Welcome to my Anxious Brain. 

I am grateful for two things right now:
1. I’m grateful this day is over. 

2. I’m grateful this day was not as bad as I thought it would be. 
My bad mental/emotional days are extremely few and far between these days. However, I still get triggered by anxiety. If my apartment is too cluttered/messy and things aren’t where they are supposed to be, I get anxiety. If I have to deal too much with other people or there’s a ton of things going on, I get anxiety. 
Last night I got hit really hard by the anxiety train. 
I signed some papers last week so the investors in my complex could come look at my apartment today. Only I had to go food shopping yesterday and by the time we got back, there wasn’t time to clean. There were dishes in the sink, the floor needed to be vacuumed and both the bathroom and my bedroom needed to be organized. Coming home and not having the time to fix all of this started to push me over the edge. 
When I came home from the store, my CLS person told me I had to interview six people today. Six. We are (still) trying to find someone to take my mother’s hours so my CLS person asked me last week when she should schedule more interviews. I told her today before I found out the investors were also coming today. But six interviews seemed a bit excessive at once to me.
All of this after spending the whole day being interactive in three different stores was way too much for me. 
After B left last night, it started to sink in that there were going to be a crap ton of people here today. There would be a crap ton of people here, my apartment was a mess, I was overwhelmed by the day’s events and the day to come’s events and it wasn’t even here yet. 
Welcome to my anxious brain. I had a MASSIVE anxiety attack that morphed into a meltdown because sometimes adulthood is just too much. I realize in the grand scheme of things all of this doesn’t matter, but it sure was suffocating last night. I couldn’t breathe. I got sick. It was the worst it’s been in years. 
And then today happened. 
The investors came to my building but never showed up to look at my apartment. 
I then conducted the two most awkward interviews thus far. The other four people didn’t show up. 
I MAY have hired the first person I interviewed. This means, I told my CLS person to hire her, so it’ll be up to her if she wants to take the job. Fingers crossed this works out. She was super lovely despite my awkwardness. The second person gave off too much a vibe like the person I had to let go last year, my CLS person noticed it too. She was nice, but I knew immediately we wouldn’t work well together. 
My point of all of this though is, anxiety is a damn roller coaster. Why does whatever you’re worrying about end up going better than how it goes in your head? I mean, I am grateful it’s always easier, but that’s just cruel. 
Time for deep breathing, sleep and a new day, please. 

Sorry if this posts weird. My cat broke the S key on my laptop so I have to write from my phone and every time I do that, it formats wrong. So I just haven’t updated. I needed to vent somewhere though so there you go. 

Advertisements

From the Outside Looking In

(When you can’t sleep and you HAVE to write stuff down at 1AM so your finger swipes upwards publishing things prematurely, that’s just obnoxious. I apologize to anyone who got an email with all of  the fragment of a sentence.)

ANYWAY. MOVING ON.

For the last year or two, I’ve been practicing not looking back on the past too much. As it has been pointed out to me from a place of truth over and over again, looking back doesn’t serve me, my future, or the moment I am in right now. So, I’ve been doing the best I can to be more present and to keep looking ahead. Looking and moving forward is like walking into a room filled floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall with sunlight. There’s such a gratitude for life in that room of warmth, but still there are days when the door to that room is locked and it seems as if I’m alone in a never-ending darkened hallway. This is the can of worms that was opened this week.

Remember when I said I was in a creative drought? Well, it seems to have manifested into more of a life drought. Granted, most of it is due to situations out of my control and I sit here and fixate on things I can control… But I think in that case, it just seemed to make things worse.

I created one thing all summer. Just one thing, during my internet hiatus when a project dropped itself in my lap and I spent a whole month devoted to it away from everything. You want to know what happened next? Nothing. It didn’t accomplish what I set out for it to accomplish. (More detail on this specifically another time.) I knew going into it this outcome was an enormous possibility, I was ok with that and did it anyway, then when it came down to it, when it didn’t go how I’d hoped, I got really discouraged. I think as the cloud of failure formed and hovered above me, it started to affect everything else going on around me. But like I said, the rest of it has been completely out of my control.

