Changing Your Mindset

I have very high expectations for myself. Like really fucking high. And when I don’t hit my goals I am quite rocked by it. Why? Because I am Wonder Woman. I am “supposed” to be everything to everyone, help every single human around me, never say no to people and forever be burned out because of it. My mindset goal for last week was to focus on my small victories. My own personal victories and not anything I did for anyone else. I wrote a weak ass post that I was called out on (thanks ES) and was asked to write it again. I needed to write it better and with more meaning.

I didn’t want to for two reasons: I am all about helping others and because I have always been of the midset about getting to that big moment of crossing that finish line. I guess I didn’t really believe in small victories. I actually had a hard time thinking about small victories for myself. I had to google it. I know, how sad is that?! Was I really supposed to jump for joy if I found money in my pants pocket or get excited when I found an itch I could actually reach? Hey Google, thanks for those. Truly life-changing…..

It wasn’t until recently that I realized it is all about the small little victories along the way to get you over that finish line. My goal is to lose the stupid weight I put on over the last six months. It isn’t a terribly high amount but I’m unhappy and totally unmotivated. So, when you aren’t motivated everything becomes daunting and discouraging. So in fact, the small wins are what pushes you and helps get you to where that goal becomes manageable!

I was finally able to come up with small wins and victories that I will celebrate more: Friends that encourage you, blogs that inspire you, a good fucking hair day, opportunities to make a change, learning from my mistakes, a good solid deep breathing sesh, a good solid cry sesh (perhaps not in that order), saying no to someone, finding time for family and laughing.

I’ve learned that I can and will be the same Wonder Woman but just needed to shift my vision a little bit more to appreciate the opportunities of counting my blessings, being grateful and reflecting on how much I have accomplished, no matter how big or small!

Dear Anxiety…

We have known each other for quite some time. If I had to guess at specifics, I would have to say for most of my life since I was a teenager. There are some pretty amazing traits that you bring to the table, like how you alert me when there is something to warn me about. Or how you motivate me when I’m faced with a challenge. You have even made me; yes, me, the always glass half empty type of person more empathetic to what others may be going through. You have made me think about all of the things that can potentially go wrong and made me into the problem solver and leader I am today.

With all of that being said, you have held me back so much during my life. You are there when I need you and you are ALWAYS lurking in the background when I don’t need you. It is now time for us to part ways.

I am saying goodbye to being anxious about being anxious. I am saying goodbye to the racing heart for no reason. I am saying goodbye to the dizziness and my body shaking uncontrollably. I am saying goodbye to the constant pacing and always trying to be one step ahead of you.

Curating the list of tools in my toolbox to get you to go away has taken many years to create. It has been a daunting task. Taking deep breaths, writing my name one hundred times on a piece of paper, coloring, scrolling through social media to try and turn off my brain, or looking at pictures of my kids are only a few. You get smarter and try and trick me that none of these strategies will work. They eventually do though and you slowly start to fade away. Some days it’s over quick while other days it feels like it lasts the whole day because it does.

Anxiety, I want to thank you for all of the positives that you have brought to my life but it is time to start phasing all of the negative ones out. I am determined to not let you control my life any longer.

I can’t wait to start appreciating all of the little things in my life, starting NOW!

Sweep the leg

I unraveled last night and I’m not afraid to admit it. Unraveled like a giant ball of yarn. Every fucking day is like a roller coaster of emotions. So why was today different? Who knows really. I couldn’t handle the fighting between the girls at bed time and I just gave up. I told them to leave me alone and not to come find me because I was done. I unleashed a war with my husband and then the night just kept getting worse and worse by the second.

I had the most epic cry with my 6 year old. When I say epic, I think both of my kids went to bed at 9:30/10 due to this epic cry. We were all sitting together all nestled up tight and just cried. Cam was crying because she was so god damn tired and didn’t know what was going on. Harper and I knew why we were crying. We cried about her ending first grade so abruptly. We cried about not being able to see Grammy, the boys, her new baby cousin and her aunties. We cried about life not being what it used to be. Then she looks up and says, “well, auntie will fix this so don’t worry”. I cried harder because as strong as she knows her auntie is, auntie can’t fix this right now. Part of me in that moment wanted to be a kid again. Although they are clearly affected by this, they still have this positive outlook. I wish I had a glimmer of her positivity. I don’t. This whole thing has made me even more jaded. More scared. More anxious. More negative. More angry.

As we gained our breath back and looked at each other with our crazy puffy faces and red eyes, I had one small nugget of gratitude. An extremely sad but also incredible moment happened during all of this that will never be lost on me. Both of my girls came to give me hugs and check on me when I was at my lowest point. Camryn asked me why I was crying and kept saying that I was ok. Harper came over and wouldn’t stop apologizing for me not being able to see my family because she knew I missed them. We have raised such incredible little girls with the kindest hearts and mounds of empathy for others. For that, I am thankful.

After crying for several hours with my kids and having a massive headache, I feel asleep when they did. Writing this in two sessions didn’t make me feel any better. I was hoping that since I finally went to bed at a semi decent hour I would feel refreshed. Nope, not at all. Woke up with a pounding headache and felt like I was sucker punched in the gut and had a Cobra Kai come out of nowhere and sweep the leg.

