Get On With It


It’s been a little over a year since my diagnosis, and a year yesterday for surgery. Wow, what a whirlwind ride this has been.

I’m thankful to still be here. I’m thankful to have hair, even though it’s white now.

I promise I am not going to dwell on this forever, but since I’ve been riddled with anxiety for the past week over just about everything, this is part of my healing process.  I have to process these thoughts, learn to manage the emotions and the overwhelm.

What has changed?  Everything.

OH, on the surface onlookers may think I’m the same old same old. but I’m not. I am learning to make myself a priority –  still learning, still trying to use that word NO, and still doing the self-talk to tell myself I’m worth it. Because you know what?  I am!

We all are.  Each one of us deserves a fulfilling life and to achieve our own happiness.  Each of us is a unique one of a kind original. It’s hard to keep that in mind at times when the lemming tendencies of our society scream that we need to fit in and do what everyone else is doing.

How are we ever going to stand out from the crowd if we are doing the same thing, looking the same, wearing the same hairstyle?  There is nothing wrong with being ourselves.  There is nothing wrong with being who you are, regardless of that mean bitch from school says.

Screw her! OH wait,  most of the guys already have!

That was a joke, sort of.

We need to stop being influenced by those mean girls and the pretty people. They are a minority and we outnumber them into the millions. Why do we ever care what they think?

For me,  I’ve always had this element of people pleasing. It’s a lifelong habit that I’m working on breaking.  It’s part of exercising that word NO.

What do you think?  What do you want to do? I”m not saying that you do whatever you want even if it’s illegal or immoral. I’m talking about pursuing your dreams, setting goals for yourself and learning to get our thoughts in line with drawing what we truly want out of life.

There are times when the overwhelm is just too much for me. This was never an issue before cancer. I’ve been thinking about why that is.  Part of it, as listed in the side effects of the chemo meds I have to take is increased anxiety. OH, joy! But I take the meds because I want to live cancer free.

Part of it, I’ve deduced is because I’ve spent a lifetime stress eating and putting myself into a food stupor when I was overwhelmed so that I could numb myself from the pain and anxiety.  Do you think overweight people simply eat too much?  It’s so much more than that.

OK, you take someone who has put on twenty pounds because they’ve been hitting the pizza and beer too often and no biggie,  they cut down on their consumption and within a short time have taken the weight off. But a fat person?  I mean someone who has been overweight for a long time, maybe their whole life, it’s a psychological issue as much as it is about overeating.  Hence the yo-yo up and down the scale.

Anyway,  this isn’t about being fat or me being frustrated that the weight isn’t coming off faster. This is ultimately about change and learning to control the thoughts and emotions.

Some things change quickly –  surgery – I had cancer, they removed the tumors.

Some things take time –  it took many treatments for the radiation to be effective.

Some things take even longer – learning to eat differently, learning new habits, learning new limitations.

Ultimately though, aren’t we all learning? Whether we are adjusting to dietary limitations, or physical limitations or emotional,  we have to overcome, adapt, and learn what our best is each and every day.  Maybe today it’s learning that “I’m OK. Tomorrow it may be “I can’t do that but I can tackle this.”

Early in the week, I was a whirlwind of energy and productivity. Yesterday I fell into a pit of overwhelm and could barely function.  I was a mess of tears, snotting and snorting and nearly hyperventilating. My friend Misty talked me down. She walked me through the sensory steps,  reminded me of the four agreements, and then my husband called around lunchtime and told me to throw away my list.

 NO, not my list! The LIST is like, THE PIRATE CODE.

Cue increased panic.

He reminded me that nothing on my list was mandatory. (But,  it’s my list.  I don’t list unnecessary things to do.) Nothing is mandatory and has to be done today.  The only mandatory things on the list were my day job, getting my blog post up (because it was a personal goal) and making sure I did my physical therapy.

As I glanced over my precious list of twenty-seven items, I realized he was right. As much as I wanted to get those other things accomplished and checked off the list –  only list makers will get that – the world was not going to end if I waited for another day to try to tackle them.

One of those items was a social situation with someone that causes me continued stress. At the end of the day, I realized that it was in my own best interest to say NO, and bow out. The second part of that is allowing myself to not fret over the decision and accept that I need to take care of myself.

Why does it have to be so hard to say no? What is it that I was so afraid of? That they would be mad at me? They don’t like me anyway. Hard to imagine, but they don’t.

I refer to Agreement Number 2: Don’t take anything Personal. Nothing others do is because of you. What others do or say is a product of their own reality, their own dreams and actions. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of suffering.

Breathe.