Around mid-August, B got a second job unexpectedly and we are nearly in October and still trying to work out her schedule with me. The schedule changes every week, and most of the time it changes daily, so the shake up and lack of routine is really getting to me. Every day it’s like someone comes in here and flips my world upside-down. Like I’m living in Wonderland with nothing but a handful of nonsense. The situation is giving me crazy amounts of anxiety and I’m not so sure what to do about it. I know you’re probably thinking, if it’s that stressful, let her go. I can’t do that though, I wish you all could see how good she is for me. I am better because I have her help. I just need to figure out a way for a sense of normalcy and stability to return to me.

Aside from this, it feels like there is not a single human around me with the ability to follow through with their words into actions these days. It’s quite simple, right? If you say you’re going to do something, you should probably do it; or don’t loosely commit to anything at all. When someone doesn’t follow through, it makes me feel like I’m not worth enough or good enough and I’m not doing enough. I beat myself up. I know I shouldn’t, but it’s what happens and then I go back to the fact that I can only depend on myself.

The other night ALL of these things collided together and in a moment of shame, I fell apart. I reached out and told my Kyla that I was struggling and I needed some help navigating a way out from under the pile of pressure and stress I was buried underneath. She told me what it was like watching me carve out a life for myself the last few years. (Using the most epic Wizard of Oz analogy ever to exist…) I told her how I felt like I’d never be enough or doing enough and I felt like I hadn’t done anything at all. I told her how it feels like I can’t ever catch a break. So what was her response? She wished I could see my life right now from the outside looking in, so she gave me an assignment. She said to me, “Write your story five years ago; then write your story now. Read them both.”

Okay then, let’s give this a shot, shall we?

Five years ago: September 2010: I’d grown restless of living with abusive, neglectful chain smokers where I seemed to be sick all the time. I ran away from that situation over that summer. I moved in with old friends in Orange County because we wanted to be able to help each other. I was truly happy there, until one day several months later it caught up to me and I wasn’t emotionally equipped to deal with reality. When you run, you don’t take the time to pay attention to the lessons life is trying to teach you. But now I wonder, how could I be of any kind of help to anyone if I couldn’t even help myself? I lost friendships that were family to me then. I will always love them and deeply cherish our time together. At the time I took it incredibly hard so the fact that I ended up back where I started was devastating to me. I lost myself for longer than I care to admit. I’m so grateful to every little thing that kept me afloat.

Now: September 2015: I live alone with my cat in my own apartment. I have a team of people who work with and for me to help me navigate adulthood. I may have had to grow up at a very young age, but it’s true what my pal Cady says — when you aren’t taught the simple things growing up you don’t know how to do them as an adult because no one took the time to show you. Now people show me those things. I may not have nearby friends, but I have a massive encouragement and support system that spans all across the world. I am creating again, even if Creativity and I may be on a break at the moment. I have a huge creative endeavor in the works with my sisters that could really be something special. I am going out and doing things because I want to. I am planning a family reunion with my heart family. I am going back to physical therapy for the first time since I was a toddler. I do my physical therapy every day at home.  I am starting aquatic therapy next week. I am seeing doctors. I am trying to be patient and gentle with my body as it adjusts to everything I’m doing to make it stronger and healthier. I am talking to every social worker who steps into my apartment without a shred of anxiety. I am doing everything I can to help myself be the best I can be in every way possible. Maybe it’s not as broken as I think it is. All that matters is that I give this moment the attention it’s asking for and then I must continue moving forward.

Ah, Kyla, I see what you did there. Once I got into this part of this post, I let go and just let my fingers type whatever they needed to. I am pretty sure you did not mean for me to post those on my blog, but I wanted you to see that I did it. I also felt like posting them publicly holds me more accountable. So, you were right. From the outside looking in, I’ve done more than I ever imagined I could. Nor am I finished changing the landscape of my life and then the world.