In order for me to keep my chronic anxiety at bay, I take a lot on. Actually a million things on, let’s be more realistic. Having struggled with anxiety for some ungodly amount of time at this point, my method works. Pile on as much shit you can bear and continue doing that until you break. For me, breaking doesn’t come all that often, but when it does, I break hard. Really fucking hard. Most times with one hell of a panic attack. Tonight it was sponsored by tears instead of panic. And no, I’m not complaining. I will take tears over panic any day.

People in whatever category you want to put me under are always the strong ones. We are always the ones that hold everything together, well, we look like we hold it together. We are always the ones that take other burdens on because we genuinely like to and it gets us out of dealing with our own shit so I typically welcome anyone else’s shit to deal with. Right now, like most, I am managing a household, working full-time and consulting part-time (but now from home), dealing with two children who are struggling coping with their new normal, a husband who is now realizing his own mental health constraints and dealing with the fact that my entire family are all essential employees. Let that sink in for a minute. All are essential employees.

My dad seems like the lowest risk safety-wise since the campus is closed and lack of people that he has to encounter. My youngest sister who just had a baby is returning to work after most of her maternity leave was stripped away from her due to this virus. You know the time where you need people the most so you don’t do anything to harm your newborn who just cries, shits and eat all day and night and doesn’t really want to sleep. Then there is my mom. She is in the hospital setting managing supply chain for sterile processing and material management. She is the rock star with the PPE for her whole hospital and her department are the ones sterilizing all equipment and continuing to keep hospital staff safe. Last but certainly not least, there is my middle sister Kerin, a nurse on an all covid floor. She has been stripped away from what she has grown accustom to nursing actually being. You can’t comfort patients like you used to, you can’t comfort their family members like you used to. Everything she was taught and knows what’s right in her heart has completely been taken from her. Never have I ever been more scared and more proud of my family in all of my life.

I spend a portion of each day securing PPE for my family and the hospitals they work for, donating food and keeping the spirits up of the nursing staff on my sister’s floor and making sure she can continue fighting this battle with as much strength as she has each and every day. But, she is tired. They all are tired. That is what gives me the strength to keep doing what I do. At the end of the day, family is family and I will go to the ends of the earth to protect mine even if it means that I have this very much needed breakdown I had last night.

Love is a Battlefield

At first I started to type how I can’t believe I haven’t blogged in such a long time. Then I laughed and said of course I haven’t. The fucking world is ending. Well, it’s not but it sure as hell feels like it is. We are homeschooling our children which feels like an epic disaster on most days. I am making breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day and it seems like that is all I do. I am worried sick about my sister, my mom, my dad and all of my other friends and family who are essential personnel. I miss how my life used to be. We all do.

One thing that I realized through all of this is how much I miss music. I have always loved music. My dad has an incredible voice, sang in a choir and always sang when we were kids. I definitely take after him in that regard. I can memorize harmonies and lyrics typically after hearing them only one or two times. I was in little plays and musicals and my high school chorus. Music has always been a big part of my life.

Like most things in my life after having kids, you simply stop them or forget about them. All we listen to in the car on the way to school is Moana or some other kickass Disney princess. When Harper is in the car we try to listen to better choices of music but depending on Camryn’s mood and my inability to listen to any more screamfests, I give in to the womb gremlin and turn on Moana for the 828,492 time.

My anxiety and perhaps depression at this point is pretty high. Sadly, it has been manifesting in sheer anger and hatred for all the bad things that are happening right now. I try so hard to think about the things I am grateful for but my thoughts are so foggy and clouded with all of the chaos. And when I say foggy and cloudy, I don’t know about you but my brain is just mush and I feel like I am overall operating between 10-40% of a human. I have found that all of my breathing techniques don’t help and the other tools that I used to do at night (like color or read) I can’t do since I have to make up from all “lost” time I couldn’t get my work done during the day because you know, homeschooling and dealing with an insane fucking toddler psycho. Love you, Cam!

Last week while I was cooking dinner, (it actually could have been yesterday, I mean let’s be honest), Scott asked if I wanted some music on. I stared at him like he asked me a really hard question. I don’t know if it was my new covid foggy brain or if I suddenly realized someone was asking me what I actually wanted for once. I still didn’t answer and he said, “well, I’m going to go ahead and put on 80’s pop dance on pandora for you.” Pat Benatar’s ‘Love is a Battlefield’ came on and I honestly forgot what I was doing, but in a good way. I forgot about how much I really didn’t want to make dinner. I forgot about how anxious I was about everything that is happening outside my house. I forgot about how our worlds were turned upside down in a matter of minutes and how it will likely remain that way for quite some time. Even if it was for a couple of songs, in that moment, that is what my brain and body needed.

Since the world has basically stopped and reminded all of us to slow down, maybe we can all be reminded of the things that once made us happy. For me, during this chaos it is listening to music I chose and that I want to listen to. It helps me drown out all of my worries, even if it is just for the duration of the song.

I get it though, it is hard to be inspired when everything seems like a fucking dumpster fire and we just keep spraying it with more gasoline. If you don’t have the energy to go outside, then don’t. If you don’t have the energy to get dressed into real clothes, then don’t. I wouldn’t recommend doing these sorts of things every day because you will certainly end down the rabbit hole of despair. There is no right way to feel right now and that’s ok too.

Be well everyone!