Anxiety and Instability

The toughest part of living with depression and an anxiety disorder is the constant state of instability.

Some days are good. Some days I can just breathe and take life as it comes. I can look at the challenges I’m facing as small stepping stones and work through them without having an episode.

Then there are days like today.

I should have known I was gearing up for one of those days when I had an anxious fit last night because my boyfriend DARED to go to bed early. Since we are in a semi-long distance relationship (3-ish hours round trip travel time), trust is a huge part of the equation. I trust him unequivocally. However, his “goodnight” phone call at 9:30pm made me feel anxious. Why, I don’t really know… Which is pretty much the crux of anxiety issues, isn’t it? No rhyme or reason or anything beyond the famed Star Wars line, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”

Anyway. I digress.

I texted my best friend (who is also coping with anxiety issues and is a beacon of love and support through these episodes) and she talked me down from the metaphorical ledge. I took some deep breaths, meditated awhile, and finally felt calm enough to sleep.

This morning, I woke up to a sweet text from my boyfriend, and I thought that maybe I was on the right path to working past my lingering anxiety and having a good day. Then, it seemed like everything fell apart. Carefully made plans fell through. Money issues reared their ugly head. Words were exchanged with no sense of context or tone to temper their reception. All the hard work I’ve done lately to work towards inner peace and happiness and pretty much everything beyond being a depressed, anxious mess seemed to fall down at my feet. All I wanted to do was cry because I’ve been doing so well. I went from feeling like I’m actually getting somewhere and improving my mental state to a sobbing heap of anxiety and insecurity in less than 24 hours.

THIS is what I can’t take.

When things are good, I can cope. I’m learning how to cope when things are bad. But I can’t handle the constant back and forth. I can’t handle the ups and downs. I like stability. I like structure. I like order. The lack of these things makes me anxious, and being anxious leads to a lack of stability, structure, and order. It’s a vicious cycle, and I don’t know how exactly I am supposed to stop it, only that I need to stop it.

Maybe it’s time to revisit my treatment options. Maybe I should bite the bullet and consider medication, even though I’m unemployed and have no form of prescription coverage. Maybe, as several people have told me, I should just “get the fuck over it” and “stop being a headcase.”

Or maybe, right now, I should take a hot bath, make some tea, and have a good cry, hoping tomorrow will be a little brighter.

Well, That Was Terrifying

I’ve done a lot of scary things in the past week:

– talked to my doctor about my anxiety
– made an appointment to see a counselor
– told Jedi when I thought he wasn’t being fair to me

and, today, I quit my job. Well, gave my notice. My last day is the 15th.

And you know what? The first three things turned out alright.

Fingers crossed that the last one will, too.

I Think I’m A Grown Up Now

It’s official : I’m in debt a quarter million dollars. Normally, being even $100 in debt would cause me to freak out. Not this time. Why?

I bought a house.

Yep, it’s official – I’m a homeowner. I take possession June 15th.

I’m a little scared, a lot excited, and really, really proud of myself.

It’s not every day that you see a single mom buy a house on her own, with no co-signer, before the age of 30. (Not to toot my own horn, but BEEP BEEP).

I never planned on this – I wanted to find a nice guy, get married, buy a house, have babies, and live happily ever after. I’ve finally reached the point where I am okay with having my baby and my house and living happily ever after on my own. It’s liberating to realise that everything about this house, this life… it’s all mine. No compromising. 100% how **I** want it.

I couldn’t be happier.

BUT.

Now I get to spend the next month packing and checking paint swatches and de-cluttering and cleaning and allllll that fun moving stuff. *groan*

A Somewhat Update

I’m feeling a lot like a grown-up right now.

I just met with my financial advisor, diversified my investments, and got approved for a fairly sizable mortgage. On Wednesday, I’m going to do walk-throughs on a couple houses I’m interested in. I just filed my taxes, and thanks to the donations and RRSP contributions I made last year, I got enough back to guarantee that I will be able to completely pay for my daughter’s schooling next year without my parents chipping in.

This is so… foreign. I’m used to struggling. I’m used to scrimping and saving and barely getting by. It feels fantastic to finally be on my feet.

It also feels fantastic to know that at this time tomorrow, I’ll be arriving in Vancouver for the start of a super-awesome girls’ weekend with my BFF. Shopping, fancy vegan noms, a ritzy hotel, coffee with a friend I haven’t seen in ten years, and seeing one of my favourite bands ever… it’s going to be amazing.

I really thought I had more to say than this, but I guess not.  Nerd joke? Nerd joke.

It’s Not Easy.

