so much to have them show their support, and,, subsequently, they made me feel so much better during the rest of the event.
Do you have anxiety? How do you manage it in your life? Leave your comments below, and maybe we can help each other cope with it better.
I had a health scare this week. I was at work when my chest felt tight like I couldn’t breathe in a deep breath. I have been experiencing ringing in my ears and realized it is affecting my sleep. I had a lot of indigestion. I was worried. I have read that the symptoms for women that have heart attacks are not as easy to tell as they are with men. I have some of the risk factors, including my weight, and diabetes. So when I was trying to ascertain what was happening in my body, I thought maybe I should go get checked out.
When I got to the hospital, I spent a fair bit of time talking to the triage nurse. She asked a lot of questions, and someone else took my temperature and blood pressure. I had no fever, and although my blood pressure was high, I was quite admittedly, freaking out.
I am not the most active person in the world, but I enjoy Zumba, and sometimes, when I want to, I can run short distances. If I’ve gotta go bad enough, I will run to the washroom, for example. I can walk fast when crossing the street if there is a car waiting for me to cross it. I can push my speed limits, and I have the capability to do more than I actually do sometimes.
I do go to Zumba, as often as I can. Last night I missed class. I was at the hospital. I hated missing class, but by the time I left work early, I needed to follow through and make sure that I was going to be OK.
I didn’t have pain, but my chest was feeling really tight. It was hard to take in a deep breath. I had a lot of gas, and that was making it worse. I decided to take a walk outside to see if I could make myself feel better.
It didn’t help, and at that point, I was really starting to panic. I was upset. My supervisor and another supervisor talked to me for a few minutes, and I called Roy to come and get me. He was home, it happened to be his day off. I made him take me to the hospital. He waited with me, even though it drove him a little crazy to lose all of that time there.
Six hours later, they had run an ECG and taken bloodwork and cleared me from having any issues with my heart. I can still have faith that my heart is strong, and it wasn’t the issue yesterday. I didn’t get an official diagnosis, but I am fairly certain that it was an anxiety attack, also known as a panic attack. As it came with a new symptom this time, I didn’t want to take any chances.
After the doctor ran the bloodwork, he came back and asked me about another incident in 2013. I was confused and said I didn’t remember that, and he was confused because they had run a 24 hour test on me at that time. When we questioned him, he looked again. He explained a few minutes later that another paper was mixed in my papers, and everything was normal. Talk about a mix-up. Doctors are human too, and there had been two traumas arrive while I was waiting to be seen. As long as he corrected the mistake, and apologized, that was fine by me. It also meant I was not losing my mind.
Living my life as someone that is classified as morbidly obese does come with its own challenges. I can’t do everything I want to do sometimes. I have to pace myself and fight to catch my breath when I do push too hard. I have to learn to say no a little more often, and I don’t like that word, no. I need to take more time to rest so that I don’t have panic attacks. I need to work on me a little harder. I am trying, really hard on that one.
The doctor said that it was good for me to get checked out. I had actually seen him when I had the knee infection two years ago. I don’t think he remembered me, but I remembered his name. He did tell me that they don’t want people to be there for every little concern, of course, but that if I had a genuine concern about my heart, they would rather see me go get it checked then have me found after something bad happened, and it is too late. I felt a little silly waiting there all that time but relieved that all the tests came back normal.
Having panic attacks are becoming more common in my life, and I plan to talk to my new doctor about it next month. It may be why my ears are ringing so much. I really need that to calm down. Knowing that what I felt may just be another symptom of a panic attack, will help me do what I have done to deal with them so far. I usually calm myself down, but I have to know what is going on before I can do that. Yesterday had a curveball.
I was trying to figure out how to explain panic attacks to people that don’t get them. I am not an expert, nor do I know if what works for me would work for other people. I was thinking before I started writing, that for me it is like treading water. I love swimming, and treading water is a good skill to have. I can tread water for a good amount of time and I don’t mind doing that. However, it is harder to do if you are only using your legs. For me, if I am only using my legs, and then I lift my arms up over my head, I go under the water. So I metaphorically had my arms up over my head yesterday, and I had to stop and reassess.
I stayed home today to rest and recover from yesterday’s ordeal. I needed the downtime, and I hope it will help me cope better with work tomorrow, and next week. I postponed an event I am hosting here for a week later, to give me more time to be ready. I have been told in the past that I am too hard on myself. Maybe I am. But I don’t know any other way to be. So I am going to keep treading water and keep working on me. I am glad I did go to the hospital, if for no other reason than to know what was ruled out after the testing was done. Now I have to figure out a better way to deal with my stress and anxiety so I can carry on and do what I was meant to do with my time here. I don’t have any plans of giving up anytime soon.
Trust Your Gut is a series of stories about real people with weight issues, and complications arising from those issues. It will explain what the person is facing, what their options are, what they have decided to do to take action, and why they chose the path they are on. Each person’s story will be based on truth, so it won’t all be happy, but it will be real. The goal of this series is to get people talking about options that are available for people who have weight issues, on either end of the scale. If you would like to contribute to this series, there is a contact form linked on my Home page for this blog. I know there are people out there that want to help people like them; as I do.