Inhale. Exhale. It’s all ok. Take another step, Kimmie.

Summer Stuff

It seems I can’t go an entire summer these last few years without losing my hearing at least once. My doctor looked at my ears two weeks ago after I told her of this issue and everything looked good. My ears are just that damn sensitive and now here I am on Labor Day weekend not able to hear anything. Doctor’s appointment on Tuesday cannot get here soon enough. So let’s do some writing about the summer, shall we? BECAUSE I CAN STILL WRITE. I’m all about being grateful for what I CAN do.

I spent December of last year all the way through the entire month of July fighting my medical insurance and ultimately I won. So this was both an uneventful summer, but it has also been a summer of getting stuff done. I have a new social worker, a new doctor, and a physical therapist now. Currently working on getting an optometrist and a dentist. My doctor has given me medication for things every other doctor I’ve ever had would not. Thanks to that, I am already feeling much better. This doctor is not messing around. I like her.

I had my physical therapy evaluation last week. I have two exercises I do at home for now and my first regular appointment is next Friday. To be honest, I am a little (ok, more than a little) afraid for my therapist to work with me. I had PT until I was three years old and my parents stopped taking me because my old therapist tore the Achilles tendon in my left foot. I may have been very small at the time, but I remember that day and that pain like it just happened yesterday. I’ve made the new therapist aware that happened so I’m going to be spending this week telling myself I’ll be safe with this person and it’s her job to help me. I’m sure it will be just fine. I am so grateful to even have this help. I’ve wanted PT my entire life and I’m so on top of it. Even though my ears are causing me to feel not so great at the moment, I’ve been doing my exercises every day. I’m so excited about all of it. And yes everyone who has said “take it slow” — I promise I’ll never overdo it. I’ve never been that person.

On the summer fun side of things, here’s a list…

 – I took a social media break and spent an entire month just writing. And reading. Mostly writing.
– If you’re a creative type, listen to Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Magic Lessons” podcast on iTunes. Trust me. Just do it.
– I’m obsessed with Inside Out because sometimes I am a child. Well done, Disney/Pixar.
– Bianca and I took the train to LA to see my Kristin get a star on the Walk of Fame. It was worth the longest, hottest day if only to hug KC on her birthday, truly. Also, Carol Burnett was one of the guest speakers and that really doesn’t suck either.
– There is now a couch in my living room. My Person is good to me and I am grateful.
– Speaking of My Person, Janice was back in LA for the month of August. We took the nieces out to play. We had our favorite tacos. We went to our favorite vegan restaurant. I was introduced to shaved ice. Basically, when Janice is home, we eat.
– My Jessica from Orlando booked her flight to come visit me for a week in November. Happy Birthday to me!
– I randomly won free tickets to see Kristian Bush and Rita Wilson in LA last week. That man’s music is soul-changing. And Rita Wilson is pretty classy too. Her new album is going to be fantastic. (Side note, B is now kicking herself for not telling Tom Hanks when we saw him that she played Woody at Disney World. I am just amused over it.)
– I am now mourning the loss of the mango black tea lemonade at Starbucks. Damn you, pumpkin spice latte… It’s barely September!
– I have the best cat on the face of the planet. Just a reminder.
– Playing House is the funniest show on television.

All is well. I need a nap.

The Break in the Drought

As I write this on the last day of June, it is dark, humid and raining in my little corner of Southern California.  We desperately need this rain.

I’ve been feeling entirely too overwhelmed by social media as of late.  The idea that you need to be connected on Facebook or Twitter, or whatever social media outlet to stay in the know of your loved ones lives was just something that has been really getting to me. I just feel like I need a break for a little while; it could be a few days, weeks, I don’t know. I will be back, just unplugged for now.  The weird thing is, usually I’d try to get to the root of why I’m feeling this way, but right now I’m just letting it be.  I like it.