It isn’t easy to love an addict.
It isn’t easy to hear the lies, to know that they’re lies, and to not be able to do a damn thing about it.
It isn’t easy to watch someone you love so hell-bent on self-destruction.
It isn’t easy to hear “I’m getting clean” again and again and to pray every. single. time. that this time, it’s for good.
It isn’t easy to have someone you love steal from you with seemingly no remorse.
It isn’t easy when they sober up temporarily and you see the shame in their eyes, see the weight of their sins dragging them back down into a vortex of self-medication and self-loathing.
It isn’t easy to see them desperately searching for the next $20, the next fix, the next party.
It isn’t easy to realise you can’t remember the last time they weren’t using.
It isn’t easy when you figure out that the only way to preserve yourself is to distance yourself from their battle, to support and love from afar, because getting too close hurts too much.
It isn’t easy to keep your distance, to stop loaning money, to stop enabling.
It isn’t easy not trying to fix the situation, to fix the addiction, to fix the person.
It isn’t easy to watch someone so young and promising throw their future away.
It isn’t easy to understand why they can’t “just” stop, can’t “just” get it together, can’t “just” get clean.
It isn’t easy to live each day of their sobriety along with them, fearing a relapse.
It isn’t easy. Not even in the slightest.
But an addict knowing that someone loves them no matter what… that’s what makes it worthwhile.

I’ve loved a lot of addicts. Some I’m still loving from afar. One helped make my child. Two I’ve known since they were born. One will hit 15 months clean this week. In fact, he’s the one I have to thank for introducing me to Macklemore’s “ Starting Over.” I’ve listened to this song probably 30 times since I first heard it last night. Every time, it gives me goosebumps and nearly brings me to tears.

The part that really sticks with me are the lines:

If I can be an example of getting sober
Then I can be an example of starting over.

Brother, I love you. I’m proud of you, of who you’ve become, and how far you have come in the past year and a bit. Never quit fighting because I know you can do this.

Five Lessons From Today’s Run (and a Wicked Smoothie Recipe)

The weather this weekend was finally conducive to getting out for a real run for the first time this year.

About 5 minutes into the first kilometer, I realised how out of shape I’d let myself get over the winter. Through the next 6km, I let my mind wander (as I love to do while working out) and learned the following 5 things:

  1. Not running during the winter kills me. My time is a full minute and thirty seconds slower than it was last fall. Running in rain and snow isn’t fun, so I’m going to have to come up with a (gasp!) gym plan for next winter. Yuck.
  2. I need to do more yoga. Maybe it’s just my body getting back into a rhythm, but I am sore in places I didn’t know running could affect. My once a week yoga workout is going to have to become a daily, or at least every-other-day thing.
  3. Somehow, Fall Out Boy found their way onto my running playlist. And they need to find their way off of it, right quick. Nothing ruins the mood of a good run like thinking “I hate this song” for 3 1/2 minutes straight. Twice.
  4. My lungs still hurt after a run. Maybe it’ll get better the longer I’m a non-smoker… but as of now, they were equally, if not more, painful compared to when I smoked a pack a day.
  5. There is nothing in the world that feels as amazing as a good workout. Seriously. Nothing.

Following my run, I made my favourite post-run snack:

Banana/Apple/Blackberry Smoothie (with Wheatgrass)
Ingredients:

  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/3 apple (I prefer Gala)
  • 1/4 cup blackberries (I used frozen, fresh are fine as well)
  • 1 oz wheatgrass (Fresh or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup yogurt (I prefer Almande Vanilla)
  • 1/3 tbsp black chia seeds
  • 1/3 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1/3 tbsp hulled hemp seeds

Directions:

1. Chop up banana and apple into blender-friendly pieces. (My blender is old, so I make sure everything is in small chunks. If you have a Vitamix or equivalent, feel free to skip this step!)


2. Add blackberries and wheatgrass to blender containing apple and banana.



3. Add yogurt to blender.



4. Add seeds. (I keep a 1:1:1 mix of chia, flax and hemp seeds pre-mixed in the cupboard so it’s just a one tbsp scoop.)


5. Blend well.

6. Enjoy!

I generally keep a bunch of pre-made smoothie packs in the freezer so when I’m in a rush, I can just dump one in the blender, throw in the yogurt and seeds, blend and go. 🙂

Survival.

Some days, when my past feels really hard to deal with, I remind myself that simply getting up and facing the world makes me stronger than I ever thought possible, and gives a giant middle finger to those who have tried to hold me down.

I am not the person I was then. For better, for worse, everything in my life has changed. And that’s okay.

One foot in front of the other. One day at a time. I will make it through. I will survive. I will thrive, despite my demons.

We’ve all been sorry
We’ve all been hurt
But how we survive is what makes us who we are.
– Rise Against