The names here may or may not reflect the person’s real name. If someone wants to remain unknown, we will choose a different name for that person’s story. The goal is to help people, and anonymity is a valid personal choice for contributors. I will use a person’s name only if they give permission to do so.
This week I am pleased to share another of my own stories.
Here is Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 17
You know when you want to eat something, and you know what you should eat and you know what you want to eat and you get the easier thing because it is easier and you already are so hungry that you don’t want to spend the extra ten minutes making the better thing to eat because you are hungry right now? I feel like that a lot. This has been another week of grab the easy thing because I don’t have enough food prep cooked, even though I cooked a chicken in my slow cooker the night before last.
Tonight I will make something. I am thinking about making THM Wicked White Chili. I have made this once before, with a few small adjustments, and it was really great! So if I can get it in a pot before I go to bed, and get it in some mason jars in the fridge so it is ready to grab in the morning for my lunch, I will be on my way to being back on track, with minimal effort. That is something I can totally get up and do.
After supper. I have an errand to run, and that means I leave the house. One of the best tips I have for living on a budget is to not leave the house. The second I do, I know I am going to spend money. I have done a lot of that over the last 20 years. It is finally starting to pay off and add up. Yes, I still have a budget, and yes, I am still working on it, but we have a little more breathing room at the moment. So I don’t have to stay at home ALL OF THE TIME anymore.
If I don’t manage to make the chili tonight, I will prep some of the chicken for sandwiches tomorrow. Or to go with my spinach in a salad. I have some blue cheese dressing that is great with spinach. Cucumber and tomatoes, green onion, and there is my salad. I think that is what I will end up doing. I have been known to eat the mini cucumber “straight up” like I picked it fresh from the garden. I also have taken a knife to work to prep my salad during my lunch break, right before eating it. I always have people looking at my lunches, especially my homemade leftover lunches. I am not a PB & J kind of a lunch packer. I like having food prepped to eat and ready to grab on my way out the door in the mornings. It can be something I made for the whole week as I don’t always share my lunch with my husband.
The whole point of getting the chicken and popping it in the crock pot was to have the meat ready to go. And it is in the fridge, still in the crock pot. That is as far as I got. I have been making excuses lately for not prep cooking, and I am going to have to stop doing that. Yes, it is easier to go get fast food. But I have to keep reminding myself that I really enjoyed that chili the last time I made it, and I know it will be really good. I made the chicken, so now I have to eat it. If my husband wasn’t a fan of this recipe, I would use up the spinach in the chili. He liked it, so I am going to have to use it another way, maybe with scrambled eggs.
I made it in a pot on the stove. I used white kidney beans as I could not find the beans the recipe calls for. I halved the measurements on the cumin and the chili powder. I did not add any Greek yogurt. I do not know where to get the chilies and tomatoes mixed, so I add mild chilies and extra stewed tomatoes. I followed the rest of the recipe and it was delightful.
I go through phases. Sometimes I try really hard to stay on plan, and other times I just make the wrong choice. It is really all up to me, and if you read my story a few weeks ago, the monster has been louder again this week. It wants fast food and junk food and all of the things that got me to the weight I am at today. Sometimes I choose the wrong thing to eat because I am self-sabotaging my goals of a healthier lifestyle. I have to keep fighting with myself, for myself. I am the only one that can make those choices, and I really need to get serious about it. Again. It feels like a roller coaster at times, I am sometimes on track and doing well, and then the bottom falls out from under me and I stray from where I need to be going.
Right now, I can only imagine what it would be like to have lost the weight I need to lose. I need to do it, for me, and for my health. I need to keep reminding myself that I am worth the better choices and that I am worth the extra time and planning that prep cooking takes. Otherwise, I will have to live with the consequences, and that is not how I want to be living my life.
Since I had the sinus infection, I have been needing to use my puffer a little more frequently. I do find that it is hard to take a deep breath sometimes. It has helped, and I am not using it on a daily, or even on a weekly basis, but sometimes I find my chest feeling tight, and I need to use it. I guess that means I need to plan a real appointment with a doctor at the clinic. I do not yet have a new family doctor. I know it is important to get the appointment scheduled and go get it over with. The anxiety is still making me hesitate, but I know, deep down, that I need to make the effort to take care of myself. So the appointment needs to be scheduled, and then I need to go. I think it is time for that lovely once a year check up, and that is not something anyone should skip. If I let it go much longer I will need to get my prescriptions refilled, anyway. So there is a reason to go soon, even if it is just for that.
I didn’t know how much negativity was creeping into my life. I mean, I was so used to listening to the monster inside that I didn’t even realize that negative self-talk was happening. I am trying to listen for the inner beauty talk. It is very, very quiet. I need to listen harder. I know it is in there. And it is crying to be let out of the cage the monster locked it in. Writing that just broke my heart, a little. Maybe the crack will be enough to let the inner beauty escape the cage, and find her voice.