I’ve been in a bit of a creative drought. There is one blank page left in my art journal before it’s filled up.  I know what song will fill that last page, I just can’t bring myself to be finished with it.  I’ve been avoiding doing anything with it because I know that means one of two things: buying a new one OR going to the craft store to buy new paint supplies.  It’s not that I can’t decide between the two, my plan when this journal was full was to buy some canvases and recreate a few of the pieces in the journal. The thing is, I started  with the paint when I got the journal and I hated everything I created.  Maybe I’m scared I’ll mess up again, or maybe I should just see what comes of it.  In any case, I haven’t created anything in about a month.  I mean we built a footstool but that doesn’t really count, does it? I was reading something recently which said that creative people go through equal cycles of creative bliss and a kind of depression.  I am not really in a “depression” but I am still finding this to be true.  I need something to reignite my creative fire.  I’m sure I’ll find it.  Meanwhile, I can’t seem to stop reading. Books have always been my thing, going hand-in-hand with words, but I can’t seem to stop.  One right after the other these days and I am okay with that.

On the other hand, I have given myself a project that I cannot really talk about yet.  A writing project dropped itself into the universe and I said to someone, “I think I want to do this.”  So I’m doing it.  A book I have read more times than I can count for inspiration has become more like a textbook for this project.  It’s strange having this project sitting in my lap.  Brainstorming, writing, rewriting, words words words and deadlines.  Maybe this is what my social media break is for, to focus on this, even if nothing comes of it.

Focus on something else and the break in the drought will come.

The weight of words

It’s Monday. I’ve noticed the general population has a distaste for Monday.  It means the restart of routine and a work week. Unless you love what you do with every fiber of your being, I can see the struggle there. And then there’s me, I love Mondays in my new life.  Mondays mean my mother’s day off. Mondays mean Bianca is here an hour longer than she is the rest of the week. Mondays mean I can emotionally and spiritually recharge from the stresses I’ve let go of from the week before.

Except, not this Monday.

Bianca had an obligation from before she started working for me and has been gone since Thursday. I’m so glad she got to do something other than sit with me all weekend and she’s told me she’s having a great time. I like to hear that because she is amazing and she deserves it.

However, I had a weekend that has left me struggling to recover and teetering on edge.  So, on this Monday, I am sitting in my living room alone with the breeze from the open windows coming in, music on that makes me feel safe and I’m just going to write this out in hopes that I’ll feel the weight lifted.

In an effort to cover B’s three shifts, the agency that runs my building had one of the overnight staff people cover them.  We’ll call this person “C.” There are two overnight people who work here.  One of them works Sunday through Wednesday and the other works Thursday through Saturday.  One of them has helped me before, the other has never helped me.  Nothing against her, I just don’t seem to stay up late on the nights she works.  So when it came time for covering shifts, I was given C, the one who has never helped me before.  I am not great with new people, I will be the first person to admit that; but I am always open-minded and willing to teach someone what I need.  I went into this figuring it would be interesting, a new learning experience for both of us, and it would be just fine.

Day one: C walks in here and I ask her not to touch my front door while it opens and closes or it won’t lock and thus will open on its own and my cat will get out. It only stays open for ten seconds, so it’s not much of a wait.  She listened.  It was going to be fine. How someone reacts when I tell them not to touch the door is a good indicator for how well they’ll listen to me when I’m trying to show them what I need.  We’re good. Or so I thought.