Inhala . . . exhala . . . and now I can get on with it.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

 

We’re All Mental


Let’s face it we are our own worst enemy!  I know there are many of us with this affliction.  We try to hide it, keep it under lock and key but the strange thing is others can often recognize it before we can see it in ourselves.  It robs us of simple pleasures, prevents us from participating in life and hinders us from stepping outside of our box.

We play these mental games with ourselves, then either pander ourselves out of doing things or admonishing ourselves for our failings.  Sickos – all of us!  Shame, shame, shame!

What is it? Anxiety Disorders.  OK, you may not be fully diagnosed with it but we all have various stages of this budding affliction.

I am notoriously one who is daring, willing to try things.  Bungee jumping, parasailing, snorkeling, spelunking – ok won’t be doing that one again any time soon, and even rapellng are not things for the faint of heart.  Instead of giving into peer pressure, I was the kid your parents warned you about.  Yes, I did daring stupid things.  Yes, I jumped off a roof.  Yes, I took a dare more often than I gave them.  but as I’ve gotten older and become responsible for the lives of others (parenting changes you – it really does), I’ve detected a line of thinking that is akin to an anxiety disorder.

My 17 year old daughter is getting ready to begin her senior year in high school – yeah!  Go Sarah!  However today she is nearly in a panic, because of the unknown.

She stated it like this: “When you’re going to do something that you’re nervous about it, it’s best to just do it and not think about it.  Sort of like getting on a roller coaster, you don’t think about the physics of the design of the roller coater, or the g-force, or how dangerous it is.  You just look at it and think – ooh, fun!”

Yeah, if we all could remember that!  However, when we face a new challenge our brains go into high gear and we over anazlye the situation, adding the terifying what ifs.   Choosing a new hairstyle, starting a new phase like starting college, starting a new job, making a career change, gonig to a different gym, taking a different route to work, they can all be intimidating.  Personally, I don’t think it’s a matter of anxiety disorder but fear.  It’s scary to step out sometimes but as you talk yourself out of it, you convince yourself it’s scary and not worth trying, therefore next time it’s easier to stay in your box.  Before you know it, the box has shrunk and your stuff has an inch of dust on it.

Yep, you know it, I’m a box smasher!  I come in like a tornado and rearrange the furniture, move your stuff, shift things “6 inches to the right”; sometimes tearing out an entire wall to expand a wing.  For those who think I never get scared – get real!  I just do it afraid.

Fake it till you make it, or never let them see you sweat. Either one works.  I know a person however, that over the years has let themseves be overwhelmed by the smallest of things, allowing their box to close in so that it’s such a cramped little affair there’s barely room to turn around.  It’s sad, really.

Now there are individuals who really do have anxiety disorders.  I have some of the symptoms that I will list below, but I don’t let it dominate my mind.  I ain’t dead yet, and I’ve got a lot more life to live.  In fact, I intend to live mine out loud!  If you’re not so bold and brazen maybe you could start with baby steps.  Wear a different color; it can be a huge shock to the system.  Smile at someone you don’t know – I know, shocking.  Try a new food – I don’t know, that could be risky.  Read this blog – omg  – we may be moving a little too fast.  One step at a time!

My point is that as we get older we are more prone to settle into routines. Routines then become ruts and before long the rut is a grave with the ends knocked out.  We allow worries and fears to dominate our thinking and before long we accept failure because we are afraid to try.  I don’t want to be that person.  It’s humorous to watchMr. Monk, but  in reality it would be a sad existence.  I know from personal aquaintance, the above mentioned person’s box is beginning to resemble a coffin.

So here’s what WEbMD has to say about it:

What Are the Symptoms of an Anxiety Disorder?

Symptoms vary depending on the type of anxiety disorder, but general symptoms include:

  • Feelings of panic, fear, and uneasiness
  • Uncontrollable, obsessive thoughts
  • Repeated thoughts or flashbacks of traumatic experiences
  • Nightmares
  • Ritualistic behaviors, such as repeated hand washing
  • Problems sleeping
  • Cold or sweaty hands and/or feet
  • Shortness of breath
  • Palpitations
  • An inability to be still and calm
  • Dry mouth
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Nausea
  • Muscle tension
  • Dizziness

I’m sure we can all recognize some of those symptoms but it doens’t mean we need to run out and get a prescription for Xanax.  I rebel against the pharmaceutical companies need to overmedicate the world population when all we need to do is put on our big girl/ big boy pants and live life – to the fullest measure experiencing everything it can throw our way!  Just dodge the tomatoes.

Yeah, and some call me an adrenaline junkie as well!  It doesn’t matter though, I’m having a blast.

Write on my friends, write on!