“I’m scared of ALL animals” is the first thing she tells me after she comes inside.  Everyone has something they’re afraid of, so I can understand this. However, I have a cat who has the kind of personality which makes her believe that anytime someone comes into this apartment, they are here to play with her.  Sunny loves to play and just wants to be your friend.  This was going to be a problem for the next three days.  It was a problem in a matter of minutes. Anytime Sunny would start to come near her, C would start to freak out. I spent the entirety of the next two days trying to keep Sunny away from her. It stressed me out to my core and I feel like that isn’t something I should have had to deal with in our own house.  I tried to let it go and just be grateful there was someone to help me, but then there was all the other little things… I told her the stove was electric and she responded by asking me if she needed a lighter to light it.  No.  She thought it was weird that I don’t eat meat and I don’t drink anything other than water during the day after I’ve had coffee or tea with breakfast.  So what?  When I needed help in the bathroom, she talked down to me like I was a child.  When I tried to focus on something to curb my stress, I decided to work in  my art journal and she watched my every move.  I should have known by this point not to do something like that which is so private for me. When it came time for her to help me in bed and leave, I kindly reminded her again to wait for my door to close without touching it. I prayed she would do just that even though I wasn’t watching this time.

Day two:  I wake up to my mother walking into my apartment asking, “Is the cat in the bedroom with you?”  No, she’s not.  Since moving here, Sunny rarely sleeps in my room.  She likes having the living room to herself at night to cause chaos. Turns out my front door did not lock because C must have touched it, my guess would be out of fear of the cat.  This meant that my front door was wide open when my mother got here and therefore, wide open all night long.  My cat was gone.  Waking up in immediate panic is terrifying, luckily the cat came home when she saw my mother and all she brought with her was a dead cricket.  But this was still a scary situation for me because I had no idea the door was open.  Anyone could have come in here during the night and stolen my things or worse could have hurt me.  I am grateful that neither one of these things happened.  Thank you, God.

After this incident, I sent C a text message telling her what happened and that I wouldn’t be letting her in that day. She’d have to get my spare key and let herself in and out with that. She proceeded to ask me why I didn’t tell her the door was open during the night. Um… because I didn’t know? I cannot see my front door from my bed.  She then proceeded to blame me and my cat (“Sunny is the one who opened it!”) for what happened and stated that when she left the door was closing. Which just proved to me that she didn’t bother to wait the ten seconds for it to close and probably touched or moved it slightly as she was leaving.  Once she blamed my cat, I was shaking in rage and couldn’t even respond.  I couldn’t handle her for another shift so I was grateful I had arranged for my mother to cover Monday.

Day two went a little easier.  She let herself in with the key and I stayed curled up in bed with my cat for the first couple hours of her shift watching Harry Potter.  I didn’t bother to have her help me in the bathroom again because I didn’t want to feel less than myself.  Dinner rolled around and she was completely baffled that I “actually don’t eat that much food.”  Maybe she didn’t mean it in a harmful way, and maybe I am over-sensitive, but the way she said this really got to me.  The day before she judged me for being a vegetarian and not having anything other than water in my fridge. The next day she was genuinely surprised that I don’t overeat.  Yes, we make extravagant food AND dessert in my kitchen often, but I rarely overdo it. I just… I felt like she was expecting that because I am overweight, that must mean I eat a ton of food that is bad for me.  I don’t.

I am overweight.

I am aware of this.  I do my best to make it easier and better for myself and it takes a lot of time and a lot of work.  Comments from the last few days made me feel like I needed to explain to people that most of the reason I am overweight is because it is difficult for me to move my body without assistance and has very little to do with what I do (or don’t) eat. Much like having to restrict my cat in the house, I felt like this is something I should never have to explain to someone who doesn’t know me.  The words really hurt me.

Remember when I contributed to The Conversation?  I’ve felt like that ten year old girl inside me these last few days and I’ve been unable to talk her down from that ledge. I’m in a terrible emotional place now and I don’t like it. I’m hoping by acknowledging it, it’ll be easier to light the way out.  Recently, I came to the defense of someone being bullied on the internet and a stranger said to me, “Words don’t hurt, they really don’t.”  This statement has stuck with me ever since.  How glad I am that this stranger has never been emotionally scarred by the thoughts of another.  Some of us don’t have it that easy.

All words carry with them a kind of weight.  All words have the power to be uplifting or destructive to our beings; both forms of weight are strong.  Kind and positive words have a strength that lifts us into the light and nurtures the truest forms of ourselves.  Words that come with them an intent to hurt have a weight that is soul-crushing. It is far too easy to let negativity eat your confidence from the inside out.  We must encourage each other.  We must not let this negativity continue to happen and recognize the value of humanity.

And this is where I’ve been.  Those words said to me have been eating me alive.  I don’t like it.  I got angry at myself because I let this person hurt me.  I gave them that power to say “Hey, you’re less than this. I feel bad about my life choices so I’m going to make sure you feel bad too.”  Why? Why am I so sensitive that I allowed this to happen?  I’ve been beating myself up for it and it needs to stop now.  I know I am better than what I allow someone else to make me feel.  I just need to find that place again.

Breathe.  Stay focused. In the meantime, share twice the kindness for half of how dark it feels.

B will be back tomorrow and if I haven’t found it by then, I hope a sense of normalcy will follow.

Decorating Space and Time

As of yesterday, I’ve officially lived the first year of my own life.

The past year may not have been the hardest I’ve had to face (and thank God for that!) but it was probably the most challenging. I’m not a quitter and am always up for a challenge, but I’m not gonna lie, it seemed a little bit extreme at points. And I fight, but I fight alone here. I don’t have the luxury of the unexpected. The weird thing living in this setting is, my every move is documented. People know what I’m doing and how I do things at all times and any changes have to be cleared through a number of channels. That said… I DO have the luxury of a team of people to guide and teach me. Although, I constantly feel like I’m supposed to know exactly what the rest of my life is going to be. I’ve never been that person. I am always grateful to just see another tomorrow.

When this fight started, I struggled with seeing things on too large a scale — the big picture. I had to learn baby steps. This month, because I now live in a different county, I got a new social worker. She came for her first visit this past Wednesday. She’s fabulous and I kind of love her, but she was asking me all the “big picture” questions. My brain is no longer trained to think that way, so I felt strange and a little insecure when I couldn’t answer in a way that seemed to please her. But… I am not here to please anybody. I am here to be happy. The truth is, I am currently only concerned with getting my medical situation squared away so I can get the kind of care I should have always had. I know my body and I know that once doctors start doing things to help me, my body is going to have to completely readjust itself. So, I’m very sorry that it’s difficult to answer anyone’s questions about school or work or other big-picturesque goals right now. Taking it one baby step at a time is all I know I can do, and that has to be enough for the moment.

I also have my cat, who drives me insane, but I love her to death. I have Bianca, who is absolutely incredible. When I interviewed her, we both said, “Yeah… I’m quiet.” We’ve been anything BUT quiet ever since. We have so much fun. It might be my favorite when we spend half her shift at IKEA and then come home and decorate. Making a home has nothing to do with the stuff you have, but making a comfortable space that reflects your personality is the most fun there is. I’ve been all about creating, decorating, finding myself and realizing I never knew who I was. I’m going through what I’ve referred to as a “creative rebellious phase.” And you know what? It’s soothing. Paint, chalk, crayon, dye, photos, FOOD… I can’t stop creating myself through the things I’m playing with and learning. The other day, Bianca shared a quote she saw on Facebook with me:

We use art to decorate space. And we use music to decorate time.

She said it made her think of me. I could not believe she could actually see me. That quote? It’s  basically my formula for a functioning soul right now.

No one can do this alone. I feel like I should be proud of myself. I hope my heart family and my angels are proud of me too. One year, still here. I’m excited to see where and who I’ll be next year. Thank you to everyone who has been continuously supporting me. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over and over again in the past year, it’s that if I’m only good enough for someone to call friend under certain circumstances, they’re not worth it. You can support me and I’ll support you or you’re welcome to leave. I don’t have time for anything that doesn’t involve unlocking a spectacular explosion of